In talking with gamers from all walks of life all around the world, at least one overarching theme has developed: it seems that many have recently come back to gaming as a hobby (that is playing games with any measurable frequency) just within the past three to four years or so. I’m no longer surprised at the emergence of this pattern with the late 2010’s in rekindling interest in gaming again; several people have told me or mentioned in passing how they began playing games once more after calloused years of burn out or simple disinterest.
Now if you were to ask me exactly why this is, I don’t know that I have the definitive answer for you, but I can say that I myself fit into that pattern. Am I merely projecting it onto others, then? I’m skeptical of that with how much as been admitted to me, but there it is for the skeptics in the audience. For most of the later 2000’s and the early to mid-2010’s, I lived in retro gaming bliss. I didn’t own any current gen consoles and I was too happy to work through a backlog the size of twenty years of gaming history. I didn’t get a PS3 and Wii until they were already out of date, and I got a PS4 well after its launch, though that singular action propelled me into modernity, provoking me to purchase the Switch at launch. I hadn’t got a console at launch since… the PS1, I think?
In many contexts, it appears to me that things are shifting within the gaming community at large. Whatever that means, I want to ride the crest of the wave. Surf’s up.
And now, with so many of us invested in the future, here are the games we are most looking forward to in 2019. A special shout out to the Ink-Stained Mage for coming up with this idea, asking our writers what upcoming titles tickle their fancies. You’ll find it’s quite a list. Maybe this is why so many are coming back to gaming, though? There’s more out there for any kind of palate than ever before, as diverse as the voices we feature here on The Well-Red Mage.
.:Mages’ Most Anticipated:.
In 2005, Psychonauts released for Xbox, Playstation 2, and PC. This 3D platformer has players take control of Raz, a 10 year-old gifted with psychic abilities. Raz runs away from his family’s circus to attend a summer camp for clairvoyant children that is hosted by the Psychonauts, elite secret agents who use their metaphysical talents to battle evil doers. Raz dreams of being a Psychonaut one day, but as luck would have it, he gets his chance much sooner than he expected after uncovering a nefarious plot to destroy the world taking place right in that seemingly peaceful summer camp.
Despite receiving critical acclaim, Psychonauts was essentially a commercial failure, and I have never understood why. This game is hilariously funny with wonderful voice acting (including Richard Steven Horvitz as Raz) and a colorful, creative design. For the platforming sections, Raz projects his image into the minds of the various people he meets, which means that the level designs are all as varied and distinct as the minds of the individual characters. Each one is literally like entering a crazy new world where you have to catch figments of imagination, unlock emotional baggage, and destroy mental vaults.
I’m so beyond pleased that 14 years later, Psychonauts is finally getting not only the recognition it has long deserved, but a sequel as well. Psychonauts 2 is absolutely a Day 1 buy for me!
2019, the year I am to be married, will most definitely be a momentous one in my life. Wedding bells, dancing, fancy suits and beautiful dresses, it’ll be to die for. Speaking of dying, you know what video game I’m looking forward to? It’s only a remake of one that I reviewed early on, right here on this very site, Resident Evil 2! Having played the one-shot demo, I am now fully hyped to once again stomp through the halls of Raccoon City Police Department, shooting zombies in their rotten noggins and running away from the twisted monster that is Dr. William Birkin once again!
The original is steeped in pleasant nostalgia for me, summoning memories of sitting in front of my dad’s PlayStation in pure terror whilst avoiding zombies and Lickers alike The remake brings all of that into the 7th instalment’s RE Engine (albeit in 3rd person this time) and it looks and plays gorgeously. Bring on the zombos!
Have you ever thought, “You know what I’d like? If Harvest Moon had Pokémon in it. Pokémon that fought dance battles instead of beating each other up.” Well, I’ve got good news for the probably one of you who has. This game caught my eye when it was announced back at 2017’s E3, and it’s been number one on my radar ever since. It pitches itself as inspired by Pokémon, Harvest Moon, and Animal Crossing, and it’s got the charm to fill those enormous shoes. I mean, just look at these little fellows.
