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2018 Preview: 20 triple-A games you should keep an eye on this year

2018 Preview: 20 triple-A games you should keep an eye on this year

The triple-A games market is where some of the biggest and best titles emerge from, and 2018 is looking to be no different. 

Sure, there's the same old faces - there will be a Call of Duty, there might be an Assassin's Creed or a Watch Dogs, but beyond the annual franchises there is certainly a lot to be looking forward to in the coming twelve months. 

We have the return of Rare, a brand new Metro game, a brand new online title from BioWare and EA, Overkill's take on The Walking Dead universe and much, much more. 

Here are some of the triple-A titles that you should be keeping an eye on in 2018. Is anything missing? Email me at [email protected]

We've also rounded up the biggest trends of the year to come, and will be listing some of the indie games you should be looking out for, too. 


Click here to view the list »
  • Anno 1880

    Anno 1880 logo

    Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft BlueByte/Ubisoft
    Release date: Late 2018

    Ubisoft is celebrating the 20th birthday of the Anno franchise in style with the launch of Anno 1800. Announced at Gamescom 2017, the project takes the franchise to an Industrial Revolution setting after several iterations spent in the future and even underwater.

    The title is set for a late 2018 launch with developer BlueByte having high hopes for the entry, even saying this could be the most popular iteration yet. There's good reason to think this, too, as 1800 combines the historical setting of early titles with the technological elements of the industrial revolution that helped make more recent entries popular with fans.


  • Anthem

    Anthem  logo

    Developer/Publisher: BioWare/EA
    Release date: Q4 2018

    Anthem is a brand new sci-fi open world RPG IP from Dragon Age and Mass Effect makers BioWare. The game casts players as a Freelancer who wears body armour called Javelins that increase their combat abilities.

    The title was revealed on-stage at E3 2017 and certainly reminds us of Activision's own Destiny. It would seem that EA has similar ambitions for the game, with EVP Patrick Söderlund saying the game might be the start of a "10-year journey" for the studio - a potential reference to the ten-year plan outlined by Activision for Destiny.

    It'll be interesting to see how this project does - whether fans of Activision's sci-fi MMO-esque game might be tempted away - as well as how the publisher will attempt to monetise the game following the backlash to microtransactions and loot boxes in 2017. Regardless of this, one thing is certain - the title is likely to be an absolute showcase of DICE's Frostbite game engine.


  • Crackdown 3

    Crackdown 3 logo

    Developer/Publisher: Reagent Games, Sumo Digital, Ruffian Games, Cloudgine/Microsoft
    Release date: Spring 2018

    Originally penned for release in summer 2016, the long-awaited Crackdown 3 looks like it'll finally be hitting shelves in spring 2018.

    The superhero game is being led by Sheffield-based Sumo Digital, with Reagent and Ruffian Games, and promises to be a showcase of what a combination of physical hardware and cloud computing. The game uses Microsoft Azure servers to handle its destruction, though this is only available - obviously - when the title is online.

    It's been almost eight years since the last entry in the Crackdown franchise, so there's no doubt a lot of pent-up excitement for this entry. And with a developer like Sumo Digital at the helm, this is no doubt going to be a great experience. This third entry is also the series' debut on PC, which will bring in a new audience.


  • DayZ

    DayZ logo

    Developer/Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
    Release date: 2018

    What? Didn't this game come out in like 2014? Going on the press buzz, you'd probably be fooled into thinking that DayZ had been out yet.

    Arguably the first smash hit to emerge from Steam's Early Access platform, DayZ casts players as survivors in a post apocalyptic zombie-infested world. Developer and publisher Bohemia Interactive said at the end of 2017 that both the open beta and final release would be rolled out before the end of this year. The survival market is still booming, but the big trend now is the battle royale offshoot, so it'll be interesting to see how the game does once it hits 1.0.


  • Dragon Ball FighterZ

     Dragon Ball FighterZ  logo

    Developer/Publisher: Arc System Works/Bandai Namco
    Release date: January 26th, 2018

    Liam Edwards, host of Final Games Podcast, co-host of Dad & Sons: A Bunnyhop podcast

    When I was younger before I knew what the term 'anime' even was, I had an intense love for a cartoon show called, Dragon Ball. Just like many others of my age we tuned in to watch the heroic actions of everyone’s favourite Saiyan, Goku as over the year he defeated numerous Earth-threatening aliens and went through incredible and numerous transformations.

