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Crossing the plains in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Rockstar Studios/Rockstar Games

The 50 most anticipated games of 2018

We pick a few of the standout games for the year ahead

When it comes to games, this past year is going to be a hard act to follow. But 2018 is skipping onto the stage with a flourish of promising titles.

Massive sequels like The Last of Us Part 2 and Red Dead Redemption 2 are likely to appear. Highly creative oddities like Where the Water Tastes Like Wine and Wattam are moving up for release. Multiplayer games like Anthem, Crackdown 3 and Sea of Thieves are looking to change the way we play collectively.

This list was put together by the whole Polygon team and is, of course, subjective. Let us know, in comments, which games you’re most looking forward to in 2018.

Anthem

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

BioWare/Electronic Arts

Set in a lush, alien world, BioWare’s open-world monster shooter embraces loot drops, as players seek to upgrade exosuits and weapons. With the game targeted for launch in the fall, there’ll be a heavy emphasis on in-game events and shared-world, squad-based challenges.

Attack on Titan 2

Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Omega Force/Koei Tecmo

Koei Tecmo’s combat game is based on the second season of the anime series, in which human-eating giants attack fortified cities. According to the game’s developers, this sequel to the 2016 original will feature more story and more options for players who like their enemies to be super tough. It’s set to arrive in March.

A Way Out

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

A Way Out Hazelight/Electronic Arts

Created by Hazelight Studios, led by the man behind the superb Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, this two-player co-op game is about two men trying to break out of prison. It’s set in the early 1970s and makes use of a variety of gameplay set-ups, such as shooting, driving, crawling and solving other physical problems. It’s out on March 23.

BattleTech

PC

The original BattleTech’s creator, Jordan Weisman, is heading up the team behind this latest take on mech combat. It’s a turn-based strategy game, which attracted more than $2.7 million on Kickstarter. Players assemble a team of mechs, and train up enough pilots to create a cohesive fighting force.

Concrete Genie

PlayStation 4

concrete genie

Announced at Paris Games Week, this pretty game comes from the makers of Entwined. It’s about a teenage artist who explores his gloomy hometown, using a magic quill to create living art in order to defeat a gang of bullies.

Crackdown 3

Windows PC, Xbox One

Crackdown 3 - building exploding Sumo Digital, Reagent Games, Cloudgine/Microsoft Studios

Originally scheduled for release in 2016, this oft-delayed open world game is all about mayhem and destruction in city environments. If you like to break skyscrapers, this is probably for you, especially in multiplayer environments where destruction is more free-flowing than in the campaign.

The Crew 2

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

A sequel to Ubisoft's open-world auto-racer from 2014, this isn’t just about racing cars. Pretty much anything with an engine is on offer, including airplanes, dirt bikes, boats and high performance sports cars on closed tracks. The open-world street racing of the original is also included.

Darksiders 3

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Gunfire Games/THQ Nordic

In this third-person platform hack-n-slash, players take on the role of Fury, an “unpredictable and enigmatic” member of the Four Horsemen. Fury wields a magical bladed whip, while she explores colorful, post-apocalyptic environments, solving progression puzzles along the way.

Detroit Become Human

PlayStation 4

This choose-you-own-narrative game is a stacked matrix of potential outcomes, based on a world in which androids serve humanity. Created by David Cage (developer of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls), it's a story that tries to put the player in the role of storyteller.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Arc System Works/Bandai Namco

Arriving on Jan. 26, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 2.5D fighter from Arc System Works. It tasks players with forming a team of fighters, based on characters from the Dragon Ball anime series, and controlling one of them in turn. Combo sequences yield special upgrades, such as health regeneration.

Dreams

PlayStation 4

Dreams Media Molecule

From the makers of LittleBigPlanet, this gorgeous world stars a little imp who travels through impressionist landscapes, solving puzzles via item collection, physical abilities and possession of other characters. The game’s campaign is designed to encourage sharing of player-created game worlds, while the real meat looks to lie in those creation tools.

Extinction

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Screenshot of Extinction Iron Galaxy/Maximum Games

Developer Iron Galaxy is best known for fighting games like Killer Instinct and Divekick. But Extinction is all about battling 150-foot ogres as they stomp and destroy various locations, including cities and forests. The player must also save quaking humans from the incoming menace, so there’s a lot of exploration and route-finding. It’s out on March 31.

