What’s Coming In 2018
While 2017 had its share of great games on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch, 2018 is also going to be filled with a wealth of exciting new experiences. Notable standouts include Red Dead Redemption 2, Kingdom Hearts III, Crackdown 3, God of War, Project Octopath Traveller, and more. With so many games to keep track of, we’ve compiled all the biggest ones coming in 2018 (that we know of, as of the end of 2017). Click ahead to get a glimpse of what’s coming next year.
In this gallery, we’re looking ahead to the Nintendo games we’re most excited about. If you’re curious about the biggest games to play in 2018 on other platforms, check out our individual features highlighting the most anticipated PS4 games, Xbox One games, PC games, and Switch games.
If you want to see our choices for the best games this year, check out our Game of the Year 2017 Top 10 List. And for more on our picks of the best games of the year across various categories, as well as features focusing on the year’s performance for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch, check out our Best of 2017 hub.
A Way Out
A Way Out is the next game written and directed by Josef Fares, one of the creative forces behind the excellent Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. For those who may have missed it, Brothers gave you control of two characters, both controlled simultaneously and independently via the analogue. As a result, it featured challenging, but rewarding platforming and puzzles, and a heartwarming story to boot.
Like Brothers, A Way Out leans in to the idea of telling the story of two characters and allowing you to experience them concurrently. This time, however, the two characters are prisoners trying to escape from jail and eventually live out their lives on the run. To successfully put their escape plan into action, both characters will need to work together to, for example, distract a guard while the other scopes out a route or acquires a tool that will aid them. Developer Hazelight Studios has said A Way Out will feature multiple characters to interact with, and the solutions to their problems aren’t obviously prescribed. This encourages communication between the two players, who can be playing together on a couch or over the internet. From a gameplay standpoint, A Way Out is an intriguing prospect, but we’re more interested in seeing its handling of storytelling.
Announced at E3 this year, Anthem is the next game from veteran and esteemed role-playing game studio BioWare, specifically BioWare Edmonton (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic). A multiplayer action-RPG, Anthem puts players into the role of a Freelancer on a journey through a “vast open world” to explore unknown planets and protect humanity. A key element of the game are the exosuits, called Javelins. You can customise them, equipping them with a range of new gear that you either craft or acquire. BioWare has a history of masterful world-building and storytelling. While it remains to be seen how these elements will play out in an open-world setting with what looks like more shooting than past BioWare games, we have faith in the legendary developer.
Publisher Electronic Arts has said Anthem will have some form of a “live service” model, and given everything that happened with Star Wars Battlefront II, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a little uneasy about this. But with Anthem not due out on PS4, Xbox One, and PC until fall 2018, EA has the time to get things right. From the first trailer and what we’ve heard, it looks like Anthem is influenced and inspired by games like Destiny and The Division, and it’s exciting to think about what BioWare’s spin on the online multiplayer shooter might look like.
Crackdown 3 was first announced at E3 2014 and planned for a 2016 release, but a delay pushed it back to November 2017. It was then hit with a another delay following its bold showing at E3 2017, and now it’s set to launch at an unspecified date in spring 2018.
Crackdown 3 is going to be one of the Xbox One’s marquee exclusive games, featuring immense levels of environmental destruction in an open world–an evolution of the previous games in the series. However, there will be a difference in how this is handled between single-player and multiplayer. The mass destruction in multiplayer relies on server-based cloud technology which will provide the grand spectacle in online games. On the other hand, the single-player campaign will be more tame, akin to a Just Cause. This open-world action game focuses its narrative on taking down criminal syndicates similar to the original Crackdown.
We can expect plenty of superhuman abilities for strength and speed, along with an arsenal of weapons and vehicles. It’s apt to compare it to Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row, but Crackdown separates itself by instilling the feeling of being a true superhero.
Detroit: Become Human
Detroit: Become Human is the next immersive story-driven game from director David Cage and developer Quantic Dream, best known for Heavy Rain, Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy in North America), and Beyond: Two Souls.
