It seems crazy, but 2018 is right around the corner. Where did the time go?

While some of us here at GameCritics are still trying to digest the last few GOTY contenders in the days we’ve got left before year-end, it’s also a good time to look forward to what’s on the horizon. We asked our writers what titles they were most excited about in the coming months

These are their selections.  

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Phantom Doctrine

As a big fan of turn-based strategy, I’m always looking for something to sink my teeth into, but after spending a ton of time (and loving) the XCOM reboot, nothing has really clicked. But, based on the time I spent with Phantom Doctrine at the last PAX, I think that might change. Focusing on espionage and counter-espionage with a Cold War setting, not only is its approach to using real-life, plausible spy technology intriguing, but so is the way the game’s tactics play out. Info-gathering and management of assets is key, but what’s really fascinating is that the game’s AI is playing the same way you are. It only knows what it can find out, and it can only do things it has access to based on the game’s rules. Sharp players will feed it false info, flip agents and cut off access to tech, limiting the number of moves it has open. The idea of playing on a level playing field is something that hasn’t been tried by many tactics games that I’ve ever spent time with, so this one is very high on my must-see list. — Brad Gallaway

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A Way Out

I currently have two TVs set up in the living room, with two separate consoles. Try as we might, my boyfriend and I simply cannot find a game to play together and our solution was to play separate games at the same time while sitting next to each other. Finally, as if someone heard our prayer to the videogame gods, A Way Out will be changing that. A Way Out doesn’t feature a traditional singleplayer mode and looks to end the unending problem of trying to ration kills by actually giving each player—in either couch-co-op or online play—separate work to do. This game requires players to work together to solve puzzles and challenges. One trailer shows a player trying to sneak by a guard while the other player distracts them, or going separate places to perform tasks to help the other through a map. The basic premise is that each player plays as a man in prison and they’ve come together to find…you guessed it…A Way Out. It’s set to release in early 2018 and I couldn’t be more excited. — Rebekah Ocker

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Far Cry 5

Far Cry Primal was my choice for Game of The Year in 2016, primarily due to its refreshingly original approach to storytelling and gameplay. While a slow starter, it soon became an addictive and enthralling gameplay experience housed in a truly interesting sandbox based world. It’s hard to imagine Far Cry 5 not borrowing from Primal’s strongest suits, likewise the terrific humor and world of Far Cry 4. Bringing the story to US soil is a courageous leap for Ubisoft, let alone nesting it in dark political undertones. Still, if there’s anyone up to the challenge, it’s Ubi Montreal. Every Assassin’s Creed release dances delicately and well on certain topics, and I expect Far Cry 5 to do the same. I also suspect a fair number of reviewers will take umbrage with Far Cry’s 5 political premise, but it will likely be their loss. Speaking of critiques, the biggest question that remains is whether Far Cry 5 will represent a true leap forward for the series. While Primal and 4 were solid titles, many believed them rehash of 3 and not in the best of ways. Early gameplay footage of 5 doesn’t reveal enough answers, but I’m curious to see how it turns out! — Paul Stuart

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Vampyr  

Since I can remember, I’ve loved everything about the grey area that videogames provide access to. Nothing in the world is quite like a morality system that changes everything about gameplay but doesn’t actually matter in real life. Videogames provide an amazing platform for the exploration of morality through history, the future, and the right now, and Vampyr looks to be one of the best examples. Set to release at some point in 2018, Vampyr takes the player on a journey as a doctor during the plague. Unfortunately for that doctor, he’s already dead and doing his work while hiding his identity as a vampire. The player must decide, ultimately, who lives and who dies by using the arsenal of supernatural abilities to shape the world around them. By day a doctor—will you save London’s scum from the disease?—and by night a bloodthirsty vampire—will you drink uninhibited or choose your prey more carefully?—the player must make deliberate decisions throughout this open-world adventure game. Seriously, just imagine it—a vampire bound by the Hippocratic Oath. — Rebekah Ocker

And a second vote for Vampyr…

The thought of a Victorian era game with vampires sounds like it could be rather fantastic. Looking at this game and how it’s portrayed, it looks like it’s going to be a inFAMOUS/Dishonored style game with a doctor trying to save people (and also eating them). It’s a different take on the vamp genre, seeing that it may give the option to be able to cure vampirism as opposed to just burning them. Outside of Castlevania, there has yet to be a solid game that has used vampires as the main focus, and Vampyr looks to be the game that’s going to scratch the itch for a Bram Stoker title that I never got. — Eugene Sax

