Video games in 2017 were dominated by the release of Nintendo’s Switch handheld console and its pair of genre-defining masterpieces, Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda: Breath of the Wild helped to define the year in gaming. By the end of 2018, things were trending Sony’s way thanks to the accomplishments of God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man.
As we look ahead into 2019, the video game landscape looks to be wide open, with an incredibly varied collection of titles on the horizon. Everything from big budget console sequels to more intimate indie experiences are lining up to fight for our gaming time this year. The list of new games can be overwhelming to evaluate, so we took the time to trim the fat and present the titles you should keep an eye on in 2019.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake
LOL at those of us hoping to play this sometime this year. Nevertheless, we anticipate. As a matter of fact, Final Fantasy 7 fans have been anticipating this ever since Sony shared the FF7 PS3 tech demo in 2005, allegedly with no intentions to create this remake at the time. The game was officially announced In 2015, when excitement for other elusive titles, The Last Guardian and Shenmue 3, was also revitalized. Now? We wait.
The brief gameplay clips we’ve seen of Final Fantasy 7 Remake have been encouraging, showing off a more action-oriented gameplay style similar to the Kingdom Hearts series, but news bits have felt like attempts to lower expectations gradually ever since the official reveal. Not only have fans had to accept that they’ll be receiving this return to FF7 in “parts” similar to the three releases for Final Fantasy 13, the game’s 30-year anniversary in 2018 featured the news that fans should extend the game’s launch all the way out to 2023.
There’s a potential chance that Square Enix will release the first part of Final Fantasy 7 Remake in late 2019, but the chances are incredibly slim. It’d be one of the best surprises of the year, but don’t hold your breath.
Dying Light 2
The original Dying Light launched at a point where the zombie game hype was starting to turn for the worse. Nevertheless, Techland released arguably the best action game to come out of that wave of fascination with the undead and supported with a great expansion in The Following and a full year of content for the community that continued to play the game
The foundation of Dying Light was a large world for players to explore, parkour movement across said world, creatures that get much more dangerous at night, and a simple and fun crafting system focused on melee weapons. The story wasn’t a highlight in the base game and improved with the expansion The Following, but Dying Light 2 is upping the ante in a much more significant way.
Techland is bringing the game’s setting to life in a way where the player’s decisions will change that play-space in significant ways and also giving players a community of NPCs to be responsible for. All of the promotional information up until this point, actually, has been focused on the living and it remains to be seen what new monsters will be populating this dynamic world. Whatever is in store, it should be quality.
The original Shenmue may not hold up as well as most classic games, but there’s no debating that it was a monumental release that left a mark on gaming. The game was an ambitious passion project by Game Director Yu Suzuki, resulting in the most expensive game developed at that time and dense, living world that has had fans clamoring for a sequel all these years later.
Those same fans put their money with their mouths are and quickly boosted the game’s development via crowdfunding and we’re on the verge of its release. Ryo Hazuki’s long search for answers concerning his father’s death will receive its next chapter, if not the conclusion, this August and expectations are high. Will the game step into the new age of gaming efficiently with an evolved combat system and controls? Will the developers eschew the series’ love for quick-time events (I personally hope not)? Will the team find a clever way to implement the massive amount of collectibles the previous games featured?
We’ve not seen a whole lot of the game thus far, considering it is slated for release in August this year, but tons of fans are waiting to see what comes. Once we get a better look, we’ll have a good idea of whether this long-awaited sequel will either be a rousing success or go out like a complete whimper.
CD Projekt Red has set an incredibly high bar for itself going into the launch of Cyberpunk 2077. Not only are expectations high due to the leaps in quality from the first Witcher to Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and that game’s DLC, but the team showed off an experience that almost seems too good to be true in the lengthy first gameplay footage.
Shenmue 3, another title that made our list of most anticipated titles for 2019, is preceded by two games recognized for something Cyberpunk 2077 looks to exhibit: Density. The open spaces shown off in the gameplay demo are stuffed with NPCs and seems ripe with interactive elements. All of this should, if Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is any testament, supply players with a ton of engaging side quests away from the main story.
On top of the potential for a wealth of activities, the player will have a lot of different paths to pave when it comes to the development of their character. This is to be expected, considering the game is built upon the lore and rules of Michael Pondsmith’s tabletop Cyberpunk series. CD Projekt Red is struck gold in the fantasy genre and Cyberpunk 2077 looks like it will be a quality foray into science fiction.
Beyond Good and Evil 2
Expectations for this game should just be tossed out of the window. The sequel to cult hit Beyond Good and Evil arrived on the scene in 2018, but looks almost nothing like the original title. That’s not to say its a bad thing, though.
