Greeting my friends. You are interested in the unknown, the mysterious, the inexplicable beast that is 2017? That is why you are here. We are all interested in the future for that is where you and I will spend the rest of our lives. My friends, can your heart withstand the shocking details unfolding in… The GameWatcher 2017 Predictions for PC Gaming?!
Remember my friends… future events such as these will affect you in the future!
”Console Ports Will Be The Best They’ve Ever Been”
The Details: The rage over Batman: Arkham Knight and the refund-heavy shitstorm that followed has not been forgotten, and the worst two performing PC games this year - Dishonored 2 and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided - got so much well-publicized flak publishers know one thing: in 2017, their console ports must be first-rate, or at least run acceptably on most PCs. Or risk gamers’ wrath.
2017 will therefore be a golden year for PC ports. Everyone will still complain all the same, though.
Why It’s Plausible: In the last few years there has been a global shift towards appeasing the PC market. The PS4/XB1 market continues to sell well but there is a lack of excitement and insecurity in it, and the publishers know that the ever-dependable PC will always be around to sell things forever on. However, it is only in the last 2 years that publishers have realized that they can’t really get away with putting crappy second-rate unoptimized versions of their games on our platform – at least, not anymore.
The two high-profile examples of poor optimization mentioned above in 2016 from Square Enix and Bethesda were so condemned for their poor performance, especially on Steam, that both games are still struggling to recover despite both being excellent games. But despite those two, in general ports in 2016 were overall of a much better quality. Ubisoft for example showed a massive improvement, with all their games running smoothly on most PCs. If this trend continues, and we don’t see why it shouldn’t, 2017 will be a great year for PC ports. Arkane have already promised not to repeat this mistake with Prey, and all eyes are now on Resident Evil VII…
”Here Are The Ports We Will and Won’t Be Getting...”
The Details: Here are the ports, currently not announced for PC, that we will definitely be getting this year: Final Fantasy XII & XV, Dragon Quest Heroes II, Earth Defense Force 5, Danganronpa 3 and Injustice 2. We will NOT be getting Red Dead Redemption 2, Destiny 2, or Bloodborne in 2017, if at all.”
Why It’s Plausible: Most of this is past experience, for better or worse. All the Final Fantasy games are on Steam barring XII and XV and have done very well so it’s damn likely they’ll make the jump, likewise the Danganronpa series. The last two Earth Defense Force and Dragon Quest Heroes games also came out on PC, so no reason for the next one not to even if the release date comes later.
Sadly, when it comes to the three titles we all really want most we have a horrible feeling past mistakes will be repeated. There is very little reason Red Dead Redemption shouldn’t have been on PC as every other bloody Rockstar game is, yet RDR never got a port beyond the recent Playstation Now release. RDR2 might follow the same inexplicable example. We live in hope that it won’t, and that the technical problems of the original that (possibly) kept the port away get ironed out, but one thing’s for sure: it won’t happen in 2017.
Bungie on the other hand simply hate the PC for some goddamn reason, so it’s unlikely Destiny 2 will show up this year on our platform. And Bloodborne? They have no reason to port it, and it’s a Sony-published game. So give up hoping for that one. No, not Bloodborne 2 either (which will totally get announced for PS4 at E3, incidentally).
“Final Fantasy XVI will be a top-down retro throwback to the SNES era.”
The Details: While XV will inevitably make the jump to PC, Square Enix is also thinking about the future. Final Fantasy XV-2 is a certainty, but Final Fantasy XVI is going to be confirmed sooner than you think and it’ll be a shock – instead of cutting-edge visuals it’ll be a top-down retro throwback to the SNES era, like an uprezzed Final Fantasy VI. And it’ll be out on every platform simultaneously, including mobiles.
