Wccftech’s Most Anticipated Strategy Games of 2018 – Waiting for the Hammer to Fall
It's that time of the year again. Or, should I say, It's the end of the year and very close to the start of a new year. You know what that means. That's right, it's list time. Today marks the first day of our lists and also marks what I will now call Strategy Sunday (I won't really). We've already covered the best strategy games of 2017, now it's time to look at some of the up-and-comers of 2018.
RIOT – Civil Unrest (Official Site)
Subgenre: Real-time strategy, Simulation. Platform: PC.
You can play RIOT right now, should you want to. For two years now, RIOT has featured on my most anticipated lists. Fortunately, it finally saw a release into Early Access earlier this year and has been met with mostly positive feedback, though it certainly suffers from some issues. Prior to its eventual launch out of early access, RIOT needs to improve on the feedback it gives players within the game and smooth out bugs.
RIOT still looks to have the potential to be an incredibly interesting and thought provoking game, particularly due to the real events it portrays. All it needs to do is iron out the difficulties that have been highlighted during its current early access run.
Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia
Subgenre: Grand Strategy. Platform: PC.
Of course SEGA and Creative Assembly were going to make an impact on 2018. It does appear that this year won't see the release of Total War: Warhammer III, which will allay concerns for those who worried about games of such scale being launched yearly. This doesn't mean we'll be missing out on Total War. Expect the staples of the series, from huge real time battles and grand strategic goals on the main map. Only this time, a little more focused on one time period.
For a similar approach, you can look at releases like Alexander, Napoleon and Attila. Thrones of Britannia takes on a much more focused approach. Focused entirely on the British Isles in 878AD, you'll encounter Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and, of course, local Gaelic clans. The map featured in Thrones of Britannia is 23 times bigger than the largest interpretation in prior Total War games. All I know is that I'll be aiming to conquer and hold Doneceaster against all odds, as it's the closest to where I live. I'll also raze Loidis to the ground since I never enjoy going there to work.
BattleTech (Official Site)
Subgenre: Turn-based Tactics. Platform: PC.
We've been covering BattleTech for a while now. From its delays to coverage of gameplay videos. It's even played a part in publisher Paradox Interactive's financial statements. Developers Harebrained Schemes are looking to build on the original board game and translate it over.
Set in the year 3025, you take on the role as a commander of a group of battle mechs. Oversee your own mercenary corps and find yourself sucked into the middle of a huge war. With your own group, you'll engage in tactical combat with your mechs. In addition to this will be a level of management of your mercenaries and a story within the campaign to follow and see through. The setting alone should be enough to attract anybody, if not the quality shown by developers Harebrained Schemes in the past with such titles as Shadowrun Returns.
Xenonauts 2 (Official Site)
Subgenre: Turn-based tactics. Platform: PC.
Making an appearance for the second year in a row is Xenonauts 2. The success of turn-based strategy games has only continued, particularly those in the vein of X-COM and UFO. XCOM 2 saw the release of War of the Chosen which was met with great fanfare. With the continued success of these games and the fans that the original Xenonauts brought in, Xenonauts 2 is certainly a game to look forward to.
Goldhawk Interactive are looking to make large changes to the game. The move to Unity 3D will be one of the largest changes, making the game a lot more functional. This will include a reduction in bugs and also a battle camera that you can rotate. Simple, but will enhance Xenonauts greatly. In addition will be multiple fixes to the battle system that made Xenonauts the fan favourite it is.
Phoenix Point (Official Site)
Subgenre: Turn-based tactics. Platform: PC.
I couldn't make this list without putting in at least one other spiritual successor to X-COM. This time, however, there's a significant pedigree behind the game. Phoenix Point is headed up by the creator of the original X-COM and UFO, Julian Gollop.
It's promising to improve on the grand tactical opportunities offered in similar games while including a living, breathing map to offer a more interactive approach to your war against the monstrous threat. There are going to be huge boss monsters (such as the one viewed above) with multiple segments to target and disable, increasing the tactics of such battles. In addition to this are rapidly mutating enemies that change as you advance through the game. One thing is for sure, with the pedigree behind it, Phoenix Point is a game to keep your eye on.
Valkyria Chronicles 4
Subgenre: Turn-based tactics. Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch.
I can't say this is an obligatory console entry for one reason, I'm a massive fan of Valkyria Chronicles. Sure, the series has done little but deteriorate since the initial release. There's little doubting it's still got a place in my, and a lot of others, hearts.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 looks to recapture the magic that made the first game fantastic. The outstanding tactical combat. The camaraderie and the great characterisation that comes with the game. SEGA are looking to return the franchise to its roots and the footage we've recently seen certainly looks like they're managing to.
Looking for More: Special Mentions
There are a few very obvious strategy games I've missed from the above list. For one reason or another, they haven't been included. I would be remiss if I didn't at least bring them up though. One example is Age of Empires: Definitive Edition. While it should be great, I can't bring myself to include remakes or remasters.
As for other games that haven't been included, but certainly have a right to feature in some way or another, here are other strategy games that are well worth keeping your eye on:
- Anno 1800 (Official Site)
- Nantucket (Official Site)
- They Are Billions (Official Site)
- Frozen Synapse 2 (Official Site)
- Overland (Official Site)
- Ancestors Legacy (Official Site)
- Phantom Doctrine (Steam page)
What I will certainly say is that the indie scene is looking like it could be a highlight of 2018 for strategy games. Of course, I've probably missed a game or two from the list. It's likely that game that I shouldn't have missed. If so, feel free to roast me in the comments, but tell us which game you're looking forward to the most.