Another new year has begun, and with that arrives a bunch of new games to play. We here at Kotaku UK have a bit of a tradition of compiling a big list of British games due to release in the coming year, both big and small, and like to highlight the ones that look like they might be a bit special.
Many of these games are a way off from release, some with only brief videos or images and text descriptions to go on. Sometimes they come from a developer with amazing previous work, or the art's just gorgeous, or the concept made us chuckle – but they've all given us reason to stop and pay attention. 2019 is gearing up to be one hell of a year for Brexit Britain, so take back control of your leisure time with this pretty little lot.
Grey Alien Games – Spring 2019 (PC)
Ancient Enemy is an intriguing RPG based around a collectible card combat system. The game has players loot fallen enemies in order to collect cards, which will help build the deck that leads them to victory. The studio is a relative newcomer but Ancient Enemy is being partially funded by well-known indie developer Mike Bithell (Thomas Was Alone), and expect to hear more about it soon.
Before I Forget
3-Fold Games – TBA 2019
Before I Forget is a narrative adventure game about a woman named Sunita who is living with dementia. The game sees you explore a house, interacting with objects, as you try to contextually piece together your life – even though what is remembered may not always be accurate or relevant.
Bubbles the Cat
Johnny Wallbank – TBA 2019
Bubbles the Cat is a one-button platformer, where players control the jumps of a non-stop running kitten, trying to climb and jump safely through levels filled with dangerous traps. You play an adorable white kitten who has fallen into another dimension, and if keeping that kitten safe and alive isn’t enough motivation to play this cute platforming game, I don’t know what is.
Buildings Have Feelings Too
Merge Games – TBA 2019
Buildings Have Feelings Too is just a great title, isn't it? This is a city management sim with a unique twist: all the buildings are alive – they're characters with needs and desires that need help to thrive. This is a city management game about managing a whole city, but also about not forgetting to manage the individual buildings that make up the energy of the greater whole.
The art style is immediately eye catching, and this injection of overt personality is an intriguing spin on the genre.
Aaron Steed – TBA 2019
Bump 2 is a simple and intriguing turn-based dungeon crawler. Played on a grid, players can bump into environmental blocks like stone to build up a dash, which in turn is used to travel large distances. By destroying blocks two moves in a row, you can dash as far as you like in any direction. Continue bashing without stopping to build up a high score, while avoiding being damaged by enemies.
It’s a simple premise, but we played a build while working on this anticipated list, and this is already super fun.
PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
High Tea Frog – TBA 2019
Developed in Gateshead by a trio of ex-Ubisoft developers, Cake Bash is an adorable-looking four-player party game. The premise is simple: you play as a bunch of cakes, all fighting to be the most delicious cake around.
A top-down brawler, you basically just try and get as many sweets and treats stuck to you as possible, while punching the other cakes so that any treats they’ve accumulated fall off, ready for you to collect for yourself.
It’s a simple but ingenious concept, and the superb presentation makes this one to watch. Great studio name, too.
Clive ‘N’ Wrench
Dinosaur Bytes Studio – TBA 2019
Dinosaur Bytes! Britain has the best developer names in the world and that's that. Developed over the past seven years by a solo developer in Cambridgeshire, Clive ‘N’ Wrench is a mascot platformer very much in the vain of Banjo Kazooie. Following a rabbit and a monkey working as a single playable protagonist, the game follows the pair on a journey across both time and space, in an amusing 3D world.
The Collage Atlas
PC and consoles
John Evelyn – Q4 2019
The Collage Atlus is an incredibly ambitious video game being developed in Portsmouth, where every single piece of art in its 3D world was hand drawn with pen and ink. The game allows players to explore a world while interacting with a narrative about memory loss and agency, and it’s one you can't take your eyes off.
Dual Studios – Q4 2019
Doth mine eyes deceive me? This is the Brit List, no? IT'S SPELLED COLOUR!!! You're banned!
Sorry, came over all Brexit there. Color is a beautiful-looking puzzle game, where additive colour theory is used to traverse environments, all while understanding how colours interact with each other. It's a looker alright, and one we can't wait to try out for ourselves.
