Even though The Game Awards 2018 clocked in at a Last Jedi-esque 167 minutes last night (more if you count the pre-show) the evening was densely packed with video games news and announcements, well more than the 10 premieres host Geoff Keighley promised in the run-up.
Here’s a recap of the biggest buzz coming out of The Game Awards 2018, from straight surprises to splashy reveals that put this event in the company of an E3 keynote.
With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launching today, we thought we’d heard everything there was to say about its roster. Nope. The PlayStation-only Persona franchise contributed its lead character, Joker from Persona 5 to be the 76th fighter, in a surprise that caught everyone off guard.
“Dare I say, the biggest crossover in entertainment,” Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime boasted after this trailer. “The Russo bothers might have something to say about that,” Keighley quipped. (The Avengers directors had just been on stage to present the award for Best Ongoing Game).
Though it’s been five years since Mortal Kombat X, a sequel this big turns a mild surprise announcement into a blindside hit. NetherRealm founder Ed Boon took the stage ostensibly to present the award for Best Sports/Racing Game. That, too, became a trailer interruption for Mortal Kombat 11.
Fans won’t have to wait long; it’s on the way to PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One on April 23, 2019.
The first big surprise of the night, not only because it resurrects a franchise not seen in a decade, but because Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a Nintendo Switch exclusive. It’s coming next year from Team Ninja, makers of Nioh and Ninja Gaiden.
Ubisoft’s poorly kept secret leaked like a sieve right until the lights went up on The Game Awards 2018. There was an official teaser earlier in the week, but then box art and all sorts of other marketing materials went up on retail sites yesterday. The trailer confirmed what we’d expected: This spin-off will be set in the post-apocalyptic ruins of Montana, nuked at the end of Far Cry 5 earlier this year. It’s out Feb. 15, 2019 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Technically a surprise and technically not a surprise. Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Désilets had previously announced this game, but that was back in 2015 and we hadn’t heard much from it since. This trailer, which follows pre-alpha gameplay footage last seen in April 2017, shows how players will inhabit the roles of early hominids in our species’ fight for survival. Ancestors, published by Take-Two Interactive’s Private Division label, launches next year on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Leaked in early May, confirmed soon after and given plenty of screen time at Bethesda Softworks’ E3 and QuakeCon presentations, we knew plenty about Rage 2 except its launch date. This open-world gameplay trailer took care of that detail: May 14 for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Dragon Age: ???
BioWare had been dropping hints about the next Dragon Age game (2014’s Inquisition was the most recent) last week and earlier, and sure, this trailer officially puts that sequel on the record. But it’s only a minute long and doesn’t even supply a name, just a hashtag. So this is less of a tease and more of a reminder.
No, it’s not the adaptation thrown into limbo when Telltale Games went belly-up in September. BonusXP made Stranger Things: The Game last year for mobile platforms. This one, which resembles that top-down 16-bit action game, is coming to consoles, too. It’s expected to launch when Stranger Things’ third season premieres on Netflix sometime in 2019.
The really big reveals
Whether it reminds you of Borderlands or Fallout, or a combination, The Outer Worlds is in the hands of people who know RPGs: Obsidian Entertainment and, specifically, the co-creators of the original Fallout. It also has a kind of displaced-era sci-fi aesthetic about the setting and characters. Microsoft did buy up Obsidian earlier this month, but this game is being published by Take-Two’s Private Division.
For the size and scope presented, Atlas probably takes the cake for biggest reveal of The Game Awards 2018. From the creators of Ark: Survival Evolved, Atlas is said to be 1,200 times bigger than that, even. It’s an “open-world survival MMO”, with pirate ships, a ton of fantasy monsters and armored-up knights on horseback and just about everything else imaginable. Studio Wildcard says that a single world can have 40,000 players in it. It’s launching in early access on PC next week, and Xbox One’s preview program next year.