With Sony and Microsoft eyeing up the next-generation of gaming consoles, and technology companies playing around with cloud streaming services, 2020 is set to be a year filled with compelling new experiences.
Furthermore, a host of major studios are preparing to release their latest masterpieces, ranging from some truly stunning remakes to some of the most sought-after sequels.
Gamers, get ready; 2020 is shaping up to be a truly special year for you.
Some of the biggest releases expected to drop in the upcoming year include Microsoft with Halo: Infinite, Bethesda's upcoming sci-fi RPG Starfield, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 - rumoured to return to the Nintendo Switch by the end of the year.
But some studios have helped us out by confirming a 2020 release date, and you ought to get excited for them.
CD Projekt have a City to burn
Cyberpunk 2077‘s first teaser trailer popped up back in 2013, and after many years of waiting, we now have just a few months before the game is set to return.
YOU'RE BREATHTAKING: Cyberpunk 2077 will release on April 16th, 2020
Recent trailers and gameplay have shown us all of the new features coming to the game, and we are ready to see what new features Mike Pondsmith will display in his dystopian RPG.
The gaming world exploded with excitement when Keanu Reeves turned up in the E3 2019 trailer - it turns out he will be playing the iconic Johnny Silverhand, a well-known character from the original 1988 Cyberpunk tabletop game.
LEVEL UP: Cyberpunk 2077 will offer previously unseen levels of customisation, ranging from character's backstory to the haircut they rock.
The new interpretation of Silverhand will take the character in a new direction (considering how he is already dead and lives on in the protagonist V’s head as a ghost).
Thanks to the inclusion of some new technology, Night City will feel alive with bustling crowds and feature six districts that seamlessly blend into each other, without any loading screens.
Read about the three things that NEED to be in CD Projekt Red’s new game
The driving aspect of the game looked pretty sweet too, and though we’re not sure if the driving offers the depth of simulation that you’ve grown to expect from RPG’s like Grand Theft Auto V, it did look smooth.
Will you brave the Dying Light?
THIS IS THE END (AGAIN): Zombies will never go out of fashion
Considering the initial and ongoing success of the original game, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Techland is back with a second instalment for the series.
The upcoming sequel's E3 2019 showcase featured several minutes of footage of the gameplay, focusing on the infected and the interactive environment where the game is set.
GOING DARK: Techland describes the time period the game is set in as the “new dark ages”
The footage from E3 2019 shows off rich colours and an exquisite skyline - the updated visuals really do look gorgeous, and the demo gives you a good idea of the game’s updated parkour and combat mechanics.
It’s worth the watch.
Bethesda to bring back Elder Scrolls
Bethesda Softworks’ main project was a well-kept secret until it’s rather underwhelming trailer stole the spotlight at E3 2018.
STUNNING: 2020 will see us return to the beautiful open world of The Elder Scrolls
We are, of course, talking about the 6th instalment of The Elder Scrolls series.
Game designer Todd Howard has put any release date rumours to bed, explaining that it won’t be released until the upcoming sci-fi RPG Starfield has released.
Regardless, confirmation from Bethesda that they will be renewing the series is good enough for now.
Read about the three things that NEED to be added to Elder Scrolls 6
The Elder Scrolls series tends to move from one location to the next between major instalments, so we are pretty sure that you won’t be exploring Morrowind in the upcoming game.
That said, there is some weight to the rumour that Elder Scrolls 6 could be set in Valenwood, based on an internal Bethesda memo leaked way back in 2014.
CENSORED: In this memo, Bethesda employees were warned against using the terms ‘Fallout: Nuka World’ and ‘Project Greenheart’
Fallout 4 players will recognise the name Fallout: Nuka World as it ended up becoming a huge DLC release, but the Tamriel geeks among us should know that Greenheart is actually a city in the region of Valenwood.
This all but confirms that the next instalment is set there.
Two major technology companies are currently fighting over the same launch window.
We already know a little about the specs of the upcoming consoles, and we've heard more than a few rumours about the price and release date.
This next repeat of the console wars is pretty significant, as new competition is coming from cloud services like Google Stadia - but we'll get into that a little later on.
Pretty in Scarlett
The main focus of Xbox Project Scarlett will be faster loading times, unrivalled graphics and user convenience, amongst a host of other important changes.