The script supposedly took Cage over two years to write and, as the name suggests, the game takes place in a futuristic version of Detroit. It follows the journey of three androids. Kara gains sentience and escapes the factory she was built in. Meanwhile, Connor is designed to hunt down rogue androids like Kara. Finally, the third protagonist, Markus, is a freedom fighter who is devoted to freeing other androids.
Like Heavy Rain before it, many major characters will live and die based on player decisions, and the story will continue to progress accordingly. Those who enjoy strong performance-driven characters in their video game stories should definitely keep their eyes on Detroit: Become Human.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Matching the style and over-the-top action of the Dragon Ball Z series has been a challenge for past games. The upcoming Dragon Ball FighterZ, however, looks to be the exception, pushing the trend of average DBZ fighters aside and bringing the series to new heights. Coming from Arc Systems Works–the same developer behind Guilty Gear Xrd, BlazBlue, and Persona 4 Arena–the new game is not only looking to be a faithful adaptation of the series, but also one of the most exciting fighting games of 2018.
Featuring characters from across the entire Dragon Ball Z series, and even some references from Dragon Ball Super, FighterZ is a mash-up that pits characters in intense 3v3 battles that will level environments and push the fighters to their limits of power. Moving away from the 3D arenas of Raging Blast and Xenoverse, FighterZ brings the action to the traditional 2D plane–and it looks all the better for it. With characters pulling off high-powered, screen-filling moves, and performing split-second dodges to get the upper hand against their enemy–no frame of animation feels wasted in Dragon Ball FighterZ. There’s a greater level of detail here that the past games weren’t even close to replicating from the TV show.
Anyone who’s watched Dragon Ball Z knows that it’s got a style all its own, and FighterZ lovingly recreates many of the series’ most iconic moments in its core mechanics. With more characters yet to be revealed, along with a surprisingly robust Story Mode, there’s definitely more to this fighter that remains to be seen. But what’s been shown thus far looks to be everything a DBZ fan could hope for in a game.
Far Cry 5
When reflecting on the Far Cry series’ past locales, Far Cry 5‘s rural America seems like a refreshing and evocative choice for Ubisoft’s first-person shooter series. Between the sprawling farmlands and dense forests of the fictional region known as Hope County, Montana, the place is primed to make the most of Far Cry’s open world and emergent gameplay. Far Cry 5 also promises to continue the series’ tradition of featuring memorable antagonists. As the leader of a doomsday cult known as Eden’s Gate, Joseph Seed looks to be as calculating as 4’s Pagan Min and as fanatical as 3’s Vaas.
What makes Far Cry 5 all the more promising is how it adapts fan-favorite features like Far Cry 4’s cooperative play and Far Cry Primal’s animal companionship. Along with a wealth of vehicles and weapons plus untamed animals you can turn against enemies, there shouldn’t be a shortage of creative ways to take down Eden’s Gate.
Ghost of Tsushima
With the superhero-inspired Infamous series, Sucker Punch Productions proved itself capable of creating beautiful, vast open worlds packed with gameplay opportunities. Its next title, Ghost of Tsushima, looks set to leverage the experience it has accumulated from other projects to deliver something completely different.
Set in 1274, Ghost of Tsushima casts players as one of the last remaining samurai as he faces the ruthless Mongol Empire. What makes Ghost of Tsushima interesting is the idea that, to succeed, you will have to cast aside traditional samurai methods, and the codes that govern them, in favour of stealth and subterfuge. This means Ghost of Tsushima is essentially a story about the birth of the ninja, and the idea of an open-world stealth game is a very exciting prospect, especially for fans of Metal Gear Solid V and those begging for a new Tenchu.
Although Sony and Sucker Punch haven’t outright said Ghost of Tsushima will be released in 2018, it’s believed the game has been in development since 2014, when Infamous: Second Son and Last Light launched. That means it’s been in development for around three years, so there’s a good chance the game will launch in 2018.
