The Rat, the Laser, and the Holy Gib.
With the new year dawning, we have plenty of games to look forward to. Even if 2018 doesn’t manage to compete with the sheer gaming force that 2017 brought, it’ll still be a fun one. Despite a lengthy list of upcoming titles, some things just won’t make it to release. Video games aren’t easy to make, after all. So here are a handful of titles I don’t think will make it out during the rest of the calendar year.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake
The original Final Fantasy 7 was three discs of PlayStation-era polygons, animations, and cutscenes. Now imagine you’re updating, recreating, and redoing all of them. Even with the Final Fantasy 7 Remake being cut into separate parts, there’s no way Square Enix has even the first part ready to go. Maybe we’ll see some more glimpses this year, but when you consider how long FF15 took, we won’t see this remake anytime soon.
I wouldn’t be too surprised if info about Final Fantasy 7 Remake skipped 2018 altogether. Maybe a screenshot gallery will arrive in inboxes as a press release, but Square already has something major on their plate. Speaking of that something major…
Kingdom Hearts 3
Maybe this is an either or. Either Final Fantasy 7 Remake has been getting worked on, or Kingdom Hearts 3 has. With the amount of screenshots and footage that’s leaked however, my money is on KH3 getting all the focus. Even with Square giving Sora, Mickey and his pals all that tender love and care, it may still miss 2018.
Kingdom Hearts isn’t just another RPG in Square’s arsenal, it’s a licensed game. Even with creative liberties, Disney doesn’t let anyone just do what they please and will want to approve a lot of what’s tossed in. Toss in the possibility of Marvel or Star Wars making an appearance, and now we’re dealing with a lot of lawyer-filled headaches. It isn’t too hard to imagine a world where KH3’s release date slips into the future.
I can’t tell you if this is wishful thinking or a real prediction. Stiff Walking Man 2K18 may actually make it out this year, but I’d prefer it not. Perhaps Shenmue 3 will muster something worth looking at or playing, but I have little hopes for this quasi-Kickstarted look into Sega’s past. If there’s anything 2016 and 2017 taught us, it was plenty of harsh lessons in Kickstarters and expectations. It’s best if you keep your vision focused- and the Shenmue series isn’t exactly known for its focus.
There’s potential with Shenmue 3, and worryingly that’s the nicest thing I can say about it.
No one wants Anthem to be released in 2018 more than EA. Last year was a PR struggle for the publisher, and pushing into this year they could really use a big tentpole money-making release. More importantly, EA could use a title that can compete with Activision’s Destiny franchise. Battlefront might be a dirty word nowadays but it’s still competing with Call of Duty. EA needs to add a RPG shooter to their sales tier, but just wishing for one will not make it so.
Being pushy is what gets EA in trouble. The first Battlefront reboot did great, but the second floundered thanks to loot boxes and microtransactions. That same initiative’s fingerprints has been seen in other EA titles like Madden and FIFA for years now, and it’s no doubt that microtransactions were/are planned for Anthem. Maybe EA is maddeningly ripping those systems out, maybe Bioware managed to stand tall against the publisher’s greedy ideas, or maybe Anthem is still in alpha on a computer server somewhere. Anthem ain’t coming this year, but I could definitely see it being a fun Q1 2019 title.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Somewhere deep inside Rockstar Studios there is a whisper. Past the rows of desks and dimly lit computer monitors you can hear it. It’s spoken by a worried programmer or a frantic QA manager or an agitated producer who keeps glancing at a calendar. That whisper is saying “we need the Benz.”
If you don’t remember Leslie Benzies departure from Rockstar, you should. Benzies was a developer and producer for Rockstar best known for being a problem solver. He was the person you call in when everything has gone sideways and you absolutely need to release your game on time. Benzies left Rockstar and made a splash with a lawsuit against them and publisher Take Two. Without the fixer to come in and solve whatever problems a title is having, can Rockstar really meet expectations and deadlines? This year should be when we start hearing more and more from Red Dead Redemption 2, but if the title goes quiet Benzies’ absence will be felt into 2019.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
After its initial tease, it took most of 2017 to get a real trailer for Travis Strikes Again, and even after all this time I’m still not entirely sure what this game will be. Suda51 is a bit of a mad man and I wouldn’t be shocked if No More Heroes is either still very early on, or just about done. However, what we do know is that Travis will be visiting several other video game universes throughout this sequel. That means a lot of collaboration, legal agreements, and lots of scheduling. Grasshopper can usually manage a release per year, but it seems in Travis and John’s best interest if they took their time.
Fire Emblem/Pokemon on the Switch
It will probably be one or the other. Both games are still stitched together with rumors, speculation, and the lightest sprinkling of official news. 2018 is already looking pretty bright for the Nintendo Switch with Kirby, Yoshi, and Metroid Prime 4 possibly making their way out this year. It seems silly to add an additional two massive franchises to your schedule when you should be filling the calendar with ports and smaller releases. In an attempt to avoid sales cannibalism among major titles, Nintendo will probably have to choose between Fire Emblem or Pokemon.
Fire Emblem has the least amount of info swirling around for it, while Pokemon has a tornado of rumors pulsing through the air. That’s not much of an indication, but tossing a guaranteed sales bonanza to the end of 2018 that would sell even more Switches seems like the obvious choice. Nothing would push Nintendo into 2019 with a better outlook than a year much like 2017. A mainline Pokemon game developed specifically for the Switch would set the world ablaze in the best way. Fire Emblem doesn’t quite muster that same kind of fire. My bet is on Pokemon.