Can you feel it in the air? The heat is starting to falter. The wind is coming in stronger. Starbucks is about to start selling Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Fall is almost here, and with it come all the biggest video game releases of the year.
It’s already been a great year for video games, but the industry tends to hold the best stuff for last. September, October, and November are months of pure gaming joy, when studios big and small release titles we’ll be playing and talking about well into 2020.
The following 10 video games are the titles we’re most excited about this fall:
Shoot, loot, repeat. What more could you want from a video game? Borderlands 3 is a multiplayer loot shooter where players gather to rampage through a neon-lit post-apocalyptic world in space. The Borderlands series has always been a solid bet. Its crass but lovable humor, cell-shaded cartoon graphics, and commitment to piles and piles of strange and wonderful weapons makes it the Fall’s first must-buy.
Borderlands 3 is out on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 13.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
As a child, my Game Boy was attached to my hip, and one of my favorite games for the monochrome system was The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. It was like a normal Zelda game, but weirder. On his way to another country for a training exercise, Link loses his way in a storm and washes up on an island. There’s no Zelda, no Gannon, and no Hyrule, just dreamlike adventures in a game directly inspired by David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Seriously.
Nintendo is releasing a gorgeous looking remaster of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for the Nintendo Switch on October 1.
Destiny 2 Relaunch
First impressions are important, and video games don’t often get do-overs. But Destiny 2 developer Bungie is hoping for a second chance. Destiny 2 is two years old now, but the latest expansion, Shadowkeep, is out on October 1, and Bungie has made so many changes to the game that it’s hoping to bring back lapsed players and make some new ones.
Destiny 2 is a multiplayer loot shooter like Borderlands 3 that was billed as a massively multiplayer online roleplaying experience with guns. Bugs, glitches, and weird pricing models and microtransactions plagued the game since launch. But Bungie recently ended its relationship with publisher Activision-Blizzard, retooled many of the game’s systems, and made it free-to-play. Curious gamers only have to buy Shadowkeep for $34.99 to experience everything Destiny 2 now has to offer.
If anyone deserves a second chance, it’s Bungie. These are the people who made Halo, after all. Destiny 2’s relaunch is out on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on October 1.
The Outer Worlds
In the far-flung future, humanity has colonized the stars. On the edges of the known universe, capitalism is in full swing and crushing folks. In this alternate world, Teddy Roosevelt never became president and never fought the rise of megacorporations. Players wake up from cryosleep on the edges of colonized space and have to fight to survive and investigate the mysteries and eccentricities of the megacorporations that hold power.
The Outer Worlds is a first-person roleplaying game from the original creators of Fallout and the writers of Fallout: New Vegas. From the dark humor to the game design, The Outer Worlds is cribbing shamelessly from that post-apocalyptic classic, but setting the whole thing in space. Approach problems your way: shoot everything on sight, sneak around threats, or talk to your enemies and charm the pants off them. It’s up to you.
Blast into corporate space with The Outer Worlds on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch on October 25.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Like a Marvel movie, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s financial success is all but inevitable. The latest CoD is always one of the biggest games of the year. Last year, the franchise abandoned a single-player campaign in favor of a multiplayer focus. But the plot-driven single-player is back this year, and developer Infinity Ward is promising a dark, gritty, mature take on modern combat.
For the first time, players will have to worry about civilian casualties, NGOs, and other non-combatants. There’s a chance the player will commit war crimes in the field. There’s collateral damage, threat assessments, and everything else a real soldier has to worry about. The jury’s out on whether or not that’ll all be fun, but we’re all gonna play it.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare hits the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 25.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Sometimes you just want to explore a haunted mansion as a cowardly plumber, you know? Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a delightful looking title from Nintendo that follows the second-string Mario brother as he explores a luxury hotel that’s been overrun by Boos. Armed with a vacuum cleaner, a flashlight, and a gooey clone that’s semi-impervious to damage, Luigi must overcome his fear and fight off the ghosts to save his friends and family.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 comes to the Nintendo Switch on October 31, appropriately enough.
I don’t really know what Death Stranding is, but I badly want to play it. A few years ago, video game auteur Hideo Kojima parted with Konami, his home and publisher for decades. Sony scooped him up and gave him carte blanche to do whatever he wanted. What Sony got for its money is Death Stranding, a strange and surreal star-studded adventure of a man traveling across America with a baby strapped to his chest that he uses to move between life and death.
I think that’s what it’s about, anyway. What I can tell you for sure is that it stars Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkleson, Guillermo Del Toro, and Margaret Qualley. I know that the story involves traveling across America making connections, that the main character can summon ladders, and that sometimes he has to pee. Kojima makes weird games, but he’s yet to make a bad one. His involvement alone makes Death Stranding one of fall’s must-play games.
See what all the fuss is about and play Death Stranding November 8 on PlayStation 4.
Pokémon Sword and Shield
Everyone loves Pokémon. Catching pocket monsters and battling them against your friends is a cultural institution. Pokémon Sword and Shield hit the Nintendo Switch this Fall and it’s a big deal, marking the first time the mainline Pokémon series has jumped from Nintendo’s handheld systems to its main console. Sure, we had Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee and Pickachu, but those were remasters of old games.
Sword and Shield boasts a new generation of Pokémon, support for most of the old pocket monsters you’ve been lugging around since generation one, a brand new story, new areas, new battle mechanics, and more stuff for your Pokémon to do.
Pokémon Sword and Shield hit the Nintendo Switch on November 15.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
From the makers of Apex Legends comes the first purely story-driven Star Wars video game since Disney took over the franchise from George Lucas. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order takes place after the events of Revenge of the Sith and before Rogue One. The Jedi are being hunted across the galaxy, and the player controls Padawan Cal Kestis who must complete his training and fight back against the Empire.
It’s a third-person action game that, from the footage, looks like it plays like Sekiro or Dark Souls. There’s exploration, lightsaber battles, force powers, and Forest Whitakker. What more do you need to know?
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order comes to the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on November 15.
Rip and tear through the demons of hell in Doom Eternal. This is the latest first-person shooter in the franchise that made the genre famous. It’s a direct sequel to the 2016 series reboot Doom, and features the doom slayer cutting through demons — and possibly angels — as he continues his one-Marine quest to rid space of everything supernatural.
Doom Eternal will saw through the PC, PS4, XBox One, and Nintendo Switch on November 22.