Every year brings about a fresh flood of games to wash away our time and troubles. And though the roster of games releasing changes over time, the excitement and hope with which we view our most anticipated titles never really does. 2022 promises to nourish our enthusiasm with a deluge of games we are eagerly expecting.
So as 2021 winds to a close and 2022 looms on the horizon, TheGamer staff thought we'd take a look at our hotly anticipated game launches of the coming year. From triple-A sequels to fresh indie titles, there is an assortment of games we can't wait to dive into when the new year splashes onto the scene.
by Damien Lykins
Years of anticipation preceded Elden Ring’s showing at E3 2021, and seeing it finally hit the scene with a release date alongside an official gameplay trailer was something akin to witnessing a live unicorn — or finally climbing out of the murky, framerate-destroying mire of Blighttown for the first time. Bit of a range there, I know.
Put simply, the Dark Souls trilogy (yes, even Dark Souls II, before you ask) maintains my undying affection between now and forever. From the hauntingly beautiful desolation of Lordran to the wave-kissed shores of Majula, these are the places I go to drown and process my troubles. So it should go without saying that Elden Ring is easily the apple of my eye for 2022. I mean, it's open-world Dark Souls with horses, George R.R. Martin, and adorable sentient pottery that is undoubtedly hazardous to life and limb. Is there much more that needs to be said?
Pokemon Legends: Arceus
by Michael Christopher
For years, Pokemon fans have dreamed of an open-world Pokemon RPG. We were given a glimpse of what this could be with Sword & Shield's Wild Area, but Game Freak has finally given us a full realization of this dream in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. I've been a diehard Pokemon fan for almost my entire life, and I don't remember a time I was so intrigued about an upcoming installment in the series.
This game is set in the Hisui region, long before it became known as Sinnoh. This is a feudal era where Poke Balls are made of wood and people live off the land. From the art style to the game mechanics, it looks absolutely breathtaking, and seems to be a new era for both Game Freak and the Pokemon Company.
Much of the expectation for Legends: Arceus is not what it will be, but what will come after. Is this a new series? Will main series games learn from the freedom an open-world game offers? Hopefully, this means a future Legends series — perhaps we'll see Pokemon Legends: Celebi take place across time or Pokemon Legends: Magearna in a Jules Verne-esque Steampunk industrial era. The possibilities are endless, and I can't wait to see what Pokemon Legends: Arceus will bring to one of my favorite series of all time.
by Juliet Childers
When Bethesda revealed the Starfield release date as November 2022, I thought "what the heck am I going to do for like… a year?!" Of course, in retrospect, that thought feels quite a bit silly. Chalk it up to childlike innocence at being excited about something amid the cynicism and crushing nihilism of 2021. Even though there have been tons of excellent space-faring games like No Man's Sky, Elite Dangerous, or even the polarizing Star Citizen, Starfield promises something unique.
The game seems like it will, in true Bethesda fashion, be a lonely game — one to echo the experiences so many of us have had in recent memory. We still don't know the exact setting of Starfield; if some great cataclysm occurred or mankind is just now taking flight to space. But Starfield promises wonder and discovery and something akin to hope. That's what everyone needs a dose of right now.
by George Foster
A new Batman game is an exciting enough prospect on its own, but a Batman game focused on the infinitely more interesting Bat-family? Hell yes. Gotham Knights is a bit of a mystery at the moment with only one proper showcase, but even from the concept alone, it seems like it could be something special. The jury’s still out on the new combat and focus on co-op, but the prospect of roaming around Gotham with a friend is truly exciting. Batman’s totally not dead, though.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
by Eric Switzer
While other live service games expand infinitely into all all-encompassing "metaverse," Bungie continues to refine Destiny 2 with each passing year. The game has never felt better to play, and while you could likely make that case at any point in the past, it's also never told a better story. The Witch Queen – while technically just a middle point in the Light and Darkness Saga – is a story that has been building in the background of Destiny from the very beginning. It's not the long wait that has me anxious for TWQ, but rather that Bungie has steadily refined, and in fact defined, the process of live service storytelling over the last seven years. Savathun's Throne World, with its sickly green swampy hue and twisted Hive magics, will take Guardians to a place unlike anything we've ever seen, and I'm confident that its story will be just as horrifically engrossing as the Witch Queen herself.
Slime Rancher 2
by Amanda Hurych
The adorable adventure presented in the first Slime Rancher gets bigger (and cuter, if that is even possible) in the upcoming sequel. Slime Rancher 2 ticks all of the boxes I have on my wishlist. Not only can I explore a new landscape and build up my very own slime ranch, there seems to be a whole host of new Slimes to suck into my Vacpack. I have my fingers crossed that the Plort Market will make a return because who doesn't like to participate in an in-game economy that runs on poop?
