It’s no secret that 2021 is a quiet year for gaming. While the indie scene remains as vibrant and exciting as ever, the larger studios have had to delay their biggest games, largely due to the development challenges posed as people have to work. work at home. Although we have seen some famous hits like Deathloop and Resident Evil Village This year, many of the most anticipated titles of 2021 have moved to 2022.
If you feel like you haven’t played many new games this year, that’s about to change. As it stands, 2022 is shaping up to be the biggest year in gaming since 2017.
That statement may elicit some initial eye roll. Players tend to make that claim at the beginning of any year. With so many major studios rolling out major releases, any year can look good on paper. The reality is that not all of those games end well; The hype cycle is always viewed through pastel pink glasses. Games like Kingdom Hearts 3 sparked excitement as we entered 2019, but ended up slipping off the radar when it came to “game of the day” season. And didn’t even help me start about Cyberpunk 2077.
Pandemic upsets the process
Companies also tend to drop ambitious release dates for games they can’t always keep. Sony original statement God of War: Ragnarok due out in 2021, which feels like a ridiculously unrealistic goal designed to outsell the upcoming PlayStation 5 in 2020. The delay eventually cut short of the schedule. 2021, though for good reason. The challenges of game development during a pandemic have added complexity to an already complex process. We’re lucky that any major release involving tens of thousands of moving parts is out.
The 2021 spillover is exactly what’s fueling 2022’s overly packed schedule. Games that were supposed to be a big hit during this year’s holiday season are now coming out early next year, and that makes for a huge hit. strange change in the way we usually see the game launch. All in all, September through November is the busiest time of any year, when companies release their biggest games in a dense few months. That allows them to end the year on a strong financial footing, fueled by parents needing to buy gifts for their kids over the holidays. The industry then went into hibernation for several months before growing again.
Instead, January and February 2022 look like what you’d expect from the fall. The year will begin with three heavyweights: Elden Ring, Rainbow Six Extraction, and Pokémon Legend: Arceus. That momentum continues into February with Horizon: Forbidden West, Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, Saints Row, and Dying Light 2 Stays Human. March is also stacking up on deck, with Gran Turismo 7, Kirby and the Forgotten City, Marvel Midnight Suns, and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands pack leader.
And that’s just the first three months.
A stacked lineup
We’re essentially compressing two years’ worth of games into one game. We won’t see the usual dry stories as publishers wait to release their biggest games; it will be a free for all. Just look at what else is going on for 2022: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, Bayonetta 3, Splatoon 3, God of War: Ragnarok, Redfall, Gotham Knights, Ghostwire Tokyo, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, a brand new Sonic game… and that barely scratches the surface. This does not include promising applications such as Lost, appropriate title like Triangle Strategy, or any of the big titles that will get a surprise reveal at next year’s E3.
Naturally, not all of these games will be released as planned. Just as is the case with any year, some of the biggest titles will be featured and end in 2023. I’ve put money into games like Avatar: Pandora’s Border quietly slipped from the calendar. Even a third of these titles could move into 2023, and we’ll still be looking at a year that’s sure to be full of backlogs.
While the 2020 social lockdown has been More people play games than ever, it wasn’t the best time to introduce fans to the medium. The game release cycle quickly began to slow down because the studios simply couldn’t capitalize on the momentum. That will change in 2022. Start budgeting now.