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Most Anticipated of 2019

Biomutant – OnlySP’s Most Anticipated Games of 2019

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Biomutant

Thanks to a relatively unknown team, an ambitious new IP, and an attention-grabbing initial showing, the circumstances surrounding Biomutant conjure echoes of 2012 and the hype that surrounded Arkane Studios’s breakout hit Dishonored.

What is Biomutant?

However, Experiment 101’s debut project shares little else with the acclaimed stealth hit. To begin with, Biomutant is a post-apocalyptic open-world RPG, featuring a lurid colour palette and curious sense of humour.

The game casts players as an anthropomorphised feliformic creature who embarks on a quest to save the Tree of Life from both poison and an array of enemies who are destroying its roots. Given this premise, the presence of environmental themes seems almost guaranteed, but they should take a backseat to engaging gameplay.

Biomutant was introduced to the world as a “kung-fu fable,” and one of the focal points in the development process was reportedly the efforts made to balance melee and long-range combat. Complicating matters further are special abilities and the fact that players are able to fully customise the skills of their avatar by altering its appearance. For example, heavier characters will be more resistant to damage, while mechanical legs or wings will allow the user to reach otherwise inaccessible areas.

While the Swedish development team has not previously released a game, Experiment 101 is made up, at least in part, of individuals formerly from Avalanche Studios (Just Cause series, Mad Max), ensuring a strong pedigree in open-world game design. Notably, the studio’s Co-Founder and the game’s Director Stefan Ljungqvist was Avalanche’s Studio Creative Director for both Mad Max and Just Cause 3 throughout 2013.

Why are we excited?

With titles such as Darksiders III and ELEX to its credit, the game’s publisher, THQ Nordic, has, so far, made a noble effort (alongside Focus Home Entertainment) in reviving the AA sector, and Biomutant seems likely to contribute further to this goal. Come the cusp of 2020, the chances of Biomutant being remembered as a treasure of the year seem slim, but it is almost certain to be one of the most interesting.

The vibrant colour scheme is reminiscent of some of the most memorable apocalypses throughout gaming history—including the likes of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and The Last of Us—while the character design bears similarities to the cutesy action-platformers that dominated the PlayStation 2 era.

However, the in-depth customisation marks Biomutant out as being very much a product of the modern age, promising to exceed even The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in the amount of player agency it offers. If the development team is able to make good on this promise, the game could well become the basis for a long-lived franchise.

One other standout feature is the narration. Although some commentators have taken issue with the intrusiveness of the voice that will accompany the player throughout their journey, the playful narrator is reminiscent of Stephen Fry’s contributions to LittleBigPlanet. The voice seems delightfully ignorant about the remnants of human society, as well as providing all sorts of ridiculous names for the myriad enemies that populate the world.

These traits ensure that Biomutant stands out among the crowd of plodding, po-faced adventures that comprise the bulk of big-name releases across 2019.

When can we play it?

As yet, Biomutant has no confirmed release date, though it is scheduled to launch some time around the middle of the year. The title will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.


Has Biomutant managed to tickle your fancy, or are you keen on some other boisterous AA game coming out this year? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to come back tomorrow to find out what upcoming remake has us salivating.

Don’t forget to follow OnlySP on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube for all the latest from the world of single-player gaming.

Damien Lawardorn is an aspiring novelist, journalist, and essayist. His goal in writing is to inspire readers to engage and think, rather than simply consume and enjoy. With broad interests ranging from literature and video games to fringe science and social movements, his work tends to touch on the unexpected. Damien is the former Editor-in-Chief of OnlySP. More of his work can be found at https://open.abc.net.au/people/21767

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Most Anticipated of 2019

Honourable Mentions – OnlySP’s Most Anticipated Games of 2019

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2019

This coming year is set to be chock full with amazing games. Over the past 12 days, the OnlySP team has shone a light on those titles that we are most excited about, but some of our individual favourites were not represented in the consensus vote.

Zanki Zero: Last Beginning

Coming from some of the key team members behind the Danganronpa series, Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is an unusual survival game.

In the wake of an apocalypse, eight clones on a tropical island comprise all that remains of humanity. The clones have accelerated lifespans, meaning they survive for only 13 days; however, a machine called the Extend Device ensures their continual resurrection, with each death granting different buffs and gameplay bonuses.

Curiously, the game is divided into chapters, and players control particular characters in each chapter, rather than having the chance to choose between them at will.

As a survival game, threats to life come from many different angles, including starvation, dehydration, and, of course, combat. However, felling enemies—mostly evolved animals—will drop resources that players can use to build amenities and prolong the characters’ health.