All kidding aside, Slime Rancher was a genuine delight to play. The first game absorbed my time more completely than a Gordo Slime consumes food, and I honestly can't wait to have my life wholly consumed by its successor.
God Of War Sequel
by Sam Hallahan
Ragnarok is coming. In the final moments of the 2018 God of War, we saw Thor arrive at Kratos’ doorstep, Mjolnir at the ready. This setup indicates that there is likely to be some clashing with the bigger Norse gods, and we might finally step foot in Asgard to confront Odin himself – a name which carries weight and fear throughout Midgard and its surrounding realms.
Alongside the twist that reveals Atreus seems to have more of a significant role than we first expected, fans are eager to see where the story goes. And with a fantastic team of writers, we can only prepare ourselves for one of the biggest games of the year.
by Harry Alston
Pet the cat? In Stray, you are the cat. Developed by BlueTwelve Studio and published by indie powerhouse Annapurna Interactive, Stray follows the story of, well, a stray cat. The nameless feline protagonist must navigate a dystopian city glowing with neon lights while solving puzzles, interacting with the city's denizens, and getting by with a little help from its drone companion, B-12.
Beyond the gameplay, the narrative has been kept relatively secret. There are a few glimpses of puzzle-solving and interacting with the bizarre humanoid robots that inhabit the city and talk a little like Animal Crossing characters, but mostly it's hush-hush. You're a lost cat on a mission to find its family. Simple premise? Maybe. But not likely. Knowing the caliber of its Annapurna neighbors, Stray definitely has more to offer than we've seen so far. To top it all off, Stray looks gorgeous. The mellow beats of its soundtrack aren't Cyberpunk 2077 gonk-smashing, but more "lo-fi beats to relax/be a cat to." Pair the smooth animation of the cat with the intricately detailed city and you've got what looks to be a 2022 stunner.
Two Point Campus
by Meg Pelliccio
Endless classes, living on canteen food, late nights with fellow students… It’s time to go back to university, but not as you know it. Two Point Campus is launching next year, but it wouldn’t be a proper Two Point game without the studio’s brand of wacky humour. Naturally, the studio is adding its own formula of bizarre and hilarious qualities to academic life.
Instead of the usual classes, students will be enrolling to become clowns, wizards, knights, and more. Don't expect the normal roster of faculty members either. Of course, for the whole university experience, you’ll need a social scene too — so you can add clubs, concerts, and societies to your campus. Ensuring your students are living life at its very best is part and parcel of running your own campus.
With new and improved building tools making it even easier for newcomers to the genre, Two Point Campus looks set to be even bigger, better, and sillier than its predecessor. As a fan of both Theme Hospital and Two Point Hospital, I can’t wait to see this fresh entry to the sim genre and start building my amazing(ly daft) university.
by George Foster
Ever since its initial reveal earlier this year, the brief looks we’ve had at Sifu make it look like one of the most exciting indie games in some time. Even without having played it, its combat looks nearly unmatched in its cinematic flow. Bones really do crunch in Sifu, which I guess is a weird thing to be excited about, but it's proof that the melee looks like it has been pretty much mastered.
Here’s hoping the combat is as deep as it is as satisfying to watch. If it is? Holy cow.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
by Damien Lykins
Darktide was my most anticipated for 2021 — its delay into 2022 just means I get to scream about how hyped I am for a good Warhammer 40,000 game again, so I'm into it. I'm afraid my sticking points haven't changed much since, though.
In case you missed it last time, Fat Shark's set up for a real home run here. They did an amazing job with Vermintide — it's chaotic, fun, and all-too-satisfying to shoot, slash, and burn your way through the Skaven hordes alongside a few friends. Taking that formula and applying it to the 40k universe should make for a smooth transition that's rife with potential for all sorts of new bells and whistles. Having veteran 40k author Dan Abnett co-writing the narrative is nothing short of enticing, chainswords are great, Ogryns are large, and I'm ready for it. Life is the Emperor's currency, and I'm writing the man a blank check for whenever this thing drops. Don't tell my boss.
by Amanda Hurych
You had me at "open-world co-op FPS from Arkane Austin." Both Prey and Dishonored would feature in a personal ranking of favorite games of all time, and this pedigree of success from Arkane Studios has built a foundation of trust within me. Practically anything they release automatically piques my interest. Redfall is set in a small town that has been plagued by an overabundance of vampires. But never fear, you and your friends will be highly equipped to handle these fanged menaces thanks to a mix of high-tech weaponry, telekinetic powers, and supernatural know-how. It looks like a zany good time, and I can't wait to take a bite out of it.
by Sam Hallahan
An unexpected announcement from Nintendo back in February 2021 was Splatoon 3. The series that started on the Wii U and found expanse in its sequel for the Nintendo Switch looks to be doing bigger and better things than ever before in the upcoming third entry.
