The year 2022 is shaping up to be a very exciting year in gaming. After a year that was filled with the lingering affects of a pandemic-ridden development cycle, and delays around every corner, people are looking forward to what seems to be a year filled with promise, and let’s face it, G.O.T.Y. potential winning video games! I’ve looked at a bunch of games that are scheduled to release this year and compiled a list of 12 games (plus maybe some honorable mentions) that are my most anticipated for 2022. I’ve listed them by release date / release window so as not to play favorites.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus [Jan. 28th, 2022]
Releasing imminently, Pokémon Legends: Arceus takes the familiar formula of the pocket-sized monster catching game and is trying to change it up! It’s focusing on open areas and a town hub (much like Monster Hunter) and asks you to go out into the wilds of the Sinnoh region, although this setting takes place many years in the past. While you still essentially catch and discover pokémon, these discoveries are happening in real time (no random encounters) and the battles take place in the open area (no separate battle screens)! You aren’t necessarily a trainer, there are no gyms or gym leaders, but instead you go out on expeditions to discover what the region is all about and what the wildlife is. Hopefully this turns out to be a fresh new formula for Game Freak and something that can satisfy the more experienced fan of the pokémon games who has gotten tired of the same old same old.
SIFU [Feb. 8th, 2022]
From SloClap, SIFU is a blend of rogue-like procedurally generated levels and a Jon Woo action film. The player goes from area to area, seeking to avenge his “sifu” (or master), by beating up pretty much everyone you see! An interesting twist is that he will age up every time he dies, meaning that the next run will be from an older, more experienced martial artist than last time, but maybe from someone who isn’t quite as durable as he once was. The player action in the game looks like a very intriguing mix of delicately timed inputs to keep the proper space and pacing of the combatants to a level you can handle, but the art style and direction take the game and elevate it to another level of cell-shaded goodness. Here’s to hoping that this game can deliver on the fun it looks like it will bring.
Horizon Forbidden West [Feb. 18th, 2022]
The follow-up to one of 2017’s best RPGs, Guerilla Games is looking to improve on every aspect of the first game and deliver a true masterpiece. With improved visuals on the PlayStation 5, more traversal options (via a glider and a grappling-style hook), bigger and more varied mechanical monsters, and more melee combat options and special moves, Horizon Forbidden West could very well be the year’s most promising game. Story wise, Aloy seems to be on a quest to find the solution to a plague-like plant growth that has been suffocating the region and spreading without an end in sight. Hopefully the story and gameplay elements deliver on all the promise!
Elden Ring [Feb. 25th, 2022]
Personally, I don’t have much anticipation for this game as I am not a Dark Souls or Bloodborne aficionado. Even I, however, can understand the massive potential that Elden Ring brings by combining the From Software Souls-like formula, the gravitas of a truly open world environment, and the world building mastery of George RR Martin. If this game can give the fans 80% of what they are believing in their mind that this game CAN bring them, it will succeed in delivering a great game once again.
Gran Turismo 7 [March 4th, 2022]
It has been several years since the genius of Kazunori Yamauchi and his team at Polyphony Digital has been matched up with brand new hardware to play with – this time the PlayStation 5. Many gamers will admit to not being the most avid of simulation racing fans, preferring the more arcade style games of Burnout and Forza Horizon. However, anyone who is dedicated to sim racing or who is training to eventually join the FIA one day and compete for an actual racing trophy, will tell you that Gan Turismo is the king of the steering wheel! This game is bringing the highest visual fidelity that Sony can offer, giving the player 4K resolutions and up to 120 FPS of racing in real-world tracks from all over the globe. It aims to take the Gran Turismo experience to the next level and let’s hope that, in March, it is said that they delivered on that and brought the PlayStation once again to the bleeding edge of racing simulation.
Triangle Strategy [March 4th, 2022]
From Artdink, the team that brought you Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler, comes the next game that seeks to harken back to the grid-based tactical games of the 90’s, like Final Fantasy Tactics. More than that, is this studio’s trademark style of HD-2D which in my humble opinion is the most impressive aspect of this game. (If you are not interested in the visuals of this game, then just keep moving.) I’m sure that the strategy aspects of this game will be top notch, and the game even adds a new discussion mechanic in the story beats between battles, which gives players a chance to manipulate the outcomes of discussion based on the choices of ‘morality, liberty, and utility’. These choices are shown on a three-sided scale which can change the outcome of both that conversation and the overall storyline.
