Unlike its screen-based sibling industries, gaming has seen relatively little technological upheaval in recent years. That's not to say that everything's great--because it is really not--just that games are as popular as ever, if not more so. Perhaps fittingly, game development feels like it's in a better place than just a few years ago; sure, there are annualized franchises galore, but there's also a vibrant landscape of indie and small-studio projects to go along with the budget-straining blockbusters that dominate the industry's hype machine. And plenty of titles from both categories (as well as the vast inbetweenness) look to be on tap for the coming year. Between consoles, PCs, mobile, and VR/AR, 2019 will deliver more games than anyone can reasonably be expected to keep track of, but we looked out over the horizon and found the 15 that intrigue us the most.
Gaming never went out of style, but over the last couple of years, it's evolved from a fun hobby into an essential lifeline. Games provide more active experiences that can help you forget that you've been staring at the same walls for weeks, letting you explore far-away virtual worlds or hang out with friends in the virtual safety of multiplayer lobbies. Gaming exploded in popularity in 2020, but it stayed vital in 2021 despite an avalanche of game delays and the near-complete unavailability of graphics cards. Now it's time to celebrate the best. We asked PCWorld's staff to share their favorite PC games of 2021.
Last year wasn't terrible for games, thanks to highlights like Psychonauts 2, Forbidden City and Deathloop, but it wasn't the year it was meant to be. Games in the middle of development when the pandemic hit were disrupted, leading many to be delayed into 2022. But what was bad news in 2021 is now 2022's good fortune: this year looks like it could be an all-timer. It starts in January with the release of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and from then there's a steady stream of highly anticipated and potentially fantastic games to look forward to. This isn't an exhaustive list of every game coming out in 2022, and it doesn't account for the many sleeper indie hits that are sure to come, like 2021's Inscryption.
It also means we're finally at the end of a four-day slog of press conferences from some of the gaming world's largest publishers. While Activision Blizzard still doesn't do its own pre-E3 event, just about everyone else does, which means these 96 hours have been a deluge of announcements and reveals that we did our best to get our arms around. We didn't even cover them all: the Square Enix press conference was basically devoid of new information, and the PC Gaming Show, while compelling, was mostly a long list of indie game announcements--some of which we'll be getting to later this week. So, for now, here's everything you need to know about every press conference you need to know about. Get through this, and you'll be ready for all the other E3 news that starts....well, now.
The ongoing covid-19 pandemic placed a brighter-than-usual spotlight on gaming in 2020, with an isolated population looking for entertainment they could enjoy from the safety of home. How fortunate then that alongside the year's many maladies, 2020 also delivered some of the most memorable games in recent years. From laid-back life simulators to an anticipated sequel that scrutinized cyclical violence, the gaming world was replete with options for anyone who wanted to get their minds off the consistently grim reality around them. The reintroduction and reimagination of the classic "Final Fantasy VII" highlighted the early spring, while the November debut of the PlayStation 5 ushered in a next-generation hero the gaming world both needed and deserved. Even with multiple delays pushing the much-anticipated "Cyberpunk 2077" beyond our Dec. 1 cutoff for Game of The Year consideration, there was no shortage of worthy contenders for that title.