Why It’s Plausible: 6 million copies of Final Fantasy XV sold may sound a lot, but after 10 years in development hell it’s peanuts. That combined with the middling reception to both XIII and XV might make Square Enix try something drastic and surprising. A “retro” Final Fantasy XVI would be cheap, out sooner, would plug the gap while they work on XVII and the VII remake, and let’s face it – every single FF fan would be happy with the decision. Plus if they also put it on mobile it would sell very well indeed, especially in Square Enix’s homeland of Japan where home consoles are dead.
There’s precedent for this, too. No one appreciated or wanted Sonic The Hedgehog’s expensive 3D outings, yet every time a 2D version is announced everyone gets excited – and Sonic Mania is on many a gamer’s most wanted list this year, including ours. Final Fantasy’s biggest JRPG competitor in Japan is Dragon Quest, which is also published by Square Enix, and that successfully ditched home consoles for a less powerful handheld (the DS) with its ninth numbered entry.
Then there’s Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius on mobile, which despite being F2P is actually a full Final Fantasy title with an epic original globe-trotting save-the-world story and everything which earned roughly $3.5 million in December alone. It also can be described as an uprezzed retro SNES-style throwback (sound familiar?)… and is it a coincidence that the letters “XVI” appear in the title? We think not!
”Halo 6 will get a PC version, and it will be out this year.”
The Details: Microsoft will announce Halo 6 this year, possibly at E3 2017, which will attempt to return the series to its roots after the lacklustre reception to Halo 5: Guardians and the clusterf**k of the Master Chief Collection. Oh, and it will have a PC version. At last. Oh, and since Microsoft haven’t got any other exciting games due out it has to come out this year.
Why It’s Plausible: I don’t think any Halo fans would call Halo 5: Guardians their favourite in the series. Short and uninspiring, with an ill-advised focus on team co-op even though NPC AI was awful and featuring far too little of Master Chief. However most people still call Halo: Combat Evolved their favourite, Library or no Library, so 343 Industries would be wise to get the series back to what people love about it. It needs to be colourful, set on a weird majestic alien world (not just a purple rocky one), with inspiring encounters and not being so frigging steeped in convoluted lore all the time.
Oh, and yeah, Microsoft will put it out on PC too. It’ll be the awful Windows 10 Store though. Coming in 2018’s Predictions: “Windows Store will be closed down and you won’t be able to access any games you bought on them, just like Games For Windows. Sorry”.
”Two DC Comics games set in the Arkham universe will be announced and released Holiday 2017, and only one will be a Batman game.”
The Details: It’s been two long years since Batman: Arkham Knight, and four since Origins, so it’s about time we found out what Rocksteady and WB Montreal are up to. While Rocksteady have supposedly moved on from Batman they’ll be sticking with both DC Comics and the “Arkhamverse” for their next game, which could be a Justice League game alongside the movie. WB Montreal will be making the next Batman game, which could be based around Damien Wayne and be a sequel to Arkham Knight. Both will be out this year.
Why It’s Plausible: Other than the Batgirl DLC for Arkham Knight we’ve heard nothing from WB Montreal other than rumours of them working on various DC Comics games, including a Damien “Son of Bruce” Wayne Batman game, a Suicide Squad title (teased at the end of Origins but reportedly cancelled), and a Superman game. One of them has to come out this year, and we’re betting on Batman (usually a safe bet). Since the Arkhamverse is hugely popular and a respected franchise in its own right Warner Bros will definitely be expanding it with new games.
As for Rocksteady, aside from their Batman VR side-project their next big project has to be announced this year, and while they claim they’re done with Batman we would not be surprised if they wanted to keep working in the universe they created from a different angle like Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman or Green Arrow. Furthermore Warner Bros owns them, and I can’t imagine they’d let the developer stray from such a hugely profitable franchise. Hell, we could even imagine Rocksteady just saying “surprise, we’re working on the next Batman game despite saying we wouldn’t, we just love the guy too much” from the comfort of their solid gold armchairs.
