Sorry it took longer than expected, but here we are talking about what would’ve been E3 2020…except it got cancelled thanks to a certain pandemic that happened in our world…oh well.
But nevertheless, we are here today to recap what was announced for 2020 in the gaming world, and oh boy, do we have lots to talk about: 3 new consoles, 2 big competitors, and 1 HUGE lineup of games, exclusive or not. (Also, be sure to stick around until the end for a bonus.)
So without further ado, let’s get this party started… (If you need to jump to a certain point in the article, these shortcut buttons below will help you.)
So let’s start off this recap with what is considered (to almost no one’s surprise) the most hyped console of the 9th generation: The PlayStation 5.
Now this new PlayStation console (along with its name and logo) was no surprise. However, there was a lot of speculation about what the console was going to look like, and in June (after showcasing some games for it, which we’ll go over later) the console was officially revealed…
So let’s take a look at the design of the PlayStation 5: It is the biggest console yet, slightly bigger than the original PlayStation 3. All of the console hardware is stored in a uniquely-shaped black base—between that are two white sides (shaped like wings) with glowing blue LEDs. (Some people have compared this to a Wi-Fi router or a school binder, but at least in my perspective, it looks like what a video game console should look like.)
The front of the system consists of USB Type-A and Type-C ports, a power button, an eject button, and a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive.
The back of the system consists of two USB Type-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI (with support for 3D audio), and a 2-prong power port.
The system’s cooling is done through two fans on each side of the system, with air coming out through the vents on the sides.
Hardware-wise, the PlayStation 5 is a pretty powerful beast: The console is powered by a custom 8-core AMD Ryzen Zen 2 processor, with a clock speed of up to 3.5 GHz.
For graphics, the PS5 uses a custom AMD Radeon RDNA 2 graphics chip, with a variable clock frequency of up to 2.23 GHz, and is capable of approximately 10 teraflops of graphics performance. The console is also capable of 4K gaming at up to 120fps with ray-tracing, as well as support for up to 8K resolution.
In terms of memory, the PS5 has 16 GB of GDDR6 memory, with a bandwidth speed of up to 448 GB/s.
For storage, the PS5 comes with 825 GB of internal flash storage, with a read speed of up to 5.5 GB/s, giving the console ultra-fast loading times. The flash storage is expandable through a standard NVMe slot, but the console can also support external drives through USB.
The PlayStation 5 also comes with the new DualSense wireless controller, which has a new, much smoother and rounder design compared to the DualShock.
The DualSense has most of the same controls as the DualShock, including the trigger buttons, directional pad, action buttons, left and right analog sticks, touch pad, and of course the PS button. It also includes some of the same features as the DualShock 4, such as the 6-axis motion sensors, a headphone jack, and a built-in mono speaker.
But the DualSense also adds some new features, including improved haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, a USB-C port (replacing Micro USB), and a built-in microphone for instant voice chat. (There’s also a mute button below the PS button.) The Share button, used to share screenshots and videos, was renamed Create, expanding its focus on content creation.
A single DualSense controller is included with the PS5—getting an extra controller will cost you $69 USD.
The PlayStation 5 is also going to have a few accessories, each sold separately:
- A Pulse 3D Wireless Headset, with 3D Audio support and dual noise-cancelling microphones, priced at $99 USD.
- A Media Remote, for use with navigating the interface, along with browsing through media and streaming services, priced at $29 USD.
- A DualSense Charging Station, for charging two DualSense controllers at once, also priced at $29 USD.
- And finally, an HD Camera, an adjustable camera with two 1080p lenses, priced at $59 USD.
Now when it comes to software, the PS5 system software will most likely be based on the FreeBSD kernel, much like with the PS4 system software, but with a completely revamped and overhauled user interface. Games for the system can be obtained either physically or digitally.
As for backwards compatibility, the PS5 is going to be…rather limited in that department. It will have backwards compatibility with the majority of PS4 titles, as well as limited backwards compatibility with some PS4 accessories, such as the DualShock 4 that can be used to play PS4 titles on the PS5.
However, there is NO native backwards compatibility with PS1, PS2, and PS3 games. (Though it may be possible to play a select few through emulation in the cloud.)
The PlayStation 5 will come in two different models: A standard edition with the Blu-Ray drive, priced at $499 USD, and a Digital Edition without the disc drive, priced at $399 USD. Other than the optical drive difference, both models have the same specifications.
The console launches on November 12th, 2020 in 7 countries: United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. The rest of the world (including Europe) would get the console a week later, on November 19th, 2020. Pre-orders would officially begin on September 17th, 2020.
But of course, no console is complete without games…
The PlayStation 5 has a pretty big lineup of games, some of which are also coming to other platforms; we’ll be starting off with the first-party titles, before getting into the plethora of third-party titles.
So, let’s begin, shall we?
The first game on the list happens to be a pack-in title: Astro’s Playroom, developed by SIE Japan Studio’s ASOBI division, who also developed the pack-in title The Playroom for the PlayStation 4.
This 3D platformer serves as a sequel to the PlayStation VR game Astro Bot Rescue Mission, and takes full advantage of the new features in the DualSense controller.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Developed by Insomniac Games (who were acquired by Sony a year prior), Spider-Man: Miles Morales serves as a sequel to the 2018 Spider-Man game (story-wise), featuring the main character Miles Morales, who gains the same powers as Peter Parker’s.
The game’s story revolves around Miles as Spider-Man trying to find his way of life in his new neighborhood, while also trying to defend New York City from a gang war between Roxxon energy and an army of high-tech criminals led by the Tinkerer. The gameplay footage showed off some pretty sick ray-tracing graphics, and there was a lot of cool action involved.
The game is set to launch alongside the PS5 on November 12th, 2020; it is also planned to be released on the PS4.