God of War
The upcoming God of War is a drastic departure from the style and tone of previous games in the series. Its somber, more deeply personal narrative, new combat mechanics, and aged version of series protagonist Kratos each contribute toward what looks to be an exciting new direction for the series.
Taking place many years after the destruction of the Olympian gods, Kratos now lives with his son Atreus in a hostile world ruled by Norse gods. He lives in peace, but when his role in the destruction of Olympus becomes known, the Norse gods plot to kill him, forcing Kratos and Atreus to embark on an adventure for survival.
While only a few trailers have been shown of God of War so far, it’s already shaping up to one of the most exciting games in Sony’s lineup for 2018. And with God of War II director Cory Barlog at the helm, the game could also be one of the finest in the series.
The Inpatient looks to be an enjoyable experience in two areas. First, as a PlayStation VR title, it aims to scare you on a subconscious level, using psychological horror and binaural audio to worm its way into your deepest fears.
Second, it serves as a prequel to 2015’s choice-driven horror game Until Dawn, with the same writers and director at the helm. Set 60 years before the events of that game, you’ll take control of a sanitarium patient out to reclaim their missing memories. Voice recognition and player choices affect how you interact with the other residents of the asylum, changing how the story ends. January isn’t traditionally a month associated with horror, but The Inpatient is still staking a creepy claim.
Kingdom Hearts III
It’s hard to count the number of reasons to be excited for Kingdom Hearts III. Maybe it’s the 13-year gap between Kingdom Hearts 2 and the next numbered sequel. Maybe it’s the most recent trailer for a Toy Story world, the first in the series to be based on a Pixar movie. Maybe it’s because the series will be coming to Xbox for the first time, letting a whole new player base experience the Disney/Final Fantasy crossover magic.
No matter the reasoning, Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to drop you into the climactic battle of the game’s Dark Seeker saga, bringing together plots and characters from the many spin-offs the series has had in the interim. Along the way, you’ll get to explore a batch of brand-new worlds–Rapunzel and Big Hero 6 stages have already been teased–and battle Heartless with an array of powers seemingly based on real-world Disney theme park attractions. It’s hard for any game to live up to more than a decade of hype, but Kingdom Hearts 3 aims to deliver a satisfying conclusion to the war between darkness and light.
Monster Hunter World
The last few Monster Hunter games on 3DS have been terrific, and they’ve introduced a whole new group of players to one Japan’s biggest franchises. But Monster Hunter World is poised to take the series even further. On PS4, Xbox One, and PC, the game will obviously look better than any previous version of the game, but it’s the refinements in gameplay and online multiplayer that have a chance of finally pushing it into the mainstream.
For the first time, you’ll be able to jump into other players’ hunts mid-game, meaning you can help out friends (or receive help when you need it most), without going through a lot of complicated preparation. There’s a more convenient training hall that lets you easily experiment with weapons and that lays out various combos and strategies. And best of all, the game will have worldwide (although not cross-platform) multiplayer. Given how helpful and supportive the Monster Hunter community is as a whole, jumping into a game and finding fellow adventurers to take down monsters with should be easy.
Make no mistake, Monster Hunter World still seems like it’s going to be a complicated, complex game. But as titles like Dark Souls and Bloodborne have shown, there are plenty of players who are looking for a challenging experience as long as it’s equally rewarding. And with this iteration of Monster Hunter, newcomers will have a better chance than ever before to understand what makes fans so passionate for hunting.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
After the generally positive reception of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, it was not surprising that its sequel, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, earned the rare spot as a “One more thing…” reveal to close out a PlayStation Experience 2016 keynote. Between the original game’s heartfelt story, involving combat, and Studio Ghibli-crafted cinematics, there was a lot to love.
