2019 is going to be a busy year for games. January alone paved the way for some heavy-hitters, and this February we’ll see another smattering of guaranteed juggernauts like Crackdown 3 and Anthem. Below, you’ll find the best video games of 2019.
Apart from blockbusters-to-be, this year’s roster is packed with a bunch oddballs, too, so you’re looking at one of the most diverse years in gaming. You’ve got sprawling combat titles sure to please hardcore crowds. But you also have quieter, more understated explorations of personal turmoil, like the highly intriguing Sea of Solitude, an EA Originals alum.
Note that this list also includes some games that have been announced and could very well come out in 2019 but haven’t received proper release dates yet. Beyond Good and Evil 2 and the mainline Pokémon title for the Nintendo Switch aren’t here, to name a few.
In any case, Below are some of the very best and most hotly anticipated video games to look forward to this year.
Far Cry New Dawn
Ubisoft has mastered the open-world genre with the Far Cry franchise, and Far Cry 5 in particular marked a return to form for the studio’s action-adventure series. Far Cry New Dawn stands to add a bit more dynamite to the overall experience with some elements and flair borrowed from Fallout.
The upcoming entry will take Far Cry’s rural setting to the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse. Players must establish their base, craft weapons, and pull off survival tactics to make do with dystopia.
That’s perhaps the oddest yet most refreshing spin on the Far Cry formula yet. We can’t wait to see Hope County, Montana at its bleakest.
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal – Publisher: Ubisoft – Genre: First-person shooter, open world, action-adventure – Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC – Release Date: Feb. 15
Yoshi’s Crafted World
One of Nintendo’s most underrated and overlooked icons gets to star in a brand-new game, called Yoshi’s Crafted World. The title heavily borrows the skeuomorphic charm Kirby’s Epic Yarn first brought to the table during the Wii era.
Plastic cups, tissue boxes, knitting yarns, and papier-mâché — just some of the stuff you’d find on an artisan’s workbench, and certainly not on a game about a cutesy green dinosaur. Yet here we are. This isn’t exactly unprecedented, however. In same vein is an often overlooked title called Lumino City, a stop motion masterpiece that turns mundane detritus into art direction genius.
Though so little is known about this game at the moment, the aesthetics alone almost ensures it’s going to be a hit. If you ache for a refreshing and colorful platform adventure, look no further. Plus, it’s going to be on the Switch, so you’ll be able to take Yoshi anywhere. Neat.
Developer: Good-Feel – Publisher: Nintendo – Genre: Side-scrolling platformer – Platforms: Nintendo Switch – Release Date: Nintendo Switch
Anthem is certainly BioWare’s most buzzed-about game in years, but probably not for the reason you think. There are some accusations of it feeling too similar to Destiny, a multiplayer first-person shooter that catapulted Bungie to widespread conversation.
Not to mention that some are already questioning whether the game would be mired with pesky microtransactions, seeing as EA is publishing this one. Beyond the early controversial chatter, however, lies a game full of promise.
The epic sci-fi action title has plenty of things going for it, like its epic vibe, focus on characters, and what looks like excellent writing. Anthem is about four classes of human-controlled mechs doing all sorts of things. Like roaming an open world, completing story missions, and engaging in public events.
Early buzz notwithstanding, this is sure to be one of EA’s most hyped up releases this year.
Developer: BioWare, Motive Studios – Publisher: Electronic Arts – Genre: One line multiplayer, action, RPG – Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC – Release Date: February 22
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Three Houses is the first-ever Fire Emblem title for the Switch, marking the franchise’s switch from handheld to home console. Well, the Switch is technically a handheld, too, but it’s got more than the power of a Wii U.
That means more gorgeous-looking visuals. Perfect for the cutscene-infested Fire Emblem. The home console debut of Nintendo’s tactical role-playing series is, much like the predecessors, grid-based. But this time you get 3D battle arenas and larger forces than entries past.
In other words, it’s basically classic Fire Emblem fare upped to the tenth power, which essentially guarantees it a spot in this year’s best tactical titles.
Main combat is this game’s bread and butter. But outside that, there will also be a storyline that introduces a fully rendered environment. That should make for one of the immersive Fire Emblem games to date, and we’re here for it.
