2020 is looking to be a pretty good year for gaming, and having decided to make myself a game releases calendar for the stuff I’m personally most interested in, I figured I may as well go the extra mile and make an entire blog post about it. I briefly mentioned what I was anticipating at the end of my 2019 GOTY post, but there’s more to come and more to say about each title. So, going in order of release, we have:
Warcraft III Reforged
Anticipation Level: It’s Warcraft! But it’s also RTS.
Release Date: January 28th
I probably don’t need to do the whole song and dance about how much of my life I’ve devoted to World of Warcraft at this point, but if you’re new here, allow me to summarise:
It’s a lot.
More specifically though, I’ve always been interested in the lore behind Warcraft’s universe, and indeed one of the reasons I’m so excited about the next expansion is that it’s mostly new material, expanding the story on a cosmological scale. More relevantly to this game, though, I’ve never played any of the original RTS games. I got my dose of Warcraft III lore in the form of Youtubers like nobbel, helping me to fill in important backstory for MMO characters such as Jaina, Illidan and the Lich King.
Due to this, though, my knowledge of the Warcraft III story is limited to a sort of cliff notes version of the plot, and I’m very much considering diving in to the Reforged edition and witnessing the story firsthand with the benefit of updated graphics and renewed relevancy. That being said, as with many other games on this list of a milder anticipation level, it all depends on income and free time.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Anticipation Level: If I could pay off my debt to Tom Nook in hype, I’d be debt-free on day one.
Release Date: March 20th
Did I make this entire blog post as an excuse to vent hype about the upcoming Animal Crossing game? Maybe. Your point?
My first game in the Animal Crossing series was the Wii one, and I loved it, but always lamented the lack of ease of play. This is going to come off as extremely lazy, but the requirement of motion controls (I assume? I had no Pro controller but you couldn’t play with the controller sideways) meant you needed to have at least some free space to wave your arm about, or a motion sensor that didn’t break every two months. Nevertheless, I enjoyed City Folk as much as Wild World (acquired later) and New Leaf. In all three titles I sunk many days of work collecting fruit, fish, bugs, laying down pathways, paying off debts, the works.
I criminally underused my 3DS, though, so New Leaf didn’t get quite as much love from me as it maybe should have, and I’ve subsequently not played any Animal Crossing in some time. I’m therefore bursting at the seams for New Horizons. And hey, you know how any seasoned Animal Crossing player has a favourite villager? Aurora. Aurora the goddamned penguin. She showed up in my first Wild World save as one of my original villagers, and then later showed up again in my New Leaf village. If I could get her to consider island life, then I am more than willing to resume being besties for life. Just, you know. Putting it out there.
Goldie is cool too.
Anticipation Level: Tweet and blog. Until it is out.
Release Date: March 20th
Yes, I see you doing the double-take. DOOM Eternal releases on the same day as Animal Crossing. That means that there is an excellent chance that I’ll be viscerally murdering swathes of demons and stomping through angel guts on the very same day that I’m moving into my new island home, setting up the furniture and watering the lovely flowers nearby. If I do have to choose, and common financial sense dictates that I likely will, then I’m probably going for the island life. As much as I love the shit out of DOOM, I’ve still yet to beat a single game in the series. I’m like 80% of the way through, but I always get distracted by something else.
Nevertheless, DOOM Eternal looks to be advancing the spectacular reboot into enticing new locations, with new people (demons) to meet (slaughter) and new locales (apocalyptic hellscapes) to visit (conquer). Maybe I’ll send a postcard.
Anticipation Level: It won’t be the first DOOM release I try this year…
Release Date: March 20th
DOOM 64 releases on the same day as DOOM Eternal, and given that one is old and one is new I’ll likely check out Eternal first. But as someone who sought out the original DOOM a few years before the reboot was even announced and loved it, I’m always interested in more retro DOOM. I’ve still not tried DOOM 2, though, because I haven’t beaten DOOM 1. Can you see a pattern developing here?
