The 30 most anticipated games of 2018

UPDATED: The year's biggest releases are almost upon us

Well, 2017 truly lived up to our expectations: it was one of the best years that gaming has ever seen. But we're an optimistic bunch, and we think 2018 could be even better by the time it's all said and done.

It's true! Why? Well for starters, developers are flocking to the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo itself has been delivering knockout experiences. Meanwhile, both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One should be well-stocked with greatness from first-party and third-party studios. Oh, and the PC remains the destination for the widest selection of games large and small.

Now that E3 is complete, we have a pretty good sense of all of the huge games releasing before the year's up - but as games release and dates firm up, we'll be adding new games to this list on a monthly basis. Right now, these are the games we're most excited about for the rest of 2018.

1) RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One

It's really no surprise at all that Red Dead Redemption 2 is our most anticipated game of the year: it's not only the successor to one of Rockstar's absolute best games of all time, but it's also the studio's next project following the world-dominating Grand Theft Auto V. That's huge.

And in fact, it's a prequel rather than a sequel, making it a pretty ideal starting point even if you didn't play the brilliant Red Dead (which you should fix ASAP). As the trailers show, RDR2 is shaping up to be absolutely gorgeous, and an open-world Western with the ambition and capabilities of Grand Theft Auto V could be truly mind-blowing. We want it bad. But now we'll have to wait 'til October.

Due: 26 October 

2) SUPER SMASH BROS.

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Nintendo just took a page from Apple's classic playbook, tucking a "one more thing" announcement at the tail end of March's Nintendo Direct stream. We expected a new Smash Bros. game for Switch at some point, sure – but this year? And announced already? We must be dreaming.

But we're not: Super Smash Bros. is officially coming to Switch, and as far as we can tell, it'll be a new entry. Splatoon's squid kid Inklings are joining the roster, and we can see Mario, Link, and other familiar faces in the fold. We'll probably get a full reveal around E3 this June, but then it won't be much longer before the fan-service brawler is ready for us.

Due: TBD 2018

3) SPIDER-MAN

Platform: PlayStation 4

Superhero games usually suck, and the wall-crawler hasn't had a great starring role in ages – but we have high hopes for the Sony-exclusive Spider-Man. Why? Well, it hails from Insomniac Games, the studio behind the brilliant Ratchet & Clank and ultra-entertaining Sunset Overdrive.

Also, it looks pretty phenomenal in motion, although we still need to be convinced about how much you'll actually be controlling the webhead during these frantic, spectacular action scenes. The fact that it's not tied into a movie seems like a plus, but we're anxious to get hands-on and see how it feels before we can be sure of anything. The trailers make a fantastic first impression, though.

Due: 2018

4) Battlefield V

Platforms: PS4, XB1, PC

Call of Duty did it last year, and now it's Battlefield's turn to return to the ripe setting of World War II with Battlefield V. But unlike this year's Call of DutyBattlefield V won't scrap single-player missions or try to crowbar in a battle royale mode.

Instead, Battlefield V looks like the large-scale, 64-player shooter we know and love, albeit elevated with huge Grand Operations matches that span four maps, along with a new focus on creating and sticking with your squad in battle. We'll still get War Stories missions like the great ones in Battlefield 1, plus future add-on maps and content will be free. Phew.

Due: 19 October

5) FORZA HORIZON 4

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

Another year, another Forza racer on Xbox? Sure. But when Forza Horizon 3 was the series' most entertaining entry to date and one of the best open-roader racers we've ever laid eyes on, our ears perk up a little more than usual.

Forza Horizon 4 looks to continue the winning approach from the last jaunt, shifting the action to historic Britain as you take in the sights and zoom past the competition. This time around, the seasons will shift in the game, which can affect both the sights and terrain, plus it'll run in native 4K on Xbox One X and offer a 60fps option (probably at a lower resolution) as well.

Due: 2 October

6) Shadow of the tomb raider

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

Tomb Raider got the reboot treatment a few years back and Rise of the Tomb Raider saw a darker, more confident Lara Croft continuing her adventures – and now Shadow of the Tomb Raider promises to take the heroine to some really intense places.

We went hands-on recently, and while the familiar mix of exploration, blistering combat, and dazzling set-pieces didn't surprise, there were some truly lump-in-the-throat moments along the way, and it's clear that Croft has stumbled into a rather serious situation this time around. Besides, with no Uncharted on the horizon, this'll likely be one of our top choices for action-packed adventure later in 2018.

Due: 14 September

7) CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 4

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

It's a new era for Activision's storied first-person shooter with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, the first in the franchise to do away with a cinematic campaign mode. And that's not all that's different here.

Blackout mode will represent Call of Duty's attempt at a Fortnite/PUBG-like battle royale mode, spanning a massive map inspired by past franchise multiplayer levels. And even the standard multiplayer stuff will get a jumpstart with tweaks like health bars, underwater action, and absolutely no jetpacks or wall-running in the mix.

Oh, and it has Zombies mode of course, with three separate story modes on day one. In short: no campaign, but seemingly way more multiplayer action than ever. That ought to work out fine.

Due: 12 October

8) Dreams

Platform: PlayStation 4

Media Molecule blew our minds with LittleBigPlanet once upon a time, and now they're going even bigger with the ambitious Dreams. Following a similar creative ethos, Dreams is both a game and a toolkit, albeit with a lot more flexibility than the studio's earlier experiences.

Dreams lets you use the same creation tools as the developers, which they've used to create these dazzling, elaborate visions seen in the trailer above. Spend a little time with them and maybe you'll be able to design and share your own masterpieces. Or, if you'd rather just play, there's a story mode – and surely a wealth of user-created games to come.

Due: TBD 2018

9) ASSASSIN'S CREED ODYSSEY

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

We won't have to wait long at all for the next huge Assassin's Creed adventure: following last year's strong Origins, Ubisoft already has Assassin's Creed Odyssey ready for release this year.

Odyssey shifts the action to Ancient Greece in 431 BCE, thus far the oldest setting for the winding historical adventure franchise, and introduces more role-playing elements including narrative choices that affect the events. It also lets you pursue relationships, plus Odyssey brings back naval warfare. Too much of a good thing or a smorgasbord of gaming thrills? We're hopeful for the latter.

Due: 5 October

10) LIFE IS STRANGE 2

Platforms: PS4, XB1, PC

The original Life is Strange episodic series was a total surprise: despite its awkward moments, the supernatural, teen-centric adventure hit us right in the feels – and then kept punching until we were a blubbery mess by the end of it.

And now Life is Strange 2 will attempt to do it again when the first of five episodes hits in late September. This time, the game focuses on a pair of brothers who are on the run after an encounter with the police that goes terribly awry, and as the trailer teases, it seems to have something to do with another surprising, fantastical ability.

Don't forget to play this summer's free The Awesome Adventures of Captain Awesome, a short standalone game that ties into Life is Strange 2 somehow.

Due: 27 September

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