Pre-planning is the name of the game in the entertainment industry. Take Marvel’s film calendar, for example: it’s jam-packed until 2020, and we’d be naïve to think that action-adventure titles, side-scrolling shooters, and open-world RPGs are immune from getting stamped with deadlines and release dates long before they’re done cooking in the development oven.
Though we’ve only just made a dent in 2017, next year is already sizzling with sensational new titles. Here are the games we suspect will be smash hits in 2018.
Indivisible — January 2018
With a title that literally means it’ll be impossible to divide, we’ve got a strong feeling you and the upcoming action platformer from Lab Zero and 505 Games will be absolutely inseparable. Indivisible made a stunning debut at Anime Expo 2015 during Lab Zero’s exclusive panel for another of their spunky titles, Skullgirls.
Following that tease, an official Indiegogo campaign kicked off in October 2015, and in just two months, the game had reached its impressive $1.5 million goal. That cold, hard cash has gone into crafting a headstrong protagonist, Ajna, on her winding journey through eccentric environments as she battles equally eerie enemies. It all plays out in the studio’s signature hand-drawn-style animation.
Blending together a Metroidvania-esque mode of world exploration with sly combat reminiscent of 1999’s Valkyrie Profile, featuring southeast Asian mythology-inspired plot points and a gorgeous soundtrack by renowned Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta, Indivisible isn’t one to miss in the coming year.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night — Q1 2018
Another crowdfunding baby and Metroid-style title, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is currently in development with former Castlevania head honcho Koji Igarashi. Unsurprisingly, this trippy side-scrolling platformer has been marketed as a spiritual successor to the dark-fantasy-themed game series, but will feature gameplay that post-dates 1997’s Symphony of the Night. Traverse monster-mucked ruins, climb through crumbling castles, and hunt down one sinister summoner (who was once your friend) as Miriam, a young orphan plagued by an alchemist’s curse that slowly turns her skin to crystal.
Surpassing its initial goal with flying colors, and receiving a wave of well-deserved pre-launch excitement, Igarashi’s return to form with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night looks like it’ll shine in its two-and-a-half dimensions—and knock your (metaphorical) socks off in the process. Be prepared to buy the game (which will feature the musical stylings of ex-Konami composer Michiru Yamane) in early 2018 on a variety of system platforms: Steam and GOG for PC, Mac, and Linux; as well as Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita consoles.
But wait, there’s more. The Wii U version of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has been given the ax in favor of a Nintendo Switch-compatible edition, a move that’s more than enough to catapult it into blow-you-away territory. (And talk about an upgrade!)
Consortium: The Tower — Early 2018
Put up your dukes for this one, folks. This FPS, a futuristic follow-up to 2014’s Consortium, begs the question, “Can you survive the Tower?”
From developer iDGi, Consortium: The Tower nestles (or, more fittingly, shoulder-shoves) players into the year 2024 to embark on a full-throttle, wide-scope rescue mission, attempting to save hostages from nefarious space terrorists. As agent Bishop Six, gamers become entangled in a conspiracy that spans time, morality, existence…and, well, space, of course.
What the original title did well, the sequel promises to build upon and blaze through—no easy feat, as the game that started it all has been deliciously described as a mix of “Deus Ex chocolate [and] Stanley Parable peanut butter,” a potent combo of two killer titles. The upcoming game also allows anyone who takes it for a spin to play it their way, meaning you can totally go sans shooting if you’d like, a unique option for an installment in a classically bullet-blasting franchise.
Collecting the bits and bobs that made Consortium great, like the core mechanics and that oh-so-scintillating tendency to shatter the fourth wall, this 2018 addition will have players questioning everything from fate to fortune to just how freaky and fascinating life beyond Earth can really be.
Pixel Noir — Early 2018
Film noir, meet Japanese role-playing game. The two concepts hit it off, get hitched, and mash together to make Pixel Noir, the deep-and-dark detective game that’s quite possibly the love child of Earth Bound and Sin City, but with a more mind-melting main moral.
Developed by SWD Tech Games, the forthcoming title tells the tale of a stone-cold and all-too-proud protagonist who lost their partner and was locked up for the unthinkable crime.
Fast-forward a decade, and there’s a chance for redemption, but it comes at a high cost. Sanity, safety, and sense of purpose are all on the line as players claw to clear their name in Pixel Noir, but the game casts long shadows of doubt that the biggest obstacle in their way is themselves. Prep your wallets (and sleuth skills) for an early 2018 debut.