Develop asks the game development world what they are looking forward in the coming year.
It's been a stand out year for games. As we talk about in the December/January edition of Develop, there are a lot of things to look forward to in 2017. So we asked you, the game development community, what it is that you are excited about for next year. We got sent some amazing quotes about many different areas, so amazing in fact that we just didn't have the room to publish them all. Here are the brief (and not so brief) thoughts from you:
2016 was a blast and for 2017 I am really looking forward to more games and more exciting news about our amazing industry. Personally, I am looking forward to see what Microsoft and Sony will unveil at E3, the details of Scorpio and the evolution about the VR platform and more experimental indie releases. Gamewise, I am looking forward to Ghost Recon: Wildlands as I am always been a fan of the franchise. Having just watched Westworld I am also getting the right mood for Red Dead Redemption 2.
Stefano Petrullo, Renaissance PR
For me personally, I hope my house will be finally finished and I can move out of the caravan I’ve been living in for two years. On a company level, I’m hoping for critical and commercial success for our self-funded, and self-published title Sniper Elite 4, and on a wider scale I hope that the doom and gloom of recent events on both sides of the Atlantic ocean gets lifted somehow, the fears of many don’t come true, and that humanity and decency prevail.
Jason Kingsley, Rebellion
Four things. First and foremost, the release of Nintendo’s Switch, which has already had an encouraging start. It’s fantastic to see Nintendo discuss the console so naturally and persuasively – the concept is straightforward and sells itself. That’s something I didn’t feel it was able to do with the Wii U.
Second. Xbox Scorpio. Ever since the Xbox One launch, Microsoft has been obsessed with making broad improvements to the console. Upgrading the hardware spec, quite significantly in fact, will transform how people look at the system. Going to be very interesting.
Third, VR. 2017 will be a major test for the hardware. I expect by the end of the year we’ll have a much better idea of how the core VR market looks, whether the tech can appeal to broader tastes, and what ideas outside of games are in development.
Finally, the unknown. Because let’s be honest, twelve months ago no one expected an AR Pokémon game would become an overnight phenomenon. Twelve months prior to that, no one expected Kojima’s departure, or Shenmue 3, or that Steam Machines would come and go. It’s impossible to accurately predict the next six months in games, which is what I love about it.
Rob Crossley, Head of Games and Digital, Creative England
As creators and developers, we take pride in our craft and we’ve let our work speak for itself. That’s why for 2017, I’m excited for the next annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco because for the first time ever, it will be featuring a UX Summit. It shows a maturity of the games industry as we explore not only how we make games, but also how games are played. I’ll be speaking there for the first time myself, and I’m looking forward to meeting fellow UX practitioners and seeing how we can construct an optimally enjoyable experience for our players - how we adapt to not only diversity in tech but also diversity in audience. Moving into the new year I'm reinvigorated by what the year has to offer. We're at a stage in this cycle of a generation where we often see the best and most creative work come to the fore. And I'm so honoured to be a part of it.
Anisa Sanusi, UI/UX Designer
I’m hoping that 2017 is the year for killer PSVR and mobile VR titles for the mass markets. With so many cool tech and VR demo’s already out there now I would love it if there is a big AAA console production value title on the market that can really help shift the hardware to the masses. Hopefully with the release of google daydream we will also see some really cool mobile experiences too.
Stig Strand, Amiqus
I am pretty excited for Nintendo Switch at the moment. Mobile has dominated so many developers for quite some time that it could offer something new and energise some new cool ideas. That and I’m looking forward to sinking some time into delicious Nintendo titles.
Simon Phillips, CEO, 22cans
I’m really looking forward to more amazing game music concerts in 2017- it’s been a wonderful year for this, including my own Dear Esther at the Barbican, and I can’t wait to hear and see more world class orchestras playing music from what is increasingly a rich, diverse and exciting catalogue of music. My aim is for there to be a Game Music Prom in 2018 and together I think we can make that a reality!
Jessica Curry, Composer and Co-Founder, The Chinese Room
The Switch has really caught our eye for next year, more power and a totally new interface should hopefully mean new and innovative new IP on the way. Also very much looking forward to seeing what’s to come with the new AR/VR platforms like the Hololense and how they can be utilized to create great user experiences.
Richard Pring, Technical Director, Wales Interactive
I’m really looking forward to the Nintendo Switch in 2017 - looks like a very exciting and different machine, and being able to play Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the move is fantastic. I love VR, so excited to see new innovations on all the platforms this year, including what Microsoft come up with on Project Scorpio and some of the new VR games currently under development by Game Republic members here in Yorkshire and the North. Hopefully I’m going to GDC 2017 in San Francisco this Feb/March too, which is always enormous fun and full of fascinating industry insider info - although I hope Trump hasn’t initiated World War III by then. Global thermonuclear war would definitely have a detrimental effect on the UK games industry.
Jamie Sefton, Managing Director, Game Republic
Having enjoyed a successful 2016, 2017 is shaping up to be the most exciting year yet for Red Kite Games. Not only are we looking forward to seeing several of the high profile games that we’re currently helping to develop continue to flourish, we’re also planning to ramp up the development of our own IP’s internally. Best of luck to all the lovely game making folk out there, I’m sure that 2017 is going to prove to be a vintage year for video games.”
Simon Iwaniszak, Managing Director, Red Kite Games
Next year is an important milestone for Creative Assembly, marking our 30th year of games development. It’s also set to be our most exciting year yet, with the much anticipated release of Halo Wars 2, a number of currently unannounced projects gaining momentum, and our work with world-recognised partners, including Games Workshop and Wargaming, continuing. Safe to say it’s an exciting time to be at Creative Assembly.
