With the arrival of a new year comes a lineup of new games to anticipate. Despite the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 nearing the end of their lifespans, there are still a ton of great titles coming out for both consoles. The PC is no slouch when it comes to new releases, either, and the Nintendo Switch continues to truck along with a library of fantastic first-party and third-party games. Whatever system you happen to own, you’re in for a great year. These are our most anticipated games of 2019.
Mortal Kombat 11 (PS4, Xbox One, PC — April 23)
The masters of gore and over-the-top fighting action NetherRealm Studios are back with Mortal Kombat 11, a game that builds on the deep gameplay systems of Mortal Kombat X while also changing up the formula in interesting ways. New super-powered moves tied to a meter allow you deliver hard-hitting attacks when you’re nearing the end of your health bar, and the series’ signature “fatality” moves are even bloodier and more ridiculous than before.
Mortal Kombat 11 puts a greater focus on characters’ positioning and countering than previous games, with long combos of attacks dropped in favor of quick and brutal blows. The game’s story should be as goofy as we’ve seen yet, with time travel altering the course of Mortal Kombat history.
Days Gone (PS4 – April 26)
If The Last of Us prides itself on subtlety in its zombie-infested world, Days Gone prides itself on over-the-top action. Set in a Pacific Northwest overrun with “freakers” who want nothing more than to eat humans as quickly as possible, Days Gone throws an almost comical number of enemies at you when things start to pop off.
Swarms of undead charge at you with the speed of Olympic athletes, and you’ll need your guns, your explosives, and your trusty motorcycle if you hope to make it out alive. Humans aren’t so kind, either, which means some sneaky stealth kills aren’t off the table, either, but you’ll probably still have to pull those guns out eventually.
Rage 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC — May 14)
A sequel to Id Software’s post-apocalyptic shooter, Rage 2 looks to be a more irreverent and colorful game than its predecessor, and developer Avalanche Studios is teaming up with Id to make that happen.
Once again, the game will see players engaging in Mad Max combat driving scenarios before leaving the vehicle and blasting away enemies with guns, but new over-the-top powers give you more options for killing your enemies. It feels like fun came first with Rage 2, and that’s a very good thing.
Super Mario Maker 2 (Switch — exact date TBA)
Rather than simply port the original Wii U game Super Mario Maker to the Switch, Nintendo chose to develop a full sequel for the Switch. Super Mario Maker 2 gives players access to the same art styles of the first game, but with additional creative tools to make even crazier levels for their friends (and enemies) to try to complete.
To make use of the single screen on the Switch, a wheel-style piece selector has been included in Super Mario Maker 2, but the grid-based, endlessly customizable gameplay you know and love is still here. Best of all is that it’s on a system people actually own, so even more players can try their hand at course design.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch — July 26)
The first Fire Emblem game to hit a home console since Radiant Dawn in 2007, Fire Emblem: Three Houses features four protagonists – your avatar as well as three unique heroes – in a political struggle initiated by the Church of Seiros.
Like in Fire Emblem Echoes, there will be sections of the game where you can move freely in real-time, and your heroes will be joined by formations of troops as they march across the battlefield. With the Fire Emblem series on such a roll lately, we have very high hopes for Three Houses to raise the bar even higher.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PS4, Xbox One, PC — July 26)
A standalone sequel similar to Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, Wolfenstein: Youngblood stars B.J. Blazkowicz’ twin daughters as they fight the Nazi oppressors in control of 1980s France. Because you’ll be playing as two separate characters, Wolfenstein: Youngblood will support cooperative play, and developer MachineGames’ knack for finding brutal new ways to kill Nazis will almost certainly be on display.
Shenmue III (PS4, PC – August 27)
It looked like the cult hit Shenmue adventure games would never get a sequel, but with the help of fans and crowdfunding, Shenmue III became a reality. Once again starring Ryo, Shenmue III brings its bizarre mix of exploration, storytelling, and melee combat into the modern age, but without sacrificing the visual style that gave the original two games so much charm.
It’s a game being made for Shenmue fans, first and foremost, and though that makes it a bit of an oddity in 2019, that weirdness is what helped give the series its following.
Control (PS4, Xbox One, PC — August 27)
Remedy Entertainment is the master of the cerebral third-person shooter, and it looks to be at the very top of its game with Control. Building on some of the gameplay ideas present in Remedy’s Quantum Break, the shooter features a constantly changing world and ditches some of its predecessor’s science-fiction elements in favor of the supernatural. With a unique weapon at her side, Jesse Faden must use her wits and gun skills as she investigates a secretive and mysterious agency.
Astral Chain (Switch — August 30)
PlatinumGames is certainly staying busy on Switch games – Bayonetta 3 is still coming to the system – but the action game Astral Chain might have us even more excited. Two police task force agents must defeat bizarre creatures that have invaded the planet, working together and using a variety of combat styles as well as the “Legion” weapon to deal damage.
Astral Chain bears some resemblance to PlatinumGames’ Nier: Automata, and the latter game’s lead designer is serving as the director on the project. Bayonetta creator Hideki Kamiya will also play a role in its development, so we’re expecting very big things.