Revenant Kingdom looks to recapture the first game’s charm and engrossing gameplay, despite the array of changes in this sequel. The shift to a more active battle system looks to address the arguably complicated and cumbersome combat from the first game. Add to that a Pikmin-inspired minion system that buffs your hero for added advantages. Furthermore, Studio Ghibli is uninvolved this time around, although former Ghibli character designer Yoshiyuki Momose returns. More significantly, Joe Hisaishi returns as music composer. Given how he’s provided the music to all of Hayao Miyazaki’s films (save for The Castle of Cagliostro), it’s hard to doubt that Revenant Kingdom will feel like an unofficial Ghibli production.
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
2017 was very good to fans of old-school, Baldur’s Gate-style RPGs. Divinity: Original Sin II earned a rare 10/10 on GameSpot, and Pillars of Eternity II was announced and fully funded in the less than a day. Going into 2018, Obsidian is set to deliver on its promises of “truly living cities [and] more freedom to explore the open world.”
In addition to building out the world and story of Pillars of Eternity II, the sequel will also introduce an expansive multiclassing system, which will allow players to build unique characters that tie both into personal playstyles and stories. But it’s the expansive worldbuilding and D&D-inspired gameplay hooks that seem the most exciting.
In GameSpot’s Pillars of Eternity review from 2015, we described the first Pillars as an “original fantasy universe, as well as with combat details that reduce frustration and keep the tempo moving.” As long as Obsidian can build on those core elements that worked and refine the less-polished aspects of their previous isometric outing, Pillars of Eternity II seems like it’ll be another RPG hit.
Project Octopath Traveler
Project Octopath Traveler on Switch evokes the qualities that are bound to please fans of classic Japanese RPGss. Its “HD 2D” pixelated visual style offers a unique take on the much-used JRPG aesthetic, combining 16-bit style character sprites and textures with polygonal environments and high-definition effects. Combat is involved and utilizes weakness exploitation much like the Shin Megami Tensei games. And its ensemble cast of playable characters even calls back to early SaGa games. There’s already plenty of strong characteristics at play that make Project Octopath Traveler a promising adventure.
It’s worth noting that the game is being worked on by Tomoya Asano, a Square Enix veteran developer who served as a producer on both Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV for Nintendo DS, Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, Bravely Default, and Bravely Second: End Layer. While we’ve only gotten a demo of the game since its initial announcement, we’re eager to see what else it has to offer. Heck, we’re still curious what the game’s final name will be, seeing as Project Octopath Traveler is technically a working title. Time will tell.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Out of all the games coming in 2018, Rockstar’s follow-up to Red Dead Redemption is arguably the most significant. The developer’s other major franchise, Grand Theft Auto, is a cultural phenomenon, and even in 2017, over four years since it was first released, Grand Theft Auto V continues to be one of the best-selling games in the US every month.
The first Red Dead Redemption was a critical success, driven by a powerful story and an inviting open-world. But what’s most intriguing is finding out how Rockstar will integrate the elements that have made GTA Online so pervasive. Owning a garage full of crazy vehicles and high-tech weapons make sense in GTA’s city environment, but what is there to spend so much money on in the Old West? Or will Red Dead Redemption 2 focus primarily on its standalone single-player story with the online multiplayer used as a fun, but secondary, amusement?
This sequel has a lot to live up to, and succeed or fail, the story of Red Dead Redemption will be one worth following closely in 2018.
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves has been in Microsoft’s deck for quite some time, since it was announced at E3 2015, but it’s set to see the light of day in 2018 with an official release. This pirate-themed first-person action-adventure focuses on multiplayer across islands and the open seas. The game is shown to have range; there’s a lot going on from ship battles and navigating the seas to digging up treasures and hoarding loot.
It sports a beautiful, easy-going aesthetic with a cartoonish vibe and lax physics. But that doesn’t negate the intensity of large-scale battles at sea with cannonballs flying overhead or the sense of panic when trying to nail down a shot from a one-round flintlock pistol. The game isn’t limited to PvP, as NPC enemies layer PvE scenarios into a shared world. Sea of Thieves is also one of the few cross-play games between the PC and Xbox One platforms, which should help sustain player count. If early gameplay is any indication, players will be building up their own characters for the long haul; this will hopefully instill more personality into a game already oozing with charm.
