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Polygon writers’ five most anticipated games of 2017

We pick the games we’d love to be playing right now

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
| Nintendo

We’ve already posted a list of 50 games that make 2017 a potential stand-out for game releases, from big budget sequels to innovative indies. But what about the individual writers and editors at Polygon?

Here are some of our personal favorites for the year ahead, including a lot of entries for a certain Zelda game, Destiny 2 and Mass Effect: Andromeda, as well as for smaller titles like Tacoma, Little Nightmares and Night in the Woods. Some of these games were in our list from last year too, but even though they busted 2016, we’re pretty confident most of these will arrive this year.

You can add your most anticipated games in the comments section below. You can also contact or find out more about our writers by following the Twitter links beneath each entry.

Julia Alexander

  1. Cuphead
  2. Little Nightmares
  3. For Honor
  4. Nier: Automata
  5. Persona 5
Cuphead - flower boss stretched out
Cuphead
StudioMDHR Entertainment

While it's disappointing that the game was delayed in 2016 and still isn't available to buy and play and obsess over, my anticipation for it hasn't dwindled. Every time I've been able to get my hands on it at different events, it's left me wanting more. The aesthetic draws you in and sticks with you even when you've set the controller down. Hopefully Cuphead will finally be released in 2017.

If you can't tell by now, I'm someone who's drawn to art styles that are either weird or capture the eye in some way. My favorite game of 2016 was Inside for similar reasons. When I first saw a video for Little Nightmares on Polygon, I was hooked. The Tim Burton aesthetic may be overdone, but it's the “ugly beautiful” characters, as I like to refer to them, and the nightmarish setting that have me absolutely intrigued.

Follow Julia on Twitter.

Clayton Ashley

  1. Mass Effect Andromeda
  2. Prey
  3. Horizon Zero Dawn
  4. Tacoma
  5. Crackdown 3
Mass Effect Andromeda
BioWare/Electronic Arts

I want to go to space at some point in my life. Since I’m probably not going to be doing that for real any time soon (or ever), video games are a pretty good stand in. That’s why I’m so very excited for Mass Effect Andromeda. One of my favorite franchises is mixing some gorgeous open-world exploration into its heady mix of talking to weird aliens and reading detailed codex entries, which sounds like a game made just for me.

Prey and Tacoma both appear to be good sources of creepy, derelict space station exploration, which is always a good time. I’m also looking forward to hunting some robot dinosaurs in Horizon Zero Dawn and jumping over some buildings in Crackdown 3.

Follow Clayton on Twitter.

Colin Campbell

  1. Ni No Kuni 2
  2. Little Nightmares
  3. Blackwood Crossing
  4. What Remains of Edith Finch
  5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Ni no Kuni 2
Ni no Kuni 2
Level-5

Even if the battles in this series can be a touch derivative and repetitive, I love the power of Akihiro Hino's storytelling. The first Ni No Kuni was a masterclass in character and plot, and I think this sequel will take me to a whole new realm of magic. I’m a sucker for fairy tales and sweet-natured archetypes.

The other games on my list are also tales of mystery and discovery, from the grotesque stealth of Little Nightmares to the emotional highs of Blackwood Crossing and the dark humor of Edith Finch. Finally, a new Zelda game on a new Nintendo console is cause for considerable excitement in my household. Can’t wait.

Follow Colin on Twitter.

Allegra Frank

  1. Persona 5
  2. Gravity Rush 2
  3. Night in the Woods
  4. Rime
  5. Ni No Kuni 2
Persona 5
Persona 5
Atlus

I am so excited for Persona 5. It's just one of several sequels I'm looking forward to this year, particularly the joyously entertaining Gravity Rush 2 and Ni No Kuni 2, which I hope refines its predecessor's lackluster gameplay to keep up with that stellar art. But it's the original games I'm most highly anticipating in 2017. Night in the Woods and Rime are both games whose striking aesthetics call out to me above all else.

The spooky storybook-like Night in the Woods looks like something truly out there, while Rime takes everything I love about the Team Ico games and throws in what looks to be an even larger world. 2017 sure looks to be a triumphant year for totally new games, based on these and a bunch of others on my long-list.

Follow Allegra on Twitter.

—-

Chris Grant

  1. Prey
  2. Red Dead Redemption 2
  3. Tacoma
  4. Resident Evil 7: BioHazard
  5. Mass Effect Andromeda
Prey - Morgan Yu artwork
Prey
Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks

Somehow I’ve avoided most of the pre-release coverage of Prey. Not the original "Prey 2," which I saw a demo of at E3 Judges Week half a decade ago, but the new version in development at Arkane's Austin studio.

