We’re already halfway through the year and my original Most Anticipated Games of 2018 list is pretty much irrelevant now. Well, at least half irrelevant.
After six months of announcements and delays, the entirety of E3 and countless other gaming events and news, the Summer and Fall of 2018 is a much different landscape for game releases then it was in January.
I post these lists twice a year, mostly because I have trouble keeping track of all the games I’m interested in, but also to share with folks who didn’t have a chance to watch E3 or keep up on all the game announcements that seem to come every other day. And sometimes people point me to games I’m missing out on too.
So here are all the games I’m excited for in the second half of 2018. I’m sure several will get delayed, some won’t be as awesome as I thought and games not on my list will blindside me but here it is none the less. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!
This list is in as close to order of release as possible. Some games are still TBD 2018 so I’ve slotted them in wherever their tentative release windows are (or where I think they’ll release).
Russian Subway Dogs
Russian Subway Dogs is being developed and published by Spooky Squid Games Inc. (@spookysquid). Releasing August 2, 2018, on Win, Mac, PS4 & PS Vita.
One of my favourite games I got to play at Gamescom 2017, Russian Subway Dogs is an arcade game inspired by the real world dogs of Russia’s metro system. Players pick a doggo (like K.C. Green‘s “This is Fine” dog), and then try to bark at subway riders to get them to drop valuables which add to their score. Steal burritos and avoid vodka, which detonates on impact with the floor. It’s cute and fun as hell, I can’t wait to play!
Wario Ware Gold is being developed by Nintendo EPD and Intelligent Systems and is being published by Nintendo (@Nintendo). Releasing August 3, 2018, on 3DS.
If my Twitter feed is any indication I’m not alone in wishing this was a Switch game. Afer Samus Returns last year I thought I was done with my 3DS. But I thoroughly enjoy the WarioWare games ever since I played WarioWare: Twisted! on my Gameboy Advance. With over 300 minigames, WarioWare Gold is the biggest WarioWare game ever made, and maybe the last 3DS game I ever get… maybe…..
@Overcookedgame is being developed by Ghost Town Games (@GhostTownGames) and published by Team17 Ltd. (@Team17Ltd). Releasing August 7, 2018, on Win, PS4 & Xbox One.
Overcooked is the best couch co-op experience I have had in ages. It was one of my favourite games of 2016 and the sequel promises to deliver more of everything. More chefs, more kitchens, more recipes and more crazy co-op shenanigans!
We Happy Few
@wehappyfewgame is being developed by Compulsion Games (@CompulsionGames) and published by Gearbox Publishing (@gearboxofficial). Releasing August 10,2018, on Win, PS4 & Xbox One.
I played the earliest public build of We Happy Few waaaay back in 2016 when it debuted in Xbox Game Preview. As I wrote in my preview at the time, “There is something quite beautiful and at the same time terrifyingly disturbing about the world built in We Happy Few; something that begs exploration. So I explored and what I found left me hungry for more.”
The game has come a long way since then, growing in scope, securing Gearbox as a publisher and the studio was even bought by Microsoft. But the promise of a compelling survival game tied to a thought-provoking narrative akin to classics like BioShock is why I’m still excited to play.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season
The Walking Dead: The Final Season is being developed and published by Telltale Games (@telltalegames). Releasing August 14, 2018, on Win, PS4 & Xbox One with a Switch port in late 2018.
I skipped the third season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, I kind of fell out of love with Telltale. Their formula has grown stale, their engine is visibly busted and they stretch what could be a neat 3-hour experience into a dragging narrative stretching over 10 hours (coughGameOfThronescough). But they’ve ditched their engine in exchange for an industry standard, mixed up their QTE’s to include more player choice and less “mash a button in time or restart” and included an amazing pre-order bonus where anyone who pre-orders The Walking Dead: The Final Season gets every other season on that platform for free. This was a big deal for me, knowing I’ll get Season Three for free is a big motivator in getting me back into the series. And I just have to know how Clem’s story ends, because after everything I still #DoItForClem.
Guacamelee! 2 is being developed by Drinkbox Studios (@DrinkBoxStudios). Releasing August 21, 2018, on Win & PS4.
