2020 wasn’t exactly the greatest of years, but still managed to produce some absolute cracking games. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been an excellent way to pass the time, with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity finally getting me to put a strong amount of hours into a Warriors game. Watch Dogs Legion offered a dystopian London to explore. DiRT 5 provided a great arcade racing game to enjoy, with F1 2020 providing the more technical racer.
There’s been plenty of game announcements across 2020 for games that are set to release in this year, with one game in particular having been delayed into this year. And there’s set to be plenty of new game announcements for this year as well. It’ll be a big year for two of my cores, I’m hoping, what with the Pokémon 25th anniversary and also Sonic the Hedgehog’s 30th.
With all these games, then, there’s sure to be plenty that will attract people to them. For me, there’s already a decent amount of games I’ve got my eye on. I’ll be talking of those along with a few wishlist options, including for those aforementioned anniversaries. And to start with, I need to talk of this one. The one that I’ve been waiting almost two years for, and the one that holds the most promise to me.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was announced at E3 2019, though accidentally teased a few months earlier at Star Wars Celebration. It was meant to be coming out some time in 2020, but had to be delayed into this year. I’ve already written articles about what I’d like to see with this one, and my hopes for it are high. And I have a strong feeling I’m not going to be disappointed with this one.
All nine films finally represented in video game form in the action-adventure styled format I always hoped would become a reality, with the ability to freely explore those locations of the films. There’s twenty planets set to be explorable (maybe even more, now), with a whole host of characters from across the saga, with expansions giving even more characters to run around the galaxy with. It’s going to be the largest LEGO game ever seen, and I can’t wait to get stuck into it.
I’ve always enjoyed the Harvest Moon series. There’s something to the rural life that I enjoy. I’ve kept to the Farm Story series (as it’s known in Japan) after the split, and have enjoyed the Story of Seasons games that has brought. The remake of Friends of Mineral Town has been enjoyable, if a bit lacking owing to being constrained to its original mechanics, but the newest game in the series should be the one that truly brings the series to its new home on the Switch. The latest trailer shows off a good deal of things we can do, which already makes it look the largest advancement for the series seen in a while.
Then there’s Monster Hunter Rise, announced in September to release in March (near the release of Story of Seasons, so I’m sure to be busy in April). I’ve enjoyed some Monster Hunter in the past, with MH4 and Generations Ultimate on Switch, and Rise is building upon what World offered on other consoles to bring that same experience to the Switch. Capcom have said there’s more information coming this month, including the demo, so I’ll be enjoying that to feel the differences between Rise and the pre-World games for myself.
As part of the Mario 35th Direct, Nintendo announced that a port of Super Mario 3D World would be coming in February, with extra content in the form of Bowser’s Fury. I enjoyed my time with it when it released on the WiiU, but sadly the console can run no more. But with this port, I get to experience the joy of 3D World again, and hopefully the Bowser’s Fury content brings a lot to the game. We’ll just have to wait and see for however Nintendo drop the news about it.
And speaking of anniversaries, it’s also the 35th of The Legend of Zelda. Breath of the Wild was an absolutely beautiful game released to start the Switch off with a grand adventure in the most open version of Hyrule to be seen. The second game has been confirmed to exist, but will it release this year? It would have to be the end of the year if it did, as I don’t think even Nintendo would announce and release a game as big as this sequel will be inside two months.
But if it doesn’t release, there will be something else. A collection seems a good idea. It’s what happened for Mario, after all. However, the difference here is that the Zelda series has already seen HD remasters of games from the Gamecube and Wii, as well as remakes of the N64 games for the 3DS. A collection to the same scale as what Mario got wouldn’t cut it, so it’s possible those HD remasters will be all we see. I’m interested to see what we get, and such information should hopefully be coming soon.
Information I hope that will come sooner is what Pokémon is doing for its 25th. The logo is already released, and we know there’s a plans for it, but when that information comes is a different matter. New Pokémon Snap has already been announced, and was delayed into this year. There’s a main series game awaiting announcement. I’m pretty sure there will be. A new generation of games won’t be started like what happened with the 20th, leaving it to be a remake.
Plenty would like to see Diamond and Pearl, and that would interest me too. But I’ve had an idea for a while of something a bit more advanced. Something I hope Game Freak would have assistance or be assisting with. I’ll be giving the details of it in a future article, and I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, but this would be a large scale project that completely remodels both Kanto and Johto to be a more realistic world while still retaining the main series gameplay loop of catching and training wild Pokémon. It would be a massive project, but I’m sure it would be met with a positive reaction from fans.
Sonic the Hedgehog, as my other core franchise I’ve yet to talk detail of, also celebrates a major anniversary this year. The series has been… mixed. Since the last anniversary of the 25th, there’s not really been many new games. It’s understandable, of course, but my hopes have been high for the series to get back on the right track and become the major staple of gaming it could once be considered as. Aside from a few side games such as the Olympics and Team Sonic Racing, Forces and Mania remain the only main series games we’ve seen since the last anniversary.
One would hope that they’ve been taking the time to try and find what really works for the series, as a Mania trailer once said – move forward by going back. An Adventure remake is something that many people are hoping for. After all, many consider the Adventure games the highest point of gameplay mechanics for the series, so looking to those and bringing them back would hopefully bring new life to the series. There’s many more ideas I’ve had for the series, with some of those featured as articles on this site. Whatever happens, I hope it brings something memorable to us.
