2018 is over and it’s clear to see that it’s been a great year for VR gaming. We’ve had highlights like Creed, Firewall, Astro Bot, Skyrim (on PC) and many more. But, as much fun as we’ve had inside headsets this year, 2019 is looking even better.
Every year at Upload we compile a list of all the games we’re looking forward to in the year ahead. While this year’s list isn’t bigger than the 2018 iteration, there’s definitely more genuinely promising games on the way as opposed to a swathe of wave shooters and the like. VR developers seem to be getting a real grasp on the language of the platform now, and that’s a very exciting thing indeed.
So, without further ado, here’s what VR games 2019 is going to throw at us.
A Fisherman’s Tale (Jan 22nd) – Rift, Vive, Windows, PSVR (Read Our Hands-On)
Firebird developer Innerspace tries its hand at VR gaming with its latest project and the early signs are hugely promising. This is a narrative-driven puzzle game with some amazing ideas behind it, including a strange sort of Russian Doll mechanic that will have you teaming up with yourself in order to fix the world around you. It’s early days but we’re betting this could be one of 2019’s most memorable VR games.
Ace Combat 7 (Jan 18th) – PSVR (Read Our Hands-On)
Ace Combat 7 may have barrel rolled out of 2018 but its January 18th 2019 release date is right around the corner and we remain very excited about it. The PSVR exclusive mode on offer here will no doubt be short and leave us wanting more but, from what we’ve seen, it’s still set to be a blockbuster PSVR experience with production values that’ll be tough to top.
Alice’s Lullaby: Albino Lullaby Episode 2 (TBD) – Rift, Vive, PSVR
2018 was a quiet one for this Albino Lullaby follow-up, but we’re hoping to have news on the second installment at some point in 2019. This is a horror series that doesn’t rely on jump scares but instead psychological tricks that will keep you on your feet. We have high hopes for the second episode.
Bebylon Battle Royale (TBD) – Rift, Vive, PSVR
Yes, it’s still coming. Senza Peso developer Kite & Lightning has been working on its first full VR game for some time now, but we’re hoping 2019 is the year we get to play it for ourselves. Set in a strange world in which humans have stopped aging, never-aging ‘Bebys’ battle it out for supremacy. The team’s recent work with facial capture on the iPhone X has been especially interesting to watch.
Blood And Truth (TBD) – PSVR (Read Our Hands-On)
Blood and Truth didn’t quite make 2018 but, given the year the headset had, it’s no big loss. Sony London builds on what it learned with its popular London Heist demo here. Blood and Truth promises a full, highly-polished first-person shooter campaign on PSVR, with realistic shootouts thanks to PlayStation Move. Step into the shoes of a former SAS soldier and take the fight to the gangs of the UK capital in this sweary shooter that aims to deliver the AAA experience people crave.
Blunt Force (TBD)
We still haven’t heard much more on Blunt Force since its announcement in 2016, but the high amount of visual polish has us hoping it’ll resurface this year. It’s a World War II-set shooter with a story from Hollywood screenwriter Mark Bristol that aims to provide a full gaming experience within VR. Here’s hoping it lives up to that promise.
Border Patrol (TBD) – Rift, Vive
We’ve seen a promising demo of this Papers Please-style assessment game from developer Paw Print Games, but we’re still looking forward to the full thing. You have to judge a series of robots that are hoping to pass through your crossing based on certain standards. This looks like it could capitalize on the awkward sense of judgment that can come with staring down on people in VR, and may be one of the year’s most unique titles.
Chimera Zero (TBD) – Rift, Vive, PSVR
We know very little about this VR debut from former PlayStation figurehead Shahid Kamal Ahmad (which was announced all the way back in 2016), but we’re still excited by it. It shares its name with the 33-year-old action-adventure, Chimera, which Ahmad also worked on. That said, he’s promising an experience quite different from that debut. What does he have in store?
