A raft of delayed games originally announced for 2021 has helped make 2022 look unusually stacked when it comes to exciting PC releases. Even without those extra bonus releases, it was always going to be a significant year. It’s when we expect to see FromSoftware’s next Soulsborne game, as well as the first singleplayer Bethesda RPG in seven years. Long-awaited sequels to some of our favorite games are due, along with revivals and reboots of series we worried might be dead. Plus, some of the games we’ve been enjoying in Early Access are likely to be fully released in 2022. It’s going to be a hectic one.
Before you ask: No, we don’t know when Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 will come out. We do know it’s being worked on, and Paradox is happy with its progress, but that’s all we’ve got.
- February 25, delayed from January
Elden Ring has a shot at being the biggest game of 2022, as impossible as that would’ve sounded to anyone playing Dark Souls a decade ago. Elden Ring is Dark Souls 4 in everything but name, with an open world that’s grand, ambitious, and way more approachable than anything FromSoftware has developed up to this point.
Exploring Elden Ring’s open world in the November Network Test, Wes found himself missing the tightly intertwined areas of the Dark Souls games—by comparison, most of Elden Ring’s dungeons are tiny and straightforward. But what Elden Ring gives up there it’s trading for scale: a truly massive world and seemingly incredible depth in combat beyond any of the Souls games. Elden Ring’s classes clearly push you towards mixing both melee and magic, and weapons can take upgrades and modifications with interesting abilities from the first hours of the game. Souls players who already replayed FromSoftware games multiple times are likely going to be obsessed with Elden Ring all year.
Diehard Souls players may not love the open-world structure as much as From’s past games, but it’s likely going to be the thing that convinces millions of new players to give Elden Ring a try. That and the lore written by George R. R. Martin, who once again has a new story coming out that isn’t The Winds of Winter.
Back in 2018, Bethesda announced it was planning to release a game that wasn’t Skyrim. It’s still a Fallout/Elder Scrolls-style RPG, but this time, in space.
In the 24th century, a big space kerfuffle known as the Colony War takes place. Starfield begins two decades after things have settled down, as your typically customisable character embarks upon “an epic journey to answer humanity’s greatest mystery.” It looks set to be a huge game with plenty of choices. “It’s all the paths you didn’t take that make it special for you,” is how game director Todd Howard puts it.
Bethesda RPGs have a moment when the open world reveals its true scale to you (like the end of the prison escape in Oblivion). Bethesda calls these “step-out moments,” and interestingly, Starfield has two. Could the second be the introduction of planet-hopping space travel?
- Not confirmed, but probably 2022
Hollow Knight is one of those precious indie miracles. A three-person team made a Metroidvania that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with classics of the genre. Hollow Knight has incredible heart as well, telling a hauntingly beautiful story with a charismatic cast of little bug friends.
What started as an expansion pack to Hollow Knight ballooned into a full sequel starring the first game’s frenemy, rival, and occasional boss, Hornet. Following the events of Hollow Knight, she finds herself in a new kingdom, far away from her home of Hallownest, and she must ascend to its peak to uncover its mysteries.
A few years ago, we saw a 2-minute trailer and 20-minute gameplay preview, and that’s pretty much all we’ve had ever since. What we saw showed Hollow Knight’s sense of mystery and exploration alive and well, alongside new and exciting mobility options. The polished state of that preview build may have got our hopes up a bit about it being close to completion. Hope springs eternal, though, and maybe 2022 will be the year we finally return to the enchanting world Team Cherry created.
Real-time strategy has not been in a great state for the better part of two decades, but there’s still magic being worked in Vancouver, the home of Relic. When the genre entered its period of decline, the studio released Company of Heroes, building on its experiments in the excellent Dawn of War, and both series have continued throughout these dark times. Warhammer is a bit more thrilling on paper, but Company of Heroes is where Relic has done its best work.
We dabbled in some multiplayer, wiping out dev-controlled enemy squads with incendiary strikes and watching troops getting crushed inside falling buildings—which also creates debris that can be used as impromptu cover—or chewed up by tanks. But it’s the turn-based campaign that’s proving to be the most exciting addition. Dynamic and nonlinear, it builds on the Ardennes Assault expansion from Company of Heroes 2, and it’s shaping up to be the series’ biggest and most complex campaign yet.
To liberate Italy you’ll command engineers to clear mines and other obstacles, work with Italian partisans, and make tough decisions about how to tackle trickier objectives like a heavily fortified monastery, with chatty advisors offering advice and expressing disappointment when you don’t take it. They don’t just offer hints—they’re the source of events, and the professional relationships you develop with them also net you unique bonuses. The campaign could be its own thing, without the RTS battles, but they also inform and complement each other, creating an epic wartime drama full of thoughtful planning and huge explosions.