Far Cry 5

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

The latest installation in Ubisoft’s open world combat series takes place in rural Montana, where a demagogue is controlling the local population. Players tool up with weapons, gadgets and vehicles to take down enemy outposts using stealth, smarts and brute violence. It’s out on March 27.

Fe

Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Fe Zoink

Developed by Swedish outfit Zoink, Fe is a symbolic personal fantasy that brings to mind powerful games like Journey and Shadow of the Colossus. It stars a fox-like creature who seeks to protect the forest by enlisting animal allies through audible calls.

The Gardens Between

PC, PlayStation 4

The Gardens Between - a scene with a large CRT TV in the environment The Voxel Agents

Two friends explore surreal islands, manipulating time to solve puzzles. Each island is littered with giant-sized versions of everyday objects: video game consoles, walkie-talkies, recycling bins, soda bottles, Jenga blocks and more. It’s being developed by The Voxel Agents.

God of War

PlayStation 4

God of War 2018 Sony Santa Monica

In this rebirth of a much-favored PlayStation franchise, big brawler Kratos has evolved into a doting dad. This doesn’t mean he goes all soft on the giants and monsters he fights. It just means his kid comes along for the ride. Developed with strong action-RPG overtones by Sony’s Santa Monica studio, it’s scheduled to arrive in the next few months.

Jurassic World Evolution

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Frontier Developments

Frontier Developments’ dinosaur park management sim lets players run their own Jurassic Park, bio-engineering new dinosaur breeds while building attractions, containment facilities and research labs. It will likely launch in the summer, around the time the movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, hits theaters.

Kingdom Hearts 3

PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Square Enix

Celebrating its umpteenth appearance in ‘games to watch this year’ stories, Tetsuya Nomura’s adventure features characters from Disney and Pixar in a grand and colorful adventure involving jumping, shooting, casting magic and fighting against enemies, big and small.

Kirby Star Allies

Nintendo Switch

Kirby Star Allies Nintendo

In this first new Kirby game for Switch, our rotund hero is joined by up to three teammates in a sideways-view platform game. In trailers released by Nintendo, Kirby is seen combining abilities to create attacks with the entire party, while using teamwork to solve puzzles.

Knights and Bikes

Windows PC, PlayStation 4

knights and bikes Foam Sword

The first release from new outfit Foam Sword Games carries high expectations. It’s being created by team members with a history at Media Molecule, and the game’s vivid art style shows those roots. It’s a puzzle adventure set in a childhood world reminiscent of The Goonies.

The Last of Us Part 2

PlayStation 4

The Last of Us Part 2 - Ellie Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Set five years after the original, this post-apocalyptic combat adventure is played through Ellie, a character who was originally a sidekick. With anticipation for this title so high, developer Naughty Dog hasn’t revealed much about the game, but we can expect it to be good-looking and extremely violent.

Left Alive

PlayStation 4, Windows PC

Left Alive Square Enix

Former Metal Gear character designer Yoji Shinkawa is involved in this Square Enix shooter. Judging from the limited gameplay we’ve seen in trailers, Konami’s series is a definite influence. With the game set in the Front Mission universe, there’s a hint of stealth action as players try to take down giant mechs.

The Lord of the Rings LCG

Windows PC

The Lord of the Rings LCG Fantasy Flight Interactive

This single-player and cooperative multiplayer card game is a digital release based on the successful Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. It’s going for the market dominated by the likes of Hearthstone, although card-packs aren’t random, instead being based on known combinations.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Windows PC

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, announced at MechCon a year ago, will be the first MechWarrior game with a single-player campaign in more than 15 years. It’s being developed by Piranha Games, best known for MechWarrior Online. Players take control of giant mechs in first-person shooting matches, with four-player co-op supported.

Mega Man 11

Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

mega man 11 screen Capcom

Capcom’s latest addition to the long-running series is a side-scrolling action platformer in the vein of the previous Mega Man games, but with 3D visuals. Working on the title are producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya and director Koji Oda, both veterans of Capcom and the Mega Man series.