Borderlands 3 (PS4, Xbox One, PC — September 13)
Gearbox Software’s massively influential first-person “looter shooter” will return on September 13, continuing from the events of Borderlands 2. Several characters from the previous games will return, including the spinoff Tales From the Borderlands, and we’ll be going to a diverse selection of environments rather than the snow and desert we’re used to. And did we even mention that it will have guns with legs? Guns with legs!
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PS4, Xbox One, PC — November 15)
DICE isn’t the only studio EA has working on Star Wars projects. Titanfall creator Respawn Entertainment, now part of Electronic Arts, is working on its own Star Wars game set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and the original film, and it will star a Jedi Padawan. Given the studio’s pedigree and the critical success that was Titanfall 2, we can’t wait to pick up a lightsaber and start slicing in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and experience the most dangerous period for the Jedi in history.
Gears 5 (Xbox One, PC)
It dropped the “of War” from its name, but The Coalition’s Gears 5 is the next chapter in the struggle between Sera’s inhabitants and its burrowing invaders. In place of Marcus of J.D. Fenix this time around, the game stars Kait Diaz on a mission to learn a personal truth – even as her mind is seemingly being invaded by the enemy. It promises conflict between human characters that we haven’t seen in the series for a long time, and the change of lead character could breathe new life into the long-running franchise.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 (Switch)
Following the release of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon as well as the first game on 3DS, Luigi’s Mansion is making the jump to Nintendo Switch for Luigi’s Mansion 3. We know very little about the game so far, but it will feature an appropriately spooky setting and ghosts that Luigi must suck up with his trusty vacuum cleaner. We’re sure he’s going to get scared more than a few times along the way, but he always marches ahead and busts those ghosts, anyway.
Mario Kart Tour (Mobile)
After the success of mobile adaptations like Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo is taking Mario Kart Tour to mobile devices in 2019. The racing game’s details are being kept under wraps right now, but expect plenty of zany racing action, blue shells, and heartbreaking finishes that could put some strain on your close friendships. As long as you pick Yoshi, you should be just fine.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox One, PC)
Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the best games on Xbox One, taking the Metroidvania formula and giving it a dose of Disney-like whimsy that transformed it into a classic platformer.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps further flesh out Moon Studios’ adorable adventure with all new traversal and combat tools, an even more gorgeous and detailed art style, and characters so pure that you can’t help but shed a few tears.
Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield (Switch)
The Pokémon series got its first home console adventure experience with 2018’s Let’s Go games, but players will be able to get their hands on full-fledged role-playing games when Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield launch in late 2019. The games return to the classic random encounters and wild Pokémon battles of the main series, alongside classic gyms and a gorgeous new region called Galar to explore.
Pokémon and humans work together to keep Galar running smoothly, with the region made up of industrialized sections, lush greenery, and enormous snowy mountains. Of course, new Pokémon will be available in the game, as well, and the first three starters have already been revealed.
Psychonauts 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux)
Given the relatively modest sales figures for the original game, it’s remarkable that Double Fine Productions is even getting the chance to make Psychonauts 2. With the help of crowdfunders on the service Fig, however, the game is well into production, and will once again star telepathic hero Razputin. Original creator Tim Schafer is once again taking the reins, so expect plenty of wacky humor and charm.
Skull & Bones (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
2013’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag revolutionized the series with its satisfying naval combat. Fans loved it so much that Ubisoft decided to spin it off into a brand new franchise, Skull & Bones.
The naval combat gamed offers much more customization and game modes than Black Flag, with multiplayer battles that see allies betraying each other in a bid to get treasure and strike it rich. Given the amount of gold at stake, we don’t exactly blame them.
Twin Mirror (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Developed by Life is Strange and Vampyr studio Dontnod Entertainment, Twin Mirror is a murder mystery set in a quiet West Virginia town, and it has everything we could want from the studio – amnesiac heroes, dark, disturbing characters, and unresolved mysteries should all combine to give us the video game equivalent to Twin Peaks, and we’re pretty sure that naming choice wasn’t a coincidence.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch)
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was one of the defining games of the original Game Boy, delivering a whimsical and distinct story that dealt with themes not present in the other Zelda games. It has been well over two decades since that game released, and it’s getting a full remake for Nintendo Switch.
Link’s Awakening on Switch retains the top-down perspective but uses modernized 3D visuals similar to A Link Between Worlds on 3DS. The elements you loved from the Game Boy version, such as the shrubs hiding rupees and the classic enemies, look gorgeous with the new engine, and the Switch gives younger players the chance to experience the adventure for the first time.
The Outer Worlds (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Obsidian Entertainment has recently been busy working on the old-school role-playing Pillars of Eternity series, but the veteran developer is also known for Fallout: New Vegas. Free from the shackles of the franchise, Obsidian has created the new The Outer Worlds, an outer space shooter that blends western and science-fiction influences together in a single-player story.
Obsidian is no stranger to deep storytelling, and with the universe it has created for The Outer Worlds, we’re looking forward to seeing how far the studio can push the medium. Despite being purchased by Microsoft recently, the game will still also come to PlayStation 4.