Video game sequels are almost always a treat. Learning from their predecessors and honing in on all the qualities that fans love, sequels are an opportunity for developers to nail ongoing story lines, upgrade graphics, throw in new mechanics, and generally crank games up to 11.
Often, video game sequels are the best entries into their respective series, going the opposite direction to the age old assumption that number 2s are always a bit sh*t.
And if we're looking to the future then, there's plenty of exciting new sequel releases on the horizon that look set to make us wish these months away, aching to return to digitised worlds that we've come to know and love over the years for another familiar adventure. There's really no place like home, eh?
Whether that's in the endless white of the animus or at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, there's a surprising amount of favourite franchises that are set to get new instalments in the grand old year of 2020, including a few healthy rumours that seem just about ready to drop....
10. Payday 3
I’m afraid, Overkill Software and 505 Games, I must insist. You see, my wife, she has been most vocal on the subject of the Payday 3. “Where’s Payday 3? “When are you going to get Payday 3?” “Why aren’t you getting Payday 3 now?” And so on. So please, Payday 3…
While that story is only about half true, the sentiment of it holds as true as the Irish pronunciation of the word “through”. Everyone wants a third Payday game because the first two are probably the best heist games and/or co-op shooters you’ve ever played. They even rereleased the second instalment with a host of improvements, to the delighted cheering and whooping of eSports players and normal people alike.
The reality of a third instalment was actually confirmed by, of all things, some loose lips on a message board, where a poster confirmed that he was working in the same studio and that development work was taking place. Given the turnaround time of the first two, and the months that have passed since this revelation, the smart money’s on 2020 being the arrival date.
9. Harry Potter: Magic Awakened
Ever since footage leaked of a new Harry Potter RPG, fans of the Wizarding World have been patiently waiting for a follow up announcement to confirm its reality.
Whilst we haven't had that yet, Warner Bros. know they have something potent on their hands, thanks to the visceral response from the Harry Potter community - plus the fact this is clearly quite far in development so as to be play-tested.
It makes sense for them to hold back until they can drop the damn thing close to its release date and swoop up the profits as the hype train pulls firmly into Kings Cross Station.
Considering the level of development that had gone into the footage, we know that it was in late-stage production, and had quality gameplay many fans are dying to see more of.
This is pure speculation (and blind hope) at it finest, but the level of polish and silence around its existence seem to suggest that a 2020 release could be imminent. Time enough to finish up any loose threads, whack out a lovely Christmassy announcement, and get it onto the market to be gobbled up by players.
Perhaps it will even be a next-gen experience, which would explain its absence.
8. Rune Factory 5
A cutesy Switch title coming as the long awaited followup to the last Rune Factory in 2012, the game comes as a farming simulator that's somewhat similar to the Stardew Valleys and Dragon Quest Builders of the world, only with a fantastical edge that sets the title apart from its peers.
Slaying mythical creatures and monster hunting is part and parcel of the Rune Factory World, with protecting your village from eerie threats just as important as harvesting a real juicy set of turnips.
The spin off to the Harvest Moon series has a story that plays out amongst a heap of resource management, combining crop sorting, monster taming, and villager-wooing into one big colourful world - and 2020 will see the title brought back to life in full technicolour with a whole new and fantastic look. Whilst its future was uncertain for a while after the bankruptcy of developer Neverland, Marvelous have picked up and polished the title in their stead.
As for the game itself, there will be a secret bonus for those that have played the most recent Rune Factory 4 remaster. It's set to be faithful to fans of the series, even if that's about all we know at this point.
7. Dragon Ball Z: Karakot
Quintessentially, and with massive apologies to both Big Anime Nerds and my 16 year old self, Dragon Ball is a thing that works 1,000,000x better as a video game than it does a TV series. I don’t make the rules, but having sat through 4 entire summer afternoons watching people do nothing but raise their power levels and bark exposition at each other, I’ve earned the right to invoke them.
Thus it’s come as a surprise to precisely nobody that the franchise has pumped out some of the best fighting games of the last few years. Xenoverse 2 and Fighter Z being worth both your time and your Zeni. However, when the next instalment, Kakarot, was revealed as being closer to an RPG, eyebrows were understandably raised.
They really shouldn’t have been though, as the story elements of the series were always what made the fighting itself so compelling. The world was always expansive and richly imagined, and the non-fighting cast of characters are long overdue this sort of introduction in the games.
Gamescom 2019 provided the world with substantial looks at the gameplay itself and, while nobody’s writing any Breath-Of-The-Wild-With-Big Explosions hot takes just yet, it looks like being the long-awaited open world modern DBZ game fans have been after for an age.
6. Bayonetta 3
Yes, lots of people know that Bayonetta 3 is coming - and so they should, since the hair-flipping, gun-toting, sass-mouthed badass reappearing on our screens is nothing but a good thing - but Bayonetta's release date is where the real meat of this entry lies.
What was always supposed to be a 2019 release (as repeatedly purported by Nintendo) has now been mysteriously replaced with a 'TBA' tag, meaning that it won't be coming by the end of this year at all.
