The 30 most anticipated games of 2018

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Well, 2017 truly lived up to our expectations: it’s been one of the best years that gaming has ever seen. But we’re an optimistic bunch, and we think 2018 can be even better.

It’s true! Why? Well for starters, developers are flocking to the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo itself has been delivering knockout experiences. Meanwhile, both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One should be well-stocked with greatness from first-party and third-party studios. Oh, and the PC remains the destination for the widest selection of games large and small.

It’s early days still at this point and we only know about some of the games that’ll grace our devices in the next 12 months, but the initial list is already deeply compelling. Here are all of the most exciting new releases we’ve heard about so far…

1) RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One

It’s really no surprise at all that Red Dead Redemption 2 is our most anticipated game of the year: it’s not only the successor to one of Rockstar’s absolute best games of all time, but it’s also the studio’s next project following the world-dominating Grand Theft Auto V. That’s huge.

And in fact, it’s a prequel rather than a sequel, making it a pretty ideal starting point even if you didn’t play the brilliant Red Dead (which you should fix ASAP). As the trailers show, RDR2 is shaping up to be absolutely gorgeous, and an open-world Western with the ambition and capabilities of Grand Theft Auto V could be truly mind-blowing. We want it bad.

Due: Mid 2018

2) FAR CRY 5

Platforms: PS4, XB1, PC

It’s been a few years since the last mainline Far Cry game (Primal was perfectly solid though), so we’re itching to get our hands on Far Cry 5. And Ubisoft seems unafraid to wade into some potential controversy with the plot, which centers on a cult of violent, religious fundamentalists in rural Montana in the United States.

You’ll take the role of a sheriff’s deputy sent out to arrest the leader, and as you might expect, that’s not going to be an easy or straightforward task. Expect another wild open-world romp that lets you approach missions however you see fit, this time with the ability to commandeer planes and drop in from above. Amazing.

Due: 27 March 2018

3) GOD OF WAR

Platform: PlayStation 4

Eight years after the last core God of War game, Sony is ready to revisit Kratos’ quest – this time with a shift from Greek to Norse mythology. And that’s not the only change in what looks like a soft reboot for the series, continuing his saga but shaking up a lot of what we’ve seen before.

For instance, God of War now uses an over-the-shoulder perspective, Kratos’ twin chained blades are swapped out for an elemental axe, and… oh, he’s got a son with him. That’s right: you’ll be both protecting and mentoring young Atreus along the way, which might even inspire Kratos to quell his legendary anger.

Nah, just kidding: it’s as gleefully violent as ever.

Due: Early 2018

4) KINGDOM HEARTS III

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Will Kingdom Hearts III really release in 2018 following years of teases, not to mention a 13-year span of inane spinoffs? We don’t know. But that is Square Enix’s current promise, and we seriously hope that the fans’ agonising wait is finally over.

And wow does this game look marvellous, with Toy Story leading the charge of amazing new Disney locations that we can’t wait to fight through. Other worlds include those from Big Hero 6 and Tangled, and the combat looks dramatically more dynamic and exciting than in the past entries. Hopefully the game makes a lick of sense to anyone who didn’t follow the myriad handheld and mobile editions.

Due: 2018

5) SPIDER-MAN

Platform: PlayStation 4

Superhero games usually suck, and the wall-crawler hasn’t had a great starring role in ages – but we have high hopes for the Sony-exclusive Spider-Man. Why? Well, it hails from Insomniac Games, the studio behind the brilliant Ratchet & Clank and ultra-entertaining Sunset Overdrive.

Also, it looks pretty phenomenal in motion, although we still need to be convinced about how much you’ll actually be controlling the webhead during these frantic, spectacular action scenes. The fact that it’s not tied into a movie seems like a plus, but we’re anxious to get hands-on and see how it feels before we can be sure of anything. The trailers make a fantastic first impression, though.

Due: 2018

6) A WAY OUT

Platforms: PS4, XB1, PC

We rarely see big publishers push games that feel truly unique and original anymore, but that’s exactly what’s coming with A Way Out. EA’s surprise E3 reveal is a prison escape game that must be played in split-screen co-op, whether your ally is online or next to you on the couch.

That’s right: there’s no single-player version with an A.I. partner, unless EA is just keeping that bit under wraps for now. That adds a compelling twist to this slick-looking action game, which has sort of an Uncharted-meets-The Shawshank Redemption feel to it, plus it’s from the director of the also-special co-op game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

Due: 23 March 2018

7) ANTHEM

Platforms: PS4, XB1, PC

Now here’s something more in line with what we expect from EA: a big-budget, vast shared-world shooter with a sci-fi theme. Yes, that does sound quite a bit like Destiny, only this is Mass Effect maker BioWare’s take on the formula with its own compelling premise and hooks.

