2021 is basically done. Old news! Now all people care about is this hot new thing called 2022, and its many, many release dates. Have you heard about our upcoming stacked February? Even taking into account that the pandemic and supply issues will likely shift some things around and cause some delays, the year still looks promising.
With that out of the way, here are some of Kotaku’s most anticipated games of 2022. Obviously, the list is not exhaustive, and we’ve left out some, but not all, of the more obvious triple-A inclusions. For that, you may want to check out our list of every game coming out in 2022 and beyond, which gets updated any time a game gets announced or delayed. But without further ado!
Dying Light 2 Stay Human
Does the world need another zombie game? Maybe not. But the first game was fun, and the second one appears to keep that great parkour action mixed with RPG systems while adding more characters and narrative choices to the mix.
Sifu is a visceral-looking martial arts action game by the makers of Absolver and it looks rad. Every gesture flows seamlessly from one move to the next in the combat, which reminds me of some of the best fight scenes from movies like The Matrix or Kill Bill.
Another battle royale game? Hmmm…But thankfully, Rumbleverse ditches the guns and bombs of other entries in the genre and replaces it with melee-focused action. Suplexing someone off a rooftop sounds like a great way to shake up the somewhat stale state of battle royales.
Horizon Forbidden West
One of the best (former) PlayStation exclusive games with an engaging story, beautiful open world, giant robot dinosaurs finally gets a much-needed next-gen sequel. What else is there to say?
Gran Turismo 7
Forza Horizon 5 is a lot of fun! But I do miss the slower vibe of the classic Gran Turismo games. Gran Turismo is a series that makes you earn licenses and features a progression system from crappy cars to speed machines. Plus, Gran Turismo has some all-time classic race tracks, and seeing them recreated in the newest game on PS5 sounds wonderful.
When it comes to the quality level of Triangle Strategy, there’s no guesswork involved: We already know this game is gonna rule—because it’s already got a demo! It’s a grid-based tactics gameplay (in the vein of Fire Emblem) and more proper nouns than you can keep track of (…also in the vein of Fire Emblem) make for what’s sure to be a tactics RPG for the ages.
This might look like another Zelda clone starring a cute fox in a strange world.
But Tunic is much more than that. As Kotaku’s own Ari Notis explained earlier this year after playing a time-limited demo of the game. “I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that trusts me as much as Tunic does.” This is because everything in the game is in a weird, fictional language and the game doesn’t translate this. Instead, you rely on your knowledge of games to work stuff out, leading to a truly powerful experience.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Borderlands may not be the most mature or well-written video game franchise out there. There are times when the dialog makes you wince, or will perhaps tempt you to pop in a podcast while it’s on mute or something. But it’s hard to deny that easy-to-play, drop-in, drop-out co-op crossplay with tons of quests and loot. It is a game engineered from the ground up to be played with friends, and now we’re taking that foundation and transplanting it into a wacky medieval fantasy world with magic spells and swords. Sounds like it could be a winning combo?
From Devolver Digital, Weird West is an attractive-looking cowboy-themed top-down supernatural action-RPG with elements of stealth and immersive sims. That might be a mouthful, but the game looks great and, following a delay, should be out in March. Can’t wait.
After the events of Saints Row IV, many were curious about the future of the series. How do you top blowing up the Earth and defeating an evil alien empire? The answer: You don’t. Instead, you hit the reboot button. While some fans are worried that this new entry might be too silly, I’m happy we aren’t going back to the bland days of Saints Row 1.
Bethesda games might not always be the most stable, but when it comes to big worlds filled with interconnecting things to do and places to explore, few studios are better. I mean, look how many times people keep buying, playing, and modding Skyrim a decade after its initial release. Starfield is also Bethesda’s first new franchise and first truly next-gen game. The idea of getting to see what the studio can do with more powerful hardware and a new engine is very exciting, even if it might need a few mods to make it truly great.
Bear and Breakfast
Originally, this cozy-looking game was supposed to be out this year. But it has since been delayed into 2022. Bear and Breakfast is a wilderness hotel sim from Gummy Cat and while it looks adorable, it also seems to be hiding some Gravity Fall-like secrets behind its warm and fuzzy surface.
Not many games teach you about real card tricks and cheats. Not many games look as cool as Card Shark. What I’m saying is: I’m happy this game exists. Coming to Switch and PC next year, Card Shark is set in 18th Century Europe and will feature roguelike elements and progression.
Goodbye Volcano High
One thing’s all but certain for Goodbye Volcano High: It’ll probably make us cry. Really, we’re talking about a narrative adventure game starring anthropomorphic dinosaurs graduating high school. At least based on the pre-release materials, the whole thing is steeped in the particular flavor saccharine indie rock that’s perfectly suited for saying farewell to one part of life—and hello to the next. The dinos already had one end of an era, but Goodbye Volcano High’s seems like it’ll pack far more of an emotional wallop.