Splatoon is set in a post-apocalyptic world, and it looks like we’ll finally get to spend some time in the wastelands. New maps for the game seem to be focused on deserts, canyons, and ruins of a civilization long past – a step away from the streets and buildings of Inkopolis.
If the Octo Expansion DLC for Splatoon 2 is anything to go by, then we can expect a higher quality of level design and some interesting encounters for a single-player mode. The overall game looks fantastic from the reveal trailer, and it’s set to be one of Nintendo’s big releases for 2022.
Tiny Tina's Wonderland
by Juliet Childers
Even if Borderlands 3 left me a bit bemused, nothing can dampen my love for how much Tiny Tina loves Bunkers & Badasses (Dungeons & Dragons). The vague "early 2022 release window" isn't inspiring, but the Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC catalyzed me into a forever-fan of the series. I even stan Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (which deserves far more love than it gets). Tales From The Borderlands has much the same story.
The game's trailer opens with "You can't hide from fate, but you can make your own." That's the exact attitude I've adopted for 2022 and my D&D group is as flaky as a delicious (American-style) biscuit. Instead, we can gather remotely and use the game's 4-player co-op, sparing all of us the undesirable responsibility of DMing. None of us could measure up to the surely Chaotic DM that Tiny Tina will be anyway.
However, what I look forward to most about Tiny Tina's Wonderland is the same thing I want out of Starfield: a little bit of wonder, but this time, with a healthy addition of absurdity and wit. Also, please Randy, just bring back Mr. Torgue from wherever you've locked him up. He needs attention or he will shrivel up into a husk of himself (sound familiar? I jest).
Goodbye Volcano High
by Stacey Henley
Hi, I'm Goodbye Volcano High, you might remember me from lists such as Most Anticipated Games Of 2021 and Games Delayed Until 2022.
I wrote about Goodbye Volcano High as my most anticipated game of 2021, and despite the delay, my feelings towards it haven't really changed. It's basically Life is Strange, if Life is Strange was hand-drawn and Max Caulfield was a non-binary dinosaur in a rock band. You can take any game I love and say 'we made the main character a non-binary dinosaur in a rock band' and I will give you money for it. Developers, Enby T-Rex Commander Shepard is just begging to be made, and I am begging to give you my hard-earned cash. When I say hard-earned, you know I speak the truth, because I get paid to tell you all that non-binary dinosaurs in rock bands are rad. Hey, it's a living.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Tons of great games are coming out in 2022, but I can't seem to get Bomb Rush Cyberfunk out of my mind. Maybe it's the Jet Set-inspired graphics. Maybe it's the fast-paced rail-grinding action. Or maybe it's just the dope, futuristic dance moves. Whatever it is about the game, there's something totally unique about it – and the more I learn, the more intrigued I become.
At launch, it'll be a timed exclusive on Switch, although it'll be heading to other platforms shortly after. Whether you're skating, sliding, or running through the city, all the footage released so far has shown a fluid movement engine that should make traversing Cyberfunk's vertical metropolis an absolute blast.
Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is the wildest looking game coming out in the next year, and I seriously can't wait to explore its funky world.
by Helen Ashcroft
At first glance, Park Beyond appears to be just another theme park management sim. There's a helpful guide character accompanied by the money-savvy colleague, and they have theme parks that require your attention. You'll be rejuvenating and re-imagining run-down attractions and then taking them to the next level. So far, so cookie-cutter… until you realize that the next level is something Limbic has named "impossification."
The sky is no longer the limit as you design and build rides and coasters with new levels of creativity (and danger). Health and safety be damned as you create multi-tier carousels to spiral slides that touch the sky, and rollercoasters that fly across gaps in the tracks. The laws of physics are skewed as theme parks are taken truly beyond.
As a fan of building theme parks since Bullfrog's Theme Park was released, this game has sparked an excitement I've not had for games of this type in a long time. There are some truly great games in the sim genre, but the level of creativity and customization in both the parks and the game experience (combined with what appear to be the most intuitive ride-building tools I've seen) has me waiting in line very impatiently for this release.
Breath of the Wild 2
by Raphael Bennett
Everyone has an opinion about Breath of the Wild. It's simultaneously a high watermark in blockbuster game design that's inspiring a whole new generation of open-world games, and a wildly idiosyncratic experience some people will never be able to enjoy. Nintendo games are typically so steeped in tradition that, even if you hate Breath of the Wild, it's still exciting to see how such a storied studio innovates and experiments.
Still, it's hard to contest that Breath of the Wild has one of the most handcrafted open-worlds ever made, with just about every little hilltop or enemy encampment seemingly placed by hand to create a little magic moment. For what it's worth, I think Breath of the Wild was a slice of magic that'll be hard to recapture — but I can't wait to see them try.