These 9 Things Will Totally Happen In 2020 (Maybe)
Looking into the future...
When we're not covering the latest happenings in the games industry, the team at GameSpot enjoy predicting the future. While our accuracy in predicting what will come next isn't always on the mark, our passion for trying to guess the future of the games industry never ceases.
In GameSpot's annual prediction series, we put our brains together to determine what could happen next year in the world of games. Below you can find our gaming predictions for 2020, which is poised to be an exciting and important year for gaming with the launch of Sony and Microsoft's new platforms. No matter how plausible or absurd these predictions might be, these are what we believe will come true in some form next year.
What do you predict will happen in games next year? Let us know in the comments below.
Game Streaming Will Go Hand In Hand With Next-Gen Gaming
Everyone had eyes on the recent Google Stadia launch, and despite reports that the tech is actually pretty good, the cost per game was the prevailing topic of discussion. Business model aside, Stadia's technical achievements are proof positive that game streaming is ready to be taken seriously. And if you ask me, Sony and Microsoft are going to make it a core component of the next-gen console experience, whether we're ready to embrace it or not.
Sony's made it clear that it wants the PlayStation 5 experience to be as seamless as possible, and what better way to do that than by injecting a bit of game streaming into the formula? Streaming a game while you wait for it to download would be very enticing and very convenient. At the very least, Sony will likely make a big push for PlayStation Now, its subscription-based cloud gaming service. It's been around for years, and there's a substantial library of games for subscribers to play at will. If the recent price cut (down to $10) is any indication, Sony wants to remain competitive in the lead-up to the new year, and cloud gaming's heyday.
Microsoft has been paving the way with value-focused services in the wind up to 2020, and with the announcement that xCloud and Game Pass will effectively be one and the same, Xbox owners who are willing to throw down a little bit of extra change can expect to have access to hundreds of games, both locally on their next-gen Xbox and on the go, whether it be on a mobile phone or PC. On paper, that's an incredible value and will go a long way to expose more users to cloud gaming, and perhaps make it a popular option--at least, for users with capable internet service.
With so many companies jumping into game streaming, it will be fascinating to see how their approaches differ in 2020. Cloud gaming may not take off in the eyes of consumers right away, but like it or not, it will probably become a household concept, and slowly build momentum as the tech and service models continue to evolve with the arrival of next-gen consoles. -- Peter Brown
EA Will Relaunch Anthem In 2020
I wouldn't blame you if you had already forgotten that Anthem came out earlier in 2019. Not only was it BioWare's first new IP in over a decade, bringing the revered RPG devs into the realm of the popular games-as-a-service model, it was also EA's first major AAA release of the year. Putting players in the role of a freelancer that pilots flying exo-suits with a vast array of abilities and a large world to explore, it had the makings of a memorable and fun experience that could've been honed through BioWare's particular approach to character growth and storytelling. Unfortunately, the game we got at launch turned out to be the first big misfire of 2019.
Throughout its tumultuous development, Anthem hit many of the same pitfalls that Bungie experienced with the original Destiny. Featuring a lackluster campaign, unbalanced loot, and RPG mechanics along with a repetitive loop that lasted longer than necessary, BioWare's latest felt more like a case of another AAA game aiming high while standing on weak foundations. In the months following its launch, player numbers dwindled, key developers on Anthem departed the company, and a roadmap showing off ambitious plans for the game's future fell by the wayside. In a landscape full of games-as-a-service products--including the subsequent release of Tom Clancy's The Division 2 the following month--interest in Anthem quickly fell.
Despite its quick rise and fall, there's still some life in the game. Anthem has a relatively active community, and BioWare stuck with its plans for smaller weekly events for the game--the most recent being the Season of the Skull, which altered the world state and introduced new loot. With its first anniversary coming, I anticipate that EA and BioWare will do a proper relaunch for Anthem, reworking the game's unusual loot system, and restructuring missions and the general flow of the game. Relaunches for games like Final Fantasy XIV, No Man's Sky, and Rainbow Six Siege have been enormously successful, and I suspect that the developers are aiming to give Anthem a similar shot at redemption for next year. -- Alessandro Fillari
Halo Infinite Will Be Good
2020 is a big year for Microsoft, Xbox, and the Halo franchise. Microsoft is launching a new console, Project Scarlett, in Holiday 2020 with Halo Infinite as a launch title. That's a very big deal because it will be the first time since 2001's Halo: Combat Evolved for the original Xbox that a Halo game has launched with new Xbox hardware.
