Hey there! Yes, I know, it’s been a while. It turns out that my overly-optimistic plan to continue my weekly posts during a home move was, well, just that – overly-optimistic. However, I’m relatively settled now, and we’re gonna get back into the swing of things with a collaboration post!
Below, several contributors have each picked one or two games we are particularly excited for, and briefly explained exactly why they’re on our radar – and why, perhaps, they should be on yours too! Thanks to everyone who joined me for this: you might recognise the names of Ashley Harrison, Jordan Senior, and Stephen Brown from other posts, and I’ve also been joined by fellow bloggers Meghan Plays Games and Frostilyte – make sure you take a look at their amazing sites too. Right then, enough waiting; in alphabetical order, let’s get into it!
Stephen Brown: Finally! After first being announced back in 2017, we have news about the long-anticipated Bayonetta 3. This will be the third game in the series, and looks to be just as spectacular as its
predecessors. I loved the previous two instalments of the franchise; the hack-and-slash gameplay paired with an intricate storyline makes for an entertaining time, with the fabulous Bayonetta right at the centre of it all. While we know little to nothing about the plot of Bayonetta 3, we can expect many twists, turns, and even time travel at the heart of the story. What we do know is that the battle mechanics have been improved and look better than ever. The jumps, spins, and kicks are so smooth, allowing you to perfectly time your attacks on your enemies and send them flying across the stage.
Additionally, it looks like summoning giant demons for big finishing moves will no longer consist of just rapidly pressing a button. From the footage, it appears that our demonic friends will now be more engaging and integrated into our fights, as we control them around the area and use certain moves to deal big damage to our enemies. I look forward to seeing more of this mechanic and being in control of when to unleash these beasts. The enemies we see in the trailer seem to be different from the usual angels and demons we have battled in previous games. They have an almost otherworldly sense, one that sits outside of the established Trinity of Realities in the game. Perhaps they are from an entirely new reality all together! Either way, I can’t wait to find out who they are, where they come from, and how our protagonist got herself involved with them. After the events of the previous games, it’s hard to imagine which direction the game will go; much is still not known about Bayonetta 3, but with a tentative release date of 2022, I’m sure we will learn much more about the game in the months to come.
Meghan Plays Games: If you’ve watched any kind of video game presentation over the past two years, you probably noticed the live chat flooded with comments like “ELDEN RING??” “Are we getting Elden Ring news?” “Elden Ring trailer??” Fans of FromSoftware (the studio behind Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice) and newcomers alike were desperate for information behind the game that was announced in 2019. A more in-depth trailer finally dropped this year, and boy, does it look like a wild ride. It’s undeniable that FromSoft has a style, and they’re sticking to it – their prowess in crafting medieval fantasy settings and stories is legendary, and this game looks just as compelling. With the added celebrity power of George R.R. Martin (if you’re secretly three raccoons in a trench coat, and not on the up-and-up of pop culture, he’s the author behind A Game of Thrones) this game should be a hit. While I’m not especially interested in Mr. Martin, I’m a massive FromSoft fan, and happy to play anything they create. I’m not looking for Elden Ring to feel like Dark Souls 4, but I’m expecting similar themes and motifs – poison swamp, anyone? – and their trademark visual aesthetic.
Of course, I’m also obligated to mention the expected degree of challenge, which will make it impossible to avoid comparisons to their previous work. Regardless, I’m hoping for a fresh experience, as this is easily my most anticipated release of next year. I can’t wait to play it. I feel like this is an easy buy for fans of the Souls series, but more importantly, it’s a great opportunity for newcomers to experience this style. Because of the emphasis on narrative, and allegedly a “more manageable difficulty,” Elden Ring is looking like a less intimidating title to get new players exposed to FromSoftware’s brilliant game design. Right off the bat, I’m intrigued by the open-world format. The Souls series, while having some flexibility in the order in which areas become accessible, were more-or-less linear games. Though open-world titles have become more ubiquitous in recent years, I’m excited to see the FromSoftware take, as their level design has consistently blown me away with its intricacy. The trailer has already shown off some stunning enemies and bosses, beautiful environments, and a personal favourite element for me – an animal companion. Though the game was recently pushed back from its January release to the end of February, I’m content to wait for what I’m hoping will be a phenomenal experience. I’m expecting bleakness; I’m expecting sadness, death, darkness, tragedy, trials, tribulations – and I am 100%, whole-heartedly here for all of it.