Developer: Nintendo, Intelligent Systems – Publisher: Nintendo – Genre: Tactical RPG – Platforms: Nintendo Switch – Release Date: 2019
Devil May Cry 5
It’s been ten years since a proper Devil May Cry title was released if you ignore the 2013 DmC reboot. Capcom’s ultra-popular hack-and-slash series is making a comeback this year in the form of Devil May Cry 5.
Demon slayers Dante and Nero will make their much-awaited return, along with a mysterious newcomer known only as V. Devil May Cry 5 will center on a demon invasion of Red Grave City. Each playable character will come with their own unique skills toward slaying gruesome enemies.
Sky’s the limit for weapons. You get giant swords, powerful firearms, and just about anything, really. Fancy a motorbike-chainsaw for your kills? Go to town.
Developer: Capcom – Publisher: Capcom – Genre: Action-adventure, hack-and-slash – Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC – Release Date: March 8
Bethesda and id Software is releasing a sequel to Doom, which was one of the most popular shooters of 2016. Unsatisfied with its already breakneck pace, Doom Eternal is gunning for even more speed and combat fluidity. Only the most skilled players allowed.
Doom isn’t for the faint of heart, and we imagine that will be the same case for Doom Eternal. Take note: The weapons roster shown so far include a shotgun attached to a tether.
It’s hard to make a good game even better, so there’s a chance that Doom Eternal will be a mere rehash. But most of the improvements will probably be reserved for online brawl. Players will be able to play as monsters and go after Doom slayers. They will be able to go solo or in teams as part of Doom Eternal’s campaign.
Developer: id Software – Publisher: Bethesda Softworks – Genre: First-person shooter – Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch – Release Date: 2019
If you ask an Animal Crossing fan why they love the game so much, they wouldn’t be able to answer you. That’s because Animal Crossing is more than just a game. It’s an experience, and great ones are often hard to put into words.
There’s fishing. Home decorating. Fossil-hunting. Fruit-picking. Bug-catching. These sound absolutely asinine, yes. But in the context of Animal Crossing’s laid-back charm, they make perfect sense. No other game can make mundane stuff feel so essential and fulfilling.
There’s no working title for Animal Crossing Switch yet. No one’s even sure if it’ll come out this year. Rumors say it will, but take that with a grain of salt. This will be the first proper Animal Crossing game since New Leaf in 2012, and the first for a home console since City Folk in 2008.
Developer: TBA – Publisher: Nintendo – Genre: Social simulation, life simulation – Platforms: Nintendo Switch – Release Date: 2019
In The Valley of Gods
Some video games let you roam around a time or milieu long gone. In the Valley of Gods, which takes place in 1920s Egypt is a prime example.
The game follows an explorer, Zora, and her partner as they investigate ancient tombs while making a film. Its trailer gives us a taste of what’s to come, chief of them the game’s breathtakingly somber yet beautiful setting.
No surprise there. This comes from the same folks who made the excellent narrative adventure Firewatch. Campo Santo knows how to integrate a story into a game in ways that feel organic. In The Valley of Gods is likely also to be an accolade-heavy masterpiece when it comes out sometime later this year.
Developer: Campo Santo – Publisher: Campo Santo – Genre: First-person adventure – Platforms: In development for Windows, Mac, and Linux – Release Date: 2019
Ori And The Will Of The Wisps
With Ori and the Blind Forest, Moon Studios can brag about having made one of the most inventive and hauntingly engrossing platformers of 2015. Perhaps even the entire decade. A sophomore effort is underway this year, called Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
If it’s anything like its predecessor, expect the sequel to be another magical and thematic platform-combat puzzle. Little about the game is known, but we’ll again follow the titular white guardian spirit across elaborate forests, caves, and more.
Ori and the Blind Forest was a marvelously made and enchanting reinvention of the Metroidvania style of gameplay. Can Moon Studios pull it off a second time?
Developer: Moon Studios – Publisher: Microsoft Studios – Genre: Platform-adventure, Metroidvania – Platforms: Xbox One, PC – Release Date: 2019
From the makers of Abzu comes The Pathless. So little information about this game is available, but a trailer reveals what appears to be a bow-wielding hunter traveling across a fantasy landscape. He also interacts with magical creatures, if that’s your thing. He also has an eagle with him, and both of them roam around a vast forest.
Like Abzu, The Pathless has a distinctive art style. No surprise there: Noted art director Matt Nava worked on this one. He did exemplary work on Journey, one of the most experimental games both in terms of visuals and mechanics.
In this game you’ll be exploring forests full of secrets, solving puzzles in ancient ruins, and engaging in epic battles.
