Normally, we do these lists according to a holistic, date-based schedule. But with the proliferation of broken/unfinished games coming out, it’s nice to see developers getting more laterality in the release of their games from publishers. It’s frustrating, sure, as a consumer not knowing when your favorite game is coming out, but that’s a better predicament than having monstrous day-one patches that fundamentally change an experience because publishers forced a studio’s hand.
Anyhoo, here’s what you can look forward to on the PlayStation 4 in 2017.
Gravity Rush 2 — January 18
Do you know what was a pretty dang good game? Gravity Rush. Not many people played it, though, because, well, not many people fall in that intersection of having a Vita and wanting to play it back in 2012. It was weird and niche but also unique and an absolute joy to play. A sequel is a fantastic proposition to further explore the good parts and improve the…weird bits.
Nioh — February 9
The most exciting thing about Nioh that I’ve heard is that it’s a “Samurai Take On A Souls Game,” which is one of the more badass things I’ve ever heard. It certainly makes perfect sense given Team Ninja’s, well, ninja-filled pedigree, but it’s also a type of game that they’ve never tackled before. Except they have. It’s hard to explain without going into extreme detail what makes the modern Ninja Gaiden games so interesting and different from the Souls games.
Nier: Automata — February 23
Let’s be honest: PlatinumGames has had a rocky track record of late. After smashing nothing but home runs (or at least strong doubles and triples) for their first five years, they began to hobble around. Licensed games, wayward partnerships, etc. They just sort of lost their way, but Nier: Automata feels like the return to form we’ve all been waiting for. We’ll find out soon enough if that’s true. (It also comes out for PC sometime later in 2017.)
Horizon Zero Dawn — February 28
Hey, have you heard of Horizon Zero Dawn? Sure you have, probably because it is the game that Sony is backing the hardest, if not this year then certainly this quarter. It’s a technical showpiece (especially with the PS4 Pro), it’s coming from one of the company’s most loyally performant studios, and it has robot dinosaurs. If that last part didn’t sell you on it, then I don’t know what will.
Persona 5 — April 4
Admittedly, Persona 5 is already out in Japan, but that’s partly why it’s on the list. (I mean, aside from the fact that it’s a sequel to one of the best RPGs ever made.) The reception has been immense. Sure, you’re probably already set on whether or not you’re amped for this, but if you are, you know that you’re at a raging ten and nothing less.
Shenmue III — December 2017
Have you guys gone back to Shenmue II recently? Probably not, but if you do, you’ll realize what a god damn mess it was. Obviously, contemporary design has made dated ideas and concepts feel hilariously awkward, but it still had tremendous merit regarding a complex, open, interconnected world. With the promise of a modern update to that idea, it’s easy to see how it blew past its $2 million Kickstarter goal back in 2015. (It will also release for PC.)
What Remains of Edith Finch — 2017
Developers Giant Sparrow describes What Remains of Edith Finch as a “collection of short stories about a cursed family in Washington State.” That sounds just about perfect for the studio, previously known for The Unfinished Swan. That was similarly a collection of vignettes tied into a singular idea and they (mostly) succeeded at it. The haunting middle bit was actually the most affecting, which seems like they realized having heard that What Remains of Edith Finch is of that same mood. (It will also release for PC.)
Pyre — 2017
Pyre is being made by Supergiant Games. Supergiant Games also made Transistor and Bastion. Is there really anything else that needs to be said? (It will simultaneously release on Steam, too.)
God of War — 2017?
This thing looks absolutely crazy, but only in the context of other God of War games. It looks like nothing else that has ever been done in the franchise. It’s slower and more deliberate and not the same sort of flashy, frenetic action of yore, but more of the methodical sequences we’ve seen in things like The Last of Us. We don’t have a hard release date or even a window, but rumors and hints put it somewhere in late 2017.
Detroit: Become Human — 2017?
Okay, fine, we don’t actually know that this will make it out this year, but it’s highly likely that will be true. And while we’re on the subject of concessions, we also have been let down by David Cage and Quantic Dream before. Their past games haven’t necessarily been bad, but the scope of their ambitions have always been bigger in words than in execution. And I’m willing to be bamboozled once more.