They’re all the games that were supposed to launch in 2021!
We are 10 days into 2022 and it’s hard to see how this could be the year that turns everything around for us. Millions are sick from a new variant after a holiday, people have been stuck for days trying to get home from said holiday, we all had to learn about that woman who sold her farts online who’s now shifting to fart NFTs, and, worst of all, I was told my butt is as flat as a pancake. I thought my cheeks were at least scone-like.
If there is anything that will make this year much better than what we endured last year, it’s the game. And there are a lot of great games to look forward to in 2022. Whether you want the biggest AAA experiences or are jonesing for something more indie, you’ll probably find a few games to be excited about for this year. Here now are the games the Destructoid staff are most excited for in 2022.
CJ Andriessen: Dragon Quest Treasures
If there is one thing that living through the COVID pandemic has made clear, it’s that time really is nothing but a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. It’s nearly impossible for me to remember how long ago events I have fond memories of actually took place. Take the 35th-anniversary stream for Dragon Quest. Gun to my head, I thought that took place back in 2020. In reality, it was just last May. No wonder I feel like I’m aging at the speed of light.
That stream was a great night for me and, I assume, other Dragon Quest fans the world over. Not only did Square Enix announce the next entry in the mainline series, but it also pulled back the curtain on an outstanding HD-2D remake of Dragon Quest III, an offline version of Dragon Quest X that we’re still not sure will ever leave Japan, and, my most anticipated game of 2022, Dragon Quest Treasures. The “non-traditional” RPG will feature Erik and Mia from Dragon Quest XI, taking place decades before the events of the Eight Hero as the brother and sister hunt for treasure I assume. That’s about all I can surmise about what this game will be like when it launches, and while that may not be much to go off of, it’s certainly enough for me.
I may be taking a risk picking this game for my most anticipated given that it’s not even guaranteed for this year and there are so many other great-looking titles that are confirmed to launch in the next 12 calendar months, but I live life dangerously. I eat cereal with milk and drink orange juice without a care in the world about what that combination will do to my stomach. And if it doesn’t make 2022, well, I’ll always have that match-3 puzzler to fall back on.
Eric Van Allen: Triangle Strategy
It’s been a good few years for fans of old-school role-playing games. Games like Octopath Traveler have sent volts of nostalgia coursing through the industry, and now we have games like Eiyuden Chronicle and the HD Dragon Quest remakes on the horizon. But this surge of retro-styled RPGs has been a little lacking in the strategy department. Triangle Strategy is the game I’m hoping will sate that need.
Taking after strategy RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre, Triangle Strategy seems like that classic tactics game fans have been waiting to play. It’s got political intrigue and tough decisions. It has gorgeous character art. And it has plenty of nudging characters around a grid, carefully plotting and planning the battle ahead of time to take on ever-increasing opposition.
Thanks to one already-released demo, I was already confident enough in what the developers at Square Enix are putting together. And with a list of already-addressed changes from the demo following soon after, it seems like they’re intent on putting together a strategy game to remember. Triangle Strategy is currently slated to dominate my OLED Switch’s schedule on March 4, 2022.
Jonathan Holmes: Bayonetta 3
How do you top Bayonetta?
That’s not what I meant, kids. Get your mind’s out of the gutter!
I’m talking about the pure quality of the series. It’s arguably the best there is at what it does, which is why Bayonetta 2 won Destructoid’s Game of the Year award back in 2014. It looks amazing, it can be played at any level of depth and still be a blast, and it’s just oozing with creative juices. There are things videogames do better than any other medium, and Bayonetta 2 does them all with a level of fabulousness that’s unmatched. For example, [SPOILERS] the story ends with a leather-clad witch standing atop of a fighter plane, soaring through the air at full speed as her hair turns into a giant dragon that eats God alive, all while Moon River plays in the background. [END SPOILERS]. It’s as “video games” as video games get.
But where do you do from there?
