I keep looking forward to this coming year to see what video games I should be saving my money and storing all my excitement juice for. I have a jar, don’t ask, you don’t want to know. And yet, after looking at the list of confirmed games for 2020, I have to say: It’s looking pretty light.
The biggest video game related released for 2020 are most certainly Sony and Microsoft’s next generation hardware, which will be seeing their release for the holidays at the tail end of this year. Thus a lot of the prerelease hype for video game news sites are focusing on the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X, but before then we have a whole year of calendar to fill and a whole lot of blanks squares upon it.
I scoured through a ton of different release schedules online, and listed the “big” games. The ones everyone will at least be aware of, even if you’re not planning on buying them. Some personal bias may be apparent:
Ori and the Will of the Wisps – March 11th
Animal Crossing: New Horizons – March 20th
Doom: Eternal – March 20th
Half Life: Alyx – March 23rd
Resident Evil 3 Remake – April 3rd
Final Fantasy VII Remake – April 10th
Last of us 2 – May 29th
Marvel’s Avengers – September 4th (Square sweats profusely)
Cyberpunk 2077 – September 17th
There’s not much there to sink your teeth into between early April and September is there. And that’s if these games don’t get delayed again. And there’s about a 4/5 month gap where there is pretty much nothing coming out. Well, nothing with a confirmed date at the very least anyway.
There are games coming out, but it’s a of of indie stuff and anime titles like that One Punch Man game. And let’s be honest, that’s going to be a novelty at best. We’re getting the first major Pokemon expansion: The Isle of Armour (it’s a game set in a region inspired by the U.K. at least use the British spelling style) and Ghosts of Tsushima is apparently coming out in the summer.
But beyond that we have a bunch of games that still don’t really have concrete release dates. Halo: infinite, Watch Dogs: Legion, Spelunky 2 and Psychonauts 2. Normally, I’d not give these lack of release dates a second thought. We’ve got all year to learn about when these games are coming out, and thanks to social media the publishers and developers can just drop dates whenever the hell the want.
Again though, it’s the looming shadow of the upcoming consoles that makes me wonder whether these games are getting held back so they can come out in tandem with the release of the new hardware later this year or possibly early in 2021. Microsoft have made a point to say that games like Halo: Infinite will come out on current generation hardware and will work on both those and the new platforms.
But from a marketing and sales perspective, I’d guess it makes the most sense to release those games as close to the new consoles being out as possible. Because you don’t want to deflate the marketing push by having to market it twice for both different platforms, especially if the older game is going to work on the newer platforms. You want people buying into the new hardware.
While I personally bought the Xbox One on the day of release, I am much less eager to drop a ton of money I don’t necessarily have on the new platforms now. Consequently, I’m as lot more interested in the games that are coming out in this long year leading up to the holidays. And for all the talk Microsoft have done regarding cross generation, they’re not the only people putting games out.
Looking at Nintendo’s offering for the coming year is the most worrying thing for me. I’ve never played an Animal Crossing game, so I’m in no big rush to play the new one. And aside from a Pokemon Mystery Dungeon remake and a ton of indie stuff, there are no real obvious heavy hitters coming out.
The talk that the sequel to Breath of the Wild could be out this year is half heatedly floating around, but I’d be very surprised if that ended up happening. Bayonetta 3 and the new Metroid Prime still don’t look to be be anywhere near close and there had been no other talk of a big Nintendo release in 2020 outside of Animal Crossing.
It’s worrying, not that I think Nintendo are going to struggle. They’re putting a ton out on the Switch and the device is still amazing for playing things on the go, but I’d like to see at least one bit Mario/Zelda scale game coming out in 2020.
What with E3 seeming to fading away and a number of events getting cancelled due to the worries of the Corona Virus… things shouldn’t really change due to Nintendo’s policy to announce games through Online Nintendo Directs. I certainly hope they have one and announce a few games in the future.
Of all the new games coming out this year, there are only four or five that I really want to play. I’m curious to see what the end of this year looks like, but as of right now, my top ten games of the 2020 list is going to be a depressing read. unless I cheat of course.
Credit for title image to @PickledChild on Twitter