The new year is here, and tons of games are already slated for this year. Exclusives, multiplatform titles, remakes, and more. More games will be announced and released as the year goes on, and some of these games will surely slip into 2019. But right, we can look forward to many of these hitting shelves and digital marketplaces. In the coming days, we’ll be going through our most anticipated games for each of the big platforms. We’re starting with PlayStation 4 before jumping to Xbox, PC, and Switch. As many of these titles are multiplatform, expect to see them when we head to Xbox and PC as well. When you get to the bottom, jump into the comments to let us know what we missed.
A Way Out (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One – March 23, 2018)
Back in 2012, movie director Josef Fares jumped over to video games and gave us the novel, haunting game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. I never expected that simply disabling part of my controller could leave me so empty inside.
And so I’m unreasonably excited for A Way Out, Fares next game. Aside from the name on the credits, the very concept of the game has me excited. This is a cooperative prison break game. The whole game has you and the other player working together to escape and stay free beyond the prison walls. This isn’t about boosting each other over walls, though that may happen. You can be doing completely different things, with one player watching a cutscene while the other works on a task.
It promises to be an interesting game at the very least, and it looks good, too.
Anthem (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One – Q4 2018)
BioWare has been on the rocks for a while now. It’s kind of hard to watch. The once-great RPG developer has stumbled over and over in recent years. Mass Effect 3 ended with controversy, Dragon Age: Inquisition was a strictly-okay game from a studio known for great things. Mass Effect: Andromeda bombed hard for a thousand reasons. But there is hope. There is Anthem.
Anthem seems to be a riff on the Destiny idea of a few players teaming up for missions and raids. Multiplayer is a significant aspect of the game. You step into bigger-than-life robots that you can customize and roam the open world with. The game promises both single and multiplayer elements, and the videos we’ve seen so far look eye-searingly good.
But we’re left worried. BioWare has had a tough time keeping promises lately, and publisher EA has been relying on microtransactions more and more. Between Mass Effect: Andromeda‘s troubled development and Star Wars Battlefront II‘s microtransation debacle, we’re not ready to dump all our faith into either party. But dang, Anthem looks good.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch – 2018)
Konami went and made things weird a few years ago when they decided to dump all their awesome creators and instead repurpose their licenses for pachinko machines. Those displaced creators didn’t sit still for long, though. Hideo Kojima went off and started his own studio. Meanwhile, former Castlevania boss Koji Igarashi turned to Kickstarter with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a game that looks to recreate what we love about classic PlayStation and Gameboy Advance-era Castlevania games but with a new coat of paint. The game has seen some delays and production issues, but the previews have undeniably looked good, so we’re eager to see if Igarashi can deliver when so many other Kickstarted games have failed.
Call of Cthulhu – (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One – 2018)
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know for sure whether this game is going to be good or not. Most of the games on this list are probably going to be solid titles. This one, I don’t know. The studio has worked on games like Space Hulk: Deathwing and Styx: Shards of Darkness, so dark and gothic aren’t new for the studio, but games based on H.P. Lovecraft’s work are rare because they’re tough to do. The best parts of his stories are the most difficult to describe. All the same, Lovecraft managed to create some of the most vivid and horrifying monsters that don’t pull from cultural legend, so I’m hoping we’ll see his work done justice. It doesn’t happen often, so I pay attention when it does.
Concrete Genie (PlayStation 4 – 2018/TBA)
If you just glance at Concrete Genie, you’d be forgiven for thinking it looks a lot like Infamous: Second Son. A kid in a jean jacket and beanie creating stylish graffiti in a perpetually sunsetting town? Yeah – seems familiar. But that’s where the similarities end. Instead of just being an aesthetic element of Concrete Genie, it’s the reason for the season. You play a lonely kid who finds that he can bring his art to life, and interact with and control that art. Using the DualShock 4 controller’s motion sensor, you can create art that will come to life to befriend protagonist Ash and help him clean up and revive the mostly abandoned town he lives in.
