But now that it’s over, what’s a gamer to do? Find a whole new batch of amazing games for which to get hyped.
These are the new games we’re most looking forward to in 2019, in no particular order. Just as a disclaimer, I’m not going to regurgitate every upcoming game release — just ones that have some kind of scheduled release date for 2019, even if it’s a tentative one. As much as I’d love add to the pile of digital noise about Death Stranding or The Last of Us Part 2, those games have no set release date as yet.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
It seems like every other January has a Resident Evil release. The last, in 2017, was Resident Evil 7, a first-person throwback with scares as genuine as they were unexpected. The RE2 remake has been the rumored to be in the works for several years now, and given the goodwill RE7 recouped for the series, this is probably a prime time for the game to be released. The trailers promise a true-to-spirit return to the gruesome adventure of the young, then-naive Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. The game will make its debut on January 25, meaning you have exactly four days to get it out of your system before…
Kingdom Hearts 3
Speaking of games long in development, the third entry in the Kingdom Hearts franchise has been ten years’ coming, and there are probably more than a few fans out there who thought they’d see the grave before they saw this one. But it’s finally close, and it promises to be just as much of a colorful, confusing romp through Disney and Square Enix’s intellectual properties as the previous dozen or so games in the series. Speaking seriously, I’m most excited to see the return of Baymax from Big Hero 6, not to mention Monstropolis from Monsters Inc. It’ll make its much-awaited debut on January 29.
Far Cry New Dawn
This one was a bit of a surprise announcement from this month’s Game Awards. Given Ubisoft is only one year out from Far Cry 5, this game‘s direct narrative predecessor, this is some ambitious development. (Ubisoft, be careful now — you know how I feel about crunch culture.) At any rate, New Dawn seems to be moving the Far Cry series from open world FPS gameplay in a gorgeous real-world setting to a gorgeous post-nuclear apocalypse. It looks like standard Far Cry gameplay otherwise, but I’d be curious to see what the company can do with a “Far Cry meets Fallout” premise. It comes out on February 15
This game represents a break from Bioware’s traditional formula, and at this point I honestly can’t tell if I’m excited purely on the game‘s own merits, or because it’s been hammered down my throat like medicine for almost two years now. After all the buildup and pretty trailers, I feel like this game is either going to be really good or really average. Either way, it’d be interesting to see what Bioware does when it has a new story’s worth of material with which it can work. If nothing else, it’ll be fun to fly around the world of Monster Hunter in an Iron Man suit. It’s set to release on February 22.
If pretty open worlds aren’t your thing, how about a heaping helping of Russian gloom? The latest game in the Metro series, Exodus comes out on February 15, the same day as Far Cry New Dawn. The new game takes place in the overworld, in which protagonist Artyom must battle the irradiated wildlife in an attempt to find a chance at a new life with his wife. That all sounds very hopeful, but somehow I doubt it’s going to be that easy for Artyom or the missus. Considering Metro is a consistently underrated horror franchise, I think this game is going to give me more scares in five minutes than every other game in 2018 combined.
Devil May Cry V
My personal favorite on this docket (unless Platinum gets wise and finally gives me Bayonetta 3), Devil May Cry V looks like its going to be the fulfillment of several of the fans’ wishes. It brings back Dante and Nero, it ignores the doofy reboot game from Ninja Theory, and it’s getting all the money and time that DMC4 wasn’t afforded. I mean, come on — one of Dante’s weapons is a cowboy hat that brings hellfire raining from above when he holds it by the brim. It’ll also reportedly have a form of co-op and be locked at 60 fps. Starting March 8, I’ll probably be wrapped up in this game for weeks, even if I haven’t shelled out the cash for the $8,000 jacket.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
When you hear that a game is coming from the people who brought you the likes of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, you already know roughly what you’ll be in for. And for the most part, Sekiro seems like it’ll deliver — it’s still going to be a brutally difficult boss fest that’ll see you expiring more than milk in the sun. But according to my colleague Nino de Vries, who played the game at Gamescom, Sekiro does have several elements that make it feel fresh compared with its predecessors, including a new resurrection mechanic and a grappling hook that lets you escape fights. You’ll be able to get your hands on it come March 22.