It's an important time for the Xbox ecosystem overall, as the Xbox One stalled relative to the competition and Halo as a franchise does not command the kind of mindshare or sales that it once did. These factors combine to make Halo Infinite's release on Scarlett a big moment for Microsoft overall.
The two previous Halo games have missed the mark in some respects. 2012's Halo 4 told a strong, engaging story, but its multiplayer mode left much to be desired, while 2015's Halo 5: Guardians stumbled on the story but delivered in multiplayer with the innovative, large-scale Warzone mode and more. Halo Infinite needs to be the game that succeeds on all fronts.
Even with its release date only a year away, Microsoft has kept exceptionally quiet about Halo Infinite. But we have heard that it will be a back-to-roots game that places more of an emphasis on Master Chief and has new visual flourishes to refresh the series. For a Halo game to truly succeed, however, it must push the limits on multiplayer as the series has always done. With the new power of Project Scarlett, I want to see Microsoft deliver an ambitious and unexpected path forward for multiplayer games across competitive and social elements.
Master Chief has saved the world time and time again, and his next job is to revitalize the Halo series and the Xbox brand overall. A tall order, for sure. -- Eddie Makuch
EA Will Announce A Mass Effect Remaster
Between Anthem struggling, a poor reception to Mass Effect: Andromeda, and a variety of high-profile departures, some BioWare fans have worried about the studio's future. We know new Dragon Age and Mass Effect projects are in the works, but will they be any good? EA might want to remind people of why they loved BioWare's past work, and what better way than with a remaster of Mass Effect?
EA has traditionally been resistant to enter the remake/remaster market, although that has begun to change. It has the upcoming Command & Conquer Remastered on the way, and during a recent earnings call, it outright said it would be remastering more of its classic games. No specific names were mentioned, but if EA hopes to win over Mass Effect fans who were disappointed in Andromeda, offering a way to replay the original game would be a great starting point.
Improve the graphics, do something about the terrible inventory management, and you'd have a winner on your hands. That could pave the way for a remaster of the entire trilogy, but I expect EA to start out by focusing on the first game and proceeding from there in the time leading up to the next original Mass Effect game release. -- Chris Pereira
Mother 3 Is Definitely Coming To Nintendo Switch
I was wrong about Mother 3 coming to Nintendo Switch in 2019, but I'm not about to let one bad year squash my hopes and dreams. After all, my former boss Justin Haywald endured far worse, having written about Mother 3 in this prediction series for manyyears in a row and hoped it would come to the West for many years more. Call it a tradition, but I don't think I'm alone when I express how cool it would still be if Nintendo localized Mother 3.
But how would Nintendo go about doing this in 2020? I think Nintendo will release Mother 3 as part of an EarthBound series collection ala Square Enix's Collection of Mana. If not that, then my other guess is that Nintendo will further expand the legacy games you'll see in its online service in 2020 by focusing on much-loved Game Boy games, starting first with the original portable, but then working its way up to the Game Boy Advance. This logic isn't so dissimilar from what I proposed last year, but hey, if it ain't broke. We did get SNES games in 2019, so who's to say?
Perhaps this is all wishful thinking; it's admittedly muddy water bringing Mother 3 to the West nowadays. According to games writer Imran Khan in a ResetEra post several months ago, Nintendo's effort to localize Mother 3 had allegedly ended due to characters and scenes deemed too controversial for the company. The post could all be rumor and gossip, but it does make sense due to several ill-depicted elements and characterizations that don't hold up.
All of this may throw a massive wrench into the dream, but I'm crossing my fingers that Nintendo is still reconsidering Mother 3. I refuse to let it go, not only for my sake, but for everyone who has wanted this game for over a decade now. -- Matt Espineli
Nintendo Will Launch A Game Boy Classic
Nintendo has made a killing releasing micro-consoles that pay homage to its classic systems, the NES and Super NES. Some stalwart fans have been clamoring for what they see as the next logical step, the N64 Classic. But that would skip right past an even more iconic and defining part of Nintendo's legacy, the Game Boy. Nintendo's first dedicated handheld has done more to shape the company than almost any other single piece of hardware, and it amassed a massive library of incredible games. Finding a few dozen to compile into a preloaded piece of hardware would be a breeze. Tetris, Super Mario Land, Link's Awakening, and the incredibly reinvented Donkey Kong, just to name a few, would make this library compete pound-for-pound in quality with any other micro-console on the market.
