The best upcoming games of 2018 (and beyond)

In The Valley of Gods 

Platform(s): PC
Release date: TBC 2019

Developer Campo Santo made quite a name for itself with its debut game Firewatch, a beautiful tale of bonding in the lonely, picturesque Wyoming wilderness. The studio's sophomore game takes that same first-person framework but transports us to a totally different time and place: ancient ruins in Egypt circa the 1920s. You play as Rashida, documenting an adventurous excavation alongside your travel companion Zora by capturing the whole thing on black-and-white, 35mm film. We've only seen a sliver of what's in store - though it seems like the less you know about Campo Santo's games before going into them, the better - but what's there already looks enchanting. If you've got a thing for pyramids and towering sphinx statues (perhaps off the back of Assassin's Creed Origins) In The Valley of Gods promises a gripping narrative and one hell of a historical setting.  

Days Gone

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: TBC 2019

If you think zombies have been done to death, well... you're right, but that isn't stopping the PS4-exclusive Days Gone. The enemies in this open-world post-apocalypse aren't technically undead - the so-called 'Freakers' are actually infected humans who have gone feral and seem eager to devour our hero Deacon (voiced by and modeled after Sam Witwer, who you might recognize as Starkiller from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed). What really sets the Freaker horde apart is just how many can be chasing you at once; there are times when they're practically flooding out of the environment, and all you can do to survive is simply run. 

Hunt: Showdown 

Platform(s): PC
Release date: TBC (alpha testing starts January 2018)

Hunt: Showdown is among our personal most anticipated games of 2018 for good reason: it's one of the most exciting takes on the survival FPS we've yet seen. You (and a teammate, if you so choose) play as old-timey bounty hunters of all things occult, stalking the nightmarish ghouls and giant spiders that lurk among decrepit shanties and mosquito-ridden marshes. As with PUBG, there's a strong sense of a chaotic battlefield where anything can happen, dressed up in gloriously grimy aesthetics - think Left 4 Dead 2's Swamp Fever campaign, mixed with the graphical fidelity of Crysis. The moment you take down a boss and send their corpse back to Hell, the map shows all the opposing players where you are, and they'll come running to steal your bounty before you can escape with your life. That tension of the hunter suddenly becoming the hunted seems like it'll be genuinely terrifying - and ridiculously replayable. 

Ori and the Will of the Wisps 

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Release date: TBC

Ori and the Blind Forest is an absolutely enchanting game, with gorgeous, hand-painted backdrops, an affecting story, and the kind of demandingly difficult 2D platforming that's hard to put down. And fortunately, this gem is getting a sequel: Ori and the Will of the Wisps, which takes us back to Ori's beautiful but treacherous world and shows us new regions and creatures in the lush Nibel forest. Details are still hazy, but it looks like Ori will be teaming up with a purple-feathered owl whose species seems to have been wiped out (save for one) by some calamity. 

Ghost of Tsushima 

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: TBC

Sucker Punch hit us with quite the surprise when it revealed Ghost of Tsushima out of the blue: a samurai-led tale of ancient Japan from the studio that brought you the Infamous and Sly Cooper series. You play an as-yet-unnamed swordsman fighting for his life against the invading forces of the Mongol Empire, living out real historical events that kicked off in the year 1274. Prepare yourself for plenty of intense melee combat in a large, open-world take on feudal Japan. 

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord  

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: TBC

If you've not played the PC-centric Mount & Blade games before, they're essentially For Honor on a sprawling Battlefield-sized scale. Whether on foot or on horseback, players take part in massive medieval skirmishes in a giant sandbox world, with intricate melee combat mechanics that take physics and positioning into account. Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord promises the same scope and intense dueling, modernized with a much-needed facelift of its predecessors aging visuals. Anyone with a fondness for chaotic close-quarters combat should love wildly swinging a sword and shield in this sequel's monumental sieges, regardless of which side of the ramparts you're on.

The Last of Us Part 2 

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: TBC

The Last of Us Part 2 picks up the story of Joel and Ellie five years after the original game. While survival in a post-outbreak world will still be the key theme of the game, we know very little else... other than the fact that Ellie is seriously pissed off about something in the reveal trailer. Fan theories suggest that Joel is actually dead and Ellie is simply imagining him, but we won’t know for sure until Naughty Dog reveals more. Don't hold your breath for this one to be out in 2018, though - it's reportedly still early in development.

Death Stranding 

Platform(s): PS4
Release date: TBC 

Death Stranding is Hideo Kojima’s first game after the Metal Gear franchise, and it’s exclusive to PS4. Naturally, it features weird old babies and stars Guillermo del Toro and Mads Mikkelsen. Trailers have been incredibly enigmatic so far, but fans are already pulling them apart for hidden meaning. Here’s the best breakdown you’ll read, but if you want the TLDR version: it’s Kojima doing another high-quality action adventure, so get excited.  

Bayonetta 3 

Platform(s): Switch
Release date: TBC

Thank you based Nintendo: first you made Bayonetta 2 possible by bankrolling a Wii U sequel, and now you're giving Platinum fans more of their favorite bullet-blasting witch with a third game on the Switch (in addition to Switch ports of the first two games). All we have to go on so far is a brief cinematic teaser, but its implications are dire: Bayonetta is caught in a losing battle under a blood moon, deprived of her guns (and quite possibly her entire legs) by a mysterious enemy bathed in purple flames. Looks like your precision third-person action combat skills are about to be tested like never before.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: TBC

At long last, Michel Ancel and his team at Ubisoft have confirmed one of the most asked-for, anticipated sequels of our time. Beyond Good & Evil 2 is actually a prequel to Jade and Pey'j's journalistic escapades in the original game, taking on a much grander scale in a cyberpunk, Luc Besson-looking future full of high-tech ships and anthropomorphic animals. The lively crew of space pirates in BG&E2's cinematic reveal trailer are just some of many - you'll be starting from scratch with the hopes of one day reaching their level of professional thievery, visiting (and stealing from) the residents of multiple cities on myriad planets.  

Metroid Prime 4 

Platform(s): Switch
Release date: TBC

You know a series is popular when a teaser showing literally nothing besides a numbered logo can garner 2 million views on YouTube. At E3 2017, Nintendo dropped a bombshell by finally confirming that Metroid Prime 4 is currently in development for Nintendo Switch, sending our imaginations into overdrive at what the next iteration of Samus' FPS explorations might look and play like on the portable console. As ever, Nintendo is sure not to reveal its hand until the moment we least expect it - but when we finally do get our first glimpse of the game, prepare to be amazed.

Cyberpunk 2077  

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: TBC

This is probably a case of a game being teased way too early, but after what CD Projekt Red's accomplished with The Witcher series, anything new this studio makes demands your attention. We've heard little from Cyberpunk 2077 since its cinematic teaser debuted all the way back in 2013, but it promises a Blade Runner-style dystopian future with Deus Ex-like RPG elements. That core concept, as made by developers promising a world even larger than The Witcher 3's, is more than enough to get our excite-o-meter peaking.