‘Lost Sphear’ (January 23)
Tokyo RPG Factory, the small Square Enix studio dedicated to making old-school JRPGs like I am Setsuna, returns with Lost Sphear. You play as Kanata, a chosen youth who, with the help of two friends, attempts to stop the “White Fog” from destroying their hometown. Like I Am Setsuna, Lost Sphear has an active time-battle system cribbed from ’90s RPGs such as Chrono Trigger and early Final Fantasy games. Lost Sphear launches on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC on January 23.
‘Monster Hunter: World’ (January 26)
For the first time in a number of years, Monster Hunter is coming to a platform not manufactured by Nintendo. Monster Hunter: World, the fifth mainline entry in the action RPG, features larger worlds than ever before, seamless transitions between areas, and 14 weapon types to slay (or capture) giant monsters. Monster Hunter: World will support worldwide online co-op for up to four players when it comes to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on January 26.
‘Dragon Ball FighterZ’ (January 26)
From developer Arc System Works, Dragon Ball FighterZ uses a hodgepodge of mechanics from other fighting game series’ to create one of the most stylish and visually impressive 2.5D fighters we’ve seen in action. Fighting in three-person teams a la Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the game captures the over-the-top essence of Dragon Ball perfectly. You might also see some resemblance to Arc System Works’ own fighting game franchise, Guilty Gear. The action plays out ridiculously fast, but the number of combat systems in play suggests it will still be a strategic fighter. Dragon Ball FighterZ launches January 26 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
‘Shadow of the Colossus’ (February 6)
HD re-releases of games from recent generations sometimes feel unnecessary, but Sony’s Shadow of the Colossus remake seems poised to bring an old classic back to the fore. The PS2 classic, originally developed by Team Ico and SIE Japan Studio, launched near the end of the PlayStation 2’s life cycle in 2006. While visually impressive at the time, the lush, dark game world and its 16 massive beings always seemed like the perfect candidate for a full-on remake. Its scope was perhaps too grand at that time, but with the power of the PS4, exploring the mythical lands and toppling the game’s colossal giants can be enjoyed by a new generation of gamers. The colossi were meant to be stunning, and with Bluepoint Games (the team behind Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection) at the helm, it’s one of our most anticipated remakes. Shadow of the Colossus launches February 6 on PlayStation 4.
‘Sea of Thieves’ (March 20)
No one knew exactly what to expect when Microsoft and Rare announced their multiplayer pirate sim, Sea of Thieves, at E3 2015. It appeared to be a relatively small-in-scope riff on pirate culture, but as we’ve seen more of the game, it’s safe to say that Rare has something much more grand in the works. Customizable pirates can explore an expansive ocean riddled with islands to loot, enemies to defeat, and secrets to uncover. Designed with community play in mind, Sea of Thieves features a bevy of non-verbal cues to allow for easy collaboration. Not everyone will want to explore with you, though. Other pirate crews who aspire to steal your precious finds, so you better prepared to fight to protect your loot.
‘A Way Out’ (March 23)
If you watched The Game Awards, you know that director Josef Fares thinks very highly of his upcoming game, A Way Out. Perhaps for good reason, too. An EA Originals title, A Way Out tells the story of two convicts, Leo and Vincent, who team up to break out of prison and go the run. The game must be played cooperatively, either split-screen or online, as the two must work together to break out and try to reclaim their lives. From what we’ve seen so far, the game has a heavy emphasis on narrative and the emphasis on working together at all times could make for a unique co-op experience. Better yet, you only need one copy of the game to play online with a friend. A Way Out launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on March 23.
‘Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom’ (March 23)
Level-5’s 2013 title Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was one of the most charming RPGs in recent memory. The Studio Ghibli aesthetic, Pokémon-esque monster capturing, and quirky humor made for a great PS3 sendoff. Its sequel, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, features a whole new cast of characters, placing players in the role of usurped boy king Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum. Capturing and training and familiars has been replaced by a kingdom building management system. The whimsical art style remains, but expect Revenant Kingdom to feature more western RPG influences. Ni No Kuni II launches March 23 on PS4 and PC.
‘Far Cry 5’ (March 27)
Hope County, Montana has a problem. Radical preacher Joseph Seed has infected the congregation, turning them into a doomsday cult called Eden’s Gate. As a sheriff’s deputy, players will need to join the resistance and take down Seed before the county and its people are damaged beyond repair. That’s the premise for Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5. The series is known for its charismatic villains, but this is the first time in the series the United States will be used as the backdrop. Far Cry 5 comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 27.
