"Well, 2017 was a crazy year for games, so I don't even know what's left in 2018," many of us thought for a moment.
Then we sat down to compile this year's list, and we realized just how many potentially-great RPGs and adventure games are — or are at least currently scheduled to be — coming our way in 2018. There's the expected titles like Kingdom Hearts III and Dragon Quest XI, all the way to games that could be sleeper indie hits, like Wargroove and... well, many more, but we can't tell you all of them yet, can we?
There are enough games for 2018 that a handful of them released while we put this together: Lost Sphear, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker's Memory, and Monster Hunter: World are all notable January releases. But hey, we don't all own them amongst the staff — and you may not either — so we can still anticipate them. And yes, there are some games here for which a 2018 release is wishful thinking, but we can hope.
With 63 titles, this is our biggest Most Anticipated feature ever. Shall we get started?
Look, Atlus. You too, Vanillaware. We love your games. And there's an artistry to your hand-drawn 2D titles like Odin Sphere and Dragon's Crown that are simply unmatched in the industry. And yes, we know game development takes time, but you have been teasing us with this game for far too long. A drastically different setting than we've ever seen from Vanillaware, 13 Sentinels shows us their visual prowess in a modern urban city setting. It's the kind of locale that would be right at home in a Persona title, and we are just itching to see what the game is really like. According to the game's website, it actually is coming in 2018... at least in Japan.
With the release of The Silver Case, a techno-noir visual novel penned and helmed by Goichi Suda, players were able to experience a brutally dogmatic vision of what Tokyo might look in the future. Now that The 25th Ward: The Silver Case is set to release sometime this year, the sequel will allow players to gain a sense of twisted catharsis as they, as four compelling protagonists, continue to solve cases and prevent brutal, dystopian crime throughout the man-made 25th Ward: a haven and underworld for crime abhorrent.
Koichi Nakamura is well-known for his work on the first four Dragon Quest titles, but in Japan he's also got a reputation as King of the Sound Novel, thanks to his groundbreaking and influential loose trilogy of Otogirisou, Banshee's Last Cry, and Machi. 2008 saw the release of 428: Shibuya Scramble, a spiritual successor to Machi that received rave reviews. Featuring a campy aesthetic of photographed actors and backdrops, 428 boasted an incredibly open-ended narrative that shifted between five different protagonists embroiled in a kidnapping case. It seemed like this was a title that would never be localized, but last March — nearly ten whole years later — the fine folks at Spike Chunsoft announced plans to bring 428 to Western audiences. Fans of TYPE-MOON (Tsukihime, Fate) will be pleased to hear that Nasu Kinoko contributed a scenario to the game, and fans of excellent localization will no doubt be thrilled to hear that Alexander O. Smith's Kajiya Productions is handling this one. 428 is one to watch.
Daemons. Check. Night Crows. Check. And... Suikoden creator Yoshitaka Murayama?! You read that right, Suikoden fans. The team that brought us The Legend of Legacy is back with The Alliance Alive, and Murayama is on board as scenario writer. In a world that's governed by Daemons, The Alliance Alive tells the story of nine protagonists brought together by the strings of fate. Some are members of the Night Crows — a human resistance group opposing Daemon rule. Some are closely associated with the Daemons. Some are Daemons themselves. So how does this motley crew end up forming an alliance? That's what we'd like to know!
Endings are always so bittersweet. It's nice to see how everything wraps up, but it's difficult to say farewell to the characters we've grown to love. Atelier Lydie and Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Painting marks the end of the Mysterious saga and follows twin alchemists Lydie and Suelle and their magical escapade inside a series of mystical paintings. This is it, Atelier fans. It seems that our own "mysterious" journey is coming to an end. 'Twas a pleasant one.
Stop us if you've heard this one: Stoic releases a game about vikings to critical acclaim. The developer's previous installments of The Banner Saga have been met with accolades across the board. There aren't many games that earn near-perfect scores and an Editor's Choice Award from us, but The Banner Saga did just that. Then, two years later, Nick reviewed The Banner Saga 2 and lavished similar praise on the second installment. Our expectations are high for The Banner Saga 3, which concludes the trilogy, but with Stoic's track record so far, we feel those expectations will be met this summer.
Biomutant, as a new intellectual property, brings something decidedly animalistic to the table of 2018's slate of RPGs, touting small, furry beings wielding strange powers as the heroes of a choice-driven and action-packed tale. Developer Experiment 101 and Publisher THQ Nordic have promised a rip-roaring tale across a colourful and vibrant landscape, with a narrator in your ear and martial arts to learn, coming soon to a console or PC near you!
On the surface, it seems like a familiar tale: No longer bound by his original company, a game director sets off to return to his roots with a modern take on a classic formula. But while Mighty No. 9's quality never seemed to progress beyond "early concept," Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night continues to look more polished with each Kickstarter update. Koji Igarashi and his team seem to be on track to bring us a 2D "Igavania" that the gaming landscape has been lacking for many years, and it can't come soon enough.
Developer Cyanide and publisher Focus Home Interactive are set to bring a Lovecraftian edge to 2018 with the release of Call of Cthulhu: The Official Video Game. Later this year, players will be able to experience the sojourn of private investigator Edward Pierce across the Gothic demesne of Darkwater Island. Taking both stylistic cues from Lovecraft's literary work and translating the mechanics of the precursor board game of the same name, Call of Cthulhu: The Official Video Game seems to be shaping into a worthy addition to both the RPG and horror genres.
