2022 is finally here and that can only mean one thing. We've got another year of hip new video games to look forward to, and we've been busy rustling up the ones we're most excited about. In truth, there are tons of games on the horizon that could easily sit on this list, and some of them are so close to release we can practically already see the pixels on our screens morphing into their lush, polygonal landscapes. Games like Monster Hunter Rise, God Of War and Rainbow Six Extraction. You won't find them here, but trust us, you'll be seeing a lot of them over the coming weeks.
There are always more games coming out than we have fingers to write about them, but the 2022 games we've listed below are the ones the RPS team are personally most looking forward to playing. We've got games big and small here, and they're all listed in alphabetical order. After all, release dates are increasingly slippery beasts these days. Think we've missed something? Why not take to the comments below and tell us all about it. You might just convince us to put it on our radars. But enough from me. Here are our 43 most anticipated games of 2022.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
Katharine: The first Plague Tale has been on my 'to play' list ever since it came out in 2019, but when Microsoft showed off that first trailer for sequel Requiem at E3 last year, it shot to the top of my backlog queue. Siblings Amicia and Hugo were a delightful warm and compassionate pair of protagonists in this grim but engrossing third-person action adventure through plague-ridden medieval France, and I'm intrigued to see what they get up to in this direct sequel.
Not only does its sunny, seemingly more Mediterranean setting look absolutely gorgeous, but I'm also keen to see how Hugo's rat-whispering powers have developed now he's a bit older. Will he be able to control that literal tidal wave of rats we saw in that reveal trailer? I really hope so, because as much as I hate rats in real life (sorry rat fans, but too many have died under my floorboards and infused my house with the smell of rotting cabbage for me to feel anything but disgust for them), I do want to see what that looks like in real-time. The rats were a technical marvel in the first game - brilliantly explored by Alex Wiltshire in his Mechanic column - and the next-gen version of 'death by rat swarm' has me morbidly intrigued.
A Space For The Unbound
Release date: 2022
Katharine: When I played the free prologue chapter of Mojiken Studio's upcoming slice of life adventure A Space For The Unbound back in 2020, it won me over instantly and I've been looking forward to playing the final game ever since. Set in rural Indonesia in the late 90s, A Space For The Unbound follows school kids Atma, Raya and Nirmala as they investigate a strange supernatural power causing havoc in their hometown. It has excellent cats and puzzles aplenty, and Atma also seems to have the curious ability to "space dive" into people's minds to find out what's bothering them. Indeed, Mojiken say this is ultimately a game "about overcoming anxiety and depression", so don't expect it to be all sunshine and roses like its laidback setting suggests. Still, if Mojiken's thoughtful and sensitive portrayal of grief in When The Past Was Around is anything to go by, this could be something really quite special.
Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora
Release date: 2022
From: Ubisoft Connect
Ollie: Look, I love Avatar. I think it's an absolutely marvellous film. It's well-trodden ground, but that doesn't stop it from being great. And that's more or less how I'm approaching the prospect of an Ubisoft-made Avatar game. Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora will be an open-world, first-person action-adventure game. We already know what we're getting ourselves into with this. It's Ubisoft. It'll be a good-looking game with a decent enough story, almost certainly drowned in map markers and side-quests.
Again, it's well-trodden ground, but there's still plenty of opportunity to do something new with the iconic world of Pandora. I, for one, really hope to see some great jungle stealth. You know in the film when we first see Neytiri up in the trees above Jake, and she readies an arrow to slay him but is stopped by a floating Woodsprite landing on her arrow? I want that. I want to be able to stealthily jump from branch to branch, from leaf to leaf, and rain hell down on the Na'vi's enemies below. The flora in Avatar is meant to be absolutely gigantic, so there should be plenty of opportunity to make use of that verticality. It'd be so good. Come onnnn. Don't let me down, Ubisoft.
Bear And Breakfast
Release date: 2022
Hayden: If Bear And Breakfast was just a cute management sim focused on running a bed and breakfast in the woods, I’d be interested. Decorating my cabin, cooking for guests, keeping them all happy with their holiday. It all just sounds lovely, doesn’t it? In Bear and Breakfast, there’s a little more to it. To renovate your cabin and make it hospitable, you’ll need to travel deep into the woods in search of supplies. As you hunt for materials, you’ll meet a quirky cast of critters and discover how Pinefall Resort fell into ruin many years ago.
Bear And Breakfast’s main loop is a blend of managing your business and exploring the woods for supplies, which is all laid back and chill. However, the trailer ends with an eerie warning: do not disturb the wildlife. As the camera flickers onto an angry fox-like creature and then cuts to black, it seems like a not-so-subtle hint that there are some strange mysteries to uncover deep in the forest. With that, I’m hooked. Or, as Hank the Bear would say, excited bear noises!
