X marks the spot.
If there's any theme that stands out when poring over the 2018 line-up of announced Xbox One games, it is diversity. Yes, you could say that about most any year, but the Class of 2018 features a promising mix of new properties like Sea of Thieves, sequels like Red Dead Redemption 2, and remasters like System Shock 2. And those are only the games we know about.
As publishers are getting into the habit of announcing games that are scheduled for release that same year, who knows what shows like GDC, E3, and Gamescom have in store? For now, we can be excited to hit the high seas, play a vampire doctor in London, and celebrate the returns of Psychonauts and Darksiders. Click ahead to check out all the biggest new games coming to Xbox One in 2018.
If you're curious about the biggest games to play in 2018 on other platforms, check out our individual features highlighting the most anticipated PS4 games, PC games, and Switch games. You can also check out our feature focusing on the biggest games to play 2018 in general.
If you want to see our choices for the best games in 2017, check out our Game of the Year 2017 Top 10 List. And for more on our picks of the best games of 2017 across various categories, as well as features focusing on the year's performance for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch, check out our Best of 2017 hub.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Matching the style and over-the-top action of the Dragon Ball Z series has been a constant challenge for past games. The upcoming Dragon Ball FighterZ however looks to be the exception, pushing the trend of average DBZ fighters aside for a game that brings the series to new heights. Coming from Arc Systems Works--the same developers behind Guilty Gear Xrd, BlazBlue, and Persona 4 Arena--their next game is not only looking to be a faithful adaptation of the series, but also one of the most exciting fighting games of 2018.
Featuring characters from across the entire Dragon Ball Z series, and even some references from Dragon Ball Super, FighterZ is a mashup that pits characters in intense 3v3 battles that will level environments and push the fighters to their limits of power. Moving away from the 3D arenas of Raging Blast and Xenoverse, FighterZ brings the action to the traditional 2D plane--and it looks all the better for it. With characters pulling off high-powered, screen filling moves, and performing split-second dodges to get the upper hand against their enemy--no frame of animation feels wasted in Dragon Ball FighterZ, giving a greater level of detail that the past games weren't close to replicating from the TV show.
Anyone who's watched Dragon Ball Z knows that it's got a style all its own, and FighterZ lovingly recreates many of the series' most iconic moments in its core mechanics. With more characters that have yet to be revealed, along with a surprisingly robust Story Mode, there's definitely more to this fighter that remains to be seen. But what's been shown thus far looks to be everything a DBZ fan could hope for in a game.
Kingdom Hearts III
It’s hard to count the number of reasons to be excited for Kingdom Hearts 3. Maybe it’s the 13-year gap between Kingdom Hearts 2 and the next numbered sequel. Maybe it’s the most recent trailer for a Toy Story world, the first in the series to be based on a Pixar movie. Maybe it’s because the series will be coming to Xbox for the first time, letting a whole new player base experience the Disney/Final Fantasy crossover magic.
No matter the reasoning, Kingdom Hearts 3 is going to drop you into the climactic battle of the game’s Dark Seeker saga, bringing together plots and characters from the many spinoffs the series has had in the interim. Along the way you’ll get to explore a batch of brand-new worlds--Rapunzel and Big Hero 6 stages have already been teased--and battle Heartless with an array of powers seemingly based on real-world Disney theme park attractions. It’s hard for any game to live up to more than a decade of hype, but Kingdom Hearts 3 aims to deliver a satisfying conclusion to war between darkness and light.
Metal Gear Survive
Since Metal Gear series creator Hideo Kojima left Konami, the status of the franchise was thrown into question. Konami reassured that it would create a new entry in the series; however, given the drama that resulted from Kojima's departure, fans began to question if they wanted a new sequel. During Gamescom 2016, the publisher announced Metal Gear Survive, a cooperative multiplayer survival-focused open-world adventure.
Rather than being a new canonical entry in the series, Metal Gear Survive is instead an alternate universe spin-off. Following the evacuation of Big Boss and Kazuhira Miller from the besieged Mother Base at the end of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, the soldiers of Big Boss' Militaries Sans Frontiers are transported to a world full of hostile zombie-like entities. With little resources left to survive, those who remain must work together to quell the otherworldly threat and find a way back home.
