2017 was a fairly hit or miss year marred by loot box controversies and Steam Direct opening the floodgates to shovelware, asset flippers, early asset cash grabs among other issues plaguing Steam. Looking at the early weeks of 2018 and we see asset flips, RPG maker cash grabs, visual novels and early access games cluttering upcoming releases. Beyond that, though there are some games that will hopefully leave a positive mark on 2018.
First up is Dragon Ball Fighterz, while Dragon Ball Z fighting games have been fairly hit or miss since the days of the Budokai games, especially when moving into the 3-D fighter scheme like with Raging Blast or Xenoverse which wound up clunky and unintuitive. Dragon Ball Fighterz is being developed by Arc System Works, the studio behind Guilty Gear and Blaz Blue. Those games are known for having tight controls and a fluid 2-D art style. If you’re a fan of Dragon Ball or fighting games this is one to keep an eye on. Dragon Ball Fighterz is slated to launch on January 26th.
Next up is Monster Hunter Worlds, breaking with the trend of recent years of being a primarily handheld game. Monster Hunter will not only be debuting on PS4 and Xbox One, but it will see it’s first entry on PC for western audiences. Most known for being a mission-based RPG with open world areas. Players take on the role of hunters using various weapons that each have their own combat style to take down monsters. Using parts collected to upgrade their gear so they can take on even more monsters. Currently slated for January 26th for Xbox and PlayStation, the PC version is currently TBA.
The next game on this list is a new IP from SquareEnix and Tokyo RPG Factory called Lost Sphear. Tokyo RPG Factory is most well known for creating I am Setsuna which had some Chrono Trigger vibes to it. Lost Sphear has already released in Japan to tepid sales, but high praise with outlets calling favorable comparisons to Chrono Trigger just like with I am Setsuna. Lost Sphear currently has a demo available on Steam and releases to the rest of the world on January 23rd.
The announcement that came as a personal shock was when Namco Bandai announced SoulCalibur 6. Not only would there be a 7th entry in the SoulEdge/SoulCalibur franchise, but it would be coming to Steam. After SoulCalibur 5 received some negative marks for the lackluster story and again changing character move sets between games, Project Soul went silent. At the 2017 Game Awards, gamers were surprised with a short teaser which showed Mitsurugi and Sophitia fighting. Project Soul has promised the return of series regulars as well as new characters. The release of SoulCalibur 6 is reported to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the series. The current worldwide release date is TBA.
Rounding out this list is A Way Out, the second game to be directed by Josef Fares, with the first being Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons. A Way Out tells the story of two men whom meet in prison and decide to escape together. The game can only be played in co-op which could be a good or bad based on your co-op partner and personal preferences. The director has also stated that only one copy needs to be purchased for online co-op, with the other player being able to download the free demo and join a player that purchased the game. A Way Out is set to release on March 23rd.
Obviously, there is no knowing which games will be good or which will be bad until people get a chance to play them. These are just five games that I am personally hoping will be good in 2018. That being said, run away hype tends to lead to disappointment and cautious optimism should be used until you have read reviews from sources you trust. Feel free to list games you’re looking forward to in the comments below and keep an eye on Debuff and Discuss as we attempt to cover as many of the upcoming releases as possible.