Editor’s Note: This feature was originally posted last year on Bloody Disgusting. Quite a lot has happened since then, so I’ve updated the list with some new titles and additional details we weren’t privy to when it was first published.
Science fiction is a genre of the future, and based on this line-up of upcoming games, it’s a genre that has a considerably bright future ahead of it. And sure, several of these games have had nebulous “TBA” release windows long enough for them to get featured in more than one of my “Most Anticipated” lists, but if we’re lucky — I’m looking at you, Routine — this will be the last.
NYVYE Studios’ beautiful horror game P.A.M.E.L.A. is easily one of the most visually stunning games on this list, in part, because of its bold use of color. A neon color palette makes the futuristic dystopia of Eden a wonderfully attractive place to live — the only problem is the whole staying alive bit. That name is horribly misleading, by the way, as the word ‘Eden’ is rarely conjures images of failed dystopian worlds infested by humanoid creatures.
Did I mention the Halo-inspired plasma sword, because P.A.M.E.L.A. absolutely has that, too.
Why We’re Excited: The enemies we’ve seen (so far) haven’t looked particularly original, but the vivid world they inhabit more than makes up for that. Eden is neon nightmare eye candy, and I’m itching to spend some time in it.
Release Date: March 9, 2017 (Steam Early Access)
Routine has been in development for what feels like a lifetime — I first wrote about it in 2012 — and yet, I don’t think I’m any less intrigued by its intimidating genre mash-up of stealth, roguelikes and sci-fi horror. Perhaps what’s most intriguing is that it’s heavily influenced by the roguelike genre, which can be seen in Lunar Software’s decision to get rid of the HUD, make death permanent, and offer no way to heal yourself should you happen to encounter of the horrors that lurks in that abandoned moon base.
Why We’re Excited: Looks to be as challenging as it will be terrifying. Bring it on.
Release Date: TBA March 2017 (PC)
Tether was only greenlit on Steam back in November, not long after it was first announced. There’s a reason why that happened so quickly, and you don’t need to look any further than the trailer above to understand why.
The game is set in a future where the destruction of our moon has caused enough chaos on Earth to force humanity to terraform the nearest alternative, Mars. Biologist Lesleigh Hayes aims to be among the first Martian colonists until something goes wrong during her deep space voyage aboard the UEF Sonne that forces her to “survive the psychological horrors of isolation,” and a gaggle space monsters, probably.
Why We’re Excited: Who doesn’t want to live on Mars right about now?
Release Date: TBA 2017 (PC)
Aliens haven’t been especially scary for a very long time, and that’s just wrong. This sad fact only leaves me more excited to dive into the world of The Hum: Abductions —- one of our most anticipated VR horror games — because those wee grey bastards and their goofy jellyfish spaceships are going down. I’ve already started sneezing into loaded squirt guns, just in case Hollywood got something right about their weakness. Who’s with me?
Why We’re Excited: It stars classic “grey man” aliens, big heads and all. I can’t even remember the last game about the horrors of an extraterrestrial invasion… Prey, maybe?
Release Date: TBA 2017 (PC/Mac, PS4)
Bloober Team could’ve done just about anything they wanted to after the surprise success of their (stellar) psychedelic horror game Layers of Fear, but they’ve decided to return to our favorite genre with the cerebral cyberpunk thriller Observer. Like the studio’s last project, the apparent objective of this creepy game is to disorient players with another mind-bendingly unsettling adventure that explores the obviously bad idea of hacking other people’s minds.
Why We’re Excited: As much as I enjoyed Layers of Fear, it’s clear Bloober is a developer that’s willing to do something different. They’re experimental and different, and we could always use more horror games that favor strong storytelling over buckets of gore.
Night Dive Studios unlocked a seriously impressive achievement last summer when the crowdfunding campaign for the extremely highly anticipated System Shock reboot raised more than $1.35M on Kickstarter. Only two horror games have done that — Friday the 13th: The Game is the other — and the message was clear: SHODAN’s the cat’s pajamas, and we desperately need her endlessly quotable polemics in our lives right now.
Why We’re Excited: It’s a remake of the original System Shock, and that means its success could bring us one giant leap closer to a System Shock 2 remake. That’d sure be swell.
The System Shock reboot is a lot for a relatively modest-sized studio like Night Dive to handle, so it’s up to their partners at Underworld Ascendant developer Otherside Entertainment to handle the first real sequel the series has seen in nearly two decades. Voice actress Terri Brosius will return to reprise her role as the rogue AI SHODAN, as will key members of the teams behind the first two games, including concept artist Robb Waters, who’s responsible for the villain’s new look (in the banner above).
Why We’re Excited: It’s a sequel to one of gaming’s greatest and most influential franchises, and it’s being co-developed by some of the devs behind the first two System Shock games.
Release Date: TBA (TBA)
What are you most looking forward to?