Shenmue is a divisive franchise, but one thing that is undeniable is that the story is incomplete. The second game ends on a massive cliffhanger, and rabid fans want the series to return so much that they raised well over $6 million on Kickstarter for Shenmue III.
Considering the first two games are among the most expensive of all time, Shenmue III is going to need every penny. The original released on the Dreamcast and pioneered open-world games. Not only did it and its sequel allow you to explore large cities in Japan and China, but the games were meticulously detailed.
The series is predominately about its story, however. You play as Ryo Hazuki, and in the original game, villain Lan Di beats you up and kills your father in front of you. On a quest for revenge, Ryo learns martial arts and becomes stronger along the way. The 2017 teaser trailer looks like it picks up where the last game left off. In it, you see Ryo training and getting into fights surrounded by stunning vistas produced by Epic’s Unreal Engine. The world of Shenmue has never looked better. The faces in the video do leave a lot to be desired, however, but famed director Yu Suzuki assures fans that they’re just placeholders for now.
What fans can’t wait to find out is if Ryo becomes strong enough in Shenmue III to enact revenge on Lan Di. Hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer to find out.
While Marvel is currently trouncing long-time rival DC when it comes to their respective film universes, it’s an altogether different story when it comes to games. DC characters have had an impressive run of good to great games in recent years, with highlights including Arkane’s hugely impressive Batman Arkham series and the well-received Injustice fighters. In contrast, poor Marvel fans have had little to crow about when it came to high-quality, big-budget games on PC/consoles (outside of Capcom’s MvC series).
But Insomniac Game’s upcoming Spider-Man exclusive for the PlayStation 4 might finally end the long drought. Though it’s not specifically tied to Marvel’s popular film universe, Spider-Man for the PS4 still looks like its getting the core of the character right: spectacularly athletic, remarkably swift, and unbelievably high-flying, Insomniac’s take on Spider-Man looks to be, well, Amazing. It’s about time for another great Spider-Man game, and we’re hoping this fits the bill.
State of Decay 2
Perhaps the most exciting feature of State of Decay 2 is one that was sorely absent from the first game: multiplayer. The first entry in Undead Labs’ and Microsoft’s zombie survival game was a surprise hit, delivering a vast open-world with a robust survival gameplay and the unsettling, ever-present threat of zombies descending on you at a moment’s notice. It seems like a setup that would allow players to connect with each other to collaborate, but that wasn’t the case.
In State of Decay 2, Undead Labs has taken inspiration from Dark Souls for its multiplayer component, giving people the ability to fire a flare into the sky to summon help. Through drop-in and drop-out cooperation, players can come together to fight the undead horde or scavenge materials and build fortifications. Of course, there’s also the survivors hanging around in the wasteland, all of which are crucial to your safety. With a massive number of skills and personality types for the player to develop and nurture, these characters become essential to ensuring that their burgeoning community can not only live another day but also ensure the little family you’ve built thrives. Like the multiplayer, Undead Labs is doubling down on role-playing aspects of State of Decay 2, making for a sequel is giving fans pretty much everything they asked for, which is exciting.
Skull & Bones
Ever since the release of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag in 2014, there existed an audience of fans who yearned for the series to return to or iterate upon the fantastic naval combat from that game. While Assassin’s Creed Rogue expanded on those mechanics to some degree, it wasn’t the true successor everyone craved.
Enter Skull & Bones, Ubisoft’s direct successor to Black Flag. Aside from offering a traditional single-player-focused campaign, the game also offers 5v5 multiplayer modes where you and four others fight other player-controlled ships for loot.
While the reveal of Skull & Bones is an exciting step towards a new series that follows in the tradition of Black Flag, it also represents a divorce of naval combat from the expectations of future Assassin’s titles. Seeing Ubisoft deliberately decide to split the two into separate franchises is certainly one the most exciting aspects about Skull & Bones.