Upcoming Free Games

Gaming is expensive. Whether someone prefers consoles or PC, they will need to invest a fair amount of cash just to set up their stations. Once the hardware is ready to go, owners will need to turn to their platform's libraries to pick up some software. Nowadays, Xbox Game Pass and PS Plus grant access to massive selections of games for monthly fees; however, most AAA titles do not debut on these subscription services. Consequently, players could find themselves regularly dropping $69.99 to experience the latest exciting projects.

Free-to-play games sound fantastic on paper and can serve as a way to keep someone entertained in between premium products. Plenty of titles showcase this model's potential, and this selection is set to expand significantly over the coming months and years. What are the most highly-anticipated new free games announced for 2024 or beyond? At the moment, there are not all that many no-cost projects with confirmed release dates; however, several games are in the pipeline, and they could very well debut over the next few months.

Updated June 23, 2024 by Mark Sammut: A few upcoming free games have announced release dates; consequently, this article has been updated to reflect this new information.

The First Descendant

Gorgeous Third-Person Shooter With Endless Endgame

Close Platform(s) PC , PS4 , PS5 , Xbox One , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S Released July 2, 2024 Developer(s) Nexon Games Genre(s) Action RPG , Third-Person Shooter See at Official Site

Attracting a fair amount of attention over the years, The First Descendant is confirmed for July 2, 2024, hopefully setting the stage for a big addition to the free-to-play market. Built using Unreal Engine 5, Nexon's project seeks to satisfy a craving for loot, be it through story scenarios or world events. While solo play appears to be possible, the game's descriptions emphasize the importance of 4-player co-op, particularly for World Missions which seem to be structured somewhat like raids.

The First Descendant features quite a large roster of playable characters, all of whom have unique skills that allow them to satisfy different roles in parties. Each character can be equipped with multiple guns, sub-weapons, and accessories, providing a lot of potential loadout options. Nexon is also seeking to provide an endless endgame, so the developer seems to have put in the work to try and make The First Descendant a game that players can return to for a very long time.

Once Human

Open-World Survival Game

Close Platform(s) PC , Android Released July 9, 2024 Developer(s) Starry Studio Genre(s) Survival , Shooter , Open-World See at Official Site

Starry Studio's Once Human has been building steam for a while, culminating in a final release date of July 9, 2024. Aiming to give players the freedom to craft unique experiences rather than just follow checkpoints, this open-world survival game is incredibly ambitious, offering a huge map littered with events and fascinating monsters. The latter largely revolve around mutated everyday objects; for instance, a bus with legs.

In terms of combat, Once Human is primarily a third-person shooter, although melee combat is also supported. Players will be able to pick up seven types of weapons, with each one containing a wide plethora of options. The game will also feature base building, a monster-collecting system, and PvP. While solo play is an option, Once Human is largely marketed as a multiplayer option. On the surface, this might sound too good to be true, but a few successful betas have confirmed that Once Human is the real deal.

Smite 2

Close Platform(s) PC , PS5 , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S Released July 30, 2024 Developer(s) Titan Forge Games Genre(s) MOBA See at Official Site

With early access set to launch in July 2024, Smite 2 should be a very big deal, especially since its predecessor is still a popular MOBA. However, the reaction to the game's announcement was somewhat muted, with the tone being almost defined by confusion rather than excitement. That's not to say Titan Forge and Hi-Rez's sequel looks bad, as it seems to be an evolution of the original Smite that comes with a notable graphical upgrade thanks to the use of Unreal Engine 5. When it debuts, Smite 2 should be among the genre's most accessible representatives, and a fresh start might help attract newcomers who feel too intimidated to jump into the 10-year-old original game.

Still, Smite 2 does not seem to be all that different from its predecessor. Going by the currently available information, the upgrade appears to be more in line with Counter-Strike 2's improvements instead of a traditional sequel. Hi-Rez has confirmed that the first game will not be shutting down to coincide with its successor's debut, a decision that might discourage fans from swapping products. At the same time, one has to assume the clock is ticking on Smite's life.

Throne And Liberty

Epic MMORPG

Close Platform(s) PC , PS5 , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S Released September 17, 2024 Developer(s) NCSoft Genre(s) MMORPG See at Official Site

Anyone into MMORPGs has likely heard of NCSoft. The company and its subsidiaries are responsible for Guild Wars 2, Blade & Soul, Lineage, and WildStar; sure, not all those projects can be classified as roaring successes, but they nevertheless showcase the developer's expertise. Throne and Liberty is shaping up to be among NCSoft's most ambitious projects to date, especially since the MMORPG has been in development for more than a decade by this point.

