So far, 2017 has been a pretty good year in gaming. Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, the Path of Exile update, and Yooka Laylee – I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to great games. But what’s next on my gaming agenda? Here are 5 upcoming games that I’m especially excited about.
Oh man, I am SO EXCITED for Ooblets. News about this perfect hybrid of Harvest Moon, Pokemon, and Animal Crossing had been circulating for a while, but it was the E3 trailer that really blew me away. You can watch it below. I’ll wait.
I mean, doesn’t this look like just the best thing? Everything in Ooblets seems just wonderful. Between the cute little wobbling creatures themselves and the pastel-cute aesthetic, I just can’t choose what I want to focus on the most.
Granted, we don’t learn much about what the actual Ooblets gameplay will be like, but from what I can gather you’ll be planting and raising your Ooblets Harvest Moon style, then having them follow you out into the world to complete quests and make new friends!
Now, I have one gripe with this perfect little treasure of a game – there’s no multiplayer. Devs cite production time as the major reason they won’t be including the feature, which is fair, since I’m all for anything that lets me get my hand on those cute lil Ooblets sooner. Still, it’s a shame. If I’m going to build a pastel drenched house and fill it with glowing ghost Ooblets, you can bet your bottom dollar that my first concern would be showing it off.
I guess I’ll just have to meet people in real life in order to pressure them into cooing over my bizarre virtual creature collection. Ugh.
I’m all for anything that includes archaic anglo-saxon characters in the title, and Saelig is no exception.
The game is sort of a spiritual successor to The Guild, a game I like to call ‘the best business sim you’ve never heard of’. Unlike The Guild, Saelig promises an ever changing world, modern graphics, and a dev team that doesn’t pick the game up ten years after production with an update that adds nothing but the option to invite obscure german folk-metal bands to your medieval pub.
In Saelig, your goal is to raise up your family from landless peasants into the owners of a small-scale monopoly. The major source of conflict is that you’re playing against a variable number of AI families who all want to do the same thing. You can use bribery, politics, and straight up robbery to stop your rivals, which gives the game scope far beyond that of your average business sim. Fans of Crusader Kings II and Game of Thrones will find themselves instantly sucked in, especially after the game is updated to include sporadic viking raids and world-altering questlines for your characters to complete.
03. Sea of Thieves
Next to business/farming sims, Pirates are my favourite genre of video games. I grew up playing Sid Meier’s Pirates for days at a time, and possibly the worst tragedy of my adult life is that I’ve never found a way to recapture that experience. (Not for lack of trying. I even played Pirates of the Burning Sea.)
No, even if Sea of Thieves didn’t neatly slot into my childhood nostalgia box, the fact that it’s captained by Rare has already set the bar pretty high for me. Even at an E3 filled to the brim with pirate games, Sea of Thieves stood out to me because it showed that tongue in cheek humour that Rare is known for. This is what pirate games should be – fun, adventure, funny adventure. If you’re looking for the kind of realism that AC: Black Flag brought to our screens, then ubisoft’s upcoming Skull and Bones might be more your thing – but if you’re looking for pure, unadulterated cartoony fun, then Sea of Thieves just might be the game for you.
And, it has multiplayer! If there is one thing that might possibly enhance the experience of sailing around the world causing trouble and drinking copious amounts of rum, it’s the possibility of running into other players doing the same thing. The multiplayer is Dark Souls-esque, in that you’re never totally sure if you’ll encounter friends or foes, which adds an extra layer of excitement to proceedings.
Sea of Thieves is due to be released in Early 2018.
If you follow me on twitter, then you already know that the original Pathologic is my favourite game of all time. It’s no wonder that when I heard that there was going to be a remake I went ABSOLUTELY NUTS. There’s even a board game!
Now I’ll be the first to admit that the original Pathologic was not without its flaws. Every friend I enlisted – uh, forced – to play it came back to me months later admitting that the game was just too complex. It is. It’s also shoddily translated from russian and requires a guide written by the devs several years after the original release to even understand. There’s no quest log, but if you don’t complete every quest, you can never get the good ending and you’ll probably die trying. Combat is essential for many quests, but the combat mechanics are so underdeveloped that it’s basically a matter of luck whether or not you win a fight.
Thankfully, the remake has fixed all of those problems, and more besides. They’ve added everything I ever could have wanted from a remake, and the story seems just as compelling as it ever was. You play one of three doctors, each with very different methods and ideologies, tasked with curing a plague. Pathologic, in my mind, is more than a game – it’s an introspective exploration of philosophy, sociology, and epidemiology. It tackles concepts that most devs wouldn’t touch with a bargepole. It’s like Bloodborne, if Bloodborne was a slow-burn survival game. No other game in the world puts the ‘survival’ into survival horror like Pathologic.
Honestly? I can’t tell you whether Pathologic will be your scene or not. The best way to find out is to walk yourself over to Steam and try out the free playable demo for yourself. I promise, you will not regret it.
05. Chronicles of Elyria
Sandbox MMOs are everywhere these days, and their themes range from post apocalyptic all the way to prehistorical. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them are exactly the same; you start as a naked guy (or girl) running around in a bleak landscape and within half an hour you’re either getting griefed by players with 1000 more hours playtime than you or trying and failing to craft yourself a loincloth in the middle of nowhere.
Chronicles of Elyria seems different. For one thing, it has a very unique mechanic that I find particularly appealing – characters die.
Well like, of course characters die. Otherwise there’d be no conflict at all. But in Chronicles of Elyria, death isn’t a simple obstacle overcome by a quick trip to your local respawn point – it’s an inevitability, and a permanent one. In Chronicles of Elyria, you see, you don’t play a body, you play a soul. That soul travels through many lives in its time, gathering experience and knowledge about a world that is constantly in flux.
Players can do all the usual sandboxy stuff. They can build a house, explore the world, meet other adventurers and then kill them. The whole shebang. But they can also live out their Game of Thrones-esque medieval fantasies, marrying, divorcing, and murdering other players to create valuable alliances and potential heirs. As I understand it, the current philosophy is that everything in Chronicles of Elyria will be player driven. Your king will be another player. The merchant asking you to protect his stock from bandits will be another player. Hell, the bandits will be other players.
It’s a very ambitious project, and I’d forgive you for being suspicious. The game has already seen two years of dev time, and doesn’t seem like it will be even close to completion any time soon. The dev team is made up of some real heavyweights, including folks who worked on Guild Wars 2. It’s an intriguing and complex idea, and if Soulbound Studios can pull it off, it will be the best MMO ever made.