The upcoming Xbox One games for 2017 (and beyond)

Slowly but surely, Xbox One has rallied to a position of strength over the last year. Microsoft's console was more popular than PS4 over Black Friday for online buyers, accounting for 55% of sales, versus 45% for PS4. Thanks to a renewed focus on *whisper* actual games, a massively improved, streamlined piece of hardware in the Xbox One S, and the humble, focused leadership of Phil Spencer, Microsoft is very much back on track in this console race.

And there's no better way to celebrate the renewed prowess of the Xbox One than take a glance at the most exciting upcoming games. Most of them are just sitting there, waiting for us in 2017, and boy: some of them are promised to be extravaganzas. Whether you're looking forward to foregoing sleep as you finish Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, or can't wait to embrace paranoia and shoot every inanimate object in Prey, there's plenty to look forward to in the coming year.

Our list of the best upcoming Xbox One games of 2017 is in chronological order, moving deeper into the year as we go. We'll be updating this article regularly, and the next big game you can look forward to is…

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Release date: January 24, 2017

What is it?
A drastic departure from Resi's past, as the daddy of survival horror aims for first-person, psychological chills.

What to look out for:
We're not in Spencer Mansion anymore, Toto. Resident Evil 7 represents the most radical restructuring the legendary series has undergone since Leon S Kennedy got up close and personal with a revolutionary behind-the-shoulder perspective. While Capcom promise zombies will still feature, the post-E3 demo had nary an undead rotter in sight. Instead, the series seems to be influenced by the likes of Outlast; a grimy first-person perspective and a switch to less fantastical, more downbeat surroundings creeping into Resident Evil's decomposing DNA.

Story details are light on the ground, but we know you control a man named Ethan, who's hunting for his missing wife. As for the main enemies, enter the sinister Baker family: a Midwestern bunch of psychos who inhabit the most disgusting house you've ever seen. Expect the final game to dial down the combat of recent Resi's in favour of creepy puzzling.

Sniper Elite 4

Release date: February 14, 2017
Genre: Tactical stealth shooter

What is it? The fourth instalment of the third-person sniper-centric game based around - you guessed it - shooting people. But that’s not all: X-Ray vision chimes in on lethal hits so you can see exactly how much damage your one bullet has done. Brutal.

Why it's so interesting? Although it’s focused solely on the role of the sniper, there’s a dozen well-crafted components that make up Sniper Elite 4. Stealth isn’t the only one - your takedowns are calculated, and never before has it been made so apparent how much damage a punch to the throat does (except maybe in Mortal Kombat X). You can whistle to draw enemies towards your hidden position, before swiftly giving them a helping hand into the afterlife. Subterfuge is encouraged: you can set traps to disarm remotely or be triggered by your enemies, meaning that you could be prowling around to the next bit of cover when suddenly you see a blinding flash, confused at first and then delighted to see an enemy soldier’s slow-mo death as they //finally// set off your trap. Sniper Elite promises to be a spectacle to say the least, and should be released on Valentine’s Day (aww). 

For Honor

Release date: February 14, 2017

What is it?
An ultra-serious, deliciously violent medieval adventure that nixes dragons and damsels, in favour of down-and-dirty swordplay.

What to look out for:
There's very little more 'classic video games' set-up than 'big dudes in armour smash each other over the heads with swords'. And yet For Honor seems strangely new - built around competitive multiplayer and an in-depth, never-before-seen combat system.

Inspired by creator Jason Vanden Berghe's experiences with real-life sword fighting, it's somehow mixing the crowd-clearing hack 'n' slash action of Dynasty Warriors with the contemplative 'blink and you're dead' duels of Bushido Blade. It sounds absolutely insane - and from the, let's say, comfortable developers at Ubisoft, it's a pleasingly fresh concept.

Halo Wars 2

Release date: February 21, 2017

What is it?
Another top-down strategic slant on Xbox's most iconic shooter, developed by the RTS masters.

What to look out for:
Halo Wars has long been the forgotten piece of the Halo puzzle, an RTS that harked right back to the series' roots - before Combat Evolved, Halo was going to be a top-down strategy game, don't you know. It lived up to the series' other achievement, too - it made a traditionally PC-centric genre feel at home on a console controller.

All of this is to say that Halo Wars 2 has more to live up to than you might think. Luckily, developers Creative Assembly is the team to do the job - cutting your teeth on Total War proves some strategy expertise, and its work on Alien: Isolation displays a slavish dedication to much-loved source material. We're ready for a second war, and can't wait to meet the Covenant-kiboshing crew on board the Spirit of Fire.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Release date: March 7, 2017
Sandbox shooter

What is it?
An online open-world shooter that takes Ghost Recon's co-op tactics and smears it over a much larger canvas.

What to look out for:
Most Ghost Recon games up to now have typically been mission-based. You'd get briefed on an objective, drop into the target zone, complete your tasks, then exfiltrate. In Ghost Recon: Wildlands, the formula seems to have changed. This time, your mission is contained in one massive, open-world environment filled with enemies to shoot, hostages to rescue, and goals to complete. Plus, the game supports up to four player co-op for some coordinated espionage action.

While Ghost Recon has always been about players choosing how to approach their objectives, Wildlands' open-world expands on the concept dramatically. You'll be able to do things like wait for the cover of night to sneak into enemy compounds, set up sniper nests to cover teammates, or hijack helicopters for a full frontal assault. Wildlands' E3 demo was certainly slick, though I doubt missions will go quite as smoothly if you're not playing with tactically switched on pals.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

Release date: March 2017

What is it?
The latest sci-fi epic from BioWare takes the beloved storytelling and shooting of Shep's trilogy into open-world territory.

What to look out for:
Commander Shepard's story is over, but there's still an entire universe full of alien worlds and ancient mysteries to explore. In Mass Effect: Andromeda, you take on the role of Ryder, as he or she searches for their father; a figure known as a Pathfinder, who's been charged with locating a new home planet for the human race to colonise. Cutely, there are actually two Ryders - a brother and sister - and you're given the choice of who to play as.

While further details on the plot are light, we do know the game takes places in the Andromeda Galaxy. For the first time in the series, the action is set in an open world, and the original's beloved Mako - the awesome intergalactic buggy - returns to make use of all that extra real estate.

The latest in-game demo also hints at Andromeda leaning more heavily on environmental action than Shep's last-gen trilogy. As Ryder explores a derelict alien construct known as a vault, he/she uses both a jetpack to boost between platforms and a new scanner on the Omni-tool to extract additional info from their surroundings - in the demo, our hero scans a series of exotic plants. We'd be amazed if this wasn't another sci-fi masterpiece. 

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Paid maker of words, goes by many names: Meiksy… Macklespammer… Big Hungry Joe. Obsessive fan of Metal Gear Solid, Nathan Drake's digital pecks and Dino Crisis 2. Loves Jurassic Park so much, may burst at any moment.
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