Metal Gear Survive

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Konami

This survival spinoff of Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes is the first Metal Gear game to be released since the fraught divorce between Konami and Hideo Kojima. It takes place in an alternate reality, where members of Big Boss’ Militaires Sans Frontières have been transported off-world via wormhole. The planet on which the soldiers now find themselves is infested with crystalline zombie-like creatures.

Metro Exodus

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

A screenshot of Metro Exodus with a bloody gas mask 4A Games

Starting in a grim wasteland version of Moscow, inhabited by mutants, this sharp-looking shooter picks up where Metro: Last Light ended. Players will eventually leave Moscow and explore new regions offering unfamiliar settings. Friendly faces from previous entries in the series also reappear.

Mineko's Night Market

PC

mineko’s night market Meowza Studios/Humble Bundle

An indie game from Meowza Games, this Animal Crossing-like adventure is bursting with cuteness. Players inhabit a land of cats, as they go about managing a market stall: exploring, crafting and collecting resources.

Monster Hunter: World

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

We had a hands-on session with Capcom’s game earlier this year, as well as a longer play session, and came away deeply impressed. Monster Hunter: World follows the series’ tracking-and-hunting formula, but with useful additions to weapons and crafting as well as seamless maps. It’s out on consoles on Jan. 26, with the PC version coming later.

Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

PlayStation 4

An updated and expanded combat system might make this story-based RPG appealing to players who found the original heavy going. But the core value of Studio Ghibli-like animation and tone is still there. Developed by Level-5, this game is the story of a boy king who teams up with allies to reclaim his throne.

Red Dead Redemption 2

PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Rockstar’s Western-themed action game will likely be one of the year’s highest grossing hits. It’s a prequel to the 2010 release. Players take on the role of an outlaw as he ranges around an open world, raising hell on horseback.

Return of the Obra Dinn

PC

obra_dinn_captain Lucas Pope

Created by Lucas Pope, maker of Papers, Please, this startlingly monochrome mystery game is set aboard an abandoned 19th century ship. The player takes on the role of an insurance adjuster who explores the vessel to find out the fate of its crew.

Railway Empire

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Gaming Minds/Kalypso

This strategy world-building game spans the history of steam locomotives in the United States, beginning around the 1830s and lasting for another 100 years, until the coming of diesel engines. It’s out on Jan. 26.

Sea of Thieves

Windows PC, Xbox One

Rare’s squad-based adventure takes place on the high seas, where players cooperate as pirates: steering, shooting, pillaging and looting. It’s an ambitious project, to be sure, but we’ve had fun playing the game whenever it’s been on show. It’s out on March 20.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Unconfirmed title

Rise of the Tomb Raider
Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix

The name of this game has yet to be confirmed, though teasers and leaks make a convincing case that Lara Croft’s next adventure uses the word “shadow” in its title. Announced late in the year, this game is promised to be released relatively soon. Square Enix says it wants a shorter waiting period between first introduction and arrival. The last Tomb Raider game was released two years after it was first announced. A new Tomb Raider movie is also coming out in 2018.

Soulcalibur 6

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Bandai Namco

After years of teasing, publisher Bandai Namco announced the long-awaited sequel in its weapons-based fighting game series a few weeks ago. It’ll be released in time for the series’ 20th anniversary. The first Soulcalibur came to arcades in 1998, so it’s fitting that this game will pay homage to the original, in terms of combat design and characters.

Spider-Man

PlayStation 4

Spider-Man - standing in a kitchen Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Insomniac’s first foray into a licensed game is an open-world combat, stealth and parkour title, making use of Spider-Man’s special abilities. Comparisons have been made with Batman’s much-loved Arkham series, which makes liberal use of varied set-piece events. The game is being built on a modified version of Sunset Overdrive’s engine.

State of Decay 2

Windows PC, Xbox One

Undead Labs

Four-player co-op was the main thrust of Microsoft’s E3 presentation for State of Decay 2 this year, as players worked together to survive a zombie apocalypse. The first State of Decay, also from Undead Labs, launched back in 2013 and was well-received.

System Shock

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

System Shock Nightdive

Nightdive’s remake of the 1994 first-person sci-fi classic opens up some areas in the original as well as tidying up dialog and filling plot holes. Built on Unreal Engine, the game raised more than $1.3 million on Kickstarter.

