There’s no denying that 2020 has been a tough year to live through. The gaming industry has been as much a victim of COVID-19 as anything else, with esport events and press conferences being delayed or cancelled, hardware production being downscaled, and game releases being pushed back due to difficulties in development. It’s also been a great time to be stuck indoors in front of PC monitors and televisions though, and the year isn’t over yet — as much as everyone might wish it were! Below, take a look at just some of those exciting games still to come in 2020!
1. Wasteland 3
Wasteland 3 is an isometric post-apocalyptic RPG from the original creators of the first Fallout game, with developer InXile Entertainment returning to the series that inspired Bethesda’s blockbuster franchise. An upgrade has been given to the graphics and dialogue systems, and this time around the focus has been put back on the dark humor that made Fallout famous, but was sadly lacking in Wasteland 2.
The new game will feature an emphasis on its tactics-style gameplay and party-based combat. The story of Wasteland 3 will be reactive to player decisions, with a variety of endings tailored to the way you choose to interact with its world — approaches cater for stealth or guns blazing, but also for talking your way out of any tricky situation. And this time around, there are vehicles galore… including cars with mounted weapons. Oh yes, Wasteland is going just a little Mad Max!
From the creators of Satellite Reign comes Windbound. The second game from 5 Lives Studio couldn’t be any more different from their first, eschewing the social sci-fi dystopia for a tale of a young shipwrecked girl surviving on an uncharted island.
Windbound is a single-player game taking cues from Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with players exploring a lush wild environment filled with weapons, learning recipes to craft items and food, discovering ancient ruins and surviving battles with dangerous creatures.
From everything we’ve seen, Windbound could be a sleeper hit for 2020, bringing the sense of discovery from Nintendo’s exclusive modern classic to a wider platform audience.
3. Crusader Kings III
Paradox Development’s massive sprawling grand strategy series returns for its biggest entry yet with Crusader Kings III. Players get to take on the role of a medieval dynasty, watching their kingdoms conquer and grow and dealing with political foes; not just abroad but buried within their own monarchies and families.
This series of games is notoriously tough on new players, but Crusader Kings III is looking to be more accessible and approachable than its predecessors with an improved UI, more tooltips, and dashboards. For regular players, Paradox has improved the roleplay elements of the game, allowing more player freedom in creating the look and personality of their chosen ruler — including the introduction of skill trees. Genealogy returns, with an improved system for passing traits down to heirs upon the death of a monarch, and this time around all religions and almost all government types will be playable in the game.
There is no lack of warfare in Crusader Kings III either. Changes to the Knights system means that named warriors can fight for king and country, earning accolades and prestige from their dirty work.
Crusader Kings III will be available 1st September 2020 on PC.
4. Marvel’s Avengers
Following the success of Insomniac’s Spider-Man, Marvel is looking for another blockbuster video game hit. Marvel’s Avengers will be their next crack at it, with Crystal Dynamics (of Tomb Raider fame) stepping in to take the reins. Avengers will feature a 30+ hour single player campaign focused on the dissolution and reassembling of the Avengers team, led by teen hero Ms. Marvel. All five original movie Avengers will be playable, with Hawkeye set to join the team post-launch. Spider-Man will also be joining the game as a PlayStation exclusive.
Outside of the single player campaign, Marvel’s Avengers is a looter action game in a similar vein to Destiny 2 or The Division. Teams of up to four players must take down the enemy forces of A.I.M, levelling up heroes, unlocking new skills and, of course, finding endless loot to grind that power level.
Open and closed betas for Marvel’s Avengers completed in August 2020, to mixed opinions from critics and fans. The game looks and plays gorgeously, but we’ll know more about whether the content holds up when it releases in September.
5. Star Renegades
The roguelite genre has been mixed with the trappings of so many other types of game that it’s no surprise developer Massive Damage saw the potential of a roguelite turn-based JRPG. In Star Renegades, the creators of Halcyon 6 have crafted an intriguing science fiction world set across multiple parallel universes. It’s in this setting that a ragtag group of Rebels must face off against the mechs and mutants of the authoritarian Empire to save not just their world, but every other version of it too.
Star Renegades is a deep tactics game, tasking players with outsmarting an AI in deterministic turn-based combat — that means you know the enemies attacks before they happen, and must combine damage with powerful Stagger attacks to push them off the timeline.
