Pour one out for the avid gamers in your life, because come next winter, you’ll never hear from them again. Following today’s Gamescom Opening Night Live showcase, hosted by Geoff Keighley’s heart red blazer and jet black sneakers, it’s clear that February 2022 is gonna suuuck (but also be awesome).
You guys, there are so many games. So, so many games.
[Update, 10/18/2021, 11:45 a.m. ET: Oh, no, there are even more games now. We’ve tweaked the text to reflect.]
On its heels comes Horizon Forbidden West. Confirming earlier reporting by Bloomberg, the open-world game about hunting robot dinosaurs with bows and arrows won’t come out in 2021, as some anticipated. Rather, it’ll release on February 18, 2022, for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.
Then there’s Sifu, the visceral-looking martial arts action game made by the makers of Absolver. That will come out on February 22, 2022, at which point I take the rest of the month off to do nothing but play.
Seriously, this game looks phenomenal:
Also on February 22: Destiny 2’s next major expansion, The Witch Queen, which was initially planned for release this year before Bungie delayed it. That’s quickly followed by the eagerly anticipated Elden Ring, which was delayed from January 21 to February 25. On the same day, the long-rumored Saints Row reboot will come out. Also, Saber Interactive’s Evil Dead game is planned for February 2022, but it doesn’t have a pinned-down release date yet.
It’s not just February, either. The final days of January will feature a duo of massive games that are sure to stick in your backlog well into February. Pokémon Legends: Arceus, the BotW-looking Pokémon game, lands on January 28, 2022. (Ubisoft’s once-renamed and twice-delayed Rainbow Six Extraction is also planned for January 2022, but does not have a specific release date yet.)
Yes, it’s gonna be rough. But beyond what it means for everyone’s schedules (and wallets), this wave of releases suggests a sea change in how the industry does business. For years, gaming’s big season has gone down in the autumn, typically with a stacked release lineup slated for the 12-odd weeks between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. When eight blockbusters are coming out in a span of weeks, it’s hard to write off what is very clearly a paradigmatic shift.
And that doesn’t even account for any of the buzzy games confirmed for a broad but undefined “early 2022” window, of which there are too many to list. Any of those could show up in what’s rapidly shaping up to be gaming’s new busy season. What I’m really getting at is, Patricia, I’m, uhh, I’m kinda under the weather next February? I think I need to take the day off—and who knows when I’ll start feeling better.