PS: I wonder if Hank and Horace would be friends? I bet Horace would take up too many rooms, being endless and all.
Alice Bee: The demo for this was so fun and cute. You cleaned up the trash in the forest to exchange for goods as a form of currency. Isn’t that cool? Yes, it is. I’m excited to spend more time arranging tasteful furnishings in my cabins, and also building a shower that isn’t just a tub with a hose attached. Plus: I admire games that take such a literal approach to their title.
Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly
Release date: 2022
Katharine: The first Coffee Talk was one of my favourite games of 2020, so when developers Toge Productions announced they were making a second episode / standalone expansion of this chill, café-based visual novel, I celebrated by making a steaming cuppa and downing it in one (and my throat hasn't been the same since). In truth, we don't know much about where Hibiscus & Butterfly will go just yet, but it looks like we'll be visited by a bunch of new and interesting fantasy creatures in this late-night corner of an alternate present-day Seattle, and I'm hopeful it will explore some of the cliffhanger story threads hinted at in the first game too. As long as the original composer Andrew Jeremy's onboard to cook up more lo-fi beats to brew to, I'll be happy.
Company Of Heroes 3
Release date: 2022
Katharine: Strategy games have always been a bit of a blindspot for me. I've dabbled, but never properly bitten the bullet, you know? But seeing as it's a new year and all, one of my New Year resolutions is to make a concerted dent on this behemoth of a genre, and Company Of Heroes 3 is 100% on my 2022 hit list. I never quite got round to playing the alpha build last year, but Nate's preview had me hooked. The Mediterranean setting of this WW2 RTS gives the whole thing a lovely splash of colour, and it looks like there will be plenty of different tactical avenues to explore thanks to the open-ended nature of its campaign maps. Plus, seeing as most of my recent RTS diet has consisted of Desperados 3, Desperados 3 and more Desperados 3, I think Company Of Heroes 3's new tactical pause feature and I will end up getting along swimmingly. Sign me up, sarge.
Cult Of The Lamb
Release date: 2022
Ed: Devolver’s been on a roll lately, what with Inscryption and Death’s Door being very good games. And they look to continue said roll with Cult Of The Lamb, a game that’s a bit cursed Animal Crossing, a bit action RPG. You play as a possessed lamb that’s been saved from annihilation by a mysterious stranger. To repay the debt, you must build a following in his name. And so your cult activities begin. You perform dark rituals, explore a randomly generated world and do quests. It’s simultaneously cute as heck and incredibly dark, with an art style you’d see on an expensive pencil case. Gimme gimme.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
Release date: February 22nd 2022
Alice0: Savathûn has been the most delightful of Destiny's adversaries, even while operating mostly in the background with her stories mostly told in lore books, always playful and curious while pursuing her own goals. Her introduction as a velvet-voiced charmer in Season of the Lost, well, hello there Savathûn. Someone had to take responsibility for instilling the next generation with a strange fondness for women who might murder them, and Bungie stepped up. I hope we don't have to murder her, like we did her nerd brother. She's such a delightful presence telling one-sided truths and pulling strings. Savathûn has spent millennia building a paracausal Heath Robinson contraption and is very pleased with herself, barely able to contain her excitement for you to see what she's done. I'm very happy for her; I hope the final phase of her plan is not an alarm clock ringing to startle a cat to pull an iron off a shelf and split reality like an egg.
Beyond the few days I'll spend playing the story campaign (though I will gladly return to replay it on the new hard mode), yeah, I'm keen to see how Bungie's latest shake-up plays out. A new melee weapon, a reworking of Void classes, oodles of balance tweaks... yeah man, I'm ready for a fresh year of Destiny. This one has dragged, with Witch Queen being delayed by the pandemic, and I'm up for newness—though I fear the game will once again feel a bit empty at first again after yet more stuff goes into the Destiny Content Vault.
Distant Worlds 2
Release date: March 10th 2022
Alice0: Every year brings a few games whose complexity is beyond my ken but creates stories I adore hearing. This year, I hope Distant Worlds 2 will be one of those games. Both Adam and Sin have raved about the Distant Worlds: Universe across the years, detailing the complexity of 4X space strategy game simulated universe, the many moving parts which rely on and effect each other. The mechanisms of an Eve-like MMO, but with AI filling in all the roles. I have enjoyed reading about it, nodding my head, saying, "That sounds amazing," to myself, then absolutely not playing it. I'd like to think that might change with Distant Worlds 2 but, well, at the very least I hope to hear about it.
