Note that not all of the games on this list are Xbox exclusives, because with this list we are attempting to shine a light on the lesser known titles you may or may not of heard of, as well as getting excited for the coming year as an Xbox One owner.
Whether it is an exclusive, highly anticipated game, or one to flaunt on your Xbox One X, we think these are just a small handful of the games you will want to keep an eye out in 2018.
Ashen, an Xbox One and PC exclusive, comes out at some point in 2018. Ashen is an open world RPG set in a world where there is no sunlight, the air is filled with the falling ash of erupting volcanoes making survival that little bit more difficult. Ashen is about forging relationships with the other players in the macabre world, deciding whether you trust them enough to bring back to camp to use them for their crafting abilities and unique skills.
The reason we are excited for Ashen is not just its beautifully simplistic cell shaded art, we love the idea of living and breathing (albeit with difficulty) in this ash-filled world, risking it all in each battle against giant spiders, flying whales, and potentially the player next to you. The passive multiplayer reminds us of Journey, with players jumping in and out. This world lives on without you, the story is not waiting for you to continue it, the world is said to develop and dramatically change the story while you are off on your own adventures. The creatures and monsters that inhabit the world around your campsite are terrifying, yet fascinating, not to mention challenging and high risk. We hate to say it, but it does heavily remind us of dark souls, I know, I know, I’m a terrible writer, but honestly watch the trailer above and see what you think. Regardless, we are confident this beautifully crafted game will deliver and we cannot wait to play.
Kentucky Route Zero
Kentucky Route Zero has been around for a few years now, arriving as individual acts in drips since 2012, quenching the thirst of those who have been playing on PC. The game is a five act series, which is awaiting its fifth and final act in 2018, meaning Xbox One, PS4 and Switch owners will be getting their hands on the complete series when the fifth and final act launches on PC this year. Kentucky Route Zero is a magical realist adventure about a secret highway of cave systems beneath Kentucky, and the game follows the mysterious people who travel it. Inspired by the rich history of point and click games we have had over the years, the gameplay will seem very familiar to fans of Monkey Island, King’s Quest, and more recently, much of the Telltale portfolio of games.
Kentucky Route Zero has us foaming at the mouth in anticipation to delve into this atmospheric tale of mystery, and the journey of the characters you will meet along the way. The intrigue alone is enough to draw us in because who doesn’t love a great story? And the simple yet stunning art design also has us interested. Not to mention how the slew of awards it has been picking up over the last few years has us excited. Kentucky Route Zero may have a lot to live up to to satisfy the hype that some have built up around it (me), but if it can just pull off a cracking story, with memorable characters, in a beautifully designed Kentucky backdrop, then we should have nothing to worry about.
State of Decay 2
State of Decay drops you into a classic ‘end of the world’ setting, full to the brim of zombies who want nothing other than to kill off that one character you were really starting to like. State of Decay 2 bring back everything you loved from the first game but on an even larger scale. You will take control of an entire community of survivors, with their own skills, traits, and views which underpin everything they do and how they interact with the rest of the community.
You have an expansive open world to explore, filled with dynamic zombie and human enemies, friendly survivors to recruit to your community, and valuable gear necessary to keep your people alive. Collecting resources helps to build and expand your base, elevate your favourite survivors to become leaders to unlock new benefits and objectives to suit your community’s ideals. Manage your community as best you can, and certainly don’t send your favourite character out on too many dangerous locations, trust us on this.
Anyone who played the first State of Decay will know exactly why this is on the list. The original game was terrific in every way, except a lack of the vastly requested multiplayer, which will be here this time around. Online coop is finally going to give us the multiplayer community survival experience we have been waiting for. State of Decay was also initially an indie title, however, it is now receiving a AAA budget and will be a full £40 game, so State of Decay 2 is ramping up to be bigger, better and grander in every way.
Note: we have received information to say that Tunic is not yet fully confirmed for any consoles other than PC/Mac. So we will have to stay tuned for further information.
Tunic is an action adventure about a tiny fox in a big world, a big adorably rendered and beautifully coloured world, may we add. Tunic invites you to explore this world and the wilderness, discover spooky ruins, uncover secrets, and fight terrible creatures from long ago. This game comes from publishers Finji, most notably the publishers from 2017’s acclaimed Night in the Woods. The details are quite scarce on this game, other than ‘coming to steam and consoles in 2018’, we don’t know much else. The trailer above is taken from Microsoft’s E3 conference last year, have a watch and we are sure you will be on-board.
Despite the lack on information, or even a second trailer, Tunic seems to encapsulate a sense of wonder and exploration, whilst presenting seemingly challenging and tough combat. Your cute fox protagonist looks ready to take on the world with a big smile; and rightly so as Tunic looks to have created a beautifully rendered polygonal world to explore, just look at how those bushes wiggle when he strolls through! We are getting serious old-school Zelda vibes from Tunic and we cannot wait to see what more this game has to offer.
Below is a top-down adventure game where you will play as a tiny warrior exploring a gorgeous remote island. You will explore the depths of the island and uncover the mysterious world you find yourself in, but staying alive will be a difficulty. Below is rife with brutal and unforgiving combat and when you couple that with perma-death, you will certainly have to focus and hone your skills. The game environments are also randomly generated, adding an extra spike of difficulty as the world around you will be changing.
