Timing: October 12 on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
Yes, Call of Duty is on my list every year. And I’m worried about it because it doesn’t have a single-player campaign. But I played it at E3 for the second time, and I believe that it captures the core feeling of playing a Call of Duty first-person shooter game. The combat feels solid and familiar, and Treyarch has added depth to combat duels. When two players square off, they may not know if one is hiding and trying to heal themselves, if the other player will use a special ability, or if one will try to dislodge the enemy using a grenade. That means the head-to-head duels will be a battle of wits.
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Timing: TBD on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
Another game that has weapons that feel right is Rage 2. Tim Willits, head of id Software, told me that his only guidance for the developer of Rage 2 was that it had to be crazy. It has that element of crazy, with the return of the insane show where gamers square off against a series of enemies in a carnival-like atmosphere. The game uses the color pink and the punk hair styles of the 1970s to differentiate its art from other desert-brown shooters. The environment of the post-post apocalyptic world has recovered since the nuclear war, and now some places are lush.
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Timing: November 14 on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
Fallout 4 was an impressive open world game set in the post-nuclear-war apocalypse. But the prequel Fallout 76 will have four times as much area as the first game. Each section of the multiplayer world will feature characters and stories that are designed to keep fans coming back. This one has that classic Fallout sense of humor, and one of the cool features is that you can find the launch code for a nuclear weapon. Then you can lob a nuclear missile at a city run by your archrival. It’s an amazing world, set in the mountains of West Virginia, with no end to the things you can do.
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Timing: November 13 on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC
IO Interactive launched Hitman last year as an episodic game. It didn’t do well, and that prompted Square Enix to sell off IO. Warner Bros. picked up the studio, and the next Hitman should be both sublime and wacky. It has some amazing crowds that you must navigate your way through as you decide how to assassinate your target. On the wacky side, you can kill someone with a dead fish. I played a session where you have to assassinate someone at a race track without being caught.
Developer: Creative Assembly
Timing: 2019 on Windows PC
This game will balance historical accuracy with the Chinese cultural preference for including supernatural powers in the authentic mythology of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. You can play historical battles, or you can engage in gameplay — such as single combat duels among warlords — that invokes the myths and makes the game more fun. It will feature a much more detailed graphics engine that allows you to zoom in on a single character or zoom out to see an army of thousands.
Developer: Ubisoft Singapore
Timing: 2019 on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC
The developers of this game have created an accessible pirate battle game. The controls are really easy to use, allowing you to sail just by pointing a thumbstick. You can control the combat with another hand. If you are in range, you can fire a few times and see if you can take out a mast or get a hit below the water line. You can rotate from one set of cannons to another with just a right thumbstick move. The detail of the art work is amazing, and the ocean physics will make you feel like you are on the high seas.
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: CD Projekt Red
Timing: TBD on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC
After the success of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the Polish game studio is creating a vastly detailed role-playing game set in the future. The world looks amazing, and it reminds me of the details that Rockstar put into its Grand Theft Auto V game. Let’s hope that Rockstar has a new competitor in CD Projekt Red.
Developer: Moon Studios
Timing: 2019 on Xbox One and Windows PC
Ori and the Blind Forest was a beautiful game with an emotional story. Now the side-scrolling sequel will continue the story of the spirit guardian Ori. You’ll go on an adventure to find the world beyond the forest of Nibel. You can learn the truths of the lost ones and find out Ori’s true destiny. It will be fun to revisit the amazing visuals of Ori’s world again.
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