Release date: 2022
Hayden: If 2022 is set to be another year of flitting between my desk chair and sofa, then I’ll need games like Dordogne. This narrative adventure is split between two timelines: present Mimi explores her dead grandmother’s house and solves some puzzles, while past Mimi wanders around Dordogne and makes a scrapbook. As she explores, Mimi can take photos, capture sounds and find objects to document in her journal. It’s that second part I’m most interested in. Not only does it sound extremely relaxing (learning how to relax is definitely on my to-do list in 2022), but the watercolour recreation of Southern France is astonishingly beautiful. I don’t feel comfortable hopping on a plane just yet, but Dordogne will hopefully help my brain escape this bedroffice for a moment or two.
Katharine: I'm also extremely here for Dordogne's lovely watercolour work. Gorgeous stuff.
Release date: February 25th 2022
Ed: I was pretty blown away by the closed network test last year, so you bet I’m excited for Miyazaki and George R. R. Martin’s wombo combo. The way it veered from classic, claustrophobic Souls to open world Elden Ring left a deep impression on me. It felt like an exciting future for the series and I’m curious to see just how far the map stretches when all is installed and done. Will it be able to hold itself together and form a cohesive whole? Still, I can’t help but sense strong GOTY energy radiating from this one.
Alice0: I've been avoiding Elden Ring as much as is possible within this line of work (not much, sadly) because I am so keen to see its secrets, surprises, and wacky deathtraps for myself.
Katharine: Will this finally be a FromSoft game I'm not terrible at? Chances are slim, but hey, I'm ready to be proven wrong. Let me discover your secrets, Elden Ring, I beg you...
FAR: Changing Tides
Katharine: FAR: Lone Sails was one of the most brilliant, bite-sized delights of 2018, so more FAR gets a big thumbs up from me. Whereas the first game saw you pootling through a dried up, post-apocalyptic seabed in a giant red train/truck/sailboat contraption, Changing Tides will see you take to the ocean properly. We haven't seen much of how Okomotive will be building on the environmental puzzles of the first FAR just yet, but we do know Changing Tides will feature a new protagonist and a new, flooded world that will see you battling fierce storms and even diving deep beneath the surface as you continue your way east. Whatever challenges it brings, I'm ready for 'em.
Release date: May 25th 2022
Katharine: The Luminous Productions making Forspoken may not be made up of quite the same people who made Final Fantasy XV, but cor, I love that you can still tell this is a Luminous RPG, you know? There's a texture to this fantasy landscape that instantly calls to mind the jagged, eye-drawing horizons of Eos, only here it looks like we'll have a lot more fun traversing it thanks to protagonist Frey's springy super legs and natty grapple hook. The way she leaps and bounds across rooftops and scales rock faces in an instant like some sort of invincible mountain goat have me itching to try it out for myself, and I hope she feels as good to control as she does to look at onscreen. I have high hopes for her magic powers, too, after the spectacular elemental lightshows of old Noctis and co. Fingers crossed it also has an interesting story to match its lovely visuals.
Release date: 2022
Alice0: I'm still not sure what shape the horror FPS from Tango Gameworks will take, but their two The Evil Within games had some cracking horror and fun violence so yep, I'm up for more. I like how colourful it looks too, mashing weird monsters on the streets of Tokyo. Not sure what it is; do want to know.
Granblue Fantasy: Relink
Release date: 2022
Ed: I have zero knowledge of the Granblue extended universe but I’ve followed this JRPG’s development over the last couple of years. Namely, because I’d heard that Cygames and PlatinumGames were working on it together. Being a sucker for Platinum’s flashy combat, I was all-in, basically. Their partnership came to a mysterious end in 2019, with Cygames taking over full responsibility, but I’m still on board. The game has a dash of Tales of Arise about it, with fast, fluid combat and a gorgeous anime world. Yet Relink seems like it holds something more? From the gameplay I’ve seen over the years, the animations and exploration seem more dynamic than Tales. I don’t know, it just has an air of charm about it that’s hooked me in. Here’s hoping it turns out okay.
Have A Nice Death
Release date: March 2022 (early access)
Ollie: Have A Nice Death has me very excited indeed. What a splendid idea for a roguelite. You are Death, founder and CEO of the corporation that handles all things death and afterlife. But you're also experiencing severe burnout after millennia of hard work, and your employees have started to run rampant, leaving you no choice but to cancel your holiday plans and sort them out the old-fashioned way.
It looks incredibly stylish and quirky, with a beautifully smooth animation style and fast-paced movement and combat reminiscent of Dead Cells (no wonder, given that Dead Cells' Sébastien Bénard is helping out with the development). I'm most looking forward to how developers Magic Design Studios root the mechanics in the world they've created. From what they've said so far, it sounds like they'll do a great job here. I mean, just listen: "Taking more power for yourself is a controversial move in Death Incorporated’s company culture. For instance, adopting a Curse upgrade for yourself might result in the Labor Inspector granting your subordinates enhanced powers, or worse, raising the cost of koffee and other items that are vital to your work output". Fabulous.