Gran Turismo 7
As the latest entry in the Gran Turismo racing series developed by Sony’s Polyphony Digital, Gran Turismo 7 features some pretty realistic looking graphics, as well as some of the classic tracks and vehicles fans of the series are familiar with. Gran Turismo 7 also brings back the GT Simulation Mode.
No release date was specified at the time of its announcement.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
The latest in Insomniac’s Ratchet & Clank series, Rift Apart is a third-person shooter featuring the titular characters traversing through different dimensions through rifts, in order to save the universe from an evil plot which involves damaging the fabric of space and time. The gameplay footage features some ray-tracing graphics, along with some third-person action.
No release date was specified at the time of its announcement.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure
Sackboy returns in his own 3D platformer, developed by Sumo Digital—Sackboy: A Big Adventure is the latest installment in the LittleBigPlanet series, and for the first time in the series, features third-person 3D platforming; it’ll also have collaborative multiplayer.
The game is set for release alongside the PS5 on November 12th, 2020; it is also going to be available for the PS4.
So this game looks kinda cool… Destruction AllStars, developed by Lucid Games, is one of those combat games that’s kind of like a cross between Rocket League and Twisted Metal, only instead of running over the ball, you run over other players or their cars.
The game is set to launch exclusively alongside the PS5 on November 12th, 2020.
Developed by Housemarque, Returnal is a third-person shooter that combines sci-fi and psychological horror elements, where the player has to fight for survival in a hostile planet that changes every time a death occurs.
The game is set to come out exclusively for the PS5 sometime in 2021.
Demon’s Souls (Remake)
The first game in the Souls action RPG series is getting a remake for the PlayStation 5, developed by Bluepoint Games in cooperation with SIE Japan Studio.
Now looking at the footage, this game is the definition of next-gen—not only are the ray-tracing graphics very atmospheric and beautiful, but the gameplay itself features some pretty tense combat, along with a boss battle near the end.
The game is set to launch exclusively alongside the PS5 on November 12th, 2020.
Horizon Forbidden West
Developed by Guerrilla Games, Horizon Forbidden West is the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, continuing Aloy’s story, this time going west. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic open world populated by machines, and the graphics (once again) look impressive, thanks to ray-tracing.
The game currently has a set release date of 2021, and is planned for both the PS5 and PS4.
God of War: Ragnarok
Finally, to wrap up the first-party PS5 games, we have a teaser for a new God of War game…except all we got was a logo and the words “Ragnarok is coming.”
The game is being developed by Sony’s Santa Monica Studio (who’ve developed the previous God of War games) and is set for release sometime in 2021.
So now let’s get on with the third-party games for the PS5…
GTA V Expanded and Enhanced
To start off the third-party list, we got…Grand Theft Auto V. (They just couldn’t milk it dry enough…)
But don’t worry, this one’s enhanced for the PS5, with better visuals and performance. Oh, and GTA Online is going to be released as a standalone title as well, and there’s exclusive content available for those who upgrade to the PS5, but we won’t go into detail on that.
GTA V is set to roll out on the PS5 sometime in 2021. Moving on…
Final Fantasy XVI
Final Fantasy already has a lot of sequels, and this one’s a no-brainer. Final Fantasy XVI (16 for those who don’t understand Roman numerals), developed by Square Enix’s Creative Business Unit III division, is the latest installment in the Final Fantasy RPG series, and judging by the gameplay trailer, it looks to be a more mature take on the series… We’ll have to see where this goes.
The game, set for release on both the PS5 and PC, did not have a confirmed release date at the time of its announcement.
Another project from Square Enix is an open-world game being developed by Luminous Productions: Project Athia (working title). As expected, the game looks gorgeous, and it looks like it going to have some action elements as seen in the work-in-progress gameplay.
The game, set for release on both the PS5 and PC, did not have a release date at the time of its announcement.
Formerly known as HK_Project, Stray is an adventure puzzle game developed by BlueTwelve Studios, and published by Annapurna Pictures’ games division, Annapurna Interactive. The game has you play as a stray cat in a strange futuristic city where robots roam free.
The game is set for a release on the PS5 in 2021.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Developed and published by Ember Lab, Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a story-driven fantasy adventure game where you play as a young (and cute) girl named Kena, a spirit guide traveling to an abandoned village in search for a sacred mountain, while collecting spirit companions called Rot along the way.
The gameplay footage shows it being played in a third-person perspective, and the graphics once again look pretty, thanks to ray-tracing.
The game is currently set for release in 2021 for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC through the Epic Games Store.
Now this next game is where things get a little weird…
Goodbye Volcano High
Developed by independent studio KO_OP, Goodbye Volcano High…well, I have no idea what to describe it. It’s a narrative choice-driven game about a bunch of anthropomorphic teenage dinosaurs in their final year of high school…and that’s all I can really tell you.
The game is set to be released on the PC, as well as a timed exclusive on the PS4 and PS5, in sometime in 2021. Moving on…
The latest entry in the Oddworld platformer series by indie studio Oddworld Inhabitants, Oddworld: Soulstorm is not only a reimagining of the 1998 game Abe’s Exoddus, but it also follows the events of Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty!, which in turn is a remake of the first Oddworld game, Abe’s Oddysee. The visuals once again look appealing, and the gameplay looks like some sort of weird 2.5D side-scroller.
The game is set for release on the PS4, PS5, and PC sometime in 2020.
Developed by Tango Gameworks, and published by Bethesda, Ghostwire: Tokyo is a first-person adventure game that takes place in a Tokyo invaded by ghosts and spirits, and as the player, you have to defeat these ghosts and spirits using supernatural abilities.
The game is set for release for the PS5 and PC in 2021.
