2020 is looking like it will be a great year for games across all platforms; not only are we getting blockbuster games sprinkled throughout the entire year, 2020 will also see the launch of next-generation gaming consoles. The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are building up all kinds of hype not only for fans of games, but for the industry that makes them. In the spirit of excitement, here are 5 games coming to Xbox One in 2020 that I'm most excited for.
Halo Infinite is the sixth instalment of the mainline Halo Games, taking place after the events of Halo 5: Guardians. As far as fans of the series are aware, this game is the conclusion to Master Chief’s story and an end to the current “Reclaimer Trilogy” as it will be 343 Industries’ third instalment in their Halo trilogy of games. The game is set to launch alongside with Microsoft's next-generation console, otherwise known as the Xbox Series X, but will also be arriving on Xbox One. As a first-party Microsoft Studios developed game, the game will also be launching on Xbox Game Pass on day one.
As a fan of the Halo franchise, I’m excited for this game for multiple reasons. The biggest reason would be the story. This game’s campaign is set up to be the next Halo 3 in a sense, where everything has been building up to this climactic showdown to see what will happen not only to the characters we have known for almost twenty years but to the universe as a whole. Cortana’s gone rogue, AIs all over the universe are picking sides and everything is set up for not only humanity the fall, but all species. That is of course, unless we have something to say about it. Other factors that play into my personal excitement for the game would be to see the improvements to the multiplayer, and see what other unique implementations can be added to the game. Halo 5 addition of vaulting ledges was a bigger game-changer than I could have imagined, and the additions to Halo 5’s PVE modes such as Spartan Ops or Warzone were also a fresh welcomed change to multiplayer. Seeing improvements on these and more, as well as the traditional classic Halo modes makes Halo Infinite easily my most anticipated game of 2020.
As a fan of Minecraft, having owned the game on ten different platforms and sinking in over three hundred hours onto each of those platforms, it becomes needless to say that I’m incredibly excited for Minecraft Dungeons. Not only is it a refreshing take on the world within Minecraft, but it’s taken shape of one of the most addicting gameplay loops on the market. This game seems to take a lot of design aspects from Diablo and other dungeon crawlers, in both presentation and gameplay elements. As a recent fan of Diablo (first game being Diablo 3) I was instantly hooked by the game’s gameplay loop more so than it’s story or visual aesthetic. That isn’t to say that either were bad of course, I enjoyed Diablo’s story and art direction fine, but neither hooked me the way the gameplay loop did, and now Minecraft has that same gameplay loop in a visual style I greatly appeal to more. I don’t expect Minecraft Dungeons to have an as depth loot system or endgame system like Diablo or other dungeon crawlers have, but part of the possible more casual appeal is what draws me to it. It remains to see what story Mojang will tell in this new game, but that’s why it’s one of my highly anticipated games.
Tales of Arise
Tales of Arise is an upcoming JRPG and seventeenth entry into the mainline Tales series by Bandai Namco Games. It was originally announced during the Microsoft E3 2019 Press Conference, and is set to release on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. This is also the first Tales game to be developed exclusively for modern consoles as the previous game in the franchise was also developed for the PS3. Tales as a series is known to be the third biggest JRPG series in Japan, right behind Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. Similar to those games, each Tales game is it’s own contain story/universe, while containing similar elements to previous games. Meaning of course you don’t have to play the previous sixteen games in the franchise or spins off to understand the story. Tales of Arise will be taking a slight departure from previous Tales games in a variety of different ways. Tales of Arise will be the first game developed using the unreal engine, meaning the graphical quality of the game is far more enhanced that previous games.
I have always been a fan of the Tales series after playing Tales of the Abyss on Nintendo 3DS. The game’s anime art direction played a significant role in my admiration of the series as a whole, and that’s only being improved upon with this next game using unreal engine. The game’s producer, Yusuke Tomizawa, has talked at length how he envisions Tales of Arise to be the next evolution of Tales games; signifying the games title, “Arise” to exemplify both thematic elements in the game, as well as the team’s wishes for the series moving forward. As a fan who binged through multiple Tales titles one summer after falling in love with the series, it was easily apparent to see the games all followed a similar formula. While this wasn’t necessarily a problem as each of the games were still enjoyable, it is nice to see the team try and innovate on that formula and change things up in new exciting ways. All of this leads to Tales of Arise being one of my most anticipated 2020 games.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the sixth installment in the LEGO Star Wars saga, and a possible small return to form in a sense of older LEGO games. The game was announced during Microsoft’s E3 2019 Press Conference and is scheduled to release sometime in 2020 on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. The game will feature all nine of the mainline Star Wars films centered around the Skywalker family, dedicating 5 levels per movie resulting in 45 total levels in the game. As of writing the game is also set to launch with over 200 playable characters; however TT Games (Traveller’s Tale Games) have said this number is expected to change. Unlike previous entries in the LEGO Star Wars games, players will be able to jump into any of the movies right from the start, whereas originally levels had to played in chronological order to unlock the next one. This game is allowing players to pick and choose which Star Wars Episodes they want to play without penalty; and promise of more gameplay elements such as random encounters in the HUB world, more force abilities, new enhanced combat, and more.
LEGO Stars Wars as a series was always one that was near and dear to my heart. Playing the original LEGO Star Wars game on the original Xbox was one of my favorite childhood memories. The LEGO games were my introduction to Star Wars as a whole. Seeing the story of all six of the movies through these games, which at the time did not have voice acting, and still being able to understand the events going on only speaks to just how well the games were crafted at the time, and now they’re getting a remake in a sense along with new levels, characters, and abilities. LEGO Star Wars was always lighthearted, the game never took itself too seriously and was just a constant joy to play. I’ve stepped away from LEGO games in recent years as the series they adapt were not super appealing to me, but I will gladly return for a chance to relive not only my favorite LEGO franchise, but a complete version of it.
Watch Dogs: Legion
Watch Dogs: Legion is the third installment of the Watch Dogs series and sequel to Watch Dogs 2. Legion was announced during Ubisoft’s E3 2019 Press Conference, the game is being developed by Ubisoft Toronto with assistance from multiple Ubisoft sister studios. The game was originally set to release in March of 2020 but was delayed alongside a number of Ubisoft titles to fit within the beginning of Ubisoft’s 2021 fiscal year (July 2020 - December 2020). The game is one of Ubisoft’s planned cross generation titles, meaning the game is set to launch on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Stadia, as well as next generation consoles Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Legion is set in a Post Brexit UK future and center around a brand new mechanic of recruiting NPCs. The game does not feature a traditional main character as the main concept of the game is that anyone can be a watchdog, and the recruiting mechanic makes it so any NPC you see in the world can be your next playable character with their own unique set of skills or background.
I was a huge fan of the original Watch Dogs game, loving the ideas and concepts Ubisoft presented with the initial title. The game was also based in Chicago, which is a city I personally loved. I liked it’s dark noir like story, and the gameplay elements of the game really shined in my opinion. I wanted to be this vigilante with a dark past who is trying to do the right thing and protect not only those he cares about, but free those who are unaware how far deep into a cyber trap they really are. I really enjoyed Aiden Piece as a character, however my appreciation for him was not shared by others in the industry. In Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft wanted to take a more light hearted approach, having fun young protagonist Marcus Holloway. This major contrast in main character tho gave the series a tonal shift which in my opinion affected the series. I think Watch Dogs had the better story, whereas Watch Dogs 2, had the better gameplay mechanics. Watch Dogs Legion in contrast seems to be a perfect balance between the two, which is why it’s one of my most anticipated games of 2020.