Cast a cursory glance over the biggest games due out in 2018 and you’re likely to be disappointed. Right from the offset, this looks like a year that can’t hope to live up to 2018. There are some golden nuggets scattered throughout, but the early part of the year looks a bit flaky from an AAA perspective. There are the usual suspects like Far Cry 5, of course, but that retread isn’t exactly the most exciting release ever, even if does end up a barrel-load of fun.
But things are never quite as simple as that. At this point last year, we didn’t know about the existence of Assassin’s Creed Origins. Or Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, The Evil Within 2, Call of Duty: WWII, Destiny 2, Total War: Warhammer II or Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. Heck, most of us hadn’t heard of PUBG and yet it would go on to become the best-selling PC game of all time. Between them, they were the biggest PC games of the year, and in January 2017 none of them had even been announced. My point being - a blank slate is to be expected this early in the year.
Even taking all that into account, we’ve still got some fantastic stuff to look forward. We already know about the likes of Anthem, Monster Hunter World, Red Dead Redemption 2, A Way Out, Far Cry 5, Skull & Bones, State of Decay 2, Crackdown 3, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Sea of Thieves, The Crew 2, Darksiders 3 and Jurassic World Evolution, to name but a few. That’s not to forget the bevy of PlayStation exclusives like Spider-Man, God of War, Dreams, Detroit: Become Human and Days Gone. Add that hefty list of games to the titles yet to be announced and you begin to see a cracking lineup emerge. Even since writing the original this article, Total War: Three Empires has been announced and Cyberpunk 2077 has been teased.
The truth is that most publishers these days are tending to shy away from extended hype cycles. We first really saw this put into practice with Bethesda and Fallout 4, announcing the game and releasing it with a five-month period. EA swiftly followed this tactic with Battlefield 1, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Titanfall 2, etc.
It’s now the norm to find out about a game in the summer and be able to play it by the fall. Just take Bethesda as a prime example. Right now we know about precisely zero upcoming Bethesda games. Last year it launched five games. It’s practically assured Bethesda publishes multiple games this year, as it’s always done. We just don’t know what they are yet. Talking of which, it’s been three years since Fallout 4 was announced…
So while it can be all too easy to look at the upcoming release calendar with a smidgen of disappoint, take heart in the (hopeful) fact that the best is yet to come. Games we still don’t even have a clue about; games that still hide in busy development studios around the world, one of which could become the greatest game released all year.