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Big in 2020: Exploring the games that will define the year

(Image credit: Future)

The next generation is on the near horizon. With the PS5 and Xbox Series X now just months away, we are beginning to see the biggest and brightest developers publicly turn their attention to what comes next. And yet, in spite of the palpable sense of anticipation permeating the video game industry, it's difficult to ignore the feeling that something is amiss. That, I believe, can largely be placed on the shoulders of E3 2020 – the yearly showcase cancelled due to the pervasive effects of coronavirus. For all of its problems, E3 has a good talent for centralizing our focus, and bringing all corners of the industry together.  

Perhaps that's because the trade show deals almost exclusively in a currency that the industry requires to survive: Hype. For one week, we are given permission to be excited by the future. Publishers put on lavish presentations, developers present their boldest ideas, and we – as a collective – decide what games are worthy of our attention for the weeks, months, and years to come. Hype has its misgivings, but there's certainly nothing wrong with feeling good about wanting to play games. 

GamesRadar+ wanted to capture that. This is our attempt to do just that. Big in 2020 explores the games that will define the conversation; titles that we believe display the potential to cut through the noise and get all of us talking. Expect in-depth features, interviews, hands-on impressions, hands-off reporting, industry analysis, and plenty more in the weeks ahead. Big in 2020 is our summer preview, and our opportunity to focus your attention on the games that we think you'll fall in love with. Be sure to check back daily for new updates.

Josh West, Features Editor


12 Minutes

(Image credit: Annapurna Interactive)

Big in 2020: 12 Minutes

Developer Luis Antonio puts the point-and-click adventure on repeat with 12 Minutes, a mind-bending murder mystery that you won't want to miss when it launches on PC and Xbox One in 2020. Inspired heavily by the work of Stanley Kubrick, this upcoming indie almost stole the show at Microsoft's Xbox E3 2019 press briefing last year, offering a twisted take on Groundhog Day told from the top-down perspective. Having had the opportunity to sit down with the game and speak with Luis Antonio earlier this year, we explore why 12 Minutes could be the breakout indie hit of 2020. 

Bugsnax

(Image credit: Young Horses)

Big in 2020: Bugsnax

Young Horses took the world by storm when it unveiled Bugsnax at the PS5 showcase. You know the game we're talking about, it was the one with the undeniably catchy theme song and the animals with strawberries for hands. It's weird, wonderful, and we can't wait to see more of it in action. For the time being, we were happy to speak with Young Horses' co-founder and president Philip Tibitoski to talk about Bugnax's wild concept, super fun execution, and, yes, the creation of that song. 

Call of the Sea

(Image credit: Raw Fury)

Big in 2020: Call of the Sea

Developer Out of the Blue is making its debut with Call of the Sea, an otherworldly exploration of love and loss on a mysterious island. This beautiful new narrative adventure game is due for release on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X later this year, and while details are light on the ground we were able to sit down with creative director Tatiana Delgado to get a better sense of the studio's inspirations and ambitions. There's more to Call of the Sea than meets the eye; a supernatural and sanguine adventure that you won't want to ignore. 

CrossfireX

(Image credit: Smilegate)

Big in 2020: CrossfireX

One of the biggest unknowns in Microsoft's line-up for 2020 is CrossfireX. The platform holder has partnered with Smilegate to bring the wildly popular Crossfire to the west. Given the popularity of Counter-Strike: GO, Rainbow Six Siege, and Valorant that was always going to be easier said than done, but still we went hands-on with the CrossfireX multiplayer to see whether it has what it takes to bring competitive first-person shooter to console.

Cyberpunk 2077

(Image credit: CD Projekt)

Big in 2020: Cyberpunk 2077

We take a fresh look at Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red's hugely ambitious 2020 release that is threatening to redefine the RPG. Launching at the tail end of a console generation, this tabletop-inspired role-playing sim transports players to the world of Night City, a future dystopia on the brink of societal collapse. Here, we talk to one of the game's quest designers Patrick Mills to get some insight into how CD Projekt Red built its latest world from the ground up, and get a sense of Cyberpunk 2077's compared to the studio's last project, 2015's critically acclaimed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. 