Coatsink/Fierce Kaiju Project (TBD)
This project sat 2018 out so let’s hope 2019 is the year. Coatsink and Fierce Kaiju are two UK-based indie developers known for their early adoption of VR hardware, both launching games on the Innovator’s Edition of Gear VR. After releasing games like Viral EX and Augmented Empire, the two are pairing up for an unannounced project which we really hope will reach even greater heights than either of them have yet achieved on their own.
Defector (TBD) – Rift (Read Our Hands-On)
Twisted Pixel’s follow-up to Wilson’s Heart didn’t quite make it out of the gate in 2018 but hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer to get it now. This is a high-octane VR thrill-ride backed by the production values that only Oculus Studios can afford, taking you from sky-diving setpieces to sneaky spy missions. If it’s as polished as Wilson’s Heart it’s bound to be a hit.
Dreams (TBD) – PSVR (Read Our Hands-On)
We’ve been waiting for Media Molecule’s Dreams for so long that the idea it might actually release in 2019 itself feels like, well, a dream. But with the beta opening up, it is seeming like a genuine reality. With VR support now officially, officially confirmed multiple times (for day one!) we can confidently say this is one of the most important titles releasing for Sony’s headset. Making your very own VR world is hopefully just a few months away.
Eden Tomorrow (TBD) – PSVR
Eden Tomorrow debuted at Gamescom several years ago with a promising demo that let you walk with space dinosaurs. It’s been away for some time since, but now it’s back promising a full adventure that we’ll hopefully get our hands-on this year. We’re looking for more amazing moments out of this one.
The Elder Scrolls: Blades (TBD) (Read Our Coverage)
There’s still a lot to learn about how and when The Elder Scrolls: Blades will work with VR headsets, but we do know it’s coming. This’ll be a cross-platform RPG that distills some of the core elements of the franchise into a much more streamlined package. Whether or not it pays off remains to be seen, but we’re holding out hope for another Bethesda VR hit.
Espire 1: VR Operative (TBD) – Rift, Vive
Though it didn’t make its original 2018 release window, Espire 1 has quickly become one of our most anticipated VR games of 2019 thanks to a publishing partnership with Tripwire Entertainment. Stealth in VR can be utterly thrilling and this looks like it could be the best entry in the genre yet for VR headsets. Keep a very close eye on Espire 1.
Everybody’s Golf VR (Spring) – PSVR
It’s hard to believe it’s taken us this long to get an Everybody’s Golf game onto Sony’s headset but this rendition of the series looks like it will have been worth the wait. This is a much more realistic-looking take on the long-running franchise that will have us using Move controllers to take swings and score birdies. Just mind the lampshades.
Falcon Age (TBD) – PSVR (Read Our Hands-On)
VR can do wonders for building a relationship with virtual characters and Falcon Age seems to speak directly to that. In this new adventure you raise a pet Falcon and grow a bond as you care for it. Eventually, you’ll find yourself fighting for survival against an aggressive group of robots that threaten the land you roam. We can’t wait to see how Falcon Age mixes its story and action together.
The Gallery Episode 3 (TBD) – Rift, Vive
Enough time has passed now that we’re beginning to let ourselves dream about the third installment in Cloudhead Games’ The Gallery series. Episode 2 represented a massive leap over the original in pretty much every area, and hopefully we can expect a similar sort of expansion here. The Gallery remains one of VR’s most recognizable and best-realized series. Episode 3 can’t get here soon enough.
Ghost Giant (TBD) – PSVR (Read Our Hands-On)
Moss and Astro Bot have already proved that third-person VR can work incredibly well, and Ghost Giant looks like it’s set to continue that trend. You build a relationship with a town of cutesy little creatures, each of which is wondering why this enormous ghost has suddenly appeared in their lives. We’re looking forward to exploring more diorama worlds and unearthing more of this storybook universe.