Here's what I know about the game: It's a reboot of a game slash would-be franchise, not developed by Arkane, that was famously in development for a decade before its 2006 release; a sequel to that Prey was in development for years at Human Head Studios before being canceled, evidently for quality reasons; and, lastly, this reboot, unrelated to "Prey 2," is in development at Arkane Austin.

And that last point is really all that matters. After the success of Dishonored, developed jointly between Arkane Austin, in Texas, and Arkane Lyon, in France, the (excellent!) Dishonored 2 was developed in Lyon while the Austin team was working on this strange, red-headed stepchild of a property. So it's with a mix of confusion, curiosity and genuine enthusiasm that I anticipate the release of a game called Prey ... what's old is new again.

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Phil Kollar

  1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  2. Persona 5
  3. Mass Effect Andromeda
  4. Horizon Zero Dawn
  5. Little Nightmares

Seems to me like a perfectly fitting demonstration of what kind of year 2016 was that the top three of my 2017 choices for most anticipated game are repeats that got delayed. Even so, there's been some changes: Nintendo's latest Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild, completely blew me away at last year's E3 and has handily replaced Persona 5 as my most anticipated game. Don't get me wrong, I'm also still extremely excited for Atlus' long-awaited relationship-building RPG, but the sheer number of delays and the fact that it's already out in Japan have dulled the enthusiasm just a bit.

The biggest surprise, though, is indie horror platformer Little Nightmares coming in at the bottom of my list. I was able to try this one out for myself at Tokyo Game Show and came away equal parts creeped out and impressed. It seems like the perfect follow-up to Inside, one of my favorite games of 2016.

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Matt Leone

  1. Switch Mario game
  2. Vane
  3. Scalebound
  4. Luna
  5. Gravity Rush 2

During its Switch reveal trailer, Nintendo showed approximately five seconds of footage of the latest Mario game. And while we had fun picking those brief clips apart searching for clues, it’s really the visual upgrade that has me excited. Nintendo has yet to drop the ball on any of its big Mario games, and any time that comes with a graphical overhaul it makes me feel like a kid again.

I also want to give an honorable mention to Thatgamecompany’s next game. It didn’t feel right putting it on the main list since we know so little about it (even less than Mario!), but given that studio’s background I can’t wait to see what it’s been cooking up, despite all the staff turnover.

Follow Matt on Twitter.

Griffin McElroy

  1. Persona 5
  2. Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  3. Mass Effect Andromeda
  4. Prey
  5. Red Dead Redemption 2

My most anticipated game of 2017 is, shamefully, my most anticipated game of 2016: Persona 5. I really, really should change it at this point, as I'm starting to get a real Charlie Brown vs. The Football relationship going, but I feel pretty confident that the game will actually come out this year. Everything we've seen in the past year looks really incredible, leaving me hopeful that it'll be a worthy successor to Persona 4, my favorite game of all time.

Follow Griffin on Twitter.

Justin McElroy

  1. Destiny 2
  2. Horizon Zero Dawn
  3. Mass Effect Andromeda
  4. Sea of Thieves
  5. Tacoma
destiny
Destiny
Bungie

Destiny began its life tremendously flawed and since its launch, Bungie has refined it into something truly special. But all of those improvements have had to work within the broad architecture of the original, largely flawed design. I'm incredibly hopeful that, armed with a much improved understanding of its game and its community, Bungie will be able to absolutely crush it with Destiny 2.

Also, I'm unofficially appending Insomniac's Spider-Man game to my list. It probably won't be released in 2017, but dammit, I want to believe.

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Michael McWhertor

  1. Destiny 2
  2. Mario Switch
  3. Nex Machina
  4. Nier Automata
  5. Snake Pass

I'm nervously anticipating Destiny 2. Having spent roughly 500 hours playing the first game — a flawed, but feel-good shooter — I'm anxious about the ways this series will evolve. Will any of my progress from the first game carry over? How radically will the live experience change? Will Destiny's story start to matter — or, really, start making any sense? What will the transition to current-generation hardware and possibly PC mean for Destiny 2's possibilities?

I'm watching with fascination and the tiniest bit of dread to see what Bungie manages to pull off for Destiny 2 and whether I'll return to that universe every day for my daily grind.

As for the rest of my list, In addition to enjoyable, gameplay-first games like Nier Automata and Nex Machina, I'm excited about what Nintendo has planned for its next big Mario game — and whether the Switch can make amends for the Wii U.

Follow Michael on Twitter.

—-

Ashley Oh

  1. Night in the Woods
  2. Little Nightmares
  3. Prey
  4. Absolver
  5. Nioh
Night in the Woods
Finji

I didn't think this list made any sense initially. But after looking closer, the progression describes who I am perfectly: starts off seemingly harmless and whimsical but ends in utter carnage.

