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Musings from the Crystal Ball Loot Box Edition! – NerdBacon’s 2018 Predictions

Musings from the Crystal Ball Loot Box Edition! – NerdBacon’s 2018 Predictions

This is normally the point where a writer inserts a long-winded reminder that the previous year has faded away, and we are now charging head-long into the brand-new, uncharted territory of what is now the current year.

Time marches on and all that jazz.

Unless you live in some kind of cryogenic chamber, you know this already.

So let’s skip all that and just say that 2017 was an amazing year for video games, and with any luck, 2018 will be even better and have a lot of surprises.

And it’s those potential surprises that we’re here to talk about. After all, those surprises are part of what makes following the video game industry so exciting: you never know what will happen!

And that’s what this article is all about: what surprises can we expect in 2018?

But before we get to the good stuff, let’s do a little review of last year’s predictions article first.

I was pretty off on some of the stuff regarding Nintendo Switch, thanks to some confusing “intel” from a few high-profile twitter sources, as well as Eurogamer.

We also didn’t see Kingdom Hearts III announced for Switch, nor did PSVR die.

Kingdom Hearts III on the Switch?? What the hell was I thinking?

But that’s okay – there were quite a few things that I did get correct!

Super Mario Odyssey not only followed in the footprints of Super Mario 64, but it was so good that it earned the pick for NerdBacon game of the year!

Sony’s E3 wasn’t as spectacular as the past couple of years, and we got announcements for Soul Calibur VI, Mega Man 11, (c’mon, no one was predicting THAT) and had Sony not pushed it back to shore up their E3 2018 presentation, we would have gotten a reveal for Devil May Cry 5 as well.

So I didn’t do too bad where it counted!

And that brings us to this year. What slice of awesome pie will the gaming world serve us up in 2018?

For that, you’ll just have to read on.

One more thing before you dig in: the disclaimer!

The following represents nothing more than my thoughts and opinions on what games and news items we might see in the year 2018.

Please keep in mind that I don’t have any sort of inside track on any of these predictions. I don’t have sources leaking info to me, nor do I have the ability to remotely view the inner sanctuaries of various game companies through astral-projection techniques.

All I have are news sources, historical reference, and my own special feelings deep within my guts that somehow travel up to my brains, and eventually make their way out through my mouth, or in this case, my fingers onto a keyboard.


Nintendo

Nintendo’s 2017 was nothing short of glorious – a true comeback story of the ages!

At this point last year (1/2/2017) we still didn’t know much about the Nintendo Switch. All we knew was that it was going to be a console that could be played anywhere; however, beyond that we knew nothing.

Fast forward to today, and well, you know the story.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild reinvented the series. Mario Odyssey was an amazing and playful return to everything that makes Mario so much fun, and games like Splatoon 2, ARMS, Rocket League, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe kept the system pumped full of life and energy.

The Nintendo Switch is on a roll!

The Switch has done incredibly well and, as I predicted last year, is on track to beat lifetime Wii U sales within its first year. Heck, in Japan the Switch has even outpaced the year one sales for the venerable PlayStation 2, so that’s saying something huge.

So after storming out of the gate with thunder and fury in 2017, what does 2018 hold for Nintendo and its hybrid wunderkind machine?

Let’s start with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Nintendo’s latest Legend of Zelda adventure was a true masterpiece that upended nearly 20 years of established Zelda conventions with its open world design, while maintaining and expanding upon the essence of what makes the series so great.

While we’d normally have to wait about 5 to 6 years for a new installment, however, I have a strong hunch that we will see Nintendo take the Majora’s Mask route that they took 20 years ago, and release a side title using the same engine and assets already established in Breath of the Wild.

So – what’s the hook for this in-between Legend of Zelda game?

The game will actually star a fully playable princess Zelda in the lead role! 

I think we’re getting a Breath of the Wild 2.5 – and it will let you actually play as Zelda!

While we won’t see an announcement this year, expect the rumors and leaks to begin before 2018 closes out.

Let’s move on to the largest game looming on the horizon that we know about: Metroid Prime 4!

