New year, new games for me. 2022 is shaping up to be a blast, what titles can we set our hopes on in the coming months?
Following on from our 2021 wrap-up article released last week, you guys were keen to know what the biggest titles of 2022 were likely to be. We’re happy to oblige; we’d be confident in saying next year holds even more promise than this year did, and the gaming world has been showered in some impressive titles in recent months; Metroid Dread, Alan Wake Remastered, Life is Strange: True Colours, Deathloop, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, It Takes Two, Far Cry 6 and Forza Horizon 5 – and a lot more. Anyhow, let’s cut to the chase: what games can we expect in 2022?
S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2: Heart of Chernobyl must take first spot on this list; millions of gamers, some retired now, adored the first STALKER game back in 2007. 15 years have passed since the original was released, 13 since Call of Pripyat, life is unrecognisable for some - but the love for the series remains. The iconic Eastern Europe-based post-apocalypse horror-shooter throws the survivors of the second Chernobyl explosion, referred to as stalkers, back into the Zone, battling irradiated mutants, anomalies and rival factions alike. Just as fans asked, this game looks awesome - it was built in the Unreal Engine 5 and even supports ray-tracing. A game grittier than the Metro and Fallout series is S.T.A.L.K.E.R, ideologically conceptualised back in 2012, released a decade later in April 2022 - plenty of time to polish this game and turbocharge it into the ninth-generation and beyond. Heart of Chernobyl will ostensibly be an Xbox exclusive until August-time, at which point the coveting PlayStation players can get involved.
Dying Light 2: Staying Human is a great place to start, with a February 4th release date, Techland’s action-RPG, post-apocalyptic zombie survival game looms large. Consisting of an impressive 3000 parkour animations, myriad gadgets, paragliders, grappling hooks and a slew of weapon types - crossbows and shotguns - Dying Light 2 could quite easily be the game of the year for many. It looks almost a crossover between Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Fallout – with auxiliary zombies, Staying Human is dubbed a ‘narrative sandbox’ implying the setting or plot can be influenced by choices made in-game. Set 20 years after the events of the first Dying Light, the Staying Human world is a place dramatically different to that we encounter before; the undead have developed a predilection for night-time feeding and the human survivors are firmly set in the barbaric ways necessary to survive the hordes, presenting an equally matched adversary as the zombies.
Saints Row V has taken on an entirely different aesthetic for the series’ fifth entry, donning near-animated-style visuals somewhat resembling games like Fortnite. The characters generating the crime-simulator counterpart to Grand Theft Auto, Kevin, Eli, Neenah, and the Boss (that’s you) rove the streets of Santo Ileso, a city inspired by US Southwest cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Rival gangs named the Los Panteros Musclemen, the Idols and the Marshall Mercenaries battle it out for dictatorial control over the Santo Ileso streets – it’s only right we get involved too, right? The quintessential Saints Row V cogs are not forgotten; insane vehicles, wacky guns and no shortage of creative freedom, this game is going to be carnage from August 23rd, the game’s release - we’re sure of that.
Horizon Forbidden West arrives on 19th February, Guerilla Games’ sequel to the well-received Horizon Zero Dawn. Users are thrust into the open-world West Coast of the US, but it isn’t as we remember it. Vestigial landmarks of the advanced civilisation once residing here remain, the Golden Gate Bridge and such, but today the West Coast is overrun by the natural world, teeming with gargantuan metallic monsters. An array of biomes waits to be explored in the Forbidden Zone, from arid desert to underwater remnants of cities, Aloy, the game’s protagonist and an erudite huntress of the Nora tribe, fears not the unknown. Her reliable bow and adept traversal skills make clearing the area of danger and steel behemoths a welcome challenge, and better still, Horizon Forbidden West is one of those thoroughly outstanding games in the visual department – Zero Dawn was one thing, but five years of technological advance and accrued studio knowledge spell only good things for Forbidden West.
