The last few years have been good to the FPS. Even as Battle Royale games have erupted onto the scene by the dozen, we've still had stuff like Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, Doom (2016), Dusk, Arma 3, Deep Rock Galactic, and Insurgency 2 that've kept the singleplayer and multiplayer fires burning bright.
2019 looks to be no different, with a mixture of exciting sequels and original shooters already calendar-confirmed. Here's some the best stuff slated for this year.
For a more comprehensive list, check out all of the new PC games.
Developer: 10 Chambers Collective | Release date: Spring 2019 | Link: Steam
The paranoia of Aliens mixed with the four-player cooperation of Payday. Although the studio says GTFO will make use of an Expedition Director that "throws players into new challenging situations in every play session," this isn't a hand-holding, casual descendent of Left 4 Dead, but possibly the most hardcore take on the genre we've seen, an FPS that relies as much on trigger discipline and coordinated stealthy movement through its pitch-black caverns as it does mowing down mobs of strange horrors.
Aside from sparse medkits, there's no health regeneration. Ammo is scarce. If you die, you don't respawn at checkpoints. Computer consoles scattered across maps aren't one-button devices, but more simulated terminals that you have to type commands into on your keyboard. One of the monsters, based on the first gameplay footage, seems to be composed of actual darkness—faint, humanoid shadows that are only visible as silhouettes in your flashlight. Good luck out there.
Developer: Giant Enemy Crab | Release date: Alpha "coming soon" | Link: Steam
Breach-and-clear gameplay inside procedurally generated—but "hand-curated"—levels. This indie FPS has spent a lot of time simmering since we initially played it in 2014, but the retro, Time Crisis-inspired art it's sporting after pairing up with publisher Annapurna Interactive looks great. Expect a lower-fi Rainbow Six.
Developer: id Software | Release date: TBA | Link: Bethesda.net
Maybe the most interesting addition to this Doom sequel is the new, optional Invasion mode, where your otherwise singleplayer campaign can be breached by another human, who adds a new dimension by taking the role of one demon at a time. SnapMap, meanwhile, is being cut, but there will be more, to-be-announced multiplayer stuff, this time developed by id itself. Crucially, Mick Gordon is back to do the soundtrack.
Developer: id Software | Release date: TBA | Link: Bethesda.net
After entering Early Access in August 2017, Bethesda's arena multiplayer FPS will probably emerge from Early Access in 2019, if we had to guess. In December 2018 the FPS swapped to a Battle Pass model from its previous loot box system and added CTF.
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries
Developer: Piranha Games | Release date: September 10, 2019 | Link: mw5mercs.com
17 years since the PC has been graced by a singleplayer, first-person BattleTech game, Mercenaries is in the hands of Canadian dev Piranha Games, which has spent the last several years building up the multiplayer MechWarrior Online. Four-player co-op, with the option of using AI lancemates instead, is one of the big appeals here, along with a new building destructibility system and some handsome new environments.
Developer: MachineGames | Release date: TBA
The third chapter in MachineGames' trilogy-so-far focuses on B.J. Blazkowicz's twin daughters, who will be playable in co-op across the campaign. We don't know much yet other than it's set in 1980, about two decades after The New Colossus kicked off "the second American Revolution." It'll be interesting to see which parts of the world (or solar system?) Youngblood takes us to, but the initial E3 teaser didn't reveal anything definitive.
Mavericks Proving Grounds
At this point the biggest battle royale games are as established as Dota 2 and League of Legends. But if I had to pick a game that has a chance of stealing millions of players from Fortnite and PUBG on PC, it'd be Mavericks.
The potential differentiator: Mavericks isn't built on Unreal 4, but a pile of new tech that promises 1,000-player capacity, dynamic weather, "comprehensive" destructibility, wildlife, and details like trackable, persistent player footprints and shell casings across a 16x16km map. Is your Star Citizen Skepticism tingling yet?
The prototype we played in March only featured five players, but "even at this early state it's refreshing to see some elements coming to a battle royale game that might allow for new tactics and styles of play," Chris wrote then. The technical hurdles PUBG has faced in its second year have reinforced the importance of rock-solid technology sitting underneath battle royale games, and SpatialOS is a platform all about making a huge number of concurrent players possible.