God of War: Ragnarok
Meghan Plays Games: I know I’m not alone on this one. The highly anticipated follow up to 2018’s God of War – which just so happened to be Game of the Year – is coming out in 2022, and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve been this hyped for a sequel in a long time. Though God of War wasn’t even on my radar back when it released, I played it on a whim, and its become one of my favourite games of all time; the combat, the story, the music – it’s about as close to perfect as it gets for me personally. I have high hopes for Ragnarok, as it has a lot to live up to.
The first real trailer gave us some insight into the shape of this next leg of the journey – years have passed, and winter has settled in. Atreus is a moody teenager, and I’m not ready for it. I have a long list of things I’m looking for from this title (as I’m sure most of the fanbase does) including fine-tuning the combat, the return of old characters, more areas to explore (hopefully Asgard and Vanaheim are open to us!), some epic boss fights, and most importantly, answers to some of the mysteries raised by the first game. Especially, you know, the big cliffhanger one. If you’re new to the series, there’s still plenty of time to go back to God of War (2018) and play through before the sequel drops – and I can’t recommend it enough. You don’t need to be a diehard fan of the series to get behind Kratos and Atreus, take it from me. I was in tears by the end of the original game, and I’m hopeful this upcoming title will be just as impactful – bring on Ragnarok!
Ashley Harrison: Oh hey, Ash is writing about The Gunk, what a surprise! Let’s be honest, on a list of games we’re looking forward to, this was always going to be one that I’d end up writing about. I’ve made it no secret in previous Let’s Chat articles that The Gunk was genuinely one of the reasons I decided to get an Xbox Series X over a PS5, despite having always owned Sony’s consoles in previous generations. I’m a huge fan of developer Image & Form’s previous SteamWorld games, however The Gunk is something far removed from the 2D Metroidvania and Turn-Based Shooter games we’ve seen from them before. The jump to a 3D, seemingly Super Mario Sunshine-esque platformer is something that immediately caught my eye upon the very first reveal trailer, and I’ve been wanting to play the game ever since.
The game sees the player control Rani who, alongside her partner Beck, visit an alien planet in an attempt to find resources that they can use back home on their own planet, only instead they find nothing but gunk (hence the title) and corrupted monsters as a result. Using her equipped power glove, Rani can suck in the gunk to restore the planet to its former beauty, and then scan the environment and wildlife to learn more about the planet they’ve landed on. From the small amount of gameplay that we’ve seen thus far, the post-gunk removal planet is visually stunning, and I’m definitely hoping that come release in December there’s a photo mode, because I know I’d definitely be using that a lot. Oh, and it’s on Game Pass on Day One (though this is one I’ll definitely be buying anyway), so there’s even more reason to give it a try.
Hollow Knight: Silksong
Frostilyte: It’d be remiss of me to not include Silksong, which has sat atop my most anticipated games list for awhile now. Similar to Hollow Knight, Silksong is a Metroidvania, meaning it is a platforming game with a strong emphasis on exploration. I’m hopeful that Silksong features the same kind of level design as its predecessor because this subgenre is infamous for losing players in maze-like levels. To combat this, Hollow Knight featured true non-linear design with multiple viable paths for players to take forward. This led to far fewer players becoming stuck, and more time was spent on actual exploration instead of slugging it through areas the player has already combed through. If this kind of level design is once again implemented in Silksong, then I’m sure it will become an instant classic too.
However, the single biggest change that I’m excited for is the new main character. Where you played as a vessel in the previous game, you play as Hornet in Silksong. In the two boss fights she appears in during Hollow Knight she is shown as having multiple aerial based abilities and a silk tether. The platforming potential, both in and out of combat, that her abilities have already has me excited for Silksong. To that end, Team Cherry have also noted that where Hollow Knight was a game about descending, Silksong will be one about ascending so I’m very excited to see how the platforming comes together in the final release.
Horizon Forbidden West
William Robinson: Both this and my second choice later on won’t be much of a surprise to those who have read my previous articles. I adore Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn and DLC expansion The Frozen Wilds, and my excitement for upcoming sequel Horizon Forbidden West is subsequently very high. Going by the footage we’ve seen so far, it’s shaping up to be more of an evolution than a revolution – which is actually fine with me! Zero Dawn excelled at taking established action, RPG, and open-world systems and executing them at a compellingly high standard, so seeing Guerrilla choose to double down and add to that framework rather than tear it all up is a confidence-inspiring (if arguably safe) direction to go in.
