With a console generation coming to an end, the prospect of some of the biggest games we've seen in a decade and some huge changes on the mobile front, 2020 is shaping up to be an enormous year.
Whether it's giant Japanese RPGs, indie games that have caught our eye for a while, the advent of something completely new or even just the return of a fan favourite, 2020 has it all. We'll be updating this list regularly as more games get announced this year - and we get through our own personal wishlists! - but if there's something we've left off, let us know in the comments!
It's not Half-Life 3, but it's the closest we'll ever get. It's been so long since Valve has gone back to their roots - discounting flops like Artifact - and most were convinced Valve was just out of the business of game development entirely. But then Alyx dropped, a game that looks like it might give VR another shot in the arm.
Some of the old Campo Santo team stopped working on In The Valley Of Gods to work on Alyx, which augurs well for the game's story. It'll be a 13 to 15 hour experience in VR, too. All we need is the Valve Index to actually be available in Australia - right now, it'll cost you closer to $2000 if you want to import the device, courtesy of customs clearance, ShopMate fees, GST, foreign transaction fees and then the Index itself. - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
Half-Life: Alyx, you might be dismayed to learn, is definitely not Half-Life 3. But it is a new “full-length” Half-Life game, Valve said today, and it’ll be out in March.
Dying Light 2
Dying Light is still seriously underrated. It was a zombie game filled with great moments that made you work for your rewards. It was difficult - painfully so at points - but the parkour, the survival, and the emergent storytelling that arose as you dealt with the situations at hand were excellent.
Dying Light 2 is ramping up the branching narrative, with Chris Avellone on board as the lead writer. With a bit more polish, more craft and the excellent base of mechanics that Dying Light already has, the sequel is ramping up to be a real treat. - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
Hollow Knight: Silksong
Easily the slickest and tightest game on the PAX Australia show floor last year, Silksong is about as close as you can get to in this industry to a guaranteed hit. Hollow Knight is still my pick for the best Australian game of the last 20 years, and Silksong refreshes the formula by giving Hornet what she deserves: a game to herself, rather than just being squeezed into a bit of DLC.
Silksong looks great, plays incredibly well, and is going to sell millions. The fact that we can even say that about an Australian game, with confidence, is a sign of just how far things have come. - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
I'm really keen for Animal Crossing: New Horizons because what I really need in 2020 is more aimless fun. Also, I'm excited to see what new bugs and fish I can capture. That deserted island is not ready for the storm (me) that's about to blow in. - Sarah Basford, Kotaku/Lifehacker/Gizmodo Australia staff writer
I literally can't wait to live on an island with my animal pals, soaking up the sun and collecting fruits. The new game looks like pure bliss, and I can't wait to dive back in. The year's only just begun but I already need some zen time, and this is it. - Leah Williams, Kotaku/Lifehacker/Gizmodo Australia producer
The Last of Us Part 2
I loved the first one, it was immersive, had a great story and the characters were well defined and developed along the way. It was the first game that I played that really sucked me in and made me feel a part of the world - I was anxious, holding my breath, trying to be quiet whilst sat in my living room creeping through the game. I'm really excited to see the second installment extend on the character stories and expand in terms of gameplay. - Erin Algeo, Open Air Cinemas senior producer
I shouldn't have to explain this. The only people that don't see what I mean are obviously people that haven't played the first. Get on it. - Jack Colquhoun, Pedestrian Group strategy and response manager
I emerged from my three-hour The Last of Us Part II demo session tense and anxious, a coiled fire hose of pent-up adrenaline. I’d just piloted a now-19-year-old Ellie through peril after peril, amassing a grisly body count along the way. Few of those kills were clean.
The long lead time on this game has me itching to play it, especially after watching the 48 min gameplay reveal. A futuristic dystopian world that explores power, glamour and immortality? Sign me up. And it seems like I'm not the only one who counting down:
- Whitney Meldrum-Hanna, Pedestrian Group strategy and response manager
I want to read - or write out, I guess - an extract from Jason's book. It's a short passage with The Witcher 3 developers about how they approached quests for the game:
"Every quest, no matter how small it should be, should have something memorable in it, some little twist, something you might remember it by. Something unexpected happening." At one point in preproduction, worried that they weren't hitting this quality bar, Tomaszkiewicz cut around 50 percent of the quests they'd sketched out, "first of all because I thought we had no time to actually do all of them in time, and second of all because I just used this as an opportunity to filter out the weakest ones," he said.
Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz, by the way, is the quest director for Cyberpunk 2077.
The success of The Witcher 3 validated a lot of the quality decisions CDR made, and that ethos has come through to Cyberpunk 2077. What does that level of quality look like in a cyberpunk world? I want to find out. - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
Way of the Woods
Way of the Woods has gone from a cute project developed by an Aussie teenager, blogged faithfully with GIFs through Tumblr, to become one of the most exciting Australian indie projects in years. With music from the composers of Steven Universe, Cat Town should be a blast to explore later this year. - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
Due out early next year on PC and consoles, Way to the Woods is an adventure game starring a doe and her fawn.
Ghost of Tsushima
This one fell off the radar a bit and is now a PS5 launch title (Editor's Note: it's still coming out Q2/Q3 this year from what I know), but I still can't wait. It looks like just the kind of stealth samurai game I've been waiting for on a modern console, and if the words stealth and samurai don't get you going already, then there's something seriously wrong with you. - Jack Colquhoun, Pedestrian Group strategy and response manager
Halo has always been the Microsoft go-to when they want to sell a new console, but how much does that still ring true in 2020? This year, as the new Xbox (Xbox Series X and whatever the cheaper version is called) launches, we'll find out how Master Chief can still carry on his shoulders. It's not the only big title that'll showcase the power of the new hardware, with a Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice sequel, but Halo will always be the game Microsoft bets the most on. And how that performs, as always, will have massive ramifications. - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
That Harry Potter RPG
We still don't have official word on what the name of this game is, or when it'll ever see the light of day, but goddamn there is a thirsty fanbase out there waiting for a proper Harry Potter RPG. Fire Emblem: Three Houses, ironically, has been the closest we've come to a Hogwarts RPG, and it was excellent. But there is a strong taste for a fully licensed adventure, and with a bit of luck, we'll finally see it this year. - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
Shark RPG (Maneater)
The developers really should have done a Goose Game and just called this Shark RPG. Either way, I want to get revenge for my shark mother. Do you really need more background than that? - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3
The Cook, Serve, Delicious series has always been a fantastic time sink, and taking your food truck on the road with new locations, recipes and obstacles is just what the series needed. It's a great game to play in co-op with friends and family, more so even than something like Overcooked, and I can't wait until it hits early access later this month. - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
League of Legends: Wild Rift
Tencent made Arena of Valor partly, or so the rumours say, in response to Riot's refusal to develop League on mobile. After seeing the light and the potential, Riot has finally gotten on board. Wild Rift is set to be an enormous hit when it drops later this year, and given that it'll have Australian servers, it should be huge locally too. - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
Legends of Runeterra
Legends of Runeterra is trying to cut the thread between Hearthstone and more complicated games like Magic: The Gathering. The progression model is really fascinating compared to the current crop of CCGs, and the draft model was hugely fun when it debuted late last year.
League of Legends is going mobile, and along the way it's taking a crack at Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone. With no card packs and a promise to offer more a little more depth and deckbuilding strategy without some of the RNG, Legends of Runeterra is a fast, but neatly layered digital card game within the League universe.
The first DOOM reboot was absolutely insane and I can't wait to revisit it. I'm sadly one that now tends to shy away from harder difficulties in games (like mind-bendingly hard, not just regular hard), but I did this on hardcore solely because I could feel myself getting better with every death and can't wait for that same sensation. - Jack Colquhoun, Pedestrian Group strategy and response manager
I still tell people that Golf Story is one of the best indies on the Switch ... because it is. Sports Story is gonna have that same humour, but instead of just golf, there's volleyball. Tennis. Soccer. Peacocks on the field. Tennis with soccer. And cricket apparently? I can't wait. - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
Flight Simulator 2020
The 2020 equivalent of cathartic driving, except it'll probably be the prettiest game this year. And you'll be able to enjoy Flight Simulator on the couch with an Xbox, which sounds like the perfect way to unwind after a shitty game. - Alex Walker, Kotaku Australia editor
We're adding more games to this list, but what are you most excited for this year?