Despite all the great games that have come out of Early Access over the years, this is still an industry trend I normally avoid. I know I'm not alone on this either, as any given Early Access game's forum usually has half a dozen topics per month asking when the full release is expected to come out. No one wants to buy a game in Early Access and get a repeat of DayZ, a title that has been available for four years with no final release in sight. Even when it comes to genuinely good Early Access games, there is always the chance of getting burned out before it's done. All in all, it's generally best to wait for an Early Access game to leave beta before buying it, and based on their development roadmaps, the following 20 games will be crossing the finish line in 2018.
Midair is a fast and brutal jetpack shooter with an emphasis on Capture the Flag, and it's probably the closest we'll get to a new Tribes game since Hi-Rez abandoned Ascend. The game originally hit Early Access on August 5th of last year, and the final product should be ready Q1 2018.
Radical Fish Games
Originally released on May 15th, 2015, CrossCode is a retro-inspired action RPG that promises around 60 hours of content once complete. The developers are shooting for an early 2018 launch date.
Unknown Worlds Entertainment
This underwater exploration and survival game from the Natural Selection team has been in development longer than most of the games on this list. It originally launched at the end of 2014, but the devs finally have a concrete release date of January 23rd.
Ghost of a Tale
Ghost of a Tale is a Redwall-inspired stealth action RPG developed primarily by a single veteran animator from DreamWorks. The game was successfully crowdfunded in 2013, and hit Early Access in the summer of 2016. After many delays, Ghost of a Tale is currently set for a March 2018 release.
They Are Billions
This post-apocalyptic steampunk city building RTS is a fairly recent Early Access release, and has been consistently trending on Steam since it came out in mid-December. The campaign mode is supposed to be finished sometime in spring 2018.
Northgard is an empire management RTS set in a world inspired by Norse mythology, though its much closer to Civilization than it is StarCraft. It's made a lot of progress since launching in February 2017, and the developers expect it to be done sometime before March.
For The King
Released in early 2017, For The King is a rogue-lite strategy RPG that is designed to replicate popular adventure board games. Players move their character around procedurally generated hex-based boards, and combat plays out in turn-based, JRPG-style battles. There's no full release date set just yet, but hopefully it'll be finished before the end of the year.
The successor to Sunless Sea, Sunless Skies is a "literary RPG" where you explore the bizarre floating islands of the Fallen London world. Based on the current development roadmap, we'll probably be seeing a full release in the latter half of 2018.
Oxygen Not Included
Klei has a long history of using Early Access to improve their games based on player feedback, and their space colony sim Oxygen Not Included is no exception. There isn't a final release date yet, but we can expect tons of new features and content throughout 2018.
Dead Cells is a "rogue-lite Metroidvania," and many of my friends have been raving about how spectacular it already is. The game is a fairly complete package from what I hear, with most of the current development consisting of bug fixes and trying out new ideas before the full release.
Slay the Spire
Mega Crit Games
Slay the Spire is another rogue-lite many of my friends are currently obsessing over, and features combat based around building a deck of cards as you explore the titular Spire. It hit Early Access in mid-November, and the devs expect the game to be finished in around eight months.
Deep Sky Derelicts
Deep Sky Derelicts is a card-driven rogue-lite that, coincidentally, hit Early Access the same day as Slay the Spire. This one is party-based, and is set in a sci-fi universe where you assemble a gang of rogues and ruffians. The developers expect the game to leave Early Access in March.
Blue Wizard Digital
Space Tyrant is a bite-sized 4X inspired by pulp sci-fi comics and cartoons, except this time around you get to be the evil intergalactic warlord. It's being made by ex-PopCap developers, and should be leaving Early Access later this year.
City of Brass
Bring salvation to a cursed city in this Arabian Nights-inspired first-person rogue-lite. City of Brass entered Early Access back in September, and the updates have stayed fairly frequent as far as I can tell. Uppercut Games expects that City of Brass will be in Early Access for less than a year.
Created by the developers of Verdun, Tannenberg transports players to the Eastern Front of WWI. The final product will even allow you to swap between the two titles in-game. Tannenberg was largely feature complete when it hit Early Access in November, and should be done soon.
Door Kickers: Action Squad
A spin-off of KillHouse's tactical SWAT strategy game, Action Squad is a side-scrolling shooter focused on co-op where players are tasked with rescuing hostages, disarming bombs, and taking down terrorists. Despite hitting Early Access only a few months back, KillHouse expects the game to be done before July.
Pit People is The Behemoth's current project, and it's a turn-based tactics game set in a comedic post-apocalyptic world. You can play it alone, but it was built with co-op in mind, much like their previous games. Based on their development roadmap, we should be seeing a full release in the first half of 2018.
This is a title I just recently stumbled across when doing research for this article, and it looks pretty solid. The Vagrant is a side-scrolling action RPG where you play as a buxom rogue fighting her way through a fantasy world. The developers are shooting for a February or March release date.
All Walls Must Fall
All Walls Must Fall is a tactical, simultaneous turn rogue-lite set in an alternate 2089 Berlin where the Cold War never ended. The campaign will probably take you less than two hours to complete, but the game was built with branching paths and replayability in mind. All Walls Must Fall is supposed to be leaving Early Access Q1 2018.
Book of Demons
Finally we come to Book of Demons, a hack and slash RPG with card-based abilities that seeks to distill the genre down to its most basic form. The developers intend to make this the first in their Return 2 Games line, a series of titles inspired by different classic PC games that deconstruct the original's genre. Book of Demons should be out sometime in the latter half of 2018.
There's still a near-countless number of Early Access games out there, many of which may or may not get a full release in 2018. This list doesn't even include all the other original indie games we have to look forward to this year, some of which I covered in another article. I hope you're ready to expand your backlog, because 2018 is going to feature a plethora of new games to play.