What we do know is that the game is real, it’s not developed by Retro Studios, and that’s about it.

While Nintendo has been coy about who exactly is at the helm of Samus’s latest foray into space, rumors that started flying late last year have pointed to a partnership with Bandai Namco for the game. To me, that’s a bit odd, as I can’t think of any teams within Bandai Namco that have experience in developing a first-person shooter, let alone an FPS that is delicately balanced with expert platforming and exploration. The only way this rumor would make sense is if Metroid Prime 4 is being developed by a team with whom Bandai Namco works closely. That could mean Monolith, the studio behind the Xenoblade series is doing the honors. That makes sense as they have a close working relationship with Nintendo; even lending a hand in the development of the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Samus contemplates on what development team might be working on Metroid Prime 4

There’s also another possibility..

What if – and this is a BIG if….

What if Metroid Prime 4 is actually being developed by From Software??

Nintendo has proven that they are willing to be aggressive in positioning the Switch for success, so this may not be as far-fetched of a pairing that one would think.

I’m going out on a limb and saying that this is true.

Expect an internet meltdown when it’s announced.

Here’s a question that should be on everyone’s mind: what the heck is Retro Studios working on?

We know it’s not Metroid Prime 4, and I seriously doubt that they’re working on yet another Donkey Kong game – so what super secret project could they be working on that’s so tight-lipped, nothing has leaked yet?

Let’s try to make an educated guess and a flying leap, shall we?

Retro’s portfolio consists of Metroid Prime 1 – 3 and Donkey Kong Country Returns plus Tropical Freeze.

They specialize in reviving and revitalizing Nintendo franchises that have been dormant for a while.

This could point to them working on something like F-Zero, or Pilotwings, however, Retro has a penchant for making games that are larger, more involved affairs than either of those two titles.

The internet has thrown out Star Tropics as a possibility, but I think that’s too obscure.

So what could it be? What long dormant Nintendo franchise would be large enough to be embraced by Nintendo fans, and involved enough to warrant the talents of Nintendo’s premiere U.S. studio?

Mother 4

That’s right baby! Oh wait, you’re not familiar with the Mother series? Perhaps you know it by the series’ name in America:

Earthbound!

Yep! I Dave theWatchman, hereby state that Retro Studios is working on a brand new entry in the Earthbound series!

When this is announced, expect the internet to dissolve.

Retro Studios – working on the next Earthbound game. I think it’s a real possibility

In other news, ARMS has wrapped up its updates, so that clears the table for the next Smash Bros game!

I’m unclear on whether this will be a direct port of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, or if this will be an entirely new project, but I think the most interesting part is that Nintendo will finally embrace the fighting game community, and incorporate the faster-paced style of the still popular Smash Bros. Melee.

After all, Nintendo honcho Bill Trinen made the trip down to Vegas last year to check out EVO 2017. The company was there promoting Pokken Tournament, however, I have a hunch that he had a chance to check out the fanaticism of the Melee faithful during his time at the big tournament.

What if they ported Smash Bros for Wii U, but also incorporated and extra “tournament mode” that has the faster play-style of Melee?

Finally, and this isn’t as much of an actual prediction as it is a statement of fact, expect a LOT more third-party support to start rolling in for the Switch – especially when some hold-outs realize that the Switch will be on the verge of overtaking Microsoft’s Xbox One family as the number two console in the world within the next couple of years.


Microsoft

To me, this is the make-or-break year that decides whether or not the company stays in the console business. Microsoft has simply got to get some games out that set it apart from the competition; otherwise, the Xbox line will just be a cheap gaming alternative to a decent PC – which might actually be what they are positioning themselves to be.

But I digress.

Let’s talk about games we’ll see arriving or announced on the Xbox platform in 2018, shall we?

Halo 6 may not make it out this year, but we will at least get our first look at it at E3 2018.

We see the will release of Forza Horizon 4 by Christmas. The sun will also still be hot and water will still be wet.

Sea of Thieves will get nice reviews – probably landing at about 77% on Metacritic, which will be a bit of a

Sea of Thieves will be fun, but won’t set the world on fire after the long wait

disappointment initially, after waiting so long for the game to make landfall. Don’t worry though, this is one of those games that will get better with updates.