Elden Ring had a hype around it that feels like it’s already been and gone, but with the game merely 3 months away, publishing 25th February, that electricity is sure to return. The expanse known as the Lands Between is ruled by Queen Marika the Eternal; the Elden Ring, harbourer of the Erdtree, is in fragments known as the Great Runes, war ensues to gain control of each immensely potent fragment. The fact that this is a Bandai Namco action-RPG, a Soulslike, already speaks to the quality of this game – it is also contributed to by fantasy writer George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones – not bad, eh? Our undertaking relates to the restoration of the Elden Ring, a task that would confer us the title of Elden Lord – an untouchable being. Classic features of related games, like Bloodborne, although smaller, play a vital part in Elden Ring; exploring, finding and killing enemies, bosses – procure equipment, adjust your build accordingly, and summon some spirits.
Starfield, without being biased, is by some way my most anticipated title of 2022. Bethesda’s Sci-Fi epic aims to publish on the 11th of November, a hallowed date for the company for it is the same day of Skyrim’s 2011 release. 11/11/11. Speaking of, Starfield comprises numerous Skyrim-sized worlds in a planetary arrangement referred to as the Settled Systems. It stretches 50 light-years – man! The year is 2310, the human forces of the United Colonies and the Freestar Collective have engaged in a protracted interstellar colonial war, we find ourselves in the event of war’s bloody aftermath. Our character is a member of the Constellation, an exploration group. According to Todd Howard, the game’s director, Starfield is a 'grounded, science-based' game set to last us 10 years as did Skyrim – the studio is guaranteeing the game is sufficient in quantity, quality, and novel replayability to confirm as much. From ideological conception to public release, Starfield will have taken a quarter of a century to come to fruition; not a game that is rushed to release. Physically speaking, Bethesda has been hard at work on the game for the last four years at the time of writing, making it a 5-year development given much the same attention as the industry’s greatest open-world RPG’s. It’s a breath of fresh air from Bethesda, a company with their priorities in this instance in the right place. More, novel mechanics from Redfall and Fallout games will amalgamate, finding their way into minute-to-minute Starfield gameplay. I’m not one for buying games on day-one, but a game of astronomical magnitudes such as this is a no-brainer.
Pokemon Legends: Arceus, however, is the game most anticipated by the Electric Games team as a whole. A step in a different direction for the Pokémon series is Arceus, an action-RPG title serving as a prequel to Sinnoh-based 2006 Diamond and Pearl and the game’s 2021 remaster, Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. Arceus is also set in what is now Sinnoh but what in the game is known as Hisui, a vast, charming, untouched swathe wilderness – an antiquated time where civilisation was merely a drop in the ocean. A small village named Jubilife is the miniature hub of human civilisation bar a few outposts where wardens lodge in. The search for the elusive Arceus (whom I think hides secrets in the volcano) is said to dominate the plot arc, but Game Freak are notorious for their brevity – we will have to wait and see. The adorable Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott are our starter Pokémon, though most roam the lands of Hisui as they please. Though the game sports similar Zelda-like visuals to the Sword/Shield titles – enchanting, a pleasure to look at, the attitude towards combat is where Arceus really shifts its focus, choosing not turn-based but live-action battle as you would in an open-world game, a term Arceus has not yet used itself. Players encounter groups of Pokémon of the same species, some further evolved than others and a few solely enormous, as they wander the many biomes Hisui has to offer. Arceus is the game the vivid child’s mind would conjure up and revel in, finally gifting to fans what many have silently (or not) wished for since the Pokémon games first aired, the chance to utilise Pokémon as horses and Jet skis, for example. We have our eyes set on the 28th of January, refusing to take our gaze off the (Poke) ball for a second until we have firmly caught Arceus.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me looks precisely as sinister as you might want it to be. Several months sit between today and the game’s October 22nd release date, but the fourth of eight planned Dark Pictures games already has us on tenterhooks, especially considering the incremental improvements the series has seen in recent years. Until Dawn preceded off the interactive-horror saga with a bang, the recent House of Ashes awakened an ancient evil – The Devil in Me continues the obsession of death and gore with a murderous twist, ostensibly detailing a serial killer. Supermassive Games have listened to fan feedback and responded accordingly with past games, the tangibility of the serial killer topic this time around is yet another productive move from the studio. That cryptic game announcement trailer means we aren’t exactly sure of the game’s intricacies, but we do know that the Anthology is an ingeniously interconnected universe with foresight of decades. The Devil In Me was hinted as early as Man of Medan, the first game of the series, and has left a trail of clues since. It seems, at least according to some shrewd fans, the game will be set in 1947 Chicago with insinuations surrounding the infamous H.H Holmes. The QTE-based horror episodes get better as they go – I can’t wait to experience The Devil in Me.