From early footage, fans have greatly doubted the quality of the upcoming adventure. But for what it's worth, what's on display does display does seem compelling; after all, the game is essentially a cooperative multiplayer take on the mechanics from the critically acclaimed Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Supporting up to four players, you're free to explore the game's open world and work together to complete missions. Much of what the game expands upon sounds promising, but it remains to be seen whether or not Konami can truly create a substantial Metal Gear experience on their own. In the face of these reservations, Metal Gear Survive still has the makings of being a fun and engaging game, even if it's far from what fans have wanted.
The critically acclaimed PC-exclusive Owlboy is finally making its way onto consoles. While the console ports are receiving no major changes from the original, the Switch version bares notable mention given its portability. The game's endearing 2D twin-stick shooter action seems a perfect fit to bring on the go. Given the high praise it received when it released (GameSpot gave it a 9), it's certainly one of the more highly anticipated indie re-releases in 2018.
For the uninitiated, Owlboy is an action-adventure game set in a sky world where the lands below were torn apart by a catastrophic event many years prior. You play Otus, an owl-human hybrid who sets out on a journey to save his village from band of pirates. A charming and heartfelt adventure in its own right, Owlboy's upcoming console ports are well worth keeping an eye on, especially if you missed out on the original back in 2016.
After the dissolution of publisher THQ in 2012, the future of the cult favorite Darksiders series was left uncertain. Swedish publisher THQ Nordic acquired the rights to create more games in the series, but given how relatively unknown the company was at the time, longtime fans began to question if a new game was really coming. In the subsequent years, THQ Nordic released remasters of the first two Darksiders games, continually reassuring that a new entry was in the works. However, it wasn't until this year that the publisher finally unveiled Darksiders III.
The game takes place parallel to the events of the previous entries. It follows Fury, a Horseman of the Apocalypse, as she embarks on a quest to destroy physical manifestations of the Seven Deadly Sins, who are wreaking havoc on planet Earth. It's reassuring to hear that Darksiders III is being developed by Gunfire Games, a studio comprised of several key members from Vigil Games, the original studio that worked on the first two games. With a tentative release date of sometime in 2018, we're eager to hear more about what Gunfire Games has in store for us for the much awaited sequel.
System Shock Remastered
As one of the early games of the immersive sim sub-genre, influencing the likes of Bioshock and Dishonored, the original System Shock from Looking Glass Studios would go on to lay the foundations of a new type of FPS experience. Putting players in the shoes of a hacker that must contend with an evil AI known as SHODAN, you would acquire new skills and weapons while exploring a derelict space station filled with hideous creatures. While an enhanced port was released in 2015 from Night Dive Studios, the same team later launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a full remake of the original game.
While the 1994 game featured a number of impressive systems and mechanics at the time, channeling the same design from Ultima Underworld and other first-person RPG games, much of its gameplay feels a bit outdated in today's age. The upcoming remaster will largely be the same game, but with updated narrative and gameplay to fit a more modern design. In addition to some returning members from System Shock 2, veteran RPG writer Chris Avellone will be writing an updated take of the main story, which includes more background info side-characters and crew logs.
While the immersive sim sub-genre has evolved in some clever ways over the years, System Shock has left an immense impression on gamers to this day. And with the full remake coming in 2018, fans of the genre will be able to dive into a fresh take on the Hacker's confrontation with SHODAN on Citadel Station.
Vampyr looks to pair Dontnod Entertainment's knack for third person close quarters combat from Remember Me with the narrative-affecting dialogue options from Life Is Strange. Complementing these features is a strong emphasis on investigative exploration, making Vampyr a curious detective tale with a twist. Instead of a Parisian cyberpunk setting or a high school in the Pacific Northwest, Vampyr is set in post-Victorian London inhabited by vampires.