‘BattleTech’ (early 2018)
BattleTech started as a board game more than 30 years ago and quickly branched off into collectable card games, and video games. The new, rebooted BattleTech, designed by the original creator of the series, will be the first game to carry the original moniker since 1994. Set in 2035, BattleTech features strategic turn-based gameplay that sees you commanding 30 mechs. Given the stature of your units, BattleTech‘s maps cover more ground than most strategy games. You’ll be tasked with maintaining a base where you maintain and customize your mech army. BattleTech is on track to launch on PC in “early 2018.”
‘God of War’ (early 2018)
Kratos, the anti-hero Spartan turned God, is a number of years removed from his showdown with his bad-dad, Zeus, and has since taken his unique skill set to Norse mythology. Part distant sequel, part reboot, God of War sees Kratos as a father to a son of his own, Arteus. From what we’ve seen so far, Kratos will have to reign in his aggression to properly teach his son how to survive in such a violent world. Whether or not Arteus wants to follow in his bad-dad’s footsteps remains to be seen, but expect the game to feature more content than previous entries. Sony has said that the game will be more open in nature, leading to 25 to 35 hours of playtime. Dad of War, er, God of War, is expected to hit PlayStation 4 in early 2018.
Q2 and Q3
‘We Happy Few’ (April 13)
Compulsion Games’ We Happy Few has been in early access since 2016, and the alternate history survival horror title promises to open up more upon its full release on April 13. Set in 1964 after a prolonged World War II on an island called Wellington Wells, the citizens have become addicted to Joy, a drug used to forget all of the wrongs they committed and feel ridiculously happy at all times. Joy’s side effects, however, include a lack of moral awareness and the ability to be easily manipulated. The game tasks users with escaping this dystopian society as one of three playable characters in a single, roguelike run. Wellington Wells is procedurally generated with each playthrough. We Happy Few goes live PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 13.
‘State of Decay 2’ (spring)
The sequel to the surprise hit State of Decay will be bigger and better than the original. Still set in an area of Trumbull County more than three times the size of the original, users will be able to survive with friends in four-player co-op, but while playing alongside others, you can still venture out on your own path. While not confirmed, the pesky State of Decay system that allowed the world to change while you were away may be no more. The sequel also includes a more advanced lighting system thanks to the power of Unreal Engine 4. State of Decay 2 drops on Xbox One and PC in spring 2018.
‘Crackdown 3’ (spring)
The third entry in Microsoft’s open-world action series has suffered multiple delays since it was announced at E3 2014. Originally slated for 2016, then 2017, and now spring 2018, Crackdown 3 will feature fully destructible multiplayer environments made possible by cloud-computing. By fully destructible, we mean everything from knocking down interior walls, to toppling whole skyscrapers.
‘Kirby Star Allies’ (spring)
The pink puffball’s debut adventure on Nintendo Switch infuses classic Kirby side-scrolling action with a couple of neat new tricks. Kirby can now recruit up to three enemies to fight on the side of good by hitting them with hearts. Kirby’s copy abilities return, but they can now be combined with environmental elements to create devastating new attacks. You can tackle Dreamland’s latest crisis alone or with up to three friends in co-op mode when Kirby Star Allies launches next spring.
‘Detroit: Become Human’ (spring)
One of the more intriguing PlayStation 4 exclusives on the horizon, Detroit: Become Human will attempt to deliver an impactful choice-based narrative revolving around the well-being of three very different androids residing in Detroit. Like Quantic Dream’s PS3 titles Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, Detroit: Become Human tasks players with uncovering clues and making decisions that affect the trajectory of the story. Players will be able to rewind certain incidents to adjust previous decisions, but there will be no game over screen. Main characters can die and the story keeps chugging along. Detroit: Become Human launches in spring 2018 on PlayStation 4.
‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ (spring)
After years of speculation and anticipation, RockStar’s Red Dead series returns with Red Dead Redemption 2. A prequel story, the game follows the van der Linde gang, with players controlling outlaw Arthur Morgan. Not much more is known about the open-world Western so far, but the game will include both an epic single-player adventure and multiplayer variants. Red Dead Redemption 2 launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC next spring.