To fulfill the miniaturized precedent set by the NES and SNES Classic systems, it could be the size of a Game Boy Color but imitate the original's form factor and color scheme. The only struggle might come from recreating a dot matrix screen, but how expensive could that possibly be? Even a low-res modern screen with some filters to imitate the green tint of the original would do the trick without breaking the hardware budget. I love my Nintendo Switch, but if I could have an even smaller handheld that actually fits in my pocket and comes pre-loaded with this much nostalgia, I might leave the Switch behind sometimes. The timing is right for 2020, and I want to believe. -- Steve Watts
Game Freak Will Add More Pokemon To Sword And Shield
It's no secret that the lack of a National Dex in Pokemon Sword and Shield has been controversial. Game Freak's decision not to include the full roster of Pokemon in the latest games attracted a lot of ire from longtime fans, many of whom were frustrated that some of their favorite monsters wouldn't be making the cut. In order to complete Sword and Shield's Pokedex, you have to catch 400 different species of Pokemon, rather than the full 900-plus.
However, dataminers found that there are a few Pokemon that can be transferred into the games via the upcoming Pokemon Home app, including the Bulbasaur and Squirtle families as well as the starters from Sun and Moon. On top of that, it was discovered that some Gigantamax forms were not available right away, including the now-announced Gigantamax Snorlax. Already, Gigantamax forms are part of timed events; as of this writing, Gigantamax Butterfree is appearing more frequently for a limited time.
In the past, Game Freak has given out special Pokemon as part of events; these include shiny versions of rare Pokemon and Pokemon that have their hard-to-get hidden abilities. The existence of timed events from the get-go--as well as the post-release rollout of Gigantamax Pokemon and the potential for transferring some additional Pokemon once Pokemon Home is released--makes me suspect that more Pokemon are coming to Sword and Shield down the line. I don't think every single Pokemon will be added retroactively, but I do think there's more support for Gen 8 coming, and that we'll hear more about it in 2020. -- Kallie Plagge
Sega Will Release Localized Versions Of Yakuza Ishin and Kenzan
I'm pretty sure Sega's localization team is tired of being asked about whether or not they're working on bringing Yakuza Ishin to the west. While I'm not fond of port-begging, or hounding folks for info on projects they're either not working on or can't even talk about, I am in the business of making predictions, and my crystal ball is telling me that Yakuza Ishin and Kenzan are making their way westward in 2020.
In the past couple years, RGG Studios' Yakuza franchise has gotten a burst of popularity as its mix of gripping drama and absurdist humor reached a broader audience. Since the release of Yakuza 0 in 2017, Sega and RGG brought *deep breath* Yakuza Kiwami, Yakuza 6, Yakuza Kiwami 2, and the remasters of 3 and 4--not to mention the spin-off Judgment, and bringing the franchise to other platforms. That is a lot of games. Looking into 2020, we'll get Yakuza 5 remastered and the all-new Yakuza 7: Like A Dragon. But I'm guessing the momentum will keep up with surprise releases of the series spin-offs Kenzan and Ishin.
All the Yakuza games take place in modern Japan, but Kenzan and Ishin rewind the clock and are set in the Edo period (17th and 19th century, respectively). Familiar characters and voice actors took on different roles for a sort of historical fiction while using the franchise's gameplay foundation. Kenzan (2008) and Ishin (2014) have only been released in Japan, and if for some reason they get localized in 2020, fans of the series would be in for a real treat. -- Michael Higham
N64 Games Will Be Released On Switch
Nintendo's back catalog of legacy games is second to none, but the company has been unusually slow to offer its classic titles on the Switch. While the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS all received a regular stream of retro re-releases as part of the Virtual Console line, the Switch wouldn't get its first batch of classic NES games until September 2018--more than a year after the system launched.
Since then, things have gotten marginally better for those itching to play Nintendo classics on the hybrid console. Nintendo has spent the past year slowly expanding the number of NES titles available to Switch Online subscribers, and it even introduced a batch of SNES games to the service this past September. These have been welcome improvements, although Switch's classics library still feels paltry.
As frustrating as the wait has been to play retro Nintendo games on Switch, the company's back catalog is still one of its most valuable assets, and it will undoubtedly bring more legacy titles to the system in 2020. New NES and SNES games are a given--whenever they eventually arrive--but I predict the company will also release the first batch of Nintendo 64 titles on the system next year. Given how eagerly Switch owners lapped up the initial wave of SNES games when they arrived around NSO's first anniversary, it would make sense for N64 titles to follow for the service's second birthday.
The only question is how the N64 games will be offered. Given Nintendo's history, it would not be surprising to see the company lock the N64 titles behind a new "premium" tier of the Switch Online service that costs slightly more than a standard subscription. I also expect the initial batch will be smaller than the NES and SNES lineups. Even so, N64 games would be an exciting addition to Switch, and it's only a matter of time before they arrive. -- Kevin Knezevic