The sequel to a game no one expected to get a sequel, RAGE 2 looks like it’s going to hit on May 14 with a great big colorful pop. RAGE 2 leans into a more irreverent, graffiti-punk style that’s given it a surprising amount of traction on the hype cycle. When my colleague Nino played a bit of the game at Gamescom, he liked what he saw — particularly the new superpowers that shake up the FPS gameplay. It also appears to be drawing from the Mad Max well with lots of vehicular combat, and we can only hope it lives up to the promise, while avoiding being as forgettable as the first game.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Now we’re getting away from solid release dates into the “TBD 2019” part, and there’s no telling if any of these games will later be delayed into 2020, but for now, we can dream. If you’re any student of gaming history, you know the Castlevania series. And you also know the series has changed somewhat, having evolved from a 2D puzzle platformer to a horror-action game with the Lords of Shadow series. It’s not necessarily a change for the worse, but it’s also easy to miss the old ways — which is what Bloodstained offers. And this spiritual successor is being made by none other than series’ creator Koji Igarashi himself, so it definitely looks like a return to the retro form.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
It wouldn’t be an exciting games list without at least one entry from Nintendo, and, in the post-Smash Bros Ultimate haze, it’s the new Fire Emblem game I really want. Heroes is all well and good, but I’m looking forward to another entry in the main Fire Emblem series. So far, we don’t know much about the story of Three Houses, save that it’s set in a new land ruled by a church. More exciting, however, is the way the new combat system switches up series norms — especially by allowing the formerly solitary soldiers to command whole platoons of soldiers. The game is due sometime next spring.
Gear of War 5
If you watched this year’s E3, you might remember a moment when Microsoft faked us out by showing off a Gears of War Funko Pop game? I think every single person watching made the same bemused “Huh?” noise at that, and then made the same collective sigh of relief when it was revealed it was just a prelude to Gears 5. The new game follows relative newcomer Kait in her quest to find her absent mother, meaning we might finally get a glimpse of the world outside the Fenix family. Besides, a return to the Gears series’ crunchy combat is always welcome.
The Outer Worlds
Another surprise announcement during the Game Awards brought this game to our attention, and we already want it now. Made by Obsidian Games, the company behind Fallout: New Vegas, Outer Worlds seems like the game the company has been on the verge of making for quite a while. While we don’t know a whole lot just yet, the game is a single-player sci-fi RPG set in the distant future. Following the journey of a player character who influences the galaxy by accident, it looks irreverent, gorgeous, and grungy. We don’t have a solid release date beyond a tentative “2019,” so this might be wishful thinking. But we can dream, can’t we?
Now if you’re a point-and-click adventure game fan, then the reveal of the sequel to Psychonauts a few years probably brought more than a little swell of joy to your heart. The original was part of the childhood of many a gamer, and, though Double Fine had to use the unconventional Fig platform to get the game funded, it’s great to see the original developers holding the reins of the sequel. Now, after so many years, the trailer was finally shown at the Game Awards, and it’s slated for a 2019 release. Time will tell if it actually comes out next year, but if it does, I’ll be glad to lay hands on it.
If you’ll notice something about all the titles above, the majority are part of a larger series. Even Sekiro is very reminiscent of the Soulsborne games from the same company. But Biomutant looks like something we haven’t seen in a long time. A beautiful RPG starring mutated animals, the player character must cleanse the world of a nasty pollutant. Every stat you can tweak in the game will allegedly have a direct effect on the snappy, martial arts-inspired combat, and the player character can enhance themselves with detachable mechanical body parts. This all looks like it’ll be great when it’s supposed to come out in Summer 2019.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.
[Article updated December 14 to reflect Metro: Exodus’ new release date.]