2016 was a pretty good year for RPGs, with Dark Souls III, Project Setsuna, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, World of Final Fantasy, and of course, the much-delayed Final Fantasy XV amongst the highlights of the year. 2017 is looking like it has the potential to be even better though, with yet more big hitting franchises set to make an epic return alongside some brand new IPs.
There are probably very few games due in 2017 that have the level of expectation of Mass Effect: Andromeda. A fresh start for the series that leaves behind the iconic Commander Shephard and his or her merry band of spacefarers, Andromeda is set some six hundred years later and takes you to a new galaxy and anew set of problems. Fans may or may not herald the return of the Mako-esque Nomad, but going totally open-world should bring a sense of freedom that the series had lost by the third outing.
You’re cast as a Pathfinder, an operative tasked with finding habitable planets for the human race, which gives some decent grounding to all of the exploration you’ll presumably be doing. While Bioware have been keeping things pretty close to their chest, they still have the ghost of Mass Effect 3’s ending woes hovering over them, which, despite the beloved status of the series as a whole, still leaves them with something to prove.
Mass Effect is set for a Q1 2017 release on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Prepare to be amused. Or offended. There’s probably very little space between with South Park, and after the masterful Stick of Truth, expectations are high for follow-up The Fractured but Whole. After the fantasy theme of the first game, this time out has a superhero flavour, with Cartman’s Coon persona taking the lead for a Civil War style showdown between the world’s most famous elementary children.
After a hands on at this year’s EGX, the turn-based gameplay feels largely unchanged, and that’s no bad thing when really we just want another interactive tale set in Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s Colorado town. At least, having slipped from 2016 into quarter one of next year, there shouldn’t be too much longer to wait.
South Park: The Fractured but Whole is also set for a Q1 2017 release on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Dontnod Entertainment seem fairly adamant on not tying themselves into producing one kind of videogame. From their first offering of action-orientated sci-fi adventure of Remember Me, they then released one of the best games of 2015 in the narrative-driven Life Is Strange. After that success many people would have expected them to churn out umpteen similar games a la Telltale Games, but instead here we find them dipping their toes into period fantasy with Vampyr.
Set during the events of the London Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, you take on the role of Doctor Jonathan Reid, a newly converted vampire who must come to terms with his position in life. Seemingly you can make it through the game without killing, or you can succumb to your vampiric nature. Overall it seems like it’ll ask plenty of interesting questions about morality and mortality.
As a new IP from such a celebrated developer, Vampyr has all the potential to be one of the sleeper hits of the year, and thus far the setting and its take on vampire mythology give every hope that it will be.
Check out our preview from earlier this year. The game is currently planned for release next year, coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC
Torment: Tides of Numenera is the upcoming release from inXile Entertainment, the studio that brought you The Bard’s Tale. The world of Numenara was created by renowned RPG icon Monte Cook, and mixes elements of fantasy and sci-fi to exceptional effect. Thus far this setting has been used in a series of successful tabletop games and short stories, but the game is set to expand the audience even further.
An isometric RPG, the key element is set to be the narrative, with the gameplay elements taking a secondary role. Given that members of the team worked on the beloved Planescape: Torment, and that this is set to be a spiritual successor to that game, Torment: Tides of Numenara should be on every RPG fan’s radar.
Finally a game on this list with a firm release date, Tides of Numenera is releasing on February 28th for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
What should make this stand out amongst this year’s line-up is the fact that it’s aiming to be as historically accurate as possible, from armour and clothing through to the architecture of the buildings. The game’s first person viewpoint may illicit memories of the Elder Scrolls titles, but Kingdom Come: Deliverance boasts an all-new physics-based combat system that again should be more realistic than many of its peers.
Utilising CryEngine 3, early footage has been impressive, and we’ve enjoyed what we’ve seen in person. If it can successfully marry the fidelity of its visuals to a great storyline then Warhorse could well be onto a winner.
Though there’s no specific release date, expect to see Kingdom Come: Deliverance on PS4, Xbox One and PC in 2017.
ELEX (Eclectic, Lavish, Exhilarating, Xenial) is an open world sci-fi RPG from German developer Piranha Bytes. ELEX is a powerful resource, and one which grants the user immense magic-like powers. Fusing science fiction and medieval fantasy, the setting of Magalan looks like one dying to be explored, while moral choices abound while you attempt to choose the right faction to back.
Though early footage looks a little rough around the edges, ELEX is another game well worth paying attention to. It should be coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC some time within 2017.
Now, this is just a small selection of the RPGs coming out next year, and this list has a distinct focus on multiplatform titles. In other words, if you’re put out by not seeing Persona 5 on the list, just watch this space.