The last decade provided a litany of iconic game titles that forever changed the landscape of gaming. With the coming of the new year, the imminent release dates of anticipated titles are fast approaching. Gaming has reached new pinnacles and heights of innovation and technology with the turn of the era. With that, a host of exciting, upcoming games are slated for release in 2020 that will define the start of this new decade.
10. Crusader Kings III
Paradox Interactive will provide another entry of fans’ favorite incest-laden, baby-killing, character-oriented Medieval grand strategy game. The dynasty simulator will feature an updated game engine, full-body 3D models, a deeper genetics system, and a map that will be four times more detailed than the previous iteration. Furthermore, all religions and nearly all government types, barring merchant republics and theocracies, will be playable at launch. With some controversy, fans’ favorite catchphrase ‘Deus Vult’ will not appear in the game. Crusader Kings III has been in development since 2015, slated to release sometime this year.
9. Marvel’s Avengers
Crystal Dynamics, for the first time since 2005, steps out behind the Tomb Raider spotlight to develop upcoming Marvel’s Avengers. Along with developer Eidos Montréal and publisher Square Enix, this upcoming action-adventure will be inspired by comic-book mythology instead of being related directly to the cinematic universe. Play in an offline single-player campaign or online with up to four people. There will also be plenty of customization and free patches and updates that will add content, such as regions and characters. Fans have awaited this game’s release since 2017 with the drop of the initial teaser trailer on Marvel Entertainment’s YouTube Channel. Now, the wait is nearly over with a release date of May 15, 2020.
8. System Shock
A remake of 1994’s critically-acclaimed System Shock is scheduled for release early this year. The original action RPG was hailed as a spiritual predecessor to the iconic Bioshock series, and was developed by Looking Glass Studios, which closed in 2000. Almost twenty years later, Night Dive Studios decided to pick up the million-dollar task of faithfully rebooting the System Shock franchise, with a team composed of industry veterans from titles such as Fallout: New Vegas, Mass Effect, and Bioshock, while collaborating with the original creators of System Shock 1. The 2020 reboot is crowdsourced through platforms such as Kickstarter and Backerkit, with over $1.4 million raised. The dev’s next goal is to integrate PC modding support, and perhaps that will be implemented before its exciting 2020 release date to firmly plant it as one of the more provoking upcoming games of the new year.
7. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
The nonlinear real-time, and frankly adorable, life simulator, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, is back and better than ever for a March 2020 release date. Tom Nook, and Nintendo for that matter, invites a new generation of console players to a deserted island with increased natural abundance, open-endedness, and customization. For the first time, the game’s weather will adjust depending on where in the world the player resides, and will feature windy weather, which will be illustrated through movement in the trees. Along with a new and improved crafting system, Animal Crossing: New Horizons will allow players to build and create their own slice of paradise in the new decade.
6. Half-Life: Alyx
Half-Life’s mysterious recurring character, G-Man, voiced by Michael Shapiro, emparted a vaguely sinister New Year’s message to rabid fans hungry for more Half-Life news. “Should old acquaintances be forgot? Well, after so much… time, some things can prove difficult to remember. See you in the new year. And… do prepare for… consequences, hm?” the creepy and distinctive cadence rumbled from the video Shapiro posted on Monday on Twitter. If fans were not hungry enough for the VR first-person shooter that would soothe the gaping emptiness that the forgotten Half-Life 3 left behind, they certainly are now. The events of Half-Life: Alyx will take place before the events of Half-Life 2, and it is the first game to take place in the Half-Life series since 2007. Suffice to say, the hype is real with Half-Life: Alyx, evidenced by the trailer’s over 10 million views within the first 24 hours of release. Set for release in March 2020, the upcoming game will be free for any who own Valve Index’s VR hardware.
5. Doom Eternal
Nominated for ‘Most Wanted Game’ at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards, Doom Eternal is the fifth title in the Doom series, a direct sequel to 2016’s Doom, and one of the most hyped upcoming games for the new year. Doom Eternal will be the launch game for the id Tech 7 engine, which features ten times the geometric detail as id Tech 6, as well as an improved image quality and a reduction of code by over a million times. Even more exciting, the first-person shooter published by Bethesda Softworks will have twice as many demon types as its predecessors, and will feature an asymmetric multiplayer mode, “Invasion,” in which players can fight against each other as demons. Finally, Doom developers stated that their goal was not to just create another Doom title, but to create a Doom universe with more to explore than ever before. Expect this hell on earth to release March 20, 2020.