    Now in 2018, I just like many others my age are doing it all over again whilst watching the brand new Dragon Ball Super series. Watching this series reignited my love of the show and its characters, and I still squeal with joy at the face-paced, intense and incredible action that takes place in Dragon Ball’s iconic style of fights. Of course this makes me yearn to carry out such battles, whilst hoping I can scream loud enough to undergo a Super Saiyan transformation myself. Unfortunately this probably won’t happen so as usual I look to video games to live out my otherworldly daydreams.

    Whilst there have been numerous Dragon Ball games in the past, I would argue that very little of them have been able to capture the series’ intense battles and speed correctly. But, from what I see of Arc System Works, Dragon Ball FighterZ looks set to absolutely accomplish that. The creators of stylish and fast-paced fighting series Guilty Gear and Blazblue have made an incredible looking fighter that perfectly captures the art style of the series and its sense of speed.

    Don’t just take my word for it, the team at Arc System Works already made a fantastic Dragon Ball fighting game that largely went unnoticed for the 3DS called, Extreme Butoden. The team there know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to making flashy, stylish and fast fighting games, which makes their collaboration on Dragon Ball a mouth-watering one.


  • Far Cry 5

     Far Cry 5  logo

    Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
    Release date: March 27th, 2018

    After heading to war-torn Africa, tropical islands and the Himalayas, Ubisoft's Far Cry franchise's next exotic globe-trotting location is... America. Specifically, it's dealing with a cult in Montana. Of course, Ubisoft Montreal is at the helm with assistance coming from the likes of the French publisher's Toronto, Kiev, Shanghai and Reflections branches.

    Despite the story being penned in 2014, it bears a striking resemblance to real-life events, specifically with right-wing ideologies. Whether the game actually does anything with this or whether it's just set-dressing is still to be seen. One thing we can expect from the shooter, however, is a high level of quality. Ubisoft delayed this title - alongside some others - following Assassin's Creed: Origins' positive performance after the publisher gave the team behind that more time to work.


  • Jurassic World Evolution

    Jurassic World Evolution logo

    Developer/Publisher: Frontier Developments
    Release date: Summer 2018

    Announced at Gamescom 2017, Planet Coaster and Screamride outfit Frontier Developments' latest title is dinosaur park management sim Jurassic World Evolution. Launching this summer, likely close to the June release for the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom film, this game has players controlling their very own dinosaur theme park and hopefully trying to prevent, well, everything going wrong, as per the films.

    Though best known for the Elite series of sci-fi games, Frontier has really proved its pedigree in the theme park management sim game with Planet Coaster and Screamride, so this is one you should definitely be keeping an eye on. What's more, it looks like - gasp - a decent and sensible decision for a licensed IP.


  • Metal Gear Survive

    Metal Gear Survive  logo

    Developer/Publisher: Konami
    Release date: February 2018

    So this is a weird one but also peak Konami. Following the high-profile departure of Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, the firm has decided to take the tech and gameplay from 2015's Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and make a brand new game with more survival-focused gameplay.

    The game is set in a parallel dimension and has players trying to fight a zombie horde while also trying to survive. Though it has some of the same gameplay as The Phantom Pain, the game attracted a lot of negative attention as it simply isn't a Metal Gear title. A recent beta garned a more positive response, but overall this is a cash-in by Konami attempting to recoup the costs of Metal Gear Solid V - and the Fox Engine that powers it. Either way, it's worth seeing how the post Hideo Kojima Metal Gear title performs when it hits shelves next month.


  • Metro Exodus

    Metro Exodus logo

    Developer/Publisher: 4A Games/Deep Silver
    Release date: Q4 2018

    The third game in the Metro franchise based on the series of books from Russia's Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro Exodus was announced on-stage at Microsoft's E3 2017 show.

    Set in 2036 in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, players are thrust into the shoes of a ranger called Artyom. This time around, the game ditches the subterranean Metro setting of the previous two entires as the protagonist sets off on a road-trip to explore Russia's eastern regions.

    So why is this on the list? Well, the gameplay demos shown so far have certainly impressed, with more seemingly more dynamic combat and a more open approach to its level design. But more importantly, - much like CD Projekt's The Wicher series - the Metro franchise's more Slavic approach to its world and storytelling is a breath of fresh air in a genre dominated by Western voices.


  • Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

    Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom logo

    Developer/Publisher: Level 5/Bandai Namco
    Release date: March 23rd, 2018

    A follow-up to the Ghibli-styled cult classic Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is on the way! What's more, this is the franchise's debut on PC, opening it up to a brand new audience.

    Given the recent success of seemingly niche Japanese games such as Nier Automata on PC, there's a likelihood of this game being a hit.