Xbox One, PC
Sumo Digital – February 15th 2019
Crackdown 3 is an open-world action shooter game that focuses heavily on destructible environments and superpowered world traversal. When the game was first announced, Microsoft made claims that, when playing online, players would have access to twenty times the processing power for world destruction physics processing as normal, but these claims have gone quiet during years of delays for the game.
The question of what state Crackdown 3 will be in come launch is an open one, as is the fact that this has been a troubled development across multiple studios. With veterans from the first two games called in to help salvage the project, our money is on a solid and enjoyable sequel that probably won't live up to all those fancy claims Microsoft made, and probably shouldn't have, so many years ago.
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Three Fields Entertainment – TBA 2019
Developed by Petersfield-based Three Fields Entertainment, which features plenty of ex-Criterion talent, Dangerous Driving is an arcade racing game very reminiscent of titles like Burnout. You drive fast, crash into stuff (sometimes even meaning to), and leave carnage in your wake as you rush through busy roads giving no thought to fellow road users. The world needs more Burnout, EA isn't going to give us it, and this is easily the next best thing.
Dark Future: Blood Red States
Auroch Digital, Q2 2019
Based on the 80s Games Workshop IP Dark Future, Blood Red States is a real-time strategy car combat game, with time-slowing mechanics, set in a future ravaged by climate change. These crazy dystopias!
Dead Man’s Phone
Electric Noir Studio – TBA 2019
Dead Man’s Phone caught our attention last year when we saw a version of the game pitched at Develop in Brighton. The idea is simple: you play a detective trying to solve murder mysteries, and using the victim’s phone to search for clues.
Featuring live action footage and interactive phone interfaces, it follows in the footsteps of games like A Normal Lost Phone, but with a narrative context that gives a little more reason to be digging around a stranger's most private information.
This has impressed us every time we have seen it, and we can’t wait to play the finished game.
Remex Software – TBA 2019
Developed by a team in Guildford, Deadstick is an unforgiving flight sim set in remote wilderness. Players will have to manage harsh flying conditions, while showing off their best pilot skills to stay airborne.
Something Something Games – TBA 2019
The best way to describe Detective Bot based on its trailer is Octodad, but as a clumsy robot detective stumbling around trying to solve crimes. It's another of those games where the character is deliberately tough to control, resulting in silly chaotic results. Who knows whether the joke will sustain itself over the course of the game, but watching this robot knock over chairs while trying to investigate a crime scene just really brought a smile to my morning.
DiRT Rally 2.0
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Codemasters – 26th February 2019
Dirt Rally 2.0 is, unsurprisingly, the sequel to 2015’s DiRT Rally, and sees players drive through bumpy routes, off-road racing as fast as they can.
Codemasters is an amazing racing studio and the DiRT series has, with the occasional exception, always delivered the best rally games around. This one is also the official game of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, which makes it sound important. If you're not into rally games then, look, it's about bouncing through muddy trails in the wood while a navigator shouts 'hard left!', and who doesn't like the sound of that.
No More Picnics – TBA 2019
Another amazing developer name, and this time it even kind of suits the game's theme! Disaster Watch is a real time strategy game focused not on taking over or destroying the world, but instead about managing real-time evacuation efforts in a world where natural disasters are becoming ever-more common. Alas, there will be no more picnics.
The interface does look a little reminiscent of Plague Inc. but this seems to be somewhat more involved – and, of course, have a different focus. Players need to research upcoming disasters, plan how to protect, defend, and evacuate cities, put their plans into motion, and improvise when aspects of their plan don’t work as expected. It’s about trying to save as much life as possible, and look after the survivors afterwards. If things go wrong, it’s up to you to manage the fallout and the relief effort. You’ll need to save whoever you can, and deal with the consequences when the dust settles.
Laurie James – TBA 2019
Disobedient Sheep is a local multiplayer game where two players control sheepdogs trying to herd sheep in a variety of lighthearted game modes. Wake up sheeple!
Media Molecule – 2019
Dreams is a sandbox game from the developers of Little Big Planet and Tearaway where players are encouraged to create and share their own levels and assets for others to play through. The game contains a lot of creative tools through which stories can be told, and has deeply impressed those who’ve had a chance to go hands on with it.
