Making a major video game these days takes tens of millions of dollars and years of hard work for a large team of talented developers. It’s such an enormous undertaking, it’s hard to believe all the pieces can ever come together into a coherent finished game. While all of that is happening, it’s the marketing department’s job to build a steady groundswell of hype, starting with the game’s announcement. This process can last years, and is often made longer by game delays.
Here are some of the games we don’t expect to be able to play anytime soon, but we can’t wait to get our hands on.
1. Cyberpunk 2077
The Witcher 3 is a game unlike any other. Just when you might have thought developers had maximized the potential of open-world games, this enormous, jaw-dropping fantasy world that felt realistic and lived-in was released. Layered on top of the stunning technical achievements were a thousand stories that came in all shapes and sizes, each one with an unexpected twist that kept gamers on their toes.
CD Projekt Red, the same development team, has finished its work on The Witcher 3 and has moved on to a game called Cyberpunk 2077. As you can tell from the title, it trades a European-style fantasy world for a grungy sci-fi urban landscape. It too will be an open-world game, and that’s about all we know so far, but I’m fully on board with wherever the developer aims its considerable talents. Who knows when we’ll actually get to play the game, but I’ll be waiting.
2. Death Stranding
When Hideo Kojima left Konami after releasing Metal Gear Solid V, fans wondered what would be next for the enigmatic game maker. The answer is Death Stranding, but if you think the trailer above will let you know what kind of game you’re in for, you’re quite mistaken. The trailer has Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus in it, but it offers more mysteries than answers. Based on how long Metal Gear Solid V was in development, don’t expect this one to see the light of day anytime soon.
3. Half-Life 3
Call it Half-Life 3 or call it Half-Life 2: Episode Three. Whatever you call it, if there’s one game that’s famous for not existing, it’s this. Making matters worse is that the last installment, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, which came out in 2007, ended on a major cliffhanger. But instead of continuing the series and playing off that story’s enormous hanging thread, Valve shifted its efforts to the (also excellent) Portal series. By now, the demand for Half-Life 3 has reached such a fever pitch that even if Valve does eventually deliver the game, it couldn’t possibly live up to expectations. But do us a solid anyway, Valve, and give us Half-Life 3.
4. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Konami has shown only minimal interest in making video games since the release of Metal Gear Solid V in 2015. But even though the Japanese developer is happy to let its beloved franchises collect dust, the creators of those franchises are rising to the task. One of those creators is Koji Igarashi, the mastermind behind the timeless classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Iga, as he’s known by fans, ran an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign to fund Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a game that hews very close to what made Symphony of the Night so special. Fans are eager to play it, but it won’t be coming out before 2018.
5. Psychonauts 2
Three-dimensional platformers like Psychonauts went out of fashion for a while, but they’re finally starting to make a comeback. In this series, you play as a kid at a summer camp training to become a psychic secret agent. You use your ability to enter the minds of various people, where the weird, dream-like levels take place. With endlessly creative environments, tons of humor, and about a million collectibles, Psychonauts is a well-deserved cult classic that needs a sequel. Thanks to a successful round of crowd funding, we’re getting one. Unfortunately, it’s not due to launch until late 2018.
6. Star Wars game from Visceral
There are two very good reasons to be excited about the upcoming Star Wars game being made by EA developer Visceral. One is that it’s being helmed by Amy Hennig, the mastermind behind the excellent Uncharted series. The other is that it’s being made by Visceral, the makers of the fantastic horror series Dead Space.
While Star Wars obviously isn’t horror, it’s clear to anyone who played Dead Space or the more recent Battlefield Hardline that Visceral is a team that can make a great game. Putting one of the best writer/directors in the business (Hennig) at the head of a fantastic developer sounds like a recipe for success. Look for this game sometime in 2018, with details presumably coming much sooner.
7. God of War
The upcoming God of War game doesn’t bear much resemblance to the God of War you grew up with. The series’ previous games have featured a loud, angry, one-note Kratos who lived to slice enemies apart and fondle nameless ladies. The Kratos who stars in this game is accompanied by his son, whom Kratos is teaching to become a man (or, as it were, demigod). The developers promise it will be a character-driven game, with more methodical combat. It looks great so far, but with its release date yet to be announced, don’t expect to get your hands on it anytime soon.
