By Alex Wakeford
A belated happy new year to you all from us at Universally Speaking!
To kick off the decade, we’re looking at 20 games we can’t wait to play in 2020.
New year, new decade, new games, new consoles!
It’s an exciting turning point in the industry as we approach the end of one era and the start of a new.
Established franchises, new IPs, creative indie titles (and we’ve already seen some brilliant ones) – it’s gonna be a great year. A lot of exact release dates aren’t yet known, but we can expect to find out more over the coming months.
We’ve compiled twenty of our most anticipated titles confirmed for 2020.
12 Minutes is an interactive thriller about a man trapped in a time loop.
A romantic evening with your wife is interrupted by a police detective breaking into your home, accusing your wife of murder, then beating you to death…
And then you find yourself back at the beginning of this sequence of events, reliving the same twelve minutes over and over again – that is, unless you can find a way to break the time loop and change the outcome of the situation.
Inspired by the works of Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day), Christopher Nolan (Memento), and Stanley Kubrick (The Shining, Rear Window), 12 Minutes is looking to be an exciting addition to a growing trend in games that use the time loop structure.
The exact release date is not yet known, but its release window is for some point in 2020.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Perhaps the greatest power fantasy video games can offer is the illusion of having one’s life successfully under control.
In this, Animal Crossing may just be the best game of all time.
You know the score here. Up to eight players will be sent to an island where they’ll collect resources to craft various items, interact with the environment around them, build their homestead, make friends and trade items.
Originally scheduled for a 2019 release, Nintendo president Doug Bowser stated that, to avoid crunch and maintain Nintendo employees’ healthy work–life balance, the game would be delayed and is due for release March 20th.
Carrion is a ‘reverse-horror game’ where you play as the monster – a mysterious, amorphous red entity seeking retribution.
Developed as the first game by Phobia Game Studio and published by the ever avant-garde Devolver Digital, Carrion looks like a marvellously creative twist on a ‘what if’ idea we’ve all wondered at some point or other.
You’ll grow and evolve as you make your bloody path through the facility, gaining new abilities to unleash on those who imprisoned you.
Its precise release date is not yet known, but it’s coming this year…
Aha, you expected Cyberpunk 2077? Of course, CD Projekt Red’s next big game is a fascinating beast, but I found my eyes drawn to another cyberpunk game…
In ION LANDS’s second game, following 2017’s Phoning Home, you play as Rania on her first night working for the “semi-legal delivery company” known as Cloudpunk.
This is a story-based exploration game where you’ll meet a diverse range of characters across the sprawling sci-fi city of Nivalis.
“There have been plenty of games that let you experience what it’s like to shoot people in a futuristic city,” Cloudpunk writer Thomas Welsh has written. “Cloudpunk is a game where instead, you can experience what it’s like to live in one.”
Cloudpunk is due for release in Early 2020.
Disintegration is set in a world where humanity has fallen – war, famine, and other dire inconveniences has necessitated humans to look for survival strategies, which they found through a process called ‘Integration.’
It’s a fancier way of saying that we put our brains in robots. Those robots wear cool biker jackets and conflict ensues with a radical faction of Integrated.
This’ll be the first game from V1 Interactive, founded in 2014 by well-known Bungie alumni during (and before) their Halo years. It promises a fascinating mix of FPS and RTS gameplay across both a single-player campaign and PvP multiplayer.
While we don’t have an exact release date, V1 is aiming for a Q1/Q2 2020 release window.
Earth has been overrun by demons. The Doom Slayer is back to kill them. Let’s go!
Originally intended to release November 2019, DOOM Eternal was delayed to 2020 in order to live up to id Software’s standards of speed and polish rather than crunching its employees into Hell itself.
I got to see a demo of DOOM Eternal at EGX last year presented by wrestling legend Simon Miller who trained two members of the audience to become the Doom Slayer through a variety of physical and in-game challenges. It was the most unique improvised demo I’ve ever seen, and it sold me on the game completely!
DOOM Eternal will release March 20th (incidentally, the same day as Animal Crossing, which was delayed for similar reasons).
Much like its companion franchise Halo, the time has come for Gears of War to dive into the RTS genre with a spin-off that is sure to bring a fresh new take on the series (drawing inspiration from XCOM with turn-based strategy).
Set twelve years before the original Gears of War, you assume command as Gabe Diaz (father of Gears 5 protagonist Kait Diaz). Gabe must recruit, develop, and command squads for the COG on a mission to hunt down Ukkon – a sinister leader of the Locust.
Gears Tactics is set for release April 28th!
Ghost of Tsushima
Despite only being revealed at E3 2018, the wait for Sucker Punch’s next big game is finally coming to a close!
It’s an action-adventure stealth game where you are a samurai and you get to explore the enormous landscape of medieval Japan (an open world game with no waypoints), during the first Mongol invasion.
I’m not sure what more there is to say that can sell you on the premise if that doesn’t. Set for a Q2/3 release, it seems that Sony may well have saved their best of the generation for last…
It’s Half-Life. (Not Half-Life 3!)
After more than a decade, it’s back.
Releasing in March, there’s just two more months to go…
The sixth movement of the odyssey in the Master Chief’s story will launch the next generation of Xbox later this year.
Set several years after 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians, Halo Infinite will feature the Chief and new ally ‘The Pilot’ (affectionately nicknamed ‘Brohammer’ by the fanbase) on Installation 07, one of the galaxy-killing ringworlds created by the Forerunners.