Beyond Good and Evil 2 is taking the world that was established via the little slice of the first game and blowing it wide open. The new entry is a prequel that will tackle what led to the events of the first game, but do so while giving players an open universe to explore solo or with friends.
The communication from the development team is asking players to help build up what Beyond Good and Evil 2 will become, so there’s likely to be massive shifts in just about everything during the beta stages. Players and creators will even be able to collaborate with the developers on different assets and leave their marks on the world.
Despite the mystery of what Beyond Good and Evil 2 will be, early gameplay shows that it at least incredibly ambitious. Full, massive planets to explore, the ability to head out to space from those planets with no load times, ships with explorable interiors, and more probably all collectively mean BGE2 won’t fully release until years from now, but 2019 should be our first taste of this intriguing game.
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
Although every entry revolves around major and minor conflicts between nations, there’s something incredibly cathartic about flying an expensive weapon through the skies in one of the Ace Combat entries.
Dog-fighting is the main dish, but an engaging story, music built around the eb and flow of missions, and incredible visuals should support what could be an underdog for one of the best overall experiences the year will offer.
Another bonus when it comes to Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is how it will impact VR gamers. The game features missions tailored specifically for virtual reality that are already testing well, so maybe the fan response to the retail release will inspire the developers to work the full campaign into VR. I’m already salivating at the thought of stepping into the shoes of a fighter plane pilot via a VR HMD.
Streets of Rage
I can’t remember the circumstance that put Streets of Rage 2 into the lives of my best friend and myself, but we burned through many hours beating it over and over again. We both experienced the third entry independent of each other and have grown into functioning adults in the 24 years since. Thus, Imagine my excitement when Dotemu, the team behind the Windjammers revival, announced Streets of Rage 4.
Even if you haven’t played the previous games, this hand-drawn entry has the stylish looks and hard-hitting action that should be appealing to anyone remotely interested in brawlers. The series is a cult classic and, with a new top quality entry, Alex and Blaze will get the love they deserve. Skate as well. He hasn’t been announced and the devs have confirmed there are other characters being introduced eventually, so Skate better be in this game.
Dead or Alive 6
It's been six long years since the Dead or Alive series last saw a proper numbered release, and fans of Team Ninja's take on the fighting genre are chomping at the bit for more face-punching action. Even though many players may still be getting their kicks out of Street Fighter 5 or even testing the waters of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, others may find that those titles are distinctly lacking in tight suits and bouncing breasts. Hey, we're not judging — it's how Tomonobu Itagaki would have wanted it, after all.
More than a chance to jump back into the DOA formula, Dead or Alive 6 stands the chance of bringing the series back into the modern parlance. Even though die-hard fans may disagree, Dead or Alive has been steadily pushed out by bigger-name fighter releases in recent years. Thankfully, the new game builds upon the visual effects of previous series entries by allowing players to see their fighters get bruised and bloody, and it's also slated to offer a few beginner-friendly features that will hopefully make the game more approachable for those unfamiliar with the Dead or Alive recipe. All in all, things sound like they're shaping up well, and we're eager to see what sort of surprises Team Ninja may have in store for fighting game fans.
Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain
Earth Defense Force 5 may have just hit store shelves here in the US last month, but we’re already gearing up for this year’s release of Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain. While both titles follow the game’s core concept of blowing up giant alien bugs and a variety of Kaiju, Iron Rain is being developed with a western audience in mind. Gameplay mechanics are very similar between the two titles, but Iron Rain adds things like a boost meter and overcharge abilities into the fray.
The game is also looking to up the ante as far as visuals are concerned for the series with more details to the environment including more intricate battle damage on surrounding buildings. Hopefully, EDF: Iron Rain stays true to its arcade action roots while upping the ante with its new mechanics. We’ll find out later this year when Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain releases on the PS4 exclusively.
GameStop employees around the nation are girding their loins as they prepare for a whole new onslaught of people calling them and asking if they have Battletoads in stock. Only this time, the answer is going to be a resounding yes. We haven’t seen much, if anything, of the upcoming reboot. Basically, we’re only going off of a very short teaser trailer at this point. But, we do know the art is all hand-drawn and that there will be 3-player couch co-op.
The stakes are high here. Battletoads is a classic action brawler that became infamous for its unforgiving difficulty and a racing level that was all but impossible for most gamers to complete. Will the upcoming Rare reboot be as tough as the original series? All I know is that if they put another hover-bike level in this one I am probably going to hurt someone. No, really, Rare, water it down, please! Battletoads is set to launch in 2019 exclusively for Xbox One and Windows PC.
