Every year a number of video games experience delays and 2017 is sure to be no different in that regard. What’s interesting about this year in particular is that so many heavy-hitters seem to be landing in the first half of the year. Horizon Zero Dawn, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Mass Effect Andromeda are all huge games that are hitting within the first three months of 2017 and even recent releases like Resident Evil 7 and Nioh are already being labelled possible game of the year contenders.
Of course, the late 2017 release window will become a lot clearer as the year progresses, with E3 in particular sure to add a number of games to the calendar, but as of right now, the latter half of the year is looking pretty barren and it gets even worse when you consider that at least some of these games will be delayed. While I’m not saying that all of the following games are going to pushed into 2018, the fact that none of them have a firm release date yet is not a great sign. I want nothing more than to see each and every one of them make it out in time for the holidays, but I also won’t be surprised if any of them get hit with a delay that takes them out of 2017.
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
I’m of two minds when it comes to Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, the long-awaited sequel to 2011’s Fate of Two Worlds. Part of me believes that Capcom will nail down a 2017 release date for the fighting game but if they do, it won’t be the “complete” version of the game. Just last year, Capcom put out Street Fighter V with a bunch of missing features in order to get it out in time for the Evo Championship series and I could see them doing something similar with MvC: Infinite. All Capcom has said is that the game is coming out in 2017, which means it could theoretically come out before the Evo Championship in July or much later in the year.
Still, while I don’t think we’ll see MvC get delayed (although anything’s possible), I don’t think we’ll see the complete version of the game until 2018. Capcom loves to release “ultimate” editions of their fighting games with additional characters and features six to eight months after the initial release and there’s been nothing to suggest that they treat Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite the same way.
God of War/Days Gone
While no one from Sony has explicitly stated that God of War is on track for a 2017 release, almost every rumor or discussion I come across about the game makes it out to be a 2017 release, so for the purpose of discussion, I’m going to consider it a game that Sony really wants to get out this year. The main reason for this is that Sony doesn’t have much in terms of first-party releases for the holidays. The only truly notable games that are confirmed to be coming out later this year are Gran Turismo Sport and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and while I have no doubt both will be excellent, a sim racing game and an expansion to a game from last year don’t seem like enough to drive PS4 sales over the holidays.
Sony needs to put out either God of War or Days Gone from Sony Bend Studio this fall and of the two, I think that God of War will be the one to get pushed. Bend hasn’t put out a new game since 2012 and from what I’ve seen, their zombie survival game looks closer to completion than Kratos’ next adventure. Of course, I’d be thrilled if both games made it out this year, but unless Sony says otherwise, God of War is looking like a spring 2018 release and Days Gone is most likely a fall 2017 release.
Despite Xbox head Phil Spencer’s recent comments that the Xbox One’s first-party lineup looks strong for 2017 — and it very well could be, as he hints that they still have more to reveal — Microsoft’s lineup of games isn’t looking great this year and the recent cancellation of Scalebound only exasperates this problem. Crackdown 3 is absolutely one of Microsoft’s key titles for 2017 and they definitely need the game to hit this year, but you would think the game doesn’t even exist anymore for how little we’ve seen of it lately.
For a game that was first announced at E3 2014 (yes, it was that long ago) we haven’t seen much of Crackdown 3’s actual gameplay. We do know that the game is ambitious thanks to its much-touted use of cloud computing but even then, we haven’t heard much about that feature since Gamescon 2015 and I’d imagine that it’s been quite a headache for the development team to get working properly. Factor in the news that the game is still being written and it’s looking like Microsoft may have a hard time getting Crackdown 3 out this year, but of course, these fears may well be put to rest if the game has a big showing at E3 this year.
Super Mario Odyssey
Out of all the games mentioned here, Super Mario Odyssey probably has the best chance of actually making it out this year, primarily because the Switch really has nothing else to bolster its holiday lineup. In other words, Nintendo needs Mario to come out this year to help drive Switch sales and give the system a healthy crop of exclusives over its first year. That being said, Nintendo has had trouble in recent years sticking to release dates for its big games, with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild being the most prominent example.
The Switch launch title is finally seeing the light of day in 2017 but it was originally supposed to come out in 2015 as a Wii U exclusive! Then it was delayed to 2016 and well all thought “there’s no way Nintendo would delay it again.” Then they did. What I’m saying is that despite Nintendo’s best intentions, Super Mario Odyssey has a very real chance of slipping to 2018 because of the enormous pressure the game’s developers now face in crafting a game that will sell Switches and even though Nintendo very much needs Mario to come out this year, they will not hesitate to delay it if they deem it needs more time to polish up.
The Next Assassin’s Creed
Ubisoft surprised many by deciding not to release a new mainline Assassin’s Creed game in 2016, opting instead to take some time off in order to offset franchise fatigue that had begun to sink in after years of back-to-back sequels. Reportedly, the next game in the franchise will be called Assassin’s Creed: Empire, will be set in Ancient Egypt, and is coming out in fall 2017, but I’m not so sure. Just a few months ago, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot admitted that “It [Assassin’s Creed] will be back when it’s ready. That’s when we feel we have somethings there.” Comments like these would seem to indicate that Ubisoft want to take their sweet time with this one and even though every Assassin’s Creed game has had a fall release, it might be a better idea to move Empire to the spring.
Fall is a crowded time of year for game releases and Ubisoft is just coming off Watch Dogs 2, a major fall 2016 release that didn’t exactly light up the sales charts. The Assassin’s Creed name certainly carries more weight than Watch Dogs, but the mediocre reception to the Assassin’s Creed movie may be an indication that people are still a bit burned out on the franchise. If Ubisoft wants to return Assassin’s Creed to its former glory, it may be best to wait and put the game out when there’s less competition crowding the market.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Of all the games on this list, Red Dead Redemption 2 feels like the one that really could go either way with its release. Rockstar’s announcement trailer back in October explicitly stated that the game is coming out fall 2017, but it’s been hard to determine whether this was just a date the company was shooting for but not committing to, or if they really are confident that they can hit that release window. It definitely doesn’t help that we haven’t seen anything new from the game since; in fact, we still know almost nothing about the game besides that it’s another Western-set open world game.
Of course, it’s hard to ever really know what Rockstar’s plans are, as the company generally release very few details about their games prior to release and tend to avoid showcasing their games at industry trades hows such as E3. For all we know, development is very far along on Red Dead Redemption 2 and Rockstar is just waiting for the right time to announce a firm release date, but it’s also just as likely that they’ll let the game slip to 2018 if they can’t get it up to their usual high standards in time.
Bungie has made it abundantly clear that they are hard at work on Destiny 2 and have made repeated claims that it will be out in 2017, but here were are in February and we still don’t know a single thing about it. To Bungie’s credit, aiming for a fall 2017 release makes a lot of sense. The Destiny community is still going strong, but after two and half years on the market, things are starting to grow stale. One can only run the same missions and shoot the same enemies over and over so many times and this is clearly something Bungie realizes, as most of their resources are going into development on Destiny 2.
Still, a game of Destiny’s size and scope takes years to complete and even with Bungie working full throttle on it for the last couple of years, I have a hard time believing they will be close to getting the game out the door this year. Even if they were to get Destiny 2 to a completed state, the botched release of vanilla Destiny back in 2014 should give them pause not to rush things, even with Activision breathing down their neck to get the thing shipped already. As an avid Destiny fan myself, I really hope Bungie can get their sequel out this year, but I don’t think anyone should hold it against them if they decide that spending more time on it is in everyone’s best interest.