2017 was a great year for strategy gamers, offering up a bevy of diverse titles from Tooth and Tail to Total War: Warhammer II. 2018 looks like it might be shaping up to be just as good, with a wide range of new IPs and continuations of beloved franchises on slate to release this year.
Read on for the 10 upcoming strategy games we can't wait to get our hands on.
Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia
Release Date: TBA 2018
Developer: Creative Assembly
Every Total War release is a big one, as the series is arguably the most visible "AAA" strategy game series on the market. While it has had it stumbles, Creative Assembly is riding high after the success of the well-received fantasy mashups Total War: Warhammer and Total War: Warhammer II.
Thrones of Britannia looks to be something different: a return to a historical setting, yes, but also a tighter, smaller Total War. The series has been getting bigger over the year -- more factions, more units, globe-spanning maps -- and it might be argued that this has led to bloat and excess. Thrones looks to be a return to the more intimate setting of Shogun Total War or the excellent Medieval: Total War - Viking Invasion expansion pack from 2003.
If Creative Assembly can take the lessons learnt from Warhammer and bring the historical flavor and the early medieval atmosphere, they could have something very exciting in this new format.
Release Date: TBA
Publisher: 1C Company
Developer: Destructive Creations
Ancestors Legacy is an upcoming squad-based RTS currently in beta, due to come out for both PC and consoles. Set in the early medieval era, the game features a strong, single-player-focused campaign as well as multiplayer. The game includes traditional base building and resource gathering but seems heavily focused on the tactical side of things, with a focus on combat. Early impressions are promising, and this might just be a new traditional RTS IP worth following.
Release Date: TBA
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Haemimont Games
Paradox Interactive, known for epic, almost niche strategy titles, has been making significant inroads in the publishing sphere as of late, bringing strategy, simulation, and city-building titles (e.g., 2015's spectacular Cities: Skylines) to us in greater numbers, reviving a once vanishing scene.
Bulgarian developer Haemimont, behind such games as Tropico 3, 4, and 5, as well as Omerta : City of Gangsters, looks to be returning to the hybrid sim/strategy realm with this fresh IP. Surviving Mars looks promising, with an interesting "retro future" art style and a sense of humor about it. The game is also promising a "classic sci-fi" story, exploring the secrets of Mars as you build. This isn't overly dry and realistic, and it looks like a whole lot of Tropico has come along for the ride in both presentation and gameplay.
Release Date: January 18, 2018
Publisher: Fish Eagle
Developer: Picaresque Studio
Nantucket, a first release from Picaresque Studio, looks promising and unique. Set in the early 19th century after the events of literary classic Moby Dick, Nantucket is a strategy business sim where you work your way up through the booming oil/whaling industry.
While the subject matter may draw controversy, it will be interesting to see where the developer takes this. They promise RPG elements, turn-based combat with pirates and whales, a thousand unique events, an original storyline based on the events of the novel, and an open world to explore. If nothing else, the fresh setting of one of the biggest economic booms in history is fertile ground for the genre.
Release Date: 2018
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Developer: Limbic Entertainment
Tropico keeps on chugging along after 16 years and 6 games. The tongue-in cheek take on building and managing (or mismanaging) your own island paradise is back in 2018 for a sixth installment. While previous entries in the series have been strong, there haven't been the major changes between installments that might be expected in a series like this.
Tropico 6 looks to be possibly continuing this trend, with one major addition: the introduction of archipelagos, which look to offer a fresh gameplay challenge while not changing up the formula drastically.
Release Date: TBA
Publisher: 11 Bit Studios
Developer: 11 Bit Studios
11 Bit Studios, the minds behind the fantastic This War of Mine, is back, and it looks like they have an interesting take on the strategy builder/survival genre to say the least.
Frostpunk is set in, well, a "frostpunk" world: think steampunk in the ice age. At its heart, it looks to have the gut-wrenching decisions from This War of Mine. Do you send children out to work? Do you treat the ill? And these decisions don't look to just be window dressing; they have long-lasting and wide-ranging effects on gameplay. They go beyond asking "how" you will survive and ask you "why" and "at what cost."
Beyond the gameplay, the art style looks sharp, and the production values look great as well.
Civilization VI: Rise and Fall
Release Date: February 8, 2018
Civilization 6 took some bold new steps in the franchise when it came out in October 2016 (namely the district system, spreading your cities across multiple tiles), while at the same time including much-desired features in the base game, such as religion and great works. This leaves room for expansion packs like Rise and Fall to take the game into new territory.
As befits its name, Rise and Fall is about the ups and downs civilizations go through. Accomplish enough goals during the medieval era? Congratulations, the Renaissance will be your civilization's golden age! Fall behind? Welcome to the Dark Ages, where you will be fighting to keep your cities loyal, but also have the opportunity to come back even stronger for your trouble.
In addition to new gameplay features such as city loyalty, dark and golden ages, and governors, Rise and Fall is introducing new civilizations, leaders, wonders, natural wonders, and districts.
Age of Empires IV
Release Date: TBA 2018
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Relic Entertainment
Yes, AOE is coming back with a fourth installment. Age of Empires IV is helmed by Relic, the creators of the Company of Heroes series, and published by Microsoft. There isn't a whole lot known yet about the game itself, but it looks to follow the franchise's classic sequence of building bases, gathering resources, and building armies. The trailer appears to show the game span a wide variety of eras and factions.
Relic Entertainment has a strong pedigree of making classic RTS-style action, and we are excited to see what they do with such a classic, strong IP as Age of Empires.
Jurassic World Evolution
Release Date: Summer 2018
Publisher: Frontier Developments
Developer: Frontier Developments
Releasing to coincide with the next film in the Jurassic World series, Jurassic World Evolution could be a huge hit. Behind the game are the same developers that brought us such park building gems as Zoo Tycoon, Planet Coaster, and Roller Coaster Tycoon 1 and 3. Jurassic World Evolution looks to be a spiritual successor to 2003's Jurassic Park:Operation Genesis.
Details are limited, but you likely take on the role of a builder and manager of your very own dinosaur-themed the park, featuring ... real dinosaurs! In line with the film, expect some ability to ratchet up the excitement with genetic engineering of new creatures, and hope things don't go horribly wrong -- or make them go wrong, you are in charge!
RIOT: Civil Unrest
Release Date: Early Access - December 2017; Full Release TBA
Publisher: Merge Games
Developer: IV Productions
Gorgeous pixel art merges with a truly unique setting in RIOT: Civil Unrest. Take control of the riot itself, or suppress it as the police in scenarios from Spain to Cairo. The game has gotten some positive reviews during the early-access process, with unique, challenging gameplay and a fantastic art direction that really magnifies the chaos going on as things escalate on screen. Grab the game now in early access, as the full version should be launching soon.
There are also more great tiles that didn't quite make the list. Anno 1800, Xenonauts 2, and without a doubt, a surprise or two. Strategy gaming may have been in a bit of a lull in the 2000s, but with 2020 on the horizion, it looks like it's back and more diverse and exciting than ever.