4. Last of Us Part II
Gamers reunite with Ellie in the continuation of her epic story of survival in the sequel to Naughty Dog’s 2013 The Last of Us. The Last of Us Part II features an older, more mature Ellie—who is now nineteen and even more multifaceted. Ellie will have increased mobility to dodge new threats, such as guard dogs and new versions of the infected. As with the last title, more diverse themes will be explored through the relationship between Ellie and Dina. Yet again, Naughty Dog has created a rich character-oriented title in the Last of Us Part II. In a 2019 demo, enemies that Ellie exacts revenge against are fully developed people who are loved and live deeply painful lives. As Ellie’s victims succumb to their last breath, shrieks of their families may be heard reverberating around the sad scene. The upcoming sequel to the original critically-acclaimed title is scheduled for release on May 29, 2020.
3. Halo Infinite
Master Chief returns in Halo Infinite, Xbox’s upcoming blockbuster, in a more integral part of the story, as opposed to Halo 5—which focused on cursory characters rather than the supersoldier himself. In addition to focusing on the Master Chief, the storyline will be much more human and, in the words of Phil Spencer, the Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft, “[Master Chief’s] greatest adventure yet to save humanity.” Beyond the elusive and vague words of creative leads, not much else is known about Halo Infinite’s story and Master Chief’s place in it. Furthermore, the upcoming Halo title will run on an all-new engine titled Slipspace, and will feature the return of split-screen multiplayer. Touted as the one of the biggest upcoming games of 2020, Halo Infinite will be launching alongside the Xbox Series X.
2. Cyberpunk 2077
From the creators of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt comes a new, story-driven open world RPG set in a dark, dystopian, futuristic world that is Night City. Adapted from the Cyberpunk franchise, a pen-and-paper tabletop RPG, the game world features six distinct regions in the sprawling open world that CD Projekt Red became famous for in The Witcher 3.
The game world, in addition to its size, will be life-like with full day-night cycle, and dynamic weather to which NPCs react. Furthermore, there’s tons of interactive content throughout the world, such as buyable apartments, radio stations, and law enforcement that will hunt down the player when committing a crime.
Even more, the game stars actor and internet sensation Keanu Reeves in a leading role, following the trend of featuring real-life actors in video game worlds. Differing from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Cyberpunk 2077’s protagonist will be customizable in terms of face, hair, clothing, body type, and cybernetic modifications. In true RPG fashion, stat categories such as Body, Intelligence, Reflexes, Technical, and Cool are adaptable depending on character classes.
Even before the game’s April 2020 release date, Cyberpunk 2077 has won tons of awards, including over a hundred at E3 2018, and it looks like there will be plenty more to come.
1. Final Fantasy 7 Remake
Final Fantasy 7 Remake hits that sweet spot between sweet nostalgia and a graphically competitive game that just looks plain fun to play. Final Fantasy 7 Remake has received something of a virtual facelift in comparison to the 1997 original. Midgar comes to life in full 4K, a far cry from the blocky, low-res graphics of the original.
Along with the classic turn-based gameplay featured in the original Final Fantasy titles, real-time action gameplay in the spirit of Dissidia Final Fantasy can be toggled on and off. Although, it can be argued that the remake is meant to be played with the new and improved real-time gameplay. Tetsuya Nomura, director and main character designer, redesigned the characters for realism as well as stylization to better fit the updated graphics of a 2020 title.
Furthermore, the four-disc CD trays of the Final Fantasy Playstation 1 era were packed full of content. To avoid any cuts of that gaming gold, Square Enix opted to release Final Fantasy 7 in episodic installments, with the first slated for release on March 3, 2020. In every way, Final Fantasy 7 Remake defines the start of this generation of gaming by updating a nostalgic blockbuster into the realm of modern, re-imagined artistry, firmly placing it as one of the most exciting upcoming games of 2020.
With those releases, a new era of gaming begins as the countdown to the best upcoming games of 2020 grows near. 2020 marks the start of an era where the technological capabilities of gaming are boundless. This is a transitory period in the gaming industry where the last titles of current generation consoles are trickling out while players and consumers are preparing themselves for the next generation of gaming. All that’s clear is that this is an exciting year in the world of gaming and the widely anticipated upcoming games of 2020 will mark the start of a great decade.