Ghostwire: Tokyo [rumored ~ March 24th, 2022]
Fans of Shinji Mikami and fans of the studio, Tango Gameworks, have been itching to know what Ghostwire: Tokyo is all about. More of an action-adventure game with horror elements than a pure horror game, this first-person perspective game follows protagonist Akito as he tries to uncover the mystery of why nearly all the residents of Tokyo have disappeared and have been replaced with otherworldly spirits known as “Visitors”. Akito himself starts to display supernatural abilities as he uses jutsu-style combat techniques as well as traditional weaponry, like katanas, to dispel the evil in Tokyo. Part of the intrigue of this game is that it is the last timed PlayStation exclusive that Bethesda agreed to before its merger into Xbox Games Studios. The performance of this game on the sales charts, and through the eyes of critics, will be of interest seeing as there may never be a sequel to this game no matter how well it performs.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land [March 25th, 2022]
There are games that push the gameplay standard of all video games forward. There are games that push the story-telling of video games forward. HAL Laboratory and Nintendo are probably not interested in either of those things. This game however is the first 3D platform game in the series, and it looks to bring Kirby in a new direction that the series can follow into the future. What makes this game stand out from the others is its world. Kirby seems to find himself in a (rather earth-like) post-apocalyptic metropolis where enemies are stealing Waddle-Dees from their homes. Only Kirby, of course, can save the day through sucking up enemies and fighting to save his friends. It looks like fun for whole family.
Forspoken [May 24th, 2022]
An action RPG by Luminous Productions, Forspoken tells the tale of Frey Holland, a young woman who gets transported from New York City to Athia where magic and dragons exist. The gameplay mechanics are similar to that of Final Fantasy XV while the writing team comprises of notables like Gary Whitta, Amy Hennig, and Todd Stashwick. The game was built using the Luminous engine, which was created to take advantage of the ray-tracing capabilities and power of the PlayStation 5. As such the game will be a sprawling open world that focuses on speedy terrain traversal and fluidity. Based on what was shown thus far, this game is one that can rise above the others that are released this year, or it could crash and burn under the weight of expectation. In May of 2022, we will find out which of those it will be.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns [2nd half of 2022]
The next major game from Firaxis, the studio behind XCOM, comes this new project in conjunction with Marvel. A tactical RPG much like its earlier games, Midnight Suns is a ‘kinda sorta’ re-telling of the Marvel story “Rise of the Midnight Sons” and as such will feature the player taking on Lillith (Mother of all demons). The game will feature the Avengers (eg: Captain America, Wolverine, & Iron Man), and the more magical Marvel characters (eg: Ghost Rider, Blade, Dr. Strange, and Magik) as well as an all new, player-controlled, original character created for this game called “The Hunter”. The combat will be the familiar turn-based combat although with some card-based moves that have scared some people away (including myself) but Firaxis promises that it shouldn’t be a stumbling block for players. If any of that sounds good to you, look forward to this game coming in the 2nd half of this year.
Starfield [Nov. 11, 2022]
For the 1st time in over 25 years, Todd Howard and the team at Bethesda Game Studios, have made something that isn’t Fallout or The Elder Scrolls. BGS fans are foaming at the mouth at this new project, affectionately dubbed “Skyrim in space”. While not much is known about the plot other than the fact that players will be traveling a space system about 50 lightyears past our solar system as a member of Constellation (an organization of space explorers), apparently this idea has been floating in the mind of Todd Howard for a long-time and it took until now to finally be able to realize this game. Will a new bar be set at Bethesda in November 11th of this year? We’ll have to wait until then to see.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero [Fall 2022]
This is the most personal pick on this list. Essentially a HD port of a 2010 PlayStation Portable game, Trails from Zero is the first game in the 2nd arc of “Trails” games that is finally coming to western audiences due to popular demand. If you aren’t familiar with this series of games, The Legend of Heroes is a long running Japanese Role-Playing video game series from Nihon Falcom and the series has been running through a set number of canonical stories since 2004 known as their “Trails” series. It started with 2004’s Trails in the Sky (which has two sequels) continued with Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure (both of which never made it to the west), and then continued to the more popular Trails of Cold Steel games (of which there are four). If you are into turn based, character-driven, text-heavy JRPGs, these are the best as they weave their story throughout all the games like a massive series of novels. I’ll be happy to finally get one of the more essential stories this fall as this game finally arrives for PlayStation 4.
A new single or co-op FPS against vampires from Arkane Studios proper (Austin, Texas – not Lyon, France)
The King of Fighters XV [Feb. 14th, 2022]
A new modern fighting game from SNK finally using rollback net code
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge 
A beautiful pixelated spiritual sequel to the arcade classic by publisher Dotemu
Tunic [March 16th, 2022]
A new Zelda-inspired adventure about a fox with a sword from a one-man development team
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga [April 5th, 2022]
This game is finally coming out (apparently with a lot of “crunch”)