If you thought there were only five games worth being excited about in 2019, you’re sorely mistaken, buddy! That list was only five items long for complicated legal reasons — there’s at least five more additional cool things waiting for us in 2019, provided that these release dates hold together.
And yes, unfortunately none of these games contain the words “Klonoa” or “Channel 5,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t still get a little excited for what’s coming up. So what is coming up?
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
There’s a new No More Heroes, y’all. Nintendo Switch owners will continue the adventures of Travis Touchdown on Jan. 18, where he and his arch rival Badman become trapped inside the fictional Death Drive MK-II video game console.
Travis et al must navigate six imaginary indie games that reside within the Death Drive MK-II, in an effort to defeat each other and escape back to the real world. While No More Heroes has always been a bit colorful in its interpretation of reality, getting trapped inside a cursed video game console is a stretch even by established standards. I’m really hoping for a cameo from Uncle Death, the skateboarding grim reaper from Let It Die, which NMH director Suda51 also had a hand in.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Square Enix swears up and down that Kingdom Hearts 3 will see the light of day on Jan. 25 in Japan (Jan. 29 everywhere else), when it is set to release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and who am I to doubt them?
I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never played one of these. This is mostly on here because I know this series is extremely important to a lot of people, and that a new KH game only comes around once in a blue moon.
The closest thing to a new Kingdom Hearts since 2012’s 3DS game Dream Drop Distance was Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage — a short prologue included in 2017’s Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, which itself was an HD remake of Dream Drop Distance, plus a movie called Kingdom Hearts X Black Clover, which tells the story of a browser game released in Japan in 2013.
So! The first actual new Kingdom Hearts game since 2012 is probably something to write home about!
Dead or Alive 6
Despite its (well-deserved) reputation for questionable cheesecake, the Dead or Alive series has maintained a high bar for combat quality throughout its history. I’m looking forward to the first new entry in the series since 2012, which runs on a brand-new engine, features new character customization options, and promises a return of DOA‘s completely incomprehensible plot.
They’ve even turned down the boobies, so we might finally get a Dead or Alive game that can be played with family, as well as members of the clergy! Dead or Alive 6 drops for Xbox, PS4 and PC on Feb. 15.
Alright, I’m not really expecting Jump Force to be “good” per-se, but I am expecting it to be totally radical. How could a game that makes Shonen Jump characters fight each other in real-world San Francisco not be worth my time?
Right now my only quibble with it is that Izuku Midoriya (aka Deku) is the only confirmed My Hero Academia character on the roster, but I guess they have to save a few of the best characters for DLC. Jump Force bursts into the real world on Feb. 14 in Japan, and the following day everywhere else, on PS4, Xbox, and PC.
Remember when Shenmue auteur Yu Suzuki announced Shenmue 3 on-stage at Sony’s 2015 E3 press conference, and then announced the Kickstarter campaign to fund Shenmue 3 mere seconds later? I was elated and confused in equal measure, as was most of the industry, and truth be told I didn’t quite believe Shenmue 3 would ever see the light of day.
But hey, here we are three years later and Shenmue 3 has an actual, honest to God release date: Aug. 27, 2019 for PC and PlayStation 4. Of course, I don’t think I can ever be truly convinced that this game is coming out until I’m holding it in my hands — Dreamcast die-hards like me have been asking for this game ever since Shenmue 2 came out in 2001, and that was four hundred years ago. Combine that impossible lineage with how Kickstarter projects usually tend to go, and my expectations aren’t stellar. Make no mistake, however; I am desperate to be proven wrong.