2019 was personally a weird year for games. It had one of the best games I’ve ever played in Outer Wilds. And it had the best lore-building in recent years with Control. And then it had a bunch of games that I really, really liked but didn’t particularly love. A couple of truly remarkable highlights and some titles I’ll be hard-pressed to recall a few years from now.
But I guess that’s, unfortunately, the nature of this job. The bulk of the bell curve gets forgotten while the extremes are what get tucked away in one of the exceptionally wrinkly parts of the brain. General sensations replace specificity and critical insight as the new only ever smothers and drowns the old.
Enough of being maudlin, though. 2020 is shaping up to be quite the year.
What an absolutely fascinating premise. Without any intervention, a scene plays out within a man and a wife’s apartment: a cop shows up to arrest the wife for the murder of her father, and…things happen. But then you are returned to before the scene unfolds, now able to use your new knowledge to intervene. Over and over again. I truly cannot wait to see what this plays like.
It’s scheduled to release sometime this year on Xbox One and PC.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
What’s there to even say. It’s Animal Crossing but on the Switch, the thing everyone has been waiting for since before the Switch was even released. Tom Nook, Isabelle, and more all return for your desert island adventure into an adorably vicious free market. Plus now you can select a gender-neutral character!
It comes out on the Switch on March 20, 2020.
It’s hard to imagine a game that has taken so much goodwill (they brought out metal rocker Keanu!) and flushed it all away by not knowing when to just apologize or shut the fuck up. They made a transphobic joke and made a faux apology for it. They have a gang of Black men called the Animals. They have a billboard fetishizing trans folk. At some point, you just get worn down. But the gameplay still looks interesting even if their social commentary seems hamfisted.
Barring another delay, it’ll come out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC on September 17, 2020.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope
I kind of love that a studio that started doing DLC and ports is now doing what it feels like the just want to do, which is weird experiments in horror-based storytelling. Until Dawn made a shockingly huge splash, and then they just went ham. A VR rails shooter, a PlayLink game about taking over a story from your friends, and now an eight-part anthology that features online narrative co-op. That’s just terrific.
This part is expected to release sometime this year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
You’d find it damn near impossible to encounter someone not excited for this. It’s the followup to a serious game of the year contender in 2016, an unbelievably stacked year for video games, and by every indication, it’s going to be even more of what we didn’t even know we wanted from this storied franchise. It’s so exciting thinking about what they can do with a second crack at their push forward design philosophy.
It comes out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC on March 20, 2020, and sometime after that on the Switch.
We already kind of know what Dreams is about. At this point, it feels like it’s been out for several years now. We’ve seen so much early access stuff that it’s less a question of what the game is and more about how will Media Molecule support its creators. They can’t let their play community languish again and feel cheated again.
It hits the PlayStation 4 on February 14, 2020.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Fucking fuck just give it to me already.
The first episode (of some unknown amount) comes out on the PlayStation 4 on April 10, 2020.
A first-person cyberpunk parkour assassin game could not possibly be more up my alley. It even seems to have some serious Hotline Miami vibes based on the gameplay trailer. Plus there’s some The Raid: Redemption action going on in that you are just ascending a massive tower to confront whatever ultimate bad guy awaits.
It’s expected to release this summer on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Ghost of Tsushima
Can you believe it’s been six years since Sucker Punch has released a game? Kind of insane to think about. Their last biggest gap was also between new franchises, but it was also between console generations with the Sly Cooper : Infamous :: PlayStation 3 : PlayStation 4 transition. Seems interesting that this will still be released on the not-yet-but-soon-will-be-old PlayStation 4 instead of the PlayStation 5. But whatever. It looks fuckin’ good.
It should hit this summer on the PlayStation 4.
I feel like I’ve already got a good idea of what playing Grounded will be like (it’s an Obsidian game, after all), but I’m such a thorough and complete sucker for stories about scale and unseen worlds. Maybe it’s a consequence of all those years playing de_rats in Counter-Strike 1.6. Or maybe it’s why I play so much of it. Who knows. I’m just interested to see what twists an exceptionally creative studio can come up with in this tiny world.
Look for it this Spring on Xbox One and PC.
It’s not Half-Life 3, but I think it’s something so much more interesting. An incredibly storied studio with a heavy investment in making VR work is making a VR game set in the universe that it made its name with? That’s a lot of reason and impetus to make sure they get this right. And all those minute interactions in the trailer seems like they’re definitely headed that way.
It’s headed to all PC-based VR ecosystems this March.
It’s kind of both surprising and not at all unexpected that Halo is still going without a reboot. Master Chief has come in and out of the galactic proscenium so many times now. He’s kind of like a comet that flies by once every few years. But it will be a launch title for the Series X console, so there’s a lot to be excited about there. Though the much-vaunted open exploration smells of the open world in Gears 5, and that was easily the worst part about that game.
It should release this holiday season.
