We can only guess what it says about the state of the world today that hellish, post-apocalyptic and dystopian settings dominate the gaming landscape of 2020, but here are some of our picks for upcoming games that should be on your radar.
DOOM Eternal (id Software/Bethesda Softworks)
Arieh Offman (Programmer, Public Programs) says:
2016’s DOOM was a rip-roaring demon-slaying great time, harking back to the frenetic gameplay of the 1990s iterations of the series, and DOOM Eternal looks to be bringing us more of the same – which is a very good thing. Added to the extensive single player campaign is a new asymmetrical multi-player mode called ‘Battlemode’. In this, two players will take control of demons to battle a third player in control of the Doomguy. After being delayed by around six months and now due to launch March 20, I’m thinking that DOOM Eternal will be my go-to fix for some classic FPS action.
DOOM Eternal will be released on all platforms on 20 March 2020.
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 (Ninja Theory)
Caitlin Cronin (Public, Education and Industry Programs Coordinator) says:
If you haven’t seen the trailer for Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2, please scroll up and watch it right now, because it is a masterpiece. Featuring the games protagonist, Senua, chanting an invocation to the Norse deity Týr, the trailer is chilling, stunningly shot, and immediately reminded me of the low-level anxiety and horror I felt playing the first installment, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (2017). That sounds like a bad thing, but it’s truly a credit to the game’s sense of atmosphere that it still resonates with me this long after. While few details about Senua’s Saga have been released so far, the first game’s nimble and empathetic handling of a character suffering from psychosis, along with its strong narrative, creative style and Norse roots leave me confident that this game will be just as amazing.
Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 will be released on Microsoft Windows and the new Xbox Series X console in 2020 (date TBA).
Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt Red)
Dilan Gunawardana (Website Coordinator) says:
This year, all eyes will be on Polish developer CD Projekt Red’s followup to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, one of the greatest games of the last decade - no pressure! What we’ve seen so far in cinematic trailers and gameplay clips looks impressive; a lived-in, dynamic world of metal, neon and grime, inhabitabited by "corpo rats", "dirtgirls" and all varieties of cyberpunks. In more than 25 years of gaming I don’t ever recall seeing a videogame cityscape so vividly realised and heavily populated with NPCs. CD Projekt Red have once again invested a lot of time and care into character performances; the facial animations, the motion capture and the voice acting are all spot on. There’s a nagging fear in the back of my mind that Cyberpunk’s focus on world-building may come at the expense of tight combat mechanics, but time will tell. Come for the Blade Runner and Neuromancer-inspired world, stay for Keanu Reeves.
Cyberpunk 2077 will be released on all platforms on 19 November 2020.
Way to the Woods (Anthony Tan)
Jim Fishwick (Curator) says:
This is a game about a deer and a fawn going on a gentle adventure. What more do you need to know?
Okay, what if I told you it’s made by Anthony Tan, a 20-year-old indie developer from Melbourne?
What if I told you he started it age 16 as a fun side project, before going viral online and getting signed by Microsoft?
What if I told you it’s gorgeously animated in a Ghibli-esque style?
And that the deer uses its antlers to light up the world?
And what if I told you it’s scored by Aivi & Surasshu, previously of Steven Universe?
And what if I told you (and I’m including spoilers here, so beware) that THE FAWN EATS A PACKET OF CHIPS BY STICKING ITS LITTLE SNOUT IN THE BAG AND KNOCKING ITS HEAD BACK? I MEAN, SERIOUSLY.
So yes, I’m a little excited for Way to the Woods.
Way to the Woods will be released on Xbox One and PC in 2020 (Date TBA)
Biomutant (Experiment 101/THQ Nordic)
Caitlin Cronin says:
Biomutant is an action-RPG where you play as your very own personalised mutant cat-raccoon. There are also mechs, an omniscient narrator and a ton of anthropomorphic animal characters: it’s essentially a game made just for me. It’s fair to say the post-apocalyptic angle has been done quite a bit over recent years, but from early looks at Biomutant, it already seems that the creators, THQ Nordic and Experiment 101, have made a vibrant and unique world that will offer something new to the genre. Early gameplay videos also show a quirky sense of humour, interesting crafting and a fluid martial arts styled combat system. Even if this game only half delivers on its potential to be amazing, the ability to create my own mutant cat-raccoon who kicks butt and occasionally rides around in a mech has me sold.