UNDER WRAPS: Who knows what Xbox's new console will look like
Microsoft has promised that the next-generation console will be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, and provides four times better performance than the current generation in terms of load times.
As for the actual Xbox Project Scarlett specs, we have been promised 120 FPS, 8K, and ray tracing supported by dedicated hardware.
In fact, one Microsoft employee promised “frame rates we’ve never seen before,” though that’s surely not accounting for modern PC hardware.
Regarding the 8K and 120 FPS - they make great headlines, but the reality is that you’d have to be running an extremely basic game on some of the most powerful PC hardware in order to get anywhere close to those numbers, let alone doing it simultaneously.
TEASER: A first taste for Project Scarlett was shown at E3 2019
Halo: Infinite has been confirmed as an Xbox Project Scarlett launch title, however, if Halo is not your thing you won’t be caught out – Xbox Project Scarlett will be capable of three generations of backwards compatibility.
But with Sony placing affordability at the front of the conversation, it’s going to be an interesting battle between the gaming giants.
PlayStation Take 5
We’ve seen many a PlayStation 5 design leak over recent weeks, including Sony’s patents for external storage solutions and the console’s new DualShock 5 controller.
Check out the concept designs for the PS5 and Dualshock 5 remote
But two of the biggest details yet to be confirmed are the price and a precise release date.
That is, until now.
A reliable leaker named @PSErebus recently revealed on Twitter that the PS5 will retail at $499 (£389), and launch on November 20th, 2020.
COUNTDOWN: The infamous leakster took to Twitter to share a possible release date
If this pattern is proven, then the PS5 will be available at some point in the week after the seventh anniversary of the PS4, which is November 15th 2020.
It all adds up.
With the affordability of the PS5 being of paramount concern to Sony’s investors, and hardware said to match that of the upcoming Xbox, we are absolutely buzzing for next-generation consoles to hit store shelves.
Cloud streaming services
Cloud gaming is becoming the hot new battleground for technology companies.
No less than five major companies are testing or have already launched cloud gaming services that can stream blockbuster games directly to Android phones, laptops, and other devices.
But will these streaming services be able to measure up against the greatly anticipated next-gen consoles?
So far, it's looking like a no.
Staged for Stadia
Google’s cloud-based gaming service, Stadia, launched on November 19th but it didn’t go smoothly, with pre-orders arriving late and many of the games simply not running at the true 4K resolution that was promised as standard.
STICKY START: Google has offered refunds to anyone who has already bought Stadia games
Google took the brunt of the blame, while the developers who failed to design ports to support Google’s specifications evaded an absolute grilling.
But we’re already hearing about Amazon, Sony and Microsoft’s rumoured entries into the space, and these multinational technology companies will likely set the standard for consoles to follow.
Project xCloud is a new video game streaming service from Microsoft that lets gamers stream any Xbox One game directly to an Android phone.
SO FAR SO GOOD: Project xCloud is already in the beta testing stage
While Google believes that Stadia can outmatch the opposition hardware, Microsoft wants Project xCloud to bring new players into the existing Xbox ecosystem.
Microsoft is positioning Project xCloud as a supplement to its existing Xbox business, while Google is hoping that gamers will ditch their home consoles in favour of its streaming-only Stadia service.
Amazon getting Twitchy
Amazon Web Services (AWS) already powers much of the internet, as well as massive games like Fortnite, which means that Amazon already has a great amount of infrastructure and streaming ‘know-how’ at its disposal.
Amazon has been searching for a “new Gaming Initiative” to add to its Amazon Web Services team
Amazon also owns Twitch, an incredibly popular live-streaming service, which probably gives Amazon a lot of intel about the types of games people might spend hours playing every single day.
Amazon will surely use this information to help launch its cloud-based gaming service in 2020 and avoid running into as many issues around launch as Stadia has.
The shame is, if Google were less pressed to become the first major cloud streaming service, they could have ensured the successful launch of Stadia back in November.
The other companies developing their service will likely have learned from their unfortunate predecessors, and make every effort to avoid making the same mistakes.
Maybe then, and only then, will these cloud-based streaming services be able to stand a chance against the canonical giants, Sony and Microsoft.
Regardless of what console, or cloud platform, you go for this year, there will be flagship titles for all to enjoy.