Tim Heaton, Studio Director, Creative Assembly
I'm interested to see further fluctuations and changes in Steam trends. There seemed to be a prevailing sense of saturation of indie titles in 2016; will this get worse, or will we see consumers and the industry adapt to better find and share quality content?
Olly Bennett, CEO, Cardboard Sword
2016 was really the first year where consumers got to experience what games could be in virtual reality. However, so many of the releases were still bite-sized experiences. These early works are letting developers finally see what goes into making a great story and strong game play for virtual reality. I think 2017 will bring to market the first set of VR games from amazing developers that have been able to move from exploration of great concepts to delivering quality long-term game experiences.
John Linden, President, Seismic Games
I know that VR and AR are all the rage, but personally, I'm looking forward to seeing more depth and maturity in mobile games. That means mobile games with more gameplay options, deeper strategy and storylines, and driven by strong communities.
Jon Van Caneghem, CEO, VC Mobile
2017 aims to be a historic year in the gaming space. With now over 4 years under the belt on the development cycle for new consoles (Xbox One, PS4), developers are now entering the third generation /cycle of game development on this hardware — I expect big improvements in quality, realism and gameplay. The biggest and most questionable area of growth in gaming is in VR. Much money has gone into VR, but not a lot has gone out —there simply is not enough units in the space (yet). The increase in consumer eyeballs and units in the field will drive the VR market and hopefully enough developers will have weathered the storm to survive to make better and better content for this new medium.
Peter Busch, vice president of business development, Faceware Technologies
Red Dead Redemption 2 has been a big want of mine for such a long time so that’s top of my personal list, I’m also looking forward to the Nintendo Switch and my list of game wants is growing on that platform. I’m equally looking forward to seeing how Sony and Microsoft broaden the audience for PS4 and Xbox One, there are challenges ahead but equally some incredibly exciting times also. Team17 wise we’ve announced The Escapists 2 and Yooka-Laylee are both releasing in 2017, we have a few more surprises and I can’t wait to share those during the year.
Debbie Bestwick MBE, CEO, Team17
2017 for me will be the year in which hopefully the games industry endeavours to define the audio standards for Virtual Reality Gameplay. The big question is whether there will be enough latitude and freedom given to audio departments, which are always under huge pressure to deliver content, to experiment and test a range of innovative approaches (all potentially equally valid) to achieve the most immersive and convincing representation of the real world. And from my perspective as composer, I am intrigued to see how my peers will respond to these challenges from a musical perspective.
Stephen Baysted, Composer & Audio Director, Slightly Mad Studios
It’s going to be a huge year for us at Playground as we continue to transition over to becoming a two team, two project studio and develop our first game outside of the racing genre. I also cannot wait for the release of Scorpio… with such a huge boost in power, it’s going to be exciting to see what new possibilities this opens up for our games.
Gavin Raeburn, CEO, Playground Games
2017 is going to be an exciting year for game development in Nottingham. The sumo studio in Nottingham will go through it’s 50th employee milestone and will be taking on new projects.
The newly re-invigorated National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham will be hosting a whole series of new events to promote the games industry as an exciting and important part of the UK economy and continue on its mission to encourage the next generation of video game developers for the UK. Sumo will be enthusiastically supporting the NVA as it grows and develops in 2017.
Across the company we're looking forward to experiencing the the Switch console and can’t wait to see what new ideas come out of the VR world as the hardware become more available.
Karl Hilton, Studio Head, Sumo Digital (Nottingham)
I’m looking forward to a new crop of mobile winners emerging in 2017. We saw glimpses of this in 2016: games like Pokemon Go, Clash Royale and a spate of viral hits showed a massive pent up demand from players for something fresh and interesting. The big established companies don’t have a monopoly on new ideas, and in some cases are at a disadvantage, so I think at the end of 2017 we’ll be talking about two maybe three new big genres or play patterns getting owned on mobile most likely from developers who have not yet had massive success on the platform.
Simon Hade, COO Space Ape Games
2017 is going to be a big year for Gram Games, as we expand our global capabilities, perspectives and reach, whilst continuing to grow our amazing team. We are also proud to wave the flag for women in the gaming industry via The 22% Project, which we will look to further support in other ways next year. In talent, as in all else, we are excited to see more innovation across the sector. As a company, we will continue to drive this internally with various initiatives, such as prototype Friday, and we can’t wait to see the ideas that are tried and tested next year. Experimenting, learning, and iterating are all such important parts of our process, as well as our unique culture, and we are eager to help drive these practices, which have led to our success, throughout the industry.
Erin O’Brien, Culture Developer, Gram Games
There’s a bunch of new titles we’re looking forward to including Horizon Zero Dawn, Sea of Thieves and Become Human. There’s also some hotly anticipated sequels like Injustice 2,Kingdom Hearts 2.8 and there’s huge excitement around The Last of Us 2. The re-mastered Crash Bandicoot is an old-school favourite that’s right up there on our wish lists too.
The new consoles from Nintendo and Xbox are sure to make it an exciting start to the year and we’re really looking forward to seeing how VR develops as more experiences come out. All in all 2017 looks set to rock!
Liz Prince, Amiqus
We’ve a number of releases pegged for 2017, and whilst this is incredibly exciting from a studio perspective, we’re also delighted to see the UK continue to grow gaming and act as a global hub for the creative industries at large. The continued expansion of giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook, further facilitates opportunities for us to create innovative games for our audiences.
In addition, we are looking forward to seeing what inspiring new start ups might emerge in 2017, triggering further disruption, sparking new creativity, and generally challenging the rest of us to raise our game! At Hutch, we will continue to focus on company culture in order to make Hutch one of the best places to work, whilst continuing to attract the very best talent from across the industry.
Shaun Rutland, CEO, Hutch