Kerbal Space Program 2
After whetting my appetite for appropriately simplified space mechanics with Outer Wilds, I’m am extremely looking forward to building some cosmic monstrosities and blasting them off into outer space. The idea of colony building and interstellar travel alone has me salivating the possibilities. And multiplayer?! Hell yeah.
You can expect it to land on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime this year.
The Last of Us Part II
Probably the most anticipated game of this year for a lot of people. And who can blame them. It follows one of the defining games of an entire generation and looks to amp up everything that one did by so much more. It’s such a huge release that no matter what you’re into, you can’t help but be curious about how it will turn out.
It comes out on the PlayStation 4 on May 29, 2020.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel
Admittedly, this isn’t confirmed for 2020, but the odds are pretty high Nintendo is going to try its damndest to make it happen. Keep Switch owners happy amidst two other console releases and whatnot. Plus it sounds ambitious as hell. Too many ideas for a DLC? Hell yeah. Being inspired by Red Dead Redemption 2, though, has me less excited.
No idea when it’ll come out, but maybe this year. Also I just wanted to watch the trailer again.
Not sure how much anyone is looking forward to this thing but I know everyone is dying to know what it’ll end up being. An Avengers title completely disconnected from the MCU in the year following Endgame featuring a bunch of Time Square Elmo-looking motherfuckers? It may be coming from Crystal Dynamics, but the combat is looking decidedly…flat, to put it kindly.
Look for it on September 4, 2020, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC.
No More Heroes III
It’s been a whopping ten years since the last mainline release of a No More Heroes game. That’s truly wild considering the other two games were well-received and sold good numbers. Grasshopper and Goichi Suda have had the cachet to do what they want for a while now. How can you not want more of a series that unironically names characters things like Travis Touchdown?
It’s scheduled for release sometime this year on the Switch.
Starting as an itch.io demo in 2018, Nuts is an extremely weird game. In the middle of a hyper-stylized forest, you are tasked with setting up a series of surveillance cameras to record some squirrels. And then you look at that footage to find out where they stash their nuts. It’s insane and I want it. (Also the developer has a video on his YouTube channel called “How to eat an entire Daikon,” so, you know. Watch that, too.)
It should come out this year on PC and maybe consoles later.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Hyped is an understatement. If it wasn’t for Her Story, Ori and the Blind Forest would have been my game of the year in 2015. And now you’re telling me there’s going to be more Ori? Yeah, sign me the fuck up.
Expect me to lose my damn mind on March 11, 2020.
Resident Evil 3 Remake
Solely because of what they accomplished with the Resident Evil 2 remake do I believe Capcom should continue down this path of reinventing the Resident Evil franchise top to bottom. (Hell, this may even lead to some new campy-as-fuck movies.) Though this will be the last chance for simply having a tolerable camera system be a major new feature, so we’ll see what happens.
It comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 3, 2020.
Outside of being delayed last year, it’s been a while since we’ve heard from Sable. And that’s a shame because it looks fantastic. I don’t just mean visually (though, obviously, yes) but also the idea of a coming-of-age story told through the exploration of a stark desert planet is extremely of interest to me. It has some major Shadow of the Colossus vibes in a way that I can get behind.
It’s scheduled for release sometime this year for Xbox One and PC.
“A game about trying your best.” Well that’s just nice.
It’s coming to PC and the Switch sometime this year.
Skull & Bones
Here’s another game that has endured some serious radio silence. It feels like the complete opposite tack to the other maritime game Sea of Thieves, a title that sort of stumbled from barebones release to a somehow endearing multiplayer experience with update after update. And that’s fine; let’s see a fully functioning online game on day one. That’d be a nice refreshing change.
It’s supposed to come out after March on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
For many, the original Spelunky was their favorite game of the decade. And though it didn’t grab me the same way, I wholeheartedly agree that it is a defining game of the past ten years. But it’s also easy to see where things were held back or purposefully simplified for the sake of a first release. So the prospect of a sequel where all those notions get to finally see the full light of day should be intriguing to anyone with a taste for platforming.
We’ll most likely see it come out this year on PlayStation 4 and PC.
Don’t let the calming aesthetics fool you; this is a game about death. You are the ferry master tasked with shepherding souls to the afterlife, each one taking on the shape of a representative animal. As the game description puts it, “learn how to say goodbye to your cherished friends.” Brrrrrutal.
Look for it this year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.
Watch Dogs: Legion
As an unrelenting fan of Watch Dogs 2, the grand ambition of playing as anyone in Watch Dogs: Legion is both rife with potential and hugely disappointing because I loved the specific characterizations of Marcus Holloway. Though the ability to build your own global resistance by taking control of any NPC is such a fascinating idea, I’ll let this Marcus erasure go just this once.
Technically delayed to the next fiscal year, that ends in April 2021, so there’s still a good chance we could be seeing this come out this holiday season on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia as well as the next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.