We have no idea! All we know about Bayonetta 3 so far is that the original iteration of the character was cut in half by a mysterious assailant. That leaves this new title to star a woman with a new look, a new voice, and the new ability to control giant monsters through the magic of interpretive dance. For anyone else, this would be a surprise, but for Bayonetta, it was Tuesday.
But is this really Bayonetta? Are we about to enter the Bayonetta-verse, with multiple Bayo’s from different timelines coming together to battle a common foe? Will the game even come out in 2022? And most importantly, will it be any good?
I can’t wait to find out!
Zoey Handley: Pocky & Rocky Reshrined
New? Old? I’m the girl with the sealing scrolls. I’ve got a long history with the Pocky & Rocky series going back to my childhood when I’d rent it to play with my mom. However, it’s not simple nostalgia that makes me drool at the prospect of a new Pocky & Rocky. A few years ago, my husband and I were able to dominate the two SNES titles, and they sort of become one of “our games.” We have a lot of “our games,” so maybe next year I’ll be excited about a new Rampage or Super Mario Strikers.
We don’t have a great many details on Pocky & Rocky Reshrined (whether it’s completely new or an enhanced remaster is kind of hazy), but at the very least we know it’s returning to its classic 16-bit style. Pocky & Rocky is just cute run-&-gun fun. With colorful Japanese visuals and some wonderful boss designs, it’s good to see this series get some love after being dormant for so long.
With luck, we might see the SNES titles re-released so they’re more accessible to a modern audience. If I dare dream, maybe we’ll see future entries in the series. But first, we’ll have to wait and see how Pocky & Rocky Reshrined turns out in Spring 2022.
Noelle Warner: Oxenfree II: Lost Signals
The first Oxenfree is one of my favorite games of all time. I love choice-based narrative adventure gameplay, and the people over at Night School really gave us a fresh take on the genre with it. I fell in love with the characters, the art style was gorgeous, and it was a perfect bite-sized adventure to play on a rainy afternoon. I’m more excited for the follow-up than I’ve been for a game sequel in a long time.
We don’t have a ton of information on Lost Signals so far, but we do know that it will feature a whole new cast of characters, a new setting, and will take place five years after the first game. I thought the first game was a perfectly-contained story that had a satisfying conclusion regardless of the ending that you got, so I’m glad to see that they’re going for an anthology thing rather than trying to force another story that directly follows the first game.
I have high hopes for what Night School will be able to achieve as they return to the Oxenfree universe. Even with all the huge, big-budget games on the horizon for 2022, a promise of another spooky mystery full of funny, fascinating characters is what really has me pumped. We don’t have a release date yet, but here’s to hoping it drops relatively soon.
Jordan Devore: Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Not to sound like a pink-puff hater, but I never expected a nice-enough series like Kirby to wind up with a new game at the top of my most-anticipated-game list for 2022.
While I consider Kirby Super Star one of my all-time favorites — it holds up in a special you-didn’t-have-to-be-there way, and the “multi-game” format is just plain cool — so many of these critter-inhaling platformer-adventure games hit the same (admittedly pleasant) notes. The lines tend to blur together outside of the more experimental titles or outright spin-offs, at least in my mind. A full-on 3D platformer, though? That’s my love language. As part of the 2022 Switch lineup, we’ve got Kirby and the Forgotten Land on the way, which looks fresh yet familiar in a way that’s really, truly speaking to me.
Seriously, watch the few-month-old trailer, especially if you’re not typically a Kirby fan. It’s got some real “in-store demo station” charm to it — the kind that convinces you on the spot to suddenly care about this upcoming game you only just learned existed.
Moving “freely in 3D stages” is a funny bullet-point on the surface, but in this context, with these cheerful sights to see (and then meticulously comb using some iconic abilities), it’s exciting. I can’t wait to see what clever bits of art and design HAL Laboratory can squeeze into this more sprawled-out world. Expecting another Mario Odyssey-style outing is probably ill-advised, but I feel like these two games could share a mood board.