Before we move on, now’s a good chance to mention that this exists as a sort of apology for the delay; DOOM Eternal was originally going to release back in October, on the same day as Animal Crossing: New Horizons before that got delayed to March as well. These two titles are determined to stick together. How romantic.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition
Anticipation Level: Duh-duh-duh-dunn!
Release Date: March-April, we hope
As a newcomer to the franchise, I think that starting with Reach on PC was a fantastic choice, and the result of many things aligning – Reach being omitted from the Xbox collection meant that 343 could kill two birds with one stone in developing it for PC, as it’s chronologically the earliest game. Plus, it makes PC players’ first experience with Halo a more modern, polished one, as opposed to the original, which will have inevitably aged and could turn newcomers off. That being said…
I’m ready to be the Chief! Pump that shit into my veins!
Anticipation Level: Mild, but pretty sure it’s a crime to not include this title.
Release Date: April 17th
I’m only just falling in love with The Witcher 3, and I’ve bounced off both previous Witcher games, so all throughout Cyberpunk’s pre-release hype I’ve been blind to the pedigree of CD Projekt Red. Plus, while the setting interests me, I’ve never personally fallen in love with a cyberpunk world. Nevertheless, this looks like an extremely high calibre game, and I’m excited to experience it secondhand; through Youtubers and streamers and surely my mate who’s going to be buying this day one, I assume.
Anticipation Level: It entirely depends on the quality of the final product.
I like Minecraft a fair bit. I can’t see how that translates into hype for a completely different genre as a spinoff title, but the aesthetic translates cutely enough, and it’ll be interesting to see what new avenues are explored in the world of Minecraft – new monsters, locations etc.
Best case scenario, this game is a Minecraft themed Diablo-like that’s fun to play on and off for a good twenty hours. If it’s cheap or if I re-activate Game Pass, I’ll be sure to check it out.
Sidenote – Marvel’s Avengers releases in April? We still don’t know what the hell’s going on with that game. Last I heard they did a 180 and now it’s focusing on a character who wasn’t in any of the trailers / shown story material.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Untitled Skyrim Chapter
Anticipation Level: SHOW ME WHITERUN BABYYYYYY
Release: Likely Summer
This one’s a difficult one to talk about, because they haven’t technically announced it yet. If I was patient, I’d be making this blog post next week, which is the announcement date. But at The Game Awards they teased that their next Chapter (see: Expansion) is taking us into “the dark heart of Skyrim”, which many have speculated to mean the underground area known as Blackreach. I wouldn’t be surprised nor disappointed if that was the case, but hopefully as an Artaeum-style accompanying zone, with the main focus being on the remainder of Skyrim that’s yet to be included in game, such as the areas containing Whiterun, Falkreath, maybe even Solitude?
Oh, and a new class would be nice, too, though I’ve hardly explored outside of Sorcerer so far. New profession? Would fit the pattern, but can’t think of what. Or they could surprise everyone and include a new race, like the snow elves, though I’m not sure how they’d fit into the lore. I mean, they did dragons during the second empire, so I’m assuming anything’s on the table at this point. Dwemer, even?
Halo 2 / Halo 2: Anniversary Edition
Anticipation Level: Duh-duh-duh-DUNNN!!
Release Date: My guess is Summer?
Given that I’m just a Reach boi right now, I can’t really formulate an idea of what this game is in comparison to Combat Evolved. All I know is that it has dual-wielding, an Elite campaign element, that turbine map, and more recently, that Halo 2’s Anniversary graphics do more for that game than I expected, they’re gorgeous.
Is it enough to be hyped about? ABSOLUTELY IT IS.
Pokémon Sword: Armour Island Expansion
Anticipation Level: Lrrroooaaaarrddd!
Release Date: June
These were announced a few hours ago, so excuse my relatively unformed opinions. These kind of caught me off guard, but heck yeah, I’m ready for this! Both areas have an overworld that’s entirely wild area-like, which is hopefully how the full games are moving forward.
