Aside from a couple of standout games (Divinity 2 and Persona 5), 2017 was a relatively quiet year for RPGs. Not so 2018, which is already shaping up to be heinously good for fans of dice rolling. It's not necessarily the AAA experiences that have got us the most interested either, with some neat, experimental ideas inbound from smaller studios that are already showing immense potential. Here are five of the most exciting 2018 role-playing games that should keep an eye on:
I suspect I’m not alone in developing a serious soft spot for Dontnod following Life is Strange. What can I say, I found it a hugely endearing game. For Vampyr though, Dontnod is taking an altogether different tack, but one that’s promising to be equally inventive. An RPG set in London, 1918, players step into the shoes of one Dr Jonathan Reid, a vampire newly returned from World War One. He's trying to find a cure for the flu sweeping the city while simultaneously wrestling with his own thirst for blood. Who lives and dies, he decides, folding into a twisting, turning tale impacted by his choices. It all looks deliciously morbid, the streets of post-Edwardian London providing the grimy backdrop to this supernatural tale.
Monster Hunter has always been a fascinating little curio. The sort of series you can easily invest hundreds of hours into thanks to its untold depth, yet it’s always been hiding away on portable systems, for better or for worse. Monster Hunter World represents a bit of a sea change for the series. Not only is coming to consoles and PC, but it’s also using a drastically overhauled new game engine that helps bring these huge co-op hunts to life.
A regular lurker on our most anticipated lists, 2018 is the year that Kingdom Come: Deliverance finally comes out - honest. There’s a distinct whiff of B-tier jank to everything we see of Kingdom Come, but that all lend it the character that helps it stand out from the rest of the pack. Forgoing the usual magic systems and epic end-of-the-world scenarios of normal beardy RPGs, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is all about gritty realism and medieval life centred around tight-knit hamlet and majestic castles, all topped off with a non-linear story that presents heaps of ways to complete the exact same quest.
Where once the hype would pump through our veins at the merest sniff of a BioWare game, the Mass Effect Andromeda mess combined with EA’s loot box drama means we’re raising a suspicious eyebrow Anthem’s way. Still, if EA wants to find a quick way back into fan’s hearts, delivering in spades with Anthem is a sure-fire way to do it. Precious is little is known about Anthem just yet, aside from some of the most eye-catching sci-fi art we’ve seen in awhile. The Destiny comparisons may raise a few eyebrows, but there’s room for a game which can well and truly nail the formula.
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire doesn’t just eschew the RPG-lite, consolized formula which has manifested in just about modern AAA RPG, it balls it up and shoves it straight up a kobold’s arse. PoE2 promises to be a PC RPG in its purest form, one with gorgeously pre-rendered backgrounds, mountains of stats to dig through, and sprawling quest lines set across a vast archipelago of islands known as Deadfire.