Last year proved something of an odd duck for gaming after such a strong showing in 2018, gone were widely acclaimed single-player titles like “Red Dead Redemption 2,” “Marvel’s Spider-Man” and “God of War” – replaced with less high profile but still interesting ones like “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice,” “Control,” “Death Stranding” and the “Resident Evil 2” remake.
2020 is different. Not only are some big high profile titles back on the board, but it also marks a generational switchover point as both Microsoft and PlayStation refresh their consoles at the end of the year. With the new consoles all set to be backwards compatible for current generation games – those involved aren’t slowing down.
Some major titles like “The Elder Scrolls VI,” “Dragon Age 4,” “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2,” “Metroid Prime 4” and “Beyond Good & Evil 2” aren’t hitting until 2021 or beyond and so here’s a list of the games we’re keen to see this year:
“The Last of Us Part II”
Naughty Dog boasts the best track record for quality gaming product on the planet and has never failed to deliver, I don’t expect them to stop now with this sequel to the incredibly acclaimed first title. Set five years later, Ellie and Joel return in a new story which hits May 20th – though many will either wait or replay once a PS5 working version is released.
“Ghost of Tsushima”
Sucker Punch Productions’ “Infamous: Second Son” was the first real notable PS4 exclusive and boasted an excellent open-world design, lush visuals and fun powers tied to a bland story and repetitive gameplay. They return with this third-person stealth/combat game set in an open-world medieval Japan and resembling something out of the classic samurai films of the country. Hopefully a real winner, and at the very least it looks so damn gorgeous.
After nearly a decade of teasing, “The Witcher” creators CD Projekt Red deliver their take on a cyberpunk dystopian future with this first-person tale of a massive neo-metropolis run by militarized corporations and criminal gangs all vying for power. It’s a rich open world with so much attention to detail and, considering CD Projekt Red’s past track record, no doubt a whole lot of playability.
“Half Life Alyx”
It’s not the “Half-Life 3” we all want, but the VR-only “Half-Life: Alyx” is something to be celebrated because at least Valve is showing interest in the franchise again. Here, the story follows Alyx Vance and her father Eli as they form a resistance to take on the invasion of the alien force known as the Combine. The usual first-person exploration, combat, and puzzle elements come into play and expect this title to finally push some VR headset sales.
“Batman: Arkham Legacy” / Untitled Rocksteady Game
For several years now, both “Batman: Arkham City” developers Rocksteady Games and “Batman: Arkham Origins” developers WB Games Montreal have separately been working on their own secret projects. Events last year teased some sort of announcement about what at least one of them has been working on will happen soon. Whether it be “Batman: Arkham Legacy” or an Arkham-style Superman game, who knows but we should hopefully see at least one of these companies coming forward with something later this year.
FromSoftware, who have a stunning track record with the “Dark Souls” franchise, “Demon Souls,” “BloodBorne” and “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice,” are back already with this title penned by “Game of Thrones” creator George R. R. Martin and directed by ‘Souls’ franchise helmer Hidetaka Miyazaki. The latter handled the overarching lore and worldbuilding of the game and then used Martin’s ideas for the story and missions for what they dub a natural evolution of the ‘Souls’ series. Plot specifics are under wraps but there’s rumor of a June release.
The biggest launch title for Microsoft’s Series X console, though very likely coming to PC as well, Master Chief returns in a story that begins when he awakens from sleep to find his forces have already lost the war. Developer 343 Industries promises an emphasis on open exploration this time out, and the hope is it will steer away from the elements that made ‘Guardians’ such an unmemorable entry.
“Final Fantasy VII Remake”
The original is arguably considered to be the most famous role playing game of all time and now we’re finally getting Square Enix’s full remake of it with all new graphics and a new realtime combat system along with the original’s classic turn-based system. The only downside is it’s being released episodically, but one upside is a the possibility of a PC release according to reports from people who have scoured the code of a recently leaked demo.
“System Shock Remake”
A remake of the iconic 1994 game that served as the spiritual precursor to the “BioShock” and “Deus Ex” franchises. Like the original, this is set on a space station in the year 2072 and you play a hacker trying to stop the malevolent artificial intelligence SHODAN. Originally planned for 2018, the game has hit some setbacks and will release no earlier than late 2020, most likely being pushed into 2021.
“Microsoft Flight Simulator”
A flight sim game with a difference, this eleventh entry in the famed franchise – and the first since 2006 – is a major upgrade in realism and simulates the entire planet thanks to its use of Bing’s satellite imagery and Azure cloud services. As a result, the in-game assets will incorporate all of our planet’s nearly 200 million square miles of land and water, over two million cities and over 40,000 individual airports. It will also sport seasonal weather and other elements to add to the realism, but will depend heavily on a good internet connection.
Unlike “Oddworld: New n’ Tasty” which was mostly a direct remake, this is a full re-imagining of 1998’s franchise-best entry “Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus” with some key changes to the story and gameplay of this second of a planned quintology of titles. Abe the Mudokon is back and ready to lead his people to freedom – so long as you can keep him alive.
Bethesda and id Software’s sequel to 2016’s shooter franchise reboot wants to be even faster and more fluid than its predecessor as the Doom Slayer returns to Earth to save the human race from the monstrous hordes. It also includes what has been dubbed ‘Invasion Mode’ from games like “Watch Dogs” – allowing players to enter someone else’s game as playable demons. For the twitch shooter crowd, this should be a hit.