”EA will make another attempt at reviving the Command & Conquer franchise, made by Petroglyph”
The Details: If there’s one publisher that knows how to successfully milk long-dormant franchises, it’s Electronic Arts (I have nothing to back that up). With that in mind we’re long overdue for a revival of the Command & Conquer franchise, and there’s one developer who would be a perfect match: the ex-Westwood team at Petroglyph. Exciting to think about.
Why It’s Plausible: First off, EA knows they screwed up by turning C&C Generals 2 into a F2P multiplayer game. That’s why they cancelled it. When that happened the statement EA released ran thusly: “you’ve been instrumental in helping define what a new Command & Conquer experience should and shouldn’t be… Your feedback from the alpha trial is clear: We are not making the game you want to play. … We believe that Command & Conquer is a powerful franchise with huge potential and a great history, and we are determined to get the best game made as soon as possible. To that end, we have already begun looking at a number of alternatives to get the game back on track.” That doesn’t sound like EA giving up on the franchise does it? It’s been over 3 years now, so if a new game began development around that time it should be nearly ready to announce.
The trouble is, EA disbanded Victory Games/Bioware Victory/EA LA/Westwood Studios and so don’t have a top-tier RTS team anymore. Who better to give the franchise to than the ex-Westwood guys at Petroglyph, who are probably looking for a nice safe profitable project after the disappointing 8-Bit Armies (wait, they’re still supporting that with new content? Good on them I suppose). Well, EA will either give them C&C or Star Wars: Empire At War II, and we’re not sure which announcement would excite us more.
”The new game from Ken Levine’s cut-down Irrational Games will be announced, and it’ll essentially be a Walking Simulator.”
The Details: Yes, Irrational Games still exists. After the final, excellent Bioshock Infinite DLC was released in 2013 Ken Levine and 2K announced that the mega-developer would significantly downsize and turn away from AAA development. 2017 is the year in which we finally find out what Ken & Co have been working on. Hint: it doesn’t have guns. It’ll be basically a Walking Simulator in the vein of Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture or The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.
Why It’s Plausible: Ken Levine knows he needs to straddle the line between the Bioshock fans and making a smaller, more personal, narrative-focused title. Many people will say they loved the locations of the Bioshock universe more than the combat, so if Irrational made a game where you could freely explore Rapture without firing a shot or getting shot at I’m sure a lot of gamers would accept it. So therefore a first-person narrative experience without combat or direct gameplay other than discovering a story? That sounds exactly the sort of thing Ken Levine would do.
”Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor 2 will be announced, will not be set in Mordor”
The Details:Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor released in September 2014 and showed the world that F.E.A.R., No One Lives Forever and Condemned developer Monolith were still great. Simply put, it did a Batman: Arkham Asylum on Tolkien. The time is ripe to announce the next in the series with an expanded Nemesis system, but Middle-Earth 2 will not be set in Mordor.
Why It’s Plausible: After being thrust back into the public eye with the critically and commercially successful Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Monolith have gone dark. Despite the ambivalent reaction to The Hobbit films the Tolkien Estate is still popular, so another Middle-Earth game not specifically set around any movies is a no-brainer. Furthermore the Nemesis system introduced in the first game, which saw enemies that “killed” you get promoted and move up the Orc ranks, remains revolutionary and is begging to come back in revamped and expanded form.
The big question hangs over where Middle-Earth 2 will be set. It cannot be Mordor, because One Does Not Simply Make The Same Game Twice With Mordor. Plus the end of the last game turned the place into the cauldron of drab black ash seen in Return of the King which wouldn’t be fun to explore. If we’re sticking to a similar between-trilogies era then maybe neighbouring Gondor during the first wave of assaults by Mordor? Or even Dol Guldur, which after Sauron was cast out in The Battle of the Five Armies by an ass-kicking Galadriel and a suspiciously CGI Christopher Lee still remained a stronghold of evil which lead attacks on the Elves and Dwarves. Why yes, I do have the Wikia page open. It’d be cool, is what we’re saying. Answers on a postcard, please.
