We’re almost a week into the New Year – as well as the new decade – and I’ve yet to cover the games I’m most excited for over the coming year. For me, it comes down to two games – and they couldn’t be any more different in style and content.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Spin-offs, Amiibo updates and mobile game aside, the last time a full Animal Crossing game was released was in 2013 (though it was released in November 2012 in Japan), with the 3DS game Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Though no Animal Crossing game has truly grabbed my attention in the same way since the first Gamecube game, I’ve always enjoyed the series and I’m astonished that Nintendo haven’t continued the series properly since. This is nothing new for Nintendo, given that series such as Metroid Prime and Pikmin continue to be all but ignored, but it’s a surprise given that Animal Crossing was seeing releases every three or four years during the high points of the Wii and DS/3DS days.
I’ll never forget the magic of regularly scheduled events in the Gamecube title, which was a true novelty at the time. Even being home in time to catch KK’s Saturday night gig was an essential part of my life for a very long time; now that we all have mobile phones and connected consoles, features like that are no longer so rare – but I’m still keen to see what Nintendo have managed to add to the charming formula this time around, particularly since the setting has moved on from small coastal town to an island paradise. I’m ready to be charmed by the truly relaxing, gentle, freeform collecting and chatting that still – even with a seven year gap between games – has very little in the way of direct competition.
The hottest literary genre of the 80s and early 90s, cyberpunk was a daring, exciting and edgy setting that generally existed only in books or TTRPGs until technology caught up with the ideas it presented (though some notable examples of cyberpunk could be found in animé and video games from the same time period).
Tales of desperate keyboard cowboys hacking into corporate mainframes for shady clients were the order of the day, with the fight against authoritarian globalised corporations generally forming the bigger picture in the stories we were given. Books such as William Gibson’s Neuromancer set the scene and laid down the genre conventions for so many more to follow – and I couldn’t get enough. R.Talsorian’s Cyberpunk – written by Mike Pondsmith and published in 1988 – was an essential TTRPG for me, with the second edition (Cyberpunk 2020) being responsible for some of the best gaming sessions I’ve ever had.
Is it coincidence that the video game based on the TTRPG is releasing in the very year the second edition was set? Probably not. Moving the setting ahead to 2077, however, the video game is looking to be an astonishingly open and deep RPG, as you’d expect from CD Projekt Red – creators of The Witcher video game series. Featuring an appearance from cyberpunk icon Keanu Reeves – whose ‘you’re breathtaking’ moment became one of 2019’s biggest and most wholesome memes in 2019 – I couldn’t be any more excited for this game.
I’m sure there’ll be plenty more games that catch my eye and grab my attention throughout 2020. For a number of reasons – including the fact that I launched my blog, then this website and wrote for a number of other sites too – 2019 was a huge year for me in terms of how many games I managed to play, and 2020 is shaping up to potentially be even bigger for me. I’m aiming to continue with my blog on a daily basis for as long as I can and will be covering as many video games as my schedule allows, among other things. There are definitely exciting times ahead and I’m very much looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you. Thanks for reading!
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