The summer season is usually a dry one for video game releases, with the bulk of new titles being saved for the colder months when people are more inclined to stay at home playing games. The importance of the holiday season to the gaming industry also means that the biggest titles are saved for the autumn and winter months.
There are some developers who use the dry spell of new releases to their advantage and will release a game in a marketplace that has less competition. 2019 will be no exception, as there a lot of great titles due for release that can be enjoyed by those with a desire to hide from the sun's harmful rays.
The 2019 summer season has a lot of new releases spread across all the systems (except for the dearly departed PlayStation Vita), so we have narrowed down the list to twenty upcoming titles from the May to September release window that gamers should check out.
20: Cadence Of Hyrule (Q2)
Plot Summary - Cadence from Crypt of the NecroDancer has somehow found her way to the land of Hyrule, where she will team up with Link and Princess Zelda in order to defeat the forces of Ganon using the power of music & swordplay.
The Breakdown - Cadence of Hyrule is a crossover between Crypt of the NecroDancer and The Legend of Zelda series, with the gameplay of the former being transplanted into the setting of the latter. Cadence of Hyrule is a rare example of Nintendo allowing one of their beloved first-party properties to be used by an indie developer, which shows that they have incredible confidence in Brace Yourself Games. Those who enjoyed Crypt of the NecroDancer should feel right at home with Cadence of Hyrule, as the player has to complete a Roguelike game to the beat of remixed songs from The Legend of Zelda series.
Cadence of Hyrule is coming to the Nintendo Switch in Q2 2019.
19: Rage 2 (May 14)
Plot Summary - The world has been hit by a meteor and a chaotic society has arisen from the ashes of the old one. The player is Walker, the last Ranger, who possesses Nanotrite technology in their body that grants them the equivalent of superpowers. The only problem with these powers is that Walker has drawn the attention of a military dictatorship known as the Authority who want the Nanotrites for themselves.
The Breakdown - Rage 2 is an open-world shooter with a heavy emphasis on big guns, superpowers, and being able to ride a variety of vehicles in order to traverse the hostile wasteland. The people who skipped the original Rage won't be missing out on much, as the series is moving in a new direction by responding to the criticisms of the first. Rage 2 is taking a lighter tone and will focus more on the fun that comes with wreaking havoc on mutants while offering a huge world full of content to discover.
Rage 2 is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 14.
18: A Plague Tale Innocence (May 14)
Plot Summary - Amicia must protect her younger brother, Hugo, from the Inquisition in a country overrun by the horde of rats that brought the Black Death to Europe. The two must find a safe haven in a world of corrupt knights and mindless vermin.
The Breakdown - A Plague Tale: Innocence combines the survival & stealth genres with puzzle solving, as Amicia must use her environment in order to bypass the guards that are hunting her brother, as well as the hordes of rats that lurk in the shadows. The player will have to use Amicia's skill with a sling and her ability to craft chemical concoctions in order to survive. The rats are scared of fire, which means that light sources are essential to bypass them. It's also possible for Amicia to use the rats to her advantage by turning them on her pursuers, should the player have no problem watching guards being devoured whole by crazed vermin.
A Plague Tale: Innocence will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 14.
17: Team Sonic Racing (May 21)
Plot Summary - The people at Sega forgot that Sonic can run really fast and they gave him a car to drive around in. Sonic would go on to star in a series of racing games that were similar to the Mario Kart titles, except with Sega characters.
The Breakdown - The team behind Sonic & Sega All-Star Racing and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed are back with Team Sonic Racing, which will only feature characters from Sonic the Hedgehog. Team Sonic Racing is a kart-racing game that features fifteen different Sonic characters on twenty-one different tracks. The way in which Team Sonic Racing differs from its competitors is in its focus on team-based racing, with players being able to gain buffs from helping their teammates succeed and defeating their rivals on the track.
Team Sonic Racing is coming to Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 21.
16: Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth (June 4)
Plot Summary - The Phantom Thieves of Heart from Persona 5 are trapped in a mysterious movie theater with the Investigation Team from Persona 4 and the SEES members from Persona 3. The female protagonist from Persona 3 Portable will also join up with the other Persona teams for the biggest Shin Megami Tensei crossover yet, as they try to escape from their captivity.
