Ones To Watch In 2019 – Multiplayer Games

Better together

We live in interesting times for multiplayer video games. Call of Duty might be back on song alongside the ever reliable FIFA, but now it’s Battlefield’s turn to stumble, but they’re all living in the shadow of the continued success of Fortnite.

Considering how Battle Royale took the world by storm in 2017, and just two years after the huge success of Rocket League, it’s anyone’s guess where the next big hit is going to come from and what it’s going to be. Will it be a major AAA publisher? Perhaps a smaller effort? The following list is far from conclusive – there’s other games with multiplayer in them sprinkled through the rest of Ones to Watch – but any one of these could end up being well worth your time next year.


Anthem

Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release: 22/02/19

Can Bioware’s spin on the co-op action RPG shooter gain a foothold when going up against Destiny 2 and The Division 2? It’s certainly got the looks, with Iron Man-esque Javelin suits that you customise and fly around in, huge open spaces that are rendered gorgeously in the Frostbite engine, and some great character animations during those moments where story gets to come to the fore. But does it have substance?

From my brief hands on time with the game, it’s incredibly slick. You shift from running around on the ground to jetting up into the sky and whizzing around like Iron Man in an instant, with the only minor concern being that your suit overheats. Similarly, with several classes of Javelin, Bioware have really tried to make sure they work well together with complimentary abilities and powers within your co-op group.

Anthem will get to prove itself with a three day demo starting on 1st February, just a few weeks ahead of its launch, but I can tell you that I’m looking forward to it.


The Division 2

Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release: 15/03/19

From one big online shooter looter to another, The Division 2 is a big thematic shift away from the snowy, pandemic-stricken streets of New York City. It’s now months later and the agents of the Strategic Homeland Division are now trying to help rebuild society in the face of a growing conspiracy in Washington DC.

That change of setting leads to a game that feels just a bit more generic, a bit more run of the mill post-apocalypse, but it will also provide more variety of environments, which can only be a good thing. We’re also hoping for more variety and engagement with the way the story is told and presented, as well as a good step forward in endgame content – which will now feature 8 player raids – but the good news is that the third person cover shooting that worked well in the first game is here intact.

Catch our hands on Gamescom preview of The Division 2 here


Generation Zero

Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release: 2019

From the purveyors of all the madness in Just Cause, Generation Zero is quite a major tonal shift to a co-op shooter in a very Swedish robot apocalypse. As a group of teens return home, they find all the people disappeared and with very angry dog robots wandering around the a landscape of empty homes and abandoned cars.

From our hands on time with the closed beta, they have some work to do in terms of telling a story within this setting, but the core concept of plucky teenagers picking up guns, grabbing boomboxes and fireworks, and fighting robots that would all too happily kill them is rather cool. The first person gunplay holds up fairly well, but the game will shine if Avalanche can get the robot AI just right, so that it’s intelligent, but still possible to confuse and ambush with a well coordinated attack. Hopefully this one is as polished as the core concept deserves.


World War Z

Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release: 2019

World War Z feels like it’s turning up late to the Zombie train that rolled through gaming half a decade ago, and just as late for the movie that it’s tying into and adapting. That said, it’s actually shaping up to be a pretty good co-op zombie shooter, with the showstopping zombie pyramids that grow to clamber up and over walls and other obstacles. This game can throw thousands of zombies your way, almost without batting an eyelid.

For more on World War Z, read our hands on preview here.

In the vein of Left 4 Dead, you have four player co-op to try and survive this, but there’s a nice nod to the original novel in that the characters are different between each of the locations and campaigns. You’ll be battling through Russia, through Jerusalem and New York, fighting off throngs of zombies and occasionally having to set up shop and defend a point against wave after wave of them.


Dauntless

Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release: April 2019

Dauntless has been out in open beta on PC for a while now, but its full release will see it spreading its monstrous wings to PS4 and Xbox One next year – and there’s even plans for Switch and mobile ports. The best way to describe it is as a cross between Monster Hunter and Destiny, as players head out to the floating islands to hunt Behemoths through large multi-stage battles, but then return back to a shared social space to turn those resources you collect from your fallen prey.

While it would easy to say that Monster Hunter World has sewn up the genre in 2018, maybe there’s space for a little competition in 2019?


Skull & Bones

Platforms: PS4, XBO, PC – Release: 2019

It feels a little odd to keep pointing back to a game from the launch of the current generation of consoles, but Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was genuinely really good and a lot of that came from the hijinks on the high seas. Of course, boats have since made a return to the series with Odyssey, but we’re still waiting for the direct spin off from Black Flag.

Ubsioft Singapore’s debut as a lead developer was originally intended for the end of this year, but was long ago delayed until 2019. Hopefully that’s given the team more time to refine everything in and around the core naval combat (which itself has been added to since Black Flag), with a narrative for solo players as well as the main multiplayer battling in games like Loot Hunt, where two teams look to gather as much treasure as possible, while also sinking the other side.


Hell Let Loose

Platforms: PC – Release: 2019

Battlefield V not realistic enough for you? Well, Hell Let Loose is a much more grounded attempt at recreating the conflicts of World War 2. Featuring platoon-based 50v50 battles, the frontlines shift back and forth across huge maps with tanks acting almost like moving fortresses as the 14 classes of soldier scurry from house to house and cover to cover.

While it will be difficult to compete with EA’s behemoth franchise (struggling though it might seem to be this time around), it’s fascinating to see a smaller developer like Black Matter and publisher Team17 taking on a game of this scale. It would have been nigh on impossible to even conceive a team this this making this kind of game even half a decade ago.

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

5 Comments

  1. There’s a hell of a lot coming next year that looks great! Anthem and Skull & Bones are definite for me, and I feel like I should like Dauntless, but I’m not sure about the art style.

    • Well maybe its art style isn’t so sure about you?

      • Sentient and judgemental art style? What a terrify prospect.

      • I didn’t come here to be judged by games.

  2. I’m hoping that Hell Let Loose is what I wanted Post Scriptum to be.

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