Shortly after cancelling the odd but promising Platinum Games produced Scalebound last year, Microsoft did something strange – they renewed the game’s copyright trademark.

My bet is that we see a re-announcement of Scalebound, with a brand new team behind it, at E3 2018.

Can you tell me what the one series currently under Microsoft control, that they haven’t run into the ground yet?

Killer Instinct.

My BIG prediction for Microsoft this year is that I expect we will hear the rumblings of a follow up to this truly excellent fighter by E3 2018!

Killer Instinct has been a shining jewel in the Xbox One’s crown – so it’s time we saw more of it!

That’s about it for what I see on Microsoft’s horizon in 2018. As you can tell, I’m a little sour on them as they haven’t brought much to the party in the past few years; but you know what? That means they could just be really good at playing their cards close to the chest, and they’re set to shock and awe us with megaton announcements this year.

After all, things always get interesting when the back is against the wall.

Competition is an essential ingredient to growth, so I’m rooting for you Microsoft!


Sony

I’ve spent a lot of space gushing about how great Nintendo was in 2017. but let’s not forget the year Sony had!

2017 was probably the greatest year in PlayStation 4’s history, with titles like Persona 5, Gravity Rush 2, Nioh, Nier: Automata, Tekken 7, and Horizon: Zero Dawn as just a few of the console exclusives that launched in the year.

2018 should be pretty great as well – don’t get me wrong, it won’t be quite as good as last year as things are going to start slowing down on the PS4 front, as we get ready to start the ramp up to PS5.

But we will have quite a few effervescent moments of brilliance from Sony this year!

One of those moments will be God of War.

This might be what the internet looks like if our hunch about God of War’s ending proves to be correct..

Sony has been pretty coy about the release date for some reason, however, I fully expect a late March release date for the action opus. One thing that I think will be controversial is the ending of the game. I believe that Kratos will not walk out of God of War alive, which will lead to one of the great controversies of 2018. Our very own Editor, Doc Croc, has a an even juicer expansion to this theory: She thinks Kratos’ kid is forced to kill the old man off, and that leads into the kid becoming the next God of War.

That’s a bold prediction, but I like it.

Don’t go holding your breath waiting for the Last of Us: Part II this year. That’s a 2019 PS4 swan song title.

I still believe that a new Crash Team Racing is in the works, and that we will see it revealed at E3 2018.

Speaking of E3 2018, remember how I told you that Sony’s E3 2017 was not going to be as extravagant with surprise announcements as the past two years? Well, I was right, and Sony heard the criticism from the fans and began holding back announcements so they could have more loaded E3’s going forward. Games like Devil May Cry 5 were supposed to be announced at PlayStation Experience, but got pushed back for E3. So bottom line: Sony’s E3 2018 should be ridiculous; however, I worry that it will feel like they are trying too hard.

Speaking of E3 – Will Spider-Man be out by June’s big show?

The spidey senses of our own Level up Justin have been tingling, telling him it’s going to swing into 2019; however, recent posts on Twitter from Insomniac’s team show that they have been running complete play through’s of the game, so that’s a really good sign that we will see it sooner rather than later. I say yes – We will see Spider-Man out in May.

Going back to PlayStation Experience for a moment – the only big reveal to come out of that presentation was the news that Medieval is getting a remake on PS4, but I expect we will see another classic Sony franchise get an announcement of a remake this year as well: Legend of Dragoon!

Otherwise, the big Sony story this year will be the rumors surrounding PlayStation 5. It feels like PS4 launched just yesterday, but here we are, at the end of this console’s life-cycle.

I think the big debate that will surround the PS5  rumor mill this year is whether or not the system will feature any sort of portability, ala the Switch.


Square Enix

Let’s get the big enchilada out of the way first.

YES! THIS IS FINALLY THE YEAR THAT KINGDOM HEARTS III IS RELEASED!!!