Far Cry: New Dawn
When I got to the end of Far Cry 5 I was left scratching my head. The big surprise twist came out of nowhere and left a lot of plot elements very open-ended. Turns out, it was all part of Ubisoft’s grand scheme to basically drop Far Cry New Dawn on everyone out of nowhere at the 2018 Game Awards. I can’t recall off the top of my head a time that Far Cry has ever done any sort of direct sequels to any previous entries in the series.
The Mad Max meets Montana landscape should definitely lend itself well to the game’s dark sense of humor and open-world exploration gameplay. And then there are these mysterious new twins who appear to be the brand new antagonists of this brave new world. Will they be friend or foe? We won’t have to wait too long to find out as Far Cry New Dawn is set to for a February 15, 2019 release on Xbox One, PS4, and Windows PC.
The Last of Us Part 2
The Last of Us was a very gripping sort of game, one that continues to stick out in gamers' memories over five years since its original release. The story of Joel and Ellie was surprisingly harrowing, requiring precise use of stealth and rudimentary weapons to survive in a world new dangers lurking around every corner. It was a huge hit with fans and critics alike, receiving praise for its lush graphics, intense action, and atmospheric sense of life in a post-apocalyptic world. It would eventually become a huge critical success, and be counted among the best PlayStation 3 exclusives ever to release.
Naughty Dog's blockbuster title was one of very few games that was able to live up to its pre-release buzz, and that's probably why we're so eager to see how The Last of Us 2 turns out. From what we've seen so far, especially given the 12-minute trailer revealed at E3 2018, the latest series entry looks absolutely phenomenal. We're staying cautiously optimistic for now, but given Naughty Dog's track record, it's safe to say that the developers have something special in store for their fans, and we can't wait to get our hands on it.
After what seems like a lifetime of delays Crackdown 3 is now on the verge of a full release and fans are starting to get pumped up. Microsoft has several exclusive titles under their belt, but the Crackdown series, in particular, seems to have developed an almost b-movie like cult following. There’s not much to the game conceptually: Players take on the role of supercops in a city full of crime and spend their time collecting power orbs scattered across the city to boost their various abilities.
Crackdown 3 doesn’t look like it will stray much from that path, but it is the first entry for the series on current-gen consoles, so hopefully, that will bring some hefty cosmetic improvements along with it. If all that wasn’t enough, iconic actor Terry Crews is coming along for the ride this time around as Commander Jaxon. Crackdown 3 is scheduled for release on February 15, 2019, exclusively on the Xbox One and Windows PC.
We haven’t really heard much about Bayonetta 3 since it was announced back in 2017, but hopefully, all that will be changing this year. Platinum Games’ flagship series is sort of a quirky sister title to the Devil May Cry series and past entries have been a delightfully over-the-top hack-and-slash experience. Players will more than likely take control of our titular heroine as she takes on waves of angels using her signature pistols and magical hair to take out her enemies. Specifics about Bayonetta 3’s features and its story still remain a mystery at this point though. All we really know is that Bayonetta 3 will be an exclusive offering for the Nintendo if and when it shows up in 2019. Either way, we shall wait patiently for our mistress’ return.
Ghost of Tsushima
It’s hard not to love a good samurai saga, but Ghost of Tsushima is really shaping up to be something special. The game is being developed by the veteran crew at Sucker Punch, who is probably best known for their work on the Infamous series. Ghost of Tsushima is definitely a pivot for the team as far as going from urban sprawl to sprawling fields of wind-blown grass is concerned, but the game is already looking gorgeous and has a lot of cinematic flair to it that’s reminiscent of Kurosawa films.
It’s hard to say what exactly combat is going to feel like in Ghost of Tsushima, but the impression from the game’s E3 2018 reveal is that it will involve some stealth aspects as well as skirmishes, and some very intricate samurai duels. Conceptually though, the game is just bleeding with potential. Could Ghost of Tsushima be a more eastern inspired version of Red Dead Redemption 2? It’s much too early to call it, but we’ll definitely be waiting to hear more about the game in 2019.
As of right now, Ghost of Tsushima has no official release date.
Ubisoft and developer Blue Byte are back at again with the seventh entry into the storied supply chain management simulation-strategy series Anno. After a couple of departures into the future with Anno 2070 and Anno 2205, the series returns to its historical roots. This time around Anno 1800 drops players into the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.
While the setting will be somewhat familiar to fans of Anno 1404, the onset of mechanized industry will change how the game is played. One of the touted new features is a blueprint mode that will allow city planners to map out building construction without committing to the use of building materials. This will allow most users to expand their supply chains and residential dwellings without running into unforeseen trouble down the line. Additionally, tourism offers a whole new way to generate income, as the game will judge your construction based not only on its efficiency, but also on its visual appeal.