Jett: The Far Shore
Developed by SuperBrothers and Pine Scented Software, Jett: The Far Shore is a cinematic action-adventure game, where you embark on an interstellar trip to create a future for people haunted by oblivion.
The game is set for a release in 2021 for the PS5, PS4, and PC.
Developed by Counterplay Games and published by Gearbox, Godfall is a third-person action RPG where you play as one of the last Valorian knights sent to save Aperion from an apocalyptic event. The gameplay is based around the loot shooter concept, but with a focus on melee combat.
The game is set to launch alongside the PS5 on November 12th, 2020; it is also planned for the PC through the Epic Games Store.
Here’s another indie title published by Annapurna Interactive and developed by Heart Machine: Solar Ash is an action adventure game that follows the player in a “surreal, vivid, and highly stylized world filled with wild high-speed traversal, endearing characters, and massive enemy encounters.”
The game is set to be released on the PS5, PS4, and PC sometime in 2021.
As the latest installment in the Hitman series of stealth games developed and published by IO Interactive (Eidos, now Square Enix, owned the franchise until 2017, when IO became independent), Hitman III concludes the “World of Assassination” story trilogy that started with the 2016 Hitman game. The graphics for the game look almost photorealistic, and the gameplay is what you’d expect from a Hitman game.
The game is set to be released on January 20th, 2021, on almost every major platform, including the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, the next-gen Xbox (which we’ll cover later), PC (through the Epic Games Store as a timed exclusive for a year) and even Google Stadia.
Little Devil Inside
An open-world action RPG game from indie studio Neostream Interactive, Little Devil Inside takes place in a “Victorian-like” era, where the player embarks on dangerous missions to gain evidence and findings for a mysterious professor.
The game is set to be available as a timed console exclusive on the PS5 and PS4, as well as PC, and did not have a set release date specified at the time of its announcement.
Now this’ll be brief: 2K is making another NBA 2K basketball game, with photorealism and…sweat. Despite the game already being released on all major platforms on September 4th, it is set to come out on the next-gen systems on their respective launch days.
Young Heroes, the creators of Octodad: Dadliest Catch (which in turn was a sequel to a freeware game called Octodad), returns with Bugsnax, a first-person adventure game where you play as a reporter who receives a mysterious film strip from a disgraced explorer, inviting you to an island where you hunt down half-bug, half-snack creatures called Bugsnax, for the local grumpuses.
The game is currently set for a Holiday 2020 release on PS4, PS5, and PC.
So here’s a game with an interesting concept: Deathloop, developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda, is a first-person shooter where you play as Colt, a man trapped on an island stuck in a time loop, and has to figure his way out of the loop by solving puzzles, fighting revelers (who’ve put you on the top of their hitlist), and take out 8 key people responsible for the loop, including a rival female assassin named Julianna. (So it’s essentially the first-person shooter equivalent of Groundhog Day.)
The gameplay footage looks pretty rad; each time you die you are taken right back to the beginning of the time loop, allowing the player to figure out their mistake and continue right through.
The game is set to be released on the PS5 (as a timed console exclusive) and PC in mid-2021.
Resident Evil 8: Village
The latest entry in Capcom’s Resident Evil survival horror series, Resident Evil 8: Village has you play the main protagonist Ethan Winters, who has moved on from the horrifying events of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. However, Chris Redfield makes an unexpected appearance, setting off a chain of events that ultimately lead him to a mysterious village.
Resident Evil 8: Village is currently set for a 2021 release on all next-gen systems, including the PC.
There’s also another new game from Capcom, but it’s ways away: Pragmata is some sort of adventure game, featuring an astronaut and a young girl in a dystopian world on the moon.
The game was in the pre-alpha stage at the time of its announcement, and wouldn’t be released on next-gen systems until at least 2022.
The next game on the list is from the folks at Warner Bros. Games, the games division of Warner Bros. that AT&T (its parent company since 2018) is deciding to keep for some reason.
Anyways, Hogwarts Legacy is a new open-world RPG game set in the late 1800s in the Wizarding World, developed by Avalanche Studios and published by Portkey Games, Warner Bros. publishing label dedicated to Harry Potter games.
The game is set for a 2021 release on most major platforms, including next-gen systems.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
Then we have another Call of Duty game: Black Ops Cold War, developed by Treyarch and Raven Software for Activision. The game serves as a direct sequel to the first Black Ops, where you play as a CIA officer during the Cold War in the 1980s.
The gameplay footage primarily showed off the single-player campaign, with some rather decent combat as well as the ability to control an RV car in order to chase down a plane and then detonate it. The game also has online multiplayer, with a co-op “Zombies” mode.
The game is currently set for a November 13th, 2020 release on most major platforms, including next-gen systems. An alpha version of the multiplayer mode was also released on the PS4 to registered users from September 18th to September 20th.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach
And finally, to wrap up the Sony portion, we have…a Five Night’s at Freddy’s game called Security Breach….yeah. Developed by Steel Wool Studios in cooperation with FNAF creator Scott Cawthon, Security Breach has you working the night shift at a new mega pizzeria location, with new animatronics to meet…and inevitably jump-scare you.
Security Breach would be the first FNAF game to have ray-tracing graphics, thanks to the PS5. The game had no set release date at the time of its announcement, but will come to PS5 and PS4 (as a timed console exclusive), as well as PC.
Phew! That was a LOT to cover on Sony’s front. (I’ll go over my brief thoughts at the end of this recap.) So now let’s take a look at what the main competition has to offer…
Xbox Series X/S
So now let’s talk about the 4th generation of Xbox consoles: The Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S (or as Microsoft just calls it: Xbox.)
Xbox Series X
Previously announced as Project Scarlett back in 2019, the Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s next-gen system, but unlike the PS5, the new Xbox consoles design-wise…are shaped like rectangular boxes.