Developer: Giant Squid Studios – Publisher: Giant Squid Studios – Genre: Fantasy, adventure – Platforms: PS4, PC – Release Date: 2019
Kingdom Hearts 3
Perhaps one of the most talked-about releases in this list, Kingdom Hearts 3 needs no introduction. But we’ll do it anyway: The action-adventure game puts the Toy Story crew into a video game world chock full of solid combat, epic battles, and most especially, wonder.
You’ll play as main character Sora and battle your way through a magical world not unlike those on Final Fantasy. You’ll be crossing different worlds in search of the seven sources of light.
Apart from Woody, Buzz, Rex, and the rest of the Toy Story family, you’ll also find Goofy, Donald Duck and some other Disney icons in the mix.
Developer: Square Enix – Publisher: Square Enix – Genre: Action RPG – Platforms: PS4, Xbox One – Release Date: Out Now
Ether One, released in 2014, is a modestly acclaimed first-person adventure game from White Paper Games. But it’s clear now that the game was just a preview of other worlds the developer wants to explore.
This year, we’re getting The Occupation, a investigative thriller set in 1980s North West England. You play as a journalist in a systems-driven world where people react to your actions and time is your biggest enemy. It sounds like the most boring game ever.
Buta actually, it’s a taut and tense race against time. As compelling as BioShock Infinite, but without all the combat. It’s also one of the more unique ideas seen in video games, where you are the reporter and can therefore steer the narrative. We’ve really come a long way since Paperboy.
Developer: White Paper Games – Publisher: Humble Bundle – Genre: First-person adventure – Platforms: – PS4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: Out Now
As it turns out, 4A Games’ multiple subterranean first-person shooters were just opening salvos for what is its most ambitious project yet: Metro Exodus. The game, which takes place in post-apocalyptic Moscow, is a sprawling adaptation of Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novels.
But unlike its predecessors, Metro Exodus shaves the linearity in favor of more open areas. In other words, more opportunities for exploration without a helping hand at the ready.
Improvements can be found not just in the gameplay department, but also in its visuals. This is one of the most aesthetically striking games we’ve seen this year. We can only hope that third time’s the charm for 4A Games.
Developer: 4A Games – Publisher: Deep Silver – Genre: First-person shooter – Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC – Release Date: February 15
Atomic Heart, from newcomer Mundfish, is an outre crossover between BioShock and Soviet horrors, a combination typically unseen in the video game world.
Games like Atomic Heart are super rare because they’re hard to pull off. You’ve got Another World, sure, but not everyone can be a genius like Éric Chahi.
But let’s give this one a chance. After all, apart from BioShock, it’s got hints of Fallout thrown in there, as well. Pulling from the right resources, clearly. Hopefully it’s got more going for it than just plain brawl.
Developer: Mundfish – Publisher: Mundfish – Genre: Action RPG – Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC – Release Date: 2019
So few shooters are cel-shaded, and it’s easy to see why. The art style, while it can work in games like Zelda, doesn’t do as well in combat-based action. The cartoonish appeal rarely melds well with the high-octane breathlessness of some games.
Blue Manchu wants to prove that notion wrong with Void Bastards, a game about about boarding and raiding spaceships. The comic book-inspired caper has a distinct visual style, like if Tron was made by Satoshi Kon.
The off-kilter elements don’t stop there. You also get a coterie of oddball characters, who may or may not be fit for the strains of combat at hand. Crew members are tasked with different jobs for heists, which typically end in farce.
Developer: Blue Manchu – Publisher: Humble Bundle – Genre: Strategy shooter – Platforms: Xbox One, PC – Release Date: 2019
Sea Of Solitude
Thanks to EA’s indie publishing program EA Originals, we’re getting a gem of a game called Sea of Solitude. Exploring themes of loneliness and isolation, it’s as much of a game as it is a meditation on the frailty human condition.
The third-person exploration-platform-puzzle adventure follows a woman on a quest for redemption. Afflicted with potent loneliness, Kay becomes a monster. She must then face fellow monsters in order to claim her life back.
Its gorgeous art style escapes easy description. The vibe is mournfully impressionistic, as if drops of color dissolving in water. Warning: may turn on the waterworks.
Developer: Jo-Mei Games – Publisher: Electronic Arts – Genre: Adventure – Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC – Release Date: 2019
Crackdown 3 has been in development hell for years now, having suffered multiple delays. But the game is finally coming this year.
