The end of the year is upon us and it is time to start looking ahead to what will come in 2019. We asked the MMOGames writing team what their most anticipated online game of 2019 is and got a wide variety of responses from the team, including a couple of surprises. After you’ve read what our writers are looking forward to next year be sure to add what game you’re most anticipating in 2019.
Ethan “Isarii” Macfie – Anthem
I started liking Anthem as a joke – I’m dead serious. As the game’s announcement came only a few months after the launch of the immeasurably disappointing Mass Effect: Andromeda and was followed shortly thereafter by the Star Wars: Battlefront II monetization debacle, the idea of jumping aboard the hype train for EA-BioWare’s next big live service game felt like the absolute height of comedy.
My friends and I set up a Discord channel just to hype the game up ironically, sharing news and info as it came out with our most sardonic fervor. Then the strangest thing happened: the news we were sharing started to look _really_ good.
I’m not sure exactly when I boarded the Anthem hype train for real, but I know I’m on it now. I haven’t preordered the game and I’m constantly on watch for the other shoe to drop, but what we’ve seen and heard of the game’s world, its feature set, and even its monetization strategy all sound extremely promising. Maybe we’ll all get burned again, but at this point, I’m willing to at least hope that we won’t.
Nick Shively – We’ll See
When it comes to online, multiplayer games 2019 is not a year I’m expecting much from. There are a few titles that I’m mildly interested in that have multiplayer elements, such as Anthem, but there’s no single title that I’m actively waiting to be released. The last few years have been fairly stagnant in the MMORPG genre and it will still be a couple more until the droves of crowdfunding MMOs finally start launching.
That being said, it’s likely that Crowfall will see some sort of soft launch or early access by 2019, but the game has already had a number of delays with the beta being pushed back. It’s possible that we’ll hear more from Ascent: Infinite Realm, however, a 2019 release seems unlikely at this point. I’m also looking forward to hearing more about the Magic: The Gathering MMO, but mostly because Cryptic has revealed little information so far. At this point in time, 2019 is more of a “wait and see” kind of year.
Phil DeMerchant – Project Zephyr
For 2019 my most anticipated game isn’t a massive blockbuster hit or even a massively multiplayer wonderland like 2017 and 18 have born. Instead, my focus is fully formed on Four Shore Entertainment and their little seasonal puzzle with a working title of Project Zephyr.
A season-based environmental platformer, Zephyr is one of the handful of indie games I got to demo this year at the Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo. Despite only having the alpha of the tutorial level, Four Shore absolutely blew me away with the warm and tender art of their game. From winding forests to chittering monsters there was no square space of charm overlooked in this game’s wonderful art style. Gameplay was just as entertainingly charming; by utilizing a little golem’s season-changing abilities one could grow a pumpkin to use as a platform or freeze an enemy to use as a projectile ice block. The possibilities were absolutely endless, my own gameplay even surprising the demoing developer in how radically different I set about my puzzle solving.
Zephyr is a game with unimaginable potential, and with a project Q2 release in 2019, I cannot wait to finally sink my teeth into it all.
Taylor Hidalgo – The Division 2
Garbage flows into the streets of New York City, joining the fresh snow and the muck of dirt, sludge, bodies, and blood splashed gracelessly along the packed street. A single working strobe spins soundlessly into the hazy snowfall of the fading evening light. A casually dressed agent in a leather jacket dusts the snow off of their jacket, shoulders their rifle, and walks up the street.
Of the many things The Division did well, the most inescapable was the city. It was beautiful. It is beautiful, and there’s no escaping that beauty for even the slightest fraction of a second. New York, plagued by infection, flooded with aggression and bullets, filling the streets with terror, has remained my impossible benchmark for what a setting can do for a story—hazy, blizzardous, littered, messy, garish, chaotic, impossibly beautiful New York.
In the time since I’ve played, The Division has never captured my desire to shoulder my weapon, hurl a grenade, and dive into danger headlong. But in the quiet moments, I find myself wanting to revisit New York. The streets, though devoid of the foot traffic that surges in its non-digital counterpart, the plague-stricken streets are just quiet enough here to let the abandoned cars tell a story of frantic escape. The darkness that hangs in the alleyways promises gunfight in the dark crevices for anyone foolish enough to try to slip through the shadows. The distant barks, errant car alarms, occasional directionless gunfire, the chirping of a discarded cell phone… All of it assembled into this package promises a world full of life, albeit a hobbled one.