The front of the system consists of the power button, the 4K UHD Blu-ray drive (with an eject button above it), a USB port, and a sync button for the controller.
The back of the system consists of a security slot, as well as two more cooling vents, and in-between those are the main connectivity: Two USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a power port, an HDMI port, and a storage expansion slot for proprietary storage expansion cards based on NVMe.
The top of the system is for the main ventilation for cooling the main processor.
The Series X also includes a new wireless controller, which is essentially a revised version of the Xbox One controller, but with a sleeker, smoother look, a flat concave D-Pad similar to that of the Elite Controller, a USB-C connector, and the addition of a Share button.
In terms of specs, the Series X is considered the most powerful console for the 9th generation—slightly more powerful than the PS5 in several aspects.
The Series X is powered by a custom 8-core AMD Ryzen Zen 2, with a clock speed of up to 3.8 GHz.
For graphics, the console uses a custom AMD Radeon RDNA 2, with a clock speed of up to 1.825 GHz, and is capable of up to 12 teraflops of graphics performance. It also supports ray-tracing, is capable of rendering games at 4K at 60fps or 120fps, and supports the 8K resolution.
In terms of memory, the Series X has 16 GB of GDDR6 memory: The first 10 GB have a bandwidth speed of 560 GB/s, while the latter 6 GB have a bandwidth speed of 336 GB/s.
For storage, the Series X has more than the PS5: A 1 TB NVMe SSD, with a read bandwidth speed of 2.4 GB/s for raw data, and 4.8 GB/s for compressed data.
However (like I said before), expandable storage required the use of proprietary expansion cards, which would be available through Microsoft and Seagate. But much like the PS5, the console also supports external drives through USB.
The Xbox Series X will most likely use the same Windows 10 core for its system software, like its previous generation, but will include a new technology called Quick Resume, allowing players to switch between active games instantly and easily. Games for the system can be acquired either physically or digitally. Games can also be played through the Xbox Game Pass subscription service, giving players access to a large library of games almost instantly, at a monthly fee of course.
As for backwards compatibility, the Xbox Series X blows away the PS5 in that department: Through the backwards compatibility program, the Series X can play natively games from previous generations, including the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and even the original Xbox. (The backwards compatible games will also run much faster and look better.)
The Xbox Series X is going to be priced at $499 USD, with a planned release of November 10th, 2020. (Pre-orders would start on September 22nd, 2020.)
But wait, there’s more: Much like with the PS5, Microsoft is also offering a cheaper, digital-only version of the Series X, but with a few catches…
Xbox Series S
Previously in development as Project Lockhart, the Xbox Series S is essentially a cheaper, less powerful version of the Series X.
The design is about less than half the size of the Series X, and comes in a while color. The fan is also turned on its side (represented by the circular black grille), and lacks a Blu-ray drive (as to be expected), so games would have to only be obtained digitally.
Other than those changes, it has the same connectivity and features as the Series X; the controller is the same as its more powerful cousin, but in a white color to match the Series S.
Hardware-wise, the Series S is rather underpowered: The CPU and GPU remain identical to the Series X, albeit underclocked to reduce cost. (3.6 GHz and 1.565 GHz respectively.)
The graphics performance also had to be downsized, resulting in the Series S being capable of up to 4 teraflops—8 less than the Series X, 6 less than the PS5, and only 2 less than the Xbox One X; the main goal of the Series S however was to play next-gen (and past) games at 1440p at either 60fps or 120fps.
In terms of memory, the Series S has less memory than the Series X: Only 10 GB of GDDR6 memory, with a bandwidth speed of 224 GB/s for the first 8 GB, while the latter 2 GB have a bandwidth speed of 56 GB/s.
Finally, the Series S cuts the internal storage in half to a 512 GB NVMe SSD, but does have the same read bandwidth speed as the Series X.
The Xbox Series S is priced at $299 USD, the lowest price for a next-gen console, and is also planned for release on November 10th, 2020. (Pre-orders would start on September 22nd, 2020.)
So now you know both systems, but again, no console is complete without games…
Now much like the PS5, the Xbox Series X also has an extensive line-up of games; we’ll be starting off with the first-party titles from Xbox Game Studios, before getting into third-party titles. (All of the games you’re about to see can also be obtained on PC.)
So without further ado, let’s get to it…
Being developed by 343 Industries, Halo Infinite is the latest installment in the Halo series, following the events of the previous game, Halo 5.
Now as I’ve stated before, we did get some gameplay footage of the single-player campaign, showing off some pretty decent combat, however the graphics look rather unfinished… Thanks to this fluke, it birthed the rather infamous “Craig” meme, which was basically a split-second frame of a poorly-rendered head of a Brute, before Master Chief beats the crap out of him.
The game was originally scheduled for Holiday 2020 for the Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC. (However, due to complications regarding the COVID pandemic among other factors, the game has since been delayed to 2021.)
State of Decay 3
A new State of Decay game exclusively for next-gen was announced by Undead Labs—the teaser trailer depicted the main character hunting in the winter, only to come across a dead wolf attacked by a zombie deer.
There was no release date at the time of its announcement.
Forza Motorsport 8
A new Forza Motorsport game was announced by Turn 10 Studios, simply titled Forza Motorsport. The trailer depicts some realistic-looking graphics (thanks to ray-tracing), and the game is set to come out exclusively on next-gen, running at 4K at 60fps.
There was no release date specified at the time of its announcement.
Developed by Rare (the same people behind Banjo-Kazooie and Sea of Thieves), Everwild is an original adventure game, where you play an eternal exploring a natural and magical world. The trailer depicts some rather impressive visuals, but the gameplay itself remains mostly a mystery.
There was no release date specified at the time of its announcement.
