5 video games you need to play in 2020
It goes without saying that 2020 will be a huge year for video games. The Xbox Series X is landing with a mammoth thud, potentially wiping out entire towns in the process. The PlayStation 5, still a mystery wrapped in an enigma, will be with us around the same time. Nintendo probably has some zany tricks up its sleeve, too. A cardboard harpsichord, or something like that.
But it's not all about the next generation machines. There's also a huge catalogue of long-awaited AAA titles on the way, and one of them has Keanu Reeves in it (Keanu Reeves!). We decided to round-up the games we're most excited about across the consoles of past and future (Keanu Reeves!)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Release date: 22 March
Consoles: Nintendo Switch
When it was first announced in September 2018, Animal Crossing fans thought they'd be pottering around New Horizons long before now. But after months of delays and mystery, Nintendo Direct finally announced a solid release date of 22 March, 2020, earlier this year.
There's been a steady stream of extremely placid trailers and explainers, so we’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect from the long-awaited Switch debut. Set on a deserted island, the big focus will be on building your own supplies. "Players can collect resources they can craft into everything from creature comforts to handy tools as they set up a homestead they can decorate freely, both inside and out," reads a Nintendo press release.
This time around you’ve got a handy gadget, too, called the Nook Phone. It'll help you complete tasks with the help of other islanders and take photos, as well as set up local and online multiplayer sessions. Running into Mr. Resetti will thankfully be a thing of the past, too, thanks to a new autosave feature.
But at the end of the day it's an Animal Crossing game. Come on, you know what to expect. More faces. More features. More extremely sensible fun.
Consoles: Xbox Series X
A much-anticipated launch title for the Xbox Series X, Halo Infinite will return to the series’ roots with a starring role for Master Chief.
We don’t really know anything about the plot just yet, and the release date is mysteriously penned in for ‘holiday 2020’ (Christmas? Diwali? During that Zante stag-do you've been dreading for months?). What we do know is that the development team are calling it a “spiritual reboot.”
That means reimagining certain aspects of the Halo story, according to 343 Industries’ head Bonnie Ross. "There has been a lot of introspective time to really reflect on what [we have] done as 343," Ross told IGN. "Where have we made mistakes? Where have we hit it right? What does Halo mean to all of us? That [Halo Infinite reveal] trailer we did is what Halo means to the studio."
Watching the aforementioned trailer, you’ll notice that there’s no gameplay footage. That may be because Halo Infinite is set to showcase a next-gen gaming engine called ‘Slipspace’. For now, we’ll have to make do with a sneak peak at a new voice actor for the series, Gyoza the Pug.
There’s no indication of what character he’s attached to yet, but we’re crossing our fingers that it’s ‘Gyoza the Pug.’.
Phantasy Star Online 2
Release date: Spring 2020
Consoles: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Despite Phantasy Star Online 2's huge success in Japan (with over 4.5 million users), it's taken Sega nearly eight years to bring the game to western audiences. We'll be seeing it on the Xbox One and Windows early next year, and players began signing up to the closed beta test this month.
For those who aren't in the know, the title is a free-to-play MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) which sees you team up with people across the world to defeat monsters called Darkers across five episodes. You quest, you kill, you laugh, you cry. You quit your job and stop opening the curtains, subsisting on Deliveroo and caffeine pills. It's that kind of game.
The Phantasy Star series has had a cult following in Europe and America ever since it debuted on the Dreamcast in 2001. When Sega's console was discontinued later that year, Gamecube-owners were presented with a upgraded port of the title alongside what is, in our opinion, the worst gamepad of all-time. The original eventually made its way onto the Xbox two years later, but PlayStation users were left wanting.
Phantasy Star Online 2 has already been ported to the PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in Japan, but there's no sign that those versions will find their way over here too.
The Last Of Us Part II
Release date: 29 May, 2020
Consoles: PlayStation 4
When it released in 2013, The Last of Us elevated video games to new artistic heights. Poignant, filmic and superbly acted, it's gone on to be recognised as one of the most important titles of all-time. No pressure on the sequel, then.
After a series of delays, developer Naughty Dog has landed on a firm release date: 29 May, 2020. Written by Westworld scribe Halley Gross, the story will once again focus on Joel and Ellie, though you'll play as the latter. It's not yet known whether Joel will actually show up in person, or if he's presence is purely psychological.
The first gameplay trailer, released in June of 2018, begins with Ellie kissing a female friend and neatly transitions into her slitting a man's throat. Before long she's on a murderous rampage in the woodlands, cooly dispatching her axe-wielding enemies with whatever she can find. The graphics are brilliant, but there's not much context to draw from it (beyond the cryptic mention of Ellie's "old man".)
At last year's PlayStation Experience, director Neil Druckman opened up about the team's mission. “‘Part 2’ is saying this is going to be a larger story; it’s going to be a complementary story to the first game, but together, the two combined are going to tell this much larger tale.”
Released: 16, April 2020.
Consoles: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows
A mammoth undertaking by the creators of The Witcher trilogy, hopes were high for sci-fi RPG Cyberpunk 2077 long before Keane Reeves signed up to the project.
A 15-minute deep dive video gave us a pretty clear insight into what to expect. Divided across six unique, sprawling districts of the Blade Runner-inspired Night City (a dystopia which sits somewhere between San Francisco and LA), Cyberpunk 2077 is a very different kind of weapon-based RPG, in that it will actually allow you – a mercenary known as V – to finish the game without killing a single person. It'll probably be easier if you do, though.
Set to be released on 16 April 2020, developer CD Projekt Red say it will feature no micro-transactions. "When thinking CP2077, think nothing less than TW3 [The Witcher 3]—huge single player, open world, story-driven RPG," the company told fans earlier this year. "No hidden catch, you get what you pay for—no bullshit, just honest gaming like with Wild Hunt."