It’s a little hard to separate what belongs to which expansion given how they’ve marketed it, but it seems that the first expansion contains Venusaur and Blastoise and Gigantamax forms of each, out of which Blastoise sadly wins design-wise; looks like we’ll be chasing after a legendary fighting Pokémon themed after a panda-looking bear dude, and that it’s going to be primarily story focused. I think, of the two expansions, I’m more excited for this one’s environment, but the second one’s actual game content.
Pokémon Sword: Crown Tundra Expansion
Anticipation Level: Whatever noise Eternatus makes?
Release: Autumn 2020
The second expansion is almost a mirror of the first when it comes to how it’s an open area, with a running story, and a legendary Pokémon to chase after (some weird biped that looks like it should be a quadraped but it has a bush for a hairdo), but this expansion also allows you to team up with friends and venture into underground Pokémon dens to capture old legendaries, which sounds fun. They’ve also given the legendary birds some awesome new forms – did I see concept art of Articuno shooting eye lazers? – and there’s some new Regis in there to boot.
Not much else to add, just pleasantly surprised they’re fleshing out Pokémon Sword and Shield in a meaningful way, especially as Sword is the most fun I’ve had in a Pokémon game since Soul Silver. I now make it my mission to finish the Pokédex before Armour Island releases (I got distracted breeding and wonder trading).
Gods and Monsters
Anticipation Level: Just don’t add towers and pointless collectables
Literally the only thing I know about this game is that it’s made by the developers who did Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and that they want to make a similar game, but one which focuses more on the mythology side of things.
So far, I’m sold.
Watch Dogs: Legion
Anticipation Level: A healthy curiosity, and a suspicion of secretly spry elderly people
I’ve never played a Watch Dogs game before because it’s Ubisoft, and GTA V exists, but from what I’ve heard the second game was pretty decent. The premise behind Legion has got my attention, though. The possibility of any NPC becoming a playable character with a fully fleshed out story and character traits, plus permadeath, in a GTA style world makes my sandbox tastebuds tingle with excitement. It’s also an incredibly difficult formula to perfect, and I have many concerns about how things will actually play out, so I’ll keep a watchful eye on the game past launch.
I’m also super intrigued by the whole post-Brexit dystopia thing they’ve got going on. Besides maybe some spy or war focused games, I can’t think of a single title which tackles modern events with such reckless abandon. And I’ve already seen a pretty huge red flag in the form of Ubisoft claiming that it’s not a political game in any way. You set it in a post-Brexit London gone wrong, how the fuck do you create the world without political connotation out the wazoo?
It’s either going to be a fantastic game, or an utter shitshow. Or a little bit of both, because nuance exists.
Halo 3 + ODST
Anticipation Level: DUH-DUH-DUH-DUNNN!!!
Release Date: Fall, hopefully? May be getting too hopeful.
This is it, the granddaddy of all Halo, the epitome of Chiefage. Or so I know from osmosis. I remember an interview someone did in a line of Halo 3 purchasers outside of Gamestop once, where someone said that Halo 3 would be without a doubt the greatest game ever made. As a kid I kinda just believed that, but thinking about it now that speaks more to the success of Halo 2 than anything.
Anyway, what do I know about Halo 3? Well until recently I thought it introduced energy swords. I know that there’s some desert levels and, hey, didn’t they redo Blood Gulch for this one?
Look, I’m excited, what more do you want from me.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
Anticipation Level: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Release Date: “2020”, history says Autumn, reality says Holiday.
Okay, I should probably articulate instead of screaming.
I am completely in love with everything we’ve seen regarding Shadowlands so far. Actual fantastical setting? Check. Thematic variety across zones? Check. Linear story so it has room to be something good? Check. New lore on a cosmological scale? Check. Meaningful solo content? Check (I hope). Roguelike elements to it? Check. Interesting expansionary feature? Check – emissaries.
I could keep going, but this isn’t a WoW based post so I’ll leave it there.
Anticipation Level: WHAT IS THIS GAME
Release Date: Holiday 2020, PS5 babyyyyy
I’m mostly just excited to learn about what the hell this game is. It is the most shounen anime looking shit and I am all about it. And people aren’t talking about it. Why the hell aren’t people talking about it?!
