The most exciting games coming up in 2020
While 2019 may not have had as many standout games as previous years, 2020 is shaping up to be an absolute monster. We’re in for some new franchises, new entries in long-dormant series, remakes of classics, and to cap it all off, brand new consoles for Christmas. So let’s get cracking on our most anticipated games of 2020.
There’s a brand new Half-Life game coming this year – wow, that’s a sentence we didn’t think we’d ever get to write again!
It’s been more than 12 years since Valve cruelly left us hanging two-thirds of the way through a planned trilogy of Half-Life episodes, but don’t hold your breath for closure just yet – Half-Life: Alyx is set between the first and second games. Still, we’ll take what we can get.
As the title suggests, this time around players step into the shoes of Alyx Vance, the freedom fighter who helped Gordon Freeman throughout Half-Life 2 and its follow-on episodes. And that shoe-stepping is quite literal too – the game is built entirely for VR, playable on any PC-based headset. That means we’ll be shooting, grabbing and throwing stuff around with our own two hands and a pair of “gravity gloves.”
It may not be Half-Life 3, but at this point that barely matters so long as we get to return to this world. And if you’re worried that VR means this will be a smaller side game, fear not – Valve stresses that this is a full-length game, about as long as Half-Life 2.
Half-Life: Alyx lands in March.
Resident Evil 3
Last year’s Resident Evil 2 was everything a remake should be – it kept the solid base of the 1998 original intact, while updating clunky things like the camera and controls that wouldn’t fly today. And now Capcom is giving Resident Evil 3 the same treatment.
RE3 is set in and around the events of RE2, as Jill Valentine tries to escape the zombie-infested Raccoon City. Along with all the series-regular monsters, she’s pursued by the Nemesis, a hulking beast that stalks players relentlessly and intelligently throughout the game.
The 1999 original was the most ambitious Resident Evil game to that point, with more zombies and bigger environments, so it’s perfect fodder for a remake.
But maybe the most intriguing part is the brand new multiplayer mode. Resident Evil Resistance pits four survivors against one “Mastermind” player, who watches their progress through security cameras and places traps and monsters in their path. It sounds like Capcom’s take on Left 4 Dead or Friday the 13th: The Game, and we can’t wait.
Resident Evil 3 shambles out on April 3.
After being originally announced way back in 2012, Cyberpunk 2077 is finally almost here.
Set in the universe of the Cyberpunk tabletop game from the 80s, the new game is a gigantic open world RPG on the scale of Grand Theft Auto V, but with a more tech-focused flavor. Players can customize their character’s skills in hacking, machinery and combat, letting you explore the city and play out the story in your own way.
The seven regions of the city and surrounds look jam-packed with stuff to do and people to talk to/fight, all topped off with dynamic weather and day-and-night cycles. Player choice is important, with decisions altering the story, world and characters – even if you fail a quest, the story will continue on and force you to deal with the consequences.
Oh, and you get to pal around with Keanu Reeves. What’s not to love?
Cyberpunk 2077 boots up on April 16.
With their movie counterparts taking a bit of a break after last year’s Endgame, Marvel is keeping the momentum going with a new game. This version of The Avengers is a new imagining, featuring its own storyline and a slight shuffle of the roster. We played a 30-minute demo at PAX Australia back in October, and it’s shaping up to be a fun little outing – even if it does feel like it’s straight out of the mid-2000s.
The game kicks off with a disaster during A-Day – a city-wide celebration of the Avengers themselves – which sees superheroes outlawed. Fast forward five years and, in classic superhero-story fashion, a new threat emerges that forces the band back together.
Players don the spandex of several Avengers, including Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Black Widow. Each character has their own movesets and abilities, and in our brief taste they were all fun in their own way. The gameplay does feel a little outdated, with its linear levels and combo-spamming combat, but in a way it’s oddly a charming and nostalgic throwback to simpler times.
Marvel’s Avengers assemble on May 15.
The Last of Us Part II
Widely considered one of the best games of all time, The Last of Us didn’t feel like it needed a sequel – but we sure won’t complain about getting one.
Set five years after the original, The Last of Us Part II promises more of the same polished stealth, exploration, combat and, of course, emotion-driven storytelling, that made the first an instant classic. Players control a now 19-year-old Ellie, who is now living in a survivor community with Joel.
The story outline gives us a little pause – Ellie is hunting down a militant group for revenge after some unknown slight against her community – which doesn’t quite sound right for this character or setting. But hey, five years is a long time, and growing up in this infected world is bound to change people, so we’ll reserve judgement for when we get our hands on it.
The Last of Us Part II arrives on May 29.
Microsoft is saving its heaviest of heavy hitters for the holiday period this year, and with good reason – it has new consoles to push.
Halo Infinite is the sixth main game in the Xbox’s flagship shooter series, picking up where Guardians left off. Naturally, Master Chief is back in the driver’s seat, and is set to have more of a central role than the last game.
We don’t know a whole lot about it yet, but expect the franchise’s tight gunplay and sweeping sci-fi storytelling. And split-screen multiplayer is back after a hiatus, too, which is nice.
Microsoft has promised that Halo Infinite will be a launch title for its next-gen console, the Xbox Series X, which should help move units. Of course, if you don’t want to dive in day one, it’ll also be out on Xbox One and Windows PCs, too.
Halo Infinite drops sometime in the final quarter of the year.
Nintendo has been weirdly quiet about its 2020 plans so far, but that should change within the next few weeks. And what we do know is exciting enough.
The biggest confirmed Switch release is Animal Crossing: New Horizons, landing on March 20. The first mainline game in the series since 2013’s New Leaf, this entry deepens the chilled-out formula of collecting, building, decorating, and running odd jobs for critters, this time on your own private island.
We know Nintendo is working on a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but there’s no telling how far along that is. It might be the 2020 holiday tentpole release, or it might slip into 2021. Pikmin 4 has been in development since at least 2015 – maybe that’s in the pipe for this year? Don’t hold your breath for Metroid Prime 4, though: development started over from scratch last year, so that’ll be at least a year away yet.
Third-party exclusives like No More Heroes 3 and Bayonetta 3 are also due to drop sometime this year.
This also seems to be the year of downloadable content for existing games. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is getting new multiplayer packs, Smash Bros. Ultimate will continue to have new characters added to the roster, and Pokémon Sword and Shield are getting sizeable new story add-ons and over 200 extra critters.
Of course, we’d expect a few other surprises to be announced soon, to pad out the year. There are even rumors of a more powerful new Switch model for mid-year, to complement the Switch Lite.
And speaking of new hardware …
PS5/Xbox Series X
Both companies have played coy with the details, drip-feeding info over the last few months. We got a glimpse of the boxy Series X at the Game Awards, and at CES we were treated to the PS5 logo.
So far, we know that both machines will support visuals up to 8K, be capable of ray-tracing (ie., realistic lighting) and have solid-state drives for faster loading.
The Xbox Series X will have a focus on cloud gaming, giving players the option of streaming titles. This apparently includes older games from all prior Xbox generations.
Sony, meanwhile, spent a bit of time talking up the new haptics system on the PS5 controller, which can apparently recreate the feeling of walking across different textures and terrains.
Our money is on a November release for both consoles, based on the last-gen launch in 2013 and the fact that they’ll want a decent lead-in for Christmas. Given that timeframe, we’d expect full reveals to follow pretty soon.
Of course, that's just a taste of what's coming up in the year ahead. What else are you looking forward to in 2020?