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Metal Gear Survive

Ok, let’s try to ignore the lack of Hideo Kojima and all of the drama surrounding Konami and if they are (or are not) owned by the Yakuza who are more interested in Pachinko machines and gyms. Also let’s ignore that the story isn’t canon to the franchise and is essentially a muddled excuse to put Venom Snake in a new, zombie-infested open world. Metal Gear Solid V, from a purely gameplay standpoint, is possibly the best open world action game ever made and the best stealth game ever made at the same damn time. Never has a title given the player such a wide variety of means to tackle a mission, and the idea of playing more of that is incredibly intriguing. Am I the only one who wants to at least give it a chance? The guys in the trenches making it didn’t have anything to do with the drama surrounding it, and as a new entry in my favorite franchise, I can’t not play it. — Jarrod Johnston

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Red Dead Redemption 2

I can’t think of another game from the PS3/X360 era that I played as much as Red Dead Redemption – it’s one of my favorite games of all time. Based on the trailers, the oddly numbered prequel looks to be more of the same, and I couldn’t be happier. I want to walk into those dusty towns, roam the wilderness on my horse, and get in shoot-outs with other morally questionable characters. With a couple of returning faces already confirmed, I’m also interested to see how Red Dead Redemption 2 ties into John Marston’s timeline. — Brian Theisen

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Monster Hunter World

After years upon years of Capcom digging in their heels and refusing to bring one of Japan’s biggest and most beloved franchises into the current gen… well, that’s exactly what they’ve gone and done for Monster Hunter World. No longer constrained by the inferior specs of mobile gaming devices, Monster Hunter World looks absolutely jawdropping in motion. It’s backed up by strong console and PC network infrastructures to allow for easier online gaming, cross region play is finally a thing, and it generally seems like they’re pulling out all the stops to help this legendary series reach its true potential. From near-open world hunting arenas bereft of loading screens to in-depth ecosystems and monster hierarchies that can cause them to attack each other on sight for trespassing, it looks like Capcom is finally pushing the series forward in a very decisive manner, but also in a way that will bring an influx of fresh new monster hunting fans into the fold. That all sounds pretty great to me. And hey, maybe I’ll be able to remember the monster names this time. Watch out, Quezarathalos! — Darren Forman

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Psychonauts 2 

In 2005 I moved to Montreal with a chipped Xbox and burning desire to access exclusive North American releases. The day before Halloween I walked into a videogame store and picked up Phantom Dust, Daisenryaku VII and Psychonauts. Of the three, Psychonauts became the first game that my co-workers and I would sit and play in hot-seat mode, and it was the main menu that made us certain that we were playing something special – instead of scrolling through menu items, the main character, a gifted child called Raz, walked over a brain and jumped into doors placed on it. The game followed Raz as he leapt from mind to mind trying to stop an evil force from over taking his psychic summer camp. Like its premise, I found Psychonauts to be endlessly inventive, with each area based around a different character’s personality. Although it was essentially a 3D platformer, the levels implemented different elements that made all of them feel unique. The comedy was also warm and positive, unlike so much other cynical media during the mid-2000s.  Psychonauts 2 has me excited because I want to recapture those wonderful moments, and it might seem like a tall order… But, if there’s anyone that can do it, it’s the original developers Double Fine. — AJ Small

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Valkyria Chronicles 4

Valkyria Chronicles was one of the secret gems of the PS3’s early days when Sony struggled to make a case for itself in the face of Microsoft’s Xbox 360. It looked great, told an interesting war story about what is essentially anime World War 2, and hooked players on its squad-based tactical battle system years before XCOM made that style of game feel at home again on consoles. Unfortunately, the PSP based sequels failed to make much of an impact due to being located on a platform that was, at least outside Japan, commercially dead. One might have thought the franchise gone for good after the misfire that was Valkyria Revolution this year, but it looks like Sega are giving it one last go, with a back-to-the-roots numbered sequel bound for PS4 and Switch. — Josh Tolentino

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Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Koji Igarashi is working away on a new metroidvania-style game with a kickass main character design. What’s not to like? While many kickstarter projects have turned out somewhat disappointing – as the largely tepid, mocking response to Mighty No. 9 will attest to – what I’ve seen of Bloodstained continues to show promise. There’s still not much to say about it at this point as the developers have been keeping their cards pretty close to their chests (at least for people who didn’t back the project, like myself) but it looks like it’ll be a plain good time, and it’s been a while since I last played a decent Symphony of the Night-alike. Hopefully that’s something that’ll change once this one finally hits the market. — Darren Forman