Dustborn

(Image credit: Red Thread Games)

Big in 2020: Dustborn

Following the success of Dreamfall Chapters and Draugen, Red Thread is back to explore the power of misinformation and what can occur when language is weaponized. Dustborn is a game ostensibly focused around communication, a gorgeous looking roadtrip across the Divided States of America. Following its exclusive reveal at the Future Games Show, GamesRadar sat down with Ragnar Tørnquist, creative director and CEO of Red Thread, to learn more about its ambitious new creative endeavour ahead of its release on PC and next-gen consoles in early 2021. 

Dying Light 2

(Image credit: Techland)

Big in 2020: Dying Light 2

Techland's most ambitious game to date might be delayed indefinitely, but it certainly won't be forgotten! The sequel to the cult classic original of 2014 has been in the works for quite some time at the Polish studio, who brought in renowned RPG writing veteren Chris Avellone to help realise its ambition to create a world that organically reacts to the player's actions in-game. Here, we talk to Dying Light 2's creative director Tymon Smektala to learn more about what's in store for players who pick up the title once it finally lands on both current and next-gen consoles, in addition to PC. 

Elden Ring

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Big in 2020: Elden Ring

With FromSoftware putting Dark Souls behind it – and with no Bloodborne sequel in sight – many have wondered what the prolific studio would turn its attention to next. We now know that it's a brand-new action-RPG by the name of Elden Ring, made in collaboration with famed fantasy author George R.R. Martin. Faster combat, deeper systems, and a larger world to explore are just some of the details worth paying attention to. If what we're hearing is to be believed, Elden Ring won't just be FromSoftware's most ambitious game to date, it'll be a true evolution of the Souls-like too. 

Fuser

(Image credit: Harmonix)

Big in 2020: Fuser

Harmonix might be best known for filling our apartments with an array of plastic instruments, but the studio's latest is a little more lo-fi in its ambitions. Fuser wants to make you the star of the festival season from your living room – a welcomed opportunity with the summer being effectively cancelled thanks to current events crippling the music industry. We went hands-on with Harmonix's Fuser, the studio's attempt to make you feel like a real DJ hero by giving you the ability to shape flow and create the next anthem. 

Ghost of Tsushima

(Image credit: Sucker Punch)

Big in 2020: Ghost of Tsushima

It's difficult to believe, but it's already been six years since the last game out of Sucker Punch Productions. Ghost of Tsushima is the studio's opportunity to move on from Infamous, this time with a brand new open world experience set in 1274, during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. It's an admittedly beautiful game – surely one of the best looking of the generation – but how does it play? To find out more we spoke with Ghost of Tsushima creative director Nate Fox to learn about the game's samurai rabbit roots, fox petting, and its commitment to authenticity. 

Godfall

(Image credit: Counterplay Games)

Big in 2020: Godfall

With all eyes on the next generation, we investigate one of the first games to be originally confirmed for the PS5, Godfall. Working with Gearbox as its publisher, Counterplay Games has Destiny, Diablo, and Borderlands in its sights as it prepares to drop what it's calling a looter-slasher; a neologism which already gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect from this next-gen exclusive. We speak with Counterplay CEO Keith Lee to give you a comprehensive breakdown of Godfall, and its ambitions to become one of the most popular third party titles of the next generation hardware. 

Little Hope

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Big in 2020: Little Hope

Supermassive Games is back, this time with a brand new installment to The Dark Pictures Anthology. Little Hope is a brand new horror adventure, picking up in a new location and with a brand new cast of characters from Man of Medan. We spoke with Supermassive CEO Pete Samuels about the new setting, the improvements that are being made to the core game systems, and the decision to stick with the anthology format. Who lives and who dies in Little Hope is in your hands – the decisions you make will truly shape the nightmares that await you.

