USG's 20 Most Anticipated Games of 2020

USG's 20 Most Anticipated Games of 2020

From indies to long-awaited sequels, these are our 20 most anticipated games for this new year.

Wow! It's not just a new year, it's a new decade. We can hardly believe it, and now looking ahead to the year of releases, can barely contain our excitement either. There are a lot of promising games on the horizon, from ambitious remakes to long-awaited sequels. It's going to be quite the busy year.

2020 is going to be the start of a new generation of consoles, with both PlayStation 5 and the new generation of Xbox hitting store shelves this holiday season. But 2020 is also shaping up to be the last hurrah for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4—and loud hurrahs they will be. The following are our 20 most anticipated game for the first year of the decade. Bring 'em on!

Tifa and Cloud are ready to rumble. | Square Enix

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Release Date: March 3, 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4

It's hard to believe, but the game that has topped fan wishlists for almost 20 years is almost here. Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a ground-up remake of the 1997 classic: no more kewpie dolls or midi music here. It features a completely revamped battle engine, brand new scenes featuring familiar characters, and updated designs for the original cast. It also has Barrett going full Mr. T in the performance we've always wanted... or maybe not.

What we've seen thus far has been very promising. The battle engine is now more action-focused, but Square Enix is also mixing in a tactical component for old-school fans of the series. The score is on point, and the overall flavor is very much in keeping with that of the original, which is to say that it's completely ridiculous—just the way we like it.

As for whether it'll actually be good, that's an open question. But this list isn't about what's good or bad; just what we're anticipating. And we're definitely anticipating Final Fantasy 7 Remake. —Kat Bailey

Soon, we can all go on vacation. | Nintendo

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Release Date: March 20, 2020
Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Animal Crossing: New Leaf was the refresher the series needed when it released on Nintendo 3DS in 2012. In New Leaf, we were now the mayor of our small, animal-filled town, and we could customize that town to our every whim. I remember downloading QR codes from random people online of everything from dress patterns to pink tile for the ground. I frolicked online with friends between our respective towns. New Leaf is the best Animal Crossing game in current existence.

Maybe that will soon change. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is taking our furry friends to a tropical island to relax for eternity. New Horizons will be taking the delightful customization of New Leaf even further too. No longer will being a darker skin color be subjected to laying out in the sun—people can finally choose their skin tone from the outset. Hairstyles, too, will no longer be gendered. Seasons will now depend on where you live in the real-world, and there will be crafting too. New Horizons is pushing forward new ideas, while bringing back a lot of what we all loved about New Leaf. For that, we can't wait for our island retreat this coming March. —Caty McCarthy

Doom Eternal looks gnarly. | id Software/Bethesda

Doom Eternal

Release Date: March 20, 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch (Date TBA)

One of the best demos we played back at E3 2019 was the one for Doom Eternal. It's a demo where we shot, jumped, wall grabbed, and monkeybar'd our way across demon-filled arenas. It was challenging in a satisfying way, and most importantly, exhilarating. Doom's soft reboot in 2016 was an unexpected delight with its tongue-in-cheek tone and hellish FPS action. (Even if the multiplayer disappointed in a big way.) Doom Eternal is turning the amp of Mick Gordon's metal even higher, with a slightly more complicated loop that might be the spice Doom needs to not just feel like a half-step forward. While its Switch release got delayed even further than the rest of it, we're looking forward to trouncing on demons this spring. —Caty McCarthy

Half-Life: Alyx

Release Date: March 2020
Platforms: PC via SteamVR

We're less than three months away from a VR-exclusive return to the Half-Life series, provided "Valve Time" doesn't kick in over the next few weeks. While it's not Half-Life 3, the idea of Valve revisiting the Half-Life series after over a decade of deafening silence is still quite intriguing. Will Half-Life fans find closure or be rewarded with satisfying new layers to the series' story? Can the Valve of 2020 make a VR title that feels as revolutionary as Half-Life 2 did, or will it trade on nostalgia and aging FPS tropes? Time will tell, and a whole lot of people will be interested in the answers whether or not they've got the necessary PC and VR gear. —Mathew Olson

Big man comin' through. | Capcom

Resident Evil 3

Release Date: April 3, 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Do you remember Resident Evil 3 fondly? Chances are, probably not. It's the weakest of the early Resident Evil games, plagued by a certain pesky fellow by the name of Nemesis who got in your way in all sorts of annoying ways. Still, with how petrifying the Tyrant is in last year's Resident Evil 2 remake, the idea of a constant presence on your tail is not such a bad concept anymore. Resident Evil 2's Tyrant in retrospect now feels like a test for what we know Resident Evil 3 to be: a game of constant terror. Nemesis is coming, but now we're ready for him.

