Just like any year in gaming, 2017 had its fashionable trends. Not all of them are great looks, but they do define a year against those around it. Gone are the days of plastic peripheral guitars or everyone making a card game, but we think what came by to replace them are pretty great advancements for the industry writ large. Oh, well, apart from just that one thing...
You might have noticed some little kerfuffle to do with presents in boxes over the last couple of months. It seems only right that in the lead up to Christmas we get extremely ornery about gift packages, though it seems a lot more sensible when you don't intentionally obscure the reality for the purpose of a trite, festive joke. Loot boxes have been accused of everything from corrupting children with the devil to propping up the consumerist machinery of late-stage capitalism, but wherever they actually do fall on that vast spectrum they were unanimously decided as Bad in 2017. Apple has kicked off the 2018 resolutions, promising to force any game with loot boxes to publish the odds of each item, following in the footsteps of Chinese regulators who implemented the same rules earlier in the year. May this be the last of the gachapon.
Almost as soon as Playerunknown's Battlegrounds arrived it was beset on all sides by challengers to the Battle Royale throne. It's almost a metanarrative on the game genre that there are now enough PUBG-likes to stage their own fight for survival, and it would be just as scrappy as our best attempts at a chicken dinner. With most in early stages, rushed through development to keep up with the flash-in-the-pan trends of 21st Century gaming, it's a race against time to see who can provide a stable and enjoyable experience. Obviously PUBG has the advantage of 30 million players worldwide, but what if half of them can't even load in textures reliably? 2018 should crown the victor of this particular battle.
There's been a long history of gamifying cooking, stemming from the lovely chibi styles of Cooking Mama all the way through to Pokemon Stadium's incredible Lickitung sushi mini-game. 2017 was a year that returned to the culinary melting pot with a whole smorgasbord of games where cooking was either the main game, or one of the best things about it. From Breath of the Wild's sumptuous meals and powerful potions, to indies like Battle Chef Brigade and multiplayer fun like Overcooked, 2017 has been a trip to flavortown. Guy Fieri would be proud.
Decent open worlds
This year might also be remembered as the year the open world game got the open world bit right. We might not have advanced past tower-climbing to unlock the map yet, but Breath of the Wild's implementation of the Ubisoft trope had real value to help you navigate your unknown surroundings. And even Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Origins didn't succumb to the series' usual failings, offering plenty to do and see around Egypt and the surrounding areas without getting in its own way. We'll be excited to see if Red Dead can go even further next year, if it even hits that window.