This article was initially published in early January. With 2019 coming to an end, we're looking back on these rumors to see which were confirmed and which remain unconfirmed. Click through the gallery below or continue scrolling for our verdicts.
The secretive nature of the games industry breeds endless speculation about what the future holds for console manufacturers and game developers alike. 2018, in particular, introduced exciting rumors that have yet to materialize, creating plenty of question marks for what can be expected in 2019.To better track these potential stories, we've scoured through the year's insider reports and supposed leaks to compile a list of the biggest ongoing video game rumors. From rumblings of next-gen hardware to whispers of long-awaited sequels, these are the 10 rumored projects to keep an eye on in 2019.
Microsoft and Sony's Next-Gen Consoles
2018 brought with it the first real rumblings of Microsoft and Sony's plans for next-generation consoles. While both companies have acknowledged the existence of new hardware, the details and potential release dates are still heavily rumored.Microsoft first officially mentioned its work on a new Xbox (or Xboxes) during its E3 2018 press conference, when Phil Spencer said it was "deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to deliver the benchmark of console gaming." Shortly after, a report published by Thurrott claimed Microsoft's next-gen plans include a "series of devices," code-named "Scarlett," that are expected to launch in 2020.A subsequent report by Thurott, published in July, expanded on the Scarlett rumors. According to the report, Microsoft will release two consoles in 2020: a traditional piece of next-gen hardware and a cheaper, streaming-focused box.
Rumors about Sony's next-gen console, meanwhile, have been more scarce. The company's CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, told the Financial Times next-generation hardware is "necessary," though he didn't comment on a potential name or any further details for what will likely become PlayStation 5. However, the FT report claims Sony's next console "might not represent a major departure from the PS4, and that the fundamental architecture would be similar."Considering these rumors, and given the fact that November will mark PlayStation 4 and Xbox One's sixth year on the market, it's not too farfetched to believe we may get our first look at the ninth generation of consoles in 2019.
Verdict: ConfirmedMicrosoft and Sony both revealed the first official details about their next-gen consoles in 2019.Microsoft revealed Project Scarlett at E3 with a Holiday 2020 release window. The box will house a custom AMD processor, "new-generation" SSD, and GDDR6 memory. Scarlett will be capable of 8K output, 120 frames per second, and ray tracing. However, the rumor that Microsoft will release two different next-gen consoles in 2020 remains unconfirmed.The first PS5 details came a bit earlier in April. Sony has since revealed its next-gen machine will use similar AMD architecture capable of 8K output and ray tracing. Other known specs include a "custom unit for 3D audio," the ability to play 4K Blu-rays, and an SSD that "has a raw bandwidth higher than any SSD available for PCs," allowing for increased performance and greatly reduced load times. PS5 will also be released during Holiday 2020.
Nintendo Is Working on an Updated Switch
Before we're introduced to next-gen hardware, Nintendo may release a new version of its handheld-home console hybrid.According to a Wall Street Journal report, discussions have occurred within Nintendo about a Switch with, among other changes, an upgraded LCD display. The potential new Switch could be released in the back half of 2019, according to the paper's sources.
Verdict: Partially ConfirmedNintendo revealed and released two new Switch models in 2019: the handheld-only Switch Lite and a new Switch model with extended battery life. So yes, Nintendo was, in fact, working on an updated Switch, but not one with an upgraded LCD display, as the rumor mentioned. A more recent report published by The Wall Street Journal stated Nintendo is working with Sharp on a new Switch display, though those potential plans have yet to come to fruition.
Microsoft Considering a Disc-less Xbox One
Sticking with the current generation, Microsoft is reportedly considering a disc-less version of Xbox One to be released in 2019.According to a report published by Thurrott, the removal of a disc drive would allow Microsoft to sell a variation of its Xbox One for $200 USD or less. The rumored SKU would reportedly be accompanied by a "disc-to-digital" program, allowing current Xbox One owners to trade in their physical games at participating retailers for a digital download code.
Verdict: ConfirmedMicrosoft announced its Xbox One S All-Digital Edition in April. The details of the report, however, have proven inaccurate: the console retails for $250 USD, not $200, and no "disc-to-digital" program was ever introduced.
A Harry Potter RPG Is in Development
Supposed leaked gameplay from an unannounced Harry Potter RPG was posted online in October, sparking speculation and excitement from muggles across the internet.The video was reportedly leaked by a Reddit user who was shown the gameplay as part of a mall survey group. The footage, which has since been taken down, showed the makings of a promising Wizarding World RPG, complete with character customization, Hogwarts houses, and familiar spells.The legitimacy of the leak was corroborated by BBC News reporter Lizo Mzimba, who said the footage was from "a yet to be announced RPG currently titled Harry Potter Magic Awakened." While nothing about the potential game has been confirmed, it's rumored to be in development at Warner Bros.-owned Avalanche Software, makers of Disney Infinity.
Verdict: UnconfirmedThere was no official word on the rumored Harry Potter console RPG in 2019.The year did bring a new Wizarding World game in the form of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, a Pokemon GO-style AR game for mobile. Then Magic Awakened, the supposed subtitle of the rumored console RPG, was revealed to be a card-based mobile game exclusive to China. The console RPG may still be real, but if so, it will almost certainly have a different title.