With Atlus confirming that Catherine: Full Body is set to blast into the West sometime in 2018, there has never been a better time to experience this tale of love, lust, and all the feelings in between. Catherine: Full Body touts new scenarios, a new character and romance option in Rin, and tweaking of the core puzzle mechanics present within the original release on PlayStation 3. The game is set to retell 32-year old Vincent Brooks' tale of sleepless nights, sheep metaphors turned literal, and askew romance all over again!
With notable action RPG Dark Souls defining and conceptualising the risk-reward genre for players everywhere, Code Vein is a title seeking to both pay homage to and continue past its forebears. Utilising an anime aesthetic, a reimagining of vampiric abilities, and portraying a world where the apocalypse has had time to settle in, Code Vein has players creating a character to inhabit, then fighting for both their right to live and need of blood, which is drawn out with stylish combos against savage enemies. This is a definitely a title to watch. It might even have a little bite, you might say.
CrossCode has been in early access for years now, and with every new update we're getting one step closer to the game's release. While it's been delayed numerous times, we're desperate to get our hands on the full release sometime this year. The MMO world of CrossCode looks like it will be a delight to explore, featuring many characters to interact with and landscapes filled with enemies to slice and dice your way through. In a year that looks to spoil us with many quality indie titles, CrossCode could be the SNES callback you need.
Our fascination with '80s America as a think piece and melting pot of culture hasn't waned one iota over the years, and with the advent of homages in other media such as Stranger Things, games are starting to follow suit. Developed by Fourattic, Crossing Souls is one such example enmeshed in the cultural DNA of the '80s, telling the tale of a summer adventure across California in the year 1986, where a group of friends find an artifact that changes their lives in both mystical and touching ways. Sporting party members with specific skill sets, puzzles to solve, and time travel hijinks, it looks like Crossing Souls might scratch an itch for enthusiasts of the '80s and adventure game fans!
Once again, Humanity wanes and one must answer the call to Lordran, with Dark Souls: Remastered heading to consoles and PC players this May. The remaster is being handled by famed port developer QLOC, and most notably, will be the first Dark Souls game to appear on a Nintendo console: the Switch. Improvements have been confirmed such as a higher graphic fidelity, the password system for co-op in Dark Souls III being ported over, and dedicated servers for online play. It seems like Dark Souls is set to wow a whole new crowd, and with the Nintendo Switch, portable pain and trial will be at your fingertips later this year!
With War and Death having both completed their respective tales, it's now time for Fury to take the main stage in Darksiders III later this year. Tasked by the Charred Council to slaughter the Seven Deadly Sins, Fury and her vicious whip must traverse a post-apocalyptic Earth, combating enemies in colourful, decaying environments. If the first two games were anything to go by, Darksiders III will blend the finesse of a character action game and the touch of an RPG together deftly, ready to be experienced by players (hopefully) soon.
A game we once thought might not make it outside of Japan, Detective Pikachu pairs up boy Tim Goodman and Pokémon Pikachu in solving mysteries across Ryme City. Investigating crime scenes, collecting evidence, and gathering testimonies sounds like a touch of Ace Attorney, but in a world of Pokémon. That Nintendo of America found an actor for Detective Pikachu with a gruff voice certainly seems to suggest they know of the fans' surprise obsession with the idea of Danny DeVito playing the role. A unique new game for the series, March 23 can't come soon enough.
David Cage brings us his latest experience in Detroit: Become Human, published by Sony Interactive Entertainment and developed by Quantic Dream. Telling a story of artificial intelligence within automata finding self-actualization, Detroit: Become Human seems to display the hallmarks of a Cage production, and the rampant spectacle that comes with it.
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth was 2016's biggest surprise — and perhaps it's an even bigger surprise that it is getting a direct sequel! Set after the first game, you control Keisuke Amazawa after his EDEN account has been hacked and he's accused of crimes, and of course those trusty Digital Monsters are here to save the day. Expect more hacking and Digivolving from this sequel, which looks every bit as fun as the original. May the success of this series continue!
Finally, the arcade version of Theatrhythm comes home to consoles! Oh wait, this is the other Final Fantasy arcade game that we long thought might be confined to Japan, where arcades are still a thing. It's a big step forward for Dissidia, a series that began on the PSP and resurfaced in high-fidelity arcade form, after years of lying dormant. After what only seemed like a long wait — the arcade version only released in late 2015 — the game is coming to PS4 this month. Its character roster of 20+ heroes and villains will eventually expand to over 50 via future updates.
Honorable Mention: It was only announced for Western release during construction of this feature, but while we're talking about Dissidia, Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia is also on the way soon. Set in the Dissidia world, full of heroes and villains from across Final Fantasy history, this mobile title is the first turn-based RPG in the Dissidia series, and looks to offer a uniquely different take on the "worlds collide" premise introduced in the fighting games.
Fantasy co-op couch gaming at its finest, Dragon's Crown Pro is set to bring back a gauntlet of hand-drawn and designed levels for players to test their mettle against in 4K resolution, and with a re-orchestrated soundtrack to boot. Developer Vanillaware and publisher Atlus have done wonderful work porting and remastering Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir for players, and now with Dragon's Crown Pro on the way, we wait with bated breath to experience both the past and eventual future of this famed studio.
"Square Enix makes Dragon Quest-themed Minecraft" was the common feeling when Dragon Quest Builders was announced. While it's accurate to a degree, DQB's main mode was story-based, with goals, characters, and unique locations that gave it enough RPG elements to feel like more than just a sandbox game. The sequel looks similar on the surface, but greatly expands upon the original, with larger worlds, free-flowing water, new travel options, and co-op with up to 4 players.