Given all the hardships and strife over the past year, 2021 really was quite an excellent year for games. There were remakes galore, of course, but also new entries into beloved franchises like Monster Hunter Rise and Hitman. We also saw the first proper full year with the new consoles out, and while the PlayStation 5 dominated the early portion of the year with exclusives like Returnal and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Xbox rounded off a banner year with Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite.
- READ MORE: Listen to a special episode of the NME Gaming Podcast talking about our favourite games of 2021
But what about 2022? Well, I hate to break it to you, but your free time and wallet is about to be hit hard. Remember all those delayed games due to “the ongoing situation”? Well, they’re coming at you, and they’re coming fast . February alone is one of the most stacked months in gaming history. With that in mind, these are 10 games to seriously look forward to in the coming months.
1. Pokemon Legends: Arceus
Release Date: January 28
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
While last year saw the remake of the Sinnoh region Diamond & Pearl games, they were only really meant as an appetiser for the main course. Pokemon Legends: Arceus is a brand new stab at the long-running, tried and tested Pokemon series. While it’s not going fully open-world, early indications are that it has more in common with the Monster Hunter series than previous Pokemon titles. The combat is being changed up, it’s back to the 3D visuals of Sword & Shield, and it’s back in the hands of Game Freak, the long-standing developer for the series. It’s hard to imagine after being delayed out of 2021 that this will be anything other than stellar, and it’s only just around the corner.
2. Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Release Date: February 4
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, Nintendo Switch (via Cloud)
Calling Dying Light 2: Stay Human long-awaited would be a gross understatement. Years have passed since the first reveal trailer that promised a world that you could truly make your mark on; where decisions mattered, and you could even miss huge swathes of content if you made certain choices. It’s easily one of the most anticipated games of 2022, as it has been for the past few years now. But it is coming out in February, for real. In fact, we’ve played it. Finally, developer Techland can stop updating the original 2015 game and make this one a barnstorming reminder of how parkour + zombies = fun.
3. Weird West
Release Date: March 31
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Originally due in January, developer WolfEye Studios announced this one needed a little more time, pushing it back to March 31. You may not have heard of this one, and we’d forgive you for that, but it’s an action-RPG title from one of the co-creators of Dishonored and Prey. Weird West is a dark fantasy reimagining of the Wild West where you’ll see cowboys tussling with monsters, and frankly, that sounds like the kind of weird we can get behind. Oh and it’s even coming to Game Pass. How’s that for a bonus?
4. Horizon Forbidden West
Release Date: February 18
Platforms: PS4, PS5
When you think back to the year 2017, most people will remember the launch of the Nintendo Switch with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey in the same year. But out of nowhere, the studio that had been quietly putting out titles in the Killzone franchise for Sony for years blindsided us all with a tremendous open-world adventure in Horizon Zero Dawn. With a newly announced PSVR2 title set in the world, Sony and developer Guerrilla Games is betting big on Aloy and the Horizon series, and this game being an absolute corker is about as safe a bet as you could make in 2022.
Release Date: February 8
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5
Developer Sloclap hasn’t been around for very long, but the eyes of the world were cast upon the studio after Absolver took a stab at the melee-action-combat genre. Thanks to being revealed at a PlayStation showcase, Sifu immediately caught the eye due to its startling art style. With a fail state that sees you getting older and older as you are defeated in Kung-Fu battles, this is going to be an authentic yet modern take on the beat ‘em up genre. With age comes strength and wisdom, but also with age… comes, you know, actually being older and slower, and in Sifu’s case, less health. As the youth might say: I feel seen.
6. Elden Ring
Release Date: February 25
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X
The latest title developed by now legendary studio FromSoftware, Elden Ring already had enough going for it just because it’s being made by the Dark Souls creators. Factor in the creator of Game of Thrones (George R R Martin) being involved in the lore-creation, and you’ve got a mouth-watering prospect. Said to be a culmination of the things the developer has learned over the years, including aspects of the original Souls games, adding in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s stealth, and Bloodborne’s movement and speed, and you have a game that is high atop almost everyone’s most wanted games of 2022 list.
7. Gran Turismo 7
Release Date: March 7
Platforms: PS4, PS5
Given that Gran Turisimo 7 is out relatively early in 2022, it’s surprising how little has been shown of it so far. It’s a little bit of a wildcard these days, but the name holds weight and after Forza Horizon 5 blew people away, developer Polyphony Digital will be keen to remind everyone just why the name Gran Turismo means so much to so many. Bringing back favourites like the Driving School and GT Campaign, this PlayStation exclusive is targeting old fans just as much as new ones. Gran Turismo 7 is another safe bet, and one that, given how long it’s been since a numbered sequel was released, really has to be good.
8. Triangle Strategy
Release Date: March 4
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
By far the game with the worst name on this list, Triangle Strategy may yet prove to be some clever pun, or anagram, just like the studio’s last game. That title was Octopath Traveller, which was a runaway success on Nintendo Switch with it’s incredible art style and deep RPG mechanics and characters. While it seems Nintendo itself isn’t keen to make a brand new Tactics game right now, Square Enix and Artdink are putting out the closest to that beloved series that we’ve had in a great many years. You can even go and play a demo of this one right now.
9. OlliOlli World
Release Date: February 8
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X
After two successful arcade-style Skateboarding games, developer Roll7 has some major ambition when it comes to this threequel. NME had the chance to play OlliOlli World back in the Summer of 2021, and while it retains the “easy to pick up, difficult to master” mantra the previous titles had, it seems the softer, more pastel based visuals can actually offer up a reasonably relaxed time. There are named characters, and more of an inhabited world this time around. That said, we suspect the bone-breaking wipeouts will still remain, even if they look a little more colourful this time around.
Release Date: November 11
Platforms: PC, Xbox Series S|X
The Xbox team spent $7.5 billion on acquiring Bethesda, bringing in the likes of Arkane Studios, ID Software, and many more. But while the likes of Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo were PS5 exclusives due to a previously agreed deal, Starfield is the first truly new-generation Xbox title. Even the latest Halo and Forza Horizon titles were available on the Xbox One, but Starfield is set to be not only the first major Xbox exclusive in a long time, but also the first new IP from Bethesda away from Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series’ for nearly twenty years. Hopes could not be higher for this one that it’ll be one of the biggest games of 2022.