Tell Me Why
Developed by Dontnod Entertainment, Tell Me Why is a narrative-driven adventure game, where two twins named Alyson and Tyler Ronan, reunite 10 years after their mother died. However, upon returning to their childhood home in Alaska, their past may not be as they remember it…
The game was released in three chapters on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC, with the first chapter being released on August 27th, 2020. (The second and third chapters were later released on September 3rd and September 10th respectively.)
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Will of the Wisps, a Metroidvania platformer developed by Moon Studios for Xbox Game Studios, is the sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest released on March 11th, 2020 for the Xbox One and PC, and recently released for the Nintendo Switch on September 17th, 2020.
As part of the Xbox Games Showcase for July 2020, a version for the Xbox Series X was announced for sometime later in 2020.
Anyways, moving on…
The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon
Now we’ve talked about The Outer Worlds before in our E3 2019 recap, but here, Obsidian Entertainment (now owned by Microsoft, though the game’s publishing rights are owned by Take-Two’s Private Division), showed off the DLC for the game, titled Peril on Gorgon.
The story takes place on the Gorgon Asteroid, where the player investigates the mysterious origin of Adrena-Time, while finding some new weapons and armor (among other things) along the way.
The Peril on Gorgon DLC was released on September 9th, 2020 at a price of $14.99 USD.
Obsidian Entertainment is also working on another game, this time for Microsoft, called Grounded, a co-op survival adventure game where you’ve shrunken to the size of an ant, and must survive in a backyard. The game has all the basics you need from a survival game: Crafting, building, and fighting small hostile creatures.
The game was released to early access on July 28th, 2020 for Xbox One and PC, with an official release scheduled for 2021, alongside a version for the Xbox Series X.
The last new game from Obsidian Entertainment is a first-person RPG called Avowed, set in a fantasy world of Eora. (Other than that, not much was shown off.)
The game, set for release on the Xbox Series X and PC, did not have a set release date at the time of its announcement.
As Dusk Falls
Developed by Interior/Night, As Dusk Falls is an original interactive drama that explores the lives of two families across 30 years in a small town in Arizona. (It is also Interior/Night’s first title.)
The game, set for release on the Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC, did not have a release date specified at the time of its announcement.
The last first-party game from Xbox Game Studios we’ll be looking at is from the recently-acquired Double Fine Productions: Psychonauts 2. (We’ve also covered this before in our E3 2019 recap, but we got more details here.)
The story continues from the VR game Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin, where the main character Raz has (at this point) joined the Psychonauts (his idols), but soon finds that not all is right in the organization. The trailer features a mysterious ball of light voiced by Jack Black, who also sings a musical number in it.
The game is set to come out in 2021, and will be released on most major platforms, including the Xbox One, PC, PS4, and of course, the Xbox Series X.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light
Now this’ll be rather brief: Bungie’s Destiny 2 is getting yet another expansion pack called Beyond Light, which will introduce new locations, along with new missions and multiplayer maps.
This expansion, along with the base game and its other expansion packs, are set to be released on the Xbox Series X at launch.
Developed and published by GSC Game World, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is a first-person survival horror shooter and a sequel to the first S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers and Robbers) games. The follow-up takes place in a post-apocalyptic open-world for the player to explore. (This is also the first S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game to launch on consoles.)
The game did not have a release date specified at the time of its announcement.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
Another addition in the Warhammer series of games (in which are so many of them), Darktide, developed and published by Fatshark, is a co-op first-person adventure game, where players have to cooperate to fight against waves of enemies.
The game is set to be released on the Xbox Series X and PC in 2021.
Tetris Effect Connected
Next up, a visually pleasing Tetris VR game previously released only on the PlayStation 4 and PC: Tetris Effect Connected, by Enhance Games.
It is essentially an update to Tetris Effect, but not only is it available on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X for the first time, but it also adds new multiplayer modes, including co-op and competitive, both local and online.
The game is set to be released on all Xbox platforms on November 10th, 2020, with a free update to come to other platforms sometime in 2021.
Developed by Image & Form Games, and published by Thunderful, The Gunk is a third-person adventure game where you embark on a quest to save and unravel the mystery of a forgotten planet, with challenging puzzles and enemy encounters along the way.
The game is set for release in September 2021 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.
Next, we have a third-person psychological horror game developed by Bloober Team, where the player travels to an old resort and use their psychic abilities to uncover its secrets. The player also has to solve puzzles, as well as survive encounters with evil spirits.
The game is set to be released by the end of 2020 on Xbox Series X and PC.
Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis
Sega’s Phantasy Star Online 2 RPG is getting a “shared universe” standalone, titled New Genesis, with enhanced graphics and gameplay.
The game is set to launch on Xbox consoles and PC in 2021.
Previously announced at E3 2019, CrossfireX is a first-person shooter and a console version of Crossfire (released for PC years prior), developed by Smilegate and Remedy.
The new trailer for the game showcased some fast-paced action, as well as introduces some new characters as part of the single-player campaign (which won’t be free-to-play unlike multiplayer) called Operation Spectre.
The game is set for a release sometime in 2020 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.
And finally, to wrap up the Xbox portion, we have a reboot of the Fable action RPG fantasy series, being developed by Playground Games (the same guys behind Forza Horizon) for next-gen—no release date was specified at the time of its announcement.
And there were probably a lot of their other Xbox games announced, but I’d be here all day with them…
And so that pretty much concludes our coverage on the next-gen consoles and its games, but we’re far from done—we still have one more console left to cover, and while it’s not a next-gen system nor meant to complete with the big three (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo), it was enticing enough for me to cover it in this recap…
Now some of you may or may not remember it, but the Intellivision was a pretty interesting console for its time.
Released by Mattel in 1979 in US test markets, before going nationwide a year later, the Intellivision was one of the many consoles released during the video game craze of the early 80s: It had a directional disc on the controller, as well as a 16-bit microprocessor, technically making it the first 16-bit video game system, way before the console wars of the 90s.
