Happy New Year! Every year is a whirlwind in gaming – new releases, teaser announcements, and fan hype. Tonight, as the year turns over, I want to go through my favorite gaming moments of 2019, and also look ahead to the games I’m most excited for in 2020.
A Look Back to 2019
5. Pokemon Sword & Shield
Sword & Shield was my most anticipated game for 2019. I loved playing it on the Switch, I loved the Galar Region, and it easily had one of my favorite cast of characters. Except for Hop – he was an annoying little brother more than a friend, and he kept beating himself up over losing.
One of my favorite parts about big Nintendo releases is the reveal trailers, community speculation videos, and riding the hype and theory trains. Oddly, the news in this game was sparse at best, especially about new pokemon. It hemorrhaged leaks, which are never fun. And we had zero starter evolution reveals. Half the fun is imagining your new team.
4. World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, Blizzcon Announcement and Panel
As a twelve-year World of Warcraft veteran, every odd-year Blizzcon brings with it the new expansion announcement. Just like Pokemon, I enjoy the pre-hype train, the theories, and predictions that come with the anticipation of uncharted territory. But this year, leaks happened. We knew Shadowlands before Blizzcon, even down to the logo.
Thankfully, what was shown at Blizzcon was more in-depth than the leaks. So while the announcement came as no surprise, what we learned about our new adventure into the death realm left me wanting more. From picking a covenant to the mysterious jailer, I’m ready to hang up my sea-faring legs for good.
4. Breath of the Wild 2 Teaser
At the end of a Nintendo Direct this year, we got something most Zelda fans did not expect – a sneak peek at Breath of the Wild 2. If it wasn’t evident from the trailer, Nintendo also did a short interview that reveals the darker side of the new game. I’m looking forward to darker Zelda, like Majora’s Mask, and to see how they use the previous assets to really build on the next game.
I was also in the group of Zelda fans who watched the Video Game Awards last month with bated breath and went to sleep waaaay past our bedtimes to see no new BotW2 trailers. I am still convinced it is going to be a 2020 Holiday title.
An unexpected gem, I stumbled on Littlewood early this year, and it has grown to be one of my favorite games. While still in major alpha mode, there is plenty of content to net over 50 hours on. Self-described as a “chill” game, there are no complex systems like inventory management or tough-to-master mechanics (I’m looking at you, Stardew fishing). It is a play-at-your-own-pace adventure/ collect-a-thon with quirky characters, a mysterious world, hints at a backstory, and uncertainty about the future.
The developer, Sean Young, makes near-weekly updates. There is so much more to be added, and I can’t wait to play along with it on its road to completion. And then I can’t wait to start all over again. I did a review of the game already and a quick Beginner’s Guide.
Once dubbed Spellbound, WitchBrook was officially revealed and named to us at E3 this year. Next to Skyrim, Stardew Valley holds my second place number of hours put into a game. Now CHucklefish wants to give us a WIZARD SCHOOL version of Stardew Valley? This Ravenclaw says “all aboard!” Here’s hoping for a release date announced in 2020.
Looking Forward to 2020
5. Animal Crossing New Horizons
Pushed back from a 2019 release date, I’m ok with the March 2020 release. My baby boy is due in April, and I’m looking forward to packing this in my Switch for the hospital. New Horizons looks to be packed with new stuff never before seen in Animal Crossing, and I hope these changes give it greater longevity for me than previous AC games. Also, I am in camp no-more-triangle-noses!
While there’s no set release date for Spiritfarer aside from a 2020 promise, I’m still listing it here. This one was my one surprise standout game of E3 2019, and it’s been on my to-be-played list since. The art style, the serene, chill vibe of it… the sad story behind faring dead souls on. I’m in.
3. E3 2020 – Bethesda Conference
I’m hoping Bethesda has received the message loud and clear that Fallout 76 is a joke. Here’s to this year – no more 76 additions, and GIVE US ELDER SCROLLS 6!!!
2. Breath of the Wild 2 Trailers
My fingers and toes are all crossed for Nintendo to come through with – not one but multiple – killer Breath of the Wild 2 trailers in 2020. And maybe a release date?! Holiday 2020?! PLEASE?!
1. World of Warcraft: Shadowlands
Blizzard has too much of my money already and so much of my lore brain. I’m too deep into this franchise to leave. Every new expansion tops my most anticipated games list, and each time, it feels like Christmas morning booting the next chapter up on launch day. With promises of no more AP grinds that left me quitting mid-way in BFA, I’m ready to go back next August and march with the dead.
What were some of your favorite games from this year, and what are you looking forward to most in 2020?