Katharine: Homeworld is another one of those big, beloved strategy games that I've always looked at fondly from afar, but never quite built up the courage to earn my space wings. However, the most recent trailer at The Game Awards last year has convinced me that 2022 is the year I'm finally going to dip my toes into this sci-fi RTS, because cor, those space battles sure do look amazing.
Alice0: I'm also excited to see what 19 years of technological advances have done for those iconic ship trails.
Little Kitty, Big City
Release date: TBA
James: In addition to the game where you play as a warmongering superhuman religious fanatic (see below), I'm also interested in the game where you play as a cat. Someone at Double Dagger Studio evidently realised that felines are, in fact, the perfect video game protagonists: they’re intelligent, independent, and are pretty much expected to perform bizarre acts of chaos for fun. We all sneer at the ridiculousness of Solid Snake earnestly jumping in a cardboard box, but when a cat does it? Phones out, oh that’s so cute, do it again in a different box etc, etc.
Little Kitty, Big City does apparently have a “get back home” narrative, but you can tell from the first trailer it makes plenty of time for you just potter about, doing cat things. Stealing fish, pouncing on objects that clearly aren’t alive, slinking into places you shouldn’t and so on. It appeals to every part of my brain that, when I’ve looked at my own cat, has thought, “Lucky bugger, not having human responsibilities.” And for that, I want it.
Rebecca: 2022 is looking like a banner year if you want to play a game with a cat protagonist doing fun and cute cat things, but don't want to actually romance the cats. (That's at least one sub-genre of dating sim I haven't been won over to yet.) Little Kitty, Big City plus Stray and maybe even Peace Island if we're good — this could be the year of cat-centric adventure games, and I'm here for it.
Katharine: As another resident cat parent on the team, I'm also very much looking forward to both this and Stray. Good video game cats are finally getting their due!
Full disclosure: Little Kitty, Big City includes creative work by Philippa Warr (RPS in peace), who used to commission James back when he was a starving freelancer. But he liked cats before he knew Pip, so uh, yeah.
Marvel's Midnight Suns
Release date: Second half of 2022
Alice0: I am well up for a new turn-based tactical game from the studio behind XCOM. They basically already made a superhero game with XCOM 2's War Of The Chosen expansion so I'm curious to see how daft things might get with actual superheroes. Large parts of Midnight Suns look familiar, but they're shaking it up with cards for abilities and other bits and yeah, I'm curious. While I haven't returned to XCOM: Chimera Squad after finishing it, unlike the two main games, I enjoyed how it pushed familiar aspects in new directions. I want to see what they're doing now.
Katharine: I'm no Marvel buff, but I too am intrigued to see how well the beefcakes I've seen at the cinema gel with tactical XCOM fare. Superheroes aren't known for waiting their turn to dropkick enemies into the tarmac, but everything I've seen so far looks pretty damn fine. I'm also keen to see just how Persona-y the Abbey bits are when you're hanging out with fellow supes in your downtime between missions. Because a tactical RPG superhero game that also takes the best bits from Firaxis and Atlus? Now that's something I've gotta see.
Men Of War 2
Release date: 2022
Katharine: Continuing my odyssey into the realm of the big strategy giants, Men Of War 2 also has my interest well and truly piqued. While we don’t know exactly when it's coming out yet (I may have had my fill of WW2 RTS games if it ends up launching anywhere near Company Of Heroes 3, for example), Men Of War 2 does at least have its nifty-looking Direct Vision feature to help set it apart. This lets players assume direct control of individual soldiers and units from a first-person viewpoint, allowing you to get up close and personal with its impressive looking battlegrounds. If nothing else, I want to see who wins the war of the best WW2-themed strategy game this year. Men Of War 2, or Company Of Heroes 3.
Release date: Q2 2022
Alice0: This summer, I swam down a mile-and-a-half of the River Tweed. Walked up the riverside path, ate a nice lunch, chatted with pals, splashed about a bit and dove off a nice big rock, then drifted, stumbled, and swam back down to the starting point. So, I'm glad someone is making a new video game based on my life (the first being, of course, Streets Of Rage). Naiad is a gentle-looking game about a water spirit swimming down a river: enjoying the sights, befriending animals, maybe solving some gentle puzzles. Then I assume when she reaches the end, she puts on a leather jacket, eats an entire chicken from a bin, and starts punching punks.
Release date: 2022 (early access)
Ollie: From former BioWare devs comes Nightingale, a survival crafting game set in a fantasy world known as the Fae Realms. Except that's not where you've come from. You actually hail from a much more Victorian-inspired world connected to the Fae Realms (and presumably many others) via an arcane portal network. But with the sudden collapse of that network, you become stranded in the Fae Realms, and must act quickly to survive amid its many fantastical and horrifying dangers.