The Intellivision also innovated in a few ways: In 1982, Mattel introduced the Intellivoice, the first voice synthesizer for a dedicated video game console. The Intellivision was also the first console to get officially licensed sports games, including Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Football League (NFL).
Unfortunately, the Intellivision was also one of the many victims of the North American Video Game Crash of 1983. After heavy losses, Mattel quit the video game industry in 1984, selling off their video game assets to an independent company called INTV Corporation, who continued to sell the console up until 1990, when it was finally discontinued.
Since then (much like with Atari), the Intellivision name and IP has been bounced back by different companies, up until recently…
In 2018, video game industry veteran Tommy Tallarico (the man behind many game soundtracks, including Earthworm Jim and numerous retro Disney games) acquired the Intellivision name and IP, forming a new company called Intellivision Entertainment, with plans to make a new console. In October of the same year, the Intellivision Amico was officially announced, with more details revealed over the next couple of years.
So let’s take a look at the Amico, shall we?
Much like with the PS5, the design of the Amico definitely looks like a video game console, but it’s designed more for casuals in mind. The console comes in two standard colors: Glacier White and Graphite Black (the latter of which shown in pic).
The power button is located in the front-center of the system, and there’s a big gap in the middle where the user could put the two controllers in to wirelessly charge them. There’s also LED lighting on both sides and the bottom-front of the console.
The back of the Amico consists of HDMI, a USB Type-C port, a microSD card slot, and a barrel-style power connector.
Hardware-wise, the Intellivision Amico is powered by an 8-core Snapdragon ARM processor clocked at 1.8 GHz, has 2 GB of onboard RAM, and has 32 GB of internal storage, though it is possible to get extra storage through the microSD card on the back I mentioned earlier. The console also supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and RFID (radio-frequency identification).
Now let’s go over the Amico controller, because it’s rather feature-packed:
The controller has a 3.2″ capacitive TFT color touchscreen with a resolution of 320 x 240 (the same resolution as the iPod Classic if anyone remembers it.) It connects to the console either wirelessly or wired through USB-C, and can be charged both ways as well.
The controls include a 64-way directional disc, 4 shoulder buttons (2 on each side), and a home button. What’s also notable about the disc is that it also has LED lighting, so the rings can change color to, say, represent a different player.
It also has other features including Bluetooth, WiFi, RFID, a built-in speaker and microphone, gyroscope, accelerometer, and haptic feedback. Wrist straps are also included with the controller for tight grip.
The Intellivision Amico comes with 2 controllers, but extra controllers could be obtained. However, there is a free alternative: An iOS or Android device through the free Amico controller app. The Amico supports up to 8 controllers.
In terms of software, the Intellivision Amico runs a custom operating system based on Android. (We did get a preview of the user interface, though it was a prototype.)
All of the games are obtained through the Amico Game Shop with prices ranging from $2.99 USD to $9.99 USD, but physical editions are planned, albeit more expensive than the digital versions.
As for pricing, the Intellivision Amico costs $249 USD, and that includes the console, 2 Amico controllers, and 6 pack-in games. (4 of which will be covered in this recap.) There’s also going to be a limited edition selling for $279 USD, and comes in 3 exclusive colors: Vintage Woodgrain, Galaxy Purple, and GTO Red.
The console was originally set for release on October 10th, 2020 (according to Tommy Tallarico, it was in honor of his younger sister, who sadly passed away), but due to the COVID pandemic impacting every industry, as well as focusing on quality over quantity, the release date had to be pushed to April 15th, 2021. The Founder’s Edition is also planned for a release 12 days earlier, on April 3rd, 2021. (That date is a play on the phrase: 4, 3, 2, 1, Launch!)
The Amico would be available in the following retail outlets in the US: GameStop, Walmart.com and Amazon. In Canada, it would be available through Amazon, Walmart (both online and retail), Best Buy, and GameStop’s Canadian division Electronics Boutique.
But like I said before, it’s not a console without exclusive games, and boy did Intellivision take that promise of exclusivity seriously, because all of the games you’re about to see, are mostly EXCLUSIVE to Amico… You’ll see what I mean in a second.
Now the following games you’re about to see are mostly aimed at families: These include re-imagined retro games, original games, sports and recreation, educational, and board games. All of the games are considered family-friendly; there are not going to be any games with mature content in them. There’s also no ads, microtransactions, loot boxes, or DLC. (Already sold on that.)
Now there will be ports, but they’re NOT direct ports; rather they add extra features that are exclusive to the Amico console. Finally (as I’ve stated before), all of the games are relatively cheap to obtain, and they are less than 1 GB per game.
So now let’s take a look at a selection of Amico games that mostly enticed me…
First off, we have the re-imagining of the 1981 Intellivision game Astrosmash, being developed by Rouge Rocket Games, known for some rather obscure mobile games.
Astrosmash is one of the 6 exclusive games that’ll be included with every Amico console—it is basically a mix between Asteroids and Space Invaders, and the re-imagining has enhanced graphics, as well as some orchestral-like music.
Next up, we have another game called Battle Tanks, being developed by Lost Mesa Entertainment, and is based on two Intellivision games: Armor Battle, and the Battle Tanks game from Triple Action.
This game is a top-down action game, where you control a military tank and try to battle against other players. There’s different maps to choose from, and it offers single player, as well as co-op and competitive multiplayer.
Next up, we have an officially licensed game from the American Cornhole League (ACL), simply called Cornhole, another exclusive pack-in title for the Amico.
It’s basically Cornhole—you just simply try to throw bags into the hole, and that’s it. There are different maps and boards to choose from and unlock, and it offers single-player, as well as team and versus multiplayer modes.
Now this next game kind of enticed me: A modern take on the Breakout game, developed by Choice Provisions.