Golem (TBD) – PSVR
Despite a last-minute delay that’s now stretched on for something like nine months of silence, Golem remains one of our most anticipated VR games. With its intriguing use of just one Move controller for exploration and sword combat, we’re excited to see if the game manages to set any new standards in VR gaming. At the very least, it’s ancient ruins look like a joy to explore.
inXile’s Next VR Game (TBD)
Microsoft recently bought the makers of The Mage’s Tale, but they’ve assured us that work on their next VR project is still very much underway. inXile is making an open-world survival RPG for VR that, while still officially unrevealed, sounds like it could be a spin-off of its Wasteland series. If so, this’ll be one of 2019’s biggest VR games without a doubt.
Jupiter & Mars (TBD) – PSVR
Fans of games like Echo the Dolphin might want to check this enchanting new title. Together with a friend or AI partner, you explore the remains of mankind, left to drown in a neon-lit ocean. It looks utterly breathtaking and a perfect example of VR’s ability to amaze through discovery. Prepare to have your jaw dropped.
Kill X (TBD) – PSVR
It was about two years ago now that we first played a demo of Kill X, but since then the Sony-incubated game has grown to become a full first-person shooter that’s even being published by PlayStation itself. We hope that means that this is the headset’s next great shooter, but only time will tell on that front.
Kingdom Hearts VR (January) – PSVR
2019 looks to be the year that Kingdom Hearts III will finally launch on consoles, but we’re just as excited about the tie-in piece that’s going to come alongside it. It’s not a full game but instead one of those short promotional apps that will give you just a taste of what the world of Disney and Final Fantasy characters might look like in VR. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s possible.
Lone Echo 2 (TBD) – Rift
The sequel to one of our all-time favorite Oculus Rift games is finally on the way. Lone Echo had something of an abrupt ending so we can’t wait to pick back up with Jack and Olivia. We’ll be excited to see how Ready at Dawn continues to build on its groundbreaking zero gravity traversal, which is still some of the most convincing movement in VR. Expect this to be big.
Megalith (Jan 9th) – PSVR (Read Our Hands-On)
Technically this hero shooter is already out with an extensive open beta running into next year, but we’re looking forward to the full release. You become a titan that uses their size and firepower to win a contest to become a god. With free locomotion and destructible environments, this might be one of the year’s most polished action games.
Mini-Mech Mayhem (TBD) – PSVR (Read Our Coverage)
Velocity and Tiny Trax developer FuturLab trades twitch-based arcade gameplay for a manic multiplayer tabletop experience here and the results are very promising. Mini-Mech Mayhem is a game about anticipating your opponent’s every single move and watching turns unfold to often hilarious effect. It helps that the little machines you partner with are highly customizable and utterly adorable.
Node (TBD) – Rift, Vive, Windows
Some VR games seem to just appear out of thin air. Node is certainly one of those games. This is a surprisingly solid-looking shooter in which you train to become the ultimate soldier. The game mixes roguelike elements with classic shooter design (a little like Compound) to offer an experience you can come back to time and again. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this one as the year progresses.
Nostos (TBD) – Rift, Vive, Windows (Read Our Hands-On)
Nostos really didn’t impress us when we tried it at Gamescom earlier this year, but the game is so good looking that we’re still holding out hope for a solid final product. This is an MMO-like experience in which players explore a massive world together, taking on vicious creatures in combat and uncovering the secrets of the gorgeous world that surrounds them. If NetEase corrects its course, this could be a big 2019 game.
Numenera: Beyond Tactics (TBD) – Rift, Vive
The popular board game is getting the VR treatment, but not in the way you might expect. Beyond Tactics is going to take the world of Numera and build a new turn-based strategy game around it. We’ve played a very early build and the pieces seem to be in place for a solid tactical game that uses VR to smart effect.
Oculus Quest Ports (TBD) – Quest
We’ll cheat with this one a little. We wouldn’t usually include ports or stack multiple games together but Oculus Quest’s standalone, 6DOF features mean that we’re genuinely excited to revisit confirmed games like Superhot VR, The Climb and Dead and Buried with wire-free, fully-tracked tech. We still have a lot to learn about Quest’s launch line-up but that’s one of the most exciting things to look forward to in 2019.