8. Agents of Mayhem
This Saints Row spinoff takes place in a futuristic version of Seoul, South Korea, in which you control any three of 12 heroes on offer. You can switch between the characters at will, each of whom has unique special abilities. It’s not so much what we know about Agents of Mayhem that’s exciting as it is the resumé of the developers. The Saints Row games are outlandishly absurd, with all kinds of potty and puerile humor being thrown around as you play. Expect much the same from Agents of Mayhem, whenever it arrives.
9. Kingdom Hearts 3
For a certain segment of fans, the Kingdom Hearts games are a dream come true. They combine beloved Disney characters with fan favorites from Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series. The original Kingdom Hearts came out for PlayStation 2 in 2002 and has seen seven sequels in the interim.
It’s kind of strange that the series hasn’t tagged any of them as the third official installment and instead has chosen to stick to prequels, remakes, and — some would say — filler. Never fear; a third installment is on its way, and it’s coming only to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. No release date has been set, but it does seem like it will come out someday.
Wild is set in an unusual time period for a game: 10,000 years ago, when early humans roamed the land along with a whole lot of wildlife. Crazily enough, in this game you can play as any creature you want, including humans, horses, sheep, and even fish. Beyond that, the game world is said to be as big as the entire continent of Europe and features dynamic seasons and weather systems.
If any of that turns out to be an exaggeration, it wouldn’t be the first time a developer has gotten overzealous in their hype-building. But if they pull it off, Wild could wind up being like nothing we’ve ever played before. Either way, a game this ambitious takes time to make.
11. Detroit: Become Human
With games like Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls under his belt, director David Cage is known for making story-driven games that are basically playable movies. Detroit: Become Human is another one like that. Set in a future when highly advanced androids are used in service to humans, the game asks the question of what the androids have to say about this setup. With philosophical themes like the nature of humanity, this game should have no problem standing out from the crowd. Now we just need a release date.
12. Final Fantasy VII Remake
They’re really doing it: Square Enix is transforming one of its most iconic role-playing games into a high-def, realistic-looking modern game. Final Fantasy VII is important in a lot of ways, but it’s primarily known for bringing Japanese RPGs into the mainstream. When it launched in 1997 on the original PlayStation, it looked better than almost any other game on the market. It had incredible cinematic cut scenes, an epic story that spanned three discs, and a game world that dwarfed nearly any other that came before it. It tells a story that’s fraught with twists, betrayals, and heartbreak.
Sure, you can play the game with its original graphics right now on PS4, but its graphics look hopelessly dated by today’s standards. Many fans want to experience the game again as they remember it, not as it really was. That’s the promise of a remade version of Final Fantasy VII. But for a game this sprawling to go HD, it’s going to take a long time.
Disney has shut down its in-house game development teams in favor of licensing its properties out to developers who seem like a good fit. There’s probably no development team around that could make a better Spider-Man game than Insomniac. With titles like Sunset Overdrive and the excellent Ratchet & Clank under its belt, it’s safe to say old Spidey is in good hands. But to do the character justice, it’s going to take a lot of work, so don’t expect to see this superhero game for quite some time.
14. Borderlands 3
Gearbox Studios took a break from the beloved Borderlands series to make Battleborn, a MOBA-like shooter that fizzled out quickly on release. The team is putting that game behind it as it gets back to doing what it does best: making Borderlands games. These co-op shooters are slick, funny, and filled with loot that’s a blast to collect, especially if you’re paired up with a group of friends. I expect much the same from Borderlands 3, but considering how much fun the previous games have been, that’s not a problem at all.
When it comes to developers, Capybara Games is one of the most creative teams around. Capy is responsible for the fantastic strategy puzzler Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, the artistic adventure game Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP, and the mind-bending shooter Super Time Force. If the company’s next title lives up to those high standards, you won’t want to miss it.
The title in question is Below, a top-down action adventure game that stars a tiny hero on an enormous island. Unlike most games, death is permanent here, meaning you have to start from scratch each time you perish. That’s a risky choice that may or may not pay off. But thanks to a delay that shifted the release date from 2016 to TBA, it could be a while before we find out.