It looks gorgeous, of course, and the premise of being one of the rare soldiers (“freelancers”) willing to exit civilization and battle monsters in the wild is certainly cool. We don’t know how BioWare’s usual narrative approach will translate to a shoot-and-loot kind of game – but we’re excited to find out.

Due: Q4 2018

8) DETROIT: BECOME HUMAN

Platform: PlayStation 4

Quantic Dream’s next game has been on the horizon for a couple of years now, but we’re hoping that this heavily cinematic adventure – about societally oppressed androids that begin acting more like humans – will really deliver on its lofty ambitions.

It’s the latest from director David Cage, who has been hit (Heavy Rain) and miss (Beyond: Two Souls) with his last couple of narrative games, and it appears to be a decision-centric, choose-your-own-adventure type game in which each perilous scenario has multiple possible paths to varying finales. It looks super intense, not to mention totally dazzling.

Due: Q3 2018

9) DAYS GONE

Platform: PlayStation 4

Bikers vs zombies in an open world? Yeah, we’re sold.

It’s a compelling elevator pitch in its own right, but the actual game looks even more promising than the basic premise suggests. Days Gone is one of Sony’s most exciting new original IPs on the horizon, and while it’s earned comparisons to Naughty Dog’s brilliant The Last of Us, there are actually more differences between them than meets the eye.

True, they’re both third-person shooters starring grizzled, regret-filled heroes, but Days Gone sometimes pits you against hundreds of frantic, pursuing zombies. And the most compelling twist is the ability to tackle encounters and problems in many different ways, using the open world to your advantage.

Due: 2018

10) SEA OF THIEVES

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

The most exciting Xbox exclusive on the near horizon isn’t a big-budget shooter or or a lavish action game – and believe it or not, it comes from Rare. Sea of Thieves is a pirate game, as you might surmise, and it’s a very silly one at that.

Effectively, it’s a freeform, open-world pirate simulation that lets you set sail alongside a crew of online companions, blast the hell out of rival ships, drink grog, and have a damn fun time doing all of it. The cartoonish look and open-ended design ensure ample entertainment every time, especially when no two games will end up the same way.

Due: 20 March 2018

11) SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS

Platform: PlayStation 4

Shadow of the Colossus is one of the all-time PlayStation greats, and if you didn’t play it on PS2 (or remastered on PS3), then you’ll definitely want to savour this visually rebuilt edition. And if you have played it before, well, then that’s probably doubly true.

It’s built upon the same core experience as before, still challenging you to ride through the land on your steed and topple gargantuan bosses, but the visual overhaul here is absolutely sumptuous – you’d never know that they’re starting with a 12-year-old game. It will also offer up a new control scheme that’s hopefully a bit smoother than the original one.

Due: 6 February

12) DRAGON BALL FIGHTERZ

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

There have been loads of mediocre Dragon Ball Z fighting games over the years, enough for us to instinctively roll our eyes at the sight of a new one. But we stopped mid-roll here, and we’re convinced that if any anime fighter can do it right, it’s Dragon Ball FighterZ.

Certainly fans and fighting game enthusiasts are stoked about it. Not only does FighterZ show a slavish dedication to the source material, with animation and special moves often offering frame-by-frame replications of key moments from the show, but it also hails from Arc System Works – the team behind Guilty Gear and BlazBlue.

Due: 26 January

13) METRO EXODUS

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light are cult favourites from the last console generation, but Metro Exodus looks like the game that’ll take this series to new heights. As before, the atmospheric shooter is set in a post-apocalyptic Russia, in which survivors huddle in the train tunnels below Moscow.

But there’s an intriguing contrast here between the grim, confined tunnels and the vast, open environments seen in the trailer, and Exodus promises massive, non-linear levels to explore along with a blend of combat and stealth. We’ve only gotten a taste, but we’re intrigued. And if you need to catch up, both Metro games have been remastered for current consoles.

Due: Q3 2018

14) YOSHI (Working Title)

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Nintendo still hasn’t officially announced a lot of 2018 games, but we’re already absolutely smitten with their new Yoshi platformer. Hailing from Good-Feel, the studio behind Yoshi’s Wooly World and the fabulous Kirby’s Epic Yarn, this side-scroller blends the fabric worlds of those games with a bit of LittleBigPlanet charm.

The levels have that same kind of LBP diorama feel, as if they’re built from common objects, but the twist in Yoshi is that you can flip the world around to solve puzzles and discover hidden delights. Our favourite Mario pal looks to have a plum starring role on Switch in 2018.