Have your calculators and drafting tables ready, as the game is expected to arrive this February.
Age of Empires 4
Once the crown jewel of Microsoft’s gaming portfolio, the Age of Empires series has been lying dormant for many years. As the popularity of PC gaming has seen a resurgence in recent years, Microsoft has been shifting some of its focus off the Xbox and onto its PC gaming projects. Just last year, it released 4K-capable remake of the original Age of Empires for Windows 10 and has plans to do the same for Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings. During the PC Gaming Show at E3 2018, the company teased Age of Empires 4.
As Ensemble Studios, the team behind the original games, no longer exists, Microsoft tapped Relic Entertainment to bring the franchise back to glory. Relic is best known for its works on the outstanding Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War series, as well as the Company of Heroes franchise. If Relic can put some of its magic polish on the newest version of one of real-time strategy’s golden franchises, gamers will be in for a real treat later this year.
The Division 2
Ubisoft’s The Division was one of the first games that was demoed by audiences at E3 that gave a glimpse of the power of the now current generation consoles. While it didn’t arrive on shelves until 2016, it delivered a stunning recreation of a barren, snow-filled New York City. The Division 2 is taking its talents to the nation’s capital as the development team at Massive Entertainment hope to deliver the definitive cooperative loot shooter.
The first game offered a great early-game experience for new players, but quickly lost steam by its endgame, leaving many players disappointed. Publisher Ubisoft gave the team the resources and time needed to fix the game and by the end of 2017, The Division was a well-balanced offering that was close to what fans had hoped for upon its first reveal.
Taking the lessons learned from the first game’s development, Massive Entertainment is planning for The Division 2 to take the loot shooter crown upon its March 2019 release. All-new raids have been added to the game that will accommodate parties of up to eight players, a jump from the maximum of four players permitted by the endgame content from the original game.
The developer took player feedback to heart and are striving to make sure the The Division 2 will satisfy even the most hardcore fans and possibly steal some thunder from rivals like Destiny, WarFrame, and Borderlands.
The developers at 4A Games are the masters of linear FPS action with a hint of Russian flavor and the team is back for a whole new ride in 2019. Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light took players on unsettling journeys into the underground of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Metro Exodus will bring the action above the surface for the first time.
Breaking away from the ultra-linear design of its predecessors, Metro Exodus will feature an open world that is ready to explore for anyone brave enough to deal with all the monsters and decay that are sure to be found in every nook and cranny. It is not yet known if Exodus will have as big of a focus on the use of gas masks as earlier entries, but the presence of highly radioactive zones is almost guaranteed.
Always known for pushing the limits of graphical fidelity, the Metro games look amazing and Exodus will be no different. It was showcased by NVIDIA during Gamescom 2018 as one of the first titles to make use of DirectX Ray Tracing effects. If you have a PC powerful enough to handle it, the new Metro is likely to set a new standard for graphical prowess. Thankfully, a slightly scaled-back version will be available for console players as well.
Rage 2’s announcement came as a bit of a surprise to most gamers. The original game was only a mild hit for publisher Bethesda and the franchise had no real buzz into heading into the game’s reveal at E3 2018. Following a strong debut and colorful marketing campaign, the post-apocalyptic shooter sequel is now set to be one of the biggest titles of the coming year.
While the original Rage was developed over at id Software, Bethesda hired the team at Avalanche Studios, creators of the Just Cause series, to bring Rage 2 to life. Fresh off making Mad Max for Warner Brothers, the team at Avalanche have shown a knack for crafting amazing desert wastelands.
Bethesda noted that members of id Software’s Doom team have been helping to folks at avalanche on tuning the gunplay in Rage 2 so that it feels tight and responsive. If the game manages to meld chaotic open world vehicular combat with the buttery-smooth gunplay from Doom, Rage 2 could end up on a few “Best of 2019” lists come December.
Skull & Bones
Pirate games are pretty awesome, just like the actual pirates of yesteryear. In 2018, Microsoft and Rare released the beautiful Sea of Thieves, a pirate game with amazing water and open-ended cooperative play. It was a unique experience, but offered little in the way of actual pirating, instead placing a heavy focus on its amusement park-like vibe. Ubisoft’s upcoming Skull & Bones promises a more historically accurate take on swashbuckling with a heavy focus on ship-to-ship combat.
Drawing on the success of Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, the development team at Ubisoft SIngapore aims to deliver a tactical sea battle experience set in a connected open world. Crews of up to six players will hunt for treasure or plunder merchant ships across an impressive recreation of the Indian Ocean.
