The video game industry and its revenue continues to rise, even with the drama surrounding micro-transactions. “Esports” have shown us that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and some can actually make a decent living by streaming themselves just playing games full time. Video games are now cemented as the fourth pillar in the entertainment industry, joining movies, tv, and music. We wish we had more time to play all of the great releases coming soon, but if we had to pick a handful, here are our top anticipated video games releasing in 2019.
8th Generation Pokemon Game
Pat: Ori and the Will of the Wisps was close to getting an encore this year, however a full year has passed and we still don’t have a date outside of a tenuous “2019”. Because of this, my hype has started to deflate a bit and my excitement has moved in different directions. As someone who still plays Pokémon GO daily, it’s hard not to have those little critters always on my mind. 2018 gave us a taste of what next generation Pokémon might look like with Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee!, but that was hopefully only a nibble of what Gamefreak has in store for us next year.
The Let’s Go titles were enjoyable enough and added several must-have features for any titles moving forward, like the removal of random battles in favor of Pokémon in the over-world and rideable/following Pokémon. With a clean but ultimately safe art style, and graphics that were decent but unambitious, I’m really hoping that Gamefreak was using Let’s Go as the stop gap, and that the 8th generation of Pokémon is the one that finally blows open the Pokéball and creates the world I’ve dreamed of since my first steps in Pokémon Blue.
My anticipation for Generation 8 rides on the assumption that Gamefreak can deliver something truly fitting of the Switch hardware, and that they really shake up the formula and finally create something outside of the comfort zones of the last several generations. If Breath of the Wild can deliver a stunning, vibrant, detailed open world at launch, what can Pokémon, one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, deliver several years into the system’s life cycle?
Sure the Pokémon purists might not think “open world” is the right fit for Pokémon, and that’s fine. At least deliver the graphical fidelity and scale of Breath of the Wild’s Hyrule, but filled with tons of catchable critters. I want to explore forests on the back of a Torterra, fly up volcanoes on a Charizard, and dive under the oceans alongside a Wailord, just how I always imagined a 3D Pokémon game could be when I was 11. Sure, at that time I was walking through an 8-bit Viridian Forest, but in my mind it was a lush, green, foliage-covered expanse, exactly like Breath of the Wild’s “Forest of Spirits”. Let me climb trees to find Pidgey. Let me search through thick bushes for a chance to capture a Nidoran. Give me the sense of scale and exploration that has been held back from the series for so long due to hardware constraints.
Generation 8 has a chance to really shake up the formula. Trim some of the fat that the series has held onto for so long and start making some changes to make the new generation of games bring along a new generation of fans. Move forward without the random battles and continue with Pokémon in the over-world. Speed up or tweak the battle system to make it more exciting and simplify the absurd background systems that determine a Pokémon’s potential. And for the love of Arceus, stop with all the hand holding! Instead, double down on the details, the world, and the creatures that inhabit it. Give us the freedom and the presentation to really immerse ourselves into the journey and bring back that sense of adventure.
If we can even get a piece of what I’m imagining here, Pokémon would easily be my game of the year. Without the shackles of handheld hardware, Gamefreak has the opportunity to rewrite what Pokémon is, while finally fulfilling what many of us always thought it could be. Even without a single screenshot or shred of information about what to expect, the 8th generation of Pokémon is my most anticipated title based on potential alone. Here’s hoping they don’t squander it.
Honorable Mentions: Ori and the Will of the Wisps; Anthem; Wargroove; Jedi: Fallen Order
Chandler: It’s hard to believe we are actually one month away from a Crackdown 3 launch after years of development hell. Originally announced set to release in 2016 as an Xbox One exclusive, the game was delayed a number of times by Microsoft throughout its lengthy development. Four official delays and four different studios taking the helm later, our favorite destructible city is finally ready mayhem.
Looking back I had very fond memories of Crackdown 2 so I’ve been hyped for the next sequel for quite some time. It was incredible addicting to unlock all of the weapons and power ups so I could moving across the expansive city like an overpowered super hero. It was even more fun to bring some buddies into multiplayer and set up our own mini-games by igniting hordes of zombies, racing cars off embankments and tethering tanks to helicopters.
