As another year draws to a close, it is a time for reflection for everyone, games companies included. You might be celebrating wildly like Nintendo, whose Switch console has excelled all expectations this year riding on a crest of great title after great title: Splatoon 2, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey; or commiserating like SEGA who have seen yet another Sonic title flop. But 2018 is a brand new year, and surely that means we’ll get brand new, high quality innovation right? Well… Here are the Gaming Predictions for 2018…
After another disappointing Sonic title, the developers decide to take a different tract and focus on a totally different character (after all, it worked so well with Shadow the Hedgehog) and release a Knuckles the Echidna solo game. However, they fail to realise that a) Knuckles is even less popular than Sonic these days and b) THE PROBLEM ISN’T THE CHARACTERS IT IS AWFUL GAMEPLAY YOU’VE DONE THIS FOR TEN YEARS NOW! On a brighter note, Football Manager 2019 is superb and takes away far too many hours of my life scouting the Venezuelan second division for the new To Madeira.
With their reputation revitalised following the excellent release of Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: World War II, Activision decide to continue heading back in time for Call of Duty, focusing on World War I. No-one bothers telling them that Battlefield One already did the same thing a few years ago. The DLC package adds the Charge of the Light Brigade to trench warfare. Crash Bash: Remastered is announced meaning that my friendships once again fall to pieces after I smash everyone to death on Polar Panic. The Skylanders cash-cow continues to deny Spyro the Dragon any dignity at all, with another unnecessary and costly expansion pack on the horizon.
After announcing a main series Pokemon game for the Switch in 2017, no-one bothers checking the fine print to realise they meant Pokemon Diamond and Pearl remakes: Shiny Diamond and Sparkly Pearl. No one picks Turtwig even though he looks great on the Switch because who’d pick a tree-turtle over Flaming Caesar from Planet of the Apes or the smug-as-hell Napoleon Penguinarte? HM:02 Flash returns with a vengeance, being necessary for one third of the game, with Rock Smash getting that power buff up to 45. Tatsumi Kimishima still refuses to add the Azure Flute to the game because it is too confusing for players, despite the fact you have to visit Mount Coronet several times in the storyline anyway. Yoshi quickly becomes the most frustrating side-scroller in recent history.
Far Cry 5 ends up being an utterly great game, overshadowed by a controversial narrative and plotline that dares to be engaging and political. It gets snubbed by every major video game awards category, for fear of a backlash. The new Halo game deals with Master Chief facing his greatest foe yet: mid-life crisis. The Special Edition contains a standing figure of the soldier, complete with unnecessarily flash watch, manly motorcycle and a dishevelled beard. Someone gets fired after the international port of Dragon Ball Fighter Z isn’t dubbed – insiders blame Japanese shouting for sounding like special effects.
EA’s flagship sports title, FIFA 19 promises to develop and expand on every previous game engine. Judging by FIFA 18, that won’t be difficult. After the moderate success of their story modes, Alex Hunter’s storyline continues in Hunter 3: The Big Time. You can enjoy the life of a world class international football star: being photographed at 7am staggering home from a night out, skipping training to force a transfer, sacking your dad as your agent to get Mino Raiola in, and demanding ridiculous wage increases despite the fact you’ve barely turned 20. Not to mention some horrific voice acting and pathetically predictable narrative where your choices mean absolutely nothing to the overall progression. The company announce that any updates to their games will now cost £4.99 each time, to give players a sense of achievement and pride.
After a relatively quiet year, TT attempt to get on the Star Wars bandwagon by releasing LEGO Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Although the game is absolutely great, they miss out one key detail. The film’s been out for six months now and everyone knows that *REDACTED* and also that *REDACTED*. They also make a great spectacle of *REDACTED*. Crash Twinsanity finally gets finished, fourteen years late. No one realises they accidentally released the half-complete game to mass criticism, and effectively killed off the orange hero until his glorious resurrection in 2017. Gaming’s equivalent of Jesus.
So there you have it. You can look forward to a decent LEGO game, another Call Of Duty mess and your regularly scheduled Pokemon remake. Actually, it is a sneak-peek of everything that will most definitely not happen next year. Well I’d hope not. Then again, knowing EA, anything is possible.