I absolutely adored the original Guacamelee! I played it to completion both on PS4 and on Xbox One, mastering the game’s combo action and thoroughly exploring the gorgeous vistas where I discovered new pathways and secrets with every new ability. To be honest Guacamelee! 2 was the most exciting announcement at PlayStation’s PSX Showcase last year and is quite possibly the only contender for my Game of the Year other than Celeste, I’m so torn… I need this game NOW!
Little Dragon’s Café
Little Dragon’s Café is being developed by Aksys Games (@aksysgames) and TOYBOX Inc. and is being published by Rising Star Games (@RisingStarGames). Releasing August 24, 2018, on Win, PS4 & Xbox One with a Switch port in late 2018.
Another game to scratch that Harvest Moon itch, Little Dragon’s Café is designed by the man who created the original farming sim beloved by all: Yasuhiro Wada. Wada told Polygon in an interview that “In the case of Harvest Moon, it started as a harvesting, farming game and from that, I built upon that element and started building upon it from there, and that was how the game was made. Little Dragons Cafe is a bit different, in that I made the characters and world first and then built from there.” This focus on characters, as well as unexpected gameplay elements like rhythm challenges and branching dialogues, make Little Dragon’s Café different.
@donutcounty is being developed by Ben Esposito (@torahhorse) and is published by Annapurna Interactive (@A_i). Releasing August 28, 2018 on Win, Mac, iOS and more.
Donut County started as a game called Kachino, a game which Ben Esposito went through a painful but purposeful process where he learned a lot about the cultural appropriation and how he was hurting people with his game. Following this story, it’s been great to see Esposito’s game evolve from a damaging misuse of Native culture to a thoughtful exploration of Esposito’s home, and his stories, not others. On top of all that, Donut County is a charming puzzle game where players control a hole in the ground and using things they make fall in they work their way through different environments with sarcastic racoons and Arizona sunsets.
Bad North is being developed by Plausible Concept (@PlausibleCon) and published by Raw Fury (@RawFury). Out now on Switch, releasing August 28, 2018 on Xbox One & PS4.
Pitched as a “Minimalistic, real-time tactics roguelite with Vikings,” Bad North looks like a charming and engaging little indie gem to keep on your radar.
Wattam is being developed by Funomena (@funomena) and SIE Santa Monica Studio (@SonySantaMonica) and is being published by Annapurna Interactive (@A_i), Funomena and SIE Santa Monica Studio. Releasing TBD 2018 on Win & PS4.
As described on Funomena’s site: “Wattam is a delightfully, explosive, exploratory game from the creator of Katamari Damacy – Keita Takahashi.” I’m a big fan of Katamari Damacy and I’m an even bigger fan of experimental indies so this is the Stephan Reilly wombo combo right here. The game’s E3 trailer has all the charm, adorableness, mouth noise music and sound effects of Katamari Damacy with a modern touch of air horns and walking poop emojis. Get hyped.
Wandersong is being developed by Greg Lobanov (@theBanov), A Shell in the Pit (@AShellinthePit) and Em Halberstadt (@emaudible). Releasing TBD 2018 release on PC, Mac and Switch.
I’ve been following Wandersong‘s development on Greg’s Twitter for a while. I love all the little touches they’re putting into the game, and the premise of a hopeful bard venturing off into the world to use his voice to help those in need and save the world is incredibly cute. Wandersong features real-time colour wheel selecting gameplay that reminded me of 2016’s Hue, a core gameplay that once I’d mastered switching in real time made me feel like a boss gliding through levels and puzzles.
Beat Saber comes to PSVR
Beat Saber was developed and published by Hyperbolic Magnetism (@hypmag). Already on Steam Early Access, releasing TBD 2018 on PSVR.
Beat Saber is the best VR game I’ve ever played, it may quite possibly be the best rhythm game I’ve ever played. I got a chance to try it at CGX and after I completed my very first song flawlessly I got it instantly. It feels incredible, and I need more. It’s addictive, and I can’t wait to bust out my PSVR to play this game.
Tunic is being developed by Andrew Shouldice (@dicey) and published by Finji (@FinjiCo). Releasing TBD 2018 on Win, Mac & Consoles.