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Better Baseball

While I don’t have a specific pick, I hope 2018 is the year Xbox One owners get to experience real baseball. For years, we’ve sat idly by while PS4 owners enjoy the majesty of The Show. Repeated calls for backwards compatibility have gone unanswered. And the MLB licenses just sit there, ripe for the taking. I don’t know the legalities behind this decision — and I don’t care to. What I do know is that the graphical power of the Xbox One X and the rabid desire of the console’s audience could make a new baseball franchise something special for all. — Brad Bortone

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Kingdom Hearts III

In 2018 I will turn thirty, and I just experienced the biggest ‘i’m getting older’ moment of my life when I did a quick google search to remind myself that Kingdom Hearts II came out in TWO THOUSAND AND FIVE, when I was still in high school. Since then Square-Enix has done their damndest to make their Disney crossover universe as convoluted and diluted as possible with countless handheld titles that are surprisingly integral to the overall plot while also having some of the dumbest names in all of media. That makes it tough to remember that the actual (whole) numbered Kingdom Hearts games on the PS2 are incredible titles that successfully blend that patented Disney magic with Square-Enix’s patented insanity. Square-Enix is definitly trending upward after the success of Final Fantasy XV, and I’m itching to wield a keyblade again. — Jarrod Johnston

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Metroid Prime 4

I may be in the minority, but I actually prefer first-person Metroid hunting. Some of the 2D games are great, but I’ve always preferred the gameplay in the Prime series. The original Metroid Prime was one of my most played GameCube games and Metroid Prime 3 is a strong contender for best use of motion controls in a videogame. While Retro Studios is no longer developing the series, with longtime producer Kensuke Tanabe at the helm I am optimistic about the fourth entry. Of course, the release date is currently vague and there’s a good chance it won’t ship this upcoming calendar year. Even so, Metroid Prime 4 is still one of my most anticipated games of 2018. — Brian Theisen

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State of Decay 2

There are certain token moves that are iconic within a game — Sonic has a Spin Dash, Ryu has a fireball, Kirby absorbs people. When I first saw the preview of State of Decay 2, it was clear to me that the developers understood what it was for them. The 2016 E3 trailer starts off very generic –  a car driving on an open road – but 30 seconds in, the driver’s door opens and bonks a zombie. It is that bonk that works like SoD’s signature — the fans know exactly what they are about to see, and non-fans are likely to be intrigued. The original game’s attention to those strange mechanics is what won me over. Whether it was the permadeath approach to characters while allowing for the story to carry on, or the fact that the game continues even when the player turns their system off, State of Decay always had something weird in its design. The game is essentially zombie survival, but the focus is on trying to rebuild a community with a limited number of resources. The feedback I’ve heard so far has generally been positive, but my only worry is that developer Undead Labs may have tried to make the game too accessible — part of the charm for me was the obtuseness of some of the systems. That said, 4 player zombie-killing remains hugely enticing. — AJ Small

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Final Fantasy XV (PC)

Final Fantasy XV’s had a rough time being accepted by the traditional Final Fantasy fanbase. Unfairly so, I’d say. While plenty of pundits chortled incessantly at the boy band stylings of the main characters, I – an intellectual – had a fantastic time traipsing across a beautifully rendered landscape destroying nasties, completing various quests and camping out under the stars. While I found Final Fantasy XV to be a thoroughly excellent game, and one that continued to improve via a selection of frequent free and paid-for content updates, it did have one overarching niggle – the Playstation 4 simply couldn’t handle it that well. Occasional screen tearing and a framerate that never quite seemed to be as stable or responsive as it could have been did hamper the experience somewhat, so when the PC version was announced my ears pricked up immediately. Having put a hundred hours into the original release, and perhaps a few dozen more into the series pass additions such as the surprisingly decent multiplayer expansion Comrades, I’m excited to get stuck right back into it at sixty frames per second and with hopefully massively reduced loading times – because bloody hell, those loading times in its initial release were absolutely atrocious. But hey, I guess I should throw something in for the haters. LOLZOR LOOKIT THE BOY BAND, mirite? — Darren Forman

