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While the movies get scheduled pretty tightly, we often must guess when our favorite games will be coming. The Game Awards last week helped us figure out part of what’s coming in 2019, and game publishers and developers and platform owners have given us other clues. And that’s how I’ve pieced together my list of the most anticipated games of 2019.
Last year, I was really late with my list, which came out on January 26. But this time, I’m going for the early win, while other people are still figuring out their favorite games of 2018. (To be honest, I’m still trying to figure that out, too.)
Some of my expectations have been set by games that I’ve played before. Some of these games have been delayed so long, like Days Gone and Crackdown 3, that I’ve actually played them multiple times. That’s OK, as it gives me more confidence in picking them. Other picks are simply based on what I’ve seen in trailers or imagined what these games will be like. And that’s where thinking about the great games of the future gets to be a lot of fun. It ties up my expectations, hopes, and desires into one ball of anticipation.
It makes me feel good when the news finally gets confirmed, and it makes me feel even better when my picks turn out to be good ones. Last year, I chose Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War as my favorites. That may have been obvious, but it’s nice to see the game developers truly execute on the expectation they set for fans.
Yes, so far, these games have the Dean Takahashi stamp of approval. My colleagues will snicker at this list, and it may even compel them to produce lists of their own. But I’ve got the jump on them.
Check out the list below. The links on the titles go to YouTube videos or prior coverage, where available.
BioWare/Electronic Arts (Xbox One, PS4). February 22
Anthem is growing on me, as BioWare finally shared part of the story, characters, and background context for this sci-fi action role-playing game that you play with friends in the hopes of taking back a world that has many dangers and only a few sanctuaries. You fly around in big mechs and stay in constant touch with a radio operator who feeds you information and emotion as you go out on missions to scrounge supplies, protect settlers, or attack enemies. The gameplay looks solid, as you can fly around in your mech and cause a lot of destruction with your rockets and other weapons. This is EA’s first major new intellectual property in a decade, and the company is pouring so much into it that it has to be good, right?
Id Software/Bethesda Softworks. (Windows, consoles). Date TBD
Id Software showed an extensive level of the gameplay for this shooter title at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. It is the first game being developed with the id Tech 7 game engine, which features 10 times the geometric detail and texture fidelity of the previous engine. It is a sequel to the successful reboot, Doom, from 2016. So far, we know that it features a grappling hook that lets you grab on to demons and dash to them. The weapons are plentiful, like the extendable blade you can use to decapitate enemies during melee. This time, hell has descended on Earth.
Id Software/Bethesda Softworks (Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One). May 14
Id Software studio director Tim Willits predicts that we will see a “golden age of id,” in part because it has a lot of games in the works. In addition to Doom Eternal, we know that Rage 2 will debut in 2019 to satisfy the blood lust of first-person-shooter fans. We’re seeing a lot more pent-up demand for this one, as the original Rage debuted in 2011. That game has a lot of critics for its car combat and FPS combination, but I liked it. I only wish it had more of a story. Oh, wait. This isn’t the Wolfenstein gang. These are the folks who just want to deliver a rocking good time.
Skull & Bones
Ubisoft Singapore/Ubisoft (Windows, Xbox One, PS4). TBD 2019
I was pleasantly surprised at the E3 2018 when I played this pirate game. I expected it to be simple, with naval battles similar to Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. But it turned out to be a lot of fun to play because the graphics and audio were first rate. The sea looks realistic, and you can hear the crackling to guns and the snapping of wood when cannon fire shreds the enemy’s ship. It’s pretty easy to control the ships, and all you have to do is maneuver close enough to get a broadside on the enemy ship. It really immerses you in the fantasy of being a pirate. Aargh!
Total War: Three Kingdoms
The Creative Assembly/Sega (Windows). TBD 2019
I’m not always a fan Chinese mythology, but I’m very much looking forward this cross between Three Kingdoms mythology and Chinese history. It will have massive battles, including night ambushes and castle sieges, but it also features leaders with mythical powers doing single combat on the battlefield. You have to marshal the warlords of China into a faction that allows you to unite the kingdoms into a single empire. The strategic and tactical combat looks superb, as the Total War engine just keeps getting better at depicting battles with thousands of soldiers.