The clash of worlds and inspirations gives Nightingale a lot of scope for creativity, and we've already seen some fantastic enemy design from its reveal trailer at The Game Awards 2021. I'm particularly looking forward to the first time I get jump-scared out of my skin while chopping a tree that turns out to be a massive sentient jumble of roots and bark that, understandably, took issue with my burying an axe deep into its sternum. Overall though I'm really looking forward to a shared world survival crafting game with high production values and a good creative vision. I don't expect this game to reinvent the wheel, I'm just looking for a creepy, fascinating, dangerous world to get lost in for a while with my friends. Oh, and good weather. Valheim made me realise just how much I like it when a survival game gets rain right. Please, Nightingale, rain on me.
Release date: 2022
Alice Bee: One of those games that I wouldn’t be surprised to see delayed a wee bit, Park Beyond is a very ambitious business management sim. It aims to be just as fun for people who like pouring over quarterly earnings reports and tweaking how far the park toilets are from the drinks stands to find optimum Time To Piss windows, and those who like making really pretty fun parks, rollercoaster, fairytale theme, big giant donut, wheeee! This is a very difficult circle to square, and developers Limbic have talked about their "impossification" theme – that is, making rides frikkin’ gravity defying monstrosities that I would have nightmares about. I’m into it, in theory, and really hope it works in practise.
Planet Of Lana
Release date: 2022
Ollie: I hadn't heard of Planet Of Lana before its trailer came up in the 2021 Game Awards, but it's certainly on my radar now. We don't know too much yet about the story that Planet Of Lana will tell, but it's an entirely hand-painted adventure about a girl and her adorable curly-tailed creature companion, whose vibrant world is suddenly invaded by cold and calculating machines. Perhaps it's reductive to pick easy comparisons within the side-scrolling platformer genre, but my initial thought was that it took the scale and soul of Ori And The Blind Forest, and combined it with the more sedate, careful approach of something like the Oddworld games, or one of Playdead's eerie platformers. A game where it's less about button-mashing, and more about puzzle-solving and running away from threats. It looks jaw-droppingly beautiful, and I can't wait to get lost in this fragile, threatened world.
Katharine: I love me a good Ori-like, and Planet Of Lana couldn't be more up my street. I need to play it this instant.
Release date: Summer 2022
From: Game Pass
Alice Bee: The age of the big concept Left-4-likes continues. Redfall is Arkane’s play for the co-op team shooter, which means it’s a bit more sexy and goth than the other options available. Details are scant, but it’s set in an open world, the bad guys are big giant vampires who are blocking out the sun a la an episode of The Simpsons, and the player character cast is diverse. They have cool weird powers like telekinesis, or a robot pal, or they’re like... a ghost sharpshooter? I don’t know, but it’s cool. One of them is like, a cryptozoologist YouTuber. It all resonates a bit more with a millennial like myself, you know? Like, souped up Goosebumps where people swear and have big guns. Yes please, show me more.
Alice0: I've been waiting for a new FPS which calls the laaads together for good times and tomfoolery; I'd be very pleased if it were an Arkane game.
Katharine: Replaced was easily my standout game from E3 last year, and wowzer, every time I watch that trailer I just get more excited to see it in action. Its pixel art is just HNNNGH, I mean look at it. Look. At. It. Stunning. That lighting? Perfection. And those fight scenes? Beautiful. Gorgeous. KAPOW. I want to play it this instant and find out exactly what's going on in this alternate 1980s post-apocalypse. At E3 we were told we'd be playing as R.E.A.C.H, an AI trapped inside a human body against its will. We'll also be digging into the murky underbelly of Phoenix City to root out corrupt overlords, and man oh man, I need to play this with every fibre of my being. I just hope it feels as brilliant under the thumbs as it is to look at.
Release date: February 15th 2022
From: Epic Games Store
Ollie: Rumbleverse is a silly, goofy, and somehow utterly brilliant melee battle royale. The object, as always, is to be the last player standing, but here there's a distinct lack of guns, and a surplus of bodyslams, suplexes, and bashing each other with traffic signs ripped from the ground.
Just before 2021 came to a close, I had the chance to play a couple hours of Rumbleverse and was astonished to discover that it was some of the most fun I've ever had in a battle royale. It strikes a balance between absurdity and logic, with a deep and rewarding combat system and plenty of opportunity to come back from the brink of death to create a heroic comeback story that you can talk about with friends afterwards. Rumbleverse is, as of the time of writing, absolutely the game I'm most looking forward to playing in 2022.
