As we dust off the mince pie crumbs and get back to work, it’s time to take stock of exactly where 2017 left us. We had the release of (possibly) the best game ever, the release of the most powerful console ever and the release of Chun Li‘s worst facelift ever.
But what does 2018 hold? Let’s take a moment to peer into our crystal ball and make a few predictions about what Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo might (or might not, in some cases) have in store for us in the next 12 months.
Sega gives the Sonic series to Christian Whitehead
Sega have been able to stick their heads in the sand for years when it comes to Sonic. But the disastrous Sonic Forces arriving mere months after the rapturous response to Sonic Mania surely means the time has come for Sega to admit defeat. Let’s hope the former winding up one of the best reviewed titles of 2017 stings so much that 2018 sees Sega hand over the reins to Christian Whitehead, Headcannon and PagodaWest Games for good.
If nothing else, the response to Sonic Mania should see that the (inevitable) sequel will receive the full retail release the original game deserved.
Nintendo announces Super Smash Bros. for the Switch
At this point surely inevitable – with almost every mainstream Nintendo franchise appearing on or planned to release for the Switch, Super Smash Bros. is conspicuous in its absence. Although the Wii U title is pretty damn perfect as a complete package, Nintendo will surely launch a brand new title rather than a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe-esque port so they can charge for all of that glorious DLC once more.
Super Smash Kart will be the next instalment in the Mario Kart series
Mario Kart 8 is one of the best iterations of the racing series to date. But although the anti-gravity sections were the main gimmick, the thing that really caught our attention was the inclusion of characters from The Legend Of Zelda and Animal Crossing and how refreshing it was to drive through some new environments. With Splatoon‘s Squidlings also now featured in the game, surely the next step is to include even more Nintendo characters and stages. Who wouldn’t want to see Pikachu, Samus and Ness buckling up on the starting grid?
Crash Bandicoot will star in an all-new adventure
The success of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy on PS4 this year took a lot of people by surprise – not least because despite the graphics being updated for the current gen, the gameplay was as unforgiving as it ever had been. Based on the fact that gamers lapped up the compilation, it’s clear there’s still a hefty market for rage-inducing, precision-perfect platforming. And it wouldn’t take much for Activision to bring Crash back again for a brand new adventure that could once again dominate the barren summer market.
Kingdom Hearts III WON’T be released in 2018
At this point, anyone who played the first two Kingdom Hearts games must surely wonder whether they’ll see the third game in their lifetime. SquareEnix don’t seem at all concerned about the fact that the original fanbase is rapidly approaching retirement age (if they haven’t already carked it). Disney‘s acquisition of Pixar and Star Wars have already caused insurmountable delays to Kingdom Hearts III as the developers scramble to include these new assets in the game. Their recent purchase of the Fox network means you should now probably plan on being buried with your PlayStation and hope that the afterlife has a decent power supply.
Final Fantasy VII re-make WILL release in 2018 and be the worst thing ever
Opinion has been split on the Final Fantasy VII re-make since it was announced. With the game having marked its 20th anniversary in 2017 and the promise that the re-make was going to be split into chapters, it’s likely we’ll see at least one of those in 2018. There are a lot of people who still believe the way people fight is by standing neatly in a row and letting their opponent beat the crap out of them whilst they politely wait to respond. The re-make’s combat appears very similar to that of Final Fantasy XV and thus for the sentimental masses, that will immediately render it the worst thing ever.
The reality is there are far more things that could go wrong than right with Final Fantasy VII and SquareEnix have one hell of a minefield to navigate their way through with this one.
The Xbox One will lag in last place
This isn’t just a quick bash at Microsoft – their strategy for 2018 is currently completely unknown. The Xbox One X got off to a great start but amid all the furore, Microsoft appear to have forgotten to announce any significant games to play on “the most powerful console ever”. Sure, there’s Cuphead. And Sea Of Thieves will probably win a few fans – but it’s hardly enough to justify an extra £100 on the price tag of the PS4 Pro.
With a resurgent Nintendo snapping at their heels and Sony coasting out in first place, 2018 is not the year for Microsoft to go into cruise control.
Shenmue III will continue to puzzle people as it gets stuck in development hell
The first gameplay trailer for Shenmue III was bemusing at best and left a lot of people questioning why anyone ever pledged money for a third instalment in the infamous series. The game has acquired a publisher, but there’s really no news on how the game is progressing in development. Furthermore, although the landscapes look stunning, the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X now offer even more scope for graphical improvement.
Yu Suzuki resist the urge to upscale the project? The commercial limitations of the Dreamcast didn’t manage to thwart the ludicrous development costs of the original Shenmue games so don’t be surprised if history repeats itself.
The 3DS will finally be put to rest
The ageing 3DS has been due a well-earned retirement for several years now. Yet Nintendo have refused to allow it the chance to put on its slippers, complain about the cold and enjoy pureed food. The release of the ill-fitting Mario Party: The Top 100 for the 3DS over the Switch was most definitely the moment that the handheld console jumped the shark. With the Switch now a success and attracting a lot of developers who are taking advantage of the console’s handheld capabilities, the 3DS can finally be put to bed.
Whatever might happen in 2018, you can be sure that Last Life Club will be there every step of the way to cover the biggest news stories. Keep us bookmarked (we’re mobile friendly) and if you’re more aurally inclined, you can check out our podcast.