It’s supposed to have the farming parts of Harvest Moon, the critter collecting and “fighting” (I wasn’t joking about the dance battles) of Pokémon, and the town relationships of Animal Crossing. Part of me worries that it may be too ambitious or that my hopes are too high, but honestly, with how communicative and dedicated the devs have been, it’s clear there’s a lot of love going into it. Even if it doesn’t end up filling all the shoes it’s trying to, it’s still bright, cheerful, charming, and made with care, and that’s good enough for me.
-The Wandering Mage
Alright, so there is a chance Ghosts of Tsushima isn’t coming out in 2019. We haven’t heard much about it and Sony has gone radio silent on their release dates. On the flip side of that though we only have Days Gone currently slated to release this year as a first party title and it really isn’t generating much excitement currently. Perhaps that will change, but Sony needs to go into next-gen–presumably hitting 2020–with some big hits on their hand. Death Stranding is likely going to be a launch title that plays on both PS4 and PS5, Last of Us 2 will probably be early next year, and Sucker Punch hasn’t put out a game since 2014, so that leaves Ghosts of Tsushima to be a stand out title for 2019.
And what a stand out title it would be. It is amazing to me that more AAA games haven’t leveraged the popularity of the Far East, and specifically the legendary Samurai—especially in the market of the most popular genre going right now with open world action RPGs. Sure, we have titles like Way of the Samurai, but they are niche cult games that don’t have a ton of polish and fall apart under the quality of today’s games. After the very first tone trailer we saw two E3s ago now I was hooked, and this last E3 cemented my excitement to take part in this world.
An open world action RPG featuring Samurai, loosely based on a real world event, where I get to live out every power fantasy involving these warriors, made by Sucker Punch, and a first party PlayStation game which typically means fantastic games?
SIGN. ME. UP.
Ori and the Blind Forest is one of my top ten games of all time, so to say that I’m looking forward to its sequel is a vast understatement.
The original Ori was a masterfully crafted Metroidvania with the perfect amount of difficulty, drop dead gorgeous artwork, and a poignant story that tugged on my heart strings. From what little we’ve seen of it, Ori and the Will of the Wisps looks like it seeks to do the same, directly following up from its predecessor and the fallout from the final confrontation in that game–Kuro’s chick looks like it will play a direct part in the game, though to what extent, we do not know at this point.
At some point this year Ori travels beyond the forests of Nibel to seek his destiny away from the Spirit Tree, and I cannot wait to follow him on his journey.
Already, from the gameplay previews I’ve seen, DiRT Rally 2.0 is clearly the most realistic rally game developed so far, which also makes it the most extreme.
It’s a hardcore simulator for gamers who take the racing genre seriously (like me), so it’s not a game I’d recommend to genre newcomers.
Rally drivers Jon Armstrong and Oliver Solberg were consultants during development.
As a result, the game has the most precise handling model, challenging physics engine and realistic environment.
For the first time, the terrain degrades with each driver according to their unique path taken, which means tread marks are visible for each car before you – unless you’re the “roadsweeper” who goes first, in which case there’ll be more resistance from the ground.
It’s such an accurate recreation of the real thing that I wish I had a gaming wheel for it – you might think I already do but I don’t, it hasn’t been until now that I’ve seen a PlayStation 4 racing game that looks like it would suit one.
DiRT Rally 2.0 is released 26th February.
I remember that when I first figured out what Animal Crossing: New Leaf was about, I felt that I had to find a copy of it as soon as possible. The main concept that the core series of the Animal Crossing games follows is that the player interacts in a town, that simulates any time you were gone when you next start the game. This encourages the player to constantly check on their town to see what has changed.