Release date: August 23rd 2022
From: Epic Games Store
Alice Bee: Aside from my vague annoyance that we’ll have to save this game in the website system as Saints Row (2022), a reboot of Volition’s most successful series wouldn’t go amiss. It sounds like it’s going to wind back some of the over-the-top weaponised-dildo wackiness of the later entries in this crime RPG action romp, which I’m okay with. Although in interviews and promo stuff the dev team are at extreme pains to be like, "it still has insurance fraud in it, dw!!!". It’s a new cast of characters in a new place, building a crime empire from the bottom and taking out rival gangs. You know, the Saints Row deal. The bit I’m most interested in is the setting, a big weird playground called Santo Ileso. It looks big, and weird, and like a fun playground. That’s three ticks right there.
Alice0: Yeah, I think they're not really sure how to market this one. Different people have grown attached to different parts of Saints Row across the years and I get the feeling the marketing gang are a bit hazy on how to work with that. I think the way they're doing it works for me: I want a slightly sillier GTA with good character customisation and dress-up options.
Release date: Early 2022
Katharine: Having heard developers Spiral Circus talk about the weird and wonderful inspirations behind Silt at EGX last year, I am very much looking forward to discovering more of its watery, monochrome secrets later this year. I've already played the opening 20 minutes of this mysterious deep-sea diving puzzle adventure, and I can safely say that fans of Limbo and Inside will want to keep an eye out for this one. As well as paddling through the murky depths avoiding all manner of deadly aquatic wildlife, you also possess the curious ability to transfer your soul into this fishy friends and use their unique abilities to help you progress. A piranha chomp here, a hammerhead shark bash there… You get the drift, and I'm excited to see what else Spiral Circus have in store for us. In short, I'm hooked.
Release date: 2022
Ed: I’m all for an emotional rollercoaster, and sci-fi adventure Somerville looks set to make me weep openly. You play as a bloke trying to “make his family whole again” amid a large-scale conflict. Trailers show moments of quiet as you glide over planets in your spaceship, soaring orchestral music, and lots of running away from things. There’s also a dog, which can only signal a crushing moment of loss.
Not to mention that this is being developed by Jumpship, whose co-founder is Dino Patti of Playdead and Inside fame. It certainly hits similar beats, so fingers crossed this is just as good, if not better, than the dark puzzle-platformer of yore.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart Of Chernobyl
Alice0: I have more reasons to be cynical about S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 than I do fingers on my hands, and that's after I gained a few fingers in a mutation (though later lost several to an anomaly). And yet, new S.T.A.L.K.E.R., man! New S.T.- alright stuff that, new Stalker! The originals are still an astonishing experience so I want to believe. And Stalker 2 will be on Game Pass, so it won't be expensive to gawp.
Alice0: I do not like Bethesda's model of open-world RPG. The Elder Scrolls and its post-apocalyptic reskin, Fallout, feel empty and boring to me, worlds lovingly crammed full of pointless and uninteresting quests and locations. I slightly hope that Starfield will be something quite different, casting off the model they've been recycling for years. They could make something remarkable! But my interest is this: even if Starfield does turn out to be Just Another Bethesda Game, they say it'll have their usual mod support, and I am endlessly fascinated and delighted by the work of Bethgame modders. I'm very keen to see what they might create with a whole new sci-fi setting to play in. I mean, beyond the near-inevitable attempts to remake Oblivion and Fallout: New Vegas once again.
Release date: Early 2022
Alice Bee: This game is out soon and I cannot wait. In real life I am terrible at looking after plants. We were allowed to expensive a plant for our desks at the office, and I got on that “handles neglect well” on purpose. I have made houseplants out of yarn because they will never die. In Strange Horticulture, a weird occult puzzle game and/or plant shop mystery life sim, I am master of many leafy shelves. Everywhere I look there are differently shaped buds, strange smelling flowers or suggestively luminous fungi. Each must be catalogued; each examined against the descriptions and uses in my tome of odd plants. From the demo and preview builds, this is a very meditative, lovely game for the sort of person who likes carefully writing labels by hand and affixing them to things. And also there is a murder mystery and a cult in there. That too. Excellent.
Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
Release date: March 18th 2022
From: Epic Games Store
Ed: I've weighed it all up and yeah, I'd like to kill chaos. Especially as it's Team Ninja and Final Fantasy VII Remake devs who've set me this mission, marrying action RPG Nioh's deep combat with Final Fantasy's storied universe. While I often adore FF's largely turn-based battles and their takes on real-time skirmishes, I'm an impatient individual. When I've got to grind out a few levels, or whittle down a boss for what seems like an age, my teeth start to grit. In Stranger Of Paradise, I can finally fulfil my fantasy: just smash and crash my way through anything that grants me EXP. Chaos, I am coming for you.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
Release date: March 25th 2022
From: Epic Games Store
Ed: Definitely one for me and the pals, this. Like many Borderlands fans, I thought Tiny Tina’s Assault On Dragon Keep DLC was a corker. It was inventive and surprising, with terrible jokes and a hint of DND about it. So to have an entire game spun off Tiny Tina’s unhinged DND campaigns could be a real treat. The Borderlands lootathon formula remains, only with a fantasy twist. You use guns, yes, but also swords and bows and axes. Should keep me co-oping in 2022.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me
Release date: 2022
Rebecca: As a huge fan of all things Dark Pictures, I'm undeterred in my enthusiasm for 2022's title either by the lack of details on the release date, or by the fact that we've only seen about 90 seconds of footage so far. After all, that initial teaser revealed that this year's big guest star is Jessie Buckley, who I have an established crush on and, more importantly, whose character's identity I think I've already figured out thanks to being a nitpicking little nerd who obsessively notes all the clues to future games that crop up in Easter eggs throughout the series. If Ms Buckley is playing who I think she's playing, I'll be riding those I-was-right endorphins for months, even though it's highly likely nobody except me will notice or care one way or the other.
The apparent premise of The Devil in Me admittedly didn't grab me quite so immediately as the three prior games in the anthology. A Saw-style serial killer and body horror with corpse puppets is, to be honest, the gruesome sub-genre I usually turn away from in favour of a good psychological thriller, ghost story, or creature feature. But Dark Pictures games are known for their shocking twists, and while players are often divided over whether said twists are actually any good or not, one thing I'm sure of here is that we haven't seen nearly the full picture in those 90 seconds. My money's on surprise werewolves, but we'll have to wait and see. Just hopefully not for too long.
Total War: Warhammer 3
Katharine: I wasn't kidding about getting properly into strategy games this year, honest. I must admit, this is the one I'm the most intimidated by. I mean, I've spent HOURS watching armies duke it out in Warhammer II's benchmark, so that must count for something, right? In any case, I'm excited to finally dip my toes into this massive series, even though I fully expect all the actual Warhammer stuff to go straight over my head. While we wait, I'm going to be reading up on Nate's excellent faction analysis.
Disclosure: Former RPS co-founder Alec Meer (RPS in peace) has been writing for Total Warhammer 3, and Nate (also RPS in peace) writes for Games Workshop's publishing arm Black Library, albeit in the Warhammer 40K camp.
Trek To Yomi
From: Steam, Game Pass
Ed: Come on, just look at it. Trek To Yomi oozes the style of classic samurai films and captures their spectacle. Backdrops for sword clashes look gorgeous, not to mention exploration in general, which takes you trotting through eery mines, burning markets, and vast forests. I'm confident this won't be "just another game set in Feudal Japan". Again, just look at it.
Disclosure: RPS co-founder Alec Meer (RPS in peace) is the writer on Trek To Yomi.
Two Point Campus
Release date: 2022
Hayden: Oh man, I feel silly. For years, I’ve shied away from Two Point Hospital because the sheer mention of hospitals gives me anxiety. I didn’t even watch a trailer. But when Two Point Campus was announced, I knew this was for me. I’ve always been interested in school sims (as a kid, I’d spend hours teaching and managing my pupils in Imagine Teacher) and now I’ll discover why Two Point Hospital was so beloved in a setting that I can stomach. Everything looks suitably weird as well. Instead of math and English, the pupils are attending Knight School and Gastronomy. That seems like a big tonal shift away from serious medical procedures and anxiety-inducing hospitals?
Again, I feel very silly because, well, Two Point Hospital is very silly. Sigh. Why did no one tell me the patients all have wacky diseases like Cubism and 8-bitten instead of deadly viruses and serious infections!? It’s safe to say I’ve now fallen in love with the wacky nature of the Two Point franchise and can’t wait to dive into Campus later this year. In the meantime, I’m excited that I can finally try out Two Point Hospital without sinking into a state of panic.
ValiDate: Struggling Singles In Your Area
Rebecca: I only started paying attention to visual novels and dating sims relatively recently, but since then every year has brought at least one new indie title weird enough to pique my interest. ValiDate: Struggling Singles in Your Area is 2022's promising prospect. ValiDate has a few quirks right off the bat: instead of creating a character, you pick who to play as from the game's 13 protagonists, with the other 12 then acting as your NPC romance options. All of your potential dates have a sense of their sexual identity as well, and might reject the avatar you've chosen if they don't match their preferences, instead of being obligingly player-oriented.
