Despite what you might’ve heard, we do like videogames here at Paste. We like them enough to write about them, and also, yes, to play them sometimes. Paste Games plays games: who knew?
2019 is a year with games in it, and our games editors Garrett Martin and Holly Green are even looking forward to some of them. In this business we can’t play all the games we want to play, and we don’t want to play all the games we have to play, but much of the time our coverage requirements and our personal inclinations match up enough to make this job not always feel entirely like a job. That’s good. And considering we’re legitimately excited about all the games on this list, we’re hoping they don’t feel too much like work once we’ve got them installed on our machines.
We are now fully in it, inextricably mired deep in the sludge of 2019, and if there’s anything that can keep us entertained down here, it might as well be these games. From 1980s Nazi killers, to mischievous geese, to serene woodland space explorers, there’s a bevy of aspirational figures to help us momentarily forget the world that we’ve created for ourselves, and if that’s not a reason to love (or at least tolerate) videogames, then we don’t know what is.
In alphabetical order, here are some games we’ll probably play.
I don’t really know anything about the next Animal Crossing other than it’s an Animal Crossing and it’s scheduled to hit the Switch in 2019. That’s enough to get me excited, though, because hey: Animal Crossing is good. Plus the home-and-away nature of the Switch opens up some intriguing new avenues for interacting with both temperamental digital animals and real-life online humans. Nintendo has regularly used Animal Crossing games to explore the unique capabilities of whatever hardware they’re running on, and there’s so much they could do with the game’s social and traveling concepts on the Switch. Hopefully that release date doesn’t slip and it actually comes out in 2019.—Garrett Martin
My biggest fear about Dreams, the latest creation engine from the Little Big Planet creators at Media Molecule, was that it would be too overwhelming for me to ever accomplish anything in it. This is a game that basically lets you create almost anything you want, from various styles of games, to interactive fiction and visual novels, to purely passive computer animations. I worried I’d be like the dog in Devo’s “Freedom of Choice”—so indecisive that I’d wind up just keeling over before even starting. My short demo at E3 last year gave me two reasons to relax a bit on this front. First off, the game makes it relatively easy to create things, whether it’s through prefab templates that can be edited as I see fit, a paintbrush-style tool that lets me build a level with a button push and a sweep of a joystick, or the simple way it lets me create game logic and connect it to the proper assets. And secondly, if I do get overwhelmed, or stumped, or just generally feel uninspired, there’ll be dozens upon dozens of user-made content ready to load up. So I’ll still have lots to do in the game even without making anything, and I can probably also pick up some inspiration from the works of others. One of the most interesting things about Dreams for me is its music creating tools, including the in-game multitrack system that lets you meticulously concoct your own original game score. There have been no shortage of games that let you create your own game or world, but Dreams might be the most impressive one yet.—Garrett Martin
Not gonna lie, I have no interest in Far Cry New Dawn in terms of fun. I’m only signing up for the shitshow. That sounds cynical, but given the subject matter of Far Cry 5 and the series’s general descent into pure inanity, I’m not feeling terribly confident about how they’ll handle the apocalypse. But I am curious about where they’ll go with it. Very curious. I don’t expect the writing to improve on what was started with Far Cry 5 (Far Cry New Dawn reportedly picks up where it left off) but as a person with an interest in the trajectory of post apocalyptia as it increasingly becomes a more popular games narrative, I want to see how this plays out. And as always, I still enjoy a good hunting game with opportunities for stealth. For that, I’ll be keeping an eye on New Dawn.—Holly Green
It’s been over a decade since Nintendo’s released a new Fire Emblem on a console, and in that time the long-running series has been revitalized by a series of fantastic handheld games. The recent 3DS Fire Emblems are about building relationships as much as they are sending your soldiers out to die in tactical turn-based battles, and with the Switch’s hybrid console-handheld setup there’s ample opportunity to explore both sides of that action in new and engrossing ways. Fire Emblem’s turned into the best tactical RPG series running today (in part because it’s kind of the only game in town) and the portability of the Switch could make Three Houses the best one yet.—Garrett Martin