The implementation of the Adversary system (a take on Shadow of Mordor’s criminally underutilized Nemesis system) means enemies will come back to haunt you across time and space, and the Progeny system allows your party to pass on traits to offspring, creating a generation-spanning universe-hopping science fiction conflict. Star Renegades has a lot going on, and it’s one to watch when it lands in September.
Star Renegades will be available 8th September 2020 on PC.
6. Spelunky 2
Before every game in existence was a roguelite, Spelunky was breaking records and capturing hearts as an early adopter of the new trend. Coupling the addictive replayability of that genre and joining it with pixel-perfect platforming, crazy unlocks, and a destructible environment, Spelunky was a huge hit for developer Derek Yu in both its freeware and paid forms.
From what we’ve seen of Spelunky 2 to date, it looks like it’s playing catch-up with the genre it helped popularize, to offer the biggest, most ambitious version of the cave-diving franchise. Spelunky 2 will have bigger maps, branching routes, more items, characters, traps, and enemies. Multi-layered levels take the 2D platforming and give it a third dimension.
Spelunky 2 also turns its starting area into a base camp for unlocked characters to interact, suggesting a level of story and character that was missing from the first entry. If building your base up was your favorite part of Fallout 4, then you are definitely in for a treat with Spelunky 2. This looks to be the definitive Spelunky experience, meaning for fans of platformers or roguelites, this is an unmissable release in 2020.
7. WWE 2K Battlegrounds
For years, 2K Games have pumped out iterations of the popular but formulaic WWE 2K series. In 2020, due in part to COVID-19 and perhaps off the back of the abysmal failure of WWE 2k20, the popular pro wrestling franchise is changing up its format.
WWE 2K Battlegrounds swaps the simulation out in favor of arcade style chaos and cartoon shenanigans. WWE Superstars look like jacked up bobble-headed versions of their real-life counterparts as they slug it out in singles and tag team matches, steel cages and Royal Rumbles. Finishing moves look like Street Fighter specials, and a full Story mode lets players take the role of new custom characters around the globe to fight with and alongside established Superstars from WWE history.
It’s yet to be seen if this is a step in the right direction for WWE’s mainline games, but at the very least it is a new direction for a franchise in desperate need of fresh ideas.
8. Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time
The phrase “Crash Bandicoot 4” should sell this entry on its own. From the team behind the Switch port of the N-Sane Trilogy and behind the remaster of Spyro The Dragon, this is a brand-new game in the beloved series of the zany marsupial mascot. There’s a reason for that number 4; the new sequel will disregard the many failed attempts at rebooting Crash, instead letting this stand alone as a love letter to the original PlayStation trilogy.
This means that classic elements return, including a series of themed worlds across time, all containing hidden crystals, traps and obstacles, exploding crates, and of course, wompa fruit. Crash 4 retains the blend between 2D side-scrolling and 3D platforming of its forebears, whilst introducing brand new elements including different powered voodoo masks and rail grinding. Yes, like in Tony Hawk’s. Most intriguingly, Crash will be joined by other playable characters — including sister Coco, villain Neo Cortex and… Dingodile. Developer Toys For Bob have yet to show off any further playable characters, but it’s not a stretch to think there might be other series favorites such as Dr. N.Gin or Tiny Tiger.
Crash 4 is shaping up to be a treat for fans of the original or anyone looking for a modern spin (pun intended) on the 3D platforming genre. As the subtitle implies, It’s About Time.
9. Star Wars: Squadrons
Fans of the Star Wars: X-Wing and TIE Fighter series of games likely never thought they’d see a modern take on those classics whilst the franchise was under the EA banner. And then came Star Wars: Squadrons.
Focusing on the space flight element of George Lucas’ treasured franchise, Squadrons puts players into the cockpit of eight craft – four New Republic, and four Galactic Empire. Players will participate in high speed dogfights, zipping through space and past iconic Star Wars landmarks. Whilst not quite a true sim, Squadrons does involve more hands-on craft management than similar moments in Battlefront 2, including balancing power between weapons, shields, and engines.
In its singleplayer campaign, players will see both sides of the Galactic War shortly after the famous Battle of Endor, which saw (spoilers for a 37-year-old movie) the destruction of the Second Death Star. Multiplayer modes will see players go head-to-head (or ship-to-ship), in classic Dogfight mode or in Fleet Battles that task pilots with bringing down the opposing team’s massive capital ships. For Star Wars aficionados, Squadrons is easily one of the most exciting games still to come in 2020.