Marvel's Avengers

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Big in 2020: Marvel's Avengers

Marvel's Avengers is the next major title to come out of Marvel Games' latest efforts to build a lasting legacy in interactive entertainment, and has the added pressure of following up 2018's brilliant Spider-Man PS4 game from Insomniac Games. Thankfully, what we've seen so far looks rather worthy of the Marvel name indeed, presenting a unique take on Earth's Mightiest Heroes with the promise of being to play as several of our favourites, including Ms. Marvel herself. Shaun Escayg, creative director of Marvel's Avengers, details how the team is working with Marvel to create something truly special. 

Ooblets

(Image credit: Glumberland Studios)

Big in 2020: Ooblets

In times like these, it's equally important to look towards games that put kindness and friendship front and centre as a way of navigating the future of entertainment. Ooblets is one such game, an upcoming life sim developed by indie duo Rebecca Cordingly and Ben Wasser, who together make up Glumberland studio. The cutesy PC and Xbox title is like a wonderful hybrid of Pokemon and Harvest Moon, and we break down why it's going to be one of the must-play games of the year, not to mention a comforting break from the chaos of everyday life.

Outriders

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Big in 2020: Outriders

People Can Fly is back in business. The studio behind Bulletstorm, Gears of War Judgement, and Painkiller has a brand new co-op shooter scheduled for PS5, Xbox Series X, and current-gen systems by the name of Outriders. In many respects, it's a push-back against the live service shooters that have become so prevalent in today's industry. Outriders is a refreshingly old-school approach to cooperative play, and we spoke to Bartosz Kmita and Piotr Nowakowski from the studio to learn more about it.

Overwatch 2

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Big in 2020: Overwatch 2

Overwatch 2 isn't your typical sequel. It's introducing a bunch of new content, but much of that will still be accessible to those who own the original hero shooter. It's committed to advancing the story of its futurist peacekeepers and freedom fighters, but much of its multiplayer will continue to exist in a narrative vacuum. As Blizzard attempts to work out how it can expand the scope of one of its core games while keeping the community together, we sit down with Jeff Kaplan to learn how Overwatch 2 is going to redefine the video game sequel in 2020. 

The Medium

(Image credit: Bloober Team)

Big in 2020: The Medium

Bloober Team is known for creating subversive psychological thrillers thanks to its work on Layers of Fear, Observer, and Blair Witch. With The Medium, the studio wants you to consider how taking a different perspective can change your perception. This is a third-person thriller for Xbox Series X and PC, where you play as a medium that is able to travel between two worlds – Earth as we know it and the spirit realm. In this exclusive interview with lead game designer Wojciech Piejko and producer Jacek Zięba we learned just how far the studio is pushing its ambition with its first horror game for the next generation.

Twin Mirror

(Image credit: Dontnod)

Big in 2020: Twin Mirror

Despite being revealed back in 2018, we've seen surprisingly little of Twin Mirror in the years since. As it should happen, Dontnod's upcoming murder mystery has been completely overhauled since. We sat down with game director Florian Desforges to discover how Twin Mirror has transformed since its reveal, with the studio detailing its attempts to restructure the thriller as a standalone release, the changes it's making to the way the game plays, and its attempt to refocus its rustbelt setting.  

Watch Dogs Legion

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Big in 2020: Watch Dogs Legion

Originally announced at E3 2019, the Watch Dogs Legion at Ubisoft Toronto have been suspiciously quiet ever since, but we're told that a 2020 release to coincide with the PS5 and Xbox Series X launches remains on the cards for now. Set in a dystopian vision of post-Brexit Britain, this latest sequel in the open world franchise promises to pull none of its punches. GamesRadar sits down with Sean Crooks, lead producer for Ubisoft Toronto, to get a better sense of how Watch Dogs Legion's promise that we will be able to "Play as Anyone" could make it the first true next-gen experience. 

Hello there! I'm the Features Editor for GamesRadar.