Vampyr is quite the departure for Dontnod Entertainment, the studio best known for Life is Strange. Set in 1918 London during the Spanish flu pandemic, you play as Dr. Jonathan Reid, who recently became a vampire. As a doctor, Reid doesn’t want to feed on humans, but as a vampire, that’s all he wants. Feeding on humans can make Reid stronger, but making careless decisions can attract the attention of vampire hunters.
The action RPG has a mix of close-quarters combat and investigative missions set across a partially open world. Vampyr has a strong emphasis on player choice and the consequences that follow. You can even complete the game without ever killing a human. Vampyr launches next spring on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
‘The Crew 2’ (spring/summer)
The sequel to the 2014 open-world racer The Crew marks a return to Ubisoft’s scaled version of the continental United States. This time around, though, boats, planes, motorcycles, and more join cars to spice up the experience. The bevy of distinct motorized vehicles can be cycled through with the press of a button. That means you could drive across a bridge in a sports car and then quickly careen off into the water in a speedboat. Sounds pretty cool, right? The Crew 2 launches in the first half of Ubisoft’s 2018 fiscal year (April through September) on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
‘Super Meat Boy Forever’ (summer)
Originally designed as mobile version of the massive indie success Super Meat Boy, Team Meat has developed Super Meat Boy Forever into a full sequel. The fast, precise platforming gameplay returns, but this time the control scheme only uses two buttons. On top of that, all of the bite-sized levels are randomly generated. Team Meat took this popular indie feature to another level though, as the difficulty of the generated level is directly related to a player’s skill level. Super Meat Boy Forever launches on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2018.
‘Metro: Exodus’ (fall)
After spending two games in the claustrophobic metro tunnels beneath Moscow, Metro: Exodus brings Artyom to the surface of the post-nuclear wasteland in the year 2036. Artyom gathers a team in an attempt to escape Moscow altogether, but like previous entires the world is crawling with dastardly mutated beasts to thwart Artyom’s plans. The setup allows for the relatively linear first person shooter series to open up, giving players freedom to explore the lush, desolate lands that showcase multiple climates and seasons. Metro: Exodus arrives on PS4, Xbox One, and PC in fall 2018.
‘Skull & Bones’ (fall)
Expanding upon the excellent naval battles from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Ubisoft Singapore’s Skull & Bones lets you take control of a pirate captain in charge of commandeering a ship across the Indian Ocean. Along with a single player campaign, players can link up with up to five other pirates in epic multiplayer battles at sea. Skull & Bones is expected to launch next fall on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
After many years of producing epic single player RPGs such as the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series, BioWare makes the jump to the increasingly popular shared world shooter genre with Anthem. Set in an exotic open world, users play as Freelancers tasked to save humanity from what appears to be a race of a large robotic creatures. The online only experience lets players join up with up to three other Freelancers to complete missions. To help in their endeavors, Freelancers wear special suits called Javelins that give players the ability to fly and equip an array of weapons. Javelins will be customizable and include multiple classes with inherent strengths and weaknesses.
Beyond that and the fact that its beautiful open world seems to be vulnerable to sweeping and dangerous storms, we don’t know much about Anthem yet. A shared world third-person shooter from BioWare, though? Consider us intrigued. Anthem is expected to launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC next fall.
‘Shenmue III’ (“late 2018”)
Crowdfunded in less than eight hours after being announced at E3 2015, Shenmue III looks to pick up right where Shenmue II left off all the way back in 2001. Set in 1987, Ryo Hazuki is inching closer to finding his father’s murderer. His search brought him to Guilin, a mountain range in China. Directed by series creator Yu Suzuki, Shenmue III remains a bit of a mystery outside of its premise. While the setting has changed, Ryo will still be able to contact characters from the first two games via phone. Shenmue III is on pace to come in late 2018 on PS4 and PC.
‘Bow to Blood’ (Q4)
Could Bow to Blood be the first true PSVR system seller? The sci-fi flight sim with pirate-style ships impressed us mightily at PlayStation Experience. Featuring intuitive motion controls, a beautiful landscape, and fresh racing and combat gameplay, the PSVR title from Tribetoy looks to have all the trappings of a game that can truly show off the PSVR’s capabilities. And its procedurally generated world and shifting cast of characters could give Bow to Blood serious wings, er, legs. Bow to Blood launches exclusively on PSVR in late 2018.
The next Call of Duty (Q4 … we assume)
We haven’t heard anything about the next Call of Duty game, but Activision has shipped a new entry in the series every year since 2005, so we think its safe to say we’ll be playing a new one in 2018.