The Breakdown - Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is pure fan service for the fans of the Persona series. Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth brings together the casts of the three most popular Persona games in a first-person RPG that allows the player to explore dungeons using a combination of their favorite characters from the series. Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth also seems as if it will be the last big third-party title released for the Nintendo 3DS, which at least means that the beloved handheld console is being sent off with a bang.
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is coming to the Nintendo 3DS on June 4.
15: Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (June 21)
Plot Summary - An alien known as Nitros Oxide claims to be the greatest driver in the galaxy and comes to Earth to challenge the best racers on the planet. If no one can defeat Oxide, then he will enslave everyone in the world. The cast of Crash Bandicoot buckle up and prepare to take on Oxide at his own game, with the fate of the planet hanging in the balance.
The Breakdown - Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a remake of Crash Team Racing, which was a popular kart-racer on the original PlayStation. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled will bring new content that wasn't in the original, such as new characters, skins, tracks, and items, as well as added online functionality. The urban legend concerning Nitros Oxide being playable will finally become true, as he will part of the roster for the first time in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is coming to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on June 21.
14: Judgment (June 25)
Plot Summary - The bodies of three Yakuza members have been found with their eyes removed. A private investigator named Takayuki Yagami is on the case to find the culprit behind these vicious crimes, who is referred to as "The Mole" for his vicious method of dismembering his victims.
The Breakdown - Judgement is a spin-off of the Yakuza series, with the major difference being that the player is working on the side of the law. Yagami must explore the fictional Kamurocho district of Tokyo to uncover the truth behind The Mole, which involves detective work, chasing crooks through busy streets and over-the-top fight scenes against entire groups of gangsters. Fans of the Yakuza series and its spinoffs will feel right at home with Judgment, but the fact that it's disconnected in terms of the story means that newcomers can also jump right in.
Judgment is coming to PlayStation 4 on June 25.
13: The Sinking City (June 27)
Plot Summary - In the 1920s, the city of Oakmont is struck by a mysterious flood that is driving the inhabitants insane. A private investigator is dispatched to the town in order to uncover the cause of the mass hysteria, but they will soon discover that supernatural forces are at play.
The Breakdown - The Sinking City is heavily inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, which means that there are a lot of tentacle monsters to be found beneath the depths. The game mixes the detective works of an adventure/puzzle game with survival horror battles, as the protagonist uses his boat to explore Oakmont and discovers more about its disturbing past. Just be warned that the main character's mental state is declining and one can only stare into the abyss for so long before something reaches out, meaning that he can snap at any moment and give to insanity effects.
The Sinking City is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on June 27.
12: Super Mario Maker 2 (June 28th)
Plot Summary - Nintendo wanted to find a way to appease both the most creative and masochistic members of their fan base. Super Mario Maker 2 doesn't have a plot, but it's more of a framework for allowing players to express themselves via the medium of Mario and his levels.
The Breakdown - Super Mario Maker 2 offers several improvements over the original, with the most important being the fact that it's on a system that people actually own, so the field will be much wider for content. The new additions to Super Mario Maker 2 include slopes, auto-scrollable stages, the ability to switch to a Super Mario 3D World style, the cat suit from the aforementioned game that can even be given to Bowser, and a slew of new costumes, enemies, and obstacles.
Super Mario Maker 2 will be available for the Nintendo Switch on June 28.
11: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers (July 2)
Plot Summary - The Garlean Empire has been a thorn in the side of the Warrior of Light and his allies since the beginning of Final Fantasy XIV and the time has come to take the war to them.
The Breakdown - Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is the third expansion for Final Fantasy XIV and it's bringing a ton of content to the game, such as new enemies, equipment, and quests. The story of Final Fantasy XIV will continue with missions that take place across new areas, as well as two new jobs for returning players to try - the Dancer, which is a class that focuses on ranged attacks and buffing spells, and the Gunbreaker, who can use the gunblade weapons from Final Fantasy VIII.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is also adding content for new players, such as two new races (the Viera from Final Fantasy XII and the Hrothgar, who are similar to the Ronso from Final Fantasy X), as well as bringing in the Trust system from Final Fantasy XI to allow players to use NPCs to help them in quests if they are having trouble finding allies.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is coming to Macintosh, PC, and PlayStation 4 on July 2.
