Stacks on Stacks is a new column discussing the games I’m playing now and the games I plan to play in the future.

E3 2018, gaming’s biggest event, has come and gone. And, like you, I’ve begun to compile my annual list of games I plan to play from all the trailers and showcases developers and publishers shared over the week.

I’m not like your other friends. Coming out of E3 2018, my plan is to stay nimble and agile. I’m avoiding sequels from franchises that I don’t get that excited about anyway. For example, the new Gears and Forza games are a non-starter. Finally, I’m done getting excited for or pre-ordering any game that doesn’t have a release date. Halo Infinite isn’t on this list because of that.

I do like open-world games and detailed stories, so there are some games on my list that you absolutely won’t be shocked by. This is the first Stacks on Stacks that features at least one game from all three major platforms. I didn’t set out to do this, but PlayStation does have a few exclusives I want to play. Also, as noted in the Nintendo Switch review, Nintendo’s console also has a few games I’m excited to play.

Ok, enough preamble. Here’s what I’m planning to dive into over the next year.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

Admittedly, I always go into E3 a little jaded. The biggest developers either hint at or reveal their titles weeks before the show, leaving you with few surprises like The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit.

I’m interested in The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit because the trailer teases a more sophisticated approach to story and characters than games I’ve played with bigger budgets. Sam, the game’s subject, seems to invent Captain Spirit as a coping mechanism to cope with the stresses in his life. I know, it’s a huge departure from the action-adventure and alien shooting that I usually do, but I like the idea of a game with complex people and emotions.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit’s release date is June 26th. I’m looking forward to my first experience from DontNOD Entertainment.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

I’m ashamed to say that my Nintendo Switch has sat in a bin inside Studio 1 ever since I traded off Splatoon 2. Don’t worry Switch fans; it’ll get some use on December 7th. That’s when Super Smash Bros Ultimate launches.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate will have every fighter to ever appear in a Smash game. That’s enough to catch my attention; I’ve skipped every one of them since the original. (My brief experience with the Wii U version was disastrous. There are kindergarten age kids with better win-loss records in that game.)

We’ll hear more about Super Smash Bros Ultimate before launch. Specifically, I expect news about new fighters and stages in early fall.

Knowing what I know about the game now, it’s a must-buy. I’ve got to put that Nintendo Switch in my closet to good use somehow, and being able to beat up Nintendo characters I don’t like wherever seem like a terrific way to do that.

Marvel’s Spider-Man

I’ve been talking about Marvel’s Spider-Man since Sony announced it. Fun fact: I plan to buy a used PS4 just to play it.

Marvel’s Spider-Man is worth me buying a used PS4 because it has a great pedigree. It’s being developed by Insomniac Games, the same studio that worked on Sunset Overdrive for Microsoft. Videos of the web-slinging and combat remind me of Batman Arkham Knight, which remains my favorite game three years after it launched because of its fighting mechanics and traversal features.

Luckily, Marvel’s Spider-Man launches on September 7th. That gives me plenty of time to save pennies and buy a PS4 before the game launches. As three consoles are a bit much, I plan on selling this PS4 after I’ve finished Spider-Man and Detroit Become Human, another PlayStation exclusive. Detroit Become Human launched in May.

The Division 2

The Division 2 will take players to Washington D.C. to combat a new wave of zealots seizing power after the genetically engineered virus of the first game brought the United States government to its knees.

I wasn’t sold on the new setting at first, but the trailer Ubisoft showed at its E3 2018 showcase turned me around on it. Whereas the first game was about saving what remained in the immediate aftermath of the virus, this game’s story appears to focus on what happens now that lawlessness has set in for good. It’s clearly trading on some political undertones that I find fascinating. Watch the trailer if you haven’t already.

The Division 2 release date is March 15, 2019.

Dropped from the Stacks

I’d thought about buying these games, but they’re skips as of now.

Just Cause 4

Just Cause 4 caught my interest at first, but I saw or read nothing about the game from E3 2018 that made me want to jump into the franchise again. Sure, the booms are louder and the explosions are better looking, but why should I drop 100 hours into this game when Just Cause 3 felt like an absolute slog to get through sometimes? Nothing showcased at E3 has convinced me that Just Cause 4 will fix that problem beyond having a jet-powered wingsuit at the start of the game, and I have one of those in Just Cause 3 thanks to a DLC purchase.

Just Cause 4 launches on December 4th.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

I hadn’t expected Ubisoft to release Assassin’s Creed Odyssey this year. That’s why it’s on my hold list. I’ll be busy throwing my money at PS4 in the fall for Spider-Man. 

To be clear, there’s plenty of things that may get Odyssey on my Must Buy list. You can begin the game as a female assassin. That’s something I’ve wanted since I played as Evie Fry in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. On top of that, it doesn’t change many of the mechanics that I’ve finally gotten used to in Assassin’s Creed Origins. Finally, the game has an interesting setting. Odyssey will take players to Ancient Greece, a place I hadn’t realized I desperately needed the franchise to visit until I watched the game’s trailer.

If Ubisoft reveals something unexpected before Assassin’s Creed Odyssey arrives on October 5th, I might bump something off my list of must play games and buy it instead. I’m perfectly happy to wait until this time next year to play the game if that doesn’t happen.

Crackdown 3

Microsoft’s repeated teasing and failure to deliver Crackdown 3 has finally gotten to me. Of the three games that ended-up on my Dropped list after E3 2018, I’m pretty confident this open-world game will still be on it by the time I write another edition of Stack on Stacks in the late summer.

Yes, I am interested in a fully destructible world open-world. On the other hand, it’s coming around the same time that Anthem launches. If I have to choose between those games — and I do because I’m not made of coin — it’ll be the first game in a new franchise. Besides its online mode’s destuctible buildings, I’ve yet to see anything about this game that really grabs me.

So, that’s what I’ve got planned for the next year. What about you guys?

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