Drink More Glurp
Catastrophic Overload – TBA 2019
Drink More Glurp is a multiplayer party game designed around fiddly controls, silly power ups, and a weird new sport. Players have to use both analogue sticks, as well as both triggers, in order to control a pair of arms and race quickly across difficult terrain. While the base premise seems fun by itself, the more interesting aspect is that rounds of play will be sponsored by fake brands, each of which add interesting modifiers to the game – like helium balloons that make it hard to touch the ground, or wheels which make it hard to get grip and stay upright.
The reveal trailer for Drink More Glurp caught our attention with the sheer number of modifiers on offer, which will hopefully add lots of replay value to a relatively simple concept.
Glitchers – TBA 2019
Drive Buy is a multiplayer driving game, all about getting to customers before your opponents. Use power ups to defeat other drivers, sell more product, and prove you're the best at racing around the world getting your goods to buyers. Loving the name, too.
Du Lac And Fey: Dance of Death
Salix Games – TBA 2019
Have you ever wanted to solve a murder mystery in Victorian London as Sir Lancelot Du Lac and sorceress Morganna Le Fey? Well, that's a very specific desire, and if you lived at any other period of history it would be impossible, but this year you can do just that. Go stop Jack the Ripper, now is your time!
No More Robots – Early 2019
Family Man is a visually simple first person RPG about the lengths that people will go to in order to keep their family safe. After getting into debt with dangerous people, the player has to decide how to try and solve their financial issues without losing their family's love and support in the process.
Superstring Studio – TBA 2019
Headspun is a game made up of a mixture of FMV video and 2D animation, where you play as the conscious and subconscious embodiment of the the mind of a man who recently came out of a coma. Think Inside Out, but with a teenage boy and you get to shape where he ends up going in life.
PC, PS4, iOS
Inkle Studios – TBA 2019
Developed by Inkle Studios, the team behind the incredibly well-written 80 Days, Heaven’s Vault is about an archaeologist and her robot companion, investigating a series of ancient moons.
The game is about exploring, learning, translating ancient text, and piecing together the history of a world long since abandoned. The game features a hieroglyphic language to decipher, with translation more of an art than an exact science. The way you interpret text will change how the character views the world, and will alter the interpretation of later discoveries. There’s no way to know for sure if you’ve translated things correctly; you just have to use the translation that makes most sense in context.
The game is non-linear, and will apparently feature numerous narrative branches that allow for different styles of play.
Honey, I Joined a Cult
Sole Survivor Games – TBA 2019
Is this the year of incredible game names or what? Set in the 1970s, Honey, I Joined a Cult is a top-down cult management and base building game for PC. Players will need to build up their group of supporters, protect themselves from nosy reporters, fend off loving family members who just want their loved ones home, and make as much profit for the glorious leader as possible.
Paul Helman – Spring 2019
Horace is a frankly gorgeous-looking pixel art platform adventure game, coming to PC in the coming months. The game follows a robot on a quest to reunite with his long-lost family, and save the world in the process.
It has a great sense of cinematography for a pixel art platformer, with some really interesting-looking environments to explore. It’s hard to stand out as a pixel art platformer, but Horace looks like it might end up being a little special.
PC and consoles
Michael O’Kane – TBA 2019
Inertial Drift is an arcade racing game, but one with a unique take on drifting. You control steering with the left stick, and drifting with the right stick, with the aim being to allow a deep level of control around how you navigate twisting and turning tracks.
Inertial Drift isn’t the only drift-based arcade racer out there, but if it can pull off its ambitious aims for drifting mechanics, it might well play differently than any of the competition. It’s an interesting take on the genre, and we’ll be getting our Outrun playlist ready to go when this releases.
— Inertial Drift (@InertialDrift) September 29, 2018
King Under the Mountain
Rocket Jump – February 2019
Inspired by games like Dwarf Fortress and Prison Architect, King Under the Mountain is a settlement-building strategy game. The game sees you managing the growth of a kingdom, from large-scale design choices, right down to following and caring for individual citizens. The game enters early access on Itch.io in February, with a Steam release coming later.
