With 2016 in the rearview mirror, let’s look forward to all the games looming just on the horizon. There’s a lot to be enthusiastic about, because this year looks like it’s going to deliver a strong combination of fresh ideas and sequels taking beloved franchises in new directions. Here’s a list of 35 games we think should definitely keep an eye out for in this new, hopefully better, year.
Resident Evil VII: Biohazard (January 24)
Capcom’s next entry into its long-running survival-horror series is dialing back to its roots — complete with a creepy house and esoteric puzzles — while simultaneously taking a whole new approach. A first-person perspective and a vulnerable main character are bringing Resident Evil VII a completely different kind of horror from the rest of the franchise (to say nothing of horrible monsters that have more teeth than face), and we can’t for Capcom to make Resident Evil scary again.
For Honor (February 14)
Intense melee combat between knights, samurai, and vikings — sounds like a winner. For Honor is all about sword duels in the midst of huge battles, as players go hacking through foot soldiers to take on commanders. Each fight is all about anticipating enemy attacks and reading their stances, while switching your stance and attacks to land your blows. Our hands-on suggests For Honor will deliver an intense sword-fighting experience with lots of strategy involved, and we can’t wait to wreck some vikings with well-placed katana strikes.
Horizon Zero Dawn (February 28)
A post-apocalyptic open world that lets you hunt giant robot dinosaurs? Horizon Zero Dawn basically sells itself. The PS4 exclusive will force players to rely on stealth and quick thinking to hunt and gather much-needed resources from the corpses of their mechanized enemies. Horizon looks gorgeous and unique. Plus, who doesn’t want to scale a brachiosaur-looking mechanical monster?
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (March 3)
An open-world Zelda game sounds like an evolution that could revamp the series in some great ways, and all the footage to come out of Nintendo so far of the next entry into the decades-long franchise looks great. With a massive game world to explore that Nintendo says is 12 times the size of Twilight Princess, plus new systems emphasizing Link’s need to find new uses for his weapons and equipment, this is looking like the game that sends everybody out to buy a Nintendo Switch console on launch day.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands (March 7)
Ubisoft is putting major emphasis on the cooperative nature of Ghost Recon: Wildlands, in which players control government agents running around Bolivia, fighting drug cartels. From the looks of things, teaming up to take on missions, determining the best tactics and options as a group and then relying on your pals to execute their roles, will be a big part of the experience. Ubisoft’s focus on teaming up with friends has been a big part of its recent shooters, such as The Division and Rainbow Six: Siege. We’re excited to see that applied to the open world of Wildlands, where you can add vehicles like helicopters and motorbikes to the fight.
Star Trek: Bridge Crew (March 14)
If there was ever a reason to get excited about virtual reality, Star Trek: Bridge Crew is it. It’s a game about being a member of a Star Trek bridge crew, complete with future-y controls and, almost undoubtedly, consoles that explode in your face at the first hint of a Klingon disruptor strike. Bridge Crew is looking like a great VR party game about cooperation while boldly going, et cetera, and might be a great reason to invest in a VR headset.
Mass Effect: Andromeda (March 21)
BioWare’s epic role-playing series is back in a whole new galaxy, emphasizing some of the same ideas as in the original game — exploring the vastness of space and interacting with the aliens you find there. Getting back to those Star Trek-like roots and filling out a whole new galaxy with civilizations are exactly the things we want BioWare to do with more Mass Effect. We still don’t know much about it, but so far, BioWare’s screenshots and videos are looking like a gorgeous return to the form that made the series so beloved by fans. It will be available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC March 21.
The first adaptation of South Park as a role-playing game, The Stick of Truth, turned out to be a pretty solid, pretty funny game, perfectly capturing the spirit of the series while delivering a fun, light RPG on top of it. The next South Park RPG, The Fractured but Whole, trades the Lord of the Rings parody of The Stick of Truth for a superhero story in the vein of Marvel’s “Civil War” comics — there’s a schism brewing in South Park, and as the new kid, you’re caught in the middle of it.