10: Dragon Quest Builders 2 (July 12)
Plot Summary - The player is a member of a sacred order with the power to craft buildings like no other. An organization known as the Children of Hargon is trying to wipe out the builders and the player escapes to an island, where they meet a mysterious being known as Malroth, who just happens to share a name with the villain of Dragon Quest II...
The Breakdown - Dragon Quest Builders 2 is the perfect game for people who like Minecraft but wish there was more of a focus to the proceedings and a story that gives you a reason to build things. The original Dragon Quest Builders allowed players to flex both their creative skills and combat abilities, as all of the beautiful villages you created would come under siege from hordes of enemies. One of the biggest new additions to Dragon Quest Builders 2 is multiplayer, which will allow four players to work together either locally or online, which means that the series will finally have a social aspect to it.
Dragon Quest Builders 2 will be released for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on July 12.
9: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (July 19)
Plot Summary - Thanos wants to use the Infinity Gauntlet to finger snap away half of the universe. It's up to the Marvel superheroes to take down Thanos and the Black Order, which will be a lot easier this time around, as they will have both Captain Marvel and the X-Men to help them.
The Breakdown - Nintendo managed to snag a huge exclusive for the Switch with a new Marvel Ultimate Alliance game that is being developed by Team Ninja. The previous games in the series allowed players to create their own teams of superheroes and fight against hordes of Marvel supervillains. The latest game will benefit from the fact that the audience is now a lot more familiar with the non-Spider-Man/X-Men characters than they were when Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 was released. The player can recruit characters from the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy and the Inhumans in order to experience pure Marvel fan service in an action RPG form.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order will be released for the Nintendo Switch on July 19, 2019.
8: Fire Emblem: Three Houses (July 26)
Plot Summary - The player takes on the role of a teacher at the Garegg Mach monastery, which sits on the border of three nations. The three heirs of the different nations have been sent to the monastery so that they can be taught in the art of warfare, which is complicated by the arrival of a strange girl with supernatural powers...
The Breakdown - Fire Emblem: Three Houses lets the player choose between three different factions within the academy and form mercenary teams in order to do battle. The previous Fire Emblem games only allowed the player to control individual units on the battlefield, but Fire Emblem: Three Houses turns each unit into its own group of soldiers, offering new levels of scope and strategy. The scale of warfare in Fire Emblem: Three Houses is bigger than it has ever been before and the new setting opens up unique opportunities for storytelling that were not present in the earlier games in the series.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses will be released for the Nintendo Switch on July 26.
7: Wolfenstein: Youngblood (July 26)
Plot Summary - In an alternate reality where World War II continued on until the 1980s, the two daughters of B. J. Blazkowicz travel to Nazi-controlled Paris in order to search for their father and to help the French Resistance to finally liberate their country from occupation.
The Breakdown - Wolfenstein: Youngblood has a much bigger focus on co-op than the other games in the series, with players being able to tackle the entire game alongside their friends. The story of Wolfenstein: Youngblood is also less linear than before, with players being able to take on missions in any order and can explore Paris in order to take on the Nazis on their own turf, which will earn them more experience points and weapon upgrades. The people who buy the Deluxe edition of Wolfenstein: Youngblood will be given a Buddy Pass, which they can give to a friend so that they can play together without the friend needing to own the game.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is coming to Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on July 26, 2019.
6: Shenmue III (July 27)
Plot Summary - Ryo Hazuki witnessed his father's murder and has tracked the killer from Japan to China. Ryo must seek out new masters in the martial arts if he hopes to ever claim revenge for the death of his father, while mystery of the Dragon Mirror and the Phoenix Mirror still awaits an answer.
The Breakdown - The fans of the Shenmue series have waited a long time for the third game to be released and that wait is almost over. Shenmue III is taking more of an RPG approach than the previous games in how Ryo learns and uses his abilities, but the fighting game-style combat system will return, as learning martial arts is an important part of Ryo's journey. The graphics of Shenmue III aren't as impressive as a lot of modern games (due to it being funded on Kickstarter), but the visuals are meant to evoke the earlier games, rather than trying to be realistic. The gameplay is meant to evoke that of the earlier games, as the player is given free rein to explore the world during their quest for revenge.