    Gamers are cast as a young king who has been usurped from his castle and is attempting to reclaim his kingdom. Though Japanese animation experts Studio Ghibli were involved in the previous game, they're not this time, but the game still retains that magic and whimsy the art style of the first title evoked - something that will surely turn heads when Revenant Kingdom launches in March.


  • Overkill's The Walking Dead

    Overkill's The Walking Dead   logo

    Developer/Publisher: Overkill/Starbreeze
    Release date: Autumn 2018

    Following in the footsteps of Telltale's The Walking Dead and, um, the critically panned Survival Instinct, Sweden's own Overkill Software - of Payday fame - is putting their stamp on the blockbuster zombie license.

    The game was announced a while back, but a release is finally on the cards later this year. This is a four-player co-op title that looks like a gritty version of Left 4 Dead. Each character has their own special abilities, as well as skill trees and roles within the squad.

    As alluded to earlier, The Walking Dead license hasn't had a perfect run of games, but this union of an IP and development talent is surely a recipe for success. We shall see when the project hits digital storefronts this autumn.


  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire logo

    Developer/Publisher: Obsidian/Versus Evil
    Release date: April 3rd, 2018

    Funded back in January 2017 via Fig, the second entry in the Pillars of Eternity is rolling out in just a few months.

    The role-playing game raised a cool $4.4m on the crowdfunding platform from 33,614 backers - that was four times developer Obsidian's initial goal. The team has certainly been listening to the feedback it received for the 2015 original, and - for example - are designing it to have fewer 'filler combat encounters'. Still, the team isn't going for the 'bigger and better' approach, saying that the size will be comparable to the original game.

    Pillars of Eternity sold 700,000 copies between its March 26th 2015 release and February of the next year, with console ports bolstering that figure to presumably more than one million units. This title, appealing to a niche fanbase and improving on this formula spells good things for developer Obsidian.


  • Quake Champions

    Quake Champions logo

    Developer/Publisher: id Software/Bethesda
    Release date: 2018

    This brand new entry in the Quake universe is already out in Early Access and is set for a release later in the year. It's the first nee title in the arena shooter franchise since 2005's Quake 4 and has released to mixed reception.

    Steam reviews currently peg the game at 7/10, but the team at iD is hard at work on improving the game. By releasing into Early Access, the developers are also able to listen to what the community wants and potentially avoid a catastrophic release of something like LawBreakers. For sure, the team and arena shooter market is crowded and arguably dominated by Overwatch, but the way that iD and Bethesda has approached this release - and its free-to-play business model - is a smart way of bringing the community on-board.


  • Sea of Thieves

    Sea of Thieves logo

    Developer/Publisher: Rare/Microsoft
    Release date: March 20th, 2018

    Finally, a Rare game that actually looks and feels like a Rare game. Since the Twycross-based developer's acquisition by Microsoft, few of its games capture the magic that the studio oozed during the Nintendo 64 era, but Sea of Thieves appears to be a return to form.

    This pirate-themed title has players collaborating and exploring a sizeable open-world, while getting into adventures and skirmishes with other gamers. What's more, there's cross-play between Windows 10 and Xbox owners thanks to Microsoft's new shared ecosystem.

    It remains to be seen how well this game will do - it looks absolutely gorgeous and has so many nice little touches it can't help but charm. Rare appears to be putting a focus on streamers and influencers to help spread the word, but who this game is aimed at is still a mystery. With its shared world and focus on community, there's every chance this could be the next Minecraft or Playerunknown's Battleground - a real destination rather than a simple video game.


  • Soul Calibur 6

    Soul Calibur 6  logo

    Developer/Publisher: Bandai Namco 
    Release date: 2018

    Zoë Ainscough, social media executive/freelance journalist

    2018 is shaping up to be a great year for fighting game fans. After the highly anticipated release of Tekken 7 last year, Bandai Namco have announced that SoulCalibur VI will finally be landing on our screens sometime this year. As well as being released on both PS4 and Xbox one, the game will also be making its PC debut!

    The SoulCalibur franchise has been around since the 90s, with the last installment released almost six years ago. Following in the footsteps of Tekken 7, SoulCalibur VI is built using Unreal Engine 4, and will feature new game mechanics and characters.
    Alongside SoulCalibur VI, 2018 will also see the release of Dragon Ball FighterZ, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, plus fresh content for both Tekken 7 and Injustice 2.