Featuring a variety of ships and weapons, Skull & Bones aims for a more competitive take on the pirate genre. Ship and pirate customization are expected to be a big part of the overall package, allowing each online crew to have a unique appearance. If they manage to build up a strong reputation, it’s possible that other players may turn their ships in fear at the sight of them.
Originally announced as a 2018 release, the game has experienced some delays and has yet to pick up an official release date. A holiday 2019 launch date makes a lot of sense.
Jump Force is an upcoming fighting game from Spike Chunsoft that gathers familiar characters from the manga and anime series spawned by Weekly Shonen Jump. Created to celebrate the publication's 50th anniversary, it rounds up characters like Dragon Ball's Goku, Vegeta, Trunks, and Cell to battle against and alongside Naruto's Naruto and Sasuke, One Piece's Luffy and Zoro, and even Fist of the North Star's Kenshiro. My Hero Academia's Izuku Midoriya is stopping by as well.
In addition to the whopping 33 characters from 13 series included in the game, you can create your own fighter to customize as well. There's plenty to look forward to here if you're a shonen manga and anime fan, and if you're not? Well, lots of punching bad guys to enjoy, at the very least.
Man of Medan
The first entry in Supermassive Games' Dark Pictures Anthology is Man of Medan, and it looks like a worthy successor to the campy but fantastic survival horror adventure Until Dawn. Beginning on a dive boat in the South Pacific, a group of four young Americans and their skipper are tossed about at sea by a raging storm, eventually finding themselves trapped on board a ghost ship. They've got to figure out a way to escape the ship before they succumb to its terrifying history.
Like Until Dawn and Hidden Agenda, you'll have to play to get specific endings and different scenarios based on your decisions in-game. There haven't been that many opportunities to see what it'll have to offer once it launches, but if it's anything like Until Dawn, players will be in for a treat.
With the core Yakuza series having come to an end (at least Kazuma Kiryu's story), another game from the same team is definitely something fans will want to eat up. Judgment (Judge Eyes in Japan) is going to fill that void nicely. This summer, players will step into the shoes of Takayuki Yagami, a lawyer who abandons his practice after a grisly murder and becomes a private investigator.
When Yagami has to dig into the world of the criminal underground of Kamurocho, the same setting from the Yakuza series, he's got to use all his investigative skills to figure out what's going on. It's a cinematic thriller that will hopefully grip players the same way Yakuza did, and the fact that we're even getting a Westernized version at all is fantastic news.
Devil May Cry 5
The fifth numbered entry in the Devil May Cry 5 is looking quite promising, reintroducing both Dante and Nero as playable characters as well as a new one named "V." It's a return to the classic series fans have been wanting more from ever since Devil May Cry 4 concluded, and playing the game feels a lot like coming home. This entry finds Nero with a new mechanical arm, his iconic Red Queen sword, and his Blue Rose revolver as he walks straight into hell to stop an oncoming demonic threat.
Set several years after Devil May Cry 2, the mysterious "V" hires Dante to resolve several demon attacks around the world, while Nero has set up his own Devil May Cry agency to fight demons while searching for the man in the hood who stole his original Devil Bringer arm. It's going to be an intriguing entry in the action franchise, and we can't wait for it to pull our Devil Trigger.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
This glossy, fantastic-looking remake of the 1998 PlayStation classic certainly has the potential to go down in history as one of the most ambitious remakes to hit the game industry. Players once more take on the roles of Raccoon City police officer Leon S. Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield during a deadly zombie apocalypse. The remake has completely revamped the stalwart survival horror classic in several ways, including utilizing the RE Engine, the same that helped elevate Resident Evil 7 to become one of the best entries in the series.
Characters' outfits have been altered to look more modern, and the fixed camera angles have been eschewed for more immersive, terrifying game design to keep zombies scary in this day and age. With tweaks to the game's puzzles, storylines, and even the characters themselves, it's going to be a whole different ballgame. It could also be one of the best updates we've seen to a classic franchise in quite some time.
Hideo Kojima's a veritable genius, and though we'll likely never see another masterful entry in the Metal Gear universe, we will see his unique skills on display in the upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive Death Stranding. With an all-star cast, including Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen, the open-world game follows main character Sam throughout an adventure that explores the themes of life and death. We still aren't quite sure what the main story is actually about beyond Norman Reedus carting around an artificial womb and fetus, but the brief peeks we've had into the trip universe promise something extremely unique and interesting, especially the fact that when Sam dies, he's sent to a strange "upside-down" world submerged in water.
