The launch schedules for the rest of the year are now largely in place, we mostly know which upcoming games have slipped into 2018 and what we can definitely expect to see in the traditionally crowded end of year release season.
As with our earlier list of games so far this year, this list is by no means definitive, and as before the list could easily have been doubled. I’ve tried to keep to the biggest and most anticipated games across a range of genres and platforms. It’s notable how many of the titles are direct sequels,with almost none of the games on this list original or new franchises.
Destiny 2 (Sep 6)
One of the most highly anticipated games ever, Destiny 2 is going to be a Very Big Deal when it releases early in the season. Years of player feedback throughout the lifespan of the original game have given Bungie detailed information on how to refine the already stellar shared-world shooter.
In response to criticism of Destiny, the story will be front and center this time, with the destruction of the Last City resulting in a soft reboot for the series and for Guardian characters, as power, possessions and currency will not transfer over. Four new planets/areas will feature, and will be bigger and with more to do than the previous environments.
Total War : Warhammer 2 (Sep 28)
The inspired pairing of Creative Assembly’s Total War RTS series with Games Workshop’s Warhammer fantasy setting returns for the sophomore entry in a proposed trilogy. Total War: Warhammer 2 will expand the map of the first game, and add four more core races as playable factions – the High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen and (unconfirmed but heavily teased) Skaven.
The new installment will see interesting twists in the endgame sequence – the final hours of a Total War can become repetitive as you slowly crush a large but critically weakened enemy after a decisive battle – with alternative and faction-specific victory conditions.
Middle Earth: Shadow of War (Oct 10)
Shadow of War will continue the story of 2014’s Shadow of Mordor, and will see the body-sharing protagonists Talion and Celebrimbor forge a Ring of Power to fight a war against the growing army of Sauron.
The Nemesis system will be expanded to include trolls and other monsters, and to enable detailed commands of followers. A much bigger world, with new seige set-pieces is expected, and your top follower and nemesis can be imported from the last game. Worryingly, a multiplayer mode and microtransactions have been announced for a previously single-player game, so hopes are that these seemingly unnecessary additions sour the experience.
South Park: The Fractured But Whole (Oct 17)
The follow up to The Stick of Truth will bring back the open world JRPG recreation of South Park, and have added a new tactical level depth to the battle system with open grid movement and synergies between characters’ attacks and placement.
This time the theme will be super heroes and players will choose a basic archetype with powers similar to well known heroes, the character creation looks like a basic take on MMO hero games DC Online and City of Heroes. The Stick of Truth genuinely felt like playing a season of the TV series, and The Fractured But Whole looks to give us an upgraded new episode.
Gran Turismo Sport (Oct 17)
The latest game in Sony’s flagship racing franchise will see its long awaited debut on the PS4, and has been described as the first in a new era of Gran Turismo games by series creator Kazunori Yamauchi .
Unlike previous ‘Prologue’ entries in the series, Sport will contain more content, with Campaign, Arcade and Sports modes, and both online and offline racing.
Super Mario Odyssey (Oct 27)
A new main series Mario on a new console is always an Event and early reports from hands-on tests with Super Mario Odyssey have been positive. Much has been made of the GTA-esque New Donk City setting, but Mario will have a range of Kingdoms to explore in his new adventure.
This holiday season will be the first that the Switch has been available and will be crucial to the success of the console as Nintendo hopefully breaks away from the troubles that blighted the Wii U. The release of a great new Mario would go a long way to making the Switch a must-buy for many people.
Assassin’s Creed Origins (Oct 27)
Assassin’s Creed is making its big comeback after a year off since the well received Syndicate. The long running series has on overall hit-and-miss reputation and even fans had been suggesting that the game could benefit from a break in the strictly annual release schedule.
Ubisoft agreed, and now the historical murder simulator is back with a setting that has been long asked for (ancient Egypt) and an overhaul of the game’s systems that will see it closer to an Action RPG with levels, skill trees and tiered loot.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus (Oct 27)
The longest running first person shooter series is back with the sequel to 2014’s The New Order. It’s still the 1960s the Nazis are still in control, but this time B.J Blazkowicz is fighting a rebellion in an occupied United States instead of Germany.
The New Order’s excellent blend of stealth and shooter gameplay earned it high critical and commercial success, and The New Colossus adds more elements such as the ability to dual wield different weapons and a hatchet for even gorier stealth kills.
Call of Duty WW2 (Nov 3)
COD returns to the classic World War 2 setting after years of modern warfare, black ops and futuristic settings. Notably not a response to Dice’s success with Battlefield 1 last year (COD WW2 has been in development for three years), the chart-topping series will hope to win back fans after a few years of diminishing returns and some backlash around the remaster of Modern Warfare.
Appropriately for the setting, Nazi Zombies is set to return, and the multiplayer will have a Destiny style social hub area known as the Headquarters. Developers Sledgehammer Games have suggested the tone of the campaign to be gritty and realistic, with the opening level as the oft-depicted Normandy beach landings.
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (Nov 17)
The last Star Wars: Battlefront game looked great and played well but was severely lacking in depth, and the decision to put dlc behind a paywall resulted in a splitting of the player base and some great maps being under used.
Battlefront 2 hopes to address the shortcomings of its predecessor by adding a proper single player campaign that follows Empire trooper Iden Versio after the destruction of the second Death Star up to the era of The Force Awakens. Multiplayer will feature elements from all three Star Wars settings, the original trilogy, the prequels and the new movies. A multiplayer beta will run in October if you’d like to see how the game is progressing.
With so many promising games coming out and so many already so far this year, Game of the Year will be hotly contested, and I’m hoping that I’ll actually get around to playing everything by December!
- This article was updated on March 8th, 2018