The best video games to look forward to in 2022

Nintendo’s Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Bethesda Softworks’ Starfield, GSC Game World’s S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, Annapurna Interactive’s Stray, and God Of War: Ragnarök’s God Of War: Ragnarök’s God Of War: Ragnarök’s God Of War: Ragnarök’s God Of War: Ragnarök’s God Of War: Ragnarök’ (Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment) Rebecca Fassola created the illustration. It’s easy to see some bright lights on the gaming calendar as we look forward to 2022 (and yes, we’re aware of how fundamentally paradoxical that sentence fragment is). From the second coming of the (second coming of the) God Of War to a direct sequel to one of Nintendo’s most successful reinventions of all time, the list of upcoming releases includes sequels to some of the most adored video games in recent memory.

The Pokémon franchise has shifted between a frankly staggering array of genres over the last 25 years, running the gamut from traditional monster-catching RPGs to photography simulators to pinball games. But it’s rarely, if ever, indulged in the world of action gaming. That’s set to change with the release of Arceus, which will see players run around a semi-open world, catching various pocket monsters by the tried-and-tested method of hurling magical balls at them; the only difference is that now would-be Masters will actually take control of their own creatures in order to have them beat the hell out of their soon-to-be friends.

Meanwhile, we’ve got new titles from the minds behind everything from Skyrim to The Evil Within to Pokémon. That’s to say nothing of a genuinely interesting set of original offerings, including titles where you’re stalked by a murderous choo-choo train or play as an adorable lost cat. And so, we present The A.V. Club’s Most Anticipated Video Games Of 2022.

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A new release from From Software’s Hidetaka Miyazaki—whose Dark Souls continues to revolutionize gaming more than a decade after its release—would already be noteworthy. But Elden Ring also combines a story co-written by George “Was I Supposed To Be Working On Something Else?” R.R. Martin, as well as a renewed focus on a wider open world, making this potentially From’s most expansive and beautiful undead apocalypse to date. Even with a few reservations after playing the game’s network test a few weeks back, we’re genuinely excited to dive back in and see what Miyazaki and Martin have in store for their Tarnished heroes.

Relentless pursuit has served as the organizing principle for some of the best horror games in any era, from Halloween on the Atari 2600 to Alien: Isolation. Choo-Choo Charles claims a special place in this venerable tradition by pitting you against a highly unusual antagonist: not a movie killer, xenomorph, or vengeful spirit, but a gloriously creepy spider-train stalking you across an island while you gather resources to upgrade your own vehicle’s firepower and turn the tables on the tenacious beast. It’s a fascinating jumble of ideas (the game looks like an open-world locomotive sim with Mad Max overtones) and a leap in scope compared to Two Star’s previous efforts (eerie lo-fi adventures like My Beautiful Paper Smile). But don’t be surprised if this gets pushed back from its early 2022 stated release or gets published under a different title—one that perhaps does not explicitly reference a character from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.

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