There's also the rain called "Timefall," which can age and deteriorate anything it hits. Let's not forget all the shadowy figures seen in the trailers and the invisible monsters that you definitely don't want to be caught by. Death Stranding probably won't be out in 2019, but we can't wait to get our hands on it when it finally does. We may find ourselves pleasantly surprised with it hitting this year, after all.
Mortal Kombat 11
Ever since NetherRealm Studios rebooted the Mortal Kombat franchise with its 2009 effort, the studio has been on an incredible winning streak. The past two Mortal Kombat games have not only rejuvenated what was once a stale franchise, but they've also made great contributions to the fighting game genre as a whole. Mortal Kombat X, in particular, introduced multiple fighting styles for each character, making even the dreaded mirror match feel like something fresh.
There aren't a lot of details for Mortal Kombat 11 just yet. That's set to change by the end of January, with a special reveal event set for the middle of the month. One thing we do know is that NetherRealm will look to top themselves with more violence, more action, some new ideas, and a follow-up to what's been (much to my surprise) one of the most compelling fighting game narratives in the genre.
Kingdom Hearts 3
What's left to say about Kingdom Hearts 3 that hasn't already been said? Did you know that Kingdom Hearts II released back in 2005? Yeah, needless to say, this has been an excruciatingly long wait.
This is it. No more radio silence. No more delays. No more teases. It's finally here! Kingdom Hearts 3 will be out in January and it'll bring back the "friendship is magic" spirit that has made the series so charming, even in spite of its overarching narrative going farther off the rails than Goofy with a rocket strapped to his back. Sora's journey is finally set to come to a close, as the Keyblade War begins and Master Xehanort carries his ultimate plan to fruition. Even if this doesn't spell the end for the Square Enix/Disney crossover series, it'll at the very least spell the end for Sora's story. And after well over a decade, it's finally time to see if he can overcome the darkness with the help of King Mickey and the dozens of friends he's made over the past 15 years.
Team Sonic Racing
Some of Sonic the Hedgehog's best games of the past decade haven't been platformers at all. They've actually been racing games. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed was a solid racer and both Sega and Sumo Digital are back for more with Team Sonic Racing. It's been a minute since Shacknews first went hands-on with Sonic's latest racer, but the idea of teams working together to score the best collective finish is a neat idea and one that should help this one stand out above the heaviest competition. Add in the sleek track design and hard-hitting power-ups and there's good reason to believe Team Sonic Racing will be every bit as strong as its predecessors.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Blind Forest was one of the most surprising games to come along in 2015. It was a solid Metroidvania, one with a heartwrenching story and one that was also refreshingly challenging. Ori got downright tough near the end and it's nice to see that he's back for another round with Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
While a lot of the familiar Metroidvania elements are back, Moon Studios is also throwing in some new combat scenarios and some new abilities that will mix things up significantly. There aren't too many details about the story just yet, but it does look like the incredible Metroidvania design that made the first game such a standout looks to be back and that will make this sequel a must-play.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3
Never in a million years did I expect to see the Marvel Ultimate Alliance franchise pop up again. I definitely wasn't expecting to see this series, originally helmed by Activision and Raven Software, re-emerge with Nintendo as a publisher and Team Ninja as its developer.
Not much is known about this, but it's looking like it'll integrate many of the elements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, right down to Thanos and the Black Order seeking out the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet. And while I was excited to see members of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy coming together, it was also great to see Wolverine decapitating some Sentinels. Yes, it looks like the X-Men are no longer dead to Marvel and we'll be seeing them return to Marvel Games with a vengeance.
Yoshi's Crafted World
It's been amazing to see how the Yoshi's Island franchise has grown and developed over the years. After some uninspired handheld outings, Yoshi has gone back to the drawing board and his games have thrived under developer Good-Feel. Yoshi's Woolly World was one of the best games to hit the Wii U and Yoshi's Crafted World looks like it's doing more than just resting on Woolly World's laurels.
Crafted World is adding some intriguing elements, like having Yoshi explore foregrounds and backgrounds and also having players replay a level backwards from a slightly different perspective. The Yoshi games have done a phenomenal job of feeling inventive, while retaining most of what made the original games great. Crafted World looks to be no different.
There's something beautiful about taking elements of "Where the Wild Things Are" and translating them into a video game. Concrete Genie centers around the idea of taking the most majestic creatures that lay in the backs of our imaginations and expressing them through gorgeous graffiti art. It's the idea of bringing our imaginary friends to life via our own sense of self-expression, while telling the story of a young boy who tries to cope with being bullied on a daily basis.