We have been excited for Below for a long while now, but over the years the news has dwindled and Below and seemingly sunk into the darkness and depths of development hell. Apparently Below is still alive, and in fact expected to release this year, which keeps us optimistic. Below looks like a terrific journey full of adventure into an unforgiving, ever-changing environment that demands your full attention to progress. It has been a long time coming to play Below and we hope we will finally be able to play it this year.
Sea of Thieves
Sea of Thieves is an open world/sea pirate adventure game which pits you in a first person multiplayer experience with other pirates to plunder booty and rule the high seas. On your ship everyone will have a role, whether you’re steering/piloting/sailing with the big captains wheel, in the bird’s nest keeping a look out and shouting directions, or scrubbing the poop deck. You and your crew will explore the seas, following treasure maps to find islands and booty to loot whilst battling other pirate crews in ship combat. Rare have been coy about what else there is to do in the game, whether there will be story missions or quests that will keep you occupied in the down time between battles, is yet to be seen.
Sea of Thieves is one of those games that from the outset you may think there is not much to it, but honestly you HAVE to play it and you will understand the hype and excitement; it is some of the most fun we have had in a video game in such a long time. From a hilarious lack of communication which causes a crash or the sails to unexpectedly go down, having to use a bucket to take the water seeping through the cannon holes out from the treasure room, falling overboard and your whole crew not realising, or sneaking aboard any enemy ship and stealing their treasure, this game will have you in stitches. No doubt thousands of you have already had a chance to play in the numerous closed alphas and upcoming betas and already know why we are excited. Those of you who are sat on the fence, give Sea of Thieves a chance and we promise it will be a right laugh.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Let’s be serious for a moment, how on earth could an anticipated list for 2018 not include this small indie gem, by little known studio Rockstar? We haven’t been treated to a new game from Rockstar since 2013, as GTA V has continued to go from strength to strength thanks to no end from the remarkable and consistent updates to GTA Online. Red Dead Redemption 2 has been in development for a long time, and judging from the trailers thus far, it seems to have all paid off. The sequel to 2010’s Red Dead Redemption looks like one of the prettiest games we have ever seen, and being able to play this on “the world’s most powerful console” later this year will surely blow our socks off.
If you really need further reasons to justify your excitement for this wild west gunslinging spectacular, then here you go. First off, this will be Rockstar’s first current-gen game, built from the ground up for the Xbox One and PS4, and then optimised for the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, meaning this will surely be Rockstar’s most powerful, outgoing and ambitious game to date. If GTA V was built for the 360 and PS3, imagine what Red Dead 2 will achieve.
Furthermore, GTA Online has become so much more than even Rockstar could of predicted and they would be missing a trick if they didn’t implement this into Red Dead 2 in someway. Rockstar has a reputation for quality, a gold standard of video gaming making if you will, and the 7 years that will have gone into making this game will surely deliver us another stellar 10/10 experience that will be playing form years to come.
A Way Out
We have covered the launch, trailer release, and ‘interesting’ comments made by the game’s director ad nauseam on the site, but it still deserves to be talked about. A Way Out follows two escaped convicts, Leo and Vincent, two men who don’t know each other but who will have to learn to work together no matter the situation. They need to find a way to break out of prison and continue on together beyond the prison walls. As either Leo or Vincent, you will embark on a journey, full of memorable action scenes, car chases, fist fights, shootouts and more, all with your co-op buddy alongside you.
The Last Night
The Last Night immerses you in the everyday life of Charlie, a second class citizen living in a city brimming with augmentation and citizens living a gamified existence. Set in a 2.5 dimension somewhere between the luscious backdrop and sharp pixelated foreground, you will find a world of suppressed humans and powerful machines. Apathetic and disheartened by the seemingly pointless world around him, Charlie is presented with an opportunity to take matters into his own hands. In this world, the fight for survival doesn’t mean food or water, but finding a purpose for living.
The Last Night did in fact start out life as a small flash game made in just 6 days, and it has since evolved into a head turner that took the stage at Xbox’s E3 conference last year. All we have been given thus far is the trailer you can watch above. If you are looking for even more detail, sadly we are still quite light on further details, but that 2018 release date definitely has us excited. It looks like nothing we have seen before, and the blend of 3D and pixel art set against a cyberpunk background only adds to its uniqueness. We can’t wait to hear more and certainly cannot wait to play.
The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti
No, you didn’t just trip out, that was the trailer for The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti, a story following a teenager who embarks on a multidimensional adventure to inspire his stage persona. The Artful Escape is “an action, exploration, narrative driven, musical-laser-light-battle kind of a game”, and that description is taken straight from the developers website.
The game is said to be about great expectations, famous folk singers, lingering shadows, space Gods, hallucinogens, individuality, reptile shops, and wild imaginations. That’s right, both reptile shops and hallucinogens will be in the game, so it’s certainly going to be a fun time if anything.
Like a few other games on this list, it appears to be an ambitious and unique game that the Xbox indie scene has mastered so well in the past, so despite not knowing what on earth is happening in that trailer, we feel safe in the knowledge Phil Spencer has somewhere down the line given this game the thumbs up. It looks mad, wonderful, vibrant and eccentric and we are eager to dive into whatever the game has got to give us at some point this year.