13 Things That Will Probably Make 2017 Suck Less

first_img We’re so close to the end of this miserable year, though it still feels so far away. Not that there’s any reason 2017 is going to be all that much better. We’ll have all the same problems we do now and at least one new one. But we can’t just give up on the new year before it even begins. There’s a lot to look forward to in 2017, things that will help us escape, if only for a moment, the world we live in. Hey, if we’re all going to live in a Black Mirror-esque dystopian nightmare, we might as well have some fun while we’re there.TechThe Further Evolution of V.R.One of the most exciting developments to follow this year was virtual reality. Yes, they’re still absurdly expensive. Neither major headset has an experience that makes the thing worth owning by itself. And since you have to deal with wires and rearranging your living room, they can be a little clunky. We can probably expect some kind of hardware revision this year to alleviate some of those problems. HTC and Valve are already working on a wireless Vive, and Oculus is probably cooking up something cool too.Despite the clunkiness inherent in first-generation hardware, putting on a VR headset still feels like the future. It would be nice if the resolution were better, especially for driving games, but we’ll probably have to wait longer for that. For now, we can likely look forward to cheaper hardware (hopefully) and get rid of the immersion-breaking wire you have to step over during play.MoviesStill from Alien: Covenant trailer. (Photo: Screenshot via YouTube)Alien: CovenantI got to see a little bit of this movie earlier in December, and that was enough to put this one on my must-see list for 2017. From the 10 or so minutes I saw, it truly feels like Alien. Not like Aliens, which was a completely different thing. Danny McBride adds a comic relief space-trucker vibe, and I totally believe this crew would make the dumb horror movie decisions that lead to aliens bursting from their bodies.Oh yeah, there’s a new alien called the Neomorph. It’s looks like a Xenomorph, but it’s white and has sharp spikes on its back. It also isn’t particular about where on your body it exits from. In the clip I saw, it burst through a guy’s back, spikes first, impaling another character’s hand. This looks to be a horror movie through and through, which should be nice after the giant disappointment that was Prometheus.Star Wars Episode VIIIIf there’s any movie that’s going to get us through the year no matter what happens, it’s this one. While we still don’t have any idea where the story will go, there’s reason to believe it will be even better than The Force Awakens. Remember, the dark middle chapter of a trilogy is usually the best, and Episode VIII already has a lot going for it. Now that The Force Awakens got most of the housekeeping of starting up a new trilogy out of the way, Episode VIII is free to go in its own direction and explore the new characters further. Plus, it’s directed by Rian Johnson. Looper is one of my favorite sci-fi movies of this decade, so I’m excited to see what he does with something like this.Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Baby Groot! What more do you need to know? The best Marvel movie, with the best soundtrack, is getting a sequel this year. If it has even a fraction of the fun of the first one, we’re in for a pretty great time.GamesStill from Nintendo Switch reveal video. (Photo: Screenshot via YouTube)The Nintendo SwitchPortable gaming has become a much bigger part of my life in the last few years, so I’m definitely excited for a system that will allow me to play full-sized games on the go. Yes, the recent news that the GPU will run 40 percent slower undocked is a little disappointing, but it’s possible that won’t matter, thanks to the screen’s lower resolution. Plus, we’re most likely getting a new 3D Mario game and Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That’s almost too much Nintendo excitement for one year. Not that I’m complaining.Hitman: Season TwoI’ve been a huge fan of the Hitman series ever since I struggled through Hitman 2: Silent Assassin on PlayStation 2. I love how each game gives you a big open area, a single objective and a myriad of options to complete it. Last year’s Hitman was the ultimate expression of this ideal. Its episodic release structure was strange at first but ultimately worked in its favor, allowing us to fully explore and master each level before moving on. Some maps were stronger than others, but each had plenty of opportunities for improvisation and open world wackiness. Now that the second season of Hitman content is underway, I can’t wait to see what they do next. A crowded city center like the Mardi Gras level of Blood Money might be fun. Or maybe the set of a reality show. There are a ton of great video games to look forward to in 2017, but all I really want to do is