Ones To Watch In 2018 – Third Party Blockbusters

While it’s often exclusives that help to tip your interest in a games console one way or the other, it’s usually cross-platform third party blockbusters that end up being what you play most of the time. From the likes of Destiny to Assassin’s Creed, third party publishers create huge experiences that they want as many people to play as possible.

Speaking of Destiny…


Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release date: Q4 2018

Bioware are no strangers to creating epic role playing games, but Anthem is their first attempt at an online game built around adventuring with friends and earning loot to improve your character. You take on the role of a Freelancer, stepping into a customisable Javelin suit that lends you superhuman abilities with which to battle beast and marauders.

Truth be told, we don’t know an awful lot about Anthem just yet, but the overall pitch does sound an awful lot like Destiny and The Division. Bioware are the ones with the track record of creating compelling world that draw people in and make hem want to keep exploring, but given EA’s current reputation and the paucity of previews for Anthem, it feels like this is a game with a lot to prove.

There’s plenty of time for it to do so, however, with Anthem not due for release until the end of this year. Expect EA to go all in on this game at E3 and Gamescom.

One aspect of the game’s release that will be bittersweet is that Lead Designer Corey Gaspur won’t get to see the game he worked on released. The nine year veteran of Bioware sadly passed away back in July, just a couple of months after its gameplay reveal at E3.

Skull and Bones

Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release date: Q3/Q4 2018

What happens if you take all of the land bits out of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag? You end up with something an awful lot like Skull & Bones. While the Assassin’s Creed series has long since moved on to other periods and settings, Ubisoft aren’t ones to throw away good ideas, and that’s led to their Singapore studio’s debut as lead developer.

While Black Flag was a single player affair and you can play solo in this game as well, Skull & Bones really feels like it’s being built for multiplayer. You take to the Indian Ocean in your ship, whether it’s a stoop, frigate, brigantine or something else entirely. Whatever you have under your command, it’s going to be heavily armed with mortars, cannons and even rockets, with your ability to manoeuvre and deal the most damage while minimising your own damage going to be key in the pitched battles between groups of players.

I know some people really didn’t get on with Black Flag’s sailing, but it was one of the real appeals of the game for me and I’m glad it’s been given a new lease of life here.

Far Cry 5

Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release date: 27th March

This was one of a few games to court controversy last year, given the way it depicts religious zealotry and a homegrown anti-government insurgency on US soil. The atypical antagonists are going to be a big part of what helps Far Cry 5 feel fresh, but there’s also the way that Ubisoft are finally moving the series away from the oft lampooned Ubisoft formula.

Catch our recent hands on impressions here.

As a deputy under the local sheriff, your attempt to arrest the preacher Joseph Seed goes terribly wrong, and it’s only you that manages to escape the Eden’s Gate cult. From there, you can head in any direction, taking on the three cult Heralds in whatever order you want, disrupting their operations in order to draw them out. Along the way, your actions will inspire the regular people of Hope County to fight back, whether they do so by joining forces with you – you can have a whole group of them alongside you in the Guns for Hire system – or fighting of their own volition.

There’s a huge open world to liberate, and you don’t have to do it alone. You can also bring a friend along for the ride in co-op, which lets you play together whether it’s just messing around with side missions or tackling the main story.

Metro Exodus

Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release date: Q4 2018

After two games spent trudging through the dark and decaying ruins of the Moscow Metro system, occasionally popping out onto the equally scary and contaminated surface, Ayrtom and the Spartan Rangers are leaving the city and heading east to the promise of sunlight, fields of green and a future where mankind doesn’t have to hide in the shadows. Just stepping out of the darkness and not having to reach for a gas mask has a liberating air of freedom to it compared to the first two games.

Many of the gameplay elements will remain the same or similar, with mutated animals and hostile human factions at play, while you have to scavenge for resources in order to survive. There’s a more open design to the world, but there’s also a new dynamic weather system and a day-night cycle, not to mention the thematic shifting of the seasons as you journey across the country for a whole year.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Platforms: PS4, XBO – Release date: Spring 2018

Probably the most highly anticipated game since Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption 2 has looked simply incredible from every tiny snippet that Rockstar have released.

You play as Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang that roam the Wild West and pull jobs to survive, but beyond that, there’s not much to go on. Presumably, given the title, Arthur goes on a journey of redemption from his life of crime?

