The 30 games we can’t wait to play in 2020

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The 30 games we can’t wait to play in 2020

2020 is poised to be an interesting year for video games. At some point this year, we’ll have a brand-new Xbox and a brand-new PlayStation, alongside other new platforms like the quirky Playdate handheld. Meanwhile, services like Apple Arcade and Xbox Game Pass will likely continue to gain traction, bringing a Netflix-like mentality to the world of games. This year, we’ll get a better idea of how new technologies and platforms will influence the way we play.

But aside from brand-new consoles, 2020 is shaping up to be a great year for video games regardless. There are likely plenty of games coming this year we don’t know about, but the ones we do know about are cause to get excited. That includes the return of massive franchises like Halo, Animal Crossing, The Last of Us, and Final Fantasy, alongside long-awaited titles like the conclusion of Kentucky Route Zero and League of Legends’ debut on mobile.

The usual caveats: given the nature of game development, there’s a good chance at least a few of these games will be delayed until 2021 or beyond. We also haven’t included titles that haven’t been confirmed for this year, like the George R.R. Martin / Hidetaka Miyazaki collaboration Elden Ring or Nintendo’s sequel to Breath of the Wild. Even still, there’s a lot coming out in 2020. Here are the 30 titles we can’t wait to play.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing’s upcoming Switch debut, New Horizons, is the first mainline Animal Crossing game in eight years. It looks great: the series’s signature player-character designs and cute animals look better than ever, while the new crafting mechanic looks to be a fun way to build tools and furniture. I’m already buzzing with ideas about how to deck out my island now that you can finally place furniture outside your home. I can’t wait to sign another Tom Nook mortgage on March 20th. —Jay Peters

The Artful Escape

The Artful Escape

It’s hard to know exactly what The Artful Escape is at this point, but it certainly looks cool. Early trailers give it the look of a psychedelic adventure game with a big musical focus, complete with plenty of power slides and guitar solos. There’s also skateboarding and monsters. Here’s the general setup: “On the eve of his first performance, Francis Vendetti battles with the legacy of a dead folk legend and the cosmic wanderings of his own imagination.” The Artful Escape is coming to the Xbox One, PS4, and iOS at some point this year. —Andrew Webster

Avengers

Avengers

Marvel’s Avengers is perhaps the biggest entertainment property in the world, and now Earth’s mightiest heroes are finally getting a proper big-budget action game to match their cinematic exploits. Developed by Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics, Marvel’s Avengers has some big ambitions, promising an ever-evolving multiplayer live service, full-fledged single-player storyline, and years of free new DLC characters and locations. We’ll find out in May if it can live up to its potential. —Chaim Gartenberg

Axiom Verge 2

Axiom Verge 2

There are plenty of games that mimic the style and structure of classic Metroid, but none did it quite as well as 2015’s Axiom Verge. The side-scrolling sci-fi adventure even added unique wrinkles, like glitching weapons, that gave the game its own distinct flavor. Now, a sequel is in the works. We don’t know much about it other than it’s set in the same universe as the original. But it revamps just about everything else, with new characters, powers, and enemies. It’s slated for late 2020 for the Nintendo Switch; no word yet on other platforms. —AW

Boyfriend Dungeon

Boyfriend Dungeon

Lovers of dungeon crawlers and dating sims can find the perfect marriage of both in Boyfriend Dungeon. As players clean monsters out of “the dunj,” they’ll encounter weapons that turn into romanceable partners — and one cat with which they can enjoy a platonic relationship. Kitfox Games is developing the indie title, which is headed to PC and Switch. —Megan Farokhmanesh

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077

A guest appearance by Keanu Reeves. A soundtrack including Grimes, Run the Jewels, and A$AP Rocky. And, of course, an overall product designed by Witcher studio CD Projekt Red. The (seriously) long-awaited role-playing game Cyberpunk 2077 has a lot going for it. Will the game be as weird as its source material, the tabletop series Cyberpunk 2020? Will its gameplay offer the breadth and variety that CD Projekt Red is promising? Can it stand out in a field that’s already full of cyberpunk titles and open-world RPGs? Curious players will find out on April 16th. —Adi Robertson

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal

2016’s Doom was a pleasantly gruesome surprise: a tense, pure action game that harkened back to the series’s glory days. Doom Eternal, a direct sequel, looks to continue that but with the usual additions: new weapons, more enemies, and a bigger world. Hopefully the demon-slaying action remains as thrilling and visceral as ever, despite the changes. The game will be out on March 20th for the PS4, PC, and Xbox One, with a Switch version also in the works. —AW

Dreams

Dreams

Media Molecule made a splash with the build-your-own-platformer series LittleBigPlanet. Now, the studio is expanding on that concept with Dreams. The idea is that players can build, well, pretty much anything, from full-on games to 3D art. Dreams has been in beta since last year, and already, players have made some amazing stuff, and that will likely only continue when the full version hits the PS4 on February 14th. —AW

