There’s still so much we don’t know about 2020 in the gaming world, but we do know it’s going to be huge, with both Sony and Microsoft launching new consoles this holiday. So many launch games have yet to be formerly announced, while big games releasing in the first half of the year have been in development for a very long time, including Cyberpunk 2077, The Last of Us Part 2, and the Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
As of mid-January 2020, here are my top ten most anticipated games of the year.
10) Warcraft 3: Reforged
StarCraft was my high school years; Warcraft 3 was college. I enjoyed reminiscing through StarCraft Remastered a few years ago, and looking forward to an equally enjoyable nostalgic trip to Azeroth with Warcraft 3: Reforged.
Amplitude Studios makes excellent 4x strategy games that have never quite 100% clicked with me. They weave compelling narratives and intriguing world-building alongside a solid strategy layer. After doing fantasy with Endless Legend and sci-fi with Endless Space 1 and 2, I’m curious to see how they tackle the Civ-dominated 4x history genre in Humankind.
8) Songs of Conquest
Announced during the PC Gamer Show at E3 2019, Songs of Conquest looks like a pixelated version of Heroes of Might and Magic 3, one of my all-time favorite games. There have been many great tactical-fantasy games since, including King’s Bounty and Age of Wonders 3, but few so lovingly adapted the design aesthetic of Heroes 2 and 3 as I’m seeing here.
7) Final Fantasy 7 Remake
I don’t have the fanboy devotion to Final Fantasy 7 like many gaming geeks around my age. I never even finished it. My original console RPG love was, and always will be, Final Fantasy 6. But it’s impossible to ignore the TLC pumped into this remake, which almost appears to be an entirely new game set within the opening area of the 1997 RPG.
6) Empire of Sin
A mix of XCOM tactical combat and tycoon business management, with a 1920s mafia gangster theme, developed by John and Brenda Romero and published by Paradox? It’s Empire of Sin, baby! I’m excited to don my fedora, chomp on a cigar, and rule this city with the Chicago typewriter.
5) The Last of Us Part 2
I just played The Last of Us Remastered recently in 2018, (followed by literally all of the Uncharted series) so I was a bit late to the Naughty Dog party. I agree with the consensus that it’s phenomenal game that combines a tense post-apocalyptic stealth-shooter with a compelling (if increasingly cliché) story of survival. I’m intrigued to see a bigger focus on Ellie this time around with The Last of Us Part 2.
4) Desperados III
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun was one of my favorite games of 2016. With Desperados 3, Mimimi Productions is trading in katanas for revolvers. I have zero knowledge or nostalgia for the Desperados series, but I’ve grown to love the tactical stealth genre and can’t wait to see how they handle a Western.
3) Ori and the Will of the Wisps
When I played Ori and the Blind Forest back in 2016, I called it (and yes I’m quoting myself) “Beautiful, poignant, challenging, and fun,” declaring that “Ori is easily one of the best metroidvanias I’ve ever played.” I have since played a lot of metroidvanias, and I still have very fond memories of Ori’s perfect marriage of gameplay, story, and art design. The sequel has been a long time coming, and I have high hopes for Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
2) Cyberpunk 2077
Somehow I call myself a big RPG fan having still not played CD Projekt Red’s massive RPG, The Witcher 3. Maybe it has something to do with generally not liking the first two games, nor the edgy, try-hard mature fantasy universe. But I do adore the cyberpunk genre, having played all the recent Shadowrun RPGs and even wrote and DM’d several Shadowrun Fifth Edition tabletop RPG scenarios. My body is ready for Cyberpunk 2077.
1) Baldur’s Gate 3
While I love tactical, computer-based RPGs, Dungeons & Dragons always felt impenetrable to me until Neverwinter Nights and the 3rd edition rules arrived in 2000. I finally played through Baldur’s Gate 2 for the first time several years ago (widescreen mod FTW!), satisfied that it still holds up incredibly well.
I’ve since fallen in love with D&D, having built a YouTube channel around live streaming live plays and reviewing D&D tabletop content. On top of that, Larian Studios is one of my favorite game developers, with both Divinity: Original Sin games among my favorite RPGs of the last five years.
So when Larian announced they were doing Baldur’s Gate 3, I was a teensy bit excited. There’s a good chance BG3 won’t be coming out in 2020, but I’m honoring it with my #1 most anticipated spot this year regardless.