Concrete Genie's sense of expression has the potential to create something artistically beautiful, while also resonating with a message of what it means to express one's self, even in the face of those who would belittle you for doing so. Sony has a full lineup of mainstream blockbusters ahead, but Concrete Genie should not be overlooked. It stands to be one of the PlayStation's biggest standouts.
It’s been a few long years since gamers received a Halo title, and even longer since receiving one that resonated deeply with the fanbase. After Halo 4, players were demanding a better narrative experience but Halo 5 missed the beat by focusing heavily on someone other than the Chief. It appears as if 343 Industries has been listening, and although it’s early days, there seems to be an air of excitement surrounding Halo Infinite.
This buzz is certainly odd, especially since the only footage of Halo Infinite is the announcement trailer from E3 2018. This footage was also simply an engine demonstration showing off what we can only assume will be Halo Infinite’s art style. Judging from the many YouTube comments, most seem to be pleased with the art style displayed, which looks to be a return to the iconic Halo we all remember.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
If you’re a frequent reader of Shacknews, chances are you know a few of us are avid Soulsborne fans, so it’s safe to say that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is going to make the list of our most anticipated games of 2019.
In recent years, FromSoftware has elevated itself from a rather niche developer to a name known by even the most casual of gamers, and it’s thanks to their Soulsborne titles. Players will be leaving behind the ancient ruins of Lordran and the blood-soaked streets of Yharnam in favor of a new environment, story, and mythos in Sekiro. As FromSoftware are want to do, a lot of mystery still hangs over Sekiro, concealing both its narrative and the mechanics.
However, from what we’ve seen and experienced, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be shaking up expectations with its unique combat systems and verticality. March 22nd can’t come fast enough and you can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll be covering every inch of it.
BioWare may have experienced a bit of a stumble with Mass Effect: Andromeda, but they appear to be using that momentum to blast off into a new frontier with Anthem. From everything we’ve seen so far, Anthem is an open-world game centering on a co-op experience. If you think that sounds familiar, you’d be right. It seems as if BioWare is throwing their hat into the ring alongside Destiny, the Division, and Warframe.
Players can join up with two other friends to experience an online and open-world using a Javelin, Anthem’s version of a customizable exo-suit. Not a whole lot is known about the story, or even much of the gameplay, as EA and BioWare have been fairly tight-lipped.
How Anthem will fit into and differentiate itself from the competition is yet to be seen. In saying this, BioWare has one of the best track records of delivering high quality experiences, so we’re pretty excited to see what Anthem has to offer.
Metroid Prime 4
When the original Metroid Prime released on GameCube, I was beyond excited. I was already a big fan of the Metroid games, having played them quite a bit while growing up, and being able to experience Samus’ story from first-person made me feel even more attached to the world and the characters within it. Now, as we prepare for the upcoming release of Metroid Prime 4, I can’t help but feel that same giddiness that ten-year-old me felt getting to dive into Metroid Prime for the first time.
While not much is known at this point aside from that fact that it’s ‘in development’, Kensuke Tanabe, who has worked as producer of the series since the original, has revealed that the new game will tie together the storylines of the original three, while also taking the series in a new direction. It’s an exciting proposition that I can’t wait to see more about as the year wears on.
Luigi's Mansion 3
When the reveal trailer for Luigi’s Mansion 3 first dropped, I sat on the edge of my seat, waiting to see if more information would be revealed about the quirky, ghost-busting title. Unfortunately, not much info has been dropped since the initial reveal back in September of last year, however, that hasn’t dimmed my hopes or excitement about the title. Being a huge fan of the original Luigi’s Mansion, I’m excited to see what Nintendo does with this new chapter in Luigi’s story, and hopefully we’ll start to see new information about the title dropping in future Nintendo Directs.
In Sable, players take on the role of a young girl named Sable as she sets out across the world in a beautifully crafted journey that’s left completely in the hands of the player. While the world is meticulously built, the interactions and characters that players run into are completely optional. Essentially giving each player a way to experience their own story through Sable’s eyes.
What’s more intriguing is the fact that there’s no danger for players to worry about. Instead, Sable will rely wholly on the weight of the game’s story—which can supposedly play out any number of ways depending on the interactions you have, and the way that you explore the world. It’s a really ambitious idea all things considered, and I can’t wait to see how the entire experience comes together. The only real worry here is that the story won’t be strong enough to keep players invested, but with such a gorgeous world to explore and dive into, it’s hard not to be excited about Sable.