Naturally, this being Rockstar, they’ve kept a tight lid on the game, content to sit back and let the hype train pick up pace almost all by itself. Considering the perennial popularity of GTA V and the way that Red Dead Redemption pioneered some of that game’s online play, we can expect that heading online will be a big part of the sequel.

Having been delayed from a 2017 release, the game is currently pencilled in for a Spring 2018 launch. Cross your fingers that it doesn’t slip any further!

That’s all for this collection of major AAA games. I can probably guess, but let us know which one you’re most looking forward to in the comments below.

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I'm probably wearing toe shoes, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!


  1. I only heard about Anthem a couple of days ago. Either missed it or forgot. Watching that video though has peaked my interest. If it looks half as good as that then they have a sale through me.

    • Piqued*

      Sorry, just saying ?

      • No need to apologise, I like to know when I am wrong. Genuinely didn’t realise that was the proper way to use it.

  2. No way RDR2 is coming out this Spring. Spring 2019 maybe. Looks great though.

    Not sure about Far Cry 5. Loved FC3 but FC4 was a huge letdown – for me anyway.

    Just bought the Metro Redux collection in the Decembuary sales. Haven’t played it yet but it sounds/looks pretty good from what I’ve seen.

    Anthem, couldn’t care less. Not for me.

    Skull & Bones does look interesting but I’ll wait and see how much the focus on online MP ruins the SP experience. I’d rather have a re-release of AC Rogue on PS4 if i’m being totally honest.

    • AC Rogue on the PS4 seems unlikely at this point. It looks like Ubisoft asked people if they wanted that or the Ezio games remastered for the PS4 a couple of years ago, and Rogue lost. So we got the Ezio trilogy in the year they didn’t make a new game.

      I guess if we don’t get a new AC game this year, they could squeeze in a remaster of Rogue. But instead we get the shit bits of Black Flag turned into a full game, by the looks of things.

      On the plus side, if we don’t get any new AC games until 2019, I might just have finsihed AC Oranges by then. That game is just a mess of map icons I need to clean up, in between running away from hippos and unexpectedly gaining a Chocobo. I’m going to do it all, but it’s already turning into a bit of a chore.

      • I really hope they do. Sure I read somewhere that it’s been listed online with a release date around March? Not sure if it was ever verified though.

        I enjoyed AC Origins while I was playing it but I honestly can’t remember a thing about the story. Very forgettable. I guess it was a combination of having AC back (after a short absence), having an AC set in Ancient Egypt and well, just having a new game to play. As a one off, I didn’t mind Origins complete overhaul but knowing that this is now how all AC games will be made going forward makes me long for the old style AC games.

        I think we’ll probably get a spin-off with the wife of the guy from Origins. She was way more interesting than him – it’s a shame you couldn’t chose between the two at the start.

      • It suffers from the problem several big open world games have. Horizon Zero Dawn had it, as did Witcher 3.

        It’s a very nice looking world, with lots to do, but all the side quests and other little activities get in the way. You have to do at least some of them, or you’ll struggle with the main story. But then it’s either “oh no, I’ve got to do some extra crap now, or I’ll die” (which isn’t a good situation to be in), or “I’ll do all this extra stuff, get stupidly overpowered, and the main story will seem trivial and too easy”. Which also isn’t good.

        Doesn’t help that the combat in any of those games isn’t great. I’ll happily grind through hundreds of fights in a proper RPG, because I enjoy the fights. Not so much in any of those massive, gorgeous looking, somewhat overrated games.

        Hopefully we’ll have a Black Flag situation, where a game people seem to love more than is deserved is followed by a proper AC game that isn’t some new IP with the AC branding slapped on it.

        Not that the newest one is a bad game. It’s quite fun and looks very nice. Shame about the lack of focus and all those distractions getting in the way. And the terrible voice acting. And wonky hippo animations.

      • Assassins Creed Rogue Remaster is coming out March 20th with 4K support last I heard….

  3. Anthem looks like it could be great, but like you said there’s not a lot to go off right now, definitely one I’ve got my eye on though!

    Skull and Bones = I know literally nothing of it. I guess it could be a sleeper hit for me.

    I’m not interested in Far Cry 5, I loved 3, bought 4 but got very bored of it very quickly. They should’ve just called it Far Cry 3.1. Far Cry 5 looks a lot like Far Cry 3.2, so could me out.

