The start of any gaming year is typically a bit slow, and coming off a year like 2017 makes it feel even more sluggish, but that's not to say there aren't gems to be found in the first few months of 2018.
January is typically a month shunned by major releases, but there are certainly some titles to look forward to, like Dragon Ball FighterZ and Monster Hunter: World. Both could be regarded as niche releases, but seeing as there are no huge competitors to contend with they could find a larger audience. Dragon Ball FighterZ has been getting a lot of praise for its visual style and the PS4 beta should ensure a smooth launch, whereas Monster Hunter: World, on the other hand, represents the first time in the history of the series that a Monster Hunter title gets a simultaneous worldwide release. The new, modernised version of Monster Hunter has impressed us thus far and we're looking forward to the hunt in early 2018.
February looks like a relatively strong month where our expectations are high for the historical RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance. A game Kickstarted back in the day, this medieval tale could very well be one of the big surprises of 2018. There's much to say about its focus on narrative and it's precise and measured combat. We'll also see Shadow of the Colossus remade on PS4 in February, and while we still love the original it will be nice to see some of the rough patches smoothened out and brought up to date.
March represents the end of most fiscal years, which typically results in a slew of big titles getting their release towards its end. This year we have some major titles in the shape of God of War, Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, Sea of Thieves, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, and Far Cry 5 to look forward to, but perhaps we're most excited about the co-op only prison break adventure that is A Way Out from Josef Fares' Hazelight; we love the creative risk (or is it a commercial one) of opting out of single-player completely. While God of War has yet to be given a definitive release date, March looks likely for the return of Kratos and we're excited about his new stomping grounds up north and the prospect of this ever-defiant antihero dealing with fatherhood. Rare's Sea of Thieves is another game we've kept our eyes on for a while now and it'll carry the burden of being Microsoft's only major first-party release early in the year. And let's not forget about Far Cry 5, which is as controversial (to some) as it is promising.
We also expect to see Fatshark's Warhammer: Vermintide 2 and Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire during the quarter if all things go well.
Naturally less precise information exists about what we're likely to see during the second quarter of 2018, but educated guesses and speculation will have to cover up for those gaps. It's going to be an interesting quarter as we expect many developers and publishers will want to steer well clear of Red Dead Redemption 2, so perhaps once Rockstar reveals a final release date the others will soon follow suit.
To confuse matters the third game in the Red Dead series is a prequel to the second game, Red Dead Redemption, where you'll play as outlaw Arthur Morgan who is a member of the Van der Linde gang. We expect Rockstar to roll out some impressive online features given the heritage of the previous title and the success of GTA Online. There's every reason to be excited as Rockstar readies to release its first new game since 2013 (!).
Quantic Dream's Detroit: Become Human is one of the titles lacking a release date, but it should arrive this spring exclusively on PS4. The near future android adventure has us very excited as it will hopefully deliver fully on the promise of a truly branching experience, even if it has had its fair share of controversy regarding trailers so far.
So while there isn't a lot of firm release dates, we know we'll get the full release of We Happy Few in April, and the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection in May.
Crackdown 3, a game we were very excited about a few years ago, but that we've sort of gotten a bit worried about, is also due out this spring, although if it will make this latest release window or not remains to be seen. Another game that has seen plenty of delays is the Kickstarter IGA-vania title Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. The full release of Conan Exiles (as well as the PS4 release) has been locked down for May. Frontier's Jurassic World Evolution should see release in June alongside the movie and State of Decay 2, The Crew 2 and Vampyr from Life is Strange devs Dontnod are also expected during the quarter.
Naturally, there could be quite a few more titles making it out during the second quarter that haven't been given specific release windows yet.