Due: 2018

15) CRACKDOWN 3

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_9fG8hPCi0

It’s been eight years since the underwhelming Crackdown 2, but we still have so much love for the original Xbox 360 entry – in which you explored the futuristic city as a super-powered agent – that we’re happy to give the series another chance. And from what we’ve seen of it so far, Crackdown 3 certainly looks set to amplify the original’s approach thanks to a vast open world and massively destructible cities.

The game’s been on the horizon for quite some time now, and after missing its latest launch date alongside the Xbox One X we were left wondering whether it’d actually ever materialise. But Microsoft says it’s pegged for around June(ish), so we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Here’s hoping.

Due: Mid 2018

16) SKULL AND BONES

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

What’s this? Another pirate game on the horizon? It’s true: Ubisoft will also tread into unsavoury waters in 2018 with Skull and Bones, and as you might recall, the publisher did this a few years back with the excellent Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

Truth be told, Skull and Bones is something of a spiritual successor to that game, albeit with the on-foot, open-world historical action scrapped and the focus put entirely on high-seas action. It’ll have both a single-player campaign and six-player online naval battles, and it seems to be a more serious and structured alternative to Sea of Thieves.

Due: Late 2018

17) THE LAST NIGHT

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

The Last Night was one of the biggest surprises from Microsoft’s E3 2017 conference, serving up a pixel-packed game amid a bevy of vast, big-budget 3D juggernauts – particularly with the Xbox One X also on display. But it was what those pixels showed that really wowed us.

As that fabulous trailer above suggests, The Last Night has something of a Blade Runner-esque cyberpunk bent as you take command of Charlie, a “second-class citizen” who aims to rise from his meagre stature. There’s gunplay, stealth, and storytelling in the mix, plus enough visual and aural gloss to hopefully keep our attention when it debuts sometime in 2018.

Due: 2018

18) KIRBY STAR ALLIES

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Kirby’s platforming ventures have been reliably great over the years, so we’re excited to team up for Kirby Star Allies on Switch come 2018. As before, Kirby can suck up enemies to absorb their powers, but now you can bring in three pals for four-player co-op action.

Team play brings some new twists to the game, as the trailer shows, and if you don’t have pals to pair up with, you can rely on the A.I. for your allies. Some familiar levels and enemies return, as do abilities, but Kirby Star Allies looks to strike a fine balance of tried-and-true with some fun new tweaks in play.

Due: Mid 2018

19) DARKSIDERS III

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Darksiders seemed like it was toast after both THQ and Vigil Games fell apart, but the newly rebuilt THQ Nordic has revived the fantastical action franchise with a new Horseman of the Apocalypse as the lead: Fury.

The mage heroine wields a dazzling whip and magic spells to battle her way through the large environments, with hack-and-slash action and Metroid-esque unlocks and enhancements pairing well with Legend of Zelda-like dungeons. We’re excited to see how the game imagines the Seven Deadly Sins as grotesque enemies – and even more thrilled to properly slay them.

Due: 2018

20) SOULCALIBUR VI

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Bandai Namco is back on its fighting game grind: 2017 brought us the great Tekken 7, and now 2018 will deliver SoulCalibur VI, the latest entry in its great 3D weapons-based battler.

The last couple of entries saw the series grow much larger in scale and roster alike, but it’s still the first two games that fans love the most. Good news, then: Bandai Namco says that SoulCalibur VI will revisit the setting of the original game, and quite likely spotlight that original roster above all while still adding some new fighters into the mix.

Due: 2018

21) THE CREW 2

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Ubisoft’s original The Crew was a racing game with lofty ambitions and slightly iffy execution, but a large community formed around it and sustained it. Now the publisher can try to do what it did with Watch Dogs 2, and deliver a sequel that’s significantly more enjoyable.

The Crew 2 looks absolutely massive, as you race across the entire United States. And this time, you’ll be doing so in more than just glossy supercars – you’ll also be able to fly planes, command motorboats, and speed along in motorbikes in a seamless open-terrain environment. It honestly sounds a bit too ambitious, but hey, we’d love to see Ubisoft pull this one off.

Due: 2018

22) MEGA MAN 11

Platform: Switch, PS4, XB1, PC

Capcom has more or less ignored Mega Man the past few years, so much so that the series’ co-creator jumped ship, funded a Kickstarter, and shipped a mediocre knockoff (Mighty No. 9) of it just to try and fill the void. But now the real Blue Bomber is coming back in late 2018 with Mega Man 11.

We don’t know too much more than what’s shown in the trailer, but that’s enough for us: this is old-school Mega Man given a fresh 3D coat of paint, much like Mighty No. 9 but hopefully with a lot more polish and success. Capcom is also bringing a Mega Man X Collection to consoles, with the previous Mega Man Collections also coming to Switch with Amiibo support.