Kirby and The Forgotten Land
Kirby might be a beloved Nintendo character with a long history of popular, colorful games. But that doesn’t matter. Like so many other franchises and characters, even Kirby is making the leap to the open-world genre. But hey, The Forgotten Land looks cool and it could be a smart way to bring in new players who might have never cared about past 2D Kirby games.
Metal Slug Tactics
Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett had this to say about the upcoming tactical Metal Slug spin-off coming to PC in 2022: “Sure, the Metal Slug experience is now slower, but all the style remains, from the goofy character design to the exaggerated death animations. Plus there are still fat tanks and boss fights, only now everything is turn-based tactics instead of fast-twitch action, and it all looks cool as hell.”
Neon White eludes easy categorization, which is precisely why it’s so exciting. It’s a first-person shooter, but there’s an element of randomness via a deck-building mechanic. It’s also part platformer, part visual novel, part dating sim, and part RPG. Levels are designed to fly by in minutes or less, encouraging speed-running. It’s a veritable soup of genre-mashing that seems like the type of game you’d have to play to fully understand. -Ari Notis
Planet of Lana
This game could make waves solely on the power of its aesthetics. That it’s a puzzle-platformer set, according to the developers, “across centuries and galaxies” only further stokes the intrigue. One caveat: You play as a child accompanied by an adorable little critter, so Planet of Lana is probably going to be a bit of a heartbreak. -Ari Notis
There’s no liminal space when it comes to boarding games. They’re either comically unrealistic (Rider’s Republic, SSX) or admirably committed to Newton’s laws (Steep, Amped). Based on early footage, Shredders lands squarely in the latter camp, with athletes throwing misty flips like they’re competing in the X Games. If we can’t have the next Skate game for another million years, Shredders is the next best thing. -Ari Notis
Slime Rancher 2
Ranching slimes is a hard life. But it’s also a lot of fun. The original Slime Rancher was a game that could easily suck away hours and hours of your day, asking you to collect, breed and care for dozens of different slimes and slime variants. The sequel looks to be more of the same, but now with even bigger worlds to explore and more slimes to collect. It also comes to Game Pass on day one next year.
This looks like a game made by Playdead (known for Limbo and Inside), which tracks, seeing as it’s being developed by one of that studio’s co-founders. Like Playead’s oeuvre, Somerville is an enigma of a platformer, with trailers that basically scream “WTF is going on here?” If the obvious inspirations are any indication, we’ll still be wondering after the credits roll. -Ari Notis
Splatoon was very good. Splatoon 2 was twice as good. Logic dictates that Splatoon 3 will be three times the game the original Splatoon was, right? While competitive players will love having more stuff to compete with and over, the best thing about Splatoon 3 is the introduction of a dedicated, fully fleshed-out single-player story mode, so us solo players can learn more about this strange squid kid world without being shot at. Well, at least not by other players. -Mike Fahey
Replaced landed on Kotaku’s radar thanks to an E3 trailer with a killer earworm. But that soundtrack laid the backdrop for a platformer with gorgeous pixel art, crunchy-looking combat, and a riveting premise (you’re an AI unit trapped inside a human body). Also: train fight. Woooo! -Ari Notis
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
The first Mario + Rabbids game confused many when it was announced back in 2017. But once people played it it was… okay, still kind of weird. But also a well-made and slick turn-based tactical game, not unlike a simplified Xcom. Sparks of Hope looks to once again give Mario and other Mushroom Kingdom characters big, cartoony guns and teams them up with Ubisoft’s Rabbids. But this time they have to save the whole galaxy!
The first Oxenfree saw a bunch of teens sneak onto a spooky island overnight, hoping to party, only to open a supernatural portal to a long-dormant mystery that can only be solved with radios. Well-written and dripping with some killer synths, Oxenfree’s ending left the door open for plenty of new shenanigans.
It’s a game about a cat. You play as the cat. In an apparently post-human world occupied by booze-swilling robots. Not sure how a premise gets any better than that.
It’s Pokémon meets Monster Hunter. Pocket Monster Hunter. We get to explore vast open (but not too open) areas of the early Sinnoh region, back when it was wild and untamed and known as Hisui. We’ll get to see what the Pokemon world was like before humans and monsters learned to live in harmony and every other NPC had tips on training. And hey, new ways to play with Pokemon are always good. -Mike Fahey
God of War Ragnarok
I just want to toss the ax around for another 10 hours or so. Oh, and I guess I want to see what happens next after the first game’s ending, that writing was great. Boy! But mostly it’s the ax tossing.
Breath of The Wild Sequel
It’s a sequel to one of the most beloved and popular video games ever released, except this time we take to the skies and maybe kiss a dehydrated mummy. Of course we’re excited.