Shenmue III is due to be released for PC and PlayStation 4 on August 27.
5: Astral Chain (July 30)
Plot Summary - The city of Ark is under siege from extradimensional creatures. In order to fight this threat, a special task force called Neuron is created, whose members fight with the power of a weapon known as the Legion, which can transform into different shapes in order to fight the enemy.
The Breakdown - Astral Chain is an upcoming action game that is being developed by PlatinumGames. The player chooses between two members of Neuron (one male, one female) and must learn how to wield the Legion in order to pull off awesome looking special moves in order to deal with the extradimensional threat. Fans of the other PlatinumGames titles (such as Bayonetta and Nier: Automata) will feel right at home with Astral Chain's fast-paced combat, which rewards those with finely honed skill and timing.
Astral Chain is coming to the Nintendo Switch on July 30, 2019.
4: Control (August 27)
Plot Summary - Jesse Faden seeks out the Federal Bureau of Control in order to learn more about her supernatural abilities. The base of the FBC is known as the Oldest House and when Jesse arrives there, it is attacked by a being known as the Hiss. Jesse gains control of a mystical gun known as the Service Weapon, which allows her to control her powers as she unearths the secrets of the FBC and the Oldest House.
The Breakdown - Control is a third-person shooter set in a surreal location that wouldn't look out of place in Inception, with the entire setting seemingly able to bend itself in order to hamper Jesse's progress. Jesse must combine the offensive capabilities of the Service Weapon with her own psionic abilities in order to survive the dangers of the Oldest House. The player will need to search every corner of the Oldest House in order to empower Jesse's abilities if they are to have any hope of survival.
Control will be released for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on August 27, 2019.
3: Catherine: Full Body (September 3)
Plot Summary - The original Catherine was about a man named Vincent who was torn between two women - the boring but comfortable Katherine and the exciting but unpredictable Catherine. The story of Catherine: Full Body throws a third girl named Qatherine into the mix, who seeks to complicate Vincent's life in new and strange ways.
The Breakdown - Catherine was a puzzle-platformer with a strong focus on story and the ramifications of the player's decisions. The gameplay sections of Catherine involved nightmarish dream worlds where Vincent had to climb massive structures made of blocks in order to face (or flee) from his fears. Catherine: Full Body brings an updated version of the original to the PlayStation 4 and adds new content, as well as DLC involving Joker and the Phantom Thieves from Persona 5.
Catherine: Full Body will be released for the PlayStation 4 on September 3, 2019.
2: Phoenix Point (September 2019)
Plot Summary - An alien virus is unleashed on Earth that mutates most of the lifeforms on the planet, transforming them into Lovecraftian horrors. Only a few small pockets of civilization remain, with the player being part of the Phoenix Project, which intends to protect the last remnants of society.
The Breakdown - Phoenix Point is a spiritual successor to the X-COM series, which means that the game combines controlling a global organization while also leading small groups of soldiers in turn-based battles. It's up to the player to make sure that they can gather enough resources to survive, while also battling the other human factions and the hordes of procedurally-generated mutants that can evolve over the course of the game in order to become stronger.
Phoenix Point will be an Epic Store exclusive on MacOS & Windows for one year and will be available on Xbox One in September 2019.
1: Borderlands 3 (September 13)
Plot Summary - The wicked Calypso Twins are uniting the bandit clans into an army that they can use to take control of the galaxy. It's up to a group of enterprising Vault Hunters to stop them, which will involve visiting different worlds in their quest for better loot.
The Breakdown - Borderlands 3 is taking the shoot and loot gameplay of the earlier titles and drastically increasing the scope of the experience, with new worlds to explore and enemies to slay. Borderlands 3 will feature a new cast of characters but will see the return of old cast members, including the people from Tales from the Borderlands. The main new addition comes in the form of new weapon types, as there will be guns that can fire volcanos and bullets that insult the enemy as they home in on their target. It will be a lot easier for players of different levels to engage in missions together, thanks to a new level-sync system that will allow everyone to be able to play together.
Borderlands 3 is coming to the Epic Games Store for six months on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on September 13, 2019.