I’m also aware of some concepts added along the way, such as multiplayer from Animal Crossing: Wild World onward, as well as being able to be the Mayor in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Being Mayor allowed more control over what happens in the town (while making you somewhat responsible). Concepts like these add a lot to the gameplay. While I have no doubt that both of these mechanics are returning, we don’t know anything about Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Switch except that it’s being released on the Nintendo Switch in 2019. I trust though that there’s reason to be excited once we start receiving some detail about new ways to interact with this social (and likely town-building) simulation game, whenever those details may be revealed.
The Metro series really, really wants you to love it. Based on the novel of the same name by Dmitry Glukhovsky, 2010’s Metro 2033 was an insanely difficult story-driven trek through the post-apocalyptic Russian underground. In stark contrast to the dark humour of the Fallout series, Metro 2033 gave us a much more serious affair forcing the player to ask such serious questions as: if bullets are currency should I save them, spend them or use them? 2013’s follow-up, Metro: Last Light, was a more straightforward first-person shooter that retained the previous game’s stressful setting and moral dilemmas but placed the focus on ensuring the player had enough gear at their disposal to have fun. It wanted – and deserved – acceptance and recognition, so much so that 2014’s Metro Redux collection gave the option to play through the first game using Last Light’s mechanics. This made for a more accessible experience for players new to the series or those that wanted a less ‘hardcore’ way to play. Whatever your gameplay preference, the Metro series suddenly had a version of itself for you.
Now in 2019, 4A Games are preparing to unleash what looks to be their magnum opus: Metro Exodus. Following on from the canonical ‘good’ ending of Last Light, this third entry continues the story of Artyom and Anna as they attempt to escape from the oppressive Metro system of tunnels in pursuit of a new life. In an unusual twist, the journey no longer takes place solely on foot through the underground but channels the spirit of adventure series Syberia by hopping aboard a large train acting as what appears to be the game’s base-camp. This could change the series’ overall tone dramatically, especially as previous ventures to the surface have been pressure-cooker scenarios involving fragile gas masks and limited air. However, introducing the Aurora locomotive could be the most intriguing new addition: it looks to be the literal driving force of the entire narrative and appears to act as a beacon of hope that the surviving characters need to escape the Metro system once and for all.
As such, Metro Exodus looks like it’s going to be an absolute stunner of a third act. In much the same way as Wild Hunt did for the Witcher series, I sincerely hope that this not only wraps up the trilogy in as neat a manner as possible but also brings in many more fans to experience Artyom’s journey from start to finish. The developers themselves admitted that Half-Life 2 was a major inspiration when creating Last Light, so let’s hope that Metro Exodus gives us the ultimate single-player FPS experience that a third entry in that celebrated series never got around to providing us.
-The Regional Exclusive Mage
Developed by the people who made Fallout: New Vegas in conjunction with the original Fallout creators is a phrase that should inspire joy. But the new interstellar setting, color-rich worlds, and lean in to the trademark wry humor of its spiritual post-apocalyptic sibling ratchets that up to 11 for me. What you end up with is a game that looks like Fallout by way of Borderlands, and now that I have set my expectations way too high to be achievable, let’s talk about other reasons I’m still excited for this game.
The Outer Worlds is, on first glance, an extremely pretty and stylized game. That mid-century aesthetic tarted up for interstellar travel looks brilliant. It also looks like there will be a bunch of different ways to play the game. The developers have confirmed that you can, if you so choose, pretty much kill every single NPC without locking yourself out of the main quest. If, ya know, that’s your thing. And repeated bad or traumatic actions will lead to your character acquiring unique fears and traits that carry with them throughout the game.
With Fallout 76 not being what I was looking for, I’m ready and excited for a proper new first-person shooter RPG that looks to be focusing pretty heavy on the RP aspects of it. You all know what a sucker I am for a good story, and this one looks like both the scripted story is gonna be fun, and the chance for emergent gameplay is at least reasonably high. At the end of the day it looks like we’ll be able to explore and make our own fun in beautiful environments while getting a bunch of laughs on side. I’m ready to see what the Fallout people can do with a whole new world, and a whole new mythology. The great theme song helps.