Following countless delays, the game has finally reached a state when a release date can be announced, with the MMORPG dropping on September 17, 2024. Throne and Liberty should include traditional quests, a weather system, and a mechanic that permits players to transform into animals. Beyond that, the title focuses on guild-based conflicts, with players trying to spread their chosen group's influence across the nation. Marketed as PvPvE, Throne and Liberty looks set to target quite a wide range of gameplay styles; hopefully, it proves to be successful.

Arena Breakout: Infinite

Extraction Shooter

Close Platform(s) PC Developer(s) Morefun Studios Publisher(s) Morefun Studios Genre(s) Extraction , FPS See at Official Site

Launching a beta period in May 2024, Arena Breakout: Infinite has been gathering steam in recent weeks, hopefully paving the way for a successful full debut in the future. An extraction shooter that shares similarities with projects like Escape from Tarkov, the game aims for realism in its presentation, weapon customization, and gun feedback, which tends to be the case with these sorts of titles.

The beta version shows promise, particularly in its visuals, quality-of-life ideas, and weapon options; however, the game is fairly rough around the edges in places and does not seem to contain too many new ideas. However, betas are specifically designed to promote player feedback, so Arena Breakout could and should improve in the coming months.

Blue Protocol

Bandai's Anime Action JRPG

Close Platform(s) PC , PS5 , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S Released 2024-00-00 Developer(s) Bandai Namco Studios Genre(s) Action RPG , MMO See at Official Site

Set to be published by Amazon Games, Blue Protocol is an anime-style JRPG with real-time combat and a weapon-based class system. Announced at the 2022 Game Awards, Bandai Namco's project promises to offer customization, a large world to explore, multiplayer gameplay, and a detailed storyline.

So far, Blue Protocol has showcased beautiful visuals, fun hack and slash combat, and a good amount of variety via its five classes. As an MMORPG, the game includes dungeons that players will be able to take on either solo or with a team. With titles like Tales of Arise and Scarlet Nexus under its belt, Bandai Namco definitely knows how to piece together a fun action RPG.

Off The Grid

Ambitious Battle Royale

Close Platform(s) PC , PS5 , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S Developer(s) Gunzilla Games Genre(s) Battle Royale See at Official Site

Although not too much is known about Off the Grid's moment-to-moment rhythm, the upcoming free game certainly has lofty goals. Despite being done to death, battle royales are still fairly popular, although new properties have struggled to find their place alongside heavyweights like Fortnite, PUBG, and Warzone 2.0. Off the Grid plans to set itself apart from the crowd by pushing its story to the forefront; yes, this will be a battle royale that emphasizes its narrative through an evolving battlefield.

Neill Blomkamp, the director of District 9 and Elysium, is working on the cyberpunk battle royale game as its chief visionary officer. Except for directing the upcoming Gran Turismo, Blomkamp is not particularly associated with gaming, but he has shown a talent for bringing to life sci-fi worlds.

ARC Raiders

From The Developer Behind The Finals

Close Platform(s) PC , PS5 , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S Developer(s) Embark Studios Genre(s) Extraction , Shooter See at Official Site

Embark is really knocking things out of the park when it comes to upcoming free games. Naturally, it remains to be seen whether these projects live up to the hype, but The Finals has already proven it has more to offer than just empty promises. Arc Raiders appears to be a bit further away from completion than the developer's other project, although the game has had a fairly successful closed beta.

Extraction shooters are an acquired taste, and the subgenre is very niche compared to other types of multiplayer games on the market. Still, titles like Hunt: Showdown and Deep Rock: Galactic demonstrate its potential, and ARC Raiders' free-to-play nature might attract a new audience that has largely ignored these projects.

Path Of Exile 2

Sequel To One Of The Best Free Games

Close Platform(s) PC , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S , PS5 Developer(s) Grinding Gear Games Genre(s) Action RPG See at Official Site

Grinding Gear's Path of Exile enjoyed its 10-year anniversary in 2023, and the game is still among the best free-to-play options on the market. Presented as an alternative to Diablo, the isometric action RPG delivers stellar customization, gameplay, and a lot of content that can be enjoyed without requiring any cash investment. Path of Exile prides itself on not being pay-to-win, and the developer has generally stuck to that commitment. Now, the sequel is on the horizon, and it is shaping up to be an exciting expansion of an already beloved hack and slash dungeon crawler.

