The last few years have shown us that Souls-likes have the potential to really turn into something huge. It’s a new genre that has massive appeal right now and fans are itching for a new Souls experience. This year gave us Nioh, which completely blew up far beyond Koei Tecmo’s expectations, so much so that you could barely find the game in stores because launch stock just wasn’t enough to keep up with demand.
Now Bandai Namco, publisher of Dark Souls, has another Souls-like on the way from the team behind God Eater: Code Vein. The title is splashed with some serious anime style and takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where most of the human race has turned into vampires. Gameplay also revolves around vampiric themes including “gifts” and powers from the consumption of blood that you spill from your enemies. There are some new features to distinguish the game as well, like having a companion at your side throughout the game. There’s currently no release date for Code Vein other than 2018. If it really fits the bill for a Souls-like, it’s fair to say this could be a big one.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Giant open-world RPGs like The Witcher 3 and Skyrim have made huge impacts on the industry and countless others have tried to fill that same role. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is different, however, as it’s an RPG that tries to be painstakingly historically accurate instead of filled with fantasy. Kingdom Come is set in the medieval kingdom of Bohemia in 1403 and it’s based on real world locations. You play as the son of a blacksmith whose entire family is killed by an invading army.
Kingdom Come puts a large emphasis on choice, creating branching narratives and an experience that encourages emergent gameplay. It nails historical details, like different helmet builds restricting your view in different ways and food items perishing over time. You can find even more details by checking out our preview from E3 earlier this year. It certainly sounds like a fairly hardcore experience, but fans of both open-world RPGs and historical pieces might find a lot to love in the title. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is scheduled to release on Feb. 13 so we won’t have to wait too much longer to find out.
Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine have a long history of creating some of the wackiest and most beloved games out there. One such title that has achieved cult hit status is Psychonauts, the mind-twisting game about a secret force of the same name that conducts psychic research by jumping into people’s minds. Psychonauts 2 is going to pick up directly after the first game and the VR title In the Rhombus of Ruin, as Raz, Sasha, and Milla have successfully rescued the head Psychonaut, Truman Zanotto.
At this point we don’t know much about the gameplay of Psychonauts 2 other than the fact that it will stick to the same third-person adventure style of the first. Still, with the the cult status of the first Psychonauts it’s easy to see the new game blowing up, especially considering the fact that it blew past its Fig campaign goals. 3D platformers and adventure games are having a bit of a comeback with titles like Yooka-Laylee, A Hat in Time, and Super Mario Odyssey. Psychonauts 2 could be the next step in that comeback.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Dragon Ball FighterZ has already taken the internet by storm since its announcement, due in no small part to its absolutely gorgeous art style. The game truly looks like an episode of Dragon Ball Z in motion, with each character sporting a moveset ripped directly from the show or manga. It also helps that the title is developed by Arc System Works, the talented team behind the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series. All signs seem to point to Dragon Ball FighterZ being a smash hit, but it’s also possible the game could make a break into the competitive fighting scene.
Dragon Ball FighterZ uses elements from various other fighting games, sporting the three-person team mechanic found in Marvel vs. Capcom, as well as a focus on aerials and combos. At the same time the Vanish and Dragon Rush moves in the game resemble the Roman Cancel system found in the developer’s other games like Guilty Gear Xrd. Combining all of these elements may prove to be a great idea and help Dragon Ball FighterZ snatch its place at events like EVO, which it already appeared at in 2017. It won’t be long until the public can get their hands on the gorgeous fighter as it launches on Jan. 26, 2018.
Monster Hunter: World
Monster Hunter’s fan base has continuously grown over the last few years and the series found a strong home on Nintendo systems like the 3DS. That all changes in 2018 though, as Monster Hunter comes back to PlayStation and onto Xbox for the first time. Despite being on the market for quite some time now, Monster Hunter has remained a fairly hardcore and niche series, but Monster Hunter: World might just be the game to change that. World does away with the zone-based structure of the series in favor of a massive open-world environment, where monsters go about their own daily routines and can get in territorial fights with each other.
This change in design makes it much more appealing to players just now getting into the series, and Monster Hunter: World’s gameplay and systems have been streamlined, which you can read more about in our preview from TGS. With a multitude of single-player and multiplayer options, World looks to be the most accessible title in the franchise yet, while also being the most ambitious to date. As the title launches on Jan. 26, 2018, it might just be the game that dominates the first few months of the year.
Biomutant came out of nowhere this August just before Gamescom with an announcement that looked fascinating. The title is developed by Experiment 101, a team made up of former Mad Max and Just Cause developers. If Rocket Raccoon is your favorite character from Guardians of the Galaxy you’re in luck, because Biomutant puts you in control of a raccoon-like creature in a world infested with mutated animals.
Biomutant’s open world looks gorgeous and tropical, and combat gives you a mix of different swords and guns to use. You’ll also be able to change your looks through different mutations and even attach mechanical limbs, including robotic legs, wings, and claws. There’s an element of choice to the game as well, and branching storylines will let you mold your own adventure how you want. Biomutant certainly looks strange, but it’s just the right amount of crazy that could make it one of 2018’s sleeper hits.
A different kind of Front Mission will arrive from Square Enix in 2018, one that focuses on being on surviving in the ripped apart warring city of Novo Slava in 2127. Left Alive puts you in the shoes of three different survivors spread through the town as they each fight to survive. Unlike previous games in the Front Mission universe you’ll mostly be on foot, dispatching enemies in gun fights or through stealth. You’ll also be able to set traps and craft consumables, and make choices that result in multiple story paths.
We haven’t seen a whole lot from Left Alive yet, but it certainly bears a passing resemblance to the Metal Gear Solid series. This is especially true considering the art and character designs for the game are done by Yoji Shinkawa of Metal Gear fame. Only time will tell, but perhaps Left Alive could be the spiritual successor to Metal Gear Solid.
Project Octopath Traveler
The Switch has had a monumental first year, thanks to a strong showing from first-party games and tons of support from indie developers and a few third-parties. Square Enix is one company that seems to be all in on the Switch, bringing both Dragon Quest Builders and Dragon Quest XI to the system next year, along with smaller titles like Lost Sphere. They also have a Switch exclusive in development with Project Octopath Traveler, a nostalgic throwback to the JRPGs of the 90’s.
Project Octopath Traveler is done in an “HD-2D” style as it’s described, with full voice acting. The game puts you in the shoes of one of eight adventurers whose tales take place in different areas throughout the world. Everything about Octopath Traveler is very reminiscent of classic JRPGs, right down to the turn-based battles and themes found within the game. It certainly looks like a promising title, and considering it’s a Switch exclusive, Project Octopath Traveler could easily blow up into one of the system’s most popular titles in 2018. You can even try the game out right now by downloading the demo from the Switch eShop.