There’s a massive hole in 2020. A blind spot, if you will. Next fall, new consoles arrive. That doesn’t affect us much on the PC side, but it does mean everyone’s playing cards close to their chest at the moment. Holding onto surprises. Keeping quiet about quite possibly the biggest games of 2020.
So as we look towards the coming year, keep in mind we’re only seeing half the picture—if that.
And yet it’s still pretty damn impressive, with Cyberpunk 2077, Doom Eternal, and Dying Light II headlining one of the most packed spring lineups I’ve ever seen. Oh, and lest we forget, there’s a new Half-Life game releasing in March.
These are exciting times, friends.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps – March 11
When Microsoft announced Ori and the Will of the Wisps at E3 2017, I don’t think I ever imagined it would take until 2020 to release. Here we are though, and at least it’s early 2020.
Regardless, the second Ori outing looks every bit as beautiful as the original. It’s got that same soft watercolor look, lots of dark blues specked with pink and green and red highlights. I’ll be curious how the sequel ups the challenge for veterans without making it unapproachable for newcomers—the original struck a tight balance. But either way, I can’t wait to play it finally. It’s more about the spectacle for me anyway.
Half-Life: Alyx – March
No, it’s not Half-Life 3. After more than a decade, Valve’s finally putting out a new Half-Life game though, one where you play as Alyx in the events leading up to Half-Life 2. A pre-sequel, to borrow a phrase from Borderlands.
The catch? It’s VR exclusive, a showcase for Valve’s Index headset—and for Oculus, the Vive, or any other PC VR setup you might own. That’s undoubtedly frustrating for anyone who hasn’t made that investment yet, but perhaps Half-Life: Alyx can be as groundbreaking for VR as Half-Life 2 was for physics engines all those years ago. We’ll see.
Doom Eternal – March 20
Doom Eternal was supposed to unleash hell last November, but fell victim to a last-minute delay. Now it’s ripping and tearing its way through March instead.
As we’ve said before, Doom Eternal is just “More Doom,” and that’s not a bad thing. With nearly four years separating the reboot and its sequel, I certainly haven’t tired of semi-mindless run and guns, especially ones that play this slick. Hopefully it’s been delayed for the last time, and we can all get to murdering demons in the near future.
Resident Evil 3 – April 3
The Resident Evil 2 remake was one of our favorite games of 2019. Using the core story beats of the 1998 original, the updated Resident Evil 2 reimagined Claire and Leon’s adventure with a proper over-the-shoulder camera, a more grounded tone, and an ingenious map. It’s the first Resident Evil game I’ve ever truly loved.
For 2020, Capcom will try to work the same trick again and resurrect Resident Evil 3. I didn’t expect it this soon, but nor am I complaining.
Cyberpunk 2077 – April 16
When we saw the first Cyberpunk 2077 demo at E3 2018, I doubted it could run on current console hardware. I still doubt it, honestly.
CD Projekt is determined to prove me wrong though, scheduling Cyberpunk 2077 to release in April. It seems impossible it could live up to the hype, seven years after the original teaser trailer and five years after The Witcher 3. But then again, I would’ve said the same about The Witcher 3 and it’s one of my favorite games this decade. Maybe the favorite.
Dying Light 2 – April?
We haven’t seen nor heard much from Dying Light 2 since E3 2019. That’s…worrisome. It’s an ambitious game, and when ambitious games go radio silent I assume they’ve been delayed.
I wouldn’t be surprised, either. Dying Light 2 is doing branching storylines on a massive scale. The demo we saw at E3 2019 ended with an entire district emerging from underwater, a section of the city you’ll only see if you make certain choices along the way. As Techland put it, “It’s not about which ending you get, but how the city looks when you finish the game,” claiming you’d only see 50 percent of the content in any given playthrough. Pretty cool, but it sounds like a lot of work.
Wasteland 3 – May 19
Five years after Wasteland 2 took home our Game of the Year prize, the sequel’s almost ready. What we’ve played so far seemed very cold, with the Desert Rangers trading out sweltering Arizona for the frozen wastes of post-apocalyptic Colorado. It’s still very much Wasteland though, with satisfying turn-based combat and skill checks galore. And given InXile’s track record, I’m sure the writing will be solid. My only hope is that the Microsoft acquisition gave InXile time not only to add more content, but to polish what was already there. I don’t want to wait for the inevitable Director’s Cut this time to get the game as InXile originally intended it.
Baldur’s Gate III
Will Baldur’s Gate III release in 2020? I have my doubts. Google announced it as part of the Stadia launch lineup though, and Stadia has…technically launched. Theoretically that means Baldur’s Gate III will also arrive in the near future. Theoretically.
If it does make it out, it’ll be fortuitous timing. Baldur’s Gate II turns 20 next year, a nice round anniversary worth celebrating with a long-awaited sequel. That said, I’m happy to give Larian as much time as it needs. Following up one of the most beloved CRPGs of all time can’t be easy.
Empire of Sin
Brenda Romero’s apparently waited decades to make Empire of Sin, a hybrid real-time strategy/turn-based tactics game set in the Prohibition Era. I’m glad it’s finally getting made, because it has some really neat ideas.
Foremost among them is what Empire of Sin calls RPCs or “recruitable player characters.” These are your gang members, and they’re not just faceless grunts. They have personalities, relationships with other characters, dreams and desires. You might recruit a character only to find out her lover’s in a rival gang, and then be able to exploit that—or have it come back to haunt you when she refuses to fire at her lover at a crucial moment. It’s an interesting wrinkle to consider, though I’m curious how often these situations will present themselves outside a demo. We’ll see.
Next page: 2020 games, continued