It looks like 2019 is actually quite light on scheduled releases at the moment. No real tentpole franchises. Not a lot of big new IP. Mostly sequels to niche titles that could do real well but nothing that looks like it is going to do gangbusters and define the year. Looking at the list right now I am having a hard time guessing what the 2019 Game of the Year contenders will be. I suspect those games are going to get announced at E3 in June and this picture is going to look very different in the second half of 2019.
1. Devil May Cry 5
God damn, I am super excited for Devil May Cry 5. That franchise contains some of my favorite hack and slash games of all time because of how much it focuses on the style and doesn't take itself seriously. The over the top characters and humor are cringy to others but it is exactly what I want. March 8th cannot come soon enough.
This is the biggest wildcard of 2019 in my opinion. Can Bioware out Destiny Bungie and actually make Anthem fun? I am betting no but I still have hopes that Anthem will do something to shake up the incredibly boring MMOFPS genre.
3. Doom Eternal
DOOM 2016 was an amazing revitalization of the franchise so I have very high hopes for its sequel, Doom Eternal. In the 2+ years since its release no other FPS has really tried to match the fast and frenetic gameplay of DOOM 2016. We've continued down the path of cover based shooters where you're made of paper and are constantly waiting to regenerate health. I cannot wait for another FPS where the path to victory is by getting right into your enemies faces and ripping them off.
4. Rage 2
So after I just finished writing that no other FPS has really tried to match the fast and frenetic gameplay of DOOM 2016 here is one possible contender in Rage 2. It is more of an open world game than DOOM but based on the marketing it seems to be all about aggression and that is fine by me. Whichever game is released first in 2019 is gonna get some great press coverage.
5. Phoenix Point
I backed Phoenix Point on Fig.co strictly because it is being lead by Julian Gollop, the designer of the original X-COM: UFO Defense. I love the new XCOM franchise and what Jake Solomon and the developers over at Firaxis' are doing with it. But I am very much in the mood for a game that harkens back to the original X-COM and it looks like Phoenix Point is going to deliver.
6. Mortal Kombat 11
If you had told teenage me that I would be looking forward to a Mortal Kombat game in 2019 because of the story I would say you're fucking crazy but here we are. Mortal Kombat 11 is getting released in April and I guarantee that I will play through the story at launch.
7. Crackdown 3
Crackdown 3 is going to live or die based on my mood for wanton destruction when it is released. Currently I am in the mood for that sort of game and since it is being released in a little over a month odds are good I get into it. I am a bit concerned that it hasn't been previewing that well but when the main good guy is voiced by Terry Crews you'll get a lot of leeway from me.
8. Tom Clancy's The Division 2
I will play Tom Clancy's The Division 2 if any of my friends want to play it. Full stop. That is the only way I will play The Division 2. It is not the type of game I want to play solo but if a single friend buys it for a platform I'll jump right on board.
9. Pokémon for the Switch
I am cautiously optimistic about this game. Game Freak has shown a lot of resilience to changing up the Pokémon franchise because they are afraid of ostracizing old fans. But at this point in time if they don't make large scale changes I think they are going to lose those fans regardless.
10. Animal Crossing for the Switch
I am a sucker for Animal Crossing games so there is no doubt I will pay close attention to the next release for the Nintendo Switch. Honestly it has been so long since Animal Crossing: New Leaf that even if the new game played almost identically I would still be in the mood for it.
11. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition
I am apparently one of the few people who enjoyed Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and cannot wait for the remastered edition in 2019. It was a really fun and innovative co-op experience back in 2004 and not having to find four people with GameCube – Game Boy Advance link cables to get the optimal experience is gonna be great.
12. Resident Evil 2
I like the idea of the Resident Evil games but I am absolutely terrified to play them. As the graphics get better it just makes me more and more anxious so we'll see if I can overcome my fear and try the Resident Evil 2 remake.
13. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
I am very leery of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. I appreciate what From Software tries to do with their games but the last two, Bloodborne and Dark Souls III, haven't really resonated with me. But I still gotta give respect where it is due and that is why Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is on this list.
14. Babylon's Fall
Babylon's Fall is a real dark horse from Platinum Games. Their pedigree means that whenever they announce a game it immediately gets put on my radar.
This is another game that is only on my list because of the pedigree of the developer. Remedy Entertainment earned a lot of rope with me when they made Alan Wake. They squandered quite a bit of it with the flop that was Quantum Break but I really hope they will rebound in 2019 with Control.
If Battletoads actually gets remastered in 2019 how can I not play it?