The very latest series I’ve got myself into is Hitman. For more than a year, I’ve seen CallMeKevin and RTGame playing this series on occasional videos, and so jumped in last month with the second game of the World of Assassination trilogy. I love it. It’s as every bit as great as I had expected it to be, with plenty of ways to get around the situations it presents and plenty of replayability from that and the unlocks for mastering each location.
So with me enjoying the second game of this trilogy, isn’t it perfect that the third is releasing this year. This month, in fact. I haven’t seen much of it, but if it can bring more of the same sandbox gameplay in new vibrant and varied levels, that’s enough for me. Already I’ve got some favourites, and I hope to gain a few new favourites with the third game. Whatever this brings, I’ll be having a lot of fun with it finding new ways to achieve the objectives.
During a Ubisoft event in September, this next game got announced. Riders Republic is a spiritual successor to Steep, featuring mountain biking in addition to the skiing, snowboarding, and wingsuit riding on a completely new open world map stitching together several American National Parks. I enjoyed Steep quite a lot, even if I didn’t engage with everything it offered, so I expect this one to be just the same.
Announced in May last year, Chorus is an action-adventure game set in space, bringing what Deep Silver say is the true evolution of space combat shooters. There looks to be a deep story to uncover here, along with the secrets of this world. Well, galaxy. From just that announcement trailer, I could see the movement and combat looked like they would be a great joy to control, and they’ve captured the endlessness of space well. It looks fantastic, and I hope to get into it soon.
Depending on how Chorus develops, I might not need this one, but I’d like to see a Starlink sequel. Ubisoft Toronto did a great job in crafting Starlink, but tying it in with toys-to-life didn’t do it any favours. Fortunately, everything could be bought digitally, and if you did do it that way, it was a whole lot better to handle. What I want to see is how the Toronto team can expand on the gameplay and make it work without being tied to the toys.
Considering how well the first game did on Switch, I’d hope it becomes exclusive to the platform. Doing so would also allow more Star Fox content, which is fine by me. However, it might also be that the Toronto team are busy, what with Watch Dogs Legion having just released and Far Cry 6 coming this year, so it would be interesting what another developer could give to the series. If, of course, the series hasn’t been retired.
While I’ve only got into this series starting in 2019, I’ve had a lot of hours enjoying Farming Simulator – mostly the 2017 version on the Switch. It’s a great series to relax with and not be bogged down in the usual stress of business management games. There was a lack of a new game last year, with Giants Software saying they wanted to look at what the new generation of consoles could provide for the series.
What I’m hoping is that such was just a stalling tactic. So while the new game will probably exclusively release on this current generation of consoles, they’ve given themselves the time needed to really iron out various issues with the mechanics, possibly even building from the ground up (unlikely as that is), to make this next game the best it can be. And if the Switch can get a version properly optimised for it rather than just the mobile version, that would be grand.
Now… Nintendo. I said this on my News Years GTA video. Start making games starring the Miis again. Finally give us fans a Switch version of the likes of Tamodachi Life, Miitopia, or even a Wii Party-like experience. Or better yet, the something I’ve been continually developing the concept of. Mii Resort Paradise. The massively expanded sequel to Wii Sports Resort giving players a truly freeroamable, correctly-scaled version of Wuhu Island that features plenty of activities to enjoy.
I’ve already given three articles about the concept, with the latest in 2019. There’ll be another one coming this year that adds some more to it. But even without Nintendo providing that particular concept, I want to see the Miis gain a more active role in games. Nintendo are the only ones who truly made the concept of player-made avatars appearing in a range of games work, so it seems unfortunate that they have mostly been left in the dust with the Switch.
There’s a number of others that I’m also looking forward to seeing, whether announced or me wishlisting again. I really want to see a Mario Kart that takes full advantage of the power of the Switch. We’ve had the same tracks on the same mechanics for over six years, now, so I feel a change with a new game is needed. There’s only been side games in recent times, with both Mario Kart Tour on mobile and Home Circuit showing off AR tech reasonable well. I feel these are building to something. Building the excitement to what I hope is a major advancement for the main series.
In the absence of a new Star Wars Battlefront, the Battlefield series is where I’m looking, and the next game in that series should be making a grand entrance on this new generation. A larger scale than what we’ve seen before. It’s not been announced as of yet, but it should be shown off at EA Play this year. Whatever and wherever the series goes next, I’m sure I’ll be having fun with the multiplayer carnage.
And speaking of EA, they’ve bought Codemasters. The deal should be completed sometime in this quarter of the year, which hopefully brings good fortune rather than bad. With DiRT 5 and F1 2020 released by Codemasters last year, they’ve been on a high. With them soon to be owned by EA, it could mean that high goes even higher. It could mean the return of Burnout, being developed by Codemasters. I’d… rather not think of what could go wrong and trust that EA are working to be better and not dissolve them into other studios they own within a year of that contract being signed.
This year is a large one for me already, and it can only get better. I’d still say the highlight of the year will be LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, simply because of how much of an evolution on the old formula the game will be, and the fact it is bringing a lot of planets to explore. Everyone has their list of what they’re waiting for, whether that be already announced stuff or wishlisting. While I don’t expect you to write a four-page essay on it, I’ll like to know what games you are looking forward to this year.