The recent airing of The Game Awards showed us some big games that are coming out in 2020, so we can make our own predictions about what the most anticipated games of 2020 will be with a little more precision.
It’s tantalizing to think about great games that are coming, and that’s why I make it a habit of doing this list each year. But some of the games are coming in 2020 because they slipped. In that category, we’ll include The Last of Us Part II, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Doom Eternal. But we’ve also got some games that only recently came to light, such as Valve’s Half-Life: Alyx. And we have some games where we have to totally guess if they’re really going to happen at all.
Naughty Dog/Sony (PlayStation 4)
Date: May 29
Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann promised that the sequel to 2013’s gritty game, The Last of Us, is far more ambitious and longer than the original. I played some of it at a preview event, and I liked the changes in the gameplay system that gave the player a lot more control over combat.
And the story — a tale about revenge — seems like it will live up to the highest standards that Naughty Dog has set with its other games. We can expect that scenes of beauty will be interspersed with horror and intense combat. Ellie is older and in command of her life and she makes conscious decisions about the risks she takes. Joel is still there, watching over her as a kind of surrogate father. And every day of their existence, they fight for survival. This is still what they do.
What’s not to like? I’m looking for the next step up in storytelling that shows video games are an unmatched medium when it comes to artistic creativity.
CD Projekt Red/CD Projekt (PC, consoles, Google Stadia)
Date: April 16
It would be wise for other developers to stay out of Keanu Reeves’ way. Reeves has a role in this game, and when it comes out, it’s going to create a blast radius. It will likely be so popular that it will kill off any other titles trying to debut at the same time.
This is perhaps the only game I’ve seen that matches the production values of massive titles such as Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V or Red Dead Redemption 2. The attention to detail, the gritty sci-fi world, the realistic graphics, the detail in the human faces, and the interesting story and universe — all of that suggests that this is going to be one of the blockbusters of 2020. So long as it comes in for a smooth landing at the end of the development process, this game is guaranteed a huge audience. CD Projekt Red is going to join Rockstar in setting a very high bar for other game developers to surpass.
Square Enix (PlayStation 4)
Date: March 3, 2020
I’m tempted to say something bad about this game so that Mike Minotti can hack-‘n’-slash me. This remake of the 1997 original is going to stir fans up to an intolerable level. They’ve already been anxious about this title since rumors of it first emerged in 2014. And now they’re just going crazy. But this game gets a lot of credit for why the Final Fantasy series is still going strong and has more than 100 million fans.
343 Industries/Microsoft (Xbox/PC)
OK, here’s another title we know very little about, and we know nothing about when it will debut. But we’ve come to trust Microsoft when it comes to the Halo brand. Master Chief has never let us down yet, and we’re as anxious to see the supersoldier with his helmet off as anyone. I only hope they haven’t changed the gameplay one bit, as Halo is one of those shooters that I know how to play. I don’t play it very well, but I always come back for more.
Blizzard (PC, consoles)
Hello darkness, my old friend. That’s an apt way to think about this title (words stolen from Mike Minotti and Simon & Garfunkel). It’s going to take us back to the dungeons that will explored in years past, only with better graphics and probably a load of very expensive cut scenes. The Diablo series has given us a vision of hell for years, and Blizzard has been taking time with this title. I mean, it has to come out in 2020, right? They even showed a piece of it at the last BlizzCon event.
Sucker Punch/Sony (PlayStation 4)
The graphics of Ghost of Tsushima looks so good, with flowing leaves, fast samurai action, realistic characters, and amazing landscapes of ancient Japan. Sony recently showed off a long trailer at The Game Awards, and it sets up tense swordfighting duels that are so intense.
The developers are trying to make the action-adventure swordfighting game as authentic as they can for a story set during the 13th century Mongol invasion of Japan. And it looks like it’s going to be a revenge story. We would love to get our hands on this to see whether it goes the way of Dark Souls or something else. This is yet another game that appears to invest an awful lot in graphics and storytelling. And it will likely keep Sony at the top of the heap when it comes to awesome single-player games.
Retro Studios/Nintendo (Nintendo Switch)
Nintendo has been quiet since it announced in January 2019 that it had restarted Metroid Prime 4 development for the Nintendo Switch. Ever since, it has been quiet. That gives us hope that the game is moving along and should arrive sometime next year. Nintendo has plentiful hits for the Switch, but something like Metroid Prime 4 would ignite the Nintendo faithful to a new level of devotion.
Valve (Steam, Steam VR)
Valve has been very slow about announcing new games, but fans went crazy when they heard that the owner of Steam said release Half-Life: Alyx on the PC and in virtual reality in March. It’s the first new title in the Half-Life series since the release of Half-Life 2: Episode II in 2007.
Talk about pent-up demand.
Alyx will take place between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, and Alyx Vance will be the lead character for the first time in the franchise. It will also feature gravity gloves. Valve boss Gabe Newell talked up the game as an ambitious full-length title, and we hope that it, alongside Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, will breathe more life into consumer VR, which still has a long way to go.
Nintendo (Nintendo Switch)
Breath of the Wild was the breath of fresh air that the Zelda franchise needed to modernize itself in the age of open worlds. We don’t know what Breath of the Wild 2 will bring, but you can probably expect a richly detailed world with many ways to achieve your goals and an unscripted feel.
Id Software/Bethesda Softworks (Windows, consoles)
Date: March 20
I’ve had multiple chances to blaze with the guns of Doom Eternal, and it seemed quite polished. So I was surprised when Bethesda delayed this title. But it’s probably for the better because the team can smash the bugs. It’s going to be an unforgiving game that has to run at a dizzying pace, as you mow down the demons of hell with a wide variety of weapons. I found it really hard to get through just one of the levels during one preview. I’m sure they’re tuning it for difficulty. But don’t expect the denizens of the hellish world to be merciful when you fight them. This is part of the ongoing revival of Doom that id has orchestrated, and the key is that they are forcing players to fight in a mobile way, earning more rewards with every risk the player takes. So yes, it’s either high risk, high reward, or death.
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Oddworld Soulstorm
- Overwatch 2
- Marvel’s Avengers
- Minecraft Dungeons
- Bleeding Edge
- Tell Me Why
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Dying Light 2
- Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond
- Iron Man VR, Disintegration
- Skull & Bones
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Empire of Sin
- Wasteland 3
- Dragon Age 4
- Beyond Good & Evil 2
- Microsoft Flight Simulator
- Nioh 2
- No More Heroes 3
- System Shock
- Rainbow Six Quarantine