In the final stretches of 2016, we take a look ahead and try to forecast the Games with Gold for 2017. One of the biggest indications we can use for these predictions is the release date of a sequel. Typically, in the past we have seen publishers release games in the lead up to a sequel’s release. Last year we saw Deus Ex: Human Revolution released at the beginning of the year and then Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was released in August. Publishers do this to increase brand awareness and user discussion around a franchise in hopes of increasing sales of the next in the series. With that in mind, lets’ look at some of the biggest upcoming releases scheduled for 2017:
Resident Evil 7
Halo Wars 2
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Red Dead Redemption 2
With Resident Evil 7 around the corner, I’d expect to see one of the many Resident Evil games available on Xbox to be free at some point. Capcom has done similar moves with Street Fighter in the past, but I wouldn’t hold out hope that it is one of the big name games. Instead I would expect them to release the first episode of their episodic game Resident Evil: Revelations 2 for free, and offer a discount on the other episodes as a bundled game. This would kill two birds with one stone, as it would get people back in the Resident Evil universe, and might sell some more episodes. They did release the first episode for free November 2015, so perhaps they will instead do another game, but I would still expect them to discount this game ahead of the next installment’s launch anyway.
Halo Wars 2 is on its way, which leaves us wondering if they will make Halo Wars a free game in 2017. Looking back at the treatment of Halo games over the Games With Gold program, I see no reason to think that once Halo Wars 2 comes out and the initial launch windows has passed, Microsoft won’t decide to make Halo Wars free in hopes to renew interest in Halo Wars 2. As a huge fan of the Halo series and all of the related spinoffs, I’d be happy to see Halo Wars or the 2d shooter Halo Spartan Assault be free next year.
The original Prey was one of my favorite games on the 360. It was a brand new universe, and had some very interesting mechanics. Next year’s Prey seems like a very different game, but I am looking forward to seeing what they do. One thing I think that looks very promising are the game’s mechanics. For instance, one of the trailers shows you possessing a coffee cup, finally! The original Prey was an early 360 game, so I am not sure what would have to happen on the back-end to allow it to be played on the Xbox One, but I do know that there is a lot of interest in this game.
Crackdown is a cult hit for Xbox fans, and next year’s Crackdown 3 looks to bring all of the things fans love from the first 2 games to a new console generation. It makes sense for Microsoft to release the previous games for free in the lead up to Crackdown 3, but they might decide to create a bundle with all of them like they did with Gears of War 4 instead. I would definitely expect the previous two games to come to backwards compatibility at least in the lead up.
Mass Effect Andromeda is a hotly awaited title coming in 2017. Currently the previous Mass Effect games are backwards compatible, but they have not been given away for free via xbox live gold. They are however on EA’s vault service for free if you are a subscriber. Will EA decide to release them for Xbox users in the lead up to Andromeda? I would if I were them. Those who did not play the previous games might do so if they are free, and so you could get new fans by releasing them free.
You could also still sell the DLC for the first three games, so by giving them away for free you can earn more money in DLC sales, and then give the DLC away for free to vault members so releasing them to Xbox Live Games with Gold wouldn’t necessarily eat into your EA access subscribers. I think there are more reasons to release them than not, or they might go the bundle way and include them with pre-orders of Andromeda.
Lastly, this one is more of a hope and dream than me actually thinking they would do it. Red Dead Redemption is one of my favorite games of the last generation, and I was very happy to see it arrive on the backwards compatibility list. Now that the sequel has been announced for next year, I’d love to see Rockstar release the first one and its DLC for free. I am hopeful, but since Rockstar has never released any of its games for free I find it doubtful that they will not find a way to sell this game again instead of giving it away.
So that is a short list of games I think will be made free in 2017. What would you like to see in 2017?