Oh, right. Because the gameplay could be anything.
Anticipation Level: Duh-duh-duh-dunn!!!!
Release Date: Literally just guessing by this point, but before Halo Infinite? As a goal, at least.
I know this as the Episode VII of Halo. The “they tried to revive it and it was okay but not amazing. Also similar but different” game. I know it has orange guns? And modernised FPS handling, including sane sprinting. And something called the Praetorians? I might have made them up.
IT’S MORE HALO I WANT ALL THE HALO MOVING ON.
Anticipation Level: Duh-duh-duh-dunn?
Release Date: Holiday 2020,
Xbox PC babyyyy
Am… am I allowed to be excited for Halo Infinite? Narratively speaking, I’m all the way back in Reach. I don’t even know what a Halo is, besides that it’s “like a Death Star but it’s already got a big hole in it”. I haven’t even met Master Chief yet. But I’m super excited about playing Halo 1-4 (and reading up on 5 lol) so… yay? I guess?
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Anticipation Level: Fuck the movies, gimmie them BRICKS
Release Date: 2020
LEGO Star Wars is my childhood. It was basically my introduction to the entire franchise. I’ve played through it so many times! And now they’re completely remaking the originals as well as making the Disney trilogy. Can you imagine how weird it would be seeing an Episode I character next to an Episode IX character?
oh right they did the Palpatine thing didn’t they
Anyway, I should mention that I’m somewhat cautious. While I loved the original PS2 games and the remaster of them, I simply cannot get into LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The entire way they handle the story is completely offputting to me. Give me a cantina! Let me walk among the characters I’ve unlocked. And please, please don’t make it a cover shooter. Also, the quality of puzzles varies wildly between LEGO games. For reference: LEGO Marvel Superheroes good, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers bad, very very bad.
I’m not fussy.
Update: When looking this up I’ve found the Steam page, and I’ve just learned that, quote, “For the first time ever in a LEGO video game, explore the galaxy your way as you fly to some of the saga’s most legendary locales. You can start your journey with Star Wars™: The Phantom Menace for some podracing on Tatooine. Or choose to launch right into Rey’s adventures in Star Wars™: The Rise of Skywalker. Players have the freedom to seamlessly travel to any planet, in any order, at any time.” Open world hub? Verrrry interesting.
Rune Factory 4 Special / 5
Anticipation Level: I like this… in theory.
Release Dates: 2020
I’m bundling these two together, because I don’t have a lot to say about them. I own Rune Factory 4 on 3DS, but it’s the very last game I bought for that system, and I’ve subsequently spent about two hours in that game. I’m probably due time for the neglect I’ve inflicted upon my 3DS at this point.
But hey, these games interest me! Harvest Moon plus a bit of fantasy RPG. And I’ve never played a Harvest Moon game, but boy have I put time into Stardew Valley!
Okay this one might be a little tenuous.
Anticipation Level: just insert ascii text here it’s a funny joke
Release Date: 2020?
My tale of experience with the original Dwarf Fortress is the same as many others: I learned of the game, got excited about the emergent narrative capabilities, booted it up and promptly shat myself when greeted by a bunch of numbers. The learning curve is steeper than a screen of n’s (did I do the ASCII humour right?), which is why I was very excited to learn that a slightly more user friendly version of the game is coming to Steam in… 2020? Maybe? Hopefully? Possibly?
I did mess around with the lore generator that comes packaged with Dwarf Fortress and was legitimately impressed, though I do question the uniqueness of a world which was started by a dragon named One. Regardless, shit hit the fan when he was killed a few hundred years later.
I think that’s everything, but more games and DLC will doubtlessly be announced for 2020 as the year goes on. For instance, doesn’t Destiny 2 do a yearly expansion now? That’ll be announced around summertime if they’re following their usual pattern. And there’s probably heaps of indie games which have already been announced, and maybe even caught my eye in a Direct or something, that I’ve failed to note down here. The Survivalists, for example. Ah well. I think 3100+ words is a big enough list to be getting on with.