There's an intriguing sense of normalcy where survivors of the Spanish flu live among vampires, but there's conflict nonetheless. This is exemplified in the playable protagonist, Jonathan Reid, a doctor who recently turned into a vampire. Dontnod capitalizes on his personal struggle to do no harm while satisfying his bloodlust by offering the option to complete the game without taking a life. It's a tall order when many of Reid's enemies are the more malevolent types of vampires. Moreover, taking the pacifist route will severely limit Reid's skills growth.
It should be noted that after two games that could have pigeonholed Dontnod as the "time-rewinding" studio, Vampyr appears to be devoid of any past event-altering mechanic. Yet given Reid's powers of coercion and his talents for ranged and melee weapons, who knows what other supernatural abilities he might have up his sleeve?
Far Cry 5
When reflecting on the past locales Far Cry, Far Cry 5's rural America is one of the few regions the franchise could have gone to keep Ubisoft's first person shooter series fresh. Between the sprawling farm lands and dense forests of the fictional region known as Hope County, Montana, the place is primed to make the most of Far Cry's open world and emergent gameplay. Far Cry 5 also promises to continue the series' tradition of featuring memorable antagonists. As the leader of a doomsday cult known as Eden's Gate, Joseph Seed looks to be as calculating as Pagan Min and as fanatical as Vaas.
What makes Far Cry 5 all the more promising is how it adapts fan favorite features like Far Cry 4's cooperative play and Far Cry Primal's animal companionship. Along with a wealth of vehicles and weapons plus untamed animals you can turn against enemies, there shouldn't be a shortage of creative ways to take down Eden's Gate.
While From Software is silent on follow up to Dark Souls III or Bloodborne, Dark Souls publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment is due to release Code Vein in 2018, an action RPG that is heavily inspired by the demanding and distinct gameplay From Software has been known for this decade. Equally significant is that Code Vein is being developed by the division of Bandai Namco Studios responsible for the God Eater series. Like Dark Souls, God Eater is also a third person action RPG series that features ranged and melee combat so it's exciting to see this studio go in this direction.
From the futuristic wastelands of The Surge to the Sengoku era state of unrest in Nioh, the 'Soulsborne' genre has already seen its share of settings in releases looking to stand out from the shadow of the From Software games that influenced them. For Code Vein, the simple hook is in preserving God Eater's anime aesthetic and depressingly desolate urban settings. Even if it doesn't meet the standards of Dark Souls, one can't help but think it will convert some anime fans to this genre.
Crackdown 3 was first announced at E3 2014 and planned for a 2016 release, but a delay pushed that back to November 2017. It was then hit with second delay following its bold showing at E3 2017 and now it's set to launch at an unspecified date in Spring 2018.
Crackdown 3 is going to be one of the Xbox One's marquee exclusive games, featuring immense levels of environmental destruction in an open world--an evolution of the previous games in the series. However, there will be a difference in how this is handled between single-player and multiplayer. The mass destruction relies on server-based cloud technology which will provide the grand spectacle in online games, whereas the campaign will be more tame, akin to a Just Cause. Regardless, this open-world action game focuses its narrative on taking down criminal syndicates similar to the original Crackdown.
We can expect plenty of superhuman abilities for strength and speed, along with an arsenal of weapons and vehicles. It's apt to compare it to Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row, but Crackdown separates itself by instilling the feeling of being a true superhero.
Sea Of Thieves
Sea of Thieves has been in Microsoft's deck for quite some time since it was announced at E3 2015, but it's set to see the light of day in 2018 with an official release. This pirate-themed first-person action-adventure focuses on multiplayer across islands and the open seas. The game is shown to have range; there's a lot going on from ship battles and navigating the seas to digging up treasures and hoarding loot.
It sports a beautiful, easy-going aesthetic with a cartoonish vibe and lax physics. But that doesn't negate the intensity of large scale battles at sea with cannonballs flying overhead or the sense of panic when trying to nail down a shot from a one-round flintlock pistol. The game isn't limited to PvP as NPC enemies layer PvE scenarios in a shared world. Sea of Thieves is also one of the few cross-play games between the PC and Xbox One platforms, which should help sustain player count. If early gameplay is any indication, players will be building up their own characters for the long haul; this will hopefully instill more personality into a game already oozing with charm.
