The new year is here, and though many if not most of us are still playing catch up with 2017's games, it also happens to be the perfect time to look ahead to 2018's offerings. Despite strong showings from the other console manufacturers in 2017, some considered 2017 a down year for those strictly playing on Xbox.
The new year brings with it a lot of promise for the green team, and it may very well be the Xbox One's best year to date with several exciting exclusives and the Xbox One X playing the ideal host to multiplatform games. Last year we looked at this topic and the end results were hit or miss, as you can review here. This year's biggest games even include a few that were delayed, so before you go wondering where they are this time, let it be known that we purposely excluded Red Dead Redemption 2, Crackdown 3, and Sea of Thieves because, while they remain highly anticipated, already appeared on this list last year. We agree. We're excited. Now let's look at what else is worth our hype.
Pictured: life finding a way
Just like last year, the first major AAA title coming in 2018 is a Capcom game. Monster Hunter is a series with which many Xbox gamers are probably unfamiliar, as it's historically been on Sony and Nintendo platforms only. This new installment was designed not for handhelds like the past several because the creators wanted to go all out with the powers afforded to them by consoles. The end result looks promising, and fans of the series have loved what they've seen so far. Will this be your first chance to explore the world of Monster Hunter, and if so, will you take the opportunity to do so?
Kamehameha and what not.
To date, most Dragon Ball games haven't attracted players too far outside the sphere of influence the IP already possessed. The latest effort looks like it's about to change things, and it's because of the people behind the game. Arc System Works, best known for their development of games in the BlazBlue and Guilty Gear series, is a renowned studio, so for them to take the reins of Dragon Ball and deliver a more traditional 2D fighting game based on the series is a dream come true for fans. From what is being said about the game so far, it looks like dreams are becoming reality too, as it's received plenty of praise building up to release. It launches on the same day as Monster Hunter and we imagine plenty of people will be picking up both right away.
Someone please take away his soapbox.
Ubisoft's 2017 was fantastic, and though we don't know much about what 2018 has in store for them just yet, Far Cry 5 is as strong a start as any. Primal was a unique look at the series by dating back thousands of years in time, but the next effort from the Far Cry series is breaking new ground too. By moving the series to the states, many fans are wondering if the game will feel decidedly familiar, but a new aesthetic and feel to the game would be the exact right move for the massive publisher. Small towns and general stores replace encampments and huts, but the staples of the series, a play-your-way mentality and a story driven by charismatic psychopaths, remain intact. Someone is about to have their last supper.
A day-night cycle would seem unnecessary in this one.
Expectedly delayed out of the busy fall 2017 window, Vampyr is now due out this spring. Without a release date still, we may see this one closer to summer, but it does at least appear to be on track. A vampire RPG that lets you disrupt story beats by having sucked the lifeblood out of certain quest givers is an interesting setup, and from the art so far, the setting seems memorable too. Dark, diseased, and on the edge of madness, it's an ambitious game. Then again it's from Dontnod, the team behind Remember Me and Life is Strange, so they're building an eclectic and proud pedigree with each release. Yes, we can't wait to sink our teeth into this one and no, we don't believe ourselves to be the first to use that pun.
Fast and Furious.
Here's a happy ending: The folks behind the first two Darksiders games, the same folks that got their studio shuttered when THQ went under, have for the most part built themselves back up as Gunfire Games and they're back to finish what they've started. Darksiders was always envisioned as a story told in four parts, and if Darksiders III is successful, we may very well see that dream realized some day. The third game looks intriguing in its own right. Fury makes for the series' first female protagonist and her chains are as brutal as the swords and axes of those that came before her. THQ Nordic, rather quietly, is building up an intriguing name for themselves as a publisher.
The world is over. Bring friends.
The first State of Decay was a bit unpolished, but in its systems was a wealth of potential. Base building, community management, and resource scavenging were three pillars to one of the most involved zombie apocalypse simulators ever made. Microsoft has seemingly spent much more on getting the sequel to play as impressively as it can and the end result looks like a standout sequel for Undead Labs. It's been in development for a few years now and is tentatively scheduled for this fall. It may not have the name recognition to stand among the biggest holiday games, so we're thinking we'll see this one kick off the season around August or September and that's fine. The sooner we can play it, the better.
Like Darksiders, Metro is another THQ series sold off to a new home now making its triumphant return on modern consoles. If you missed the first two, they're available in an often discounted double remaster pack, and if you didn't miss them then you probably recall the tension and atmosphere of the eastern European underground. Exodus' connections to the main story aren't totally known yet, but it looks like the series is about to break into the mainstream in a way it never has before. Clues in the most recent trailer indicate an August 6th release, though no one behind the game has yet to confirm that.
Biomutant — Release Date TBA
An unlikely hero emerges.
The coolest part about Biomutant is that it exists in the first place. The hero and setting of the game are so unlike the usual video game fare we see these days. It's a mix of old school appeal with imaginative fantasy design. For those reasons, we can't wait to see more. The world is colorful but dangerous and the protagonist is a mysterious mascot skilled in combat. It's exactly the type of game that represents the apparent directive of THQ Nordic these days: find a comfy place in the industry to redefine "AA" games like their namesake once tried and failed to do. Games like Biomutant are going a long way to proving it can work this time.
Anthem — Release Date TBA
Is Anthem the Destiny killer EA wants it to be?
Opinions on Anthem are a bit mixed and for several reasons. For starters, it's EA's next massive game. They're pouring a ton of money into the game which means they expect and really demand to make it all back several times over. With that vision, we can expect a heavy dose of "games as service" microtransactions and buying options. In the post-Battlefront II era, it's very interesting to predict how EA will frame these tactics. Maybe by then the bad press will have subsided. Another point of note is the public's dwindling opinion of BioWare. Having lost key members alongside putting out a few games in a row that felt more troubled than their predecessors, people are wondering if they've still got it. We'll know this fall most likely. No release date has been set but this one has all the makings of a huge holiday title. Despite all the ways the game could go wrong, generally people are very curious to see more of the game. We'll see plenty more in 2018, no doubt.
Did we forget any big games you're circling on your calendar? Let us know! Join us next weekend when we look at the most exciting indie games of 2018. As for games we can expect but haven't been announced, we'll be looking at those later in the season too.
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