I first wrote about Tunic in my most anticipated games of 2017 list last year when it was still called “Secret Legend.” Now with a slightly less obvious name homage to The Legend of Zelda, Maritime-based developer Andrew Shouldice has been hard at work on this gorgeous, isometric adventure game. Teaming up with publisher Finji Co. (publisher of 2017’s game of the year Night in the Woods) I’m so stoked to play Tunic in lieu of any top-down Zelda game coming anytime soon.
Return of the Obra Dinn
Return of the Obra Dinn is being developed by Lucas Pope (@dukope). Releasing TBD 2018 on Win, Mac & Lin.
Lucas Pope’s Papers, Please hit me hard. The heavy moral situations I encountered throughout my term as a border officer in an Eastern European-inspired authoritarian state weighed heavy on me for long after I was finished playing. While Pope’s next game is taking a completely different direction visually, I hope the heavy, meaningful storytelling continues in the new setting of a fictional East India Company ship whose crew and passengers have all mysteriously died, with the game’s objective being to discover how.
Ooblets is being developed by Rebecca Cordingley (@nonplayercat) & Ben Wasser (@perplamps) and published by Double Fine Productions (@DoubleFine). Releasing TBD 2018 on Win & Xbox One.
Undoubtedly the most talked about indie game in the mainstream, Ooblets is pitched as Stardew Valley meets Pokémon. Players manage a farm, meet friends and littler friends called “Ooblets” who join you in your exploration of the various world regions battling other Ooblet trainers. The game has captured the hearts of many (myself included) with its charm and interesting genre mash-up.
@ManifoldGarden is being developed and published by William Chyr Studio (@WilliamChyr). Releasing TBD 2018 on Win & PS4.
I’ve been following Manifold Garden since its first fascinating trailer at PSX 2015, and since then solo developer William Chyr has been quite open with the game’s development, often streaming it on Twitch. Seeing behind the curtain has been fascinating for an aspiring developer like myself. Manifold Garden is a first-person exploration game featuring Escher-esque worlds through which the player flies like Superman. It’s quite out there, and I’m ready to go there.
Burrito Galaxy 65
Burrito Galaxy 65 is being developed by @kayfaraday, @online_frog & @mushbuh. Releasing TBD 2018 on Win.
I don’t really know what the fuck this game is but going off their site alone I was laughing. Based on the short demo trailer on their site, it looks like a first-person adventure game with a colourful and sarcastic cast which now consists of mole and guac, as well as mole’s pet stalagmite Todd (NOT a stalactite)… I’m down for more Burrito Galaxy 65 in my future.
Ikenfell is being developed by Chevy Ray (@ChevyRay). Releasing Summer 2018 on Win & Mac.
I’m not a big fan of turn-based gameplay, but this game wowed me with its incredible art style and cute story where a bunch of magic students (definitely not from Hogwarts or Luna Nova Magical Academy) “explore the twisted halls of a vast magic school, fight challenging monsters and bosses, and uncover dark secrets never meant to be found.”
APE OUT is being developed by Gabe Cuzzillo (@gabecuzzillo) and published by Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital). Releasing Summer 2018 on Win & Consoles. Wishlist now on Steam!
What if instead of a gunman, Hotline Miami starred a rampaging gorilla and an even zanier, seizure-inducing art style? Well, that’d be APE OUT, a heart-pounding, chest-thumping top-down arcade game where a gorilla fights its way through armed guards and beats them to a bloody pulp. I’m ready to go apeshit up in here.
Concrete Genie is being developed by PixelOpus (@Pixelopus) and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment (@PlayStation). Releasing TBD 2018 on PS4.
I wasn’t a big fan of PixelOpus’ first experimental game Entwined, but after reading up on the studio and their approach to design I’m ready to give them another chance. PixelOpus has been given pretty much free rein by PlayStation to try new things. They believe in hiring students and recent grads and pairing them up with industry veterans to work on all the areas of the game: code, art and design. This has led to Concrete Genie, a game about a bullied boy who makes friends with his art. Using a spray can feature similar to inFamous: Second Son players paint the walls of the grungy town with fantastic beasts and vistas.
Golem is being developed by Highwire Games (@highwire_games). Releasing TBD 2018 on PSVR.
