PC gaming had another huge year in 2017 with a seemingly never-ending stream of great releases. Less than ten years ago, the platform was on shaky ground and lucky to see a few decent console ports in a given year. Now, virtually every console release that isn't first-party funded sees release on the PC. It offers the best visual experience and support for any control scheme you like. Hooking up your PC to you TV via HDMI or network streaming box (like Steam Link) has never been easier, so enjoying PC gaming is no longer an experience confined to yoru desk.
The release schedule for 2018 appears to be just as stacked as we saw in 2017. The following is just a taste of what to expect for the PC in the near future, assuming you can actually find a video card to run the games.
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries
An all new entry in the legendary mech series is coming soon. This is the first time that Mercenaries has been used in the title of a game in the series since Mechwarrior 2. We all know how that turned out.
I love S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl. Depending on the day you ask me, it may be my all-time favorite gaming experience. If you tell me that some random game is like S.T.A.L.K.E.R, I will want to play it. If I was scheduled for some hyper-aggressive colon therapy, I would be terrified. If the doctor told me it would be like S.T.A.L.K.E.R, except in my butt, I would dive face-down onto the table in anticipation. 4A Games is made up of former S.T.A.L.K.E.R veterans and delivered some of my favorite FPS games in recent years, Metro: 2033 and Metro: Last Light. Metro: Exodus continues the series and based on its E3 2017 reveal, the game is an early frontrunner for best looking game of 2018. Check out the most recent trailer from The Game Awards Show below.
2018 seems to be the year that all my favorite games get sequels. I cannot begin to imagine how many hours I’ve spent playing Anno 1404. The premiere supply chain simulator on PC, the Anno series has had its ups and downs. While I felt that 1404 was near perfect, I could never get into the future worlds of Anno 2070 and Anno 2205. When developer Blue Byte and Ubisoft teased the newest entry into the Anno series last year, I could barely contain my excitement. I don’t need to go underwater or to the moon in my Anno. I just need wooden ships (although I’m guessing my ship will be steam powered in 1800) and fields of hemp, spice, and bear furs and I can be a happy man.
Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord
Mount and Blade (along with the amazing Warband follow up), remains one of my all-time favorite RPGs. The action and combat is sublime, the battles themselves can reach epic proportions, and the mod scene is as good as it gets in PC gaming. The structure of Mount and Blade allows the player to write their own story and, more importantly, is the only game of its type that lets me feel like I’m truly building my own empire. Why waste time saving princesses or thwarting ancient evil when I could be laying siege to castles and expanding my area of influence? I don’t know anything about Bannerlord other than it is the official sequel to Mount and Blade. That’s all I needed to hear to be sold.
A Way Out
“From Hazelight, the makers of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons”, is all I needed to hear to buy into this 100%. Watching The Game Awards show this past December and having Hazelight founder Josef Fares tell me that the Oscars should “fuck themselves up” and that “This is the shit! I’m telling you — this is, this is the real shit!” I’m with Josef on this. I want the real shit this March.
In my opinion, the original Crackdown was the crown jewel of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 library. Shacknews Chatty legend ThomW still plays the game to this day. Hopping around that big city and collecting those green orbs was one of the best experiences in gaming. The game was big, loud, and stupid, in the best ways. I never played the sequel, but I heard it was pretty poopy. Microsoft revealed the third Crackdown game like 200 years ago at some forgotten E3, but it may actually see the light of day in 2018. The early teasers have promised the classic Crackdown fun, but now it includes physics-based building destruction and the gratuitous use of Terry Crews. Unlike the previous entries in the series, Crackdown 3 will see a release on the PC. Please Microsoft, don’t screw this up.
Part X-Com and part spy thriller, the Phantom Doctrine has one of the most intriguing setups for any title in 2018. Shacknews writer Charles Singletary got to go hands on with the game back in January at Pax and came away very impressed. If It’s good enough for Charles, it’s good enough for me!
Sea of Thieves
Microsoft and Rare’s pirate-themed multiplayer adventure has yet to see official release, but a series or alpha and beta tests have served to get gamers worldwide to start foaming at the mouth in anticipation. Sea of Thieves has the best looking water ever committed to a video game and its drunken pirate antics in the beta have led to lots of memes and hot take editorials. We will find out exactly how strong its sea legs are at the end of March.
Following the success of the runaway hit This War of Mine, 11-bit Studios is gearing up for their next big release. This time, expect all the heartbreak and despair to wash over you as you attempt to manage a group of survivors in a frozen wasteland in a city powered by steam. Expect lots of gut wrenching decisions to make you question your morals while doing everything you can to keep your group alive in the cold.
Jurassic World Evolution
Initially revealed during Gamescom 2017, Jurassic World Evolution will put players in charge of the day to day operations of running the obviously cursed park. Control over construction and the business side of things is expected to be a focus for the game. Developers Frontier Games have a lot of experience with theme park management sims (Planet Coaster, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3), but this will be their first sim where the attractions are likely to eat the guests. Expect more details for this one to be revealed when the Jurassic World sequel hits theaters this summer.
Forza Horizon 4
While Forza Horizon 4 does not officially exist, Playground Games’ racing series has seen a new release every other year since its inception. Forza Horizon 3 hit shelves back in 2016 and became one of the best racing games ever released. It received two popular expansions and a 4K update made it one of the centerpieces of Microsoft’s Xbox One X launch window.
PC players had been able to enjoy Horizon 3 at 4K (and 60fps) since it originally launched and should expect the same from the sequel. Rumors have swirled about where the open-world racing would take place after Horizon 3 used Australia as a canvas for the high-speed hijinx. If Forza Horizon 4 delivers only half the fun from its predecessor, it will still be one of the best games of 2018.
The lucha libre action-platformer sequel looks to be bigger and better than the original. Here is an excerpt from Shacknews writer Ozzie Mejia’s anticipated games of 2018 column:
“As a Mexican-American kid from Los Angeles, I've always been a sucker for Mexican lucha libre culture. That's why the first Guacamelee was such a joy to play. It captured the idea of being a supernatural lucha-themed hero and wrapped it in an engaging Metroidvania world. On top of that, it was one of the funniest games I had come across in some time. But the story looked straightforward and self-contained, so when Drinkbox moved on to Severed, I fully believed that Guacamelee would be a one-and-done effort.
Then came Paris Games Week and the out-of-the-blue announcement that Guacamelee was getting a sequel. So on top of getting four-player co-op, it looks like there's going to be more of the Metroidvania action from the first game, more of the game's humor and wacky characters, and a whole lot more poultry.
I tried out Guacamelee 2 during December's PlayStation Experience and it's definitely a game that I can't wait to check out.”
If this isn't enough to wet your anticipation whistle, check out our other lists for what's upcoming in 2018!