The game is essentially Breakout, but flipped horizontally, has some pretty visual effects (a la Tetris Effect), and has a rather interesting rhythm-like gameplay to it.
Next, we have a modern re-imagining of the Atari arcade game Missile Command, being developed by Stainless Games. The game has enhanced graphics and sound, as well as single-player and multiplayer, both co-op and competitive.
Next we have a spin-off/sequel to the indie 2D platformer Fox N Forests (released on every platform imaginable) being developed by Bonus Level Entertainment, called Finnigan Fox.
Aside from some brief gameplay, and concept art featuring characters from the game, there’s little information about it—no release date was specified at the time of its announcement.
Based on the motorcycle stunt performances by Robert Knievel, Evel Knievel, developed by Barnstorm Games in cooperation with the Knievel family, is essentially a 2D physics-based biking game where you play as a motorcycle daredevil doing motorcycle stunts.
The game was originally released on mobile platforms back in 2015; the Amico version has enhanced graphics and sound, among with multiplayer support.
Now here’s an original game: Space Strike. It’s a multiplayer sports game where it’s similar to Rocket League…BUT IN SPACE. There’s also elements of the Vectrex game Star Castle with the goals, and there’s some maps with elements from the game Asteroids.
Developed by ChickenWaffle, Nitro Derby is an overhead 3D racing game with somewhat of a VR style to it…without the VR goggles of course.
The game has 10 tracks to choose from, as well as some unlockable vehicles to race with.
Moon Patrol: The Milky Way Chronicles
Next, we have a re-imagining of Moon Patrol, developed by WastedStudios.
This arcade game has you play as a lunar buggy, going through different terrains, while destroying enemies in the process. The game has enhanced 2.5D graphics, and also includes single-player, as well as co-op and competitive multiplayer modes.
The game is set to launch alongside the Amico, but you could play a demo level from the game early through the Amico Club mobile app, available for iOS and Android.
Earthworm Jim 4
And lastly, we come to the final announced game for the Amico: A long-awaited Earthworm Jim sequel, being developed by the original team behind the previous games.
All we got for a teaser is the titular character landing in a beach, then running past a sign pointing to “Heck”…and that’s about it. No gameplay footage. (So it’s most likely in early development.) However, it was confirmed that it will have some local multiplayer.
Other Amico Games
Now there were many more Amico games announced, but we won’t have time to cover all of them, so I’ll just cover what was showcased briefly during the Amico presentation:
- First off, Intellivision announced licensing deals with Major League Baseball, Sesame Workshop, and Mattel (the original creator of the Intellivision), to make licensed games based on their properties. (A remake of the Intellivision game Tron: Deadly Discs is also planned through a possible licensing deal with Disney.)
- Intellivision also announced that some board games would be ported over to the Amico, including the card game Incan Gold (called Diamant in other territories), the word game Blank Slate, and (my personal favorite) the party game Telestrations.
- Intellivision Monster Spades, being developed by Concrete Software, is a cute, family-friendly take on the Spades card game, with several monster characters to choose from.
- Liar’s Dice, also being developed by Stainless Games in cooperation with Mike Montgomery (one of the original founders of The Bitmap Brothers), is also a cute, family-friendly take on a classic tabletop game, with different animal characters to choose from.
- Bomb Squad, being developed by Heavy Burger creator International Headquarters, is another re-imagining of the Intellivoice game of the same name. While there is barely any gameplay footage, it was confirmed not only to be a co-op game where you have to work together to defuse bombs, but it will also utilize the Amico controller big time, such as the LED rings tracking how well you did.
- Cloudy Mountain, being developed by Other Ocean, is another re-imagining of a retro Intellivision title called Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain…only without the Dungeons & Dragons license. This maze game has both single-player and multiplayer modes, and is confirmed to be a launch title for the Amico.
- Rigid Force Redux, an indie shooter developed by Com8com1 Software and published by Headup Games, is getting an Enhanced version for the Amico—what makes it enhanced is the addition of multiplayer.
- And finally, there are two additional pack-in titles: A remake of Intellivision Skiing, and a remake of the fish-eating game Shark Shark.
Now normally, this is where we would wrap up this very long recap, but since you guys managed to make it this far (unless you decided to skip to the end, in which case you cheated), here’s a little bonus for you all…
Super Mario 35th Anniversary
The Super Mario Bros. franchise turned 35 years old in 2020, and Nintendo had a direct announcing their plans to celebrate this occasion…
Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros.
One of the first products announced is a Game & Watch, but not just any ordinary Game & Watch: A special Super Mario Bros. collector’s edition.
So what did you get in this collector’s piece? Well, it’s essentially an original Game & Watch with a modern liquid crystal color LCD screen, a proper D-Pad, and it has three built-in games on it: The original Super Mario Bros., the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2, and an updated version of the Game & Watch Ball game starring Mario. And since this is a Game & Watch system, it also includes a digital clock with some colorful animations in it, featuring Mario and the gang.
The system is set to come out for a limited time only on November 13th, 2020 at a price of $49 USD.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Another Wii U game gets ported to the Nintendo Switch, but with a twist…
Super Mario 3D World for the Switch includes pretty much the same stuff as the Wii U version, but with some enhancements such as online co-op and Amiibo support, but the biggest new addition is an expansion called Bowser’s Fury.
The game is set to be released on the Switch on February 12th, 2021.
Super Mario Bros. 35
Now you’ve probably heard of Tetris 99, the Battle Royale game where you play Tetris against 99 players and the last player standing wins. Well, Tetris 99 developer Arika and Nintendo are making a Battle Royale version of the original Super Mario Bros., but with 35 players.