It’d be easy to make Outer Wilds sound like a mash-up of familiar influences. It’s built around a recurring time loop like Majora’s Mask; you’ll fly from planet to planet in real time in search of ancient secrets, as in No Man’s Sky; you’ll explore a variety of eldritch mysteries baked into this solar system, not unlike a new-fangled Myst. Those ideas are implemented in such a unique and seamless way, though, that the total package feels unlike anything I’ve ever played before. It focuses on a race of gentle spacefarers who build rockets out of wood in order to map the other planets that circle their sun and dig up answers on ancient settlers who left wisdom spread throughout the galaxy. The developers have clearly thought long and hard about the alien universe they’ve created, from the specific nature of its physical laws, to the culture of the creatures who populate it. The result is a game that feels appropriately alien, strengthening our desire to unlock its mysteries and explore its culture.—Garrett Martin
There isn’t a lot of information available yet on the form that the new Pokémon game on the Switch will take, but given how well Pokémon Let’s Go worked out on Nintendo Switch at the end of 2018, I have high hopes for the upcoming next core installment in the series. This will be the first fresh Pokémon generation that I get to experience as a fan, which holds a special sort of excitement all of its own. Then again, rumor has it the game will be Pokémon Stars, a spin-off to Sun and Moon akin to what Yellow did for Red and Blue (and not a “new” game, in that sense, per se). Whatever the case, I’m on board and will be paying close attention to how this develops in the second half of 2019.—Holly Green
Any new game made by From will always immediately get compared to the Souls series—thus is their curse. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice seems to have little in common with Dark Souls or Bloodborne, though, other than perhaps its difficulty and the need to be careful and deliberate during combat. Sekiro more closely resembles a couple of classic samurai games from the original PlayStation, with a focus on stealth similar to Tenchu and a style of swordplay based around instant kills by hitting the right part of the body at the right time, like Bushido Blade. Oh, there’s also a grappling hook, which I’ll never say no to. This promises to be a historical fiction action game with a distinct rhythm, and although I haven’t actually played any of it yet, I’m definitely excited to get my hands on it.—Garrett Martin
Untitled Goose Game is definitely one of those games that completely resets my fatigue with the entire medium. It’s simple, but wickedly mischievous and fun. In this light puzzle-stealth title, you play as a naughty goose working through a list of decidedly gooselike goals and objectives including, as I wrote back in April, “sneaking into the garden, distracting the farmer, and stealing his produce to throw yourself a picnic”. Over the course of the past year, it’s been one of those games that consistently draws a crowd on the showfloor, and my brief demoes with it have been very entertaining. It will be wonderful to finally see this game get its official release.—Holly Green
One of my favorite game trailer moments of all time would have to be when I saw the Wolfenstein II footage at the Bethesda event during E3 2017. It was like nothing I’d ever seen in a game—a woman (B.J. Blazkowicz’s wife Anya), heavily pregnant with twins, violently stabbing a Nazi to death. It was empowering, it was awe-inspiring, it was immensely satisfying to watch.
Fast forward to the in-game universe’s version of the 1980s, where those very twins, now grown-up girls, are starring in their own game, a prequel to Wolfenstein III, set in Nazi-occupied Paris. Sign me up and send me the newsletter because this is sure to be one hell of a ride.—Holly Green
As I wrote back in September, the arts and crafts inspired games that Nintendo has been pumping out in the past decade or so are some of my favorites little spin-offs in the entire Nintendo line-up. From their roots in Yoshi’s Story, through Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Yoshi’s Wooly World, and now, the upcoming Yoshi’s Crafted World (as well as sequel Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn), it’s safe to say this charming visual theme isn’t going anywhere, and you know what? I’m fine with it. It’s cute, and uncomplicated, and I need something adorable to look forward to.—Holly Green
Garrett Martin edits Paste’s comedy and games sections. He’s on Twitter @grmartin.
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.