Due: Late 2018

23) NI NO KUNI II: REVENANT KINGDOM

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

Studio Ghibli can basically do no wrong as the makers of everything from My Neighbor Totoro to Spirited Away, and that applies to games as well. The original Ni No Kuni was a dazzling Japanese role-player brimming with charm and creativity, and the sequel looks to build upon that foundation after five years away.

From what we can tell, Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom doesn’t make any dramatic changes to the formula: it’s still a stunning, cel-shaded RPG epic with plenty of Ghibli appeal, but now developer Level-5 promises more depth to the storylines and new gameplay twists all the while.

Due: 19 January 2018

24) ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WHISPS

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest may have brought us to the brink of emotional trauma a few times, but it remains one of our absolute favourite Xbox One games. And for that reason alone, we can’t help but be excited about Ori and the Will of the Wisps – despite the fact that it’ll probably leave us sobbing into our controller.

We don’t know much about it yet, but this teaser trailer shows plenty of what we loved about the original: gorgeous, hand-drawn visuals and stirring music that generate loads of feelings in an instant, not to mention the sudden desire to destroy who or whatever hurt that sad owl’s family. Just point us at ’em. It’ll hopefully arrive next year, although a release date is yet to be confirmed.

Due: TBD

25) MONSTER HUNTER WORLD

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Capcom’s Monster Hunter series has been a huge, huge smash in Japan, but never found quite as broad of a following elsewhere – but the vast, expanded Monster Hunter: World looks like the game that might make this hack-and-slash battler a proper international institution.

As before, you’ll load up with gear and weapons and trek out to fight all sorts of massive beasts alongside allies. However, the confined zones of previous games have been chucked in favour of a large, open setting, while the simultaneous worldwide release should ensure that there’s plenty of online action at all times.

Due: 26 January

26) ONRUSH

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One

Sony’s wonderful MotorStorm series is unfortunately done for now, but Codemasters’ Onrush will arrive in late 2018 to pick up the mantle and speed through muddy forests and grab huge air with it. And it even hails from the old MotorStorm development team, now under the wing of the Dirt and GRID publisher.

Like those previous racers, Onrush is all about frantic, abrasive off-road racing on large, wilderness tracks, this time letting you choose between different kinds of buggies and bikes as you battle your way into the pole position. If it’s anywhere near as good as its spiritual predecessor and if a thriving online community subsequently develops around, then we’re in.

Due: Late 2018

27) DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

Platform: PlayStation 4

The earlier Dissidia games for PSP were sort of baffling, chaotic brawlers starring loads of Final Fantasy characters from across the years… and, surprise! Dissidia Final Fantasy NT looks to deliver much the same kind of experience on PlayStation 4.

Created in collaboration with Dead or Alive maker Team Ninja, Dissidia NT brings together beloved RPG heroes such as Cloud, Squall, Lightning, and Noctis to the battlefield in three-on-three skirmishes. Will you command the team left standing? Will you understand what’s happening as you frantically mash buttons? We’ll find out in a few short weeks.

Due: 30 January 2018

28) GTFO

Platform: PC

The Payday heist games provided one of the essential co-op experiences of the last few years, and now their lead designer is back with a new studio and something similar in its four-player approach… but tonally very, very different.

As the trailer shows, GTFO is a horror-centric shooter in which your team must attempt to extract priceless artifacts from monster-infested tunnels without being massacred in the process. It looks like Left 4 Dead with more of an Alien sensibility, and while this one’s only pegged for PC at the moment, hopefully it’ll do well and eventually hit consoles too.

Due: 2018

29) METAL GEAR SURVIVE

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One

There’s reason to be skeptical of Metal Gear Survive: it’s the series first new entry after Konami’s ouster of legendary creator Hideo Kojima, and we also feel that turning the stealth-action series into a cooperative zombie shooter just doesn’t… well, really make much sense. At all.

But if Konami can deliver on the inherent fun of the undead-slaying premise within the Metal Gear Solid framework, then we’re willing to suspend disbelief for a bit. We haven’t seen a lot from Metal Gear Survive since its 2016 unveiling, but the Metal Gear universe is so reliably compelling that we’re more than willing to give it a shot.

Due: 22 February

30) STATE OF DECAY 2

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

We really dug the original State of Decay on Xbox 360 despite some issues with polish and repetition, and five years later, Undead Labs is about to deliver a much-enhanced zombie survival simulation experience with some big new feature additions.

As before, you’ll take control of a human settlement amid the undead apocalypse, swapping between characters on the fly to seek out resources and fight the freaky shamblers. But now, you’ll be able to do it in co-op with a buddy. The game also offers improved graphics and is hopefully a little less rough around the edges. For the most part, though, it looks like more of the same as the original.

Due: Mid 2018

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