Gears of War 4 was a bit of a disappointment after the explosive adventure that was Gears of War 3, so we're eager to see how The Coalition will come together and continue exploring the grisly world of Lancers and Locust. This time around the game will focus on Kait Diaz, an Outsider with Locust blood. She's on a quest to uncover the origins of her people as well as the rest of her family with Gears of War 4's JD Fenix and Delmont Walker at her side – along with a familiar face in the form of Marcus Fenix. The game's dropping the "of War" part of the title on purpose, so that could mark an important change of direction – how will it fare? We can't wait to find out and do a little curb stomping in the process.
You can never have too many zombie games set in a post-apocalyptic world, and Days Gone looks like it's going to deliver that zombie-flavored gameplay we know and love. Players follow Deacon St. John, a former outlaw and current bounty hunter who lives life one mile at a time on his trust motorcycle. Two years after a global pandemic wiped out of most of humanity and transformed the rest into zombie-like "Freakers," Deacon is struggling to survive as the world has gone mad and all he has is his selection of weaponry and wits to get by. The game features a dynamic weather system and day and night cycle, which won't make surviving any easier. But we're ready to see what this vision of the zombie apocalypse has in it, that's for sure.
First, we have to ask: Who isn't excited for more Doom? Ever since we fell in love with 2016's amazing iteration of Doom, we've been clamoring to rip and tear once more, but with feeling. We're ready to jump into the shoes of the Doom Slayer once more and take up the Combat Shotgun, Super Shotgun, Plasma Rifle, Rocket Launcher, you name it, to mop up the demon infestation on Earth. The Union Aerospace Corporation is trying to contain the mess, for sure, but no one's doing anything "right" until the Doom Slayer comes to play. With twice as many demons, according to creative director Hugo Martin, new enemies, and a new "Destructible Demons" system, it looks like it's going to be absolutely brutal in the best of ways.
Animal Crossing Switch
We barely know much about Animal Crossing's Nintendo Switch iteration at this point. All we truly know is that we want to play it, and badly. The adorable animal-themed simulation game will finally be touching down on the console handheld hybrid we know and love, meaning we can finally spend bells and toil away to pay off Tom Nook every day of our ever-loving lives, loving every second of it. We first learned of the game's existence all the way back in September 2018 and there's been nothing but silence since, but we know it's going to consume our lives when it finally does debut. No doubt about it.
What games are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section and check back next week for our Most Anticipated Indie Games of 2019. Be sure to check out our 2019 release date guide to see what's coming down the pipeline.
Shack Staff posted a new article, 44 most anticipated games of 2019
Dying Light 1 is probably the best zombie-survival type game i've ever played. from start to finish, even the basic zombies can provide some danger. I never got to the point where i could safely, compoletely ignore the basic enemies. Unlike i think every other zombie shooter ive ever played.
the player always feels somewhat vulnerable. like most (if not all games) you have to learn the mechanics and the meta and the flow of the gameplay, and fit into it to succeed; to play one of the styles the devs designed for the game. And in DL1, all enemies play their role throughout the game, and the game world feels well constructed, balanced, and paced well.
know what i mean?
Anno 1800 looks sicccckkkk. And "supply chain management simulation-strategy" -- way to sell it to the non-believers! :D i still need to play Ori and the Blind Forest, and the sequel on deck for 2019 looks like it's a good reason to prioritize it. Sable looks interesting, hadn't heard of it prior to this post. I'm most psyched for the Subnautica sequel, which should be hitting EA soon. the only question is whether or not to jump in with it right away or wait until it's finished to hop on board.
in general it looks like 2019 is bringing some of the more unique indie offerings center stage as these crews have started to build a reputation. otherwise, there sure is a lot of... japanophile? maybe... stuff!
I applaud going back to basics for ANNO. Looking forward to it.
I played subnautica EA and had to quit several times to let the game devs catch up.
Pros: the way that they do EA is designed for people who are currently playing. Base building and customization etc was basically added to give people something to do while they worked on the story Biomes. Each major release comes with a cool guide for players to go see what they’ve done. Much of the fun of the game is preparing for a deep dive, so playing EA gives you the chance to really stock up.
Cons: I found it very confusing to return to somewhere and find a huge facility, or to discover something that had no use for now. Playing each update means you have to read the guide to find out what’s new, but that also kinda spoils it. Eventually I just stopped playing until release and then did one final play though. It was very very satisfying.
15 mins of 3P Anthem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye3aF_eNtUQ
Looks like Destiny, if everyone was wearing different Iron Man armors.
That's a GOOD thing!
Missing out on some high quality/profile games that will probably appeal to the chatty* psychonauts 2,spelunky2, the last night, in the valley of gods,bloodstained (good luck following hollow knight) etc
also a bunch of those don't have a confirmed date or even footage shown. All we have seen from metroid or battletoads was an announcement.
*kinda highlights the frontpage audience target vs chatty conversation.