Death Stranding (PlayStation 4 – 2018/TBA)
Let me be clear: the chances that this is coming out this year are extremely low. I’m hoping that if I just say it often enough, it’ll come true.
Death Stranding is the upcoming creation of game director Hideo Kojima, best known for Metal Gear Solid. We’ve seen a few trailers for the game, and they’ve done a good job of both being haunting and incomprehensible. But that’s what’s so exciting. Kojima has proven that he can make big-scale games happen when his publisher isn’t actively trying to oust him. That he’s working on something completely new, and something so actively, aggressively weird has me eagerly anticipating the game. I don’t know what it’s going to be – none of us do. But it’ll be weird in the best way.
Darksiders 3 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One – 2018)
Speaking of series thought dead, we were pretty sure Darksiders wasn’t coming back. After publisher THQ dissolved, the Darksiders license sat dormant for over four years. Now we’re actually getting one. This is one of the titles I wouldn’t be surprised to see delayed into 2019. The version showed in spring 2017 was in a pretty early state, and developer Gunfire Games and publisher THQ Nordic aren’t talking anything more specific than a 2018 release date.
But when it hits, whether this year or next, we can look forward to some fun, comic-booky battles against grotesque monsters like the one above.
Days Gone (PlayStation 4 – 2018)
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m kind of done with zombies. Even so, Days Gone looks like it could be a blast. It’s a post-apocalyptic game, of course, set in an open-world environment. The biggest twist is the horde-like movement of the enemies, called Freakers. They move in huge hordes, so taking them down with a pistol the way we do in other zombie games is off the table. Instead, they can be used as a tool. A well-placed explosion can unleash a wave of the things onto your enemies. On top of that, there are systems for weather and day/night to mess with the visibility of both you and those Freakers, ensuring that no two encounters are exactly the same.
Detroit: Become Human (PlayStation 4 – Q1/Q2 2018)
In just about every game out there, whether you know it or not, you’re playing an immortal time traveler. No matter how many times you’re cut down by a skeleton warrior, ambushed by a leopard, or headshotted by a 12-year-old, you can always come back. Quantic Dream and director David Cage say screw that noise. With games like Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, the developer has been asking us to make decisions we can’t easily undo in our games. Your actions in Cage’s stories matter and they shape the narrative in clear, meaningful ways.
Detroit: Become Human puts us in a future where androids are a part of every day life, but those androids have been slowly gaining consciousness and are asking for freedom despite having been made in a factory and purchased. It’s a fascinating concept for sure, and it’ll be fun to see if Cage can pull it off.
Dragon Ball FighterZ (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One – January 26, 2018)
The idea of an anime-themed game looking as good as Dragon Ball FighterZ was a fantasy for a long time. Things got better and better with Dragon Ball and Naruto games over the years, as well as stuff like Valkyria Chronicles, but FighterZ seems to capture the look and pace of the show perfectly. Looking at the video above, I’d wager it actually looks better than the show. That’s bananas.
Dreams (PlayStation 4 – 2018)
I’m still not entirely sure what Dreams even is, but I know I want in. Developer Media Molecule, who brought us LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway, is getting ambitious. The developer wants to combine the three pillars of its game development philosophy – play, create, share – into one, seamless experience. It’s tough to get people to create when they’d rather play, so the studio wants to make creation and play one and the same. You’ll be hopping into dreams and solving puzzles
The game has been in development since 2012, but we’re hoping to see it actually in our hands this year.
Far Cry 5 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One – March 27, 2018)
After sending us to the far reaches of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayan mountains, Far Cry is ready to take things home for the first time. Instead of dealing with a despot in a far-flung country, Far Cry 5 takes us to a rural community in Montana under the thumb of a cult. You’ll be doing all the usual Far Cry stuff – driving cars, shooting guns, getting attacked by dangerous animals – against a wholly different backdrop.
The biggest question right now is whether Far Cry 5 can actually do something interesting with its controversial subject matter. Taking the game to a religious cult is a daring move, but it also puts Ubisoft in a precarious position of having to show its game in the same country the game’s antagonists come from.