Knights and Bikes
Foam Sword – TBA 2019
Knights and Bikes tells the story of Nessa and Demelza, two tough imaginative girls trying to save their small island community through treasure hunting and imagined layers of excitement. The art style is thanks to the creative director of Tearaway, and the game can be played solo, in local co-op, or online co-op. This feels like it could be really special.
Pink Brain Labs – Summer 2019
Launch Party is a game where one player can see and interact with an in-game space rocket mission control interface, covered in readouts and switches, and the other players have access to a manual over 100 pages long to diagnose solutions. Players have to problem solve quickly to launch the rocket safely, and keep it stable as it climbs, in increasingly difficult challenges. Yes it's basically Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes at Cape Canaveral, but what's not to like about that?
PSVR, Oculus Quest
Make Real – TBA 2019
Loco Dojo is a Mario Party-style virtual board game, played in VR. The idea is that players spin a wheel, move around a board, then take part in VR mini games with their friends. It’s all about silly simple VR games, and using those to progress through a larger board game.
Maid of Sker
PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Wales Interactive – Q3 2019
Maid of Sker is an upcoming first person survival horror game based around a tale from Welsh folklore. Taking inspiration from both R.D. Blackmore’s 19th century novel of the same name and the original Welsh ballad, Y Ferch o’r Sger, the game features multiple endings, and focuses on the tale of a woman whose ghost is said to haunt an 800-year old Welsh mansion.
Man of Medan – Dark Pictures Anthology
PS4, Xbox One, PC
Supermassive Games – TBA 2019
The first game in Supermassive Games' new Dark Pictures Anthology, Man of Medan is a choice-based horror adventure game, where you guide a group of young adults out on a fishing boat, trying to help them survive their run in with a mysterious ghostly vessel.
Shorter than the studio’s flagship release Until Dawn, Man of Medan is the first of a series of standalone stories, each tackling horror themes from different perspectives over the next two years. The games will feature many of the same mechanics as Until Dawn, including branching narratives where characters may not survive if you make the wrong choices.
PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Auroch Digital – Q3 2019
If you sometimes look up at the night sky and yearn to explore the stars... well, you're probably a bit late to do it in person unless you're already a trained astronaut. Fortunately, you may be able to live that dream in Mars Horizon. The game is a turn-based sim where players take part in the space race from its infancy, aiming to be the first to explore the red planet and beyond. The game is supported by the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency, and as such you know you're getting something at least vaguely representing the tone of trying to see what lies beyond Earth.
Mavericks: Proving Grounds
Automaton Games – Q4 2019
Mavericks: Proving Grounds is an ambitiously large battle royale game, with the unique spin of offering social spaces outside of battle royale combat. The idea seems to be that you can interact with other players in non-violent means, like a trading economy, before you jump into battle and just shoot every person you see. The game is aiming for 1,000 player battles, which if pulled off could be quite impressive to experience, but obviously the proof is in the pudding with such an ambitious scope.
The Murder Mystery Machine
Blazing Griffin – early 2019
The Murder Mystery Machine is an upcoming procedurally-generated murder mystery game, where crime scenes are stripped back to their most basic elements, and players are tasked with using lateral thinking to deduce what occurred. The art is beautiful, and the concept certainly has us excited to give the game a try.
PC, PS4, Xbox One
White Paper Games – February 5th 2019
We got to try a little of The Occupation at a preview event last year, where the game showed promise but was difficult to fully assess. You play as a female journalist who, upon discovering government corruption and deceit against the people, stands up defiantly, refusing to back down from spreading the news of what she knows. The concept was strong, as was the way the game reflected on moral choices taken for the greater good, but we had a lot of technical issues which prevented us getting more time with the game. It has had an additional five months in development since then, so hopefully the great aspects of this game can shine through – we'll certainly give it a look when on release.
Occupy White Walls
Stiki Pixels – Q3 2019
Occupy White Walls is now out in early access, which normally breaks our criteria for a game to make it onto the incredibly prestigious Brit List, but we made an exception in this case due to the interesting nature of the game. Occupy White Walls is pretty unique in that it's an MMOG about art and creative spaces. The whole idea is for the player to create an art gallery, populate it with art, invite people to experience what they have made, and to explore the art others have made. It's a pretty beautiful idea to watch unfold.