play more Hitman.TelevisionStill from American Gods trailer. (Photo: Screenshot via YouTube/Starz)American GodsI’ve been waiting for this series ever since it was announced. It’s based on one of my favorite books of all time, so I have pretty high hopes for this series. Thankfully, I have complete confidence in showrunner Bryan Fuller. His weird, surreal style is perfect for adapting a novel like this. Everything he’s said so far sounds like they’re staying true to the novel, even including one scene that should be unfilmable. Those who have read the book know what I’m talking about. Those who haven’t… well, you’re in for a surprise at the end of the pilot.Star Trek: DiscoveryThis show has had a few struggles along the way, but the promise of a new Star Trek TV series is too exciting to ignore. Yes, it’s disappointing that Bryan Fuller stepped down as showrunner, but hopefully, the people that remain know what made Star Trek great in the first place. It also helps that the cast is stellar, with Sonequa Martin-Greene ditching The Walking Dead to explore strange new worlds. She’ll be joined by Michelle Yeoh and Anthony Rapp, who is presumably living on the Discovery despite not having paid last year’s rent.The DefendersMore than Iron Fist, more than Legion, this is the Marvel show I’m looking forward to the most this year. After three Marvel Netflix series that were pretty great overall, I’m excited to see what they’re all building towards. Since the problems these heroes deal with are much more local than anything else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of threat forces them to team up. The fact that it’s a full series rather than a movie should mean each character gets time to shine, which is frustratingly not the case in the Avengers movies. Best of all, we’ll get to see Jessica Jones again. Hers is still my favorite Marvel series so far, and with season two still being a ways off, I’ll take anything that lets us see her in action again.ComicsVia Marvel.com (Artist: Luke Ross)Darth MaulIf there was anything good that came out of The Phantom Menace, it was this guy. He and his double-bladed lightsaber are just so cool. Plus, the way that The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels have expanded on his character made him one of the scarier villains in Star Wars. Marvel has been knocking it out of the park with its Star Wars comics lately. The recently concluded Darth Vader series had some of the best moments of any recent Star Wars thing. With Maul being a five-issue miniseries, I’m excited to see where they take the character. The series will reportedly be a prequel to the prequels, showing us exactly how Maul became a Sith apprentice. That sounds like it could be pretty great.Deadpool the DuckIt’s the crossover you never knew you wanted. Marvel is putting out a series this year where Deadpool and Howard the Duck share a body. The plot, according to Marvel, involves S.H.I.E.L.D. sending Deadpool out on a mission to capture a rampaging extraterrestrial. Some kind of accident happens, and he ends up trapped in the same body as Howard. This might be the weirdest thing Marvel puts out for a long time, so it’s a must-read for me. I may even go by a physical copy, from a comic book store and everything.CultureSwery65 (Photo via Twitter/Gamasutra)Swery65’s Mystery NovelAs a huge fan of Deadly Premonition and D4, I was sad to hear that Swery was forced to leave game development temporarily due to health problems. It was relieving to learn that he was spending his time writing a mystery novel. All we know right now is that it’s a murder mystery in the style of Deadly Premonition that takes place in London and is narrated by a cat. That sounds like a Swery65 production, alright. The book is due out this coming year, and I just hope it gets an English translation. He ran a poll on Twitter earlier this year in which 94 percent of respondents said they wanted an English translation. Another 3 percent said they wanted to translate it themselves, so it looks like an English version will come out one way or another.Even More Death Stranding Fan TheoriesThe game isn’t even close to being out, assuming its even far enough along to be called a game at this point. We’re certainly not going to see it in 2017. We almost certainly will see more trailers, though. And with each trailer will come a legion of fans across the internet dissecting every frame looking for clues. It’s almost more fun than the eventual game will be. Part of that fun will be trying to guess at what exactly Death Stranding will be about, but my favorite part of these trailers is trying to decipher the subtle digs at Konami in each one. Hideo Kojima has every right to be mad at his former employer, and there’s something satisfying about watching him use his fast resources to deliver the most expensive middle finger in history. 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