Generally, when an upcoming free project vows to deliver the stars and moon, skepticism should be the natural reaction; however, Grinding Gear's words are backed by years of generally good work. Therefore, when Path of Exile 2's Steam description promotes a six-act campaign and extensive endgame content in the form of 100+ maps with unique boss fights, there is a chance that the final product might actually deliver on these promises. The sequel will also feature 12 base classes, 36 Ascendancy classes, a skill gem system, and hundreds of unique equipment.

Arknights: Endfield

Landing On PC

Close Platform(s) Android , iOS , PC , PS5 Developer(s) Hypergryph Genre(s) JRPG See at Official Site

Debuting in 2019 on mobile devices, Arknights is nowadays well established as one of the industry's most famous projects. It was even successful enough to warrant an anime adaptation, and the franchise looks set to continue its expansion with a spin-off game set on a new planet. Endfield Industries has taken measures to bring civilization to Talos-II, but the world and its locals have been less than welcoming. Set following a disaster that greatly hurt this movement, players step into the shoes of PFRD operatives tasked with taming the alien planet.

Arknights: Endfield looks set to be fairly different from the mainline entry. For one, the spin-off will utilize real-time strategy combat, although exact details on the system's mechanics have yet to be provided. It is also unclear whether the game will employ gacha mechanics, although that seems likely. More importantly, Endfield will be available on PC, an ecosystem that Arknights has yet to target specifically.

Marvel Rivals

(Super)Hero Shooter

Close Platform(s) PC , PS5 , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S Developer(s) NetEase Games Genre(s) Third-Person Shooter , Action , Multiplayer See at Official Site

Confirmed to be coming to PC and consoles, Marvel Rivals brings together some of the most famous comic characters and throws them into an Overwatch-style game, with matches pitting two teams of six against each other. Heroes like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Iron Man, and Hulk have been confirmed, and there will even be a couple of villains (or anti-heroes) like Venom, Loki, and Magneto.

All-in-all, the confirmed roster is impressive and covers a reasonable range of properties, even if most of the inclusions are mainstream (except for Magik and Peni Parker, both of which are surprising picks). From the footage shown so far and the closed alpha, Marvel Rivals' gameplay should be hectic, fast-paced, and fun, with the characters' unique abilities seemingly shining through.

Marvel Rivals is set to stage a PS5 closed beta in July 2024.

Perfect New World

Boundless MMO

Close Platform(s) PC Developer(s) Ironcore Game Studio Genre(s) MMORPG See at Official Site

An Eastern MMORPG that completed an Exploratory Closed Beta Test in June 2023, Perfect New World has a ways to go before reaching completion, but Ironcore is working on implementing a wide range of changes inspired by user feedback. Cast as Soul Tamers, players will strive to find Prime, a journey that involves exploring a seemingly fairly attractive fantasy world filled with dungeons, enemies, and NPCs. Obviously, the MMORPG will support co-op/multiplayer, and PvP is also part of the overall experience and is being tweaked following the closed beta.

Perfect New World's combat system seems to lean into real-time hack and slash territory, with fast-paced action being the name of the game. As with most MMORPGs, players will be able to pick from a range of classes that come with their own skill trees. Although there is nothing too unique about these ideas, they could combine to create a fun addition to the free-to-play market.

Stormgate

Gateway To The Real-Time Strategy Genre

Close Platform(s) PC Developer(s) Frost Giant Studios Genre(s) Real-Time Strategy See at Official Site

Frost Giant Studios’ Stormgate attempts to revitalize the RTS multiplayer scene by presenting players with a fresh alternative to Starcraft. The project takes clear inspiration from that particular game, and the developers are fairly experienced as well. At the moment, a full release date has yet to be confirmed, but an open beta launched at the beginning of 2024, and it presents players with an opportunity to sample the project in its current form.

Generally, this beta garnered a mixed response, with criticism being leveled at the balancing and pathfinding, among other things. Still, matches can be fun, and there are enough positives here to justify feeling some excitement about the final project. Still, interested parties should consider trying to beat to see if this is something that might ultimately fit their needs.

Karlson

Made For Speed-Runners

Close Platform(s) PC Developer(s) Dani Genre(s) FPS See at Steam

Dani has two successful free games under their belt: Muck and Crab Game. Both titles focus on physics-based gameplay, and they are fairly impressive considering they largely stemmed from the mind of a single person. Dani's next project is Karlson, a first-person shooter that heavily incorporates parkour and speed-running. The eponymous character is a prisoner who must wall-jump and blast their way through a series of levels en route to a glass of milk.

The creator's resume and social media presence ensure Karlson would get some attention, but the game also presents a convincing case for meriting this hype. A version of the project can be downloaded for free on Itch.io, and it is quite good.

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