After five long years of waiting since it’s initial announcement, and twelve agonizing years of half-step, in-between titles, (stuff like Kingdom

Not only will we get the finished Kingdom Hearts III this year, I still say we will also get a Switch version

Hearts 2.85 1/2 Gumball Dream Random Words) Kingdom Hearts III will actually arrive as an actual title that a person can go into a store and buy with real money. Realistically, I wouldn’t expect to see it out until October – but hey, at least you’ll finally be playing it this year.

Last year, I outlandishly stated that we would see Kingdom Hearts III announced for the Nintendo Switch. Obviously, that didn’t come true,

I’ll pause for laughter and ridicule….

Done? Good.

I still think Square Enix will shock the world with an announcement of Kingdom Hearts III arriving on Nintendo’s little nugget of amazement. Go ahead and say I’m crazy – but who would have believed Doom and Wolfenstein II would be possible on the Switch at this time last year?

Crystal Dynamics has been awfully quiet about their next installment in the Tomb Raider franchise.

We all know that Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a thing, and it’s likely happening this year. Rumor’s say that the developers are trying something novel: waiting until the game is almost ready to launch before showing it off. Sort of like what Bethesda did with Fallout 4. Shadow of the Tomb Raider will get a release later in 2018, and they will try to shake up the formula a bit. I’m a huge fan of the rebooted series, so I’ll be looking forward to this one!

Lara Croft has vengeance in her eyes

Remember in January of 2017 how Square Enix announced that they were working on games based on the Avengers? I can’t blame you if you forgot about it, as the company hasn’t said anything else about it. While I don’t think the game is anywhere close to being ready for prime time, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw an actual gameplay trailer later in the year. Again, I think this will be a 2019 release at the earliest.

Let’s talk about RPG’s for a second.

Square Enix has made some interesting  moves in the past few years with the formation of the Tokyo RPG company. This studio has been focused on producing smaller-scale RPG’s that have sort of an old-school, 16-bit era feel to them. Square Enix has also worked on interesting revivals of two classics: Secret of Mana, and Romancing Saga 2.

So what am I getting at here?

It’s time for the greatest game of all time to finally get a proper sequel!

I think these moves have been laying the groundwork for something massive. Something that will be so Earth-shattering and momentous, that I will fall down and weep like a baby with joy for an untold number of days: the return of Chrono Trigger!

I’m not 100% sure that it gets announced this year, but damn it, I feel this in my bones! A sequel to Chrono Trigger is happening, and it will happen under the guidance of many of the same folks who worked on the original masterpiece in 1995. I also feel like this will be on the Switch for sure!

Lastly on the Square Enix front, what the hell is going on with Final Fantasy VII: Remake!!??

I thought for sure we would have seen something on the game in 2017, with it being the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII’s groundbreaking release in the U.S. – but we didn’t get so much as even a screenshot of it last year.

While I can’t confidently speculate on when the first episode will see the light of day, (probably not till next year) I’ll say we at least see a new trailer as part of Sony’s loaded E3 2018 presentation.


Capcom

In case you haven’t heard, Disney now owns 20th Century Fox’s library of films and TV shows, so you know what that means: X-Men are coming to Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite later this year!!

Smart money is that we won’t see this announced until EVO 2018 in August. The levels of hype when that trailer gets shown off will be unbelievable.

Last year, I accurately predicted that we would see a Mega Man revival announced, and we did – Mega Man 11 is on track for a late 2018 launch. Reviews will be good and it will be a solid foundation for moving the series forward.

I bring this up because we are going to see another Capcom classic revival announced this year (for release in 2019) – Darkstalkers!

The question is: will the new Darstalkers game be a PlayStation 4 exclusive, or might this be one of the Japanese projects that Microsoft, and their enchanted dump truck full of money bought while shopping around in the land of the rising sun?

Te tea leaves indicate that it’s time to revive Darkstalkers

I also still feel confident that Onimusha will happen….someday… but not this year. This year we get Devil May Cry 5 (it was supposed to be announced last year, but got pushed back so Sony could have insane levels of hype at E3 2018).


Other Bits

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is NerdBacon’s official choice for most anticipated game of 2018, but we will see at least one more delay until it rides. Peg this for a late summer/early fall release.

