For obvious reasons, the second half of the year is still shrouded in mystery. It's simply too soon to settle on firm release dates for most titles, even if publishers are likely toying with some potential dates as they try and set their releases up for success. As such some of these games may get an earlier than expected release this spring, whereas it's sadly more likely that some of them won't even make it out this year.
What we know and some speculation
Let's start with the big first-parties, and it should be noted that we expect all three to reveal big titles in the first half of the year that will see release later on (more of that speculation below). Sony will be banking on Insomniac's Spider-Man to do some heavy lifting during the second part of the year, and honestly, we're not sure what else they'll bring, as they've been relying largely on third-party hitters for the Q4 madness in recent years. Media Molecule's Dreams is just as likely to land this spring as during the summer or autumn, perhaps preceded by some beta testing, and then there's Sony Bend's Days Gone that should see release at some point during the year too.
With Microsoft we naturally expect Forza Horizon 4 to drop and there are currently rumours of Japan being the location this time around; a brilliant choice if you ask us. We hate to say it but we wouldn't be surprised if Crackdown 3 ends up slipping to the latter part of the year too. Nintendo will likely have plenty as they tend to spread out their big releases as well, as there's speculation Bayonetta 3 may be ready for a summer release and we'll likely see the new Fire Emblem towards the end of the year. Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes from the twisted mind of Suda51 is also expected to arrive this year, and for more on what we think Nintendo has in store for us, see the speculation section below.
EA is coming off a somewhat humbling 2017, where Mass Effect Andromeda was met with anger and then we had the whole loot box fiasco of Star Wars Battlefront II. FIFA was in great shape, however, and for 2018 the football title will naturally be one EA is banking on. They'll also have a riskier proposition in Anthem, Bioware's new co-op RPG that's expected to launch towards the end of the year. Bioware's reputation took a hit with Andromeda, but it should be underlined that this is a game from the Edmonton studio that has almost without exception delivered brilliant games over the last couple of decades. That and the fact that Casey Hudson is back and in charge is enough to instil us with confidence. There are concerns (it remains to be seen if they're unfounded or not) that Bioware has been looking too much at Destiny and strayed from their core strengths of narrative and RPG systems, but we're still optimistic nonetheless.
One game that has blown us away with the release of each trailer is 4A Games' Metro Exodus. The Metro titles were great, but this looks like it's on a whole new level (literally. as much appears to be on the surface). Hopefully, it'll make it out before the end of the year, as this looks like the single-player first-person shooter to keep your eyes on in 2018.
A publisher that's looking strong in 2018 is THQ Nordic, who've got what's arguably their biggest property lined up for release in Darksiders III and the promising open-world action-RPG Biomutant. Another more humble publisher that slowly grown over the last few years is Focus Home Interactive and we're very excited about some of the games they've got slated for 2018. Call of Cthulhu and Greedfall stand out, with the latter perhaps not being a certainty for this year, but we're nonetheless excited to see where Spiders go next.
Telltale Games will be closing the book on their Walking Dead series starring Clementine in 2018 and we expect the first episode somewhere towards the end of the year. There's also the promise of a second season of The Wolf Among Us, though to be honest we're not sure when to expect that one. Could be earlier, could be later in the year.
Paradox Interactive has a couple of third-party developed titles we're excited about in BattleTech and Surviving Mars, and we also expect the developer/publisher to reveal something big from their internal dev studio for 2018. Is it time for Victoria 3? Could a Crusader Kings III be on the cards? Something brand new? A grand-strategy fantasy title after Stellaris? Perhaps a grand-strategy World of Darkness title (Paradox now owns the license)?
Ubisoft will likely add something big to their late 2018 slate come E3, but for now, they've got titles like Skull & Bones and Transference. Capcom has Mega Man 11 coming up among a slew of remasters and re-releases, and while little is known about it, we have high hopes that Overkill's The Walking Dead will put a different spin on the familiar premise of co-operative zombie action. Square Enix has announced that a new Tomb Raider title is in the works for 2018, and it would appear this one will be called Shadow of the Tomb Raider. We don't expect an exclusive deal this time around (it didn't really pan out for either Microsoft or Square Enix the last time), and this should be one of the big releases come autumn (or perhaps Q3 if they want to avoid the biggest releases). Square-Enix also has the promising Front Mission-spinoff Left Alive, let's not forget.
Bandai Namco has the very promising Souls-like title Code Vein lined up to ease the withdrawals from the lack of a new Dark Souls. We're not saying Dark Souls IV (or some sort of Souls) won't happen, but we don't expect it in 2018. Bandai Namco are also returning to the stage of history with Soul Calibur VI, and that naturally has us excited, as it's been a few years since we've had a new entry in the series.
There's plenty to be excited about on the indie scene as well, as there's the promise of a spiritual successor to the original Xcom games with Phoenix Point and the gorgeous adventure that is The Last Night, not to mention the return of ToeJam & Earl (hopefully it'll make it out sooner rather than later), Spelunky 2, Super Meat Boy Forever, the incredibly cute Ooblets, Dauntless, the extremely promising Frostpunk, as well as throwbacks like the System Shock remake, The Bard's Tale IV, and Underworld Ascendant. Oh, and there's the space dwarf mining action of Deep Rock Galactic. Speaking of co-op, there's the alien/mutant horror experience of GTFO from some of the creatives behind Payday, and probably dozens more that slip our minds at the moment.