Games

My Top 10 Most Anticipated Games for 2020/21

If there’s one thing that’s been keeping me going through this crazy summer of COVID-19 lockdown, it’s all the video game events. While the usual in-person conventions have been canceled, that hasn’t stopped game companies like Xbox, PlayStation, Ubisoft, and CD Projekt from hosting virtual events online. It’s been fun having something to add to my calendar, even if I don’t have to get dressed up for it. (Actually, not having to get dressed for it is a perk.) And for someone who doesn’t typically go to conventions anyway, I’m always excited to see new game announcements when they’re streamed online!

Now that so many game devs and publishers have had their chance to showcase their upcoming titles, I thought I’d take a look at the ones that interest me the most. Some are games previously announced — like the mammoth Cyberpunk 2077 and the next Assassin’s Creed — for which I’ve been patiently awaiting new details to quench my thirst until they come out. Other games are new IPs that have only just been announced but look incredible.

So, without further ado, here’s my top 10 list of upcoming video games, plus an honorable mentions list, with a few key details if you haven’t heard of them yet. I’d love to hear about which ones you’re looking forward too as well! =)

Honorable Mentions

Fable

One of the big hits of the Xbox showcase was the final teaser for Fable. This is rumored to be Fable 4, although some believe it could be an MMO set in the Fable universe. To be honest, I only played part of one Fable game in the past. (I think it was Fable III?) It’s always been an attractive IP to me because of my love for fantasy worlds and RPGs, but for some reason Fable was never high on my to-play list.

That said, I remember my time with the game vividly — fun and whimsical, if a little repetitive. And while we have plenty of fantasy games to play these days, I’m always on the lookout for what the next unforgettable blockbuster title might be, just to see if it can sweep me away to another world like so many of my favorite games do. So whatever this new Fable game ends up being, I’m down to play it.

Everwild

Everwild, a brand new IP from Rare, feels like a breath of fresh air amidst the violent action games that typically dominate showcases. While many games coming out in future months embrace the hyperrealism that’s now possible with motion capture and the latest tech, Everwild chooses to create a lush, beautiful world painted in a unique art style. Interestingly, Rare is the studio being the game Sea of Thieves, which I’ve never played but have admired specifically for how gorgeous the game looks. It seems this studio knows how to make a good-looking game.

From what I can tell, Everwild explores the magic and beauty of the natural world. Characters seem to be casting spells that harness the world’s energy or control creatures and plants in some way. I like that the game seems to include action in a peaceful way. Still, not much has been revealed about the game yet, so I’ll wait to see what details come out next.

Project Athia

This PlayStation game is still a huge mystery. I only know that it looks gorgeous. I love the main character’s cape, her acrobatics, and the atmospheric setting. I’ll keep my eyes open for more details about this one!


10. The Medium

The Medium dual world screen from official website

The Medium is a psychological horror game that has me intrigued. Starring a female protagonist, it takes place in two worlds: our current world and the spirit world. As this medium, you can be in both of these worlds simultaneously, solving mysteries and fighting a mysterious monster along the way.

Although I haven’t played Bloober Team’s other games, like Layers of Fear and Blair Witch, it sounds like they’ve already cut their teeth in the horror genre, and this game certainly looks ambitious. The trailer shows settings transforming as you switch between worlds, and even the medium herself changes appearance depending on which world she’s in. I’m not sure exactly how the game will run two worlds at the same time, but the atmosphere looks chilling and the action exciting.


9. Far Cry 6

I’ve never spent much time with Far Cry games. The one that has intrigued me most is Far Cry Primal, if only because I love historical settings. While Far Cry has the sort of big worlds, exciting stories, and memorable characters that usually draw me in to games, I just haven’t found one that has really clicked with me yet. But Far Cry 6 may change that.

At the Ubisoft Forward event this summer, we got to see a trailer for the next installment of the Far Cry series, and I was blown away. Although it’s a cinematic trailer — so of course it looks gorgeous — I’m definitely hooked by the setting. It takes place on the fictional island of Yara, based on Cuba. Apparently the tropical setting was a nice return for the series, but I really couldn’t care less about that. What excites me about Yara is that it’s in the midst of an violent revolution, and both the trailer and Ubisoft news have revealed that the game will feature a large city players can explore.

As is typical with Far Cry games, Far Cry 6 is centered around a complex villain. This time, it’s El Presidente, played by actor Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad fame, a dictator who’s also trying to raise his young son Diego (Anthony Gonzalez from Coco). You can learn more about him in IGN’s interview with Esposito here. I’m sure it’ll be intense to play right now, given current events, but that’s why revolution is relevant right now. I’m eager to hear more about the story in the coming months until the game comes out in February 2021.


8. Avowed

Although we only got a short reveal trailer at the Xbox showcase, Avowed intrigued me with its high fantasy feel and beautiful world. At the end, we see the character’s hands, indicating that the game might be in first person. While in one hand the character holds a sword etched in intricate runes, the other hand alights with magic. This instantly reminded me of The Elder Scrolls, which I love.

What’s interesting is that Avowed is Obsidian’s first title since being acquired by Microsoft in 2018. Last year, they released the sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds, which has a different feel but leaves me curious if Avowed will have a similar scope. Outer Worlds is a sizable open-world game with lots of exploration, so I wonder how open this game will be. The game is set in the Pillars of Eternity world, but since I haven’t played those games I don’t know much about that! Wherever it takes place, it looks stunning so far.