Tennis World Tour

PlayStation 4

Tennis World Tour

Tennis World Tour is being developed as a spiritual successor to 2K Games’ Top Spin franchise by people who worked on that series at 2K Czech. It features licensed professionals like France’s Gaël Monfils and Switzerland’s Roger Federer.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes

Nintendo Switch

No More Heroes: Travis Strikes Again Grasshopper Manufacture

No More Heroes is returning as a Switch exclusive. Grasshopper Manufacture’s combat game will once again star Travis Touchdown, the star of the previous No More Heroes games. The first one launched back in 2007 on Nintendo Wii, while a sequel followed in 2010.

Tropico 6

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Tropico 6 Limbic Entertainment / Kalypso

The latest entry in Kalypso’s political management simulation is going to be tougher than its 2014 predecessor. As a dictator, it’s the player’s job to keep warring factions happy, lest they gang-up and throw a coup. Political speech-making also makes a return, offering opportunities for the sort of fatuous, dishonest self-aggrandizement loved by tinpot authoritarians.

Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia

Windows PC

Creative Assembly/Sega

Earlier this year, Total War developer The Creative Assembly announced plans to create a spinoff series of its historical strategy games, focused on pivotal moments in history rather than whole historical eras. This first entry is all about the Viking attacks on Britain.

Valkyria Chronicles 4

PlayStation 4, Xbox One

valkyria chronicles 4 art Sega

Distinctive watercolor visuals are coming back with a new story in this Japanese RPG series. It takes place in a war, vaguely reminiscent of early 20th century conflicts, on the continent of Europa. It features a new class of soldier, the grenadier. The game is sticking to its roots of a turn-based, strategy-style battle system.

Vampyr

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

vampyr Dontnod Entertainment

Dontnod’s Vampyr is a third-person action role-playing game set in 1918 London. Players take on the role of a physician called Jonathan Reid who is also a vampire. Reid goes in search of victims, scoping out targets. But he has a conscience, so players can choose carefully who they wish to kill, and can even play the game without killing anyone.

Wandersong

Nintendo Switch, PC

Wondersong Greg Lobanov

A side-scroller with a combat system driven by music, Wandersong stars a bard who defeats enemies and solve puzzles using his singing voice alone. We took a look at the game earlier this year, and came away impressed with its Night in the Woods vibe.

WarGames

Windows PC

MGM/Eko

Sam Barlow, the creator of Polygon’s 2015 game of the year, Her Story, is working on a re-imagining of 1983 Cold War thriller WarGames. Set in the modern world, the narrative choices game stars a hacker called Kelly who has the skills to ask difficult questions about how safe we are in a world dominated by computer networks.

Wattam

PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One

Wattam Funomena

Wattam, the next game from Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy creator Keita Takahashi along with studio Funomena, is all about friendship. Players take on the role of a town mayor who solves puzzles and befriends flowers, rocks, vegetables and weird stuff, creating an exploratory world of color and movement.

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

Windows PC

water wine

Created by former The Fullbright Company developer Johnnemann Nordhagen, this game draws influence from novels such as Grapes of Wrath and On the Road, as well as folk songs. It’s about exploring a dream-like alternative America, meeting characters along the way

Yoshi

Nintendo Switch

Yoshi 2018 Nintendo

The last Yoshi game released by Nintendo was Yoshi’s Woolly World in Oct. 2015 for the Wii U. Announced during E3, this new title offers a familiar world where our old, adorable pal runs through a series of levels, interacting with items along the way. However, the player’s view can be flipped, to see anything hiding behind objects. Nintendo has yet to announce a final name for the game.

A few useful notes

  • This selection of games is predictive. It is highly likely that a significant number of these games will be delayed. We’d guess about one-in-five of them will not make it this year.
  • Publishers are increasingly likely to announce games just a few months before release. This means that some big games, as yet unknown, will be coming in 2018.
  • Equally, some major games have been announced, but the publisher / developer has made no indication that they are coming out in 2018. So we left them off this list.
  • For reasons of brevity, we’ve not included sports franchise iterations, straight reissues, compilations, ports and games that are already out in some form.
  • Please let us know what you’re looking forward to playing in 2018.
  • Have a wonderful 2018, from all of us at Polygon!