And Resident Evil 3 won't be alone either. It's also bringing with it a 4v1 multiplayer mode called Resident Evil: Resistance. In Resistance, one player will be the "mastermind" who can set traps and even take control of zombies. It's up to the other four players to successfully fend them off and be the victor. While not quite a Left 4 Dead-like Resident Evil mode like we dream of, it still sounds clever and robust. Nemesis, and all he has to offer, is following us straight into 2020. —Caty McCarthy

Cyberpunk 2077

Release Date: April 16, 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

I don't envy the folks at CD Projekt Red. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has long been heralded as one of this console generation's greatest games. It even landed high on our Top 25 RPGs of All Time list. That's a high bar to try and top, or even meet at that.

And it's a big change of scenery for the studio. Cyberpunk 2077 is a massive RPG set in the world of the hit tabletop series Cyberpunk; there is no fantasy to be found. Unlike The Witcher games, Cyberpunk 2077 is adopting first-person shooting as its combat-but you can play non-lethally too. Oh, and Keanu Reeves is in it. While the general cyberpunk aesthetic may feel a little stale in 2020, with the pedigree of CD Projekt Red behind it, it's bound to impress. —Caty McCarthy

In The Last of Us Part 2, we seemingly only play as Ellie. | Naughty Dog/Sony

The Last of Us Part 2

Release Date: May 29, 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4

Though I may be annoyed at the lack of a colon in The Last of Us Part 2's name and at its announcement annoyed with the idea of a sequel to a great one-and-done feeling game, as we inch closer toward The Last of Us Part 2's release, the less annoyed I feel about its existence. It's shaping up to be a fascinating survival action-adventure, one that's doomed to be even more heart-wrenching than the game that came before it.

Last year, we got to play two lengthy demos of the latest Naughty Dog game, and came away impressed by its tense action. From enemies calling out each other's names to make killing them feel more dirty, to the general desperate-feeling combat, The Last of Us Part 2 might do what its original never quite could: have good action. We'll see what Ellie, and probably Joel, are up to in mid-2020. —Caty McCarthy

Axiom Verge 2 looks a touch more colorful. | Thomas Happ Games

Axiom Verge 2

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: Nintendo Switch

An indie favorite returns with Axiom Verge 2 later next year. While the original began life on PlayStation 4, creator Tom Happ is focusing on the Switch to start this time around. In an interview with USgamer, Happ called the Switch a "natural platform" for the series.

Our initial look at Axiom Verge 2 at last year's Nintendo Direct hints at a very different game from the mix of Contra and Metroid that defined the original. Among other things, it features a more pastel color palette, and will have a more acoustic score. The first comparison that leaps to mind is "Flashback," especially with the words "You are not yourself" flashing during the trailer.

We know little else about Axiom Verge 2 right now, but we're definitely intrigued. Expect it on Switch later this year, with releases on other platforms to follow into 2021 and beyond. —Kat Bailey

The new heroes of Bravely Default 2. | Nintendo

Bravely Default 2

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: Nintendo Switch

A cult favorite RPG series is getting a sequel this year, but don't let the name fool you, it's actually the third entry in the Bravely Default franchise. Yeah, we're confused too. Anyway, if Bravely Default 2 is anything like the original, it will be a classical turn-based RPG with a job system similar to that of Final Fantasy 5. The original Bravely Default was known for being extremely grindy, but its terrific soundtrack and overall sense of style drew in many RPG fans hungry for the classic design abandoned by Final Fantasy.

Bravely Default previously made its home on the Nintendo 3DS, but its successor is moving to the Switch. It will be developed in part by the team behind Octopath Traveler, and while it's in 3D as opposed to 2D, some of the background art looks very similar. Nintendo tweeted of Bravely Default 2, "Expect a brand-new world, new Heroes of Light, and music from Revo in this successor to the original Bravely Default."