7. Halo Infinite

My husband is a huge Halo fan — so naturally he made me play every game in the series with him when we started dating. I’ve come to love Halo games. They consistently offer some of the best couch co-op experiences in gaming, and the upcoming Halo Infinite looks like it’ll be a great addition. I’ll admit it’s been so long since I played a Halo game, I have no deep analysis here other than I’m ready. I love that Master Chief is back, my old favorite enemies are on the field, and the familiar sounds of combat in the trailer are making me itch to play this one when the new Xbox Series X is released.


6. Outriders

Outriders game poster

Outriders is one of those games that has kind of flown under the radar for me, but at some point I heard it was coop and decided to look it up. Now I’m hooked. Developed by People Can Fly and published by Square Enix, it combines two of my favorite genres as an RPG shooter.

In the game, you can create a custom character, choose one of four different classes, and then jump into an alien world where you meet characters, engage in dialogue options, and perform side quests. The fact that you can play the campaign solo seems to indicate that it’s very story-driven (compared to other looter-shooters out there), but I’m excited to join forces with my husband when it comes time to pick up our virtual shotguns and rifles. I love a good dark sci-fi world.


5. Tell Me Why

Tell Me Why game poster

Tell Me Why comes out at the end of August, so it’s a short wait for this one! You can tell even from the poster that this is a Dontnod game — the team behind Life is Strange. It follows twins living in Alaska, exploring dark aspects of their past. It sounds like they have a supernatural bond, but their ideas differ when it comes to their childhood. Tyler, one of the twins, is a trans man, and it’s interesting to hear the studio’s thoughts on his creation as a character, which you can read at Gayming Mag here.You’ll be able to affect their relationship as you play through the story, and as in Life is Strange, your decisions will have ripple effects.

I’m really looking forward to playing this game when I get done with my college classes and student teaching this year, as a way to decompress and just escape into a great story.


4. Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Zero Dawn by Guerrilla Games is one of my favorite open world games of all time. The protagonist, a red-haired techie named Aloy, lives in a post-apocalyptic tribal world and hunts machine creatures with a bow and arrows. The world is unlike any I’ve encountered in a video game before, and I love the retro feel of the sci-fi.

The sequel Horizon Forbidden West is almost here, and it picks up where the last game left off with Aloy exploring more of her strange world. An interesting new feature is that you’ll be able to recognize famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, crumbling and overgrown with plants in the 31st century when the game takes place. At first, it threw me when I saw the bridge in the trailer, but the more I imagine this familiarity with the setting, the more I like it. Let the exploration begin!


3. Watch Dogs Legion

Watch Dogs Legion

I’ll admit I haven’t played a Watch Dogs game yet. My husband loved the original game, and I’ve been wanting to play Watch Dogs 2 because it’s set in San Francisco (my home base). Maybe it’s the size of the games that’s intimidated me, as I have too many games to play as it is! But when I first heard about Ubisoft’s upcoming Watch Dogs Legion, with its innovative and ambitious idea to make any NPC on the streets playable, I was very intrigued.

Legion is set in London, with all the chaos of Brexit politics as a backdrop to what’s happening in the story. The streets will be filled with NPCs who go about their days according to their individual schedules, and you can scan them for details on their jobs and skills. Better yet, you can recruit them to create a unique team of experts for your missions.

It’s up to you to pick the right candidates for your squad. Each person can approach a mission differently; for instance, your hacker might hack drones, while your brawler just fights his way in, or your corporate worker uses her badge to sneak into company headquarters. The freedom to play however you want sounds incredible. The only thing I’m worried about is that when a character dies, he or she really dies — and you’ll have to go recruiting again. But I’m sure that will be part of the fun, too.


2. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

This year I’ve been playing one of the Assassin’s Creed games I missed: Odyssey, set in ancient Greece and featuring a choice of female protagonist. I’ve always been a fan of Assassin’s Creed games, largely because I love history. I was a history major. Being able to explore historical settings like ancient Egypt has been a joy for me, and the most recent games have increased in size, scale, and detail so you can really get lost in these old worlds.

The next installment of the Assassin’s Creed series is Valhalla, set in the 800s when Viking raiders invaded Britain. I’m excited about this time period for a few reasons. One is that I recently learned my ancestry is Viking and British, so I’m always interested to learn more of that history. I’ve also been mildly obsessed with the show The Vikings all summer; it’s part of my quarantine entertainment. And after games like God of War, who doesn’t want to experience more of a Norse world? The fact that I can play as a Viking shield-maiden just makes the game all the more enticing.


1. Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 art

Cyberpunk 2077 has been one of my most anticipated games for years. CD Projekt already has a stellar reputation for developing some of the most beautiful games I’ve ever seen; just look at this trailer for The Witcher 2, which looks a little dated now that it’s almost 10 years old but is still drop-dead gorgeous! CD Projekt’s latest game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, set the standard for storytelling in open world games when it came out in 2015, and I still can’t think of a game that combines story, exploration, action, and choice as perfectly as Wild Hunt. So you can see why I’m so excited for their next big game.

Cyberpunk 2077 is set in a futuristic city known as Night City, where you’ll play a cybernetically-enhanced human caught up in a world of hacking and crime. You can create a fully-customized character and enhance him or her along the way with new cybernetics. Although the game isn’t as open world as Wild Hunt, that’s fine with me. Night City still seems like a huge world to explore, and the fact that you can choose how to approach missions, engage in love affairs, and just roleplay your heart out is what has me hooked. I can’t wait to be there.

What are your most anticipated games of 2020 and 2021? Are there any good ones I missed?

Ashley

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