BioWare’s long-awaited shared world online shooter looks a lot like Mass Effect meets Destiny meets Iron Man. And that could be great, as long as the developer provides enough for players to do, and publisher EA learns from past mistakes and takes it easy on the microtransactions.
This bloody, brutal monkey escape game looks ideal for perfecting speed-runs and sinking into zen-like sessions of precision violence, in the vein of Hotline Miami. It just remains to be seen if the minimalist approach can sustain the game over time.
It’s a beautiful-looking alternate reality Soviet-era shooting adventure with sentient goo and a bunch of robots. What else could you ask for? Details are scarce beyond this amazing trailer, which evokes Bioshock, but it’s enough to whet the appetite.
Create and play as your very own weird mutant forest animal thing in this ambitious RPG that looks heavy on the weapons-based combat and customisable powers. It’s a funkier, furrier take on the post-apocalypse, and I hope the mutations are as fun as they seem.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
A spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, helmed by long-time series producer Koji Igarashi, Bloodstained‘s delays and protracted development have been worrying. But with the scope now scaled back and veterans WayForward brought in to polish, it could yet fulfil its potential.
From Remedy, the studio that most recently gave us Quantum Break, this intriguingly metaphysical shooter concerning shadowy government agencies and brutalist architecture certainly has my attention, and could finally be the Alan Wake follow-up we’ve all been waiting for.
Devil May Cry 5
After a total departure in 2013’s DmC, Capcom’s hack-and-slash franchise is finally returning to its original brand of beautiful stupidity with new and returning characters, hordes of demons to slay and a motorcycle that turns into swords.
Far Cry New Dawn
It’s now tradition for a spin-off to follow a mainline Far Cry game, and New Dawn looks to inject some colour and an even more outrageous premise into Far Cry 5‘s fictional slice of Montana. Think Mad Max but with more pastels, saw-launchers and befriendable pigs.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
This peerless Japanese strategy series finally made it big in the West on 3DS, and Nintendo will be hoping to keep that momentum up for its first entry on Switch. The anime style and turn-based battles return, but many details are yet to be revealed.
After the incredible campaign and stunning cliffhanger ending of Gears of War 4, I had high hopes for the next entry. But the initial trailers for Gears 5 (the series is dropping the “of War”), surpassed even my expectations. This could easily be the cinematic shooter of the year.
In the Valley of Gods
Two women lug a camera through the desert of 1920’s Egypt hoping to make the film of a lifetime. That’s essentially all there is to know about this game so far, but Campo Santo earned enough good will with 2016’s heart-achingly wonderful narrative adventure Firewatch that it’s enough.
Kingdom Hearts III
This franchise has become so bloated that if you haven’t already played the previous games the story here will be absolutely incomprehensible. On the other hand it promises a beautiful, complicated adventure filled with love, Disney characters and pointy-haired Square Enix boys.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Mario’s braver brother is back to his ghost-busting ways, with a brief but detail-filled trailer teasing his new tricks for ridding a haunted hotel of spooky spirits. His vacuum this time seems capable of firing plungers and hovering like a jetpack as well as flashing lights and sucking up spectres.
Man of Medan
A horror anthology series is such a perfect narrative format to adapt for games, I’m surprised we don’t see them attempted more. If anyone can do the idea justice it’s Supermassive (known for the excellent Until Dawn), with the ghost ship story Man of Medan set to kick its series off in terrifying style.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
The multiplayer Marvel crossover is returning after 10 years, bringing the likes of the X-Men, Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy together in a way that’s become increasingly rare post-MCU. Team Ninja’s developing this one, so expect flashy, over the top co-operative fighting.
Blending exploration and survival with stealthy combat and a narrative inspired by a Russian novel, the Metro games offer a distinctive take on the first-person shooter. Exodus is bigger, prettier and more open than the previous games, but the oppressive terror of never having enough ammo remains.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
A painterly and tough as nails Metroid-style adventure, 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest had its issues but was nonetheless breathtaking. This sequel seems like it’s doubling down on the first game’s strengths, so we can only hope it also irons out the few rough edges.
The Outer Worlds
Directed by the creators of the original Fallout, and developed by the team behind Fallout: New Vegas, this first-person character-based sci-fi RPG is aiming to pick up the ball dropped by Bethesda with last year’s poorly-received Fallout 76. Time will tell if they can stick the landing.
From the developers of ABZU, this looks like a similarly gorgeous and meditative adventure, but the interplay between the sprinting archer protagonist and her eagle friend promises a bit more in terms of action this time around.
A collaboration between the creators of Doom and Just Cause seems like it would have to be good fun. A colourfully anarchic, open world, post-apocalyptic, car combat / superpowered shooter, Rage 2 feels less like a sequel and more like an attempt to make up for the personality-free original.
If you want to get noticed, make a game that looks like Sable. I’m going to play it purely because I need to drink in those line-drawing visuals, but of course there’s also the promise of a mysterious alien planet to explore and a “deeply personal” story to uncover throughout the adventure.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
Another one that does its best to defy description, this appears to be a game for people that like their music saccharine and their sword combat performed to the beat while riding motorbikes. It’s from Simogo (Bumpy Road, Device 6, Year Walk), which switches styles every time but always has something to say.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
What at first appears to be a mash-up of two of the franchises most synonymous with FromSoftware — Tenchu and Dark Souls — is actually a whole new game for the studio with its own unique hook. Sekiro does feature stealth and gruelling combat, but its focus on the katana and various gadgets sets it apart.
The 2013 version of Spelunky is so infinitely replayable that it’s hard to know how Mossmouth will do a sequel justice. This is a game all about learning the ropes, and then adapting on the fly as the ropes are combined in random sequences in an attempt to kill you.
Streets of Rage 4
As a big Sega fan I haven’t been this nervous about a franchise resurrection since Sonic Mania, and I really hope Streets of Rage 4 turns out as well. The hand-drawn art from Lizardcube is a great start, but we’re yet to see if Guard Crush can nail the arcade-style brawling or if Yuzo Koshiro can be convinced to do the music.
Resident Evil 2
I’ve been lucky enough to play a good few hours of this ground-up remake already, and it’s stellar. Marrying the atmosphere and narrative of the ’98 PlayStation game with the more visceral and satisfying play of Resident Evil 4, while introducing modern mechanics and looks, this could be a new high for the series.
Untitled Goose Game
Geese are loveable jerks, and the biggest triumph of this game — at least in what I’ve seen so far — is capturing that extremely particular brand of adorable bastardy in every action the player takes. Your goal here is to annoy the villagers as much as possible through specific tasks, and it’s so much fun.
Wolfenstein II, with its alternate history ’60s featuring an American revolution against the occupying high-tech Nazis, was a surprisingly well-told story as well as a satisfying shooter. This co-operative spin-off stars protagonist BJ’s twin daughters taking up the fight 19 years later in Paris.
Yoshi’s Crafted World
Good-Feel has a knack for easy-going platformers that warm the soul, and this Yoshi adventure themed after kids’ arts and crafts looks no different. Filled with secrets and precious details, it promises simple fun for less experienced players, challenges and collectibles for more capable folk, or both at once in two player mode.
Tim is the editor of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald technology sections.