Let’s face it: video games have undergone a major renaissance in graphics for the current generation. The raw power of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, along with the potential for the upcoming Nintendo Switch, have produced the most graphically gorgeous titles yet for gamers — and the best is yet to come. While it’s still early, the list of games slated for 2017 and beyond already has the potential to push current-gen systems to their absolute limit, and bring about a graphical revolution with games so gorgeous, your eyes might not be able to handle it.
Whether it’s wide exploration in an open world, a look at a possible technological future, battling gods, or even journeying to the old west, here are seven games that graphics-hungry gamers will have on their wish list for next year and beyond.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
The “Ghost Recon” games have long been on the cutting edge of graphics, and the latest upcoming entry doesn’t break from that tradition. Set for a March 7, 2017 release date, “Ghost Recon: Wildlands” is set in the modern day for an open world, tactical shooter experience — and what an open world it is. The gameplay footage makes the game’s world positively shine, with gorgeous plains, incredible vistas and a line of sight that could only be captured with a high-def camera. Plus, the entire game is developed on a new proprietary engine, according to the official FAQ, so there’s no telling what kind of graphical prowess fans should expect.
It just wouldn’t be a video games list without some kind of survival horror zombie game, but have you seen the footage for “Days Gone”? Running away from zombies never looked so great. Developed by SIE Bend Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, “Days Gone” pushes Unreal Engine 4 to its absolute limits and shows the full potential of the PlayStation 4 as a gaming machine. The open world game puts players in the middle of a world ravaged by a global pandemic that killed most of humanity, and transformed others into zombie-like creatures called Freakers. With a day and night cycle, not only will players be able to see the horror of the virus in the sunlight, but experience the full terror of fast and aggressive Freakers when darkness falls.
God of War
Kratos is back, and more dangerous than ever — and now he’s fully in HD. It’s the first “God of War” game to hit consoles since 2013, and as a soft reboot for the series, it needs to hit its notes just right. Good thing that Sony Interactive Entertainment is taking that responsibility seriously, at least when it comes to graphics. The early footage looks amazing, with a level of detail unmatched by any other installment of the game. The new game centers on Kratos and his relationship with his son, and while he’s changed up his arsenal from his traditional twin chain blades to a battle axe, his first outing on the PlayStation 4 has gotten a positive reaction from early E3 previews. No release date has been announced, but look for it exclusively on PlayStation 4.
Red Dead Redemption 2
The original “Red Dead Redemption” is among the most critically acclaimed video games of all time, and the property Rockstar has been asked time and again to revisit. The first “Red Dead Redemption” is fondly remembered both for its compelling story and its stellar graphics, which can still hold their own. From early previews of “Red Dead Redemption 2,” it seems that Rockstar is hoping to again capture lightning in a bottle. The first trailer promised a brand new online multiplayer experience, and teased many familiar locations with some incredible polish — not to mention a scene of seven riders galloping off to a new adventure. It’s set for release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in late 2017.
Any gamer that’s seen CD Projekt Red’s work on “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” knows that they value graphical polish, so when the news came down the line that the studio was taking on the “Cyberpunk 2020” property for an original video game, imaginations ran wild. Not only will the game run on an upgraded version of the REDengine 3 game engine (the same engine that made “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” so graphically impressive), it gives players the chance to explore an open-world cyberpunk adventure in either first- or third-person perspective. CD Projekt Red is known for its ambition when it comes to games, and “Cyberpunk 2077” looks to be its most ambitious yet. No date has been announced, but players can expect to experience it on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Detroit: Become Human
Quantic Dream has a track record of interactive games that are easy on the eyes, and if early footage is any indication, “Detroit: Become Human” will follow in that tradition. Set in Detroit, Michigan, “Detroit: Become Human” follows in the footsteps of Quantic Dream’s critically acclaimed “Heavy Rain” and “Beyond: Two Souls” with many different character perspectives and choices that drastically impact the outcome of the gaming experience. Playing as androids in the neo-noir thriller isn’t the only intriguing aspect “Detroit: Become Human” has going for it, though. Quantic Dream built a brand-new engine specifically for the game, and cast hundreds of actors from across the globe to enhance the experience. The game has no release date yet, but much like “Heavy Rain” and “Beyond: Two Souls,” you can expect Quantic Dream’s latest endeavor exclusively on PlayStation.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
This is the game Nintendo and Zelda fans have been waiting for since high definition gaming hit home consoles: an open-world, hi-def “Legend of Zelda” game. “Breath of the Wild” not only expands on the tradition “Legend of Zelda” formula by making it truly an open world exploration game, but the kingdom of Hyrule has never looked better. Nintendo’s track record for graphically impressive games hasn’t always been the best, but with “Breath of the Wild,” the gaming titan is ready to show off its most graphically ambitious game yet. “Breath of the Wild” will be available both for the current Wii U system, as well as the upcoming Nintendo Switch, but no matter which version players get, early footage and gameplay previews — where you can see mountains and dungeons far off into the cloudy distance — make this a must-have for any “Legend of Zelda” fan, and will undoubtedly be the yardstick by which all future Nintendo games are measured graphically.
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