I had a tough time ranking these because I have vastly different reasons for choosing each one, but Night in the Woods took the top spot after I saw co-workers streaming some early gameplay. It's more than meets the eye — sure, there are cats but it contains some of the most witty, amazing dialogue I've ever seen in a game.

Basically, I'm drawn to dark games that have twists bubbling beneath the surface. Whether that takes the form of cats wielding knives or turning into a coffee cup to escape aliens, you can be sure of one thing: If it's weird, I want it.

Follow Ashley on Twitter.

Susana Polo

  1. Mass Effect Andromeda
  2. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy
  4. Night in the Woods
  5. Gorogoa

When I topped my 2016 list with Mass Effect Andromeda, it was in full knowledge that the Q4 game was likely to slip over that line between '16 and '17 before long. In the end, Mass Effect's slide into 2017 is simply perhaps one the pettiest insults of 2016.

But what can I say? I'm still excited. I'm excited about exploring new planets with new technology and new aliens. I'm excited to find out whether our corporate galactic migratory overlords are benevolent or not. I'm excited to meet a bunch of new companion characters, and to have PG-13 fade-to-black sex with at least one of them. I'm excited that Andromeda will give my PC a fleshed out sibling.

Even though I know that BioWare will simply use that connection to tear out my still-beating heart.

Follow Susana on Twitter.

Jeff Ramos

  1. Metal Gear Survive
  2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
  3. Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite
  4. Tekken 7
  5. Horizon: Zero Dawn
Metal Gear Survive screenshots
Metal Gear Survive
Konami

Surprisingly, I'm the most excited for Metal Gear Survive. Which is weird, considering that this clearly isn't a Hideo Kojima-produced project. After the Gamescom announcement of the title, I was more confused and upset than I was excited. But after seeing the gameplay demonstration from the Tokyo Game Show, I have to admit I'm intrigued and hopeful.

It'll be combining some of the best elements of Metal Gear Online and one of my favorite games of all time, Left 4 Dead. Judging from the TGS demo, Survive structures the game into two phases: stealth resource gathering and siege defense. The stealth bits look and feel just like Metal Gear Solid 5 with the added tension brought on by a focus on silent stalking, melee combat and cooperative gameplay. Metal Gear Survive checks off a lot of boxes that interest me. At this point, it's up to Konami to deliver a great experience -- or screw it up.

Follow Jeff on Twitter.

Simone de Rochefort

  1. What Remains of Edith Finch
  2. Little Nightmares
  3. Night in the Woods
  4. The Sexy Brutale
  5. Blackwood Crossing
Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch
Giant Sparrow

OK, yes, there are bigger-name games that I’m looking forward to as well. Mass Effect Andromeda is one, and Vampyr from Dontnod Entertainment is another. But the games I’m most excited for are on this list of misfits!

Little Nightmares has incredible claymation style art, and I’m a sucker for platformer/puzzle-style horror games. Meanwhile, Blackwood Crossing and Night in the Woods are bizarre narrative games that you’ll have trouble explaining to your friends and family. Sounds perfect.

Another game I’m looking forward to attempting to explain is The Sexy Brutale, which sounds like a romance novel but is actually a murder mystery. If it were both, it would be the epitome of My Brand. But plain old murder with a side of masked ball and time travel is perfectly good enough for me.

Finally, I’ve been waiting for What Remains of Edith Finch for what feels like a thousand years. It looks like Gone Home but if instead of learning more about your living sister, you’re learning about dead people. Also I love the idea of a sprawling house that evolves with your family history. Houses-as-characters are my jam.

Follow Simone on Twitter.

Samit Sarkar

  1. Red Dead Redemption 2
  2. Horizon Zero Dawn
  3. Destiny 2
  4. Tacoma
  5. Pyre
Red Dead Redemption tease 2
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar Games

The original Red Dead Redemption is my favorite game of the previous console generation, and I had been hoping that Rockstar was working on a follow-up. Once the company announced Red Dead Redemption 2, it instantly became my most anticipated game of 2017. The naming convention still seems strange, and we don't really know anything about the game at this point. But I'm incredibly excited to see what Rockstar can do in building its first open-world game from the ground up for the current consoles, and to experience a new story in the same universe as the best-written Rockstar game to date.

Horizon Zero Dawn isn't just exciting because it's a chance for Guerrilla Games to do something besides Killzone — it will let you stab robot dinosaurs in a prehistoric future world as an ass-kicking young woman. I've enjoyed hundreds of hours of Destiny, but I'm hoping that Bungie can address some of the game's fundamental issues with a proper sequel. Tacoma and Pyre are the next games from Fullbright (Gone Home) and Supergiant Games (Bastion), respectively, and they both look promising in ways that many big-budget games don't.

Follow Samit on Twitter.

That’s us for this year. Be sure to take a look at our preview of 50 games set to come out this year. Let us know your thoughts in comments.