Some of the standout new tricks at the disposal of main character Aloy include the Pullcaster grappling hook, Shieldwing glider, and underwater Diving Mask, all adding fresh verticality to the world. There’s also a newly intricate melee arsenal that allows the staff to be woven more deeply into combat through the Valor Surges and their various effects. Paired with new threats from the overgrown, apocalyptic world of robotic threats, there’s plenty to think about, with the imposing Tremortusk most marketed so far; a focus seems to be on longer encounters that include both human threats and machines, which could be very intriguing and challenging. I’m sure, too, that we’ll be seeing of plenty other surprises in the enemy design, and hopefully the sense of increased scale (visibly shown by landmarks such as The Golden Gate Bridge in the new Western-USA setting) ratchets up towards the climax of the story – a story which has some loose threads to wrap up from the original… After all, one of my only disappointments with Zero Dawn was never seeing the giant, buried, spider-like robot in the mountains become an actual battle… Perhaps this time?
IO Interactive’s Project 007
Jordan Senior: The James Bond video game franchise has been completely under the radar since 007 Legends, with not a single release until IO Interactive confirmed that they’re doing a new James Bond game. It wasn’t a particular film that got me into the franchise, but rather Goldeneye for the N64 that was my entry point to the series. Not only was it a great movie tie-in, but also just an overall brilliant first-person shooter, with carefully crafted level design. I grew up on Bond games, with Nightfire being one of my absolute favourites with a story completely separate from the movie continuity. Bond games really have the chance to tell their own stories and disconnect from individual films. All we know about IO’s interpretation of Bond is that it will be an origin story of how the British spy earns the 007 title, which is a very cool concept and hasn’t been done in a video game format. IO are the perfect company to tackle this series, as their Hitman games have a very Bond feel to them. I always said to myself that this company would make a great Bond game, and here they are working on one!
I have so many hopes and wishes for this new entry, as I strongly believe IO will do an amazing job. They redefined one of my favourite franchises in Hitman, so they’re more than capable of doing it again. Gadgets should be more of a focus in IO’s Bond, as Hitman 3’s camera – while a cool addition – wasn’t fully utilised, feeling more like a test run for their new IP in terms of gadgetry. The new game should be more linear than Hitman while not feeling restricted, and should rely more on gathering intel and using gadgets to hack and access inaccessible areas. After all, Bond is a spy and not a contract killer like 47. Driving segments are also an absolute must, as vehicles are a staple in any Bond material. The social stealth elements should remain, as Bond goes to cool and exotic locations. A question that’d on my mind is the actor or likeness; will it be the likeness of Craig, the next Bond actor, or even a different likeness altogether? I think a video game Bond actor separate from the films would make the most sense, as it is an entirely new experience – so an actor solely representing IO’s Bond could work. Henry Cavill perhaps as he’s interested in video games, and has also expressed interest in playing the spy? I’m very excited to see what this game could offer.
Monster Hunter: Rise
Frostilyte: It may be cheating to include Monster Hunter: Rise, as it’s already on the Switch, but I’ve been waiting almost a year for the PC port of Rise. Rise is yet another entry in Capcom’s long running monster slaying saga. If you’ve played one of these before you know exactly what you’re in for: you kill monsters, you skin the monsters, and then you make boots out of the monsters. It’s a simple loop that is made extremely compelling thanks to a strong combat foundation and the variety of different critters. Rise follows in the footstep’s of Monster Hunter World, featuring numerous streamlined systems and faster combat when compared to classic Monster Hunter titles.
The two most notable additions in Rise are changes to mobility and customizable movesets. The mobility changes come by way of the wirebug mechanic, which allows hunters to shoot out a bug with a tether that they pull themselves toward. This can be used to scale vertical surfaces with ease, while also opening up a lot of room for hunters to evade or combo in ways that previously weren’t possible. Conversely, custom moves are exactly what you’d expect: hunters can alter certain aspects of their weapon’s attacks to change how the weapon handles in combat. As someone who already spent a thousand hours playing World I don’t exactly feel I need to justify why another Monster Hunter game excites me. The changes to movement and weapons present a lot of opportunity for player expression, and I’m sure I’ll have a blast learning how to navigate the avalanche of new monsters that I’ve never fought before. All said, January can’t come soon enough!
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Stephen Brown: Pokémon has always been one of my favourite game series ever since I was young. From the traditional mainline series games to the more experimental spin-offs, I have enjoyed many, many journeys with Pokémon and always look forward to what the franchise brings next. When we got the first announcement of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, I was instantly excited about the potential of it, as well as what this meant for the future of the series. Ironically, Pokémon Legends: Arceus doesn’t take place in the future, but rather the past. This is the first prequel-style game from the Pokémon series, taking place in a bygone era of Sinnoh when it was previously known as the Hisui region. Long before the events of Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, players find themselves in the remote and newly discovered Hisui region. Tasked with creating the first Hisui Pokédex, your player sets out into various open areas that allow you to explore and capture native Pokémon. Although it follows the standard Pokémon formula of “Gotta catch ’em all”, Legends: Arceus offers a more in-depth look at familiar Pokémon as you complete various research tasks in order to gain a better understanding of them and their environment.