”Creative Assembly and SEGA will announce Total War: China and Alien Isolation 2.”
The Details: It’s been a year since Total Warhammer and two years since </i>Attila</i>, so we’re due for the next getting announced this year which is definitely happening. We believe that this is the year that Total War finally heads to China to create the first united empire. Oh, and their non-RTS team needs something to keep them occupied, so how about a slimmer more intense Alien: Isolation 2?
Why It’s Plausible: A new Total War getting announced wouldn’t be surprising, but fans have been predicting that the series would head East to China circa third century BC since, oh, at least 2001. This has got to be the year that Total War: China is announced. Why? Not only because of the popularity of the Shogun titles, the idea of taking control of one of the fractured Chinese states, attempt to unite the country and create the First Empire of China has so much strategic appeal. In real life it was the Qin state that won, but that is only one possible outcome when you make any of the seven Warring States playable. So we’re saying China, unless Creative Assembly go into space or something.
As for Alien: Isolation 2? The original was critically lauded and, let us not forget, there’s a new Alien movie out this year. It didn’t sell as well as SEGA hoped, but with the gorgeous engine and a now-experienced development team in place a slimmer, shorter sequel could be just what the hideous razor-toothed penis monster ordered. Plus the main complaint about the first game was that it was too long, so it’s win-win for SEGA & Creative Assembly in that regard.
“Microsoft will cancel every single game they have except Halo 6 but insist that they still have an amazing and competitive line-up of games.”
Why It’s Plausible: Name us an Xbox One exclusive that’s still coming out. No, not Halo 6, we made that one up a few paragraphs back. After the cancellations including Scalebound, Fable Legends, Phantom Dust, Project Spark, Project Knoxville and more the Microsoft list has ended positively anaemic. We haven’t heard anything about Crackdown for ages and we don’t genuinely believe that series has any actual fans. Sea of Thieves is a quirky multiplayer-only game from a British developer that we’ve only seen a few videos of early gameplay from, so it might as well be digging a grave next to Fable Legends. Halo Wars 2 is due out too soon to cancel, but beyond that game’s release in February… there’s nothing.
With the Xbox One trailing a distant second to Sony’s PS4, there will be a fair few voices in Microsoft wondering about whether they should be chucking the whole thing in. While we at GameWatcher hope that’s not the case, as competition breeds both good business and more console “exclusives” making their way to PC, the writing may be on the wall for Xbox.
”E3 will contain absolutely zero surprises, especially if you’ve read this list.”
The Details: Well, for PC certainly. The most exciting title we haven’t yet mentioned will be a new Wolfenstein, and the “big” reveal of Star Wars Battlefront Subtitle. The rest will be all stuff we’ve predicted above or gameplay of stuff we know about already.
Why It’s Plausible: We’ve predicted a big number of games above, enough to fill an entire E3 conference. Combine all those announcements with a little bit more on games already announced but that we haven’t seen much of, like Death Stranding, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Shenmue III, Battlefront 2017, Another Star Wars Game Not Due Out Until The Sequel Trilogy Is Over and more then you’ve got a whole show already mapped. Well, fine, maybe Nintendo will announce Mother 3 is coming to the Switch but we don’t really care about that do we? We already have it.
Well, that’s our 2017 mapped out. I hope we haven’t spoiled too many surprises for you. There were plenty more we didn’t have time to map out fully. Death Stranding turns out to be Silent Hills/P.T.. Nintendo gives up this whole gaming console thing after literally nobody buys a Switch and moves wholeheartedly into making PC games instead, beginning with Super Mario Odyssey with mouse and keyboard support. Marvel overcompensates for having no good games in the last 10 years by releasing 20 titles between now and December. And Fallout becomes the actual reality following the Great August Apocalypse, which is actually kicked off by Microsoft because they’re such sore losers. Hopefully we’ll all get together at the end of the year to see how we did with all these predictions.
So, do you guys have any Predictions for 2017? Leave your comments below and we’ll find out how right we were later!