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake

After years of development, Final Fantasy VII Remake will finally arrive on the PS4 on March 3rd. It really is a remake, with modern graphics, voice acting, and even a new battle system that’s more like the real-time combat of recent Final Fantasy games. What you’ll be able to play on March 3rd is only one part of what’s supposed to be a series of episodes, though, and the first is set entirely in the industrial Midgar section of the game. But even if this won’t be the full Final Fantasy VII story, it looks to pay homage to the most memorable parts of the original 1997 release while modernizing the experience for 2020. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait 23 years for the next episode. —JP

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima

Ghost of Tsushima looks like it could be the last big showcase for the PS4. Developed by Sucker Punch, the studio behind the open-world action series Infamous, Ghost is a fictional retelling of the first Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274. You play as Jin Sakai, the last samurai on the island of Tsushima, which is now occupied by the Mongolian forces. The promise of the game is that, as Jin, you’ll adopt some ninja-like stealth tactics to try to disrupt the Mongolian invasion and unite the local resistance across an open-world version of Tsushima. It’s slated to be released sometime this summer. —Michael Moore

Gods and Monsters

Gods and Monsters

This isn’t what you expect from the creators of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Instead of a sprawling open-world action game, Gods and Monsters is a gorgeous Greek mythology-inspired adventure with hints of Zelda where players save the gods by fighting dangerous monsters and exploring dungeons. It’s coming to the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch on February 25th. —AW

Half-Life Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx isn’t quite Half-Life 3, but Valve has promised a full-fledged new installment in the beloved shooter series, and it’s being released exclusively on PC VR headsets in March. Alyx puts players in the eponymous Alyx Vance’s shoes in a new fight against the Combine, with a focus on complex hand-based interactions like reloading guns and throwing objects. Unfortunately, we know basically nothing about the story, including whether it will resolve Half-Life 2: Episode 2’s painful decade-old cliffhanger. —AR

Halo: Infinite

Halo: Infinite

Over half a decade after the release of Halo 5, the Master Chief returns to continue the mainline Halo saga. Little is actually known about Halo Infinite, or how it’ll play compared to other games in the franchise (Microsoft has only released cinematic trailers so far), but the “Infinite” in the title has led to rumors of a more open world than ever seen before in a Halo game. Halo Infinite arrives this holiday season — as a latch title for Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox Series X console, too, meaning that it won’t just have years of expectations for a new Halo game riding on its shoulders; it’ll have to help sell a brand-new console generation, too. No pressure. —CG

Iron Man VR

Iron Man VR

“I am Iron Man.” It’s one of the most famous lines from any of Marvel’s movies. But what if you could actually be Iron Man? That’s the idea behind Iron Man VR, which promises to let players suit up as the armored Avenger himself in first-person gameplay, using the PSVR controllers to freely fly around and deploy gadgets and repulsers in virtual reality. It’ll be out on February 28th, exclusively on the PlayStation 4 for PSVR. —CG

Kentucky Route Zero: Act V

The long wait for Kentucky Route Zero is almost over. The first act of the game launched back in 2013, with subsequent acts — and a few detours — released in the intervening years. Now the surreal slice of Americana will be complete when Act V launches on January 28th. Even better: the adventure game will be making its console debut on the same day, launching on the Switch, PS4, and Xbox One. —AW

The Last of Us Part 2

The Last of Us Part II

One of the year’s most anticipated games, The Last of Us Part II, returns players to the harsh, uncompromising world Naughty Dog created in 2013. The game takes place several years after the original, with Ellie assuming the starring role on a quest for vengeance. Early looks at the game promise another grueling experience filled with extreme, uncomfortable violence; the game’s creators have said that much of its story will explore the idea of justice and its cost. It’s out on May 29th. —MF

League of Legends: Wild Rift

League of Legends: Wild Rift

For a decade, League of Legends has been one of the most popular games on the planet, though it has only been available to those with a PC. This year, that changes with a new version of five-on-five strategy game, dubbed Wild Rift, launching on mobile and console. It looks to be largely the same experience, but it’s better tuned to work with a controller or touchscreen. —AW

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft has been making flight games for longer than it’s been publishing Windows. Its latest iteration of Microsoft Flight Simulator — the first since 2006 — promises a super-realistic simulation of piloting a plane almost anywhere in the world. It pulls high-resolution imagery from Bing Maps and draws on live weather data to reproduce the actual conditions you’d really be flying in. And for the first time, it’ll be available on Xbox One. Just make sure you’ve got a good enough internet connection for the game’s streaming-heavy approach to environments. —AR

Minecraft Dungeons

Minecraft Dungeons

What do you get if you take the “craft” out of Minecraft? Something that looks like the spinoff Minecraft Dungeons. The new game tasks players with exploring randomly generated dungeons, dealing with monsters, traps, and puzzles. It may not have the titular crafting of the main game, but it does have a similar social element: you’ll be able to play Dungeons cooperatively with up to four people. It’s coming in April to the Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC. —AW

