by Christopher Kelly
5 min

With 2022 well underway and the pangs of a potential lockdown always lurking on the horizon, titans from every corner of the gaming world are putting their best foot forward in a bid to bag the prestigious title of ‘Game of the Year’. As our need for wacky open-world roleplayers and spooky player vs player slashers reaches an all-time high, every game developer from Guerilla to Luminous are set to deliver nostalgia-inducing quests and creations to quench our escapist fantasies. So whether it’s the grand debut of George R. R. Martin’s Elden Ring or the rediscovery of Aloy and her quest for a machine free world in Horizon: Forbidden West, we are breaking down the most anticipated fan favourite and critics choice games arriving this year!

2022 is starting out strong with the long-overdue arrival of the second Dying Light game, Set some 20 years after the events of the first game, this parkour-style action and evasion game sees the world crumble beneath the effects of Kyle Crane releasing a new strain of zombie-crafting virus into the world. If this is sounding a little too zeitgeisty for our current covid climate then perhaps the cinematic style of animation and enigmatic concrete-jungle cityscapes will enable you to forget the real world and become immersed in the free-flowing parkour movements of our zombie-slaying protagonist.

Perhaps the most highly anticipated sequel of the year is the return of the Horizon franchise five years after Horizon Zero Dawn and its heroine ‘Aloy’ first stole our hearts. The upcoming action roleplayer sees a seamless continuation of Zero Dawn as the storyline picks up in the same endlessly detailed world we have come to cherish. Horizon has become synonymous with intricate word building and immaculate storytelling that fleshes out every crevice of its characters and expansive free-roaming world. This time we go below the surface to explore the depths, diving underseas, lakes and rivers to curb the swell of machines running rampant across the world. Guerrilla Games struck gold when they crafted the first Horizon game and now they seek to strike twice whilst the irons hot, further enshrining Horizon alongside predecessors like Skyrim as the best free-roaming role-playing game ever made.  Horizon: Forbidden West officially drops on February 4th 2022.

Bandai Namco’s Elden Ring is easily the most buzzed-about game arriving in 2022 due to an unprecedented collaboration between Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin and game directing royalty Hidetaka Miyazaki. As lead writer on the project, George R. R. Martin is making his grand debut in the gaming world, charged with fleshing out the world’s lore and complex history in a Tolkien-esque fashion. Elden Ring acts as the spiritual successor to the legendary Dark Souls series and allows players to become the fabled Elden Lord whilst also traversing a labyrinthic network of side quests, context building character interactions and an endless expanse of dark and devilish open-world exploration. Although it may not be the final Game of Thrones book, we are truly thrilled to see George release something this side of eternity!  

The Borderlands franchise has become the gold standard of chaotic post-apocalyptic shooters and the exemplar of how a wacky one-off can evolve into one of the most beloved franchises in gaming history once fans truly buy into the world being created. Now, the Borderlands world is entering a new chapter dubbed the ‘Wonderlands’ era as we step beyond the border to explore the wider mythology and offbeat characters of the surrounding yet never before seen universes. Wickedly funny dialogue is provided by legends of the silver screen like Wanda Sykes, Andy Samberg and Will Arnett whilst the signature Borderlands comic book style of animation remains central to the games aesthetics.  

In a waning era of co-op play, we are ecstatic to see the Evil Dead franchise return with both a co-op and a player versus player game. So far our first glances of Evil Deads visual aesthetic suggest it is going to be something like Red Dead Redemption with a Blair Witch Project twist as the crew descends on a decrepit old wooden hut in the woods to fix the failings of an archaeologist who discovered an ancient text to awake the supernatural. Compared to the rest of the list, Evil Dead is perhaps a little more reserved from a storytelling and graphic design perspective nonetheless its predisposition for hack-and-slash action with iconic weapons from the Evil Dead series makes this a must-play game this year!   

Unveiled during the Square Enix digital showcase, Luminous Productions landmark game Forspoken is the culmination of years of creative ingenuity and intricate story design. Players will lead heroine Frey Holland on her journey from NYC to the mythical realm of Athia as she unlocks her hidden magical abilities to combat ‘the corruption’ and find her way home through the Persian and Greek-influenced open-play world back to New York. If the rolling cast of mysterious villains with terrifying agendas doesn’t do it for you then perhaps the awesome silver surfer-esq trailer footage of Frey gliding across the water on a magical skateboard like some sort of Eleven Tony Hawk may entice you!

Say what you like about DC movies and their perpetual war with Marvel, when it comes to original and well-executed video games DC is dominating the rest of the field. Gotham Nights is the latest instalment in the Batman gaming gauntlet that has already given us so many gems like Arkham Asylum and Arkham Knights. Now players will have a chance to step inside the wider Bat-family and take on the role of either Nightwing, Red Hood, Batgirl or Robin as they protect the city of Gotham. From whom I hear you ask? None other than the infamous Court of Owls, a fan favourite villain yet to make an appearance in any Batman game.  

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