Sometimes, you don’t want the fate of the universe in your hands. Sometimes, you don’t even want to be a particularly good character. Sometimes, you just want to be a goose who delights in being a pain in the ass to all the local villagers. And wouldn’t you know it, we’re soon going to have the chance to do just that. Untitled Goose Game, from the lovely people at House House who brought you co-operative competitive body horror game Push Me Pull You, is a stealth game wherein you are, to use their own words, a horrible goose. Your mission in life? To bug, bother, and pester the people of a sleepy town.
And that’s it.
Anyone who has ever run afoul of one or a flock of them will tell you geese are terrible nightmare monsters, but that’s generally only if they feel threatened. I assume it’s rare one dedicates its entire day simply to ruining everyone else’s. Accompanied by a quiet and relaxing aesthetic, you are truly the only one around here ruining anything it seems. I can’t really fathom how this game came to be. I am so extraordinarily glad it did. For all that it is ridiculous, sometimes you just need a relaxing puzzle game in which you are a goose, and you are a prankster. I…I still really can’t quantify this thing. But boy oh boy am I ready to experience it.
Hi all! It’s The Hyperactive Coffee Mage – your favourite coffee addict and Mature, Distinguished Gamer, here to add to the growing list of games we at TWRM are anticipating for 2019!
While most people who know me would expect my anticipated game to be a certain third iteration of a long running (and highly delayed) series, today won’t be that case. I’ve actually ceded that duty to another Mage more capable than I in talking about this game. (Lookin’ at you Vaguely!)
Instead, I’m going to talk about another title that I’m looking forward to and that is Yoshi’s Crafted World. I actually didn’t think too much about this title until recently when a few factors over the past month or two made me realize that this would be the perfect game for my family to play, share and enjoy. And here are the reasons why:
1: It’s incredibly relaxing to look at
Let’s face it: as a Mature Distinguished Gamer, I lead a busy life. At the end of a long day filled with meetings and dealing with clients, all one wants to do is destress and relax. Yoshi’s Crafted World has a unique, paper-crafted art style that reminds me of times when things weren’t so hectic. It’s like those origami folding or colouring book fads, but in gaming format. To sum up, it looks very Zen, something that I could use from time to time! Plus, it’s the eighth installment of the Yoshi series, of which Yoshi’s Island was my favourite of them all.
2: The paper-crafted art style would appeal to my wife.
My wife loves crafting things. I mean, when we got married, she, out of pure boredom, made an art installation using toilet paper rolls and a glue gun that she hung on a wall in our apartment. She was heavily into the colouring book fad and she used to make custom candy baskets before finally finding her ultimate creative passion in hand lettering and calligraphy (her blog). Bottom line is, I think she’ll really like seeing the art style that’s shown off in Yoshi’s Crafted World. It’s cheerful, it’s paper-crafted, it pushes all of her creative buttons and it’s adorable. Which brings me to my last point:
3: My son really likes Yoshi.
I mean, sure he’s only a year old, but I’m convinced he loves that green dino thanks to my best buddy (whom I spoke of in great detail on the Christmage collab last month) giving him a Yoshi plushie for his very first Christmas. Ever since he got it, he keeps crawling up to it, gives it a hug and then tries to eat its nose. He drops it, crawls away to something else before coming back and repeating the process. It’s bloody adorable to watch. Thus, I’m hoping that when I do get this game, turn it on, plop my Mini-me with his Yoshi plushie beside me and start playing it, he’ll fall in love with the character more. That, to me, would be icing on the cake.