- Early 2022, delayed from 2021
Vermintide in the 41st millennium? Money down, we’ve heard enough. Fatshark’s next co-op horde FPS will feature iconic weapons of Warhammer 40,000, like chainswords, thunder hammers, and those flashlights with “lasgun” written on the side that the Imperial Guard carry. Players will become servants of the Inquisition who descend from a starship hub to fight disease-riddled cultists in a crowded hive city.
- Early Access launch October 2019, hoping for a full version in 2022
Dungeons & Dragons is more popular than ever thanks to its 5th edition, and Baldur’s Gate 3 (already available in Early Access) brings to the screen its improvisation-encouraging turn-based combat. As well as this delightfully messy sandbox of clattering d20s, it has a party of bickering, romanceable characters like Baldur’s Gate 2, origin PCs like Divinity: Original Sin 2, and loads of tieflings, like pretty much every D&D 5E campaign.
- Second half of 2022, delayed from 2020
You’re once again tasked with overseeing a whole space program, with little green kerbals wisely (or otherwise) trusting you with their lives. Following feedback from the first game, new tutorials and improved UI will (hopefully) better help players understand what they’re supposed to do and how the heck they’re supposed to do it. The addition of colonies will bring resource gathering and new building opportunities. Also: There’s multiplayer.
Arkane’s shift from immersive sims to action games seems set to continue with this four-player co-op FPS in which vampires have cut off the town of Redfall from the rest of civilization and are feasting on its inhabitants. Only a group of four survivors with some eyebrow-raising powers of their own—Layla’s telekinesis looks like fun—can stop them.
- Early Access launch August 2021, predicted to leave after “about a year”
Part tongue-in-cheek homage to the isometric Fallouts, part punk gross-out, this is an RPG with a sidequest where you help an NPC win a vomiting competition. Death Trash may be crass, but it’s also got deep mysteries to unravel, like the fleshy alien titans you meet across its wasteland—a fascinating enigma wrapped in raw meat and weird tendrils. It’s in Early Access, too.
After most of Tokyo’s inhabitants vanish in an instant, replaced with haunting apparitions and a malevolent figure cackling away on the giant screens plastered around Shibuya Crossing, you explore the deserted city in first-person, and master elemental abilities to tackle this ghostly threat. Trailers show spindly, faceless men in suits, a ghostly woman wielding a distressingly large pair of scissors, and headless school girls. It looks as disconcertingly haunting as anything Resident Evil director Shinji Mikami’s studio Tango Gameworks has produced so far.
The idea of a bunch of wizards packing heat instead of magic wands is immediately appealing, especially when presented in an incredibly stylish trailer. And the co-op survival sandbox sounds intriguing, too. Developer Galvanic Games told us the lore of Wizard with a Gun involves a magical cataclysm that resulted in a lack of trust in magic users, so wizards became something like Old West outlaws—they’re even hounded by “mage hunters.” Players will concoct spells in bullet form as they gather resources and battle creatures in different biomes, and they’ll also be able to build and upgrade a tower in a special pocket dimension. Plus, there are lots and lots of hats.
- Early 2022, delayed from 2021
From the studio behind Reigns and Orwell’s Animal Farm comes a game about cheating at cards in 18th century France. As half of a con artist duo, you swindle the wealthy by mastering historical cheating techniques. Get caught, and it may be pistols at dawn. Or pistols immediately, in the face.
- Korean launch 2019, America/Europe/Oceania February 11
Already a smash in South Korea, Lost Ark is being localized by Amazon Games and could be another massively multiplayer hit, like New World. Where that’s a traditional MMO, however, Lost Ark is half Diablo-esque action-RPG with ludicrous, over-the-top attacks and abilities. It’s also got in-depth character customization and a selfie mode to show off your impossibly pretty face.
The new setting of Rainbow Island will include more kinds of slime to farm, including bouncy cotton slime, aquatic angler slime, and a bunny-eared variety. They’re all bound to be adorable, and produce adorable plorts we can harvest for cold hard newbucks. What a strange thing Slime Rancher is.
- February 17, delayed from 2021
The final game in Creative Assembly’s trilogy, Total War: Warhammer 3 brings the last of the tabletop wargame’s armies into digital form—plus some never fully represented before. Four daemonic factions will be joined by the human nations of Kislev and Cathay, with the Ogre Kingdoms as launch DLC. Expect reworked sieges, lengthy survival battles, and an even bigger combined campaign called Immortal Empires released after launch.
- February 8, delayed from 2021
From the designers of Absolver, Sifu is a martial arts game based on the Pak Mei style of kung fu. It emphasises controlling space, dodging and parrying blows, and using the environment to your advantage. You can batter people with bottles and mops. One of its most intriguing systems is that every “death” will age you. As you get older, you’ll be able to deal more damage—but take less.