Biomutant will be released in 2020 (date TBA).
Resident Evil 3 remake (Capcom)
Aireh Offman says:
The remake of Resident Evil 2 was one of my favorite games of last year. The fact that we are going to get a remake of Resident Evil 3 shows Capcom’s dedication to bringing this series to a whole new generation of fans. RE3 was initially intended to be a spin-off for the series and featured more action-oriented gameplay than the strict survival horror of its predecessors. It also introduced one of the series’ best villains in Nemesis, and the unique "Live Selection" story mechanic that allowed players to choose different story paths. It’s time for some more undead mayhem.
Resident Evil 3 will be released on all platforms on 3 April 2020.
Spiritfarer (Thunder Lotus Games)
Caitlin Cronin says:
Many games treat death as something to avoid, or something transitory; die, respawn, reload, repeat. This convention is challenged in Spiritfarer, a game about death, acceptance and moving on. You play as Stella, a ferrymaster whose job it is to guide spirits of the dead across the oceans and into the afterlife. It may all sound very serious, but Spiritfarer is also a cozy management game with a whole lot of heart. You spend your time farming, cooking, mining, building, completing mini quests and caring for your passengers. A demo of the game was recently playable on Steam and even in that short amount of time I fell completely in love with its art, gameplay, humour and the grace with which it approached such a complex topic. The characters too were all incredibly unique and obviously created with such thought and care. I can’t wait to see more of them, and the game, when it is released.
Spiritfarer will be released on all platforms in 2020 (date TBA).
Half Life: Alyx (Valve)
Dilan Gunawardana says:
Those of us holding our breath for a third instalment of Valve’s seminal Half Life series for over a decade stopped doing so years ago. Then Valve surprised us all in November 2019 with a trailer for Half Life: Alyx, filled with head crabs, zombies, Combine solider noises, and more – Woohoo! … Unfortunately, it turned out to be a prequel to Half Life 2 – D’oh! On top of that, it was a VR offering; still a developing market in gaming. However, there are some things to look forward to, such as improved interactivity with objects, gravity gun gloves, and the promotion of Alyx Vance to the role of protagonist. Also, one of the main characters appears to be an Aussie (represent!). I have a feeling that the success of HL:A will determine whether or not Valve go ahead with developing other VR titles or even a VR Half Life 3. It could also signal a leap forward for AAA VR gaming. But I won’t hold my breath.
Half Life: Alyx will be released on PC in March 2020.
The Last of Us Part 2 (Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Arieh Offman says:
Scheduled for release on 29 May, The Last of Us Part 2 is probably my most anticipated release of the year. Following on from the emotionally devastating conclusion to Ellie and Joel’s narrative in the first game, fans are eager to take control of Ellie and continue her journey. I am interested in how the tone for the game will shift, with director Neil Druckmann stating ‘If the first game was really about the love between these two characters, this story is the counter of that ... This story is about hate.’ Sounds ominous, and I can't wait.
The Last of Us Part 2 will be released on PS4 on 29 May 2020.
Hollow Knight: Silksong (Team Cherry)
Jim Fishwick says:
The sequel to Team Cherry’s 2017 smash hit Hollow Knight was initially slated to be a DLC add-on to the originally game. But the Adelaide-based developers announced in early 2019 that it would be expanded out into a standalone game. After footage of their E3 demo surfaced online, it’s easy to see why. Silksong stars Hornet, a supporting character from Hollow Knight, exploring a new world, with new combat tactics, new enemies and new lore. This game is much anticipated by many (including me) for 2020; the only drawback being that it isn’t necessarily going to be released in 2020. Team Cherry announced that it will be released whenever it’s ready, which may well not be until 2021. But knowing them, the wait will be worth it.
Hollow Knight: Silksong will be released on Nintendo Switch and PC (date TBA).