Who doesn’t love an epic fantasy?
The Lord of the Rings, considered by many as one of the best fantasy books ever written, is also one of the best-selling novel series of all time.
Game of Thrones, potentially the biggest TV show of all time, was apparently the most watched series of 2018, despite the fact no new episodes aired that year.
As for video games, Bethesda’s Skyrim, set in an epic fantasy world, ranks amongst the top 10 best selling games of all time.
Simply put, we can’t seem to get enough of the magical, bizarre and often monster-infested world's born from the mind’s of creators with some rather overactive imaginations. It doesn’t matter what medium or platform these fantasy realms are injected into, we’ll consume them with more ferocity than Cookie Monster knocking back that good stuff after yet again escaping from rehab.
In the years to come, book fans will be looking to the best new fantasy books of 2019; from big guns of publishing like Joe Abercrombie and Terry Brooks. Film and TV fans will be mourning the loss of Game of Thrones but welcoming the rise of Netflix’ The Witcher and the upcoming Lord of the Rings TV show. But where does that leave gamers?
Well, the future is bright for them as well. 2019, and the years beyond, won’t be a disappointment for gamers who enjoy a good epic fantasy. We’ve got more than a few titles heading our way to satisfying the cravings:
World of Warcraft: Classic
If Drake started from the bottom, and now he’s here, Blizzard started briefly from the bottom, peaked, then fell back to the bottom. The original World of Warcraft took off in a big way. It smashed subscription records for MMOs and became an absolute pop-culture phenomenon. Flash-forward to 2019 and the series really has hit a low point. Sure, the most recent expansion of the game didn’t sell too badly, but it met a fraction of its highest sub-base and the fan reaction has not been good.
The game has developed a lot since its inception, and many have called for a return to the original recipe that so was beloved by so many. Like a KFC or a Coca-Cola, people don’t want change, they want that sweet gear they’ve been addicted to for years. In 2019, that gamer-junkie’s dream will finally be realised with the return of World of Warcraft: Classic.
Billed as being an authentic return to the 2004 cult-classic, the release is promised to feature everything from the base game that rose to prominence a decade and a half ago. Transporting players back to the original epic fantasy world of Azeroth, World of Warcraft: Classic offers opportunities for gamers to experience something that we once thought lost.
The Elder Scrolls VI: ???
We know basically sweet FA about the next Elder Scrolls game, but what we do know is that it is coming. Teased at E3 2018, we got some sweeping landscape shots, a single headline of ‘The Elder Scrolls VI’ and that’s about it. An interview with video-game designer Todd Howard revealed that we’ll be seeing some major changes to the way the tech behind the game runs, but that’s all we have now, folks.
It would be nice to have more details on this game, sure, but at least we know it’s coming. Predictions are for a 2020 or 2021 release date. That is still a long way to go, but if previous iterations in the series have proven anything, its that the wait will be completely worth it.
Black Desert on Xbox One
By the time this article goes out, Black Desert will have released on Xbox One, but it’s so close to the launch that I’m cheating and counting it anyway.
It’s tough to gauge the average player count for Black Desert, with suggestions ranging up to 100,000 active users across 10 million accounts, and Reddit getting into a good old argument about it as well. Whatever figures you get to, Black Desert is a hugely popular epic fantasy game with an insane amount of depth of content that has captivated many across the world. Featuring a roster of interesting classes and a pretty solid combat system, alongside more quests than you could ever hope to complete, and a world so vast it puts many real-life countries to shame, Black Desert is as immersive as they come for fans of fantasy.
Now the game has been launched on the Xbox One system. This is pretty great news for those who enjoy the console experience, want to absorb themselves in a fantasy world, but aren’t keen on PC gaming.
Dragon Age: 4
Dragon Age is a gaming beast that has been caged far too long. After a string of releases over the span of 5 years, offering fans of fantasy games a true taste of the epic, we haven’t seen a main game in the series in nearly as many years. But, in 2018, we were at last teased with the next instalment in the franchise.
Now, the good news is Bioware have confirmed this game is definitely in development. The bad news is, that is basically all we know. We’ve had very little in the way of confirmations, as with Elder Scrolls 6, and it looks like Dragon Age 4 won’t be ready for us for at least a few years. It’s exciting, and it’s a tantalising reason to stay engaged with this particular subgenre of gaming, but we’ll still be hanging on for a while yet before we return this epic world.
We’ve had games without release dates.
We’ve had a game that is actually out already.
So screw it, let’s have a game that may not even exist.
At Blizzcon, Blizzard announced a Diablo mobile game to what seemed to be a room full of crickets. Reactions were not good. The fans wanted a new epic fantasy game for consoles and PC, following on in the current Diablo franchise, and that is definitely not what they got. Yet, while we have no official supportive material that currently states this game is in the works, something moves below the surface at Blizzard HQ which makes us think it’s already in the pipeline.
The biggest indicator is that the company is hiring for a new Diablo project. Granted this could be expansions for Diablo 3 or content for Diablo Immortals, but there is potential for the posts to be related to Diablo 4, especially given the popularity of the series and the backlash following the disappointment at Blizzcon 2018. You’d also figure they have the staff onboard already for their current titles. This information is supposedly backed up by an interview with current and former employees at Blizzard who claim that Diablo 4 is definitely in the works, under the codename ‘Fenris’.
Now, there have been other mentions of leaks and hints towards the release of Diablo 4, but the community as a whole has pretty much pushed these aside as click-bait and garbage. And, for the most part, they almost certainly have a point. Still, with Blizzard actively churning out content and Diablo 4 a major weapon in their arsenal to stay top-dog in the fantasy gaming world, there really can’t be much doubt this game will see the light of day in the coming years.
Clearly this a fantasy game people really want to see, so why not indulge us?