2020 is going to be a banner year for video games. It marks the last year of the current console generation ,and anyone should know, that’s when some of the best titles of the generation are released: it’s the sweet spot where developers want to get their games out the door, as they’re starting working on all of the games to come for the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. Before all of the big console news and preorders start, I wanted to take this slow January release schedule to think about the games we’re looking forward to the most in 2020.
Zombie Army 4: Dead War –February 4th
I love Zombie Army Trilogy, and have been playing the Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army series since the very first Left 4 Dead meets Sniper Elite game released in 2015. Back then, I thought it was just going to be a fun little Halloween themed mod for their main game, but it quickly became my favorite part of the Sniper Elite series. So much so, that when Sniper Elite 4 came out, I knew there would be a Zombie Army 4 shortly afterwards.
Unlike Left 4 Dead, Zombie Army has slower, Romero-esque zombies that come at you in unrelenting waves while you struggle to control the hordes with explosives and environmental traps. Ammo is scarce, and killing zombies with a sniper rifle isn’t the most efficient way to fight, giving you a feeling of almost always being overwhelmed.
Half-Life: Alyx – March
Probably the most anticipated VR game ever, Half-Life: Alyx is responsible for the Valve Index HMD being out of stock since the announcement. And no wonder: this is a big deal. It’s the first Half-Life game released since 2007, and it’s tailor made for Valve’s Index—even though it supports a range of virtual reality devices, so you don’t need an Index to play it.
MLB The Show 20 – March 17th
This game is on this list for one reason only: Javy Baez. Of course, The Show is the premier baseball game, and the only full AAA title to be partnered with the MLB. But that’s not even why I want this year’s copy. I want to solely to rep my favorite baseball team, and one of the most exciting players on that team. Go Cubs!
Doom Eternal – March 20th
I don’t think there’s a single first person shooter fan that isn’t looking forward to the follow-up to the surprise that was Doom (2016). And there’s plenty of reason to be: a new grappling hook mechanic promises to speed up the action even more by giving new movement options, and destructible demons will up satisfaction you can get from tearing apart the denizens of hell. Rip and tear, indeed.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons – March 20th
I never thought I’ve be someone to play Animal Crossing, but when New Leaf released for the 3DS, it hooked me. There was just something so calming about the pleasant nature of just about everything in Animal Crossing. It’s a world without pain that is all about carefree adventures like catching bugs, and digging up fossils. And then you get slapped with a mortgage and work your butt off to pay back Tom Nook. When all of my friends will be playing Doom Eternal, I’ll be firing up Animal Crossing: New Horizons on my Nintendo Switch.
Resident Evil 3 Remake – April 3rd
Resident Evil 2 remake was one of my favorite games of last year. So it goes without saying that Resident Evil 3 is highly anticipated. Capcom’s Resident Evil series is still the benchmark for survival horror, especially their earlier titles, so it’s great to see them released for a new audience—and for the old audience. The remakes by Capcom are stunning, and completely redone—not just slapped with an HD texture pack.
Predator Hunting Grounds – April 24th
When Predator Hunting Grounds was originally announced as a PlayStation 4 exclusive, I was excited, but bummed that my group of friends wouldn’t be playing it—most don’t have PlayStation 4. But with the PC version confirmed, my old Evolve crew is getting psyched for some old fashioned asymmetrical multiplayer. Developer Illfonic isn’t exactly new to the idea, as they released the flawed, but fun Friday the 13th with a similar horror survival theme. But this time, instead of being scared counselors, you’re going to be armed to the teeth.
Last of Us Part II — May 29th
It’s hard not to be excited for a Naughty Dog game. They are known for their cinematic video game storytelling with the Uncharted series, and, of course for the superb The Last of Us. Those who followed Joel and Ellie’s journey through the first game are surely wondering how the pair ended up. It looks like the sequel will be following Ellie as she attempts to save her abducted girlfriend, and fights through everything the post apocalypse can throw at her, which means lots of brutal humanity and, undoubtedly, humans zombified by the cordyceps fungus.
Cyberpunk 2077 – September 17th
It doesn’t matter what it was, the next game put out by CD Projekt Red after the highly popular, and critically acclaimed The Witcher 3 was going to be a big deal. The hype for Cyberpunk 2077 is off the charts, and if a developer can deliver on an amazing open world game, it’s CD Projekt Red. As it is, Cyberpunk 2077 looks absolutely breathtaking. Delayed until September, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer to get your hands on this title, but what are a few months after years of anticipation?
Kerbal Space Program 2 – TBA, Q2 projected
I spent too many hours in the original Kerbal Space Program to proudly admit. I guess it can be seen as educational, as I’ve learned more about real world rocketry, orbital mechanics, and the type of energy and force required to escape a planet’s gravitational pull playing as little green Kerbals than I did at any school. With the promise of better graphics, physics, it already sounds great. But multiplayer is the real draw for me, and I can’t wait to go blasting off into the unknown with a multi-crewed ship.
Ghost of Tsushima – TBA, Q2/Q3 projected
Ghost of Tsushima looks gorgeous. I don’t think I got into the initial hype, because it was announced right around the time of Sekiro, but the closer we get to release, the more excited I get. Ghost of Tsushima is an action adventure game with an emphasis on stealth. Fight against mongol invaders in a large open world, and use stealth to conquer overwhelming odds set to the backdrop of gorgeous Japanese countryside. I’m in.
Elden Ring – TBA, possibly 2020
There is no official release date yet for Elden Ring, which means it could possibly slide out of the 2020 release window—something that wouldn’t surprise me with how often games are delayed. But the truth is, I’m excited for Elden Ring. In development since the last Dark Souls III DLC was finished, From Software has had plenty of time to make this one right. If that doesn’t excite you, than knowing that this is a collaboration between Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki and author of the extremely popular A Song of Ice and Fire series George RR Martin should get any fantasy action role-playing game fan excited.
Deep Rock Galactic – TBA
You thought you’d get through one of my lists without reading about Deep Rock Galactic, didn’t you? I can’t help it. I absolutely love this game, and it’s only been getting better as its developed. While there isn’t an exact release date announced yet, Deep Rock Galactic seems to be getting closer to feature complete, and it’s anticipated to be released in 2020. Either way, it’s even in great shape in Early Access on Windows and Xbox. It’s never been more fun to play as a sci-fi dwarf exploiting alien worlds for profit—especially since you can bring along three friends. Of course, the local fauna doesn’t like your incursions, and you’ll have to fight against hordes of bugs as you steal their precious minerals. Rock and stone!