We’re dusting off our crystal balls and practising a little mysticism this week, peering into the future in order to share our vision of what’s in store for the coming year.
Will the wait to reunite with Sora, Donald and Goofy have been worthwhile?
Liam | Switching up the Switch
We’ve already heard rumblings of an updated Switch, supposedly set to arrive sometime this year, but I’m predicting (hoping, really) we’ll see bigger and better things from Nintendo.
Rather than just a sleeker Switch, I reckon we might get something along the lines of a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X - a beefed-up, premium console that improves battery life and runs AAA titles without much compromise, all while retaining portability.
Perhaps that’s more wishful thinking than calculated prediction, but, considering Nintendo’s fondness for rehashing consoles (particularly those in the portable family), it’s not entirely outlandish.
At the very least, I’m hoping any potential new and improved Switch comes with a stand that actually works, more comfortable Joy-Con, and a reworked dock (that thing really is cheap and nasty).
Though I’m not overly unhappy with how the Switch performs and feels in its current form, a more premium design incorporating those changes and featuring performance boosts for select games would have me seriously tempted to double dip.
Oh, one final prediction – it won’t come with an AC adaptor. Because Nintendo.
Getting rid of that massive screen bezel wouldn't hurt, either.
James | 8K? No way
Can you feel it? That creeping excitement from gaming executives, the anticipation, the salivation at the fact that this console generation is beginning to come to an end.
How do we know? There's form for a console cycle of around five years before companies perceive that consumers want something new, even though that's usually when all the best games start coming out - just look at PlayStation 4's record-breaking 2018, for example.
We don’t actually have to go on past form alone though, as Sony President Kenichiro Yoshida said himself last October that it's become "necessary to have a next-generation hardware" to replace the PS4.
New things are coming and that should be exciting, right? Unfortunately, it isn’t, because nobody knows what people want next. Most gamers are doing fine with the hardware (especially if they’ve upgraded to a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X) and abundant quality software that they already have, so any new console announcements in 2019 have the capacity to be inherently disappointing.
Sure, Nintendo might shrink the Switch and Microsoft might produce a discless Xbox, but the response will only ever be "is that it?" Buzzwords like 8K might capture imaginations, but we're still a long way from games getting anywhere close to that; we're barely hitting 4K, so why should we care?
With amazing games like God of War coming out, who needs new hardware?
Rob | Indies are the innovators
Unlike my esteemed colleagues Sam and Jam (that’s always fun to say), I won’t be reverting to my cynical factory settings this week. I’m glad to report that I’ll be attending the excellent EGX Rezzed for my fourth year running, and, with that in mind, my prediction for 2019 is that independent games will continue to lead the way in innovation, storytelling and good ol’ fashioned fun.
Many of my favourites from Rezzed 2018 look set to release this year, and I think Jam will attest that the immensely colourful and entertaining local multiplayer fun of PHOGS should be on everyone’s wishlist. You can add to that the strategy masterclass of Wargroove; the unique take on point-and-clicking seen in Heaven’s Vault; Campo Santo’s Firewatch follow-up, In The Valley of the Gods; ultra-ambitious detective RPG Disco Elysium; Rain Games’ World to the West successor, Mesmer; and hopefully every wonderful game that was in the Rezzed leftfield collection.
I love independent developers for their will to try new things and breath life into old ideas. Long may it continue in 2019!
… Oh, and I also predict that Xbox Game Pass will continue to ensure I have more money to devote to playing more and more indies.
Who doesn't love a good indie game?
Chris | “The ramblings of a madman”
The day starts like any other. Amidst the hustle and bustle of commuters making their way to work, you spy an unusually large crowd gathering around a TV in a shop window. A wave of silence seems to propagate out from the steadily growing mass, broken only by the soft, gentle sobbing of a young woman.
You briefly wonder if the two of you could have a future together, before noticing she's wearing odd shoes. One appears to be a flat dress shoe and the other an expensive-looking leopard print heel. How does she walk in those things? Is she compensating for one leg being longer than the other? Who would do such a thing?!
Consumed by a mixture of rage and lust, you step forwards. Just as you open your mouth to scream, a flicker on the TV catches your eye. It's Gabe Newell. A beagle enthusiastically laps jam from his open hand as he whispers "Half-Life 3" whilst staring straight at the camera. A date scrolls across the bottom of the screen.
Odd Shoes turns away from the display, her eyes rolling into the back of her head as she loses consciousness. You were in the perfect place to catch her, and would have done, had you not already popped inside to pre-order.
Will we ever get Half-Life 3? More importantly, should the reveal involve a jam-eating beagle?
Do you think our predictions will pan out? Only will time will tell, though do be sure to check back an entire year from now when we revisit them and see whether we’re more Nostradamus or nonce.
Also, be sure to share any 2019 gaming premonitions you might have in the comments.