10. Watch Dogs Legion
Each entry in Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs franchise has been individual, carving its own identity; be it the self-serious original game or the wild and colorful sequel. Watch Dogs Legion looks to reinvent itself again, taking the setting to a post-Brexit (and therefore apparently a dystopian surveillance state) London, England.
Of course, this third-person action game still sees plenty of hacking, but the focus has been shifted to a new system of recruiting NPCs from the streets to join your rebel cause. Ubisoft are touting that millions of NPCs are recruitable into DedSec, and are fully playable, with distinct personalities — from the wrench-wielding construction worker to the ass-kicking grandma.
Individual characters come with unique traits and abilities, as well as being fully voiced throughout the story, with progress being shared across single player and up to four player coop.
Ubisoft’s brand of open world mayhem seems to be in full effect with Watch Dogs Legion, with some genuinely innovative ideas elevating it above the usual fare from the publishing juggernaut.
The 2003 release of XIII innovated the first-person shooter genre with cel-shaded graphics akin to a comic book, and a story of amnesia, conspiracies and shady government dealings all split into a unique episodic format. It incorporates elements of action, stealth, weapons and gadgets across its twist-laden campaign. The game also features a multiplayer mode that has all of the classic styles: deathmatch, team deathmatch, and oh yes, Capture the Flag.
The original game met acclaim for its graphics and art style and narrative but received mixed reception from its critics due to the weak gunplay and poor AI.
Playmagic Ltd. looks to fix some of those flaws and recapture the magic that turned XIII into a cult classic with a from-the-ground-up remake. This will mark the first time that XIII has been available on modern consoles and PC storefronts and seeks to bring this secret agent thriller to a whole new audience in 2020.
12. Yakuza: Like A Dragon
The Yakuza series has seen great success with the release of prequel Yakuza 0 and the re-releases of Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2. Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio hopes to follow up on this success with the eighth major release in the franchise, Yakuza: Like A Dragon.
Players take on the role of Ichiban Kasuga, returning to society after an 18-year prison stint for a crime he didn’t commit. Ichiban takes to the streets of Yokohama with his trusty baseball bat and one goal in mind — discover the truth behind his conviction and seek redemption on those who wronged him. A revamped combat system swaps the usual real time fighting for turn-based encounters, with players controlling parties of up to four characters, like in classic JRPGs. Players can take advantage of environmental areas and items for situational advantages, making each battle feel unique.
Yakuza games are known for having plenty to do, and Like A Dragon is no different. A massive 50 substories act as distraction from the main missions, but that’s not all: the quirkiness of the Yakuza franchise returns, including 19 unique jobs to give characters unique flavor, a go-kart race around all of Yokohama, classic arcades for playing vintage SEGA games and, of course, a spot of karaoke.
13. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Ubisoft’s latest Assassin’s Creed game is always the worst kept secret in the gaming industry, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla — this year’s Viking-themed third person murder simulator — was no exception. Players take on the role of Eivor, a male or female Viking raider invading the shores of 873 Anglo-Saxon Britannia to find refuge from a warring Norway. Valhalla takes many of its gameplay cues from the previous game in the franchise, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, such as the Eagle View (Odin View, now) and the bird companions — but also includes a number of innovations for fans too.
Eivor can dual-wield any weapons, leading to a revamped combat system that includes a larger array of enemy types than seen in previous games. Players can lead raids against English locations to secure resources for their war effort and their growing settlement. The franchise finally sees a return to the sea, as Eivor uses customizable Viking long ships to move around the expansive map.
If past entries are any indication, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be a huge open world experience with a long and deep story narrative, and a map full of side missions and distractions. The Dark Ages provide a compelling new setting for the franchise, setting it apart from the sun-soaked vistas of Egypt and Greece that we’ve been familiar with in recent years.
14. Cyberpunk 2077
You’ve probably already preordered Cyberpunk 2077. In case you haven’t, here are the cliff notes. An open world first-person cyberpunk RPG from the creators of The Witcher 3 based on a tabletop roleplaying property.