In fairness, I would trade Kirby and the Forgotten Land for Elden Ring access, guilt-free — but we’ve already got it covered on this list (and others from prior years). At this point, it’ll be here before I know it. This new Kirby game, though. It still feels mysterious with a “Spring 2022” release window and little more than an announcement trailer to glean slow-mo crumbs from. Sekiro had its Guardian Ape moment, and soon, Kirby will too.
Chris Carter: Elden Ring
This has become so predictable for me!
I’ve been doing these for many, many years here at Destructoid, and typically if I don’t pick something Resident Evil related, I’m going with From Software: it’s kind of a sure bet. Plus, I don’t have egg on my face when it comes time to check in and pay the piper on our choices. That’s how CJ gets us! I even got to rub it in during our 2019 recap with Sekiro.
This time I get to cheat a little with some prescient knowledge. I’ve extensively played the Elden Ring beta, to the point where it eclipsed some full retail games this year. Unless From magnificently screws this up, it has the potential to be one of the best From games to date for a lot of people, at which point the discourse is going to blow up. A bold prediction, I know.
Whispering Willow: Bomb Rush Cyberfunk
Konami won’t make any more (good) Castlevania games. Or Contra ones. Or anything Silent Hill. They will churn out pachinko machines and the occasionally good retro collection, though.
Sega isn’t as inclined to tarnish their history, but they do sit on a goldmine of classics while instead prioritizing Sonic and Yakuza. One such game just waiting in the wings unloved is Jet Set Radio, a game about grafitti gangs claiming territory, grinding rails on rollerblades, and dancing to the beats laid out by Hideki Naganuma.
Like many indies, it seems Team Reptile has taken matters into their own hands with Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, a spiritual follow-up about the very same things. And Naganuma is back as well.
In fact, that last part might matter to me the most. Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future are always in my playlists somewhere. More Naganuma is always good.
Chris Moyse: Trek to Yomi
While 2022 brings with it the promise of more lockdown restrictions, health crises, and political upheaval, we can at least take solace that the entertainment world is looking relatively distracting. Indeed, for the first time in a while, I had too many anticipated games to choose from, including A Plague Tale: Requiem, Shadow Warrior 3, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, Sifu, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenger, River City Girls 2, Horizon Forbidden West… The list goes on and on.
But rather than choosing a sequel, or an established IP, I’m choosing to go with Devolver Digital’s sombre samurai escapade Trek to Yomi, which will launch on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC platforms at some point in the coming year. The stoic-looking release will tell a tale of a young warrior, Hiroki, as he picks his way across feudal Japan, en route to the ramshackle village of Yomi, wherein lies a vengeful encounter with the man who murdered his sensei. Revenge. The oldest motivator there is.
Trek to Yomi‘s few trailers depict a title awash with the visual style of classic samurai cinema — all long shadows, disquieting silence, and stark, sudden, claret-gushing violence. The title is in development from studio Flying Wild Hog, no stranger to the art of cinematic and violent combat. While Trek to Yomi‘s mechanics, characters, and features remain under wraps, early impressions have me sharpening my blade (not a euphemism) for the exciting title’s arrival.
Josh Tolentino: Granblue Fantasy Relink
After the ignominy of seeing my most anticipated game of last year crash and burn like a gacha title running out of cash, I’m ready to once again be hyped over a game I haven’t paid much attention to beyond knowing it exists and is coming sometime in the future. 2022 has a number of candidates for that, like Ghostwire Tokyo, Dune: Spice Wars, and Homeworld 3, but I’m going to highlight the one that has at least advanced beyond the teaser trailer stage so far: Granblue Fantasy Relink. After years in development (or re-development, depending on what you think of the departure of PlatinumGames from the credits list), it finally looks like Cygames’ big, splashy 3D take on one of the most interesting JRPGs you’ve never played is coming together. Soon players may finally see characters they only know as Granblue Versus fighters in a setting more apropos of their RPG origins.