It’s that time of year again. As we prepare to say goodbye to 2016 and reflect on the last 12 months, we ponder what might have been. It’s not self indulgent – it’s human nature.
On that subject, there’s no better time to look at the videogames that – for whatever reason – just couldn’t be with us before the end of 2016, and instead will be joining us sometime in 2017 (probably).
Now, as we go forth into this article, I feel it’s important to say that there’s no shame at all in being a delayed game. After all, every game on this list has the potential to be an absolute cracker, so the developers should absolutely take their time.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Our last home console Zelda game was 2011’s (objectively) disappointing Skyward Sword. So, when the first truly modern open world Zelda game was announced at E3 2014, the internet lost its collective shit.
2015 was a year of no information. No release date, no trailers, no name, and a number of delays. This glorious Wii U Zelda was continuously pushed back, until a few months ago when we were finally told it’d be coming to the Wii U and the (then) mysterious Nintendo Switch in 2017.
By all accounts, it’s believed that Breath of the Wild will launch with the Switch in March, and I damn well hope so. The Zelda fans of the world have been patient enough.
Mass Effect Andromeda
The exciting new beginning for BioWare’s sublime Mass Effect franchise was first unveiled in 2015. Unlike Zelda, I think it’s safe to say that none of us expected it before the end of 2016 – we were right (obviously).
It’s completely understandable that BioWare would want to take their time over this one. After all, the Mass Effect games are absolutely huge, packed with characters and branching choices. I can’t imagine Andromeda is gonna be anything other than the biggest Mass Effect yet.
Of course if it turns out to be shit, then myself and a good chunk of other gamers will have spent two years in excited agony for nothing – but that won’t happen, right?
Horizon: Zero Dawn
The gorgeous Horizon: Zero Dawn was first shown off at E3 2015, and I don’t mind telling you that it’s one videogame I’m happy waiting for.
This PlayStation 4 exclusive was meant to be with us by the end of 2016, but developer Guerrilla Games decided to postpone it until February 2017 so as to add an extra lick of polish.
To be fair, I’d much rather the team take their time, as there’s nothing worse than an open world game riddled with bugs at launch *cough* Skyrim *cough*.
At any rate, a game about a badass warrior lady who runs around a post-apocalyptic open world fighting giant robot dinosaurs can take all the time it needs. That’s game of the year material right there, baby.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Originally set to be one of the most festive Christmas 2016 releases, South Park: The Fractured But Whole has unfortunately been shoved back to 2017.
The sequel to Ubisoft’s surprisingly fantastic South Park: The Stick of Truth, this new effort will retain the same sending up of videogame tropes, complete with RPG gameplay and a smattering of that disgusting (yet hilarious) South Park Humour.
The big difference is that this time around, we’ll be swapping out the fantasy vibe for more of a superhero parody – expect plenty of jokes about bloated franchises and ridiculous costumes.
Cuphead is one of the most gorgeous looking games I’ve ever seen. Where other modern titles often try to win the fight to be the grittiest or most realistic, this Xbox exclusive’s glorious 1930’s cartoon style is a breath of fresh air.
Announced back in 2015, the only thing that’s ever really concerned me about the side scrolling shooter is that it seems relatively bare bones. All gameplay footage so far simply shows the titular Cuphead running, jumping, and shooting – with not much else in between.
Perhaps it’s for the best that it’s been delayed to 2017 then, as developer Studio MDHR wishes to ship with ‘their vision intact’. God speed, little Cuphead.
Xbox exclusive action RPG Scalebound looks like it’s gonna be one very strong reason to buy a Microsoft machine if you haven’t already gotten one
Essentially a human/dragon buddy movie-turned videogame, this effort is being developed by Platinum Games, a studio renowned for their focus on insane action sequences that demand ninja-like reflexes. If you don’t believe me, just go and play Bayonetta.
While the high levels of ridiculous chaos Platinum is known for is clearly present and correct in Scalebound, the RPG elements ensure there’ll be a little more method to this particular madness.
Another title that was supposed to be in our hearts and homes by the end of 2016, Crackdown 3 has been nudged into 2017 so that developer Reagent Games can maintain the ‘the size, scope and quality of the game’.
After being announced at E3 2014, Crackdown decided to skip the last two expos in order to continue toiling away on the game. To be fair, the team’s ambitious plan to have a massive and fully destructible open world probably needs a lot of care and attention.
Of course the caveat is that Reagent will be using Microsoft’s cloud computing tech to enable destruction on such an intense scale meaning that we’ll only get to experience max carnage online. Should still be a laugh, though.
Friday The 13th
The Friday the 13th videogame sounds absolutely incredible. A 1 v 7 multiplayer horror game where the 1 is a crazed killer and the 7 are a bunch of hapless teens is such an incredible idea I can’t believe we haven’t seen it before now.
Unfortunately, the game has been pushed back to ‘early 2017’, but only so the lovely developers can work to add a number of ‘fan requested’ features, including a single-player mode.
With a wide variety of brutal executions to mess around with, and some ridiculously tense looking moments, I reckon Friday The 13th could be one to watch – especially if it gets single-player right.
Playtonic Games’ Yooka Laylee has taken on the most honorable task of bringing back the late 90’s/early 00’s 3D platformer to the masses – a noble pursuit if ever there was one.
Essentially a spiritual successor to Rare-developed gems like Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64, this bright and breezy collectathon should be instantly familiar to anyone who owned a Nintendo 64.
The developers are desperate to make this nostalgia fuelled experience as great as possible, which is why it had to miss out launching in 2016. 2017 is definitely Yooka Laylee’s year though.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.