Murder By Numbers

Murder By Numbers

As The Verge’s foremost picross evangelist, Murder by Numbers is an exciting new way for me to thrust my favorite puzzle format upon my co-workers. Now, I can fend off complaints that picross is “merely convoluted sudoku” with things like “this one’s wrapped in a detective mystery” and “there are a bunch of weirdo anime characters.” But best of all, it’s made by Hato Moa, creator of the delightfully subversive pigeon dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend, which means Murder by Numbers will likely be a bizarre sendup of its influences: primetime police procedurals, Phoenix Wright, and, of course, my beloved picross. It’s coming to both the Switch and PC. —Kevin Nguyen

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

The long-awaited sequel to 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest brings back the titular forest guardian in another gorgeous-looking Metroidvania-style action / exploration game. The sequel looks to expand on Ori’s array of powers and abilities, add new environments, and improve on the already stunning artwork of the last game. It’ll arrive on Xbox One and PC on February 11th. —CG

Persona 5 Royal

Persona 5 Royal

Atlus is releasing an enhanced version of its 2016 hit, Persona 5. Royal still tells the story of a group of high school students-turned-supernatural vigilantes, with the addition of a new phantom thief. Like Persona 3 FES or Persona 4 Golden, Persona 5 Royal improves on the original experience by adding features and rebalancing different elements of the game. Other additions include extra time with confidants, battles against past protagonists, and new places to visit. —MF

Persona 5: Scramble

Persona 5: Scramble

While maybe not the Persona 5 port that Switch owners were hoping for, Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers is the first Persona game for a Nintendo home console. (It’s also coming to the PS4.) The game is a sequel to Persona 5, and it sees the Phantom Thieves reuniting for summer vacation a few months after the events of the original game, only to have their vacation plans ruined by a new supernatural threat to Tokyo. The interesting twist on Scramble is that it’s being co-developed by Omega Force (Dynasty Warriors) and P-Studio (Persona 5) to be a combination of the Dynasty Warriors-style hack and slash action with the social simulation RPG elements of Persona. —MM

Pokémon Sleep

Pokémon Sleep

The Pokémon Company’s upcoming mobile game is a weird spin on the franchise. Pokémon Go developer Niantic and Select Button are developing Pokémon Sleep, a game that revolves around how much shut-eye you get. What else do we know about Pokémon Sleep? Not much. There’s also a peripheral, the Pokémon Go Plus, in the works that will act as a sleep tracking device for the mobile game. —MF

Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil 3

You might dismiss this as yet another remake, but that means you probably didn’t play last year’s Resident Evil 2. With that game, Capcom managed to maintain the essence of the original, while making it feel like a modern release that sits alongside the likes of Resident Evil 7. Now, the developer is doing the same thing for RE3 and its terrifying Nemesis monster — so expect plenty of scares. The game will be out in April for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One. —AW

Sable

Sable

Sable looks like what would happen if Moebius made a Legend of Zelda game. It takes place in a beautifully sculpted desert realm full of mysteries that you can traverse on foot or on a Star Wars-style speeder. What makes it stand out from most adventure games, though, isn’t just its looks; Sable is also free of violence, letting you focus on exploration and puzzle-solving. It’ll be out on both the Xbox One and PC. —AW

Spelunky 2

Spelunky 2

The infinitely replayable Spelunky was arguably one of the most influential games of the past decade, with randomly generated levels full of secrets to uncover. So how do you follow that up? By adding even more. Spelunky 2 — which is coming to the PC and PS4 — will feature new gameplay tweaks and plenty more secrets to uncover. —AW

Tell Me Why

Tell Me Why

Life is Strange developer Dontnod has a new series on the way called Tell Me Why. The game focuses on a pair of twins, Tyler and Alyson, in small-town Alaska. While Tyler grapples with his life as a trans man, the pair revisits shared memories of their difficult childhoods. For impatient players, the studio now plans to release all three episodes simultaneously, rather than spreading out drops across the year. It’s coming to the Xbox One and PC. —MF

Watch Dogs Legion

Watch Dogs Legion

Watch Dogs Legion has the same hacktivism-focused story as previous Watch Dogs games; it’s set in a post-Brexit London where automation has put scads of people out of work, and the hacker collective DedSec is trying to start a revolution. The twist is that you’re not just playing as one (or even two or three) main characters. Instead, you can recruit otherwise non-playable characters with specific strengths by making them sympathetic to DedSec — and, by the same token, you can lose characters if they’re arrested or killed in action. —AR

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

While this is the seventh game in the Yakuza series, it is actually something of a soft reboot. Yakuza: Like a Dragon changes up the series in a few major ways. First, there’s a new main protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, a former yakuza who willingly spent 18 years in prison for a murder someone else in the gang committed, but is completely forgotten about by the time he gets out. The gameplay has also shifted from a beat ’em up action-style to a turn-based party RPG akin to the Dragon Quest games. Despite these changes, expect the same drama and absurdity that has made the series so beloved. The new game will be a PS4 exclusive when it launches this year. —MM

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