There are some people – quite a lot of people, in fact – who’ll tell you that they’ve been waiting for Kingdom Hearts 3 for thirteen, even fourteen years. And sure, KH2 did indeed come out in 2005 (or ’06 if you were anywhere other than Japan), which means it has been a pretty flipping long time between numbers 2 and 3 in this blockbuster franchise, but I have to admit I don’t buy that particular statement. There have been at least six entries in the series in the intervening period, and I don’t think anyone can reasonably be said to have been ‘waiting’ for KH3 ever since the day KH2 released. We didn’t know if we were going to get a KH3!
All of this is to say that I’m not one of those people who’ll declare that I’ve been actively pining for this game for over a decade, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel a sense of import, of the end of a lengthy era that’s lasted most of my remembered life. Kingdom Hearts 3, while it won’t be the last in the KH series, will be the final installment in a saga that’s spanned every one of the franchise’s titles since the very first game’s release in 2002. That’s a big deal. And while each of the non-numbered titles has been important, it’s hard to argue that Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 have been the most important, the most ambitious, and the most loved. KH3 is therefore the culmination of eleven games worth of Disney-Square mashup glory, but it’s also only the third in the series’ crown jewels, the productions that stage all the franchise’s best aspects in the biggest and most polished way. It has a twofold responsibility to live up to: be a true finale to the entirety of the saga, and be as tight and well-executed as its two numbered predecessors.
I’ve written at length elsewhere about how much this series means to me, for better or worse, so suffice to say that it genuinely doesn’t quite feel real that this is about to happen. Honestly, I’ve managed not to build up too much in the way of expectations; whatever this game turns out to be, it will be landmark, defining, monumental. I can’t wait to see what it’s turned out like.
When it comes to games I’m looking forward to this year, there’s this special one, this monumental title, this game that takes the hype from others. There’s this stunning, beautiful, amazing title to rival all others. There can only be but one title to rule them all!!!!
That right there is a lie. A big fat lie. Huge lie. You know as well as I do that there are tonnes of amazing games coming out this year. Enough to send me into crippling debt twice over and send me to bed in time for a good traditional midnight cry. But enough about me and my ginormous backlog screaming at me late at night. Rather than going for one of the big titles, one of those new experiences, I’m going to take the high road (wink) and drive right into Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled.
What can I say about this game that hasn’t already been shouted by a much younger version of myself on those rainy Sunday afternoons all those years ago? As a child I utterly adored Crash Team Racing and couldn’t have been happier when I heard that it was being thrown gracefully into the remaster machine with a release date only around the corner. I loved playing this game with my father because we both knew all the shortcuts, yes I mean all of them. If you know me at all you know I have a tonne of patience, and boy does that game need patience. I loved playing with somebody who knew the game as well as I did because instead of a friendly game of kart racing on pretty impressive and good looking tracks, might I add, it was instead a controlled rage-filled battle of wits and the ability to know when to drift at the exactly the right moment to get around that corner at exactly the right time to hit that shortcut in exactly the right place. If you were really cheeky you could say I preferred C. T. R. to that other karting game. That’s right, you know the one. That one. The one everyone knows. Wink wink nudge nudge don’t @ me.
Let’s be honest here, 2019 is going to be an utterly mesmerising year for gaming and I truly believe that. I can see more than a handful of titles that will take what we know about gaming as it is and throw it in a blender, a beautifully rendered blender. As for me? I can’t wait to have another go at Crash with my dad. Bye for now!
