With 2018 now behind us, it’s time to look towards the year ahead. Fortunately for us, 2019 is shaping up to be another banner year in gaming and there are even some interesting things to look forward to in the world of MMOs. I recently shared a list of my favorite games of 2018, so let’s kick off the New Year with a list of what I’m looking forward to most this year.
Jedi Fallen Order
We have almost no information on this game, but as a huge Star Wars fan, I’m already excited. Mostly because, again, it’s Star Wars and the premise actually sounds pretty great. What we know so far is that Jedi Fallen Order is an open world game by Respawn Entertainment (developers of Titanfall) and it focuses on a Padawan on the run from the Empire shortly after Order 66 and the events of Revenge of the Sith.
The space in between episodes 3 and 4 is one ripe for exploration and I’ve had a lot of enjoyment (and insight) from the various comics and books that have been set in that period so far. What happens when something as huge as the Galactic Republic falls and an Empire takes its place? We saw the buildup in the prequels and the results in the original trilogy, but there are all sorts of stories to tell about the people who got caught in between those events and I can’t wait to see what Respawn comes up with.
The Outer Worlds
The boys are back in town! Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky have returned to Obsidian Entertainment and they’re working on a new RPG that can be best described as Fallout: New Vegas meets Firefly. If Bethesda doesn’t want to give us a new RPG that improves on what Obsidian was able to accomplish with Fallout: New Vegas, then so be it. I have particular love for Cain and Boyarsky not only for what the two accomplished on the original Fallout games, but especially for what they were able to do with Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. I have to say I was incredibly disappointed to learn that the two weren’t returning to do a sequel to the fan favorite RPG, but The Outer Worlds looks pretty great so far and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on it later this year.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3
I was expecting to see Square Enix’s Avengers Project at The Game Awards last month, mostly because the Russo brothers were there to present and the game has been absent for some time. What I wasn’t expecting to find instead was an announcement of a new entry in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance game series. I was simultaneously blown away and deflated, however, when I learned the game was a Switch exclusive. I don’t have anything against the Switch, but this is a game I want to play on PC or at least on a more capable console. The reveal trailer had me convinced I was looking at a new Marvel mobile game. The game being Switch exclusive is also going to limit my ability to play with friends, which would really suck as this series is meant to be played in co-op.
So, why is MUA3 still on my list, then? Well, like Jedi Fallen Order and Star Wars, I’m a huge Marvel fan. I’m also a die hard fan of the X-Men Legends/Marvel Ultimate Alliance games and I’ve been jonesing for a new game in the series for forever. That was pretty much the entire reason I jumped in head first with Marvel Heroes, even with the immense issues the game had at launch and over the course of its live service. A fun Marvel story I can play with friends, an engaging item hunt, and playable Marvel superheroes (and villains)? Sign me up!
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
I’ve been a huge fan of the “looter shooter” idea ever since the original Borderlands games. Technically, you could say I became a fan with Hellgate: London, but that game was such a hot mess it really only succeeded in planting the seed of the idea in my head. Unfortunately, I haven’t been impressed with the games that followed Borderlands such as Destiny (or Destiny 2) and even the launch state of The Division was a huge mess. Despite its issues, however, The Division came closest to what I was looking for and I checked back on the game numerous times over the years as Ubisoft continued to patch and improve the game. Like the original Destiny, The Division towards the end of its live service has mostly lived up to its promise and it represents a great turnaround story for Ubisoft. Will Ubisoft learn from everything it did well on The Division and bring those lessons into The Division 2? Or will it suffer the same fate as Bungie did with Destiny 2 and have to repeat the process of fixing things all over again? I’m hoping for the former, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t apprehensive about the latter.
Even if Ubisoft does pull it off with The Division 2, I still find the setting fairly limiting for this sort of game. I really enjoy playing The Division, but it’s true that it’s much easier to be sensitive to things feeling bullet sponge-y when you’re shooting at regular people. Dumping 30 rounds into a dude’s head just doesn’t feel right unless he’s some sort of high tech robot or alien or fantastical monster. The setting also limits on the sorts of abilities and gear you’d be able to take advantage of. I love what the team has done (and is doing) with this series, but I so wish they could bring all of these elements together in a different setting.
And that brings me to Anthem. Unlike The Division 2, Anthem is actually set in a sci-fi universe where BioWare can go nuts with abilities and enemies and whatever else they like. So, what did BioWare come up with? They’re giving us a looter shooter where you can fly around and get your Iron Man on. Welp. Sold! The only way I end up playing The Division 2 is if Anthem is a dud, which at this point is a much more realistic possibility simply due to the fact we don’t know if BioWare can actually pull this sort of game off.
I also like what I’m hearing from the developers on Anthem, especially with regards to personalization and customization being separate. I’m apprehensive about the inability to reroll Inscriptions (affixes) on items, but that’s a whole other article. Between the deeper item hunt, the flexibility of Javelins, and the impressive level of mobility, there’s a lot to like about Anthem, but we’ll have to see how it goes.
SWTOR’s Next Expansion
SWTOR officially kicked off the road to its next expansion with the game’s latest update, Jedi Under Siege, which released last month. I wasn’t too impressed with the update, but I am excited for the game to return to the classic and iconic conflict between the Empire and Republic.
I don’t see the last few expansions and their events as a failure, but as something that has only enriched the particular space in Star Wars that BioWare has carved out for itself. Sure, BioWare wrote itself into a corner with the last two expansions, but the galaxy has been reshaped by these events and it makes a return to the original dynamic interesting because we get to see how those events have affected both sides and how our characters now fit into the story to come.
Which games are you looking forward to most in 2019?