Echoing Mark's thoughts, I've a good feeling that quite a few of the year's best titles will be the ones that we simply haven't heard of. Take the Nintendo Switch: nobody knows what's landing on that this year. And then every year has little indies that pop up out of nowhere, like Stardew Valley last year, or Her Story the year before that.
With that in mind, here's the games that we do know about - and the ones I'm most excited for.
Star Citizen's Squadron 42
Star Citizen's long-awaited singleplayer module is supposedly due out for release this year. That's at least what Chris Roberts has been saying in interviews, although he also said it might launch last year (which it never did). At this point I'm guessing it'll land towards the end of the year, if it doesn't get bumped to 2018 (and that's not a guarantee).
But let's roll the dice and say it does launch in 2017. I've got a sneaking suspicion that it might end up disappointing a lot of people, if only because the flight model is far more intricate than Freelancer ever was. That aside, I'm still excited for a grand space opera; and while I don't have a HOTAS setup lying around, I've got enough confidence that CIG hasn't strayed so far from the idea of Freelancer that people playing on mouse and keyboard can't have a good time.
Release Date: 2017, but nobody really knows
Sea of Thieves
Ahh, Rare. It's so good to see you not making sports titles for the Kinect. More importantly, it's so good to see you making a fun, zany title about pirates and pillaging.
There was plenty of buzz for Sea of Thieves from Gamescom, and the element of getting your treasure back before someone shoots you in the back reminds me of the Dark Zone in The Division. The only question I have is whether you'll need a good-sized party - like five or six - to have the most amount of fun. This is the kind of game I'd play with Tegan, but the way the ships are designed it looks like you'll need more than two people to fill all of the roles on a ship.
Either way, pirates. Pillaging. Digging. Shooting cannons. Sailing on the high seas. That works for me.
Release date: 2017
Release date: Probably September 2017, if it doesn't get delayed
The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti
The indie lineup from PAX Australia was pretty good, but out of the PAX Rising booth there was one that stood head and shoulders above the rest. It was so eye-catching, so refined, that other indies were already giving The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti developers advice on how to handle publishers.
It's fascinating considering Artful Escape failed to meet its $50,000 goal on Kickstarter. Nonetheless, the game has been greenlit. The original Kickstarter campaign promised the game would be released by August, although given everything a flat "2017" seems the most sensible date to put on the game for now. (But again, this could totally get delayed.)
Release date: 2017, hopefully
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3
Ahh, Dawn of War 3. There's a strong amount of scepticism for Relic's latest 40K franchise, which is fascinating when you consider the entirety of their track record, and just how good the Dawn of War games have been in their own right.
Here's just some of the complaints people have aired: the game doesn't look gritty enough, there's no cover (even though there is), there's no sync kills, the animations aren't as good, the focus on battles has been reduced by reintroducing basebuilding ... the list goes on and on.
I'm prepared to give Relic some slack because of their track record. They know what they're doing. I'd like to see a bit more info come out about the multiplayer, and how that's going to function, and hopefully soon. April isn't far away.
Release date: April 2017
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Yes, I will cook a meal or three on the train to work.
Please Nintendo, don't screw this one up.
Release date: Unconfirmed, but probably March 2017
Return of the Obra Dinn
The sleeper of PAX Australia, Return of the Obra Dinn looks like an homage to the era of Apple computers and adventures of yesteryear. Screenshots don't entirely do it justice: you have to see the visual style in motion.
It's fascinating to see a game like this in 2017. You can download the GDC demo of Obra Dinn right now if you don't mind spoiling things. Lucas Pope posted that "Obra Dinn is not a great expo game", but everyone who saw and played it on the show floor was transfixed. It's entirely possible this doesn't come out until 2018, but it's worth keeping an eye on nonetheless.
Release date: 2017 because I'm really optimistic
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands
A good chunk of my gaming time last year was spent finding ways to run around in-game worlds with Tegan, generally being dickheads.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands seems almost purpose-built for that, almost encouraging players to shoot and blow up everything in sight.
Release date: March 7
Surprise - mechs are back. We'll get the first-person real action MechWarrior-style game in 2018, but 2017's contribution to mecha combat is the turn-based BattleTech.
The footage above is from August and a super early alpha of the game. It'll be a slow game, but it's looking good already. Imagine an XCOM-style game with mechs and a much greater focus on terrain, armour and positioning.
Fingers crossed on this one. This could be a real blast. The original goal was for a launch in May, but Harebrained Schemes is running a beta for backers first. In an update, they said it was "targeted to begin sometime in the late January - early March" and would run for a month. After that point, skirmish mode and PvP multiplayer would be added to the game - so if this comes out in 2017, it'll probably be in the last quarter.
Release date: 2017
Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom
I really need to go back to Ni No Kuni again. Can't Sony just re-release it on the PS4? I don't want to plug my PS3 in again.
Also, the combat looks miles better this time around.
Release date: 2017
WipEout Omega Collection
Release date: Winter 2017
So those are 11 games I'm looking forward to this year. What about yourselves?