    I’ve never played a Metro game, so I’m not invested in that series, the new one would have to do something pretty special to drag me in.

    RDR2, obviously that looks brilliant, will be a day one purchase for me.

    All in all a mixed bag right there.

  4. Another Far Cry, Metro and Red Dead game won’t be a priority for me but i’ll possibly check out one or all of them at some point.

  5. All Day One launch for me ^^
    Was unsure on Anthem but I could use a daily only MP sesh as long as there isn’t a microtransactions since EA has learned their lesson from Battlefront 2 and delayed Anthem after the fiasco of Mass Effect: Andromeda.
    Skulls and Bones got me excited due to the success of Naval Missions from Black Flag so cannot wait for thay.
    I like Ubisoft and looking forward to Far Cry 5. Far Cry 4 was brilliant and I loved the villian. I still have Primal so must get that started and finish it before Far Cry 5!
    Loved the story in Metro and looking forward to that. Played the remastered (I think) or maybe it was a PS Plus and it got me interested on the Metro story that I bought 2 in one disc for the PS4 (I think) man too many remasters are confusing my mind of what games what consoles did I play it on.
    And last but not least….. RDR…. well it’s Red Dead fucking Redemption!!!! (Excuse my language) cannot wait for that aswell as TSA MEETS!!!!! Been too long since I miss these meets :(

  6. Got to admit that even though the Red Dead hype train is barely underway I’m getting serious FOMO. I think I’m going to be finished with the main Mario Odyssey story this weekend so it’ll be up into I go to fetch down my PS3 and I’ll finally sit down to play the first game.

    • How have you not played RDR yet?? The best game of the last generation.

      I’m kind of jealous. I’d love to experience it again without any knowledge.

      Just go and play it. It’s better than any Mario nonsense. ;)

      • Indeed, I’d love to discover the wild west for the first time again. The first ride into Mexico was something special.

      • Yes, that bit is special. Just from the genius move of putting a hill there and playing an actual song.

        There’s another song later which is also a special moment, for completely different reasons. I’ve never been in such a hurry to get somewhere in a game as when that song plays and you’re racing home.

        I love the soundtrack to that game, even if it is all in the laziest key (A minor) possible. Including the 3 songs, I think. It’s the way it’s built from bits that come in and out depending on what’s happening, with some more scripted bits at various points. Hopefully they’ve put as much effort in there for the sequel. I’m sure they have.

      • RDR the best game of last gen? I could easily name 10 games that were better, brought something new to the table and not just playing it safe. RDR was a port of GTA to the Wild West setting. Not necessarily a bad game, but far from being ground breaking or anything special.

        But I’m happy for you that you liked it this much, and you’re perfectly entitled to your subjective opinion.

      • I’m getting the impression you never actually played RDR and you’re just assuming it’s “GTA with horses”. It was nothing like GTA at all.

        They might well have taken lessons they’d learned with the GTA games and improved on them, and yes, it probably wouldn’t have happened without the previous GTA games. But it’s not “GTA with horses”.

        And they might well have taken everything they’d learned from the online side of RDR and messed it all up with the terrible and inexplicably popular GTA5 online stuff.

        But go on, name anything on the PS3 you incorrectly think is better and I’ll come up with half a dozen flaws in it that prove RDR was better. Or don’t, because that game will get boring very quickly ;)

  7. To be honest, I’m not really hyped for any of those, but maybe it’s just me, growing slightly bored of this recycling of the same stuff over and over again.

    Anthem looks too much like Destiny to me and won’t have any proper story, in spite of Bioware who were good at that some years back. But I’d be happy if they proved me wrong.
    Far Cry 5. Well, I don’t dislike the setting, but 5? I didn’t make it through the first few hours of 4.
    RDR2? Come on. The first game was a lazy port of GTA, so I can’t understand the hype.

  8. Skull & Bones, Far Cry 5 and obvs RDR2! 2018 looking like the best year for PS4 so far imo.

  9. Not sure if they’re coming out this year (or even if they’re AAA) but there’s also Vampyr, Biomutant, Darksiders 3 & Jurassic World Evolution – to name a few more.

    Also what ever happened to WiLD? That looked so good. This is the problem when you announce games five years early.

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