I spent a little time in the early access game while working on this list, and I really think this is something special to watch as this year progresses and more things appear in the game. The below video of an art gallery themed around the lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody really shows off some of the inventive ideas already floating around in the community.
Spectrum48 – early 2019
Yes Spectrum48, that's what I'm talking about! 48K of magic in that studio name.
Oco is a beautiful-looking minimalist puzzle game, all about the ways audio and visuals interact with gameplay. You control a single tiny pixel, tapping to hop, and swirling around these circular levels. Gameplay is cyclical, and there's just something very calming about watching it. Hopefully it's as fun to play as it looks!
Semaopus, TBA 2019
Off Grid is a hacking game with an unlikely protagonist, a technophobic single father. The story has modern real world themes around data privacy, as you make use of all the unprotected data around you to sneak your way through levels.
Loju – TBA 2019
Ordia is a one-button platform game for mobile devices, where you play as a form of brand new life taking its first scary steps into a big new world. Players jump, bounce, stick, and slide through beautifully colourful environments, trying to understand their place in a world far bigger and more dangerous than themselves.
Kaizen Gameworks – TBA 2019
Being designed by a former lead designer at Supermassive Games, who worked on Until Dawn and the upcoming Man of Medan, Paradise Killer is a first person, open world, murder mystery game. Players assume the role of Lady Love Dies, trying to solve the mass murder of a mysterious island’s ruling council.
The developer promises multiple endings, the ability to solve the murder in any order you like, and the ability to try and solve elements of the case whenever you feel you have enough evidence. The character designs seem exaggerated and over the top, which could be a recipe for an interesting murder case if pulled off correctly.
Hexterion – TBA 2019
Every year on our British Games list here at Kotaku UK there seems to be at least one extreme top-down sports style video game with lasers, holograms, and futuristic arenas. Last year it was Laser League, and this year it’s all about Rebound.
At its core, Rebound is a dodgeball game, but one with modifiers and power ups layered onto a techno aesthetic to make this far more futuristic and fast paced than before.
PhiGames – Late 2019
Recompile is a platforming adventure game about an AI becoming sentient, with a unique narrative twist. Because our protagonist is a computer program, capable of incredibly fast complex experiences, the game’s entire narrative takes place in under a second of real world time.
Players will have to run, jump, fight, and hack their way through a virtual world, all the world impressively builds and dismantles itself as you progress.
Ground Shatter – TBA 2019
RICO is a buddy cop first-person shooter where you play as a pair of loose cannon police officers, given 24 hours to crack a big case. Kick down doors, shoot people, blow stuff up, walk away confidently and catch the criminal in big, flashy action movie style.
Ring of Fire
Far Few Giants – Q4 2019
Ring of Fire is a crime thriller experienced through use of a search bar, which as a fan of games like Her Story instantly has me intrigued. You play a woman trying to hunt down a serial killer, who appears to have been inspired by toxic internet cultures, while exploring a near future London still feeling the impacts of world changes we're making today.
Shed Works – TBA 2019
Sable got its first proper gameplay trailer reveal back at E3’s 2018 PC Gamer Show, and my word the trailer left us excited for more.
Sable is an open world exploration game about solitude. You play as the titular character, a young girl on a hoverbike, setting off into the world wanting to learn more about her planet's history. The game isn't about combat; it's just about exploring a world.
Developed by a very small team, the trailer really did a great job of making the game look gorgeous. The developers cite the 'clear lines' style of French and Belgian comics as well as Studio Ghibli as being inspirations but, seriously, watch that trailer. That aesthetic has wow factor: let's hope the game does it justice.
Smith and Winston
Execution Unit – March 2019
Smith and Winston is a twin-stick, top-down voxel shooter that promises players “limitless level destruction”. Featuring a set of handcrafted voxel worlds, the game follows a pair of explorers on a strange alien world, trying to find out the planet’s mysteries and hopefully save the whole galaxy in the process.
James Patton – Q1 2019
Spinnortality is a cyberpunk management sim, where being a ruthlessly evil person is an inherent part of the experience. Set in a world ruled by wealthy megacorporations, your goal is build an even bigger and more powerful corporation, control the media, control the people, crash currencies, topple governments, and basically become a force so powerful it cannot be stopped.
