It's bold predictions time once again! Every year I struggle with the distinction between which way I think the wind is blowing and the way I hope it will. Since VR became a thing I've predicted that Sean Sands would have a unit strapped to his face by the end of the year. He's especially stubborn, so the sad fact remains the more I wish it were so the less likely it is to actually happen. If you listen to the podcast this week, which we recorded before CES, I predicted we would see a VR refresh and so far the Vive has rushed ahead with the Pro to start me off on the right foot.
For the rest of my and the podcast crew's predictions, you can listen to the latest GWJ Conference Call where we also go over our old predictions so we can feel real, real bad about ourselves. Make sure you visit the old 2017 predictions post and see how you did last year too!
I'll be locking this thread in a few weeks so get your predictions in!
Onward to the GWJ Writer Squad predictions!
Greg "doubtingthomas396" Decker:
- If Nintendo doesn’t launch a massive new multiplayer title before March, their online service will remain free until they produce a reason for players to pay for it that isn’t “we’re holding this game you’ve been playing for the past year hostage until you give us $20 a year.”
- The release of Steins;Gate on the Switch will appear to be the harbinger of a massive wave of visual novels for the platform, but that wave will never materialize due to the inability of developers to sneak aftermarket R18 patches past Nintendo’s gatekeepers.
- Sony, realizing that the PSVR is no longer competitive on price with Oculus or HTC, will announce PSVR Pro, and it will require the higher-tier PS4 sku.
- Red Dead Redemption 2 will be delayed until at least 2019, but it won’t help.
- Microsoft will announce some kind of VR or AR compatibility for the Xbox 1X. Extra credit, long shot prediction: It will involve the re-emergence of the Kinect.
- Nintendo has a decent sophomore year with Pikmin 4 and Switch Mario Maker. They will also announce, but not release, a Zelda sequel that is as similar to Breath of the Wild as Majora's Mask was to Ocarina of Time (same engine, similar graphics, etc)
- Far Cry 5 is the most controversial game of the year and President Trump ends up attacking it
- Red Dead Redemption 2 is released and is as widely regarded as Game of the Year, but no GTA VI announcement.
- Steam will have over 10,000 games released on it in 2018 alone.
- Sea of Thieves is the bomb of the year (similar to how Mass Effect: Andromeda was for 2017)
- Videogame graphics reach Toy Story 1 levels but not Jurassic Park 1 levels.
Chris "C" Cesarano:
- Against my better judgment, I'm going to go ahead and buy into the hype that Mother 3 will be a premiere title on the Nintendo Switch's Virtual Console. I mean, we got Star Fox 2 on the SNES Classic, so I'm willing to buy into anything at this point.
- Metroid Prime 4 will be announced to release in 2019.
- Square Enix will announce a Final Fantasy Collection for release on all major platforms, putting together the first six games in a single package.
- Square Enix will announce a new Theatrhythm for release on Switch ... and it will release in America.
- Nintendo will finally release their Switch rewards as part of their Nintendo Rewards program, and it will still continue to be an awful waste of existence.
- Capcom finally reveals footage of their Resident Evil 2 remake, but it won't hit store shelves until 2019.
- Capcom announces that they'll be shutting down servers for Dragon's Dogma Online, further confirming the death of a franchise I'd love to see more of.
- Valve will announce a new game, but it will be multiplayer focused and supported by microtransactions. It will not be Half-Life related, it will not be Portal as we expect it, it will not be Left 4 Dead as we want, and if it's an existing property at all it will be Team Fortress 3. Odds are it won't even be that grand a scale and may as well be a mobile release.
- Sony will finally begin announcing new IP again, though the center stage of E3 2018 will be Ghosts of Tsushima.
- Microsoft will announce Halo 6 and Gears of War 5, and the majority of cheers in the audience will be coming from Microsoft employees.
- Due to Nintendo's insistence to stick by a phone-app for online communication, their online gameplay service – despite competitive pricing – will be a money loss as few will find it worthwhile to play online with such shoddy voice chat options.
- Elder Scrolls VI will be announced, but won't release until 2019 or 2020.
- A game franchise that we haven't seen an entry from since the 90's will be revived. Whether it'll be a major tone-deaf blockbuster or a faithful indie darling is anyone's guess.
- The third Tomb Raider game will be fully open-world, and thus will be the delight of many Western gamers and the least favorite in the franchise for me. Also, will rely much more heavily on microtransactions for profit.
- E3 will be full of companies making jabs at EA and lootboxes – despite the fact that most of the open-world or multiplayer games we'll see were completely designed with pay-to-win lootboxes in mind.
- EA will try to highlight the lack of pay-to-win lootboxes in Anthem without admitting they're trying to earn goodwill again, despite how obvious it'll be that the game originally had pay-to-win lootboxes.
- Fans will be outraged when they find out they need to purchase the season pass in order to get the actual conclusion to Kingdom Hearts III, and even then the story will be confusing and feel incomplete.
- Bravely Third is announced for Nintendo Switch.
Erik "wordsmythe" Hanson:
- Hold on to your butts, this is the year of big reorgs and acquisitions in the AAA space.
- Part of that publishing strategy shift is going to involve mining, as Cesarano predicts, '90s IP. I'm guessing Marble Madness or Snake, Rattle N Roll, plus something that used to belong to Origin Systems or Dynamix.
- Nintendo will reach some stable point in their online space that doesn't make anyone happy, and we'll realize they gave up on fixing it months after they stop.
- Far Cry 5's repeated revisions toward and away from offending anyone will ultimately please nobody.
- Mod support for Far Cry 5 makes it much better (and much worse).
- We'll learn of bot and troll armies used by a games publisher to force a marketing narrative.
- The last few years' work on enemy AI that learns from player behavior will move outside the game instance; enemy AI in single-player games will learn from tactical data across all players who play while connected. (This will lead to groups of gamers who attempt to distort the input by collectively goofing off and trolling AI enemies.)
- Relatedly, there are going to be big bumps this year for all that online data collection that companies love. New pressures on bandwidth, regulation, and data security are going to rock publishers' worlds.