Survival games have exploded in recent years, but the narrative focus and unique clone-based premise separates Zanki Zero: Last Beginning from its genre contemporaries.

Zanki Zero: Last Beginning released in Japan last year, and will make its debut in the West for PC and PlayStation 4 on March 19.

Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord

Announced more than six years ago, Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord has not been officially confirmed for a 2019 release, but fans are hopeful.

Despite the title, Mount & Blade II is a prequel to its predecessor, set two centuries before the wars depicted in the earlier game. The title takes place during the glory days of the fictional Calradian Empire and recounts its fall, as it shatters into an array of disparate kingdoms. On the surface an action-RPG, Mount & Blade II promises a deep, diverse experience with layers of strategic elements.

Third-person melee combat will make a return and will be accompanied by in-depth siege- and diplomacy-based gameplay. Meanwhile, an organic economy system will aid in bringing the Calradian Empire to life.

OnlySP’s Dylan Warman went hands-on with the game back at E3 2017, finding it to be a satisfying experience with a few minor flaws remaining to be ironed out. However, a year and half has already passed and still no end is in sight for the lengthy development.

The widespread expectation is that Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord will release on at least PC at an as-yet unspecified date in 2019.

Medieval (Remake)

Sir Daniel Fortesque will soon join the likes of Wander, Spyro the Dragon, and Crash the Bandicoot, as Sony is, once again, dusting off the Medievil name for a remake.

Originally announced with a brief teaser at the PlayStation Experience event in 2017, the project was surrounded by silence throughout almost the entirety of 2018. A common query among perplexed fans was the extent to which the game would represent a new experience, given the initial billing as a full remaster.

However, in October last year, Sony Interactive Entertainment chairman Shawn Layden dropped the bombshell everyone was waiting for: Medievil will be a full-blown remake. The core design and art will be retained, but the game will not simply be a reskin of what has already been.

The developer responsible for the project, Other Ocean Interactive, has previously made a name for itself with ports. With this legacy, the team seems to be following in the footsteps of Bluepoint Interactive, which crafted 2018’s excellent remake of Shadow of the Colossus.

Medievil is expected to be available exclusively on PlayStation 4 some time in 2019.

Phoenix Point

The father of XCOM, Julian Gollop, will return to the genre that made him a living legend when Phoenix Point launches later this year.

In 2047, the apocalypse is already well underway. Melting permafrost during the 2020s unleashed an alien infection—the Pandoravirus—upon the unsuspecting Earth, mutating humans and animals into all manner of monsters. Facing off against this existential threat, players assume command of the Phoenix Project, a global organisation dedicated to protecting humanity.

Fans of XCOM will almost surely be right at home with Phoenix Point, as the game follows the same model of pairing turn-based direct-control combat with a global strategy layer. The player begins as a small, isolated unit and must grow their reach and strength by acquiring resources through both diplomacy and conquest.

Despite the fundamental similarities, the development team at Snapshot Games is including a few unique wrinkles to the formula, including a range of adversarial human factions and enemies that mutate in response to player actions.

Originally set to launch last year, Phoenix Point is now expected to release in June 2019 on Mac, Windows, and Xbox One.

Total War: Three Kingdoms

For the latest mainline entry in the Total War saga, Creative Assembly is delving into a part of world history long desired by fans but never before visited: China’s Three Kingdoms era.

Total War: Three Kingdoms centres on the fall of the Han Dynasty, casting players as the leader of one of eleven factions vying for control over the vast nation.

While this latest game remains, at its core, Total War, the development team is engaging in some intriguing experiments. Foremost is the implementation of guanxi, an aspect of Chinese culture that describes the interconnectedness of human life. Throughout the campaign, the characters form relationships with others, and players will have to take those connections into consideration when planning their moves.

The other major new addition is a mode based on the classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which will put more of a focus on individual characters. In this mode, generals have supreme strength and can be controlled directly during battles and sieges.

Following its delay out of last year, Total War: Three Kingdoms is scheduled to launch on March 7, 2019 exclusively on PC.


Thank you for joining us on this jaunt through the games that have the OnlySP team most excited for the coming year. With hundreds of titles to choose from, innumerable others missed out, but rest assured that we are keeping our eyes out for everything in the realm of single-player gaming.

If your favourite/s failed to make our shortlist, please take the time to give them the attention they deserve in the comments below, and be sure to follow OnlySP on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube for all the latest from the world of single-player gaming.

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