Thankfully, it stars the human manifestation of sunshine, Terry Crews, to make up for the frustrating delays. The third iteration of the popular open world action-adventure franchise will probably involve a lot of moving around. Oh, and bombs. Lots and lots of bombs. How this third title freshens up the series formula is anyone’s guess.
Developer: Sumo Digital – Publisher: Microsoft Studios – Genre: Action-adventure – Platforms: Xbox One, PC – Release Date: February 2019
Dead Or Alive 6
Can Dead Or Alive 6 be as phenomenal and game-changing as Dead Or Alive 2? We’ll find out this year when the latest entry to the ultra-popular fighting franchise finally comes out.
Dead Or Alive has always been fun, dynamic, fast-paced, and oftentimes compelling. It might even be beautiful. But sometimes it can get pretty sloppy. Which is why critics have never quite been comfortable putting it in the same ranks as its contemporaries like Street Fighter or Tekken.
Hopefully Dead Or Alive 6 finally makes them think twice.
Developer: Team Ninja – Publisher: Koei Tecmo – Genre: Fighting – Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC – Release Date: March 1
Babylon Fall was one of the most talked-about games at last year’s E3, and for good reason. It’s the next project from PlatinumGames, the company behind the Bayonetta series and Nier: Automata.
We don’t have much information at the moment, but the trailer fast forwards to the future and hints at a great and pervasive civil unrest caused by forces clashing with each other.
If the Bayonetta entries are anything to go by, this too will rely heavily on sophisticated hack-and-slash mechanics. In that regard, it already sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Developer: PlatinumGames – Publisher: Square Enix – Genre: TBD – Platforms: PS4, PC – Release Date: 2019
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
The latest from FromSoftware looks vastly different from the Dark Souls titles and Bloodborne, and that could be a good thing. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice marks a new direction for the developer in that it’s more about free-flowing fighting with a limited set of weapons.
Whereas players revelled in the Dark Souls games and Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice presents a fresh new milieu and brand-new sets of challenges. It takes you to medieval Japan and seems to prize stealth and aerial combat above all else.
Developer: FromSoftware – Publisher: FromSoftware, Activision – Genre: Action-adventure – Platforms: PS$, Xbox One, PC – Release Date: March 22
The latest Gears of War game is coming this year at last, much to the delight of players around the world aching for a follow-up to this gruff and grisly series. Expect the third-person shooter to give you your daily fix of brutalism when it comes out sometime this year.
Kait Diaz, who first appeared on the Gears series as a supporting character, takes center stage. You follow her as she seeks the truth about the Locust invaders. Past heroes Marcus Fenix and HD will join you in your journey. With their own secret missions, no less.
Gears 5 is poised to pivot the series’ cover-shooter origins into a more full-fledged action-adventure genre. Hopefully that switch lends it a breath of fresh air.
Developer: The Coalition – Publisher: Microsoft Studios – Genre: Third-person shooter – Platforms: Xbox One, PC – Release Date: 2019
It’s hard to believe Nintendo didn’t make Ooblets. It has the makings of a true Nintendo title: charm, wit, silliness, and humor.
The title is heavily inspired by the likes of Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, and Harvest Moon (throw in a bit of Pokémon there, too).
The result is a farming and life simulator oozing with ridiculous twee. Set in a whimsical world full of kawaii creatures called Ooblets, the game is all about collecting them, growing them, and entering them in prestigious dance competitions. We’ll stop now because it’s only going to get weirder. In the best way.
Developer: Glumberland – Publisher: Double Fine – Genre: Life simulator – Platforms: Xbox One, PC – Release Date: 2019
If you like dark and twisted puzzle platformers, you’re likely going to love Inmost, the latest output from Hidden Layer Games, which takes place where else but in the underworld?
There has been a surge of platformers with an intricate focus on story. Celeste, a fine example, is arguably peak platforming genius, incorporating story with painfully heartrending results.
And if not story, characters. Although the genre has been flipped, turned upside down, and twisted many times, Inmost still looks like a fresh take on the model. The game also features one of the most terrifying pixel art we’ve ever seen.
Developer: Hidden Layer Games – Publisher: Chucklefish – Genre: Puzzle-platformer – Platforms: TBD – Release Date: 2019
Except for The Walking Dead series, what other great zombie-apocalypse adventures can you name?