“Resident Evil 3”
Capcom’s full remake of “Resident Evil 2” scored much acclaim last year, the title winning several game of the year awards and selling over five million copies – outselling the original. Now Capcom is giving the same treatment to the third game from 1999 as Jill Valentine attempts to escape from the infected Raccoon City. Like last year’s remake, this modernizes the controls and viewpoint and will include the 1-vs-4 multiplayer game “Resident Evil Resistance”.
“Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2”
A big launch title for the new Xbox, Ninja Theory delivers this follow-up to the acclaimed dark action-adventure “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” in which you play a Pict warrior who believes she is cursed due to the mental health issues she suffers. The new tale is set three years after Senua traveled through Helheim to rescue Dillion. The first trailer released for the title not long ago looks absolutely stunning.
Crystal Dynamics did such great work with the “Tomb Raider” franchise, but oddly excitement for this is notably muted following some not so great early trailers. The game begins with the unveiling of the new Avengers HQ in San Francisco which results in the death of civilians and the Avengers officially disband. Five years later, all superheroes are now outlawed until a recent world event puts humanity at risk. I’m a bit “Avengers”-ed out at this point, but the graphics look great even as I have some serious questions about the gameplay.
“Watch Dogs: Legion”
This third installment in Ubisoft’s open-world hacking-themed title shifts the action to a post-Brexit London, one under intense and constant surveillance. You must build up the resistance, and this time you can recruit and play as any NPC in the game world – turn that little old lady or that street tramp into a rocket-launching dynamo. It’s a new spin on the gameplay that could really open up this title, and mostly it promises to be all sorts of anarchic fun.
“Dying Light 2”
The first-person parkour survival game returns and this time it’s a much more interesting a varied open world fifteen years later. There’s not only seven different zones with whole different looks, but a map around four times as big as the first one – and one with much more height to it. Leap across rooftops with help of hooks and paragliders to try and stay out of danger and make alliances which will change how the NPC’s of this world react to you. There’s also some four-player co-op.
A fascinating looking survival horror tale from Italian company Santa Ragione and done with graphics made to resemble pencil sketch artwork. You follow several characters who are stuck in an abandoned village as they try to both survive and get out. Wonderfully moody piece in its trailers.
“The Red Lantern”
What could be this year’s “Firewatch,” Timberline Studio delivers this survival tale following a woman who enters the Iditarod in Alaska and must use what few resources she has to survive the hazardous obstacles including bear attacks, frostbite and other natural threats. A strong narrative and intriguing setting makes this indie stand out from some bigger budget competitors on the way.
“Skull and Bones”
Take the ship-to-ship combat sequences from “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag” and build an entire game out of them and you get “Skull & Bones,” a lavish-looking sea-faring tale of galleons and cannons, rum and seamen. It’s also a game that includes both campaign and multiplayer battles and isn’t some ‘always online’ MMORPG style deal which is nice.
“Gods and Monsters”
Ubisoft attempts to blend a look akin to Nintendo’s “Breath of the Wild” and Greek mythology elements in this exploration RPG that hails from the same team behind the acclaimed “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey,” so you know it’ll pay attention to the details. Here you’ll have to help save the gods from the giant serpent Typhon who wants to overthrow Zeus for the supremacy of the universe.
ALSO COMING IN 2020
“12 Minutes” – Annapurna’s new overhead perspective title has you reliving the same twelve minutes over and over as you try and find ways to stop being beaten to death by a dangerous cop in your home.
“Carrion” – You play the tentacled monster in this “Metroidvania”-style game as you race through the facility/prison where you’re kept, chomping on scientists as you go.
“The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope” – ‘Man of Medan’ gets a follow-up in this small town set supernatural chiller as a creature lurks in the darkness waiting to pounce.
“Empire of Sin” – A turn-based combat-strategy game lifted by the fact it’s set in Prohibition-era Chicago and has you vying for control of the cities speakeasies and brothels.
“Gears Tactics” – A turn-based single-player strategy game set in the “Gears of War” world from The Coalition and Splash Damage. Set during the early parts of the Locust Wars, the top-down game features first-person action sequences.
“Ghostrunner” – Take the cyberpunk tower block setting of the film “Dredd,” expand it in size and fill it with enemies you have to kill with a “Dishonored”-style mixture of stealth, parkour and lethal melee.
“Godfall” – The only PS5 exclusive announced thus far looks… oddly dull. A multiplayer heavy third-person looting game from Counterplay Games.
“Kerbal Space Program 2” – The franchise returns with a follow-up with better graphics, enhanced modding ability, and expansions of the first game’s playability.
“Nioh 2” – A prequel to the 2017 title continues Team Ninja’s hack-and-slash title with fully customizable characters to play with.
“Ori and the Will of the Wisps” – The charming side scroller gets a follow-up in this just as colorful game about a spirit creature exploring their world, with the new entry improving the game’s upgrade and auto-save systems.
“Persona 5 Royal” – A re-release of “Persona 5” with a bunch of new features, a new character and a new area along with some tweaks.
“Psychonauts 2” – A follow-up to the beloved platformer sees you controlling Raz, a new graduate with powerful psychic powers.
“Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated” – The celebrated 2003 game gets a full remake which will add a whole new multiplayer mode along with a bunch of excised content from the original game.
“Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Quarantine” – A three-player co-op first-person shooter in which you take on a technological parasitic threat.
“A Total War Saga: Troy” – The strategy combat franchise shifts the action to the Bronze Age and the Fall of Troy, can you win the battle and appease the gods?
“Way to the Woods” – Teen developer Anthony Tan’s indie adventure game has a very “Journey” style feel to it as we follow two deer who are lost in the world and are trying to find their way home.