God of War: Ragnarök caused a massive stir upon its announcement, award-winning and open-world action role-playing games often do – yet not all are on the God of War level. Depicting the end of days tale that in folklore is said to succeed the end of Fimbulwinter, the brute Kratos and his barbaric executions seem to have softened up a touch with the duty of fatherhood, or maybe the stunning landscape of Ancient Norway has pulled at a few of his heartstrings. Atreus the Boy is now old enough to have his own opinion on the way of things, a danger in the unforgiving world Kratos is well-accustomed to, particularly as Gods, such as Thor, conspire against Kratos in the shadows. Ragnarök presents nine realms to explore– a tremendously sized map underpinning one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2022. The PS5 exclusive has big boots to fill; God of War received the Game of the Year award in 2018, who knows how Ragnarök will fare in comparison?
Ghostwire Tokyo is one of the boldest, most eccentric games I have ever laid my eyes on, a photorealistic dystopian nightmare loosely horror and loosely JRPG – it would almost need a hybrid-genre of its own. Imagine a Blade Runner, Ghost in a Shell cityscape vibe; a sprightly neon Tokyo bathed in something sinister, an inorganic weaponised fog leaving little but ghouls, known as The Visitors, in its wake. The Ghostwire Tokyo protagonist, Akito, survives the foggy extinction event, left as a sole survivor to decipher what truly transpired on that fateful night and how to go about saving the world from peril. In his way stands the leader of the Slenderman-like Visitors, the masked Hannya. Fortunately, Akito has a Karate-meets-magic combat style tailored to combat the challengers for Tokyo… and a cute little dog. Not much can stand in the way of a magic man with karate in his hands and a dog at his feet.
Forspoken arrested my attention the instance it was exhibited at the PlayStation Showcase event. The Square Enix game quite rightly opts for a female protagonist to dominate the open-world environment of Athia, a planet reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings Middle World. Frey, the subject of spotlight, is a girl sick of city life, thrown into the fray after coming across a portal. She finds herself on Athia stuck in a fierce stalemate between prehistoric monsters and a matriarchal political system named the Tanta. Frey soon learns that to survive she must evolve into a fine warrior, cultivating that which resides within her; magic, including telekinetic powers, and some silky parkour and combat abilities. A soon-to-be deadly female protagonist, a land brimming with absurdly powerful creatures, humans included – it’s not a reinvention of the wheel, yet Forspoken is a magnet of sorts; you can’t help but hold intrigue into it.
Suffice to say, 2022 already holds a lot of promise across the board… and we’ve only mentioned ten games thus far! The gaming industry has a funny habit of dropping bombshells when you least expect them – news about The Witcher 4 perhaps, or fruition of a rumoured Grand Theft Auto IV reboot. The whole idea of surprises is that you can’t anticipate them, so we’re happy to wait. We still have a good 7 or so weeks until Pokemon Legends: Arceus gets the ball rolling in 2022, in the meantime why not visit or replay some of the greatest games this turbulent year gave us.