A beta will be released at some point this year, split-screen co-op will be returning, along with a more holistic artistic style that combines visual motifs from across the series – in both the Reclaimer Saga and ‘legacy’ titles.
The wait won’t feel too long to step back into the Chief’s MJOLNIR-armoured boots because Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be releasing new titles on PC throughout the year, with 2001’s timeless classic Halo: Combat Evolved due next!
Journey to the Savage Planet
Journey to the Savage Planet looks like Typhoon Studios’ answer to the question of what you’d get if you combined the vibrant aesthetic of No Man’s Sky with the jovial tone of Ratchet and Clank and put them in a co-op survival adventure game.
The result is thoroughly delightful! You’ll be visiting four different biomes on this uncharted planet, scanning and cataloguing alien flora and fauna, upgrading your tools and finding new gear, and uncovering a grand mystery.
Kindred Aerospace will be jetting you (and a friend) out on January 28th.
Kerbal Space Program 2
Whether you’re the kind of person who loves building spaceships that successfully launch into space based on realistic aerodynamic and orbital physics, or the kind of person who finds joy in building spaceships that crash into the ground to meet a fiery end, the sequel to 2015’s much-loved Kerbal Space Program must be on your list!
Kerbal Space Program 2 will bring new parts for your ship, the ability to travel interstellar distances and build colonies, modding tools, and multiplayer.
The next generation of space-flight simulation will launch some point this year (between April 2020 and March 2021)!
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
If this is a game you’re planning to pick up (and let’s face it, you are), it’s probably in your interest to simply forget about the other nineteen games on this list.
We don’t yet know for definite whether Breath of the Wild 2 is releasing this year (it’s speculated to release around mid-2020), but if it is then this is where you’ll be spending the rest of your life.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
The star war may have concluded in last month’s The Rise of Skywalker, but you’ll be able to relive the entire Skywalker Saga – from disputes over the taxation of trade routes all the way up to the culmination of Palpatine’s thirty-year sith orgy on Exogol!
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will be dropping out of hyperspace later this year.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Flight Simulator dates back to 1982, at thirty-eight years of age it’s Microsoft’s longest-running software product and it’s all set for a brand-new relaunch.
Developed by Asobo Studio (who were behind last year’s incredible A Plague Tale: Innocence), the 2020 iteration of this title will simulate our planet by drawing 3D topography and textures from Bing Maps data and Microsoft Azure.
I’m just going to let the trailer do the rest of the talking…
You’ll be flying over your house on October 24th!
Minute of Islands
What if you had the visual aesthetic of Adventure Time and the setting of a mysterious archipelago replete with the corpses of a long-dead race of giants?
Minute of Islands has you play as Mo, who is “a skilled tinkerer in an unstable world.” She’ll be exploring a series of unique and colourful islands with a cast of characters, solving environmental puzzles and navigating platform gameplay.
Its release date is yet to be confirmed, but Studio Fizbin has set a 2020 release date and frankly I’m not sure I can take much more waiting for this!
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Almost exactly five years after Ori and the Blind Forest became one of Microsoft’s biggest smash hits in 2015, the sequel is just a few months away!
We have still been shown surprisingly little about Ori and the Will of the Wisps, but we do know it’ll be an all new adventure set in a vast and beautiful world (beyond the forest that was the first game’s setting) with challenging enemies and puzzles as Ori sets out on a quest to discover their true destiny.
Prepare to cry all over again on March 11th!
Predator: Hunting Grounds
The last time I played a Predator game was in 2005 when Predator: Concrete Jungle released on the PlayStation 2… so it’s been a while!
Enter Predator: Hunting Grounds, an asymmetrical multiplayer horror game where you play as either a four-person fireteam of elite soldiers, or the deadly Predator itself. Pick classes, customise builds, remember that if it bleeds we can kill it… and, when all else fails, GET TO DA CHOPPA!
Something’s out there waiting for you, and it ain’t no man. You’ll be dropping into the jungle on April 24th.
Even the most cursory glance at Polygon Treehouse’s upcoming title Röki is enough to have you visually arrested by its utterly stunning visual style.
Inspired by tales from Scandinavian folklore, Röki is an adventure game set in a dark contemporary fairy tale.
You play as Tove, a young girl who sets out on a journey to save her family – one that takes her into a world of old, long-lost folklore complete with ancient mysteries, puzzles, creatures (some you’ll get to befriend!), and locations.
With its non-violent gameplay, its focus on accessibility and elegant simplicity, Polygon Treehouse has aimed to make a game for all players – posing a challenge, but also meeting you half-way to offer a helping hand when you need it.
Röki is due for release in 2020 but has no concrete release date yet.
Spiritfarer, according to its store description, is “a cosy management game about dying.”
You play as Stella, a ferrymaster for the deceased – a spiritfarer. You’ll build a vessel to sail across the sea and explore the world, meeting and befriending spirits who you’ll ferry to the afterlife.
Its hand-drawn art and animation looks absolutely stunning. You’ll spend your time unwinding by farming, fishing, mining, cooking, and crafting – improving your ferry and forging friendships with a cast of characters who you’ll have to say goodbye to.
Also, you can play this game cooperatively with another person who will assume the role of a cat named Daffodil.
Due for release at some point this year, though no exact release date is yet confirmed.
These are, of course, just our own top picks for the year. Even beyond this, there are plenty of other titles to be excited about.
Let us know what your most anticipated game of the year is!
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