Population One (TBD) – Rift, Vive, Windows VR
This isn’t VR’s first attempt to break into the ever-popular battle royale genre, but it might well be its best yet. From the makers of Smash Box Arena comes a massive new last man standing multiplayer game in which you can build structures, glide through the air with jet packs and, of course, shoot your friends in the middle of their faces. Expect Population One to cause a big stir in the VR community.
Prey: Typhon Hunter VR (Early 2019) – Vive, PSVR (Read Our Coverage)
Prey’s first VR escape rooms released in last 2018 and they were fun, if a little underwhelming. We’re more excited about this year’s promised support for the game’s multiplayer mode, though, which has players hunting shape-shifting mimics controlled by other players. It promises some silly jump scare fun at the very least.
Proze Episode 1 (TBD) – Rift, Vive
Proze: Prologue was a short but promising teaser of what developer SignSine has in store for its upcoming episodic series. Episode 1 will take us back to the frozen wastes of Russia which we last visited in the Cold War era. We’re hoping for plenty more puzzles and the chance to unravel some of the mystery that’s been laid out before us.
Raiders of Erda (TBD) – Rift, Vive (Read Our Impressions)
We’ve been paying close attention to this promising debut from UK-based Cooperative Innovations for two years now and we’re hopeful that this is finally the year we’ll get to play it. Not only does Erda promise hours of co-op questing with friends but the team behind it has taken a long look at the current state of VR sword combat in hopes it can provide a much richer experience than what’s come before.
Respawn Entertainment’s Oculus Shooter (TBD) – Rift
We’ve waited patiently for an update on Titfanfall developer Respawn Entertainment’s Oculus-exclusive shooter and were dismayed to discover it wasn’t at Oculus Connect this year. Still, Oculus assures us that development is progressing, which means we’re still hoping to see the game in 2019. Given this studio’s pedigree, we expect nothing less than a bar-raising shooter.
Rogan: The Thief (TBD) – Rift, Vive
A visually striking take on Thief in VR that caught our attention last October. Rogan has you sneaking through a castle, pickpocketing guards and hiding in the shadows. It looks like a more polished version of the excellent Unknightly, so we’ve got our fingers crossed that this will be the best VR stealth game yet. Did I mention it looks beautiful?
Shaman: Spirithunter (TBD) – Rift
Former members of The Climb developer Crytek assemble here for one of 2019’s most intriguing VR games. Take on the role of the last shaman of a tribe, searching for the reason behind the weather that has wiped out all of his tribe. Stealth-based gameplay takes center stage in this chilly adventure that will have you fighting the elements.
Space Junkies (TBD) – Rift, Vive (Read Our Hands-On)
Arcade shooter thrills await you in this multiplayer jet-packed fueled action game from Ubisoft. Expect zero-gravity shootouts with the Touch controllers and Vive wands as you jet around enormous maps, grabbing guns and dodging incoming fire. Think Echo Arena but with guns (and no, not Echo Combat).
Star Child (TBD) – PSVR (Read Our Hands-On)
Star Child went MIA in 2018, but Playful Corp assures us it’s still in development and that’s great news. This is a 2D platformer of sorts in which the player’s character, Spectra, forms a strong bond with a giant robotic companion as she explores an alien planet. Expect classic platforming action with a few twists in this imaginative adventure.
Star Wars: Vader Immortal (TBD) – Quest
Could this be the Star Wars VR experience that finally lets us execute true blade-to-blade lightsaber combat? Vader Immortal’s stunning trailer suggests as much meaning that, even if this technically isn’t a ‘game’, we’re still really, really excited to, you know, play it. There’s still much to learn about this one, but expect it to be one of the biggest VR releases of 2019.
Stormland (TBD) – Rift (Read Our Hands-On)
Insomniac Games may have significantly raised its profile with its Spider-Man PS4 game but it’s not abandoning VR. Stormland is set to use procedural generation to offer one of VR’s biggest and most detailed adventures to date. We’re looking forward to co-op combat and slick traversal in a package that will hopefully show what this platform can really do for action games.
Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown (TBD) – PSVR
This is an interesting one. It’s an RPG of sorts in which you stand in one room but the table in front of your morphs into different environments, letting you explore an entire game world without ever really breaking the immersion. As for how Table of Tales plays, there’s still much to learn but consider us very interested.
Telefrag VR (TBD) – Rift, Vive (Read Our Hands-On)
The developers of Detached return with another multiplayer VR game that’s sure to make your stomach twist. Telefrag wants to be VR’s very own Unreal Tournament with arena-based shooting in which players can jump between walls and ceilings, using the titular feature to teleport into opponents and burst them. We’ll be interested to see if Telefrag is refined enough to justify its dizzying gameplay.
The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners (TBD)
Very little is known about the gaming industry’s latest take on much-explored The Walking Dead series. This isn’t even the franchise’s first excursion into VR, but developer Skydance Interactive’s work with the excellent Archangel: Hellfire has us hopeful that this will be more than your average zombie-killing slaughter fest.
Titan Arena (TBD) – Rift, Vive
Titan Arena is probably the closest we’re ever going to get to Shadow of the Colossus in VR, but it looks like a game that will also be able to stand on its own two giant legs. You take on enormous bosses in arena-sized battles, finding their weak spots and scaling up them as soon as you get the opportunity. Scale is still one of the best elements of VR and this promises to capitalize on it in a big way.
Trover Saves The Universe (TBD) – PSVR (Read Our Hands-On)
Justin Roiland’s Squanch Games continues its weird and wacky adventure into VR with another eccentric experience. Trover seems to be a third-person action game of sorts that will borrow from the book of Accounting. That is to say it’ll be very strange, entirely unpredictable and, hopefully, another absolutely essential exploration of what the platform can do.
Undead Citadel (TBD)
Revealed in the final weeks of 2018, Undead Citadel promises to be one of the more polished takes on a genre that’s already familiar to VR; zombie slaying. Normally we wouldn’t turn an eye to yet another zombie game, but Citadel’s crisp visuals and vague promise of some sort of narrative have caught our attention. Let’s see what the new year brings for this one.
Unseen Diplomacy 2 (TBD)
The original Unseen Diplomacy is one of the few VR games to really explore what can be done with room-scale VR, and it does so to wonderful effect. We’re hoping for a sequel with much more content and some fresh ideas on what moving through virtual space really means. Platforms haven’t been confirmed but we’d love to see this on Quest.
Vacation Simulator (TBD) – Rift, Vive, PSVR (Read Our Hands-On)
After spending 2017 with Rick and Morty and then suffering a slight delay to its original 2018 release window Owlchemy Labs is finally returning to the series it made its name with. In many ways Job Simulator served as a template for the current state of VR gaming and now the studio is going on vacation. Vacation Simulator promises to deliver more slapstick VR worlds that we love to get lost in, now complete with the shining sun, crystal clear waters and maybe a new job bot or two.
Valve’s Three VR Games (TBD)
Well it wouldn’t be a Valve game without an unbearable stretch of silence, would it? It’s been nearly three years since Valve confirmed it was working on three VR games now and only very recently did we hear from sources that one of them will be a Half-Life VR title (!). We’re begging for more news at this point, and our fingers are tightly crossed that 2019 is finally the year Valve delivers.
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot (TBD) – Vive, PSVR (Read Our Hands-On)
Machinehead Games excellent take on a beloved IP is finally getting the VR treatment. Acting as a side-story to B.J. Blazkowicz’s trigger-happy adventures, Cyberpilot sees you hacking different types of Nazi war machines and then turning them on their rulers. We weren’t too impressed with the original build we tired at E3, but still look forward to the full thing.
Zed (TBD) – Rift, Vive
Obduction and Myst developer Cyan has already done a lot for VR but now it’s helping others to find their way in the industry. Zed is a Cyan-published game from Eagre Games that looks to be a bit of an existential treat. We follow along in the life of an aging artist that’s reflecting on his years as dementia starts to creep in. We’ll be interested to see how the game utilizes VR to spin a memorable tale.