Ronan Jennings selects the video games he’s most looking forward to for the year ahead
Our heart goes out to fans of this series. They have waited almost 14 years for a continuation of gaming’s most successful mash-up, a story that combines the worlds of Square Enix with those of Disney. If you put Sephiroth and Mickey Mouse into a blender, Kingdom Hearts is the tasty mush that results.
In this third instalment, Sora, Goofy and Donald will visit the worlds of Tangled, Big Hero 6, Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Pirates of the Caribbean and Winnie the Pooh, with more worlds to be revealed. Heart-warming stuff.
A top industry analyst recently predicted Cyberpunk 2077 would release at the end of 2019 and sell 19 million copies.
He was probably jacked into the system. CD Project Red haven’t shown much of their open-world cyberpunk RPG, but it looks like a cross between Grand Theft Auto 5, Fallout and the team’s own masterpiece The Witcher 3. Despite feverish expectations and those heady sales predictions, it will be interesting to see if audiences warm to this niche, hardcore genre. Count us among the wired.
If Nintendo made Alien, then Metroid would be the result.
The main protagonist of Metroid is a badass female soldier who hunts down the ‘metroid’ aliens and their grotesque queen, Ridley. (It’s no coincidence that Alien was directed by someone of the same name.) However, while Metroid does isolation and dread better than most games, the focus is more on inspired level design and exploration than horror. Metroid Prime is one of the best games ever made, so a fourth entry should be a guaranteed classic. Game over, man!
This could be great craic. On the other hand, it could also be a massive failure, out of time and fashion.
Sadly, we suspect Crackdown 3 will be intriguing only for the tepid reception it will receive. This open-world action series was once a staple of the Xbox line-up, but the third entry has been in development hell for years. Should it finally be released in February as slated, we expect the run-and-gun gameplay to be sadly out of date – but we hope to be proven wrong.
Shenmue is a kung fu series. It got the chop from Sega after the second game underperformed upon release in 2001.
Fittingly, it was reawakened by a solid kick(starter) to the ribs and a third game was crowdfunded to the tune of roughly E5m. We honestly don’t expect Shenmue 3 to break any records (or wooden blocks) but it will be fascinating to see if a game that cost $90m dollars to release 20 years ago can be honoured and concluded by a small team of modern developers at less than ten percent of the cost.
In the race for best karting game on consoles, there is only one winner. Mario Kart has been one of gaming’s most beloved family activities since it was first released on the Super Nintendo thirty years ago.
For gamers who don’t own a Nintendo console, however, there haven’t been many alternatives. One of the fastest losers was Crash Team Racing, which is now being warmed up for modern consoles.
It won’t topple Mario from the podium, but it might just give the plumber a run for his money.
We don’t know if shadows die twice — or if they die at all.
It sounds shady to us. Still, emerging from the shadows of Dark Souls is Sekiro, another action game from beloved developer FromSoftware. Dark Souls is arguably the most culturally significant ‘traditional’ game in recent memory, reigniting the notion of games as hardcore, unforgiving experiences that reward you through learning and persistence. Sekiro seems to be more action-packed and much faster than Dark Souls, but you can be sure there are secrets in the shadows.
May the force (of marketing) be with you. Aside from Battlefield, the universe is sadly lacking in modern Star Wars games. Fallen Order is a new hope for the franchise, but we don’t know much about it yet.
The story will take place between Episode III and IV, during the time of the jedi purge, and the game is being developed by Respawn, who created the excellent Titanfall series. With Star Wars Episode VIII disappointing many hardcore movie fans, Fallen Order has a lot of ground to make up.
Nintendo may not release a Mario game every year, but they are a crafty company. Instead, they bolster their lineup with some of Mario’s friends and sidekicks.
Yoshi (the dinosaur?) dates back to Super Mario World and has since received some of his own games, which are platformers in a similar tradition to the original Mario games.
Yoshi’s Crafted World follows on from Woolly World by placing Yoshi in a ‘papercraft’ world that can flipped upside down to solve puzzles and progress. Guaranteed to be excellent — Nintendo know their craft.
Sometimes, games are designed to take us to new places, explore new worlds. And sometimes, they are designed to evoke something far more familiar.
The Outer Worlds is Obsidian’s answer to the lack of new, true Fallout games in recent years. Set on a series of planets in a future where humans have set up interstellar colonies, The Outer Worlds has all the humour and satire of Fallout, but with the added bonus of the role- playing choices that once made Fallout great.
It helps that The Outer Worlds is being made by Fallout’s original creator and the team who made the best Fallout game, New Vegas.