SNK

Once upon a time, I said that following the wake of King of Fighters XIV’s success, SNK would soon be reviving their beloved Samurai Shodown and Mark of the Wolves series’, and that Mark of the Wolves 2 would come first. Obviously, no such announcements were made; however, I wouldn’t day the dream is dead yet.

A new high-profile Samurai Shodown title is a given at this point and I’m confident we see the announcement some time this year.

But does this kill the dream for a sequel to Mark of the Wolves?

No!

Rumors recently surfaced from pretty good sources stating that SNK has a secret game in development for the Nintendo Switch. Now (and stay with me on this one) fighting game devote’s will recall that Mark of the Wolves 2 was once in development by SNK, but was cancelled at some point, probably because the fighting scene was soft at the time.

Now things are different

Fighters are back in style, SNK has the fire of the dragon in their bellies, and Nintendo happens to have a lovely system out for which fans are eagerly lapping up software.

SNK also has ported a TON of their classic library over to Nintendo’s e-shop; so is it a stretch of the imagination to think that they could polish up the old Mark of the Wolves 2 code, and give it a nice release on the Switch?

Sprites from the cancelled Mark of the Wolves 2.
Source: 4Gamer.net

I’m thinking that’s exactly what will happen!

EA

EA will try to pull back from the horrible 2017 they had thanks to the loot box debacle. Unfortunately, Anthem will be a casualty of this, and will be delayed into 2019.

Speaking of Anthem, this is pretty much it for Bioware. If Anthem fails, EA will ax the studio.

UbiSoft.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins turned out pretty tasty, and hopefully, UbiSoft has learned the value of not annualizing the series. I’m placing a strong bet on no new AC game this year; however, I’m also placing a bet that UbiSoft saw how well Sony’s Horizon: Zero Dawn did and will now be very open to the next game in the series featuring a female main protagonist.

Bethesda

Sorry to disappoint, but there will be no Elder Scrolls VI announcement this year. They’re not done porting Skyrim yet. (There’s got to be a way to get it onto the Game Boy Advance, right?) We will get an announcement of their rumored space exploration game though.

Half Life 3

Half Life 3 is really dead. I think we need to just accept it.

I accept it


There you have it!

My thought’s, hopes, and dreams on what I think we will see announced in 2018.

What games do you hope to see announced this year? Think I’m right on? Or do you think there’s no way any of this could happen? Let me know in the comments section below.

Written by The Watchman

The Watchman


The Watchman is a journeyman gamer who has seen and played a good chunk of gaming history.
He’s also an actor, a reporter, a pro wrestling connoisseur, and some say he’s a cat whisperer.
If you have any questions or just want to drop me a line, hit me up at thewatchman@nerdbacon.com
Or follow me on Twitter @DavetheWatchman
You can also game with me!
Look me up on Xbox Live @ DJKhadoken
Or on PlayStation Network @ Eaglevision_dl

 
 

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3 Comments

  1. If your predictions for the PS4 are true, I’m in for a great return to gaming..and probably some tears if Kratos is nix’d. As for HL3, I’m all the way with you on that. I gave up on seeing a new Half-Life years ago, but if we haven’t heard anything (not even fairy tales) yet we never will.

    I do have one question for you: What are your predictions for the world of VR?

    Excellent clairvoyance on this one DK; here’s hoping it’s another great year for gaming!

     
  2. I mean, a new Earthbound is cool and all (and you’re probably more right than wrong), but I have been waiting a very long time for a new F-Zero game! C’mon man! Let’s get a new F-Zero!

     
  3. Sean Collins
    Sean Collins says:

    Interesting ideas, man! I’d love to see a BotW sequel with Zelda as the playable character. Retro making an Earthbound sequel? Sign me up!!

    I too, hope Microsoft steps up their game a bit and brings the “Xbox” brand back to its glory.

    Not sure about the PS5, though. I know some people have suggested that this generation will last forever with consoles becoming similar to phones, in that every other year or so a “new” version of the console is released. So instead of the PS5 we will get the PS4 SUPER Pro followed by the PS4 Super DUPER POOPER PRO, etc.

     

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