et geekera’s Most Anticipated Games of 2018
Last week saw our look back at 2017. Now, it’s time to look ahead to the rest of 2018. With the release of the Nintendo Switch, the red brand brought out some heavy-hitters that helped to make last year rank as another of the all-time great years in gaming. So far, 2018’s success could depend entirely on what doesn’t get delayed to 2019. It could beat out 2017 or it could be a sparse year while we wait for the big games to drop in 2019.
But if all goes according to plan, what great games can we expect in 2018? Here are our top eight most anticipated games of 2018.
Red Dead Redemption 2
No, it didn’t need a sequel but Take-Two, parent company of Rockstar and 2K, is compelled to rake in money however it can. Just look at all the microtransactions in GTA Online and NBA 2K18. Even though the Rockstar label on a game is enough to guarantee massive sales just based on their reputation, we’re getting a return to the Wild West in RDR2.
We don’t know much about the game except that the expectations will be extraordinary. In a world where you see half of the game before it ever hits store shelves, it’s refreshing to be going into a game blindly. I wish more story-driven games would adopt this approach but not every story-driven game is made by a critical and commercial powerhouse like Rockstar.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Blind Forest is the first and only game that has scored a perfect 10 out of 10 on et geekera. If the sequel is half as good as the original, it should be a strong contender for game of the year. While it was a difficult game (that bordered on that annoying Dark Souls comparison), it never felt particularly unfair. It was also buoyed by a surprisingly well-written and emotional story. For a game that had no spoken words, it told its story better than all but a handful of games.
While we can probably expect more of the same in terms of gameplay, I’m more excited for the wonderfully crafted visuals and score. As good as the gameplay was, the strength of Ori was all the elements that surrounded the gameplay. So long as those elements can live up to the original, Will of the Wisps will be a success.
If, at the start of 2015, you asked me which game was going to end up on my top ten games of all-time list, I would have said something that likely got delayed to 2016. However, I did play a top ten all-time game in 2015: Life is Strange. Who would have thought that the pinnacle of the modern adventure game genre would be a game about a time-bending teen girl? Dontnod had filed for bankruptcy after the flop that was Remember Me. It’s amazing how much of a change one game makes.
Rather than immediately going back to the well with Life is Strange 2, Dontnod is working on its vampire RPG, Vampyr. Unlike Remember Me which acted like it would have a morality system but didn’t, Vampyr will have a morality system based on whether you feed on people and suck their blood or generally leave the living alone. Presumably, there will be a massive trade-off to make the morality system actually matter rather than the BioShock system which didn’t really have much in the way of in-game consequences.
Kingdom Hearts III
It’s a big guess to suggest that Kingdom Hearts III will be coming out in 2018 but signs are starting to point that way. A recent Square Enix PR tweet indicated that they’re confident that the game will come out this year. It has to come out eventually. It’s only been in development for the last twelve years.
The first two Kingdom Hearts games were unique hits in the world of gaming. Teenage me didn’t believe that there was any way that a game that combined Final Fantasy and Disney would work and yet people have been waiting for the third installment for over a decade. With the ever-expanding Disney universe, Toy Story, Big Hero 6 and Monsters Inc will be added to Kingdom Hearts in this sequel. What will the story be this time out? I have no idea. I couldn’t make heads or tails of the story in the first two games and the sequels probably don’t help clear that up either. The draw is that Kingdom Hearts is one of the best uses of licensed properties in a game that I’ve played. Well, KH is up there with The Dukes of Hazzard: Racing for Home.
Sadly, I haven’t read anything that says we’re getting Marvel or LucasFilm properties just yet. Maybe when Kingdom Hearts IV releases in 2030, we’ll see levels added for them. Who knows, we could even see ESPN themed levels where you wear leather jackets and pants too.
Did you know that it’s been five years since we played the last new Media Molecule game. In 2013, they released Tearaway for the PlayStation Vita and it still sits atop most lists of the best Vita games. Sure, MM contributed to LittleBigPlanet 3 and Tearaway Unfolded but they weren’t really new Media Molecule games. For those last five years, we’ve had teasers of their new game and it looks like this is finally the year we will play it.
We really don’t know much about Dreams other than it will continue the Play, Create, Share philosophy that underpinned the LBP franchise and it will open up the gameplay to 3D platforming rather than 2D sidescrolling. At least the levels they showed off in the last trailer show even more creativity and variety than we had in the LBP series. If anything, I’m excited to see what people can create in the level editor.
The Wolf Among Us: Season Two
Telltale’s renaissance peaked after two games and has been downhill ever since. It was The Walking Dead (Season One), The Wolf Among Us (Season One) and then not so much as a sharp decline as falling off a sheer cliff. Okay, I know that I liked TWD Season Two but the consensus generally disagrees with me. (I think that might have been a case of me making decisions and reading into the story in ways that most others didn’t.)
So that brings us to The Wolf Among Us: Season Two. The sequel to what is often considered Telltale’s best effort of the last six years will carry massive expectations. We know how good Telltale can be but they haven’t shown it for the ten games released since TWAU (or eleven if TWD: The Final Season is also a flop). With this year possibly being quiet for Telltale as only the remainder of Batman: Season Two, TWD: Season Four and, TWAU: Season Two being confirmed for release this year, Telltale may not be stretched as thin as they have been for the last few years which should help with the quality of this year’s releases.
Detroit: Become Human
The footage that they’ve shown so far indicates that choices and actions will results in varying outcomes. Whether these outcomes send the game’s story down branching paths like we saw in Heavy Rain remains to be seen. The quality of the story will be the most critical element of the game. What I’ve played of David Cage games shows that Cage finds the game part to be secondary to the video part of video game. If they botch the story again, this game will be dead on arrival.
Honestly, I don’t care about Anthem. I don’t care for Destiny. I’m not interested in clones that thin on story. However, Anthem sees Drew Karpyshyn return to the BioWare family to pen this adventure. Karpyshyn was a lead writer of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Old Republic and was the lead writer of the first two Mass Effect games. The man has sci-fi chops and a sterling video game track record. If anyone can shift the genre to have a narrative focus, it’s BioWare and Karpyshyn. Conversely, if anyone can make sure that Anthem is a generic, effortless Destiny clone, it’s EA. I wonder if Drew is being tasked with writing reasons for microtransactions into the game…