Ghost of Tsushima (PlayStation 4 – 2018/TBA)
Quick – name all the coolest locations you can think of to put an open-world game. I’m almost sure a historical Japanese setting was in the list. Assassin’s Creed fans have been begging for it for years while Ubisoft has checked off my personal dream locations one after another (the bribes are working!). Since Ubisoft is busy, Sucker Punch, the developers best known for the Infamous and Sly Cooper games, have stepped up. What we’ve seen so far is minimal, but it has me drooling. It’s set in 1274 – before the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, before the golden age of the Koga and Iga clans so often depicted in movies and anime about ninja. This is when the Mongols were attempting to invade Japan and were rebuffed in part by a sudden typhoon that led to the creation of the term ‘kamikaze.’
In other words, a lot of interesting stuff was going on historically and Sucker Punch has picked a unique period to explore. Like Death Stranding, I’m not so sure this game is coming this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit in the fourth quarter of the year.
God of War (PlayStation 4 – 2018)
After a whole stack of games set in ancient Greece fighting the likes of Zeus, Ares, Athena, and just about every mythological animal you can imagine, Kratos has left the land of the gods behind. This new game, simply titled God of War, moves our extremely angry hero to the land of the Norse gods. Set in a time before the Vikings, when the Aesir and Vanir walked the earth, God of War shows us an older Kratos who seems to have made an attempt to restart a family. Kratos’ son Atreus accompanies him through his adventure, forcing the warrior to rein in his anger issues.
Sony’s Santa Monica studio has totally reworked God of War from the ground up. The twin blades of the previous games are gone, replaced with an enchanted axe, and Atreus will be available to control in minor ways at times. This is indeed Kratos, but it looks like a very different one from what we’re used to.
Jurassic World Evolution (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One – June 2018)
Who among us hasn’t watched Jurassic Park/City/World/Continent/Planet/Galaxy/Local Cluster and not thought about all the little plot holes that let the park go off the rails? Like, who engineers a super T-Rex? Who employs one (extremely shady) cybersecurity guy that can be out-hacked by a 13-year-old? Who breeds flying and swimming dinosaurs when you’re trying to keep them contained on an island?
Well, now’s our chance. Jurassic World Evolution promises to let us run the park ourselves, dealing with all the emergencies that come up. Maybe we can find a way around all those plot holes and make a successful park that doesn’t get countless paying customers murdered.
The Last of Us Part II (PlayStation 4 – 2018/TBA)
If Death Stranding was on here out of wishful thinking, I’m making sure The Last of Us Part II is on here because it’s the one PlayStation game people will definitely ask about. We have our fingers crossed for this year just because we’d love to see another Naughty Dog game so soon after Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. But with Naughty Dog’s working pace and the hints director Neil Druckmann has dropped, we would be surprised to see it before Spring 2019.
But hey, let’s keep hope alive.
Monster Hunter World (PlayStation 4, Xbox One – January 26, 2018/ PC – Fall 2018)
Monster Hunter started its life on PlayStation, but it’s been a Nintendo handheld game for what seems like forever. Now, Capcom is bringing it back to consoles and hoping to make it a bit more accessible. The lands of Monster Hunter World is one big open world rather than a series of zones separated by loading screens, and it’s set in a lush, living ecosystem made of interacting monsters. I sat down with the public beta and it looks like it’s going to be a riot to play and it might even call to mind the feel of Capcom’s 2013 game Dragon’s Dogma – just with the option for multiplayer.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One – Spring 2018)
Let’s not pretend there’s any game we’re more excited about this year. Rockstar takes its time. Red Dead Redemption hit in 2010 and left an indelible mark on gaming. Eight years later, it’s still a great-looking game and offers one of the most compelling open worlds out there. But we’re in a post GTAV world.
We don’t know much about Red Dead Redemption 2, other than that it’s a prequel to the original, and we’re playing as someone other than John Marston, the original’s hero. Rockstar is playing close to the vest. The game was set to hit this fall, but the company delayed it into this spring.