Rocksteady's Mysterious Next Game
There's been no shortage of speculation about what Rocksteady's been working on since it wrapped the Batman: Arkham trilogy in 2015.While the studio was long-rumored to be working on a Superman game, it shot down that speculation in late November, saying plainly its next game was "not Superman." With that rumor deflated, we're once again left without any clues as to what's next for Rocksteady.However, 2019 will mark the fourth year since the studio's last AAA release (not counting 2016's Batman: Arkham VR), making an announcement of what's to come fairly likely over the course of the next 12 months.
Verdict: UnconfirmedUnfortunately, 2019 provided no clarity on what's next for the Batman: Arkham developer.
Blizzard Is Developing Diablo 4 Under the Code Name 'Feris'
Blizzard has reportedly been working on the next mainline Diablo, under the code name "Feris," since 2016. While this remains a rumor, the information comes from Kotaku's Jason Schreier, who cites nearly a dozen current and former Blizzard employees in his report.The rumored Diablo 4 wouldn't be released until 2020 at the earliest, according to the report, and would introduce "light MMO elements" to the series. "Embrace the darkness" is said to be one of the guiding principles within Blizzard for the game and its art direction.Hopes for a new mainline Diablo are especially high after the reveal of Diablo: Immortal, a mobile-only spinoff, was met with severe fan backlash.
Verdict: ConfirmedBlizzard officially announced Diablo IV during BlizzCon 2019. However, don't expect it to be released during the previously rumored 2020 window; game director Luis Barriga said it's "not coming out soon… not even Blizzard soon."
A New BioShock Is in the Works
Early last year, an in-depth report on Mafia 3 developer Hangar 13, again published by Kotaku's Jason Schreier, featured a hidden nugget about the future of BioShock: the series' next game is currently in development as a top-secret project code-named "Parkside."2K Games parent company Take-Two Interactive previously called BioShock "unquestionably a permanent franchise," seemingly hinting at another entry in the beloved series, which hasn't seen a new release since BioShock Infinite in 2013. However, development on "Parkside" was said to be in its early stages, making a 2019 announcement far from a sure thing.
Verdict: UnconfirmedThe rumors of a new BioShock being developed by 2K's Novato, California-based studio resurfaced in November, thanks to a job listing, but there's still no official word on a new entry in the beloved series.
An Official Borderlands 3 Reveal
Fans are eagerly awaiting more news on another long-rumored 2K Games sequel, Borderlands 3. While confirmation of its existence came in 2016, developer Gearbox has yet to formally announce a title or reveal any official details about the next Borderlands.At GDC 2017, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford showed off an early tech demo of the next Borderlands in Unreal Engine 4. However, as Pitchford stressed at the time, this was simply a tech demo and "not a video game." Six months later, Pitchford said 90% of Gearbox's development team was "working on the thing I think most of you guys want us to be working on," which many took to mean Borderlands 3.With development seemingly in full swing on the next Borderlands, additional rumors, or perhaps an official reveal, are likely to come in 2019. However, it's worth noting 2K recently delayed a "highly-anticipated title from one of 2K’s biggest franchises" into 2020. That title remains unknown, but Borderlands 3 is as good a guess as any.
Borderlands 3 was revealed in late March and subsequently released in September. It became 2K's fastest-selling game ever, moving five million copies during its first five days on the market. IGN's Borderlands 3 review called it a "high point for the series — and the genre as a whole."
Microsoft Is Reviving Fable
The early weeks of 2018 provided us with one of the year's biggest rumors: a new Fable is in development at Forza Horizon developer Playground Games. The revival, which is reportedly still early on in development, is said to be a big-budget, character-focused RPG.In 2017, Playground was hiring for a top-secret open-world action-RPG, which puts it in line with the rumored revival's description. Among Playground's key hires were developers who worked on Grand Theft Auto V, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Star Wars Battlefront 2, and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.
Verdict: UnconfirmedMicrosoft made no official mention of a new Fable in 2019. However, possible Fable 4 concept art surfaced online in late November, though the artist later told IGN the images were tests for a potential position and not part of an official project.
Valve Is Creating Its Own VR Headset (and Half-Life VR Game)
Rumors of a Valve-developed VR headset surfaced last year with leaked images of a potential prototype.Perhaps even more interesting than the headset itself is the accompanying rumor that Valve is developing a new Half-Life game for the headset. The potential VR game, which was first rumored in 2016, would reportedly be a prequel and mark the first new Half-Life release since 2007.
Verdict: ConfirmedBoth the rumored VR headset and Half-Life VR game were confirmed in 2019. The headset, Valve Index, was revealed in April and released in June; Half-Life: Alyx was revealed in November, with a March 2020 release date.Check out our Half Life: Alyx trailer breakdown for more on the all-new Half-Life game.
Which rumor confirmation were you most excited by? Which still-unconfirmed rumor are you hoping to see come true in 2020? Let us know in the comments.
Jordan is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter @jdsirani.