We can only assume that this move is a quiet readjustment of Bayonetta 3's launch, getting pulled back in for a repolish before hitting the shelves officially. So far, we've only seen a teaser trailer and hints of Bayonetta's return to gaming from developers Platinum Games, but considering the original release window and that it was announced way back in 2017 - a 2020 followup feels remarkably likely.
What we know so far of the game is Bayonetta's hair length reverting back to long and luscious, which means we could excitingly be dealing with a prequel rather than a linear follow up. Of course, she is literally magic and changes her appearance on a whim, so only time will tell how accurate that is.
The release is not set in stone and confirmation is needed from Nintendo, but hey, 2020 is an educated guess at the very least.
5. Chivalry 2
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is the very specific, but very intense wet dream of someone that loves both 'historical' reenactments and PC gaming rolled together into one chainmail-clad bundle, sending troops of era-specific soldiers in to hack and slash their way through to victory. Chivalry 2 as a followup then will be doing the same and much more, confirmed for a 2020 release onto the Epic games store at the 2019 PC Gaming Show.
The second instalment will follow much in the same style as its predecessor - celebrating all things bloody as you ride your way into battle to spread brains and guts in your wake. Is there much else you could want?
Most impressively, Chivalry 2 will feature a cinematic option which allows for players to experience their favourite TV and movie battles on screen, with developers Torn Banner namedropping The Battle of the Bastards from Game of Thrones as an example.
And if that wasn't exciting enough on its own and you want something a little spicier to spruce up the bloodshed, the sequel will also let you use a chicken as a murder weapon. Alright then, all bases covered.
4. Assassin's Creed: Kingdom
A new Assassin's Creed game every year has become as certain as death and taxes, with the series starting out with one humble 2007 release and pumping out a fresh dive into history's most acrobatic residents like clockwork ever since. The latest to continue the craze is set to be the codenamed Assassin's Creed: Kingdom, but for the first time in franchise history, it will arrive two years later than its predecessor, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey.
Now, Ubisoft have claimed before that there won't be a yearly game coming out and gone back on it, but there's reason to take them seriously since Watchdogs will be their big banker for the end of the year. There'd be no logic in becoming their own competition by unleashing a surprise AC on the world around the same timeframe.
It's also been rumoured that Kingdom will be a cross-gen release, so taking into account that all signs point towards new consoles launching in 'Holiday 2020', it makes sense that would be a similar release window for AC to cash in on.
'Kingdom' will feature a brand spanking new viking theme, as discovered in an easter egg lurking in The Division 2.
3. Two Worlds 3
Look right, the open-world, high fantasy RPG Two Worlds 3 has been coming for ages. We DO know it's on its way, but have no idea when the title will actually get itself onto our consoles - which feels about correct for the series that has done everything wrong from day one.
If it wasn't a shoddy game rife with terrible voice acting and broken mechanics in the first entry, it was the sleeper hit and commercial success that was backed by paid-for positive reviews with number two, so a completely wangled release schedule for the third instalment is doing well by publisher Topware's standards at this point, really.
The game was schedule for production over 36 months way back in 2016, which means we should have gotten it this year if all things had worked to plan. Instead, in late 2018, it was revealed the title was still in pre-production, meaning there was no way it was going to come out any time soon, despite all the wishful thinking the world could muster up in the meantime.
2020 is still hedging bets, but hey, considering the admirable dedication to the franchise many fans have maintained over the years, they really deserve something nice at this point, don't they?
2. Darksiders 4
Look kid, I can’t sit here in this big comfy chair and say that I know for certain that Darksiders 4 will be safely in your hands in 2020. In fact, I can’t promise you anything good will happen at all over the next 18 months - the world doesn’t work like that - but what I can say is this…
Darksiders: Genesis is technically the 4th in the series, but the developers have always said that it’s not meant to be the “real” fourth game, and that a classic title more like the other three will be coming one day.
I can also say that Darksiders 3 categorically shifted enough units and drew enough critical praise to mean that another game is an absolute no brainer. In short, we know that they want to make one but, more importantly, by Gunfire Games’ own measurements for success, they certainly should.
If this is all new to you then, well, you’ve still got time to get caught up. The post-apoloctypic, BDSM, hack/slash, sort-of-puzzly, action adventure has been insane fun since the original dropped in 2010, and spawned Genesis as a top-down spin-off looter purely to let players have more fun with the world.
1. Beyond Good & Evil 2
Beyond Good and Evil 2 is coming, but much like Bayonetta 3, that's about all we know at the moment.
After stirring up a storm with the Beyond Good and Evil name drop from Ubisoft at E3 2017, the developers have gone quiet whilst they refine their title, wanting to deliver something that can ride the wave of the cult classic when its ready without shooting their load prematurely with updates that aren't ready for public consumption.
Perhaps the announcement came too early on in development, but with three years under their belt and construction of the game coming from a community of fans submitting artwork and voiceovers as well as professional studios, you'd think that 2020 feels like a fair enough time frame for the title to launch in.
That's especially true considering that the game's beta will be available later this year, indicating it won't be long until we can get our hands on the space-pirate epic in 2020.
Combining aspects from the original Beyond Good and Evil into one giant sandbox, everything from intimate combat to interstellar exploration is on the cards. It's one of the most exciting sequels we're getting, and will hopefully surprise us with a sweet 2020 drop.