There actually aren’t that many games with confirmed 2018 release dates, so I’m being a bit loose with my definition this year. There’s a good chance some of these games will be delayed, but that would be true even if they all had “firm” release dates. That’s just the nature of the business, unfortunately. Enjoy the list, and let me know your most anticipated games for 2018(ish)!
A Way Out
A Way Out director Josef Fares has been getting a lot of press for his outburst at The Game Awards, but I’m more interested in the game itself and the new ideas it brings to the table. The game is entirely played co-op, which can be done locally or over the internet. In fact, only one player needs to buy the game — the other player can get in on the action for free. The story follows two cons as they escape from prison, and there look to be some puzzle and action elements to go along with the more traditional adventure game mechanics. I’m still not 100% convinced this concept can work, but I’m more than willing to give it a shot.
I have to be honest and say I’m significantly less excited about Anthem following the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda and the news around EA’s loot box and game design philosophy changes. Still, there’s some faith to be left in Bioware’s “A” team, so I’m hopeful that Anthem can cash in on the original, still unfulfilled promise of Destiny. I certainly hope there’s a single player component — since that’s still my preferred way to game — but I’m also excited to hop in with friends and explore this seemingly vast world. Bioware has always been known more for its writing than for delivering great shooting mechanics, so hopefully it can bring both to bear in what is sure to be a new franchise.
This game has frustratingly gone dark so many times that it’s easy to forget about it. Capy Games has come out and said that we won’t be hearing more about its Zelda and Dark Souls inspired dungeon crawler until there’s a firm release date. Since the game was originally slated to release summer 2017, I’m going to hope and assume it hits in 2018. The game itself boats stunning, minimalistic art design with a focus on the darkness you’d expect from an underground area. The combat seems very challenging, with additional systems around crafting and exploration. This one has been on my radar for a few years, now, so it better come out at some point.
I only ever put a few hours into both previous Darksiders games, but the combat in Darksiders 3 just looks too fun to resist. Most of the gameplay I’ve seen is pre-alpha footage, but even that shows plenty of acrobatics and stylish whip combat as the player controls the now third horseman of the apocalypse, Fury. The whip sound effect is also pretty damn satisfying. It’s too early to tell the story of the game, but I get some serious early God of War vibes. After the demise of THQ a few years ago, the re-formed THQ Nordic worked hard to retain the rights to the Darksiders franchise. Let’s hope their efforts pay off.
I’ve been a bit up and down on Days Gone since it was first announced, mostly due to its played-out zombies premise and my general eye-rolling feelings toward Sam Witwer. But looking ahead to the strong slate of PS4 exclusives, it’s hard not to count Days Gone among them. The more gameplay I see, the more excited I get. The sheer amount of zombies that can be onscreen is incredibly impressive, and I still dig the Sons of Anarchy vibe I get from the setting and characters. Sony Bend has a strong track record on Sony’s handheld systems, so I’m hopeful they can successfully make the jump to some real-deal hardware.
Dreams is another game that we’ve hadn’t seen in a while, until the recent re-unveiling at The Game Awards. Developer Media Molecule has a pretty strong track record in the genre with the LittleBigPlanet series, but Dreams seems much more ambitious. I still can’t be 100% sure of what the game actually is, but it looks like Media Molecule has been expanding on their game and level-building mechanics. I’m more curious about the narrative angle, as Dreams seems to have quite a unique story it’s trying to tell. That doesn’t even bring up the visuals, which are absolutely stunning in their painterly aesthetic. This seems to be one of the more under the radar games, but I can’t wait to see the kind of stuff players are able to create with these tools.
Far Cry 5
From my perspective, Far Cry 5 has been a victim of poor marketing. There’s been too much focus on the political angle and U.S. setting, but I’m still hoping those things are more backdrop than the main focus. It’s not like Far Cry has a terrific track record of handling hot-button topics with grace… I just want to go in there and blow shit up, so hopefully this one delivers. In all honesty, Far Cry 5 looks like more of the same, which is a bit disappointing considering Ubisoft’s (admittedly failed) attempt at something new with Far Cry Primal. I just don’t want to climb more towers that unlock a million map icons. We’ll see if the over the top action is enough for one more game.
Another game coming from EA’s indie publishing arm, Fe gives off some serious Ori and the Blind Forest vibes from a visual and setting standpoint. You play as a fox-type creature that interacts with other forest dwellers, trying to defeat some kind of dark evil. It seems like the gameplay focuses a lot on sound and light, which could create some unique mechanics. More than anything, though, the game just seems like a beautiful thing to witness — not unlike something like Journey. Just watch the trailer and tell me you aren’t inspired as hell.
God of War
God of War has to be near the top of my most anticipated list. I liked the first three games quite a bit, but I’d never thought of Kratos as a particularly interesting character. To keep the franchise alive, it was important to try something new — and I’d say making Kratos a dad and giving the game a more grounded feel were solid changes. I still expect some brutal, bloody combat, but the style of the game seems more inspired by something like The Last of Us. That isn’t terrible company to keep. It’s still too early to tell if the game can deliver on its narrative setup, but I’m excited to see how this one plays out.
Check out page two for nine more hot 2018 releases!