After the stellar return to World War II in 2017, the Call of Duty franchise is at a crossroads. Treyarch, which should be making next year’s Call of Duty based on the Activision’s fairly reliable rotation of developers, devoted its last three entries to the “Black Ops” trilogy. While Call of Duty: Black Ops started in Cold War era, the most recent entry, Call of Duty: Black Ops III was set in 2065. This presents a problem since it’s believed Activision acknowledged that fans were growing tired of the futuristic vibe with the launch of Call of Duty: WWII. So will Treyarch make “Call of Duty: Black Ops IV?” or will we get a brand new sub-series? We probably won’t find out until April (when new games in the series are typically revealed), but we’re eager to see what’s next for the iconic series. The next Call of Duty game will almost certainly launch in November 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Games coming by the end of 2018
Media Molecule, the studio behind the LittleBigPlanet series, might have the most intriguing project of 2018. More of a sandbox creation tool than a game, Dreams will let users design their own video game worlds from the ground up — from platforms, to obstacles, to composing the soundtrack, to even creating and designing the animations for characters. To demonstrate the immense capabilities of Dreams, Media Molecule will include a playable campaign entirely built inside the game. The possibilities for creation will be seemingly endless when Dreams launches on PlayStation 4 next year.
From Sony’s Bend Studio, Days Gone will attempt to tap into a well-known sub-genre — zombies. Yes, the global pandemic that caused most of the population to turn into flesh-chasing grotesques are actually called “freakers,” but the PlayStation 4 exclusive is in well-trodden territory. So far, though, Days Gone looks incredibly promising. You play as a gritty ex-bounty hunter named Deacon St. John who ventures across the sprawling wilderness and open road. Gameplay is a mix of stealth and gunplay, but the environment around you can also be used in unique ways to stop or kill a pack of freakers. Days Gone comes to PlayStation 4 in 2018.
‘Kingdom Hearts III’
The 10-plus year wait for Kingdom Hearts III may almost be over! We know the action-RPG will take Sora, Donald, and Goofy to the worlds of Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, Big Hero 6, Hercules, and Toy Story, marking the first time a Pixar franchise will appear in the series. Sora’s keyblades now have the ability to transform into other weapons and new super attacks called Attraction Flow will act in a similar vein to Final Fantasy-summon attacks. If all goes according to plan, Kingdom Hearts III will come to PS4 and Xbox One next year (fingers crossed).
The third entry in the Zelda-esque action action series offers a third “parallel” sequel to previous games. This time around you play as Fury, Rider of the Black Horse, and another of the Four Horsemen (and women) of the Apocalypse. Set on a crumbling Earth, Fury seeks to destroy the Seven Deadly Sins. Not much gameplay has been shown so far, but we know Fury wields a sharp whip and that she can use magic against enemies as well. Darksiders III is expected to launch sometime in 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Dark Souls comparisons come up all too frequently, but Bandai Namco’s Code Vein really does have an “anime Dark Souls” vibe to it. And who better to make a new Soulslike? The Dark Souls trilogy was published by Bandai Namco, after all. We don’t know much in the way of story, but Code Vein looks to be set in a futuristic, crumbling dystopia. Gameplay trailers have shown combat to be precise and weighty, which is where the Dark Souls comparisons spawned. We’ll find out if Code Vein truly earns those comparisons when it launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2018.
Described as an “open-world, post-apocalyptic kung fu fable,” Biomutant oozes style, mashing together cute anthropomorphic critters with unsettling set pieces. Players customize their raccoon-like protagonist and go off on an open world to save the Tree-of-Life and unite the warring tribes before civilization completely falls apart. While the combat system, from our preview, feels like a typical action RPG, the customization and exploration combined with its unique world make Biomutant an under-the-radar game to look out for when it launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2018.
Unlike other Spider-Man games and movies, Insomniac Games’ Peter Parker is seasoned, having donned the famous suit for eight years at the start of the game. The open-world adventure set in New York City sees the hero sparring with villains such as Kingpin and Mister Negative, who runs a homeless shelter that Aunt May happens to volunteer at. We also know Miles Morales — a second Spider-Man — will play a role in the game. Combining web-slinging action with time spent outside of the suit, Spider-Man looks to be the deepest video game foray for the Marvel hero yet when it comes to PS4 in 2018.