Thankfully, Days Gone is here to reinvigorate the genre and give it the gore it deserves. Set in the Pacific Northwest, Days Gone follows a motorcyclist bounty hunter as he pulls of a bevy of slick maneuvers to lure zombie hordes into choke points.
Unlike on most zombie shows, the zombies in this game are really brain-dead. Still, there’s power in numbers, and the undead know that better than us, the living. They’re also pretty varied, so you have to figure out how to defeat them using various strategies.
Developer: SIE Bend Studio – Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment – Genre: Action-adventure, survival-horror – Platforms: PS4 – Release Date: April 26
The Last Night
Where the heck is this game? Odd Tales stole our hearts when it debuted this 2.5D artistic masterpiece back in 2017, and since then it’s nowhere to be seen. There’s a chance it finally comes out this year, but don’t take our word for it.
The Last Night is hard to describe. Some say it’s an homage to classic platformers like Another World and Flashback. Some say it’s pixel art on steroids. Others just can’t quite put their finger on what it is exactly. We’re in the same boat. We don’t know what the heck it is, but we can’t stop staring. And we hope it comes very, very soon.
Developer: Odd Tales – Publisher: Raw Fury – Genre: Platformer – Platforms: Xbox One, PC, macOS, Linux – Release Date: TBD
Let’s face it, there’s never going to be anything like Ico again, one of the finest works from a genius like Fumito Ueda. But that doesn’t mean developers can’t try making one. So comes Vane, about the story of a boy in a vast desert landscape not visually unlike the expanse of Journey. The main character is able to transform into a bird, which should make roaming around caves and ruins much easier.
Developer: Friend & Foe – Publisher: Friend & Foe – Genre: Adventure, puzzle – Platforms: PS4 – Release Date: Out Now
The Outer Worlds
A first-person RPG set in space? Groundbreaking. No shade intended, though, as this actually looks pretty intriguing despite its very familiar genre blend. It’s by Obsidian Entertainment, the folks responsible for Fallout: New Vegas and the Pillars of Eternity series.
It’s hard to say exactly what this game is about, but the trailer shows hints of a dystopia. Plus players exploring an alien planet and engaging in combat with that planet’s breed of monsters.
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment – Publisher: Private Division – Genre: Action-RPG – Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC – Release Date: 2019
The Division 2
The Division 2 sees the series move out of New York and toward Washington, D.C. (actually modeled after the city, by the way) seven months after the events of the original game. It takes place in America, which here is ruled by a dictator and engulfed in a civil war. In this game, you play as a member of the Division, an elite group of civilian agents charged with being the last line of defense. Washington is at risk, and it’s your duty to protect it.
Much like its predecessor, The Division 2 is a third-person online combat open world title. You can go solo if you’re feeling brave enough. If not, you can join a crew and topple the dictatorship slowly but surely. The game’s 1:1 representation of Washington, D.C. is the cherry on top. You can pull up the map for up-close-and-personal views of landmarks, natural landscapes, neighborhoods, and enemy hideouts.
Developer: Massive Entertainment, Ubisoft Reflections – Publisher: Ubisoft – Genre: Online action RPG – Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC – Release Date: March 15
You play as Milo and Lola in Afterparty, best buds who were recently deceased and suddenly find out they’re bound to spend eternity in hell. But there’s a way to get their lives back, literally.
Simply outdrink Stan himself, the devil of all devils ,and you’ll be given a free pass into the world of the living. Go on the best bender ever as you solve the mystery of why you’re there in the first place. And maybe you can even avoid an infinite stay in hell while you’re at it.
Developer: Night School Studio – Publisher: Night School Studio – Genre: Adventure – Platforms: PC, macOS, Linux – Release Date: 2019
Sable rises through the cruft of haphazardly made indies with solid visuals and what appears to be compelling mechanics. Players take on the role of a young wanderer in an open-world planet. Here, nothing makes sense, everything is weird, and you will probably cry at some point. But that’s the beauty of a fleshed-out world, making the imagined seem real.
Described as a heartrending coming-of-age tale, Sable is part game, part graphic novel, part cinema. That fine blend of media is care of Shedworks, a relative newcomer in the field. You’ll be traversing around an open-world desert as you go on a personal journey and discover the history of the planet’s inhabitants. It’s best to have tissues at the ready.
Developer: Shedworks – Publisher: Raw Fury – Genre: Adventure, exploration – Platforms: Xbox One, PC, macOS – Release Date: 2019