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
Super-realistic clouds. Intense dogfighting action. A melodramatic military soap-opera that only Metal Gear Solid could top. These are the things that make Ace Combat great. But if you’ve been a long-term fan of the series you’ll likely agree that the most recent entries have been a letdown, because of attempts to mimic Western-style military blockbuster games.
That’s all set to change with Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, the first numbered entry for the series in ten years. That number is a purposeful decision, too. The Project Aces team, led by Kazutoki Kono, are attempting to bring the series' original flavour back, refocusing on their hypothetical world where they can take more liberties with their stories of political intrigue, and emotional character moments. That's backed by a years-long refinement of the game's accessible jet-fighting controls, and intense combat scenarios to go with it. Here's hoping that the return of one of Namco's formerly beloved franchises one sticks the landing well enough to reclaim its glory.
Jurassic World Evolution
Planet Coaster by Frontier Developments is without a doubt, one of the best construction and management games in recent years. It's the gold standard of the genre, with accessible but powerful building tools, great art direction, and a strong emphasis on community development. At Gamescom 2017, it was revealed that Frontier were working on another construction and management sim, and it had the Jurassic World license attached to it. This was big.
The Jurassic franchise hasn't had a great run when it comes to video game adaptations (Lego Jurassic World was probably the best attempt in the past decade), but Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, released in 2003, arguably had the most critical success, and it too, was a construction and management sim. That's why we're excited that Jurassic World Evolution is going to provide us with a modern-day interpretation of this combination.
You can expect to build your own custom dinosaur theme park filled with fun attractions ala Planet Coaster, but you'll also be dealing with the research and dinosaur breeding aspect as well. Biological experiments right next to innocent, happy families on vacation? What could possibly go wrong? Hopefully the answer is "not a lot", because our expectations for this one are high with Frontier at the helm.
This sidescrolling action/rpg is from the same team that brought us the insane fighter that was Skullgirls in 2012. Indivisible follows the story of the rebellious Ajna. She and her father live just outside a quiet little town, but things eventually take a turn for the worst and a mysterious power awakens within her. She gains the ability of "incarnations" to recruit different people to help her along her journey.
After an Indiegogo campaign that netted over $2 million, Indivisible is a refreshing case for crowdfunded video games. It finished its campaign in 2015 so its 2018 release date has been a good minute. Thankfully, it does have a prototype build on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux out now for those itching to get a taste.
Indivisible is largely inspired by a number of different cultures and mythologies, which hopefully opens the doors to positive and meaningful representation. This also means that many of the cultures and tales the title pulls from could be represented incorrectly, but it's worth having a little faith and hope for a game that's trying to pull from sources we don't see often. Everyone likes to have something they can see themselves in, and Indivisible may be one of those titles where its representation could make it or break it.
Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night
Castlevania has changed a lot over the years, but there was a point in time when game after game followed a familiar formula to great results. The developer largely credited for the series' past greatness is Koji Igarashi, who is presently working on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a spiritual successor to Castlevania games of yore.
Early impressions of the game from events like E3 and Tokyo Game Show are positive. Igarashi's handiwork is on full display, meaning that you will explore 2D, gothic environments while fending off demonic enemies, and gather new abilities to extend your reach and open new pathways.
It's the familiar "Metroidvania" (or "Castleroid," if you prefer) formula, but the fact that it's coming from the person responsible for popularizing it in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (after Super Metroid laid the foundation) eases the concerns that Bloodstained is just a simple nostalgia trip. Igarashi has been out of the game for quite awhile after leaving Konami, and our hope is that all that time away from 2D action games has given him a chance to come up with improvements and innovations. The sub-genre has been approached by many developers in his absence, and we can't wait to see if Igarashi is able to rekindle his old flame in the light of the many great games his earlier works inspired.
There are few games that create a post-apocalyptic atmosphere as detailed as the Metro franchise. Based on a series of books, Metro 2033 and Last Light take place after the atomic bomb has destroyed the world. The survivors find refuge under the streets in a vast and sprawling metro system where irradiated monsters and bandits roam.