The thing that really makes ValiDate stand out for me, though, are the personalities on display. I have a long and storied history of falling hard for video game characters, particularly in visual novels where characterisation is placed front-and-centre. The singles in ValiDate, though, are something else; namely, they are awful - as evidenced by their toe-curlingly accurate Tinder-style bios that dress up each of their least appealing traits in a way that makes it clear they think themselves sound charming. From obvious clinginess to a deep cynicism precluding all attempts at forming a genuine connection, these are more like people you might actually meet on a dating app than the tropey, idealised husbandos and waifus the genre is known for. I'm expecting some redeeming qualities to emerge over the course of their character arcs, but honestly, if they all stay hot messes from start to finish, I won't complain either. Why not try the free demo while we wait?
Anything with “Vampire The Masquerade” in the title
Release date: May 2022 (Swansong), Spring 2022 (Bloodhunt & Sins of the Sires), TBA (Bloodlines 2)
From: Epic Games Store (Swansong), Steam (Bloodhunt), Steam (Sins of the Sires), Steam (Bloodlines 2)
Rebecca: Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines is my favourite game of all time, and despite the increasing outdatedness layered over the original bedrock of jank, I've replayed it nearly every year since 2004. But in the intervening 17 years (wait, it's been how long?!) since its release, I've become a huge fan of all things VTM, and I know now that there's a lot more to that world than just Bloodlines. I can't really complain that I'm sitting here in agony waiting for Bloodlines 2 news when both Swansong and the full release of Bloodhunt are so close I can taste the O-negative, with Sins of the Sires (the fourth chapter in Choice of Games' text-based series) following close behind.
I want to shout out Swansong in a bit more detail here because I am so unironically excited for it — not just because it's a VTM title, but because it's made by Big Bad Wolf Studios, the devs behind The Council. Their eclectic lite-RPG debut was one of my top games of 2018, and I was thrilled to learn that their follow-up would take place in my favourite World of Darkness setting. It's bound to be weird, and probably not to everyone's tastes — especially those whose hearts are set on Bloodlines 2 — but I for one am extremely hyped for this one in its own right.
Alice Bee: I am really interested to see if we find anything out about Bloodlines 2 this year. That has been a saga - some promising hands-off previews, interviews, then suddenly key team members (including Brian Mitsoda, who is Mr. Bloodlines) being let go and everything going quiet. Bloodlines 2 is apparently being worked on, but by whomst, and in what form, we do not know. It’s going to make one hell of a ‘The Oral History Of...’ article one day.
Disclosure: Cara Ellison, who used to write for RPS, was also working on Bloodlines 2 before leaving the project in September 2020.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2
Release date: TBA
James: I love it when games come back from the dead, and once THQ shup up shop, any possible Space Marine sequel seemed as cold and stiff as they come. And yet, a decade after the stompy, shooty, original, Space Marine 2 lives. And it’s got Titus in it!
Development duties have switched to Saber Interactive, which is fine by me: their take on World War Z is far better than a game-of-a-film-of-a-book has any right to be, so they clearly know their way around punchy gunplay and horde enemy design. A fine fit indeed for 40K’s bolters and Tyranids. It also sounds like Titus will be doing some planet-hopping this time around, which should make a nice change from the purely industrial Forge World setting of the first game. Well, maybe not “nice”. But a few different shades of grim won’t hurt.
Alice0: I hope we finally meet Spice Maureen this time.
Release date: March 31st 2022
Katharine: A new immersive sim from the former creative director of Dishonored? Say no more. I'm in. Seriously, everything I've read about Weird West so far just sounds delightful. I love a good western, and Weird West's stylish take on supernatural cowboys and the eldritch horrors the great outdoors looks like it's going to be right up my street. It's a shame it got delayed a bit, but a slip from January to March isn't too bad in the grand scheme of things. I sure it will be worth the wait.
And the rest...
As I mentioned above, there are simply too many cool and exciting new games to list them all here. We'd honestly be here all day. But rest assured, the likes of:
- Arc Raiders
- Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
- Cursed To Golf
- Diplomacy Is Not An Option
- Dune: Spice Wars
- Dying Light 2: Stay Human
- El Paso, Elsewhere
- Endling: Extinction Is Forever
- Goodbye Volcano High
- Gotham Knights
- Loco Motive
- Oxenfree II: Lost Signals
- Read Only Memories: Neurodiver
- Sea Of Stars
- Slime Rancher 2
- Sonic Frontiers
- Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League
- The Lord Of The Rings: Gollum
- Thirsty Suitors
- Wizard With A Gun
...are all things we've got our greedy, beady eyes on as well.
And if there are still more games that have escaped our notice, do tell us about what you're most looking forward to playing this year in the comments below. Based on everything we've listed above, I reckon 2022 might just be a pretty great year for PC games, and a banner year for strategy games in particular. Here's hoping none of those release dates slip into 2023...