All eyes are on CD Projekt Red to deliver the follow-up to their world-shattering conclusion to The Witcher series, and early signs are looking good. Players take on the role of mercenary V, with full customization of that character including body type, appearance, voice, and attire. Customization goes beyond appearance though, with players defining V’s skills, perks, and weapon specialties. As is expected of CDPR by now, player choice through branching dialogue drives every moment of this lush sci-fi experience, with lasting effects on the world and the characters around you.
Six regions of the neon-soaked Night City can be explored, including access to futuristic hover cars and bikes, and somewhere in that huge world is Keanu Reeves playing Johnny Silverhand. It goes without saying that Cyberpunk 2077 is one to watch, and already an obvious frontrunner for game of the year and one of the most exciting games still to come in 2020.
From the developers behind Gears of War 3 and Bulletstorm comes a third-person online looter shooter. Outriders is a science fiction story of humanity exploring a new planet for colonization — and of course, their plans go awry and an energy storm turns gives everyone superpowers and also a deadly corruption. Naturally.
Outriders combines the frenetic third-person cover shooting that the studio is famous for, with unique powers and abilities across four distinct classes. The Pyromancer manipulates fire, whilst the Trickster controls time. The Devastator uses seismic blasts, whilst the Technomancer can materialize turrets and constructs as deadly artillery. Classes can also combo abilities together for destructive effect.
Players in Outriders will traverse its huge open worlds, with NPC conversations and side missions giving depth to the unusual setting and its fixed narrative. Like The Division 2, Outriders implements a World Tier system that creates an increasingly difficult open world, with the loot rewards scaling to match the challenge.
16. Empire of Sin
XCOM meets Mafia is a hell of a sales pitch, and that’s exactly what Empire Of Sin is going for. Set in prohibition-era Chicago, players build a crime empire from the ground up, managing a mob of wise guys and strategizing to grow their hold on Chicago’s rackets and take down enemy gangs.
The 1920s provides an atmospheric setting and the groundworks for a story that Scarface would be proud of, using real historical locales and characters to flesh out its world. Players can recruit from and fight against these legendary names, including the likes of Al Capone and Dean O’Banion.
Brutal shootouts play out in XCOM-style turn-based grid warfare. Mobsters have unique abilities and synergies, and would-be mob bosses must use tactics and environments to prevail — and to take territory and defend their speakeasies. With multiple methods to victory, developer Romero Games promises no two playthroughs of Empire Of Sin will be the same.
17. The Medium
With games like Layers of Fear and Observer under their belt, Bloober Team know a little something about psychological horror. They’re bringing that experience to The Medium, a new third-person horror game that sees players travel through the spirit realm.
Taking on the role of medium Marianne in Krakow Poland in the 1980s, players use psychic powers to inhabit both the world of the living and the world of the dead simultaneously, solving puzzles and escaping hostile undead forces. Marianne seeks to uncover the mystery of an unthinkable tragedy and a child’s murder.
The Medium features a soundtrack by legendary composer Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill), which acts as an obvious inspiration for the eerie gothic tone and atmospheric horror of the game. The Medium may only release on next generation consoles, but if you’re a PC gamer, there’s still hope that the game will be available before the year ends.
The Medium will be available at an unannounced date in Q4 2020, on PC. It has not yet been announced for current gen systems but will be coming to next gen PS5 and Xbox Series X.
18. Dying Light 2
The first Dying Light impressed fans and critics with its fast-paced parkour combat and dynamic survival horror elements. Its weapon crafting system provided seemingly endless ways to fight off the zombie hordes, and the day/night system created a terrifying contrast between the docile Romero-esque undead of daylight and the running horrors of daybreak.
Dying Light 2 looks to capitalize on those strengths, crafting a bigger open world filled with story and quests and the same great feel of the first-person movement and combat. However, this time around, the world is dynamic; shaped by player choices. Dying Light 2 is all about freedom; freedom to create the character you want, freedom to fight the way you want and go where you want, and freedom to change the game world the way that you want.
In single player or 2-4 player co-op, players can explore the world of The City with a whole set of new toys, including the glider and grappling hook, and a whopping 50 additional weapons on top of those returning from the first game.
There has been some question around the final release date for Dying Light 2, including difficulties in development. It’s also been speculated that it will release exclusively on next-gen consoles and PC, but we’re still hoping to see Techland release the game towards the latter end of 2020 — watch this space on this one!