2020 has been a record-breaking year for video games. The gaming industry is projected to bring revenue up to $174.9 billion USD this year, a nearly 20 percent increase year-over-year, while the number of gamers is expected to surpass three billion by 2023. With people around the world spending more time at home than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Nintendo Switch was sold out in numerous regions in the beginning of lockdown. Many have also been immersed in video games on other consoles including PC, mobile and the newly released Sony PlayStation 5. Ahead, we round up some of the most popular titles of the year, ranging from Among Us and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, to Cyberpunk 2077 and The Last of Us: Part II.
Continue reading for the 10 best video games of 2020. While you’re here, take a look at other categories of The HYPEBAE Best 2020.
First released in 2018 on mobile, Among Us became one of the most talked-about games this year after it began to pick up in regions like Brazil and South Korea. When it went viral worldwide through Twitch streams, the Mafia-like title became available on more platforms such as PC and Nintendo Switch. With its simple graphics, Among Us birthed numerous memes as well as creative renditions of the color-themed avatars, including these pretty “sus” lamps and LEGO sets.
Upon its launch in mid-March, Animal Crossing: New Horizons made history in the world of video gaming – the Switch saw peaked sales, ultimately bringing in a 400 percent increase in Nintendo’s profits. With ACNH releasing during a time when most of the world began entering lockdown, the sandbox game became loved for its online function that allowed players to virtually visit each other’s islands. Its popularity has also inspired creators and brands to host their very own in-game events — have you seen HYPEBAE’s Animal Crossing Fashion Show?
Initially announced back in 2012, Cyberpunk 2077 finally made its debut this year following multiple delays. The action role-playing title generated much hype in the gaming sphere for its solid storyline and graphics. And for those who’ve been keeping up with the release, its many glitches — including one that accidentally revealed the characters’ genitals — have also got fans talking on Twitter. Despite its refund controversy that led to a lawsuit between investors and the developer CD Projekt, Cyberpunk 2077 has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide.
Released in August, battle royale game Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout quickly gained the attention of gamers for its colorful graphics and relatively simple instructions. Inspired by shows like Knockout, each round of the game sees up to 60 players as jelly bean-like figures that compete with one another to become the last one standing. With so much hype around the avatars, developer Mediatonic even launched a virtual auction on Twitter to award one brand with a dedicated costume. Fall Guys is now in its third season, which comes with a winter theme and seasonal features like snowballs.
Square Enix set out to remake the popular 1997 PlayStation game Final Fantasy VII, which was praised globally for its narrative and playability. The developer first announced it would be brining back the nostalgic title in 2015, before Remake released in April this year. Many have expressed their love for the latest rendition of the game for remaining faithful to the original story, and for its updated graphics and technology. Having become one of the fastest-selling PlayStation 4 titles, Final Fantasy VII Remake was honored in the Best Role-Playing category at The Game Awards 2020.
An open-world, action-adventure title, Ghost of Tsushima follows the story of Jin Sakai, a samurai who fights to protect the island of Tsushima from Mongol invasion. The video game was lauded for its scenic visuals and storyline, although some critics commented on the repetitiveness of some of the open-world activities. The release sold more than 2.4 million copies in the first three days, surpassing five million in November.
A follow-up to its 2013 edition, The Last of Us Part II is set from the perspectives of characters Ellie and Abby in a post-apocalyptic world. From a third-person view, players are invited to complete quests as Ellie seeks vengeance and Abby gets involved with a cult. With more than four million copies sold within its release weekend, the action-adventure game is loved for its visuals and gameplay. Part II also introduced gamers to Lev, a transgender character that encourages conversations around diversity and queer representation in the world of gaming.
Although not a new release this year, League of Legends rolled out a series of buzzy collaborations and launches in 2020. Riot Games continued its team-up with Louis Vuitton with a new skin for Senna. The developer also launched Teamfight Tactics, a spin-off that features characters as chess players, and Wild Rift, a multiplayer online battle game that released on mobile. In addition to a Nike partnership, one of LoL‘s biggest projects of the year was its virtual pop group K/DA and their first-ever EP ALL OUT, featuring artists like Madison Beer, (G)I-DLE, TWICE, Wolftyla and Aluna.
Celebrating the 35th anniversary of the franchise, Nintendo launched a slew of Super Mario Bros. games this year. Featured in the series is Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, a mixed reality game that comes with physical car figures that can be controlled using the Nintendo Switch. Players are able to enjoy setting up their own racetrack that can be played both in real life and on-screen — pet owners have even shared their furry friends’ reactions to the game.
Following its 2018 predecessor, Marvel’s Spider-Man returned with a second game focused on the Marvel superhero Miles Morales. After being bitten by a genetically-modified spider, Morales gains superpowers and goes on missions to stop a gang war between Roxxon Energy Corporation and the terrorist group Underground. The Tinkerer – an antagonist previously depicted as an old white male – is played by Jasmin Savoy Brown this time around, marking another push for diversity and representation in the gaming industry.