5. Hideo Kojima
When E3 brought us the first look at Death Stranding, we had no idea what Hideo Kojima had gotten himself into. Since his less than amicable split with Konami, Kojima has been out on his own, taking Kojima Productions with him and resolving to present the industry with something it’s never seen before.
With some assistance from Guillermo del Toro and Norman Reedus (previous Silent Hills buddies), Kojima is looking to do just that in 2017 with Death Stranding. It’s obvious from the release of the second, equally bizarre, trailer that the oily dystopian experience isn’t going to be a run and gun shoot em up. Just what it will be, however, is still up for debate which is why you should keep an eye on what Kojima’s up to before its possible release in the last few months of the year.
4. Richard Marks
In such a massive company as Sony, there cannot be one individual who brings a piece of hardware like the PS VR to fruition. However, if there’s one person with their face on the poster, it’s Richard Marks. Marks ignited the project back in 2010 after working with interaction since 1999 (and being responsible for the legendary Eye Toy). Nowadays he’s heading up the Magic Lab, a department that researches cutting edge technologies in regard to the PS VR. You’ve probably also seen him demonstrating the gear onstage a few times too.
If 2016 was the year VR was born, 2017 will be the year it comes to the mainstream, if Marks can keep his division on point. The PS VR has already found its feet with its low price tag and hefty launch lineup, but if Sony really want to get a headset in every house they’re going to need to bring that manufacture price down even further. If Marks does wonders with Magic Lab this year, PS VR features can set it apart from the elite competition not just in terms of affordability but also features and technical performance.
3. Jason Rubin
In a similar vein, Jason Rubin will be under pressure this year to reinstate Oculus Rift as head of the VR revolution. Despite singlehandedly opening the movement, Oculus has hit its fair share of stumbling blocks. From late touch controllers, to preorder shipment embarrassments, the Rift hasn’t exactly lead the troops after commanding a charge. Rubin is the head of game development at Oculus, and is going into 2017 with the need to bring Oculus back to the mainstream.
This means getting developers onboard and bringing games to the Oculus that people really want to play. Oculus will be relying on this content over the next year to bust it out of an awkward middling ground between the elite Vive and affordable PS VR.
2. Phil Spencer
We’ve heard relatively little about the Xbox Scorpio since E3, bar some technical revelations and big promises. With an expected release window around the end of next year, Xbox head Phil Spencer is going to be the one to go to when new information drops about Microsoft’s next console.
With the console expected to reach for Microsoft’s elite audience, more information on VR capabilities, price ranges, and availability will surely follow throughout the year.
1. Eijo Aonuma
It seems crudely obvious to say, but Eijo Aonuma is going to have a great year. Jumping straight off the back of Super Mario Run, the Nintendo Switch is headed our way and with it (albeit a little later) is The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. Miyamoto hasn’t quite departed from the series, however has taken other creative routes in the company, leaving Aonuma to bring Zelda back to the Switch.
It’s easily one of the most anticipated games of the year, with an open world setting that’s gradually pulling more and more punters towards Nintendo’s new handheld / console hybrid.