Survival has always been at the forefront, and based on what we’ve seen, Metro Exodus is no different. You must conserve ammo, not only because one more bullet can be the difference between life and death, but because they are the common currency underground. And if you decide to venture above ground, you must pay attention to your oxygen levels.
The Metro games are brutal, haunting experiences that feel almost too real. Metro Exodus looks to follow and expand on the ideas of the first. If you have any interest in horror or first person shooter games, this is one you won’t want to miss.
Skull & Bones
Ever since the release of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag in 2014, there existed an audience of fans who yearned for the series to return or iterate upon the fantastic naval combat from that game. While Assassin's Creed Rogue expanded on those mechanics to some degree, it wasn't the true successor everyone craved.
Enter Skull & Bones, Ubisoft's direct successor to Black Flag. Aside from offering a traditional single-player-focused campaign, the game also offers 5v5 multiplayer modes where you and four others fight other player-controlled ships for loot.
While the reveal of Skull & Bones is an exciting step towards a new series that follows in the tradition of Black Flag, it also represents a divorce of naval combat from the expectations of future Assassin's titles. Seeing Ubisoft deliberately decide to split the two into separate franchises is certainly one the most exciting aspects about Skull & Bones.
Monster Hunter World
The last few Monster Hunter games on 3DS have been terrific, and they've introduced a whole new cross-section of players to one Japan's biggest franchises. But Monster Hunter World is poised to take the series even further. On PS4, Xbox One, and PC, the game will obviously look better than any previous version of the game, but it's the refinements in gameplay and online multiplayer that have a chance of finally pushing it into the mainstream.
For the first time, you'll be able to jump into other players' hunts mid-game, meaning you can help out friends (or receive help when you need it most), without going through a lot of complicated preparation. There's a more convenient training hall that lets you easily experiment with weapons and that lays out various combos and strategies. And best-of-all, the game will have worldwide (although not cross-platform) multiplayer. Given how helpful and supportive the Monster Hunter community is as a whole, jumping into a game and finding fellow adventurers to take down monsters with should be easy.
Make no mistake, Monster Hunter World still seems like it's going to be a complicated, complex game. But as titles like Dark Souls and Bloodborne have shown, there are plenty of players who are looking for a challenging experience as long as it's equally rewarding. And with this iteration of Monster Hunter, newcomers will have a better chance than ever before to understand what makes fans so passionate for hunting.
Dynasty Warriors 9
Not sure if you've noticed, but musuo games--those large-scale beat-em-ups most commonly associated with Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors series--are finally becoming respectable. After years of being dismissed as brainless bashers whose appeal was limited to a core group of die-hard fans, the recent success of popular musuo crossovers such as Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Warriors has given this sub-genre new life.
Who would have thought that next year's upcoming Dynasty Warriors 9 (almost 18 years after the release of first true musou game in Dynasty Warriors 2 way back in the PlayStation 2 era) would be a cause for anticipation? It helps, of course, that Dynasty Warriors 9 seems to be taking a huge leap forward for the series in introducing a true, huge open-world for players to traverse. Of course, the core gameplay will likely be the same--one general against thousands of easily-dispatched soldiers--but that old formula has never seemed so sweet as it does now.
A Way Out
A Way Out is the next game written and directed by Josef Fares, one of the creative forces behind the excellent Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. For those that may have missed it, Brothers gave players control of two characters, both controlled simultaneously by the analogue sticks on a controller. Since the two characters could move and interact with their environments independently, Brothers featured challenging, but rewarding, platforming and puzzles. But more than that, Brothers was a heartfelt, emotionally impactful tale of two kids on a journey to acquire the antidote to their father's deadly illness.
