50 game releases to look forward to in 2019


It’s perhaps a little far into the new year already to be offering you a preview of what’s to come – sorry about that – but piecing together a full picture of coming attractions in 2019 hasn’t been easy. After a first quarter packed with big releases and dominated by EA’s would-be juggernaut Anthem, the picture is quite hazy, with big names being scarce and release dates – even of the very loosest variety – even scarcer.

Nintendo has a very busy year ahead (Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem, Luigi’s Mansion, another Pokmon, potentially Metroid Prime and Bayonetta) but Sony’s plans for PS4 are vague at best, and we would be shocked to see the likes of Death Stranding this year. It will be a long while before Microsoft’s studio acquisition spree pays off, too, leaving Gears 5 and not much else to wave the Xbox flag. On the third-party side, we can be sure of seeing EA’s next Star Wars game, and Ubisoft will surely have something as yet unannounced up its sleeve, while Cyberpunk 2077 seems more like a 2020 game – at the earliest.

Dig around a little, however, and you uncover a wealth of fascinating software from indie teams (headlined Spelunky 2), from what may be the last of the major crowdfunding projects (Shenmue 3 and Psychonauts 2) and from an emerging category of larger-scale, semi-indie productions with publisher backing, of which Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds is the most exciting prospect. At first, we thought we’d struggle to find 50 games for the list, but by the end we had far more than we could feature.

The list more or less divides into three parts: firmly (and a couple of loosely) dated games for the first half of the year; games with just a ‘2019’ date attached, most of which we expect to see in the second half of the year; and games with no release date that we have some reason to hope will see the light of day in 2019, although there is some wishful thinking involved in a couple of these.

One thing’s for definite, though – many of 2019’s biggest and best games won’t be on this list, because we don’t even know they exist yet. And that’s the most exciting prospect of all.

Resident Evil 2

  • PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
  • 25th January

One of the boldest exercises yet in remaking a classic game, this is such an extensive overhaul – not least in its modern camera and complete control and gameplay revamp – that we reckon it qualifies as a ‘new’ game. Aside from that, this could be the game to finally bring Resident Evil’s two identities together in perfect harmony: its roots in tense, jumpy survival horror and its post-RE4 incarnation as an OTT action game. Now that would be something.

Kingdom Hearts 3

  • PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • 29th January

It can still be hard to believe that Kingdom Hearts exists: an arcane, densely-plotted crossover series blending Final Fantasy-style role-playing with every Disney property under the sun, from Pirates of the Caribbean to The Little Mermaid. And it takes itself so seriously. Even if you are not one of its unhinged fanbase, remember that this third mainline game is one of those agonised decade-in-the-making epics that Square Enix seems to specialise in: not all of them work out well, but they all demand your attention.

Trials Rising

  • Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
  • 12th February

The globe-hopping settings may be the most obvious selling point for this latest instalment in RedLynx’s wonderful motorbike disaster simulator, but the real treat promises to be a new Tandem Bike mode that sees two players struggling to control a single motorbike between them. That, combined with a wheelie-heavy jaunt up the side of the Eiffel Tower, makes this pretty exciting stuff. And then there’s RedLynx’s Antti’s fantastic face-plant providing the brightest moment of E3 2018, of course.

Metro Exodus

  • PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
  • 15th February

Metro’s always been about attention to detail: the reload animations, the cobbled-together weaponry, and those glorious Nixie tube watches. It’s pleasing, then, that a game that delights in the small things hasn’t gone fully open-world for its latest instalment. Instead, expect a mixture of linear levels and sandbox environments as you brave the irradiated wastelands and their mutated horrors once more.

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Metro Exodus.

Anthem

  • PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
  • 22nd February

We’ve spent the past year wondering whether BioWare fans will ever warm to Anthem: an online sci-fi action game seemingly made for a different audience, without the studio’s usual focus on single-player story, companion characters and romances. But when Anthem launches, the question will be whether its new audience falls for it instead – and gives the studio its first successful franchise launch in a decade.

Dirt Rally 2.0

  • PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
  • 26th February

Codemasters has a tricky balancing act here – maintaining the purist focus of 2015’s Dirt Rally that won back hardcore fans of the Colin McRae games, while opening it out enough to accommodate more licensing (including the official World Rallycross Championship) and to attract a broader audience to what was a pretty unforgiving, if brilliant, racing game. The heritage is there, though, and the success of the likes of Project Cars and Assetto Corsa proves that people do still like real motorsport games.

Total War: Three Kingdoms

The quest to unify and rule China forms the basis for the latest entry in Creative Assembly’s ludicrously ambitious strategy series, and along with real-time battles and a host of new units to get your head around, there’s been a lovely bit of social tinkering taking place as your generals make connections and form bonds with other in-game characters. The Three Kingdoms era is an ideal setting for Total War: hopefully the team can avoid the launch hiccups that have often plagued the series.

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Total War: Three Kingdoms.

Devil May Cry 5

  • PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
  • 8th March

‘Proper’ Devil May Cry returns for the first time in 11 years, during which time Ninja Theory’s controversial reboot DmC came and went, and original Devil May Cry director Hideki Kamiya redefined the boundaries of outrageousness, sexiness and combat depth in this kind of action game with Bayonetta. Do Dante and Capcom still have it? From what we’ve seen so far, yes, it appears they very much do.

The Division 2

  • PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
  • 15th March

If you’re thinking you’d prefer not to have to build a vast and expensive shared-world shooter in an era in which even Destiny 2 is struggling to keep people interested in the form, spare a thought for Ubisoft, which has to do all of that while simultaneously convincing itself and everyone else that this story of a heavily militarised Washington DC, branded throughout with the estate of America’s favourite deceased neocon writer, has nothing at all to do with politics.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

  • PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
  • 22nd March

Hidetaka Miyazaki returns with a savage, fluid ninja action game under the unlikely auspices of Activision. You can’t really classify it alongside Dark Souls and Bloodborne in the micro-genre created by Miyazaki and his developers at From Software – the level design is more open, the storytelling more overt and there’s a tighter focus on a single playable character and class, while the Western Gothic and dark fantasy inflections are set aside for old-school Japanese ninja myth-making. But it bears the indelible mark of those classics in its fearsome and precise melee combat.

Wargroove

  • Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
  • First quarter 2019
2019_game_releases_wargroove

Squint a bit and Wargroove is Advance Wars or Fire Emblem, a turn-based tactical affair with bright, chunky 16-bit art delivering chunky units and lovely tile-based landscapes. It’s been a long time since we’ve ventured out in a Medium Tank, so even though Wargroove keeps things medieval it should still be a bit of a guilty treat to head back to the battlefield.

Mortal Kombat 11

  • Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
  • 23rd April

The hoary, gory fighting series returns, with a new character customisation system that sounds rather like the Gear system from Injustice 2 (the DC superhero fighter is developer NetherRealm’s other series). You might cringe now at Mortal Kombat’s distinctly 90s brand of edginess, but these are great, accessible fighting games and NetherRealm has no peer when it comes to putting together a generous and rewarding single-player offering.

Rage 2

  • PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
  • 14th May

It would be a real shame if Rage 2 was caught up in anti-Bethesda sentiment following the disastrous release of Fallout 76, because, amongst other things, this open-world blaster looks to be an awful lot of fun. Taking as many aesthetic nods from the likes of Borderlands as it does the original Rage, development is handled by Just Cause’s Avalanche Studios, and the team’s even…



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