The gameplay works similar to the original Super Mario Bros., but with the mechanics of Tetris 99: Every time you kill an enemy, it gets sent to the other players for them to deal with. You can also choose who to target, such as the player with the most coins, lowest amount of time, or just random. It also has some fun features, such as an item roulette that costs 20 coins to use.
And much like with Tetris 99, the last player surviving wins.
The game is set to be released exclusively for Nintendo Switch Online members as a limited release on October 1st, 2020, and is playable until March 31st, 2021.
Sage’s Fun Fact: This isn’t the first time a Battle Royale Mario game was done—in 2019, a programmer by the name of InfernoPlus developed a free, unofficial Mario Royale for web browsers, where up to 75 players can pit against each other in the original Super Mario Bros., with recreated versions of the original game’s Worlds, along with some custom-made ones, and the first player to make it to the end wins. (In some aspects, the fan-made game was superior to the official one.)
Unfortunately (as expected), Nintendo issued a DMCA takedown not too long after, and the game soon lost its Mario assets in favor of non-copyright infringing assets instead; it was also renamed to DMCA Royale. Despite the best efforts though, Nintendo still found the game too similar, and the game was sadly taken down soon after.
This also isn’t the first time Nintendo has taken ideas from fan projects and used them in their own games: Super Mario Maker uses many of the ideas from various Mario ROM hacks, and an official remake of Metroid 2 for the 3DS, Metroid: Samus Returns, was released in 2017, a year after Nintendo took down the fan-made remake, AM2R.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
So this is kinda cool… This is a Mario Kart game, but you control a radio-controlled car, compete against other players in-game, and earn points.
Developed by Velan Studios, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a mixed reality game, where you control a real-life toy car around your home with your Switch console, and contains most of the gameplay you’d expect from a Mario Kart game.
The game is set to be released on October 16th, 2020 at a price of $99 USD.
Sage’s Fun Fact: This isn’t the first time a video game system was used to control a radio-controlled car: In the late 80s, Sega showed off their Sega Super Circuit, a medium-scaled attraction that used modified arcade cabinets, which showed the perspective from the CCD camera mounted to each vehicle on the screen. Up to 5 players could play against each other, and it even had a scoring and position system. The attraction would last until 1990, but it was a case (from a technical point) of Sega doing what did Nintendidn’t back then. (Information sourced from SegaRetro)
Super Mario 3D All-Stars
And finally, to end off this recap, let’s take a brief look at the long-awaited Super Mario 3D All-Stars.
This is essentially a compilation of the 3 hit 3D Mario games from 1996 to 2007: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy, all of which were optimized to run on the Nintendo Switch. (The latter two games also run in widescreen.) All of the games are NOT remastered, but rather emulated using special software made by Nintendo. The game also includes a music player for players to listen to the original soundtracks.
The game would be released for the Switch on September 18th, 2020, both physically and digitally—but there’s a catch to that…it’s a limited release, being available for purchase until March 31st, 2021.
So that about wraps up all the news that I have to cover regarding what’s going on in the games industry for 2020. So now let me go over my brief final verdict regarding all of these announcements…
Despite E3 2020 never officially happening, the consoles and tons of game reveals were more than enough to “technically” make this the biggest E3 yet in recent years, had it actually happened.
The PlayStation 5, while slightly less powerful than the Xbox Series X, has an extensive lineup of games to sell the console….the only downside is that most of them are not only coming to PC, but some of them are coming to the previous-gen PS4 as well. Nevertheless, you’re still getting a powerful console, regardless of what model (digital or standard) you get.
The Xbox Series X, while the more powerful console for next-gen, isn’t quite the game-changer (no pun intended) when it comes to the exclusives. (Since Microsoft has the Windows operating system, all of the games are of course coming to PC as well.)
And while it’s also great to have a cheaper option to get into next-gen with the Series S, the spec downgrades are probably going to be a bottleneck for game developers, but we’ll have to see what Microsoft does when the console’s released. (But let’s be honest, it’s nowhere near as bad as the Xbox One reveal back in 2013.) Nevertheless, the consumer-friendly nature of the systems when it comes to backwards compatibility and such, as well as offering tons of ways to play these Xbox games, is more than enough to satisfy me.
And as for the Intellivision Amico…well, to be honest, I’m not quite sold on it yet. If there’s any enticing games available for it in the future, maybe. For now though, I’m not quite ready to put my money in for a console that most likely won’t be as popular or as good as, say, the Nintendo Switch. (Of course I’ll still give it a chance; I won’t hate on it unlike some others.) But I will give it this: At least it’s gotta be better than the Atari VCS (aka the Ataribox).
Finally, the Mario stuff: It sucks that most of it is for a limited time, but I can kind of understand why, since they are meant to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Super Mario.
Now I have no interest in picking up 3D All-Stars, as it’s (for me) better to get the games and play them on real hardware instead for the best experience.
The Game & Watch Super Mario Bros. however, I might pick up—I’ve never owned a Game & Watch before, and for its relatively low price and what you get for it, it’s actually a pretty decent deal for what’s supposed to be a limited edition collector’s item.
As for Super Mario Bros. 35…well, as much as I’m excited (and curious) to play the game, I will miss the glory days of InfernoPlus’ free online fan game that ended up being my true introduction to the Battle Royale concept that’s not Fortnite.
So anyways, that’ll wrap up what was probably the most ambitious recap I’ve ever done. I hope you guys enjoyed this read, and as always, I’ve got more content coming up, so stay tuned, and I will see you all next time. Take care. 😉
PlayStation 5 June Showcase Recap
PlayStation 5 September Showcase Recap
Xbox Series X Tech
Xbox Series X Games Showcase
Xbox Series S Introduction
Xbox Series X and S Release Date and Price
Intellivision Amico Website
Intellivision Amico Special Event (August 5th, 2020)
Super Mario 35th Anniversary
and other reliable sources