    The choice to expand the user base of huge fighting game franchises such as Tekken and SoulCalibur to include PC gamers is only strengthening the community. Remember back in the 90s when almost everyone was playing fighting games? 2018 is going to play a massive part in the revival of what seemed to be a genre which was on the decline. Although it may never reach the same level of popularity that it had in the 90s, this is a new age for fighting games and its community which is definitely something to get excited about!

     


  • Skull and Bones

    Skull and Bones  logo

    Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft Singapore/Ubisoft
    Release date: H2 2018

    Much like 2017's For Honor, Skull and Bones is Ubisoft taking an online-only and seemingly very focused approach to a new project. The title riffs off the naval combat seen in 2013's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and the following year's Rogue and making that the focus of an entire game. Indeed, many gamers said they loved those two projects purely because of the shift in gameplay focus.

    That isn't to say that Skull and Bones is guaranteed to be a success - attention paid to For Honor dropped off pretty fast, though the game was still one of the Top 24 grossing games on Steam last year.

    But if anyone could pull a project like this off, it is Ubisoft. With titles like Rainbow Six: Siege, the French giant has nailed the games-as-a-service business model, and hopefully this knowledge helps out this naval battle title. Else, it'll end up sleeping with the fishes.


  • Shenmue 3

    Shenmue 3 logo

    Developer/Publisher: Ys Net/Deep Silver
    Release date: H2 2018

    With the first two Shenmue games having a huge impact on the market, a third entry was pretty much a dead cert on a long enough time frame. Funded via Kickstarter and other means, series creator Yu Suzuki brought the franchise back in 2015 on Sony's E3 stage.

    All in, the project has raised over $6m so far, making it the highest-funded game in Kickstarter's history. Early footage from the game looked very, um, Dreamcast, and not in a good way, but recent screenshots and trailers paint a more positive picture.

    There's certainly an appetite for the project, but its quality is yet to be seen. Whether it's going to be an Elite Dangerous or a Mighty No.9 is up in the air.


  • New Total War games

    New Total War games  logo

    Developer/Publisher: Creative Assembly/Sega

    So, we're going to be a bit cheeky with this one and lump several projects in one entry because Creative Assembly frankly has a lot of plates to spin right now with the Total War franchise.

    As well as on-going development on Total War: Warhammer II, the developer recently announced that the franchise would be heading to the East with Total War: Three Kingdoms' (pictured) China setting. That is slated to release in Autumn of this year.

    Meanwhile, there's the new Total War Sagas sub-series, which is debuting with Thrones of Britannia. That is set to launch in 2018, and tackles the Viking invasion of Britain.

    Creative Assembly has really established itself as one of the leading names in the RTS genre and it makes sense to really capitalise on this. Fingers crossed we don't end up with a Telltale situation with too many similar projects.


  • Vampyr

    Vampyr logo

    Developer/Publisher: Dontnod/Focus Home Interactive
    Release date: H1 2018

    Best known for the Life is Strange series of teen-tinged adventure games, French developer Dontnod's next game is something similar but different. Rather than exploring the life of a teenage girl with supernatural powers, Vampyr has players cast as a doctor who has been turned into a vampire. The dialogue options from Life is Strange make a return of sorts with protagonist Jonathan Reid torn between his old life as a medical professional and his new life as a blood sucking beast.


  • Warhammer: Vermintide II

    Warhammer: Vermintide II logo

    Developer/Publisher: Fatshark
    Release date: 2018

    JP Jones, freelance staff writer, Gamewatcher.com

    If the original Warhammer Vermintide didn’t manage to quite quell the seemingly evergreen calls for Left 4 Dead 3 to manifest itself, then its spanking looking sequel, Warhammer: Vermintide II, looks to do so with savage, rat-filled aplomb. Once more developed by Swedish outfit Fatshark, Vermintide II builds upon the engaging co-op focussed FPS action of its 2015 prequel by not only including new varieties of Skaven ratmen to cut, shoot and blow up, but also by introducing the seemingly unstoppable forces of Chaos to deal with too. Lovely.

    Returning from the previous game, each of the five heroes now possess career paths that enable players to tailor and customise their progression according to their playstyles, while the new Heroic Deeds system promises wide-ranging effects to existing missions and quests in return for potent baddie wrecking gear and loot. It’s quite straightforward really; whether you’re an avowed fan of the Warhammer Fantasy universe, or the sort that can appreciate sublimely crafted co-op FPS beats that would make Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock Studios blush, Warhammer: Vermintide II looks to have more appeal than you can shake a hairy stick at.


Editor - PC Games Insider

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he was hired to launch PCGamesInsider.biz for Steel Media before departing the firm in October 2019.

He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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