While new console hardware may be the talk of the town this November, the upcoming month includes major anniversaries for some of gaming’s most beloved franchises. From PlayStation classics like Twisted Metal to influential cultural phenomena like Guitar Hero, take a look at our list of November 2020 gaming anniversaries below.
1. Star Wars Battlefront (5th Anniversary)
Despite lukewarm critical reception, EA’s reboot of the popular Star Wars Battlefront franchise sold 14 million copies less than a year after it released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 17, 2015. Though the single-player portion of the game lacks content, DICE’s technical expertise is evident in the title’s excellent lighting, sound design, and environmental detail. Suffice it to say that EA’s rendition of Battlefront respectfully brought the series into modernity for a new generation of Star Wars fans.
2. Call of Duty: Black Ops (10th Anniversary)
With Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War on the horizon, it’s fitting that the first iteration in this series, Call of Duty: Black Ops, released for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and PC on November 9, 2010. Following closely in the footsteps of Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare series, Black Ops transports FPS fans from one explosive set piece to the next, unafraid to embellish aspects of history in the name of senseless entertainment. The game’s bombastic embrace paid off, as it sold millions and broke records 24 hours after its launch. If Black Ops Cold War, manages to maintain the excitement, it could quickly become a hit for publisher Activision on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
3. Guitar Hero (15th Anniversary)
When Guitar Hero released exclusively for PlayStation 2 on November 8, 2005, it began a peripheral-heavy movement within the video game industry. Featuring songs from five decades of rock and roll music, the title garnered near universal critical acclaim and spawned a franchise worth billions. That’s not to mention the game helped introduce swaths of impressionable young adults to a variety of music, many of whom continue to headbang and mosh to this day.
4. Counter-Strike (20th Anniversary)
Steam users have probably encountered Valve’s Counter-Strike (formerly known as Half-Life: Counter-Strike) once or twice in their gaming lifetime. Released for PC on November 9, 2000, the multiplayer first-person shooter title pits a team of terrorists against a team of anti-terrorists. Two decades since its launch, the game continues to maintain a large competitive community, though many spin-offs and sequels have been released since then with e-sport aficionados in mind.
5. Twisted Metal (25th Anniversary)
The original Twisted Metal popularized the vehicular combat genre when it released exclusively for PlayStation on November 5, 1995. Featuring an array of strange characters and modified vehicles, players are to tear one another apart in order to become the last person standing. The winner of the tournament will have their wish granted by a mysterious third-party, regardless of how ridiculous their wish may be. Twisted Metal is bizarre in the right way, completely embracing the absurd and proving that satisfying gameplay lies at the heart of every video game.
Gaming is more popular and widely accepted today than it has been since its inception. Though it’s important to appreciate the current interactive experiences crafted for us, it’s equally vital that fans learn the medium’s history to properly understand its evolution. The next generation of developers and publishers must craft software with the past, present, and future in mind, as it’s useless to take one step forward while taking two steps back.