I’m continuing my quest of showcasing some of the most interesting upcoming titles in 2017. I now got to adventures, a genre I was afraid it will die out, at least in the form I used to know it, but it still stands strong with a few titles that remind us of the old ways in the mass of narrative driven experiences.
The Walking Dead: A new frontier
Release Date: On-going episodes
Does this game need any introduction? Set in the universe of The Walking Dead comic-books, Telltale’s game with the same name entered Season 3 in December. This time around the story doesn’t follow Clementine, instead the new protagonist, Javier, meets the resourceful girl on his quest to find the family that was taken away from him.
Choices that might have real consequences, or not, an emotional story in a disturbing universe and the appearance of the legendary comic-book character, Jesus, are things that the Season 3 of The Walking Dead has in store. The first 2 episodes are already available with more to be released over the course of this year.
Night in the Woods
Release Date: February 21
Night in the Woods is an adventure game by Infinite Fall centered on story and characters with a big emphasis on exploration in a world filled with anthropomorphic animals.
The game’s protagonist, Mae Borowski, is a college dropout returning to her hometown to reconnect with lost friends, but things aren’t the same as they used to anymore. Mae finds out that she posses paranormal abilities and follows a mystery that leads her to the nearby woods.
Night in the Woods’ active narrative has a strong component that requires social interaction between characters to depict a story that has been described as the slow death of small town America.
Release Date: February
TSIOQUE is a hand drawn and frame by frame animated 2D adventure game influenced by classics like Day of the Tentacle and financed through a modest but successful Kickstarter campaign.
The game has a dark yet funny narrative that follows the young princess Tsioque which was imprisoned in a castle by the Evil Wizard. Using her courage and stubbornness, Tsioque leaves chaos in her wake as she tries to find a way to escape.
Humor, 2D animations, hand drawn landscapes, a dark story and even a Demo, TSIOQUE is how adventure games used to be.
The Sexy Brutale
Release Date: April 12
Tequila Works are back partnering with Cavalier Game studios to bring us The Sexy Brutale, a 3D adventure game with a unique style, premise and gameplay.
A never-ending masked ball with a hint of British culture is the setting for The Sexy Brutale in which the elderly priest Lafcadio Boone is stuck in the same repeating day. Featuring murder, intrigue and maybe occult, the story will only end if the mysteries are uncovered. The gameplay is about many second chances where the protagonist is an observer spying on the masked balled guests to learn secrets without interfering as his missteps will trigger the loop.
The Sexy Brutale is an intriguing concept for a murder mystery game that relies on narrative and the interconnection of actions and stories that lead to the game’s murders.
Release Date: Q1
The acclaimed first-person survival horror gets a sequel with different characters and setting, yet part of the same twisted universe.
The action takes place during a night in the Sonoran desert where the freelance journalist Blake Langermann is following the murder of a young woman. As he investigates an abandoned village where a cult has taken refuge, Blake’s life is put in danger and he has to hide from his pursuers and use his camera’s nightvision to navigate through the night. Managing the camera’s battery while trying to keep a hold of Blake’s glasses will be crucial in surviving.
Outlast 2 will continue to combine survival elements with the psychological horror that made the first game such a success, so prepare yourselves, it will be a long and scary night.
Release Date: Q1
I never thought I’d see the day when Benoît Sokal would bring us back to Syberia to follow the adventures of Kate Walker one more time.
The female protagonist which has been a defining character for an adventure generation is found dying by the edge of a river and she’s saved by the nomadic people of the Youkole tribe. With the past and enemies catching up with her, Kate helps the tribe to fulfill an ancestral tradition.
In a new and different era for adventure games, Syberia 3 retains the ways of the past with the loved/hated puzzles now part of a 3D ambient powered by Unity Engine. Microïds, Benoît Sokal and Inon Zur have come together to take us back to the adventurous memory lane continuing the series that has left its marks on the gaming industry.
Release Date: Q1
Following the success of Gone Home, Tacoma is Fullbright’s second game which was announced at the end of 2014.