-The Off-Centered Earth Mage
The reason Days Gone is one of my most anticipated games of 2019 is because it will tide me over until Last of Us 2 comes out. Days Gone is set after an epidemic spreads across the world as we know it. You have to survive not only zombies (Freakers they are called) but Marauders and other people trying to survive. From the gamplay trailers, it reminds me a bit of Left 4 Dead and a little of the original Last of Us. You have to scrounge up resources to give yourself the best chance of survival. With this game being open world (ish?), I can see myself doing a lot of unnecessary exploring and getting myself into trouble I could have avoided. Visually, the game looks stunning and fun to be in. The more I watch or see gameplay, the more I want to know more about the story. I am also interested in to see if they have multiplayer included as well. And if they do, how will it be executed? Either way, this looks fun and I can’t wait to try it out. I think I’ll be done beating Kingdom Hearts 3 by then. 🙂
-The Keeper of the Darkness Flame Mage
Like most years, 2019 seems to be filled to the brim with new and interesting games. A majority of them look fantastic, which makes choosing my most anticipated title for the year very difficult. However, the games are coming sooner than we know and choices must be made; therefore, I believe Far Cry: New Dawn will be my most anticipated game of 2019. I have been a fan of the series since the release of Far Cry 3 and I feel that my enjoyment has grown throughout the installations. The charm of these games stems from the power-hungry, maniacal lunatics that take the role of the antagonist. Mix that with a few interesting environments that are rarely seen in today’s games and you are left with some unique experiences that are hard to replicate. While I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them, Far Cry 5 was the best overall with its chilling conclusion that left me wanting more.
So, why am I so excited about this new iteration in the series? After completing the fifth game, I could not wait for the next game. Cliffhangers are not a norm in these games, but the ending of the latest game was something that needed more explaining. When none of the DLC covered it, I found myself in anticipation but figured I would have to wait around two or three years. Then, the prayer that everyone wanted answered! Far Cry: New Dawn was announced, and it was going to be released in early 2019. My excitement for this game derives from the promise to continue the story of The Father and how he has evolved over the 19 years between the two games, but also provides us with something different, post-apocalyptic setting that deviates away what we know and love. I feel that it is a stretch that the development team is going to take, very similar to the ones made during Far Cry Primal and, at least in my opinion, paid off very well with providing something familiar but very different at the same time.
-The Kingly Yellow Mage
Consider that this time last year (January 2018), we didn’t even know that Smash Ultimate was coming December 2018. The reveal for that ginormous crossover exclusive wasn’t put out until March of that year. So… does that mean that we can expect Metroid Prime 4 this December, for sure? No idea. What it does mean is that it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Nintendo to make some huge their big end of the year game, so why not Prime 4.
Thus far, it behooved Ninty to shower us with a single logo, and many of us await the day when we can get any kind of tangible details on this next Samus Aran adventure. How much like the first three Prime games will it be? What new story will there be to tell? Will we finally get Zero Suit Dark Samus? Joking, but really nobody knows. So if (and it’s a pregnant if) this game comes out this year, it will definitely be my most anticipated. It would surely be a heavy hitter come December, and if they repackage it with an HD Prime trilogy collection, even better. I really enjoyed the first games and it’d be exciting to see how much darker they could make a series that’s already borderline sci-fi horror.
But, if Metroid Prime 4 does not come out in 2019… no worries!
Two things here: I grew up around the ocean and I have an intense fascination, adoration, and fear of it, and as much as I wanted to play Sea of Thieves last year, I just couldn’t see myself picking up a new platform just for one or two games I’d be interested in playing. Now it seems like Ubisoft is about to scratch my scurvy for me: Skull & Bones is, in short, a pirate game, but look at the sea in the trailers. It’s gorgeous!
I could see myself in a short enough time slapping together a crimson-clad captain red mage, and the oceanic thrills give me gooseflesh. Personally, I try to avoid all spoilers and leaks regarding games, and I like to go into them as blind as possible, not just to be wowed by the spectacle but to be that much more engaged by the experience. So, maybe Skull & Bones won’t ultimately be for me, but I sure want it to be.
What about you? What are your most anticipated games of 2019?
-The Well-Red Mage
Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Warrior of Light and join us in restoring integrity and quality to games writing through thoughtful, long-form reviews. We’re a community aspiring to pay our contributors and build a fairer and happier alternative to mainstream games writing and culture. See our Patreon page for more info!
Categories: Coming Soon