Release date: Fall 2018
What is it? Imagine Destiny meets Titanfall, and size down the giant mechs to human-sized exoskeletons called Javelins. That's Anthem.
What to look out for: Looking to be a co-op shooter set some time after nature has reclaimed most of the planet, you're a Freelancer who ventures out beyond the safety of the walls that separate what's left of civilisation from the wilderness. You can explore both underwater and the air using your Javelin exosuit, and by the sounds of it you won't be sticking to one suit either, as Patrick Söderlund described the "unique play style" and "devastating combat" that each suit offers. Four player co-op is looking to be a significant part of Anthem , so get ready to buddy up and explore the lush wilderness with your gun-toting squad.
Skull & Bones
Release date: Q3/Q4 2018
Genre: Action-adventure piracy sim
What is it? Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag without the Assassin’s Creed, basically.
What to look out for: Land? Where you’re going, you don’t need land. Ubisoft‘s entirely sea-based adaptation of Black Flag’s hit pirateering gameplay is currently billed as a tactical action game, in which you take command of a ship and set sail to seek your fortune, build out the strength of fleet, wreck other ships and, well, wreck even more ships. It might not have the giddy, playground-pirate tone of Microsoft’s Sea of Thieves (see next entry), but with a single-player campaign as well as multiplayer, it might be a tad more versatile.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Release date: 2018
Genre: Open-world action-adventure
What is it? Seriously? The sequel to Rockstar’s phenomenally successful Red Dead Redemption, a phenomenally good open-world action game about the wild, wild west.
What to look out for: Yee-haw! Full disclosure: don’t let the convincing cowboy impression fool you. We actually know very little about Red Dead Redemption 2, other than the fact that we want it now. Scraps of information suggest that it’ll be single player with multiplayer aspects, and has been scheduled for a 2018 release. Whispered rumours imply we might be playing as John Marsden’s son, and you’re sure to see some familiar faces as people are theorising that forming your very own band of misfits will be a big part of the game (as suggested by the early concept art). Likely set towards the end of the Wild West era (we see steam trains and brick housing in the trailer), it’s possible that the cowboys will have new struggles to contend with as they start to feel the hot breath of progress on their neck.
Release date: 2018
Genre: FPS / action-adventure
What is it? A return to the notoriously difficult wasteland of Metro, with the low-tech combat and grueling survival management that the previous games are famous for.
What to look out for: Revisiting the Russian wasteland, Metro Exodus looks remarkably colourful for a post-apocalyptic game, but the creatures look just as deadly as before. If the previous games are anything to go by, we're in for a well-written treat, rife with studies of human survival and tense combat. Details about the story elements are few and far between at the moment, but the train that rampaged its way through the end of the trailer might suggest that you'll be travelling around Russia on the railroad for some of the game.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Release date: 2018
What is it? The long awaited next chapter in Disney and Square Enix's absurdly charming, long-running RPG collaboration.
What to look out for: If you think the wait for Final Fantasy 15 is bad, the time spent anticipating Sora and Mickey's latest quest is downright agonising. We've waited for this direct sequel for seven years, through an entire console generation, sifting through portable game after portable game to finally get our bone. The lore is jumbled and messy, and the direction of the new game is nigh impossible to predict, but one fact remains: Kingdom Hearts 3 is real, and it is coming. Hard facts are somewhat scarce, but we know Sora picks up another Master's keyblade on Destiny Island, three-character parties return, while different worlds have their own Keyblade transformations - like the sword morphing into a rocket launcher. Bosses also give Sora the chance to use Attraction Flow summons, a set of finishers that sound like exhausting Disneyland rides. We hope Scar returns so we can fire some 'Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters' into his furry face.
Release date: TBD
What is it? The Witcher meets Deus Ex in a sci-fi RPG where advanced technology has both cured and cursed humanity.
What to look out for: And you thought The Witcher was big. CD Projekt RED has already confirmed that its next game is "far, far bigger" than Geralt's last hurrah, another open-world RPG taken from an unusual source - in this case a pen-and-paper role playing game last heard of a decade ago. Details are short, as you might expect from a game initially announced five years before its release, but we know it takes place in an open world called Night City, where the residents speak a variety of non-English languages. The original Cyberpunk games featured cybernetic augmentations, corp-hacking, high tech weaponry and cool, cool 1980s sunglasses, so expect all of that, and more.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Release date: TBD
Genre: Action-adventure exploration platformer
What is it? The sequel to one of the Xbox One’s finest – and most unexpected – games to date.
What to look out for: The original game, Ori and the Blind Forest, immediately stood out among the Xbox One’s indie line-up by being distinctly not much like a stereotypical Xbox One game at all. Delicate, atmospheric, lushly presented, and dripping with dreamlike whimsy, Moon Studios’ iteration on the exploring, platforming, ability-growing model cemented by Metroid is executed with almost enough charm to be a Nintendo game itself. We don’t know a huge amount about the sequel yet – all we’ve seen is an announcement trailer at Microsoft’s E3 2017 press conference – but we do know that it will take Ori beyond the first game’s titular tree village, and out to investigate larger mysteries in the wider world.
Beyond Good & Evil 2
Release date: TBD
Genre: Action-adventure, space exploration
What is it? The long (looooooong) awaited prequel to the last-last-gen classic.
What to look out for: Space monkeys. A vast sector of the universe to explore with your ever-expanding ship crew. Gameplay that scales from ground-level, action-adventure to full-scale, interstellar flight. A densely textured, philosophically fuelled civilisation that explores slavery, control, genetic engineering, cultural cross-pollination, and all the long-term, spiralling knock-on effects that come with that. It might have taken the best part of 15 years to appear, but Michel Ancel’s follow-up looks so, so much grander, more exciting, and more thoughtful than we ever imagined it could be.
Release date: TBC
Genre: Survival / action
What is it? An undead open-world survival sim where your fellow opportunistic humans pose more threat than the undead hordes.
What to look out for: DayZ may never be truly finished, so the idea of having an actual full-game release date for its incoming console version is almost laughable - but we at least know it's heading to Xbox One at some point, continuing its slow metamorphosis from Arma mod to world's premier survival experience. You join a server covered in bloodthirsty zombies and, usually, even more bloodthirsty human players, then attempt to live for as long as possible. Scavenge, build, ambush, run, feel very, very bad about our species. All in a day's work. Right now, the priority for Bohemia Interactive seems to be on finally getting the game of out Steam Early Access and working on the PS4 version, so you should probably make your delicious braaaaains concentrate on other upcoming Xbox One games for the time being.
Release date: TBC
What is it? Dark Souls meets Limbo, in a world where anyone can be a friend.
What to look out for: One of the most visually distinctive upcoming indie Xbox exclusives, Ashen’s dark, shadow-draped world is a brutally unforgiving place. Filled with deadly monster and deep, gloomy dungeons only carefully curated gear, a thoughtful approach to combat, and a healthy dose of self-preservation will get you through, it does, however, have one specific ray of light. A friendly – and clever – approach to co-op. Some of Ashen’s dungeons can only be unlocked by two players working in unison, but there’s no painting of signs, ringing of bells, or periods of indefinite waiting for a partner. The game will simply buddy you up with someone, who will then take on the role of a nearby NPC, Quantum Leap-style. What we’ve seen of Ashen’s combat already looks gratifyingly tactical and methodical, and that situation should only exacerbate once multiple players are involved.