The game is all about manipulating and warping the world so that it benefits you, and you alone. There’s something oddly exciting about the prospect... now peel me a grape, slave.
Fail Better Games – January 31st 2019
Sunless Skies is a gothic horror RPG about exploration, survival, avoiding starvation, madness, and terror. Those are some pretty intense themes, but as the follow-up to 2015's well-received Sunless Sea, we're excited to see what this nightmarish experience has in store for us.
Angus Beer – TBA 2019
Sunset Witch is a retro shoot-em-up that combines action, puzzles, and platforming. You play as a witch on a journey to stop her inner demons, and the art style is simply adorable.
PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Billy Goat – April 2019 (Free on Xbox Game Pass at launch)
Another 10/10 name, and the premise of Supermarket Shriek is even better: you play a man with a supermarket trolley, which has a goat in it, and you’ve gone out of control running full speed through the aisles. In order to turn, two players have to work together, screaming into microphones to make the man or the goat scream and turn the cart in their controlled direction. It’s a lot of frantic fast-paced human and animal carnage predicated on wrecking a busy supermarket, and I can’t stop giggling at the concept.
Lucid Games – January 2019
Switchblade is a MOBA game, but one focused on deathly murder vehicles. Players pick two brutal murder cars each before the match, and can switch between them at any time, as the flow of the combat dictates.
Take two teams of five drivers, drive head first at your opponent, and watch the explosions fly.
PC, Android, iOS
Sam Barlow – 2019
No that's not a screenshot, it's Mr Barlow posing with a telescope. From the creator of the critically acclaimed Her Story, Telling Lies will follow a similar format of allowing players to interact with pieces of live action fiction, but with a far higher production budget behind it. The game is a crime thriller with 3-4 key characters in the story.
Phantom Aspect – Summer 2019
Thrunt XL is a game about piloting an agile, but fragile, craft through dangerous environments. You'll race through paths, collect powerups and avoid projectiles as quickly as you can to get to safety. The combination of tight, precise controls and viciously deadly environments looks fun in footage, and we’re excited to see if it feels as fun to play as it is to watch.
The Valentine Watch
Jakorah – late 2019
The one sentence pitch I was sent about The Valentine Watch was "it's Final Fantasy Tactics meets Animal Crossing, in Victorian England." Erm... sold! I like all these things, and I certainly understand the comparisons after learning more about the game. You play the sole police officer in a rural town, trying to keep the peace and solve crimes as best you can. The catch is that people in the town will make judgement calls about your style of police work, which will effect your social links within the area. It's a great idea, and one that I'm excited to see more of.
— The Valentine Watch (@ValentineWatch) August 30, 2018
PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rare Drop Games – TBA 2019
Warborn is a turn-based strategy about one of my favourite things, 90s-style anime mechs. Command your fleet around a map, take part in dramatic mech battles, and basically just live out the 90s dream of having a bunch of cool fighting robots to do your bidding.
Switch, Xbox One, PC
Chucklefish – Q1 2019
Wargroove is an upcoming turn-based strategy tactics game with substantial level and campaign creation tools, as well as a pre-packaged campaign mode. And yes it does have a real Fire Emblem vibe going on.
Radical Forge – TBA 2019
White Paw is a mobile narrative puzzle game not about a super villain, but that villain's adorable white kitten. After your villainous boss is murdered, you control White Paw in trying to infiltrate secure buildings, hoping to recover what was taken from them.
Chella Ramanan – TBA 2019
Windrush Tales is a choice-based text adventure game about leaving the Caribbean to start a life in 50s Britain. It explores discrimination, immigration, isolation and the trials and hopes of starting again in a country where you were invited to live but soon resented. It features creative direction from Chella Ramanan, who is also working on Brit List 2019 game Before I Forget.
Sega Mega Drive, Neo Geo, Dreamcast, Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Bitmap Bureau – Q1 2019 (Neo Geo Q2 2019)
Xeno Crisis is a new game being developed for the Sega Mega Drive, as well as a few other retro (and modern) systems, taking inspiration from arcade classics such as Smash TV and Contra. You and another player run-and-gun through enemies as you attempt to discover the cause of an alien menace that has ravaged a distant research colony.