The Game Awards 2018 have wrapped, and with each passing the year, the show feels more and more like a stopgap to E3, with a runtime full of world premieres and fresh trailers. Besides the awards themselves, some of the biggest announcements include Mortal Kombat 11, a Dragon Age 4 teaser, and Persona 5’s Joker coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But with so many awards, trailers, and musical performances coming at you at a rapid-fire pace, it’s easy to gloss over some truly exciting games that might’ve gotten lost in the social media shuffle. In case you were on a bathroom break or missed the show entirely, here are some recently revealed, somewhat smaller new games of 2019 that immediately grabbed our attention.
Platform(s): PS4, PC
The Pathless is the next game from Giant Squid Studios, the creators of Abzu, a stunning undersea adventure. As you’d expect, it oozes style, between stunning spiritual creatures, a lovingly rendered forest, and a beautiful main character. Which is all well and good, but here’s the kicker: it has a bow in it. Little-known fact: I will play literally any video game with a bow in it – especially if it’s achingly gorgeous. The game, I mean, not the bow. In this case, the bow’s gorgeous too, but whatever. Not only that, the protagonist of The Pathless is apparently an expert falconer. I’m sold. Austin Wood
Sayonara Wild Hearts
“A pop album video game.” I was into Sayonara Wild Hearts from the first words of its reveal trailer, and with every flashy, playable pop group it introduced, my interest increased exponentially. It seems to be some sort of infinite runner shoot-’em-up hybrid – which I’m totally down for, especially on Switch – but this is pretty clearly the kind of game that I’d happily play for the visuals alone. Luckily, Sayonara Wild Hearts – incidentally, I will never get tired of saying that name – has some great music behind it as well. I mean, it is a pop album video game. Of course it’s got a bumping soundtrack. I have a feeling it’ll be relatively short and snacky, and that sounds just right for this kind of game. Austin Wood
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe
Platform(s): Unspecified consoles, PC
In the pantheon of worthwhile walking simulators, The Stanley Parable has some of the greatest moments of fourth-wall-shattering storytelling, making players feel equally close to and afraid of the omnipresent Narrator. Doing everything in your power to befriend or disobey the Narrator in this wonky world is affecting in a way so few games manage to pull off, making you think about existence, fate, and the nature of compliance. It’s also plain ol’ funny, with the Narrator’s pithy comments brought to life by Kevan Brighting’s calming or caustic voice. I’m stoked at the prospect of booting up The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe on PC and consoles in 2019, seeking out new endings – the main hook that keeps you replaying the same day time and again – and enjoying Stanley’s surreal office purgatory to the fullest. Lucas Sullivan
Steam has for years been known as the de facto storefront for PC games. While some have tried to give Valve a run for its money, nothing ever felt like it really stood a chance of competing against the behemoth created by Gabe Newell. Well, Fortnite developer Epic Games wants to shake up the status quo with its own store, which got a surprise launch during the show. There are some big titles on the way to Epic’s storefront, but what’s really cool is that two very slick and stylish games – Ashen and Hades – are available right now. These games are also, for now at least, exclusive to the Epic Games Store. That’s starting things off with a bang. Sam Prell
The Scavengers teaser packs a lot of world-building and innuendo into its relatively short runtime. We see that the moon has been cracked open like a walnut, there’s a space station inhabited by what looks like a rough-and-tumble crowd, and Earth has clearly been abandoned – probably thanks to whatever that ominous glowing rock is. Development is being led by the creative director of Halo 4, who described the game as “survival shooter co-op-etition.” Basically, it means the elements of a survival game condensed down for fast-paced, team-focused, multiplayer sessions. It’s an exciting concept, and I’m eager to learn more. Sam Prell
In more indie goodness news, the No Man’s Sky studio has an adorable new Pixar-like side project called The Last Campfire.