And as great as Grand Theft Auto V is, that game was originally built with last-gen consoles in mind. Red Dead Redemption 2 is built for modern consoles (but not PC, so far), so it should be even more impressive an accomplishment than Rockstar’s last outing.
We don’t have a hard date for it yet, but we can expect it sometime this spring.
Shadow of the Colossus remake (PlayStation 4 – February 6, 2018)
Shadow of the Colossus from Team Ico was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful games to hit the PlayStation 2. Even with its comparatively primitive graphics, it still looks pretty good. Even if we left it as it is, it would still stand up as a PlayStation legend. But why not see if we can improve on it?
This overhaul is primarily graphical, as much of the original gameplay is intact, for better or worse, but it’s more than a simple texture upgrade. This is a full facelift and it looks amazing.
Skull & Bones (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One – 2018)
At E3 2017, Ubisoft showed off the game we’ve all been waiting for since Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Skull & Bones promises a game filled with everyone’s favorite part of Black Flag – the ship battles.
Ubisoft has had a good run with games like Rainbow 6: Siege and For Honor that focus on online play, and this looks to be more of that. I’m not complaining.
Spider-Man (PlayStation 4 – 2018)
Rocksteady games nailed the look and feel of Batman with the Arkham trilogy, giving us everything from the Caped Crusader’s iconic grappling hook to the Batmobile and just about every villain in the Batman catalog.
Now, Insomniac Games is taking a crack at bringing Spider-Man back to the open worlds he helped pioneer back on the first PlayStation. As a bonus, it’s not tied to the movies or the MCU in any way, so Insomniac can take some freedoms with it, giving us a new costume and a slightly different take on Peter Parker.
The demo we saw at E3 has us tentatively excited. It looked so good we were convinced it was on rails up until the guy running the demo missed a corner and has to correct for it. It looks phenomenal on PlayStation 4 Pro, and might be one of the best reasons to pick up Sony’s beefed up console (though it plays just fine on PlayStation 4, too).
System Shock (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One – 2018)
This is another one that I’m not sure about. System Shock is the grand-daddy of the first-person thinky-brain shooter. From the original System Shock sprung the Deus Ex and BioShock games, and even more modern stuff like Prey. Games where, as producer Warren Spector put it, playstyle matters. Where the choices you make and the way you play the game influence what happens and what experiences you have. Where one set of skills and actions can lead you down one path and completely miss another, equally interesting path.
But this is a remake of that original game, intended to be accessible to the countless gamers who missed out on it the first time around. It’s also a Kickstarter game, which is reason enough on its own to be suspicious that a game is going to come out and that it’s going to come out as promised.
If it does, though, get ready to dive into one of the most important games out there.
Vampyr (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One – Q1/Q2 2018)
While some studios like to find a niche and stick to it, French developer Dontnod seems to dig changing it up. The team came on the scene with the future-set action-thriller memory game Remember Me, moved to the episodic modern-day story game Life is Strange, and next up is Vampyr, a vampire-themed RPG set in 1918. You play as a doctor turned into a vampire, dealing with the moral quandary of feeding to live and harming people. You can feed on just about anyone, and who you go after can change the game and unlock different endings.
It’s rare to see a studio trying so many different styles of games these days, and that alone makes this one worth looking out for.
Yakuza 6: Song of Life (PlayStation 4 – March 20, 2018)
While Yakuza games have always ranged from good to exceptional, they’ve never felt new. Even the recent Yakuza 0 and the remake of Yakuza 1 both feel like games from another time. They’re filled with loading screens, repeating character models, and jerky cameras.
That’s changing with Yakuza 6: Song of Life. Yakuza 6 is built in Sega’s new Dragon Engine, and will present a seamless version of Kamurocho (and Hiroshima district Onomichi). You’ll be able to go into buildings and enter fights without having to look at a loading screen, and you can even run away from fights. Crazy, right?
Yakuza has been a reliable joint for Sega for years, and it seems like Kazuma Kiryu has at least one more adventure left in him.
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