It will get a simultaneous worldwide release later this year. —Kat Bailey

My face when I saw the words "Deadly Premonition 2." | Toybox/Rising Star Games

Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Of all the games announced last year, Deadly Premonition 2 was truly a blessing in disguise. It was an announcement plopped in the middle of a Nintendo Direct with no fanfare, and only when the name popped up in the corner did I understand what was going on. Deadly Premonition is one of the strangest adventure games I've ever played. It's clunky to control, the writing is bizarre, and the voice acting is... also bizarre. It is trying so hard to be like Twin Peaks, and ends up feeling like a parody instead. Still, I am delighted a sequel to Deadly Premonition is being made. My only hope now is that the whistle song returns. —Caty McCarthy

Dying Light 2

Release Date: Spring 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Dying Light 2 is a game that not many of us expected to be uber-hyped about, but after bringing on RPG writing legend Chris Avellone to reveal it and showing us an impressive demo back at E3 2019, we can't wait to see more of Dying Light 2. Bringing forward the parkour action that made the game before it something of a cult hit, Dying Light 2 is refining that action, and dropping it into a complex narrative framework. Rather than just guiding the story through your choices, you significantly impact the world itself too. Even enemies you face can be determined by certain choices.

According to an interview we had with its developers earlier this year, playing through the game just once will let you see only about half the game's whole content. Here at USgamer we're big fans of RPGs, and the RPG-like structure of Dying Light 2 sounds like it's trying to redefine what's possible for a triple-A open-world game. We'll see if it meets those big ambitions this spring. —Caty McCarthy

Eastward

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: PC

Eastward is on this list for one major reason: it's gorgeous. Mixing 3D lighting with beautiful pixel work, Eastward has a chance to be one of the best-looking indies of 2020. Billed as an "adventure game with RPG elements," Eastward draws inspiration from Mother, Zelda, and older Japanese animation. Its developer is Chinese though, which may explain why its architecture is reminiscent of famous real-world locations like Kowloon Walled City. Regardless of its origins, here's hoping that its gameplay lives up to the promise of sparkling visuals. —Kat Bailey

Ghost of Tsushima

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: PS4

The next big PlayStation 4 exclusive is Ghost of Tsushima, the new open-world action game developed by Sucker Punch. Though ostensibly about Japanese samurai, the main character is actually more of a ninja, as they are required to embrace the "Ghost" style in order to wage war on Mongol invaders. Expect lots of Assassin's Creed-style fights as you leap down from tree branches and temples to take out unsuspecting enemies.

Sony has set a high bar with its first-party exclusives over the past few years with God of War, Uncharted, and The Last of Us all enjoying critical acclaim. Sucker Punch will try to follow in the footsteps of Insomniac and Guerilla Games, which reinvented themselves as top-tier prestige studios thanks to the success of Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn. Ghost of Tsushima certainly looks the part of a prestige game, and Sucker Punch has a strong track record going back to Sly Cooper.

Ghost of Tsushima may not rise to the level of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the FromSoftware samurai game to which it will inevitably be compared, but it will undoubtedly be one of the biggest games of 2020. And for Sucker Punch, it could provide a great deal of momentum heading into the PlayStation 5. —Kat Bailey

Master Chief is back. | 343 Industries/Microsoft

Halo Infinite

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC

What in the world is happening with Halo Infinite? The answer to that question will have major implications for Microsoft, which is counting on Halo Infinite to give the Xbox Series X a Breath of the Wild-like superboost this holiday season. But we barely know anything about Halo Infinite right now, having only seen one basic story trailer and some teaser images. Meanwhile, major developers keep leaving the project amid whispers that it might not make launch.

In that way, Halo Infinite is "most anticipated" in the sense that we really want to see if it even makes it out in 2020. Something tells us that it will. Xbox may have to shift large numbers of developers over from other projects to get it done, but it will get done. Microsoft isn't going to make the mistake of launching without a showpiece exclusive again.

As for the game itself, we can only speculate. Many expect it to be akin to Destiny; that is, something that pairs the franchise's familiar trappings with a similar service model. That begs the question of why you wouldn't just play, you know, Destiny, but it would be unwise to underestimate the nostalgic pull of Halo and the allure of a new console. Whatever form it takes, Halo Infinite will be a major early test for Microsoft's next-generation ambitions. —Kat Bailey

Every Act in Kentucky Route Zero has its own unique flavor, and we're sure the long-awaited Act 5 will be no different. | Cardboard Computer

Kentucky Route Zero: Act 5 / TV Edition

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

There are very few episodic games where if you took one part of it, it can still stand deservedly strong on a Game of the Year list without its fellow episodes. And yet, that's been the case for Kentucky Route Zero since Act 1 and 2 launched in 2013. Since then, the gaps between episodes has grown longer. And the gap between Act 4 and the finale, Act 5, have easily been the longest.

