From indies to next-gen blockbusters: 20 games to look out for in 2020

This year has the potential to be the biggest ever for video games. The final year of a console generation always produces outstanding games, and the PS4 and Xbox One in particular have been around for more than six years and are owned by more than a hundred million people. In fact more people are making and playing games now than at any previous point. Then there’s new consoles and next-gen games to consider, the Nintendo Switch which is hitting its stride as a portable powerhouse, and new technologies that are ready to go mainstream.

But while a lot of the next 12 months are shrouded in tantalising mystery for now (particularly the Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5 and associated games), 2020 is a massive year by any measure purely looking at the games that are already officially slated.

Here we’ve put together a diverse list of 20 games to look forward to, from developers all over the world and to suit a range of tastes. Only games with explicitly stated 2020 release plans are included, so there are no wild guesses and no games that are still technically TBC (even where they’re almost certain to hit in 2020, as with several Ubisoft games).

This does also limit the number of included indies, which tend not to give public dates as far in advance as larger projects. But we’ve tried to add some of the most exciting examples which have been confirmed, including a smattering of home grown Aussie efforts.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The latest in Nintendo’s laid-back life sim series moves the camping and collecting to a remote island, where players can craft, build and garden alongside a community of animal (or real life) friends. And for the first time ever, the in-game seasons will be correct for the southern hemisphere! Switch | Mar 20

Axiom Verge 2

Axiom Verge is an incredible mix of philosophical sci-fi and Metroid-style exploratory adventure, made entirely by one person, and that all appears true of the sequel even if the games aren’t narratively connected. The brief trailer shows off a new setting and sweet tech abilities, but there’s sure to be a lot more under the surface. Switch | 2020


A “reverse horror” experience where you play as an evolving and unstoppable beast against the weak and easily-smooshed humans, Carrion is all about the feeling of propelling yourself through caverns and labs with some of your lithe tentacles while you lash out and cause bloody chaos with the others. PC, Xbox One | 2020

Cyberpunk 2077

A follow-up to both CD Projekt Red’s epic RPG The Witcher 3 and Mike Pondsmith’s ’90s tabletop game Cyperpunk 2020, 2077 promises a gritty, open and highly customisable world filled with drugs, guns, murky morality and cybernetic upgrades. And did I mention Keanu Reeves starring as your personal digital ghost? PC, PS4, Xbox One | Apr 16

Dead Static Drive

Developed in Melbourne, Dead Static Drive blends cosmic horror with silly top-down GTA driving antics and a low-fi ’80s aesthetic, taking players on a roadtrip to the end of the world. Along the way there are weapons to collect, items to investigate, friendships to strike and unknowable, insanity-inducing monsters to deal with. PC, Xbox One | 2020

Dead Static Drive has been a long time coming.
Dead Static Drive has been a long time coming.

Doom Eternal

Few recent shooters feel better minute-to-minute than Doom, and Eternal is shaping up to be an ideal follow-up. Adding flamethrowers, meathooks, blades, wall-climbing and more to the bevy of guns and rewarding combat that cashes out resources for getting up close and bloody, it looks like a big, dumb, arcadey party of gore. PC, PS4, Xbox One (Switch later) | Mar 20

Final Fantasy VII Remake

With the spiky-haired dreamboats and eco-terrorism plot of Square’s 1997 classic, but with modern 4K graphics and all the trimmings, this reimagining is the stuff of dreams for many nostalgic 30-somethings. But the new action-focused combat will also hopefully help the remake stand on its own as a fresh experience. PS4 | Mar 3

Half-Life: Alyx

Fans of the technologically innovative, narratively groundbreaking Half-Life series have waited 12 years for a new story set in the world, and it’s coming this year in an unexpected format. Side-stepping 2007’s cliffhanger ending, this prequel adapts the physics-heavy shooting and puzzles to virtual reality headsets. PC VR | March

Ghost of Tsushima

A cinematic, open world action game set in feudal Japan, Ghost follows a samurai who must deviate from the path in order to protect Tsushima from Mongol invasion. With stealth elements, deadly katana fighting and picturesque countryside, this is an interesting deviation from Sucker Punch’s usual bread and butter of cartoony superhero games. PS4 | 2020

Halo Infinite

After the disappointing Halo 5, 343 has taken its time to get this one right. All we know is that Infinite is supposedly Master Chief’s “greatest adventure”, we’re returning to a ring planet and split-screen multiplayer, it launches alongside Microsoft’s next gen console and early looks have been stunning. PC, Xbox, Xbox One | 2020

Marvel’s Avengers

A narrative-driven singleplayer action adventure helmed by the Tomb Raider team, which also features Destiny-style squad-based online multiplayer missions and constant free updates, Marvel’s Avengers seems mighty ambitious. But playing and customising multiple heroes — including Kamala Khan! — in an original Avengers story is an incredible prospect. PC, PS4, Xbox One | May 15

Minecraft Dungeons

Though set in the Minecraft universe, Dungeons is a very different game to the ubiquitous block-building sandbox. Made by a tiny development group inside Mojang, this promises to be a complex but accessible dungeon crawler filled with randomly generated levels, monsters and upgrades. Plus the most adorable walking key. PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One | April


Developed (and set) in Melbourne, Necrobarista is a gorgeous anime-style visual novel featuring a hipster cafe where the living and the dead can mingle. It’s got goon bags of style, it’s got first-person exploration bits, it’s got the composer from Florence, it’s got Ned Kelly. That’s every box ticked. PC (and others to follow) | 2020

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the most magical games of the entire generation, and its heart-aching visuals, music and themes are wrapped around a stellar (and difficult) take on exploration-based platforming. The sequel adds game-changing new upgrades but seems to keep the dark yet soul-stirring core. PC, Xbox | Mar 11

Resident Evil 3

After 2019’s unbelievably good retelling of Resident Evil 2, a remade RE3 is coming sooner than many expected. Jill Valentine certainly has her work cut out for her, surviving Nemesis’ unrelenting attacks while living up to the high bar set by Leon and Claire last year, but we think she’s up to it. PC, PS4, Xbox One | Apr 3

Sports Story

Golf Story, from a tiny team of Queenslanders, is an adorably dramatic RPG in the Super Nintendo style where every problem is solved by teeing up; even off the course. Sports Story looks to keep the charm and humour but greatly expand with a mish-mash of fantasy themes and all kinds of sportsing. Switch | 2020

Streets of Rage 4

After 26 years an iconic brawler is returning for a fourth entry. As with Sonic Mania this is a group of indie developers resurrecting a Sega classic, and so far the game features older versions of the three original characters, music by original composer Yuzo Koshiro, a remarkable hand-drawn style and more. PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One | 2020

Tell Me Why

A new narrative adventure from the team behind Life is Strange, Tell Me Why follows twins who use their metaphysical bond to solve the mysteries of their childhood.  With the promise of heavy choices to make, and featuring one of gaming’s first trans male protagonists, this is shaping up to be another beautiful tear-jerker. PC, Xbox One | 2020

The Last of Us Part II

From the oppressive horror of its monstrous infected enemies to the shocking violence of its human ones, and from the meticulous post-apocalyptic world to the peerless storytelling and chilling moral ambiguity, The Last of Us is a masterpiece. For those who played the first game Naughty Dog’s sequel is unmissable, if potentially traumatising. PS4 | May 29

Way to the Woods

Another one out of Melbourne, Way to the Woods is a short Ghibli-esque adventure following a deer and fawn in a magical post-human environment. Players need to snuffle for food, survive wolves and collect light by poking around and solving puzzles. Charming music and adorable animation support the whimsical gameplay. PC | Xbox One

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