It’s a Batman game where you don’t play Batman, with Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, and Red Hood teaming up to protect Gotham in the Bat’s absence. Though it’s not connected to the Arkham series, it’s from the developers of Arkham Origins, which is a decent pedigree. It’s co-op and based on the Court of Owls storyline from the comics.
Rocksteady’s follow-up to the Arkham games is set in the same continuity, though it stars Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark. Ditching Gotham for Metropolis, it pits the Suicide Squad against mind-controlled versions of Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, etc. The tone seems much more comedic, a banter-heavy beat-’em-up that you can play co-op or in singleplayer, with the other characters by your side.
Another spooky island haunted by spooky radio signals is the setting for Oxenfree 2, which also brings back the original’s dialogue system, in which the choice to not say anything is as valid as speaking up. This time you’ll have a walkie-talkie to keep in touch with other people on the island, but you’ll also be contacted by strangers who have tapped into your signal. Who are they? What do they want? The answers will be spooky.
- August 23, delayed from February
The Saints Row reboot promises to be more grounded than the recent games in the series, but after playing superheroes who save the world from aliens and travel to Hell, that’s not saying much. It’s a return to building a criminal empire from the ground up in an open city, this time Santo Ileso in the American Southwest, taking districts from colorful rivals and committing insurance fraud by throwing yourself into traffic. It’s got a wingsuit—it’s not that grounded.
- February 4, delayed from spring 2020
Parkour zombie-bashing is back, and it’s the only way to save one of humanity’s last settlements: The City. You’ll make choices that affect said city, like turning the water pumps on for one district while draining another, giving you a way to explore that new area… and meeting the zombies who have been dormant there for years. Dying Light’s day/night cycle will return, and the parkour combat’s been expanded with more wall-running and roof-leaping options.
Few games have as devoted a following as cult classic Stalker and its spin-offs. The series always felt way ahead of the times with its dynamic, AI-driven world, which was as chaotic as it was glitchy. Stalker 2 promises to add a true open world with prettier graphics to this.
Cool games that might or might not come out this year
If this year is anything like 2021 (we pray it’s not), expect some of those games listed above to be delayed. Potentially filling the gaps are games without confirmed release dates that could pleasantly surprise us this year. Maybe we’ll get to play Soviet immersive sim Atomic Heart, ConcernedApe’s chocolate shop sim Haunted Chocolatier, the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Remake from the studio that remastered Republic Commandos, Obsidian’s Skyrim-like first-person RPG Avowed, or magic school RPG Witchbrook.
Other games we’re looking forward to in 2022
- Both Uncharted and God of War will debut on PC in 2022, which is a huge deal.
- The next Firaxis game is Marvel’s Midnight Suns, and we’re as excited by the chance to bond with supernatural superheroes as we are by the turn-based tactics.
- The FAQ for Homeworld 3 says, “We’re aimed at Q4 2022,” and though it’s probably not a good idea to hold your breath, it sure would be nice.
- Ark 2 is happening, with Vin Diesel somehow.
- We’re interested in Forspoken, Square Enix’s open-world portal-fantasy action game about a New Yorker transported to the land of Athia who learns magic parkour. We’re more what you’d call morbidly curious about Team Ninja’s angsty chaos-killer Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins.
- A team of veterans who worked on Dead Space will return to survival horror with The Callisto Protocol, which is set in the PUBG universe for some reason.
- The makers of Greedfall are bringing out Steelrising, a game where you fight King Louis XVI’s murderous robots in 18th century Paris.
- Stray is “what if cyberpunk but you’re a lost cat.”
- Fan-favorite Borderlands 2 DLC Assault on Dragon Keep is getting a standalone sequel, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands.
- Stealth-action game Serial Cleaners is a homage to ’90s crime movies where a squad of mob cleaners take on bloody jobs.
- Another unusual stealth game, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, was delayed to 2022.
- Blood Bowl 3 will bring its turn-based football ultraviolence in line with the latest version of the tabletop rules, add more customization, and hopefully make the AI decent for once.
- A Plague Tale: Requiem is sequel to a game that left a lot on the table—both in terms of dangling story threads and the untapped potential of its puzzles. We’re hoping this vermin-packed sequel will round out the concept.
- The creators of Two Point Hospital are going back to school in Two Point Campus.
- Giger-esque horror-shooter Scorn has been announced for the spooky month of October.
- Bomb Rush Cyberfunk seems like a new Jet Set Radio in all but name, even with a soundtrack by its composer, Hideki Naganuma.
- The next retro Gen X-FPS is Cultic, which was inspired by Blood and gives you dynamite to blow up loads of cultists with.