Some expected the TV Edition—its ports to consoles—and Act 5 would finally launch sometime in 2019. Unfortunately, 2019 came and went, so the magical realist adventure game slipped another year, making it almost four years since Act 4 released. Hopefully it won't be long until we hitch a ride with Shannon, Ezra, and all the rest of the gang to see this near-decade long surreal road trip to make an antique delivery come to an end.—Caty McCarthy

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: Xbox One, PC

Like Eastward, Microsoft Flight Simulator is on this list because it's gorgeous. But where Eastward leans on its outstanding art style, Microsoft Flight Simulator is about raw power. Simply put, Microsoft Flight Simulator might have the most advanced graphics of any game on the market when it launches this year. Its near photorealistic landscapes and horizons simply have to be seen to be believed.

For flight sim nuts, Microsoft Flight Simulator is an especially big moment, as this is the first new entry in the series in nearly 15 years. Flight Simulator has long held the crown as the best, most comprehensive flight sim on the market, but with the closure of its original developer, it seemed as if flight sim fans would have to lean on mods to the aging Flight Simulator X for their fix. The resurrection of this classic franchise speaks to Microsoft's renewed willingness to cater to even the most hardcore of niches, and that makes Flight Simulator a win not just for flight sim fans, but gaming as a whole. —Kat Bailey

Tales of Arise looks far better than recent Tales Of games. | Bandai Namco

Tales of Arise

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

The Tales series has had trouble gaining a foothold overseas. While it has some fervent supporters, the Tales team is making a concentrated grab for Western audiences with Tales of Arise: a visual redesign accompanies a larger overhaul for the series. Greater scale, smooth combat inspired by modern action-RPG games, and an overall theme of "evolution" of the traditional features core to previous Tales games make Arise seem like a fresh game in the increasingly stale series. Keeping the anime aesthetic and essentials of Tales, while reinvigorating that core with new ideas, could help a series rooted in tradition reach new players. Tales of Arise could be one of 2020's biggest surprises if it nails the massive overhaul it's going for. —Eric Van Allen

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is one of our favorite RPGs, and this year it's getting a sequel. | Hardsuit Labs/Paradox

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

One of our Top 25 RPGs of All Time is reborn thanks to Paradox and Blacklight: Retribution developers Hardsuit Labs. The original was renowned for its terrific setting, its willingness to tackle sexually explicit themes, and its pitch black writing, and Bloodlines 2 wants to offer more of the same. The setting will shift from Los Angeles to Seattle, but as a newly-turned bloodsucker, you will still have to contend with underworld politics while maintaining the "masquerade" that keeps humanity blissfully unaware of the monsters all around them. If it's half as good as the original, it could be a sneaky contender for the best RPG of the year. Let's just hope that it doesn't require a total overhaul from modders in order to be playable. —Kat Bailey

Kick ass as this grandma. | Ubisoft

Watch Dogs: Legion

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X

The first Watch Dogs had a captivating reveal trailer. Then the game that actually released didn't quite impress. While some argue that Watch Dogs 2 was a step in the right direction, there's something about the promise of Watch Dogs: Legion's ambitious "you can be any NPC in the world" pitch that actually feels invigorating. Indeed, in Legion, you'll be able to recruit people and, together, fight back against Big Technology with... technology. There's also permadeath, so if someone dies, they're gone for good. Let's hope Ubisoft can pull it all off when it releases sometime this year. —Caty McCarthy

Yakuza: Like A Dragon

Release Date: 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4

Last year's Judgment was one of our favorite games of the year, partially because of how it folded the usual Yakuza formula into a story that felt refreshing, coupled with its likable new characters. The Ryu Ga Gotoku team's next game is taking the Yakuza formula even further: by destroying everything we've come to know and love about it. Yes, the seventh mainline Yakuza game will be casting aside its real-time brawler combat for turn-based action, like any other JRPG.

It's a risky decision, but it's one that's shaping up to be hilarious. As the game's out in Japan very soon, bits of it have trickled out onto Twitter. The new locale of Yokohama sounds like it's fantastic. Also, you can summon lobsters to rain on your opponent. See? Maybe this is the same old silly Yakuza after all. We just hope we love the new hero as much as we loved Kiryu Kazuma. —Caty McCarthy

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