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Metro: Exodus

I feel like 2018 is going to be the year the Metro series rises out of “critical darling” status and gets recognized for the A-list entry it truly is. Post-apocalyptic settings are one of gaming’s most overdone tropes, yet Metro’s display of a crumbled Russian community has always haunted me in all the right ways. Couple this with brilliant gunplay, outstanding voice acting, and some truly chilling set pieces, and Metro: Exodus has the chance to steal countless end of year awards. While we’ve seen what overhyping a game can do to public reception (welcome to the bargain rack, Battlefront 2) — let’s hope Metro: Exodus finally emerges from the pack and brings the series to the fore. — Brad Bortone

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Mega Man 11 

Mega Man 11 became one of my most-wanted games the moment Capcom announced their plans to celebrate the Blue Bomber’s 30th anniversary. With the success of Mega Man 9 & 10, I’m surprised they opted for the new graphic style, but initial reports indicate gameplay is close the originals, so I’m glad to see Capcom take a chance with a different aesthetic. The new power-ups Mega Man gains should be interesting as well, as he’ll now undergo slight changes in appearance beyond just the classic color swap. I’ve liked what’s been revealed so far, and unless there are major changes, Mega Man 11 will be a day one purchase. — Brian Theisen

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13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

Virtually nothing is known about this game except that it’s by the 2D masters at Vanillaware and promises to involve giant mecha in an urban battlefield. That’s enough for me, but more details and release are due next year. — Josh Tolentino

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Shenmue III

The first Shenmue is probably the most influential game of the last twenty years. At the time it was released, how many games had an open world like it with so many things to do? Or the variety of gameplay styles? How many quick time events have we all played since Shenmue? Granted, it’s aged about as well as your average 80’s rockstar, but I adore the first two games, and I still can’t believe this game is happening. Every E3 since I was thirteen, I have hung on to continuously-dwindling hope that someone would take a stab at finishing this damn story, and it’s actually going to happen thanks to one of the most successful Kickstarters ever (And let’s not forget our friends the Koch brothers at Deep Silver). Now, granted, I give this game about a 10% chance of actually being released in 2018, and I’m not going to believe it’s actually a real thing until it’s in my hands, but Shenmue III is far and away my most anticipated game, poor facial expressions be damned. — Jarrod Johnston

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The Return Of Kinect

I hope and pray that ID@Xbox developers will reintroduce the Kinect to gamers — hopefully in unique ways. While I realize the peripheral never quite found its footing, there was a lot of potential in that little camera setup. Maybe the innovators behind the resurgent indie gaming scene will find ways to dust off the Kinect and put it to good use. — Brad Bortone

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Yakuza 6

Kiryu Kazuma’s been on the go for a while. It seems that every day of his life he’s forced by circumstance to engage in ludicrously violent practices. Punching dudes in the face, stuffing them face first through the engine of a motorbike, hurling them into the sea… maybe, just maybe, it’s time for him to put his feet up for a change and take a break? Sega apparently agree with this sentiment, and have informed us that Yakuza 6: The Song of Life may well be his last foray out into the world of smacking dudes upside the head with anything that comes to hand. Given how ludicrously awesome the Yakuza series can be when firing on all cylinders it’s no surprise that Kiryu’s alleged swansong is on my most anticipated list for the coming year ahead. If it’s even a fifth as good as the utterly magnificent Yakuza 0 turned out to be, I can die happy. Oh, and it also features a fully playable Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown cabinet with online play enabled, so even if the game unexpectedly turns out to be a complete letdown it still comes with a Playstation 4 version of what is almost certainly my favorite fighting game of all time. — Darren Forman

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Brad Gallaway

Brad Gallaway

Brad Gallaway has been playing games since arcades were a thing and Atari was the new hotness. He's been at GameCritics since 2000. Currently, he's juggling editing duties, being a homeschooling dad, a devoted husband, and he does try to play a game once in a while.

Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody's looking, and his favorite game of all time is a toss-up between the first Mass Effect and The Witcher 3. You can catch his written work here at GameCritics and you can hear him weekly on the @SoVideogames Podcast. Follow Brad on Twitter and Instagram at @BradGallaway, or contact him via email:

bradgallaway a t gmail dot com
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badgercommander
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badgercommander

Yes to more stupid Kinect games! Unfortunately, the way that the architecture of the Xbox One now works, this feels less and less likely.

deathmetalflorist
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Some killer prospects in there, thanks for the reminders about what’s in store next year. I still haven’t played Zelda, RE 7, or Persona 5 though…