‘Project Octopath Traveler’
Yes, Project Octopath Traveler has an absurd title — even if it’s supposedly a working title — but Square Enix’s upcoming retro RPG has a wholly unique aesthetic. Coupling 16-bit graphics with high definition environments and animations, Project Octopath Traveler is simply stunning to watch in motion. The turn-based RPG lets players choose between one of eight adventurers, each of whom has a different perspective and skill set. The Nintendo Switch exclusive doesn’t have a firm launch date yet, but you can download a demo from the eShop now while you wait for the full game to arrive in 2018.
Even more games coming in 2018
‘Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes’
Like most games from Suda51’s Grasshopper Manufacture, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes isn’t comfortable with the conventional. Set seven years after No More Heroes 2, Travis encounters Badman, a villain seeking vengeance for the death of his daughter. Travis will once again wield the beam katana to hack-and-slash through enemies via single Joy-Con motion controls. But the main draw of Travis Strikes Again is the Death Drive Mk II, a video game console that both men get pulled into. Inside, players will play 15 real indie games such as Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami and Let it Die. Essentially, Travis Strikes Again could be 16 games in one when it launches exclusively on Nintendo Switch in 2018.
‘Untitled Yoshi Switch Game’
Announced at E3, Yoshi’s untitled Switch platformer looks like it may be a sequel to Yoshi’s Woolly World. The 3D side-scroller is set in a charming two-sided cardboard world. Yoshi can turn the cardboard around with a ground-pound, giving players a new perspective and means to make progress. While most of the footage so far sees Yoshi traveling horizontally from left to right, Mario’s pal has free movement in some areas. Multiple Yoshis were shown in the reveal trailer, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the game will have co-op when it comes out next year.
The long awaited sequel to Tim Schafer’s 2005 cult hit Psychonauts doesn’t actually start at the end of the original game. Instead, it begins after the events of the PSVR exclusive Psychnauts in the Rhombus of Ruin, which launched in early 2017. After rescuing Truman Zanotto, Raz and his pals learn that the organization they recently graduated from is experimenting with radical practices such as necromancy. Psychonauts 2 will include similar platforming gameplay from the original, as well as all of the fun psychic powers. Also expect to learn more about Raz’s background and family history when Psychonauts 2 launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2018.
We’ve tried, but it’s impossible to discuss the ambitious indie Ashen without invoking Dark Souls. Even developer Aurora44 cited the series as a major influence. So yes, Ashen is an action RPG with combat that looks and plays like Dark Souls, but the game’s driving feature is its co-operative play. Ashen tells the story of a wanderer seeking a home. Over the course of the adventure, you encounter other players on their own journeys who you can team up with to explore dungeons and defeat baddies. Aurora44 wants these meetings to have emotional weight. Considering Ashen‘s other major influence is Journey, we’re anxious for Ashen‘s expected 2018 launch on Xbox One and PC.
Ooblets, created by a two-person indie team, mixes farm simulation, town management, and the eponymous creatures called Ooblets, which you capture, train, and use in battle. Think Stardew Valley meets Pokémon.
The combination of RPG exploration and combat with relaxing day-to-day tasks in town makes Ooblets one of our most anticipated indies. Given the charming aesthetic, perhaps it’s also no surprise that Double Fine Productions is aboard to publish the PC game in 2018.
Developed by the creators of Spelunky, Downwell, Time Barons, Skorpulac, and Madhouse, UFO 50 aims to inject retro style games with modern game design. UFO 50 contains 50, yes 50, 8-bit-style games. The collection includes platformers, puzzlers, RPGs, and shooters, and roughly a third of the games support competitive or cooperative multiplayer. UFO 50, and its hundreds of hours of modern-retro content, launches in 2018 for PC, with console ports coming at a later date.
‘Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire’
The sequel to one of the best RPGs of 2015, Pillars of Eternity, transports users back to the sprawling fantasy world of Eora. Taking place after the events of the first game, the god of light Eothas is reborn and decimates the Watcher’s stronghold. Staving off death, the Watcher heads to Deadfire Archipelago to confront Eothas.
If you played the original, the decisions you made there will how the sequel progresses. Each character class now has three sub-classes, and Deadfire places a greater emphasis on companion relationships. The Watcher will also have his or her own mobile base, a ship that can be used to explore the seas and uncover uncharted islands. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire launches on PC in 2018.
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