Things are always better in your head than in real-life. Your imagination can only disappoint you if you let it (or think about our inevitable timeline in a world annihilated by climate change). That’s why we’re looking toward the future for the hottest games of 2020! This year is sure to be an odd one for video games. We’ve got a set of brand-new consoles just on the horizon and… not a whole lot of new stuff to play between now and March. And many of our maybe-soon-to-be-favorite games don’t even have release dates yet. That isn’t stopping us from pontificating about the very best of the unreleased. So let’s take a look at our most anticipated games of 2020, as chosen by the Fanbyte editors!
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Niki Grayson, Social Editor
Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Animal Crossing: New Horizons. ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS.
After what felt like 100 years, I’m going to be able to pay a raccoon for the privilege of being shipped to an island to live with a cat and a bird. I am desperate for a video game that I can play when I want to turn my brain off. Live games haven’t been hitting the spot for me as of late, so I’m hoping that this game will. My life is in a radically different spot than it was when I played New Leaf, so the opportunity to recontextualize this series — to hop into a community that I’ll be able to share with my partner and friends as opposed to doing it all on my own — is exciting.
They’re also going to let me be black in this one, which is nice.
Runner-Up: Halo Infinite is going to be a loot shooter with a campaign where you play as Master Chief, and then a never-ending live game will be attached. You’ll be able to make your own Spartan and there will be too many guns. There are no facts to back this up, but it is what I feel in my bones. It will probably be fine. While the story of Halo 5: Guardians missed the mark, I thought that the multiplayer was some of the best in the series. With a few more years and a new landscape around them, I’m excited to see what 343 Industries is going to do.
Merritt K, Features & Trending Editor
I’m looking at the list of 2020 releases and I don’t know who any of these mans are. I didn’t grow up with Final Fantasy 7 so it’s hard for me to get psyched about the remake, Cyberpunk looks okay but is probably going to be the kind of big immersive sim that I don’t really play these days, and I’m so burnt out on superheroes and live games that I don’t think I have any room for Avengers in my life right now. I’m excited for a lot of my friends and colleagues to be excited but it’s early January and I haven’t seen Sara Tonin in weeks. So uh, Doom Eternal, I guess?
Runner-Up: I’m not ready for another console generation. I hate them. I bought a PC last year and now I believe we should all just have computers. I have depression and need to bake more cakes for my space friends in Destiny before the space grandma goes away.
Danielle Riendeau, Senior Editor
Psychonauts 2! It may not come out this year (it slipped 2019), but the sequel to one of my favorite games of all time (honestly, before Prey and Into the Breach, it was my de facto “favorite game ever”) has been my most anticipated game for a few years now. The original was colorful, funny, warm, and delightfully weird, a 3D platformer set in various characters’ minds, all with plenty of trauma mishmash-as-visual storytelling and fun 101-level psychology tropes to play with, and I can only hope the new game lives up to it.
Runner-Up: Doom Eternal/Animal Crossing. I picked TWO iterations of playful, probably really fun hell to romp through. You can’t stop me!
John Warren, Editor-in-Chief
Super Mario Odyssey 2. What? Oh because it “doesn’t exist yet” and there hasn’t been “a single amount of scuttlebutt nor unsubstantiated rumor” about it. Listen, I thought on an episode of Late Lunch that we’d see a surprise Breath of the Wild 2 release in winter 2020, but Niki planted a more realistic seed in my head. A la the Galaxy series, there’s clearly stuff littering the cutting room floor of 2017’s second best Switch game. I think this is Nintendo’s big game of winter 2020, pushing Metroid Prime 4 to 2021 and Breath of the Wild 2 all the way to 2022.
Wow fine. Fine. I’ll pick a game that “exists” for my runner-up.
Runner-Up: Final Fantasy VII Remake. No other reboot or remake or cash grab has captured my attention and heart like our return to Cloud and his Midgar buddies. I’m not optimistic we’ll see the conclusion of this ambitious remake, but for now, I’m psyched to see the game’s most iconic and dense environment explored more lovingly.
I’m perplexed about some of the leaked changes and how they’ll change the game — I’m a much bigger fan of 1997 aesthetic and vibe than I am Crisis Core and Advent Children — but I’m probably going to forget about all of my misgivings after 10 minutes at the Wall Market or when I’m infiltrating Shinra Tower all over again.
Dillon Skiffington, Guides Editor
Looking at the release calendar 2020 is a weird year. There’s a bunch of stuff due out in early-to-mid 2020, but the fall seems entirely empty. That’s likely because of the new consoles coming out, but either way, I’ll run with it.
For me, I’d have to say Humankind. I’ve always been a sucker for Amplitude Studios’ games since it first released Endless Space. There’s just something about its games that are everything I like in my strategy games. I was entirely surprised when I managed to make the jump from Endless Space, a 4X space strategy game, to Endless Legend, a 4X fantasy game more along the lines of Civilization. I thought that was Amplitude’s attempt at a Civ game, but it’s abundantly clear that Humankind is actually that.
Their approach is what sets Humankind apart from the rest of the year’s title. A Civ game where your civilization actually evolves over time? And it does away with victory conditions? Instead basing everything on a “Fame” score. I’m entirely here for that.
Runner-Up: I’ve entirely fallen off competitive multiplayer games. I used to be the kid who was constantly grinding away Call of Duty prestiges, trying to hit Rank 100 in Gears of War, or unlocking all of the armor options in Halo: Reach. Those days are long gone. I now quickly put aside Gears 5 and Modern Warfare (2019) in favor of grindy looter shooters. Destiny 2’s Crucible is just about my only competitive multiplayer these days. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hopeful for Halo Infinite. The 343 installments have been relatively disappointing and lacking the same feelings—as nebulous as that sounds—which made the series so special to me in the past. I hope Infinite is a good return to form.
Steven Strom, Managing Editor
Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon looks like an incredibly bold direction for the franchise. It’s stripping out the series’ 3D beat ‘em up combat entirely, in favor of turn-based combat — “Just like in Dragon Quest.” It’s also the first game in the main series where you don’t play as Kiryu Kazuma. I’ll miss that leading man, and I’m not sure how I feel about the new protagonist yet, but something needed to change after six games and untold spinoffs. Last year’s Judgment didn’t quite grab me as much as I hoped (too many boring chase mini-games, not enough wacky side stories). And returning to the main, numbered Yakuza games with fresh ideas sounds like just what I need.
Runner-Up: I didn’t have a beefy PC when Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines came out. In fact, I wasn’t even on the internet that much yet! Most of what I saw of that game came from standard definition episodes of X-Play, or whatever else was on G4TV at the time. Now is finally my chance to jump into what sounds like a cult classic, in the form of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2. Plus it will be a more modern, perhaps less buggy take on the ambitious RPG world.