Developer: 3D Realms | Release date: Q2 2019 | Link: Steam
The first chapter of this neo-retro gem is already available, but the rest can't come soon enough. What's brilliant about Ion Maiden is the way it takes the best aspects of the ancient Build Engine it's built in, but applies modern ideas in weapon design and level layouts. The result is an FPS with some of the best ingredients of early '90s shooters (gorgeous sprite art, high-acceleration movement, secrets aplenty) without many of the rough edges from that era. Maybe the best example of this is the nuanced behavior of the Bowling Bomb, Ion Maiden's rolling grenade that detonates on impact with enemies, but rebounds dynamically off surfaces and won't explode if it doesn't connect with a bad guy.
Developer: 4A Games | Release date: February 15 | Link: Steam
The underground underdog Artyom is back, and this time he’s got a train. Instead of claustrophobic, dimly lit subterranean tunnels (although we bet there will be at least a few), Artyom and his sniper rifle-wielding wife Ana will travel along the Russian railways in search of something resembling home. Of course, there’s still plenty of mutants, mutated wildlife, and various brands of cults and neo-nazis standing in your way.
Thankfully, Metro Exodus is giving you a considerably wider berth when it comes to tackling foes. The open railroad gives way to more open environments to explore, like a forest campground full of bandits who end up revealing themselves as the surviving campers who were sheltered by their teacher as kids. Sneak around far enough and you’ll learn they’ve split up into distinctive sub-groups who’ve all decided to implement their teacher’s lessons in, uh, differing styles. Metro’s bullet-scrounging economy has also been replaced with a crafting system that uses scrap you’ll find if you explore enough, perhaps keeping Metro grounded in its roots as a tense, stealthy shooter.
Developer: Avalanche Games | Release date: May 14 | Link: Bethesda.net
Take the hyperkinetic shooting of id’s original 2011 game, throw in a bunch of fancier murdering tools, and give every third wastelander a pink mohawk, and you’ve got Rage 2. We haven’t seen much in the way of plot, but what does that matter when you’re gib-ifying cannibals with a razor sharp boomerang?
Despite the Burning Man chic here and there, Rage 2 seems to be taking some clear notes from Doom, of all things, giving you a multitude of powers to close in on certain kills so you can ultimately flex your damage and health-boosting Overcharge mode. Leap into the air and stomp on any baddie within a wide radius, or force push them into a wall so hard they liquefy. No word yet on how the vehicle combat is shaking up, but it’s teased heavily enough in trailers.
Dying Light 2
Developer: Techland | Release date: 2019 | Link: DyingLightGame.com
One of 2019’s most anticipated FPSes might be a little light on the S, but with more factions of humans than zombies to deal with, we’re sure you’ll get plenty of chances to drop some street warriors from afar. As is customary for game franchises, this second installment is bigger in just about every way imaginable: More weapons, more things to parkour over and under, and Chris Avellone (Fallout: New Vegas, Torment: Tides of Numenara, Prey) writing the thing to make it all mean something to players.
Avellone’s “modern Dark Ages” take on the zombie apocalypse leaves plenty of room for players to leave a footprint on the unnamed European city. A dispute over control of the water pipes means you can side with the Judge Dredd wannabes who will bring order to the streets but hang offenders if they so much as sneeze wrong, or side with the bandits currently holding access to the water, which means things are more “free,” but ultimately at a cost to the weak and infirm. Lead designer Tymon Smektla says there will be plenty of moments where there isn’t a binary good vs. evil choice, so hopefully we’re flexing more than our legs. If you need more info to tide you over, check out everything we know about Dying Light 2.
Developer: Chainsawesome Games | Release date: January 10 | Link: Steam
It’s like a more cartoony and bombastic take on Splinter Cell’s spies vs. mercs mode. Three invisible robots attempt to destroy six glowing “extractors” around a map while three invincible enforcers coordinate their overwhelming firepower to defend them, with each side able to pick from a pool of different classes. It might sound a little lopsided in favor of the defenders, but there’s a ton of powers at your disposal that can instantly shake things up, like electrified tripwires, invisibility-disrupting grenades, and good old fashioned bubble shields. Factor in that there’s zero cooldown on your abilities and you’ve got some maniacally quick matches.
Far Cry: New Dawn
Someone at Ubisoft looked at Rage 2 and said “not pink enough.” It’s cool to see the post-apocalypse looking so fresh, even if it does mean that Far Cry 5 villain Joseph Seed was indirectly right about the end of the world. You’ll still be doing the typical Far Cry things in a reformed Hope County, but combat takes on a much scrappier quality to it. Instead of modding pristine weapons, you’ll scrounge up some Mad Max-lookin’ machinery held together by wire and duct tape, like a crossbow made from motorcycle parts which shoots buzzsaw blades.