And thankfully Crackdown 3 is shaping up to look bigger and better than ever! Much of the core gameplay that made the franchise a hit is returning but some of the new features include a system called “Gangs Bite Back”, in which a boss character’s focus will be drawn to the player causing the most havoc in their territory. Gang members will continue to retaliate until the boss is drawn out themselves to come for the player personally. In addition, Microsoft’s Azure Cloud system will handle the complex game physics across a shared multiplayer experience, known as “Wrecking Zone.” The entire city will be destructible and the player will have the ability to bring down entire skyscrapers around their enemies. All of this too will be rendered in real-time. If Crackdown 3 can pull it off seamlessly, expect other studios to try and copy this technology.
Early gameplay reports have been favorable and we’re starting to see Microsoft was right to give extra time for development. The footage so far has been an incredible spectacle and the sheer size of the bright neon, futuristic cityscape is an optical achievement in itself. February 15th can’t come soon enough.
Honorable Mentions: Anthem; Jedi: Fallen Order
Andy: Hey, remember when I wrote about this game last year? It still hasn’t seen the light of day due to a delay, even though publisher Electronic Arts doesn’t consider it a delay because they never intended to release in 2018 anyway. Regardless of what you think of EA and last year’s micro-transaction blunders, you can’t deny that Bioware is an incredible developer who knows how to make a solid multiplayer game. With some countries passing new regulations around micro-transactions in 2018, I’d argue that this delay could end up making this game great.
I’m a busy grown up person now, and I really only spend time gaming when I get to do it socially. Gone are the random days where I’ll get 10 hour chunks to blast through the latest epic single player game, so Anthem is right at the top of my list. I’m a huge fan of Bioware’s past multiplayer efforts in the Mass Effect series, so even dating back to the Anthem gameplay reveal at 2017’s E3, I was immediately sold.
Me and three other friends donning Iron-Man like suits through a beautiful open dynamic world fighting monsters? Sold. Guess I’d better start saving for that 4K TV.
Honorable Mentions: Jedi: Fallen Order; 8th Gen Pokemon Game
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan
Austin: Look, I don’t play a lot of video games. I’m not a NERD, I spend my time doing other things. Like….watching every movie released. Yeah, no time for video games here, pals.
Obviously, I am kidding. I truly don’t play a lot of video games, instead laboring over the decision of what new show to watch and then just watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine for the eighth time. When I do play games, I generally stick to 2K or Madden, or enjoy party games like Smash Bros. or any mini-game from the Jackbox Party Packs. Last year, my most anticipated was the newest Spider-Man game, which, if I had a PS4 I would have definitely played, but a $400 entry to play one game is a bit much for me. That said, this game sounds right up my damn alley.
Supermassive Games, best known for creating Until Dawn, has launched a horror anthology series of games, called The Dark Pictures. For those of you in the, uh, dark on Until Dawn, it was a PS4 exclusive (so I never got to play despite longing for it…maybe I really should just get a damn PS4), more interactive, almost choose-your-own-adventure style horror game, centered on 8 characters who go to a remote cabin and are terrorized by a killer. It featured some well-known actors voicing characters and the intrigue of having a variety of possible endings based on the decisions you make in the game. That continues with Man of Medan.
Man of Medan will follow four American tourists exploring the south Pacific, who end up trapped on a WWII ship…that is haunted. You can play as each character, and are allowed a variety of options, paths, and choices that will affect how the game plays out. It has been said that this is an immensely re-playable game with more diversions of story and potential outcomes than Supermassive’s previous games.
While I was disappointed with actual movies first foray into choose-your-own-adventures storytelling (Bandersnatch was, while ambitious, hot garbage), the style can only work infinitely better in a video game. And as it is branded as a cinematic experience, that lines up perfectly with my lack of dedication to playing video games. Throw in a spooky setting and story, and I have found my video game series to tie myself to. Just please don’t make any future games PS4 exclusive.
Honorable Mentions: Jedi: Fallen Order; Twin Mirror; Control; A Plague Tale: Innocence
Smithers @ TheChumpcast: I’m putting a ton of faith in CD Projekt’s ability to actually maybe probably release this behemoth in 2019. Considering the 48 minutes of gameplay released at last year’s E3, any further delays may produce a boycott for a game originally announced in 2012. Producers of the heralded The Witcher franchise, gamers can expect a massive, fully fleshed story and setting.
Cyberpunk follows your fully customized mercenary through a California city in, you guessed it, 2077. The weapon, skill/strength, transportation possibilities here are just shy of endless. My biggest fear for this adventure is that it will be TOO involved, and my completionist mentality gets me fired from my day job.
That wraps up our most anticipated series, we hope you are hyped for all of the great entertainment coming in 2019, and rest assured us at GlitchUp will be serving up our thoughts on the best and worst of this year!