I find myself wanting to perch atop a squad car, rifle dangling casually down the rear window, and watch the snow gather on my jacket’s shoulders while New York breathes around me again. The hazardous Dark Zone in the distance promises me all the action I could ever want, a short helicopter ride can crashland me in the biggest blizzard New York can throw, a sprawling fight encompassing an army of agents sits in a distant corner of the city, but this car is all I really need. The snow grows as it collects on the jacket, on my gloves, on the car, and on the ground.
I am taken in with this place. Gunfire and all.
In the distance, past the overturned ambulances and the bullet-riddled squad cars, beyond the armored APCs and the glass-walled high-rises, Washington D.C. waits for another agent, for another crisis. D.C. promises to be more of everything I love. More city, more gorgeous intersections of reality and aesthetic fulfillment. Sure, also more gunfights and danger, but the real siren call is another city. A new place to sink into. I cannot wait to destroy its art museums as I hurl myself through another fight to reclaim humanity. The Division 2 is just down that street, a short jaunt away, and I’m so excited to crawl its streets.
My agent stands, and together we descend the stairs and pass through the curtain of an overhead sprinkler. The snow on my jacket joins the spray and drips to its final resting place on the cheap tile of a subway. Deeper into this darkness leads to an airport.
Next time you see us, we’ll be in D.C.
Shannon Doyle – Rapture Rejects
If I’m completely honest I’ve found myself falling out of love with online gaming in recent years and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Sure, online gaming is more popular than it ever has been before but the communities that made online games so great seem to have died. I do of course continue to hold a torch up for the City of Heroes spiritual successors. I’ll be giving those a try as soon as they come out, I’m just not sure that will be in 2019. We saw Dual Universe at Gamescom a number of years ago and it has intrigued me from the very first time we walked past their booth. But once again, Dual Universe isn’t expected to release until 2020 at the earliest.
So right now I suppose my most anticipated game of 2019 is…Rapture Rejects. Normally I’m not one to play Battle Royale games but there’s a special place in my heart for blasphemous comedy in video game form. During their free to play weekend I was having a blast and since then I’ve been squeezing in a match or two when I can. It’s a lot of fun and it doesn’t feel super serious like other games in the genre. Casual friendly even? Ehh…only if you don’t mind dying a lot. I’m also following Harry Potter Wizards Unite, the mobile game being made by the same folks behind Pokemon Go. Will it come out in 2019? Actually, yeah, I think it might. I’m just wondering how I’m going to jump between Ingress, Pokemon Go, and Harry Potter. Maybe Santa will bring me a third phone for Christmas.
Jonathan Doyle – Anthem
Everyone has their own ways of writing. When I was posed the question of my upcoming pick for 2019 I went to the playlist so I could let my thoughts run free.
The thing is the playlist came around to Muse and I can’t shift the association in my mind anymore. Anthem played a blinder with the reworking of Muse’s Uprising in the cinematic trailer.
It may be stupid to let that be the thing that draws my attention but I can’t help it. I know it won’t be like other Bioware games. I know how utterly bad I am at Destiny. I know that there will be plenty of other games vying for my attention when we finally get to grips with Anthem … but it grabbed my attention in a very definite way.
It won’t last, love affairs never do. I fully admit it’s a love affair with the idea of a Bioware game, my heart is drawn by their mastery in cinematic presentation beyond whatever the game may actually be. Until there is heartbreak or affirmation though, all I have is that impression in this ongoing love affair. The possibility that Anthem will bring me the right blend of gameplay, story and a world that I can lose myself in.
The trailer ends with a simple lyric. We will be victorious.
I believe it when Muse says it…as for Bioware? I remain hopeful. Hopefully, they will be victorious. If not? Well, maybe we’ll also get to move on from the Destiny like shooter games in the MMO space. Either way, I am victorious even if EA is not.