New Dawn is also following Assassin’s Creed’s lead when it comes to making everything a level-based RPG, including your own character, weapons, and even enemies. Thankfully, you’ll have some new and returning allies to keep fights fair, but don’t expect the goodest boy Boomer to return. 17 years between the games means he’s definitely dead, says creative director Jean-Sebastien Decant.
Developer: 343 Industries | Release date: TBA | Link: Xbox.com
It’s definitely Halo 6, it’s definitely Master Chief’s next tale, and the jolly green Spartan is supposed to have a new look from art director Nicolas Bouvier, powered by the brand new Slipstream engine, which has been optimized for PC. We still don’t know much in the way of plot, but Halo 5 set up a rampant Cortana as an inevitable antagonist, Halo Wars 2 will factor in somehow, and 343 are likely finishing its “Reclaimer” trilogy with this installment.
By way of gameplay, you can of course expect multiplayer, both splitscreen and online, Spartan customization, but probably no battle royale mode. "I'll tell you right now, the only 'BR' we're really interested in is 'Battle Rifle'," 343 Industries lead writer Jeff Easterling said. We salute your dad joke, sir.
Here’s everything else we know about Halo Infinite.
Developer: Mundfish | Release date: 2019 | Link: Steam
It certainly gives off a BioShock-meets-Metro vibe, but developers Mundfish say they’re far more inspired by the pulpy science fiction of their youths in the USSR, like authors Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
You’re a secret agent in an alternate universe Soviet Russia, filled with crazy Nier-like robots, zombies, and some seriously weird experiments gone amok. There’s mysteries to solve at Plant 3826, as well as across the rest of Russia, which Mundfish says is connected via railways. It’s not clear if it’s one big open world or a bunch of connected hubs you’ll have to load into, but suffice it to say you’ll be shooting and clobbering through a lot of it in grisly fashion. Mundfish says that “everything on your path,” be it kitchen cutlery or robot parts, can be assembled into a weapon or mod of some sort.
Developer: Nightdive Studios | Release date: TBA
Doom might be comfortable with updating its look, but Blood Remastered seems to prefer it old school, and we’re getting it from the same team that brought us remasters of Turok and the upcoming System Shock. The original’s classic shooting evidently holds up well enough, so Nightdive is focusing on a new coat of paint, a more compatible engine, updated audio, and support for contemporary networks like Steamworks and GOG Galaxy.
If you never ended up getting your hands on the original (fair, since it’s old enough to vote), Blood tells the story of Caleb, an undead 19th-century gunslinger looking for revenge against a dark god known as Tchernobog. True to its name, there’s lots of squishy ways to turn monsters into red pools, like the pitchfork, a floating orb that bores into enemy’s skulls, and an aerosol can flamethrower.
The Outer Worlds
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment | Release date: 2019 | Link: Steam
2018’s award for Most Blatant Dig goes to “the original creators of Fallout,” which is how Obsidian introduced all of us to The Outer Worlds, and that confidence seems to shine through in this FPS/RPG. You’re a spaceship driver, frozen in cryostasis for 70 years until a kindly mad scientist thaws you out, asking you to help rescue other frozen travelers. True to Obsidian fashion, you can shirk traditional storytelling and just turn him in to the law, or go out on your lonesome, where you can engage in plenty of shooting with “science weapons,” chatting, and sneaking.
The worlds themselves aren’t fully open. You’ll be exploring them in a slightly more modular fashion that Obsidian told Kotaku compares to their work on KOTOR II. Wes compared it to No Man’s Sky after seeing it in action. Between that and a long list of character traits to choose from or develop (you can take “flaws,” like a fear of robots, but you’ll gain an extra perk point immediately), we’re sure we’ll find plenty of ways to push the limits of outer space. Here’s everything else we know.
Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass
Developer: Croteam | Release date: TBA | Link: Steam
At 18 years old, we’re not sure if Serious Sam is having a midlife crisis, but he definitely went out and got himself a motorcycle in the meantime. It’s unclear how much he’ll ride it, but the levels he’s blasting his way through have gotten much, much bigger, to the point where they can evidently hold entire armies of beheaded kamikazes. Alen Ladavac, Croteam’s chief technology officer, says the new “Legion System” will allow for hundreds of thousands of enemies in a single scene.
“Think Lord of the Rings, with you playing as Sam in the thick of it, wielding a minigun. And no beards,” said Ladavac. Shotgun-wielding dwarfs aside, you can expect a classic Serious Sam tale of fighting against the invading Mental, but with plenty of fellow badasses at your side.