There could be a lot of déjà vu among gamers in the coming 12 months. And that’s understandable, since so many of the big video game launches of 2022 were initially expected to roll out last year.
The pandemic, of course, wreaked havoc on the video game industry. While developers managed to put out an impressive number of quality titles, some of the games people were most hoping to play last year got pushed out.
The good news for players, though, is that (barring additional delays), 2022 is shaping up as a big year for games. Here’s a look at some of the most anticipated games in the pipeline.
Any fantasy game that’s made in conjunction with Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin immediately has people’s attention—especially one that has been teased for so long. Elden Ring was first unveiled at E3 in 2019, then not a word was spoken until last June. FromSoftware (makers of the Dark Souls franchise) are overseeing development, which will likely mean a challenging but rewarding title, in this case filled with dragons, warriors and gods. It’s currently slated for release in late February.
God of War Ragnarok
The PlayStation exclusive franchise returns to Midgard, where Kratos and his son Atreus will face off one last time with Norse gods, including Thor and Odin (voiced, of all people, by The West Wing‘s Richard Schiff). This is the sequel to God of War, 2018’s Game of the Year, which reshaped the character who made his name taking down Olympian gods, adding a complexity to him while still leaning into the action and cinematic-like fight sequences that have made the series so loved by players.
Bethesda Softworks is the undisputed king of large-scale role-playing games—and players have been anticipating Starfield for a long, long time. Game director Todd Howard has described it as “Skyrim in space,” letting players acquire a ship and explore, as they complete missions and explore new story threads. The game’s themes of hope, shared humanity and finding “the answers to life’s greatest mystery” are especially intriguing after the past two years. An Xbox exclusive (which will be available on Game Pass), the game is due this November.
Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon Zero Dawn surprised a lot of people in a very good way in 2017 with its charm and near-perfect balance between exploration and gameplay. Now, Guerrilla Games is set to continue the story of Aloy (and her mysterious helper Sylens), setting them on an adventure to learn why the world around her was ravaged by animalistic robots. Another PlayStation exclusive, this open world action role-playing game is bigger than the first, encompassing a post-apocalyptic Utah, California and Nevada.
A Batman game – without Batman? That’s oddly intriguing. This title, being developed by WB Games Montreal (but not Rocksteady, which made the popular Arkham series) envisions a Gotham where Batman is dead. Keeping watch in his stead are the heroes he inspired: Batgirl, Robin, Red Hood and Nightwing. It’s a single player and co-op game, which indicates the emphasis will be on story.
Gran Turismo 7
Last year, racing fans got Forza Horizon 5 on the Xbox, and it was a corker of a game. This year, Sony fires back with Polyphony Digital’s racing sim. This is set to be a showcase title for what the PlayStation 5 can do, using the DualSense controller’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers to make this simulator even more lifelike. And, of course, the improved graphics of the PS5 should guarantee it will be a visual feast, with load times nearly as fast as the sports car on screen.
Despite J.K. Rowling’s controversial comments about the transgender community, the warm reception to HBO Max’s retrospective of the film series and the track record of Avalanche Software (the group behind Disney Infinity) will likely mean strong demand for Hogwarts Legacy. In the game, players design a character who becomes a student at the most famous school of witchcraft and wizardry—and while players won’t interact with Harry Potter or Dumbledore, that frees the game-makers up to create a new open world in the Wizarding universe.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
Ok, yes, we know. Nintendo games rarely come out when players want or expect them to. And there’s every chance this follow-up to 2017’s hit game will get pushed out further. It’s a rare direct sequel for the Legend of Zelda series, taking place immediately after the events of the previous game. The original Breath of the Wild, which appealed to new players and long-time fans of the series, introduced innovative gameplay and let players explore a rich, open world that left lots of mysteries unanswered. It remains the defining game of the Nintendo Switch—so many gamers are excited about the potential of the sequel.