Like Brothers, A Way Out leans in to the idea of telling the story of two characters, and allowing the player to experience them concurrently. This time, however, the two characters are prisoners trying to escape their jail. To successfully put their escape plan into action, both characters will need to work together to, for example, distract a guard while the other scopes out a route or acquires a tool that will aid them. Developer Hazelight Studios has said A Way Out will feature multiple characters that players can interact with and the solutions to their problems aren't obviously prescribed. This encourages communication between the two players, who can be playing together on a couch or over the internet. From a gameplay standpoint, A Way Out is an intriguing prospect, but what we're interested in seeing is its handling of storytelling. We could see the two characters--and by extension players--perhaps pitted against each other at some point, forcing what is pitched as a coop game to become decidedly uncooperative experience.
State Of Decay 2
Perhaps the most exciting feature of State of Decay 2 is one that was sorely absent from the first game: multiplayer. The first entry in Undead Labs' and Microsoft's zombie survival game was a surprise hit, delivering a vast open-world with a robust survival gameplay and the unsettling, ever-present threat of zombies descending on you at a moment's notice. It seems like given that players would be able to connect with each other to collaborate, but that wasn't the case.
In State of Decay 2, Undead Labs has taken inspiration from Dark Souls for its multiplayer component, giving people the ability to fire a flare into the sky to summon help. Through drop-in and drop-out cooperation, players can come together to fight the undead horde or scavenge materials and build fortifications. Of course, there's also the survivors hanging around in the wasteland, all of which are crucial to your safety. With a massive number of skills and personality types for the player to develop and nurture, these characters become essential to ensuring that their burgeoning community can not only live another day but also ensure the little family you've build thrives. Like the multiplayer, Undead Labs is doubling down on role-playing aspects of State of Decay 2, making for a sequel is giving fans pretty much everything they asked for, which is exciting.
Developer The Behemoth tends to take a long time between releasing games, but that reputation to not put a game out until it's ready means they're also one of the most consistently fun (and funny) teams in the business. Pit People is a bit of an odd case where we've actually been able to try out a large portion of the game through early access over the last year. But the final, full release isn't coming until sometime early in 2018.
Pit People is a different type of game than The Behemoth has made before; this time, it's going for turn-based strategy on a grid, but the game retains the distinctive style and raucous humor of previous Behemoth titles. In Pit People's world, a massive "space bear" has collided with the planet, wreaking chaos and destruction that affects not only the story but sometimes the field of battle itself.
It's hard to believe this is only the fourth game from the studio, but if previous success is anything to go on, Pit People is already set up to be a game to watch out for in 2018.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Out of all the games coming in 2018, Rockstar's follow-up to Red Dead Redemption is arguably the most significant. The developer's other major franchise, Grand Theft Auto, is a cultural phenomenon, and even in 2017, over four years since it was first released, Grand Theft Auto V continues to be one of the best-selling games in the US every month.
The first Red Dead Redemption was a critical success, driven by a powerful story and an inviting open-world. But what's most intriguing is finding out how Rockstar will integrate the elements that have made GTA Online so pervasive. Owning a garage full of crazy vehicles and high-tech weapons make sense in GTA's city environment, but where is there to spend so much money on in the Old West? Or will Red Dead Redemption 2 just be a standalone single-player story that tries to one-up the emotional impact of the previous game?
This sequel has a lot to live up to, and succeed or fail, the story of Red Dead Redemption will be one worth following closely in 2018.
The Crew 2
Blasting down the freeway, roof down, hair blowing in the wind, leaving enemy racers in your wake... Is there anything cooler than fast cars?
Turns out there are things cooler than fast cars: fast boats and fast planes, and The Crew 2 includes all three of the vehicle types. Not only that, but it allows you to seamlessly switch between each one--meaning it's very easy to spawn as a speedboat on top of a skyscraper, which is pretty hilarious.
All this feeds into The Crew 2's greater sense of freedom. The original game's open-world was liberating enough, but now you're afforded more flexibility in how you approach missions, with more routes available in each race. The world feels more open now.
Which makes it all the more upsetting that The Crew 2 was recently delayed. It will now launch in the first half of Ubisoft's 2018-19 fiscal year, which means it will come out between April 2018 and September 2018. The delay can only benefit the game though, so let's hope Ubisoft puts the extra development time to good use.