Golem was indefinitely delayed in March but still expected this year. The studio delayed because there were “just a few small things that taken together make it the right thing for the game and for Highwire. We want to release a polished VR experience that we are proud of — there’s still some tuning and optimization to be done […]”
It’s the next project from Halo and Destiny composer Marty O’Donnell. After being forced out of Bungie in 2014, O’Donnell sued Bungie who settled out of court. I’m assuming being quite well off, O’Donnell founded his next studio, and as music was his expertise he set out to design an immersive VR experience where music and sound were key to the worldbuilding and storytelling. Golem is that game and based on my love of Halo music alone I’m excited to check it out. To read more about the story check out the game’s site.
Jenny LeClue – Detectivu
@JennyLeClue is being developed by Joe 🐙 Russ @mografi_joe & Ben Tillett @voiceofben. Releasing TBD 2018 on Win, PS4 & Mobile.
This game is hella cute. Jenny LeClue is “a narrative adventure game about detectiving, relationships, choosiness, and an epic tangled mystery.” All the art is hand drawn in mid-century aesthetic, featuring vibrant, colourful scenes that beg to be explored. The game has a lot of charm and I can’t wait to get to the bottom of the mysteries surrounding Arthurtown, the quirky and mysterious setting
BABA IS YOU
@babaisyou_ is being developed by Arvi Teikari. Releasing TBD 2018 on Win.
This is a simple looking game with a premise unlike any other game I’ve played. It’s a “puzzle game where the rules you have to follow are present as physical objects in the game world. By manipulating the rules, you can change how the game works, repurpose things you find in the levels.” You really need to see it to understand it, that’s why Arvi’s Twitter feed is full of cool gifs showing off the scenarios we’ll encounter. And I think this game will teach me something about game logic, or at the very least broaden my design pallet in a way few games do.
The Last Night
The Last Night is being developed by Odd Tales (@oddtalesgames) and published by Raw Fury (@RawFury). Releasing TBD 2018 on Win, Mac, Lin & Xbox One.
The Last Night and specifically lead designer Tim Soret were part of a large controversy last June when the game was shown on Xbox’s E3 stage. Past comments Soret made in 2014 were pro-Gamergate, anti-feminism and these tweets were brought up online as a reason not to support The Last Night. Soret responded on PC Gamer’s stage at E3 that those past tweets “don’t in any way represent where I am today or what The Last Night will be about.”
The game itself is set in a future where computers and robot have replaced all menial labour, an “era of leisure.” But the game’s protagonist, Charlie, is a second-class citizen who is disillusioned with the way things are. The game features a gorgeous 2D art style and has an open world to explore and characters to talk to, as well as gunfights and stealth sections. I’m interested in seeing how Soret’s values play out in this dystopic(?) future.
sU and the Quest For Meaning
sU and the Quest For Meaning is being developed by Guillaume Bouckaert (@g_Bouckaert) and is being published by Playdius Games (@PlaydiusGames). Releasing TBD 2018 on PC, Mac & Consoles.
I got a chance to play sU at both Montreal Comic Con in 2016 and Gamescom this past summer. Both times I thoroughly enjoyed my short demo and noticed the improvements in control and visuals when I played again this past summer. The premise is simple and intriguing, it’s an arcade platformer where the puzzle is in the collectables. It’s a tight, fast-paced game that Guillaume told me will have over 40 levels at launch.
Lonely Mountains: Downhill
@LonelyMnts is being developed by Megagon Industries. Releasing Summer 2018 on Win, Mac & Linux.
Another game I got to play at Gamescom 2017, Lonely Mountains: Downhill is a Kickstarter success from German developers Megagon Industries. I had a blast with this arcade downhill biking game. It’s a joy to play and the low-poly visuals keep the fast-paced action from becoming too confusing. With multiple ways down the mountain, it’s a game meant to be replayed to find the best route, for the player to learn the tightest drifts and longest jumps.
The Gardens Between
The Gardens Between is being developed and published by The Voxel Agents (@TheVoxelAgents). Releasing Summer 2018 on Win, Mac & PS4.
The first non-mobile game from successful mobile development team The Voxel Agents, The Gardens Between is a trippy platforming-puzzle game starring two friends who can control time. Levels are broken up into these rotating tower levels where characters move up and down interacting with various objects as well as moving backwards and forwards in time to progress. The two-character mechanic reminds of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons with an abstract, dream-like twist.