As well as familiar Pokémon, we are also treated to new regional forms and evolutions, such as Basculin’s new evolution Basculegion and a new Hisuian Growlithe that is a Fire/Rock Type. While exploring you may even encounter Alpha Pokémon, strong Pokémon that will chase you down and attack you when they notice you. Although they are tough, if you are prepared then they can be captured and
added to your team. Overall, I’m excited to see the boundaries this game pushes as it takes the traditional formula and experiments with new ideas: for example, the interchangeable battle styles and the Wardens who protect special Pokémon. By expanding upon the lore of Sinnoh in a way that isn’t just a one-for-one remake of the original games, Legends: Arceus will bring more depth and dimension to a much-loved generation. Its success could even lead to more prequel style games for other regions. Regardless, I am very excited for Pokémon Legends: Arceus to be released on January 28th 2022, and recommend all Pokémon fans grab a copy.
Jordan Senior: After the success of Spider-Man from Insomniac in 2018, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has me extremely hyped. To say I loved the first game would be an understatement; I adored it. Following that up was Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales in 2020, which was a joy to experience – I’d even say it has tighter and more robust gameplay than the first game. Although gameplay hasn’t been showcased yet, I have every faith the sequel will take what’s successful about both games and add so much more to it. As teased, Venom will be the main antagonist, whether that’s Harry Osborn or if Eddie Brock or even Peter Parker form a relationship with the symbiote. The narrative and structure of the two previous games offer heart and interesting character dynamics, which is what is needed for a superhero game and I think the overall themes will carry through to the sequel. As Peter and Miles will be directly working together, I’m intrigued to see how gameplay styles intertwine – whether they are chosen at will, or if you play as each in different parts of the story. Miles differentiated himself with the Venom powers [not to be mistaken with the character Venom! – William], so Peter could rely more on tech and gadgets to make his gameplay distinctive.
Kraven has also been confirmed as villain for the sequel, and how Insomniac’s interpretation of the hunter fits into the overall plot intrigues me. The way the developer has handled Spidey’s villains so far has been excellent and multi-faceted (Doc Ock stands out the most to me). Venom is such a vital character so handling him has to be right. I hear the idea of a playable Venom being thrown around, and I would be completely on board with this if handled sparingly, with maybe a few segments at most – at the end of the day this is Spider-Man’s story. The web swinging hero has a lot of scope in the video game space and his history, lore, and villains have a ton of potential for so many different directions. Lesser known antagonists like Mr Negative and The Tinkerer got a new lease of life in this series, so it will be a joy to find out which underutilised characters from the comics will get more exposure. I’m extremely excited for what’s to come in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and with Insomniac’s track record of producing some of my favourite games series, I know they will exceed my expectations.
The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
William Robinson: It feels apt to finish this list with The Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (PLEASE Nintendo, give us at least a snappier official placeholder than that), a game that has so much expectation, excitement, and mystery around it right now. Having to directly follow up one of the most influential games of recent memory is quite the task for Eiji Aonuma-san and his talented team to take up, but that’s exactly what they’ve done. From the two showings at E3 2019 and 2021, we seem to have a much darker story on our hands, where Zelda, Link, and the very geography of Hyrule are facing a corruption from the corpse of Ganondorf – a corruption that has apparently taken a hold of Link’s arm! E3 2021 showed us some gameplay where the motif appeared to be verticality, with the Hyrule map literally broken apart and layered throughout the skies. To match this, Link and the player have some new abilities that allow us to go through walls, reverse time, and more; in fact, time could well be a motif of this game Majora’s Mask-style… Perhaps Link is racing against time, with a growing affliction on his arm?
There was a lot of speculation about Zelda herself being playable, especially after the E3 2019 trailer where she was adventuring side-by-side with Link (complete with stylish new hairdo). My big hope for this game is that Zelda hasn’t just been sidelined again; it feels like the time has come for at least a shared-lead between Zelda and Link, and if there was ever a time to experiment with a new format, a sequel set in the same world is surely it. I have no doubt that this game is going to be something truly special and surprising in terms of gameplay and world-creation, and hopefully, it’s going to be just as revolutionary in terms of Zelda narratives. We’re going to be learning more information at a faster rate as we go into the years leading up to release, and it’s going to be quite the ride…
Thanks for reading through this list of games we’re excited for – and thanks again to all those who took part. For more list articles you can go here, or for more collaborations here! Have an amazing day!