The game trailers didn’t reveal much, but a rather similar style to Gone Home with a striking Bioshock vibe. The protagonist is a woman trying to piece together what happened to the inhabitants of the space station Tacoma of which only augmented reality avatars are left.
Tacoma was supposed to come out in 2016 but it has been delayed in order to receive a gameplay overhaul based on the testers’ feedback and it’s expected to come out early this year.
We Happy Few
Release Date: TBA, currently in Early Access
We Happy Few is one of those titles with so much potential that we hope it will successfully pass through Early Access and emerge as a fully-fledged game.
The game’s artistic direction has a Bioshock vibe, but the similarities between the two stop here as We Happy Few is a survival with adventure and roguelike elements. The action takes place in a drug fueled retrofuturistic city part of a dystopian 60s England where people are obsessed with joy and take pills to maintain a delusional state of happiness. The protagonist wakes up to reality and tries to escape this weird world through stealth or combat and if need be the Joy pill. Survival mechanics define the gameplay with hunger, thirst and sleep being required and the procedurally generated city changes with each attempt to escape.
We Happy Few detains itself from all the similar games being centered on its narrative driven world and not the survival elements which only complement the former.
Call of Cthulhu
Release Date: TBA
The 1928 short story by H.P. Lovecraft has defined the horror for generations. Literature, movies, board games and more recently video games have taken great inspiration from the Lovecraft Mythos, some delivering the macabre experience expected from this universe, others not so much. Now it’s Cyanide’s time to awaken the legendary cosmic creature sleeping in the depths of R’lyeh.
Call of Cthulhu is the adaptation of the pen & paper RPG into an adventure game with RPG elements following the protagonist Edward Pierce to the island of Dark Water where he investigates the death of a famous artist. The gameplay is mainly focused on stealth, investigation and psychological horror where Sanity is essential.
Properly adapting Cthulhu’s story or any other components of the Lovecraft Mythos into a video game is a challenging task and many have failed to do so in the past. I’m rooting for Cyanide to deliver the game all the Lovecraft fans have been waiting for.
Release Date: TBA
Frédérick Raynal, the creator of Alone in the Dark, is working on a new game. 2Dark is a retro looking mix of stealth, horror and adventure.
The city of Gloomywood is plagued by child abductions and it’s up to the former detective Mr. Smith to bring those responsible to justice. Uncover twisted secrets and carefully use the limited supplies to bring retribution against ruthless criminals and take advantage of light and shadows to escape to safety with the kidnapped children. 2Dark gameplay has a little bit of everything in it and most importantly what seems to be a thrilling atmosphere befitting for such a game.
Release Date: May
Rime has a complicated past, initially green-lit by Microsoft under the name Echoes of Siren, the game was later rejected. Sony funded the game as a PS4 exclusive, but Tequila Works reacquired the rights and this adventure is now coming to PC as well.
The story is about a boy awakening after a violent storm on a forgotten island. With the help of a fox, the boy explores the island to unlock the secret that lies within. The gameplay involves exploration of an artistically beautiful environment inspired by multiple games and movies which hides secrets and collectibles. Solving puzzles will be required to navigate the island’s ancient ruins as conundrums of light and shadows, sound, platforming and even time manipulation will block the way.
Rime has been a promising adventure game that many players have thought to be dead. The announcement at the beginning of this year that the project is alive and kicking has brought a lot of joy not only that Rime is back, but Tequila Works are still in business!
What remains of Edith Finch
Release Date: TBA
The second game developed by Giant Sparrow after the award-winning The Unfinished Swan, What remains of Edith Finch is a narrative driven adventure.
In spite of the misleading name, Edith Finch is the protagonist of the game and the only survivor of the Finch family. As she explores the family’s mansion in Washington for answers, Edith finds stories unraveling the life of each family member in the last day of their lives.
What remains of Edith Finch is not a conventional adventure and while the gameplay mechanics will change from one story to another, the game’s focus is the narrative presenting the known and unknown about those related to the protagonist.
It’s always a pleasure to write about so many and varied adventure games. And while I got nothing against narrative driven adventures, it gives me hope for the future knowing that there are still developers out there still cooking brain teasers for those gamers that don’t take gaming only as a light form of entertainment.