January 7, 2022 12:28 PM EST

The year ahead will be a banner year for the gaming industry. The 2022 release of many titles initially set to drop in 2021 that were delayed because of the pandemic will soon make for an unprecedented deluge of highly anticipated content. And, based on the stunning and cinematic trailers for these AAA and indie games alike, studios are making the most of next-gen gaming systems.

Some of the most lauded games of the last decade are getting new entries this year, including Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War and Gran Turismo. Hollow Knight and Breath of the Wild are also (supposedly) debuting sequels in 2022, though given the scope of these games and previous delays, those release dates may well slip into 2023.

Perhaps even more intriguing than the old series are original concept games from famous creators, including the fantastical Elden Ring from none other than George R.R. Martin, the mystical Forspoken from Uncharted’s Amy Henig and the space saga Starfield, a game that’s been in the works at Bethesda for 25 years.

I also couldn’t help but notice there are an awful lot of new games set in a post-apocalyptic world where a virus has ravaged the planet’s population. Or a post-apocalyptic world that has been decimated by climate change. Or a post-apocalyptic world where millions of people suddenly disappear or die. Even pink puffball Kirby is bouncing through an abandoned city rather than his typical brightly-colored dreamland.

Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are several poppy cinematic spinoffs featuring Marvel and DC superheroes, Gollum from Lord of the Rings and the Na’vi from Avatar. There’s even a decent-looking Harry Potter open-world RPG that may finally break the long streak of awful games set at Hogwarts.

The most promising indie games center on anthropomorphic dinosaurs graduating high school, a teeny fox with a sword and shield and a stray cat, who is…also wandering across an apocalyptic, post-humanity, cyberpunk landscape. But I’ll leave the armchair analysis of pandemic-era game programmers for another time. Here are our 40 most anticipated video games of 2022.

Read More: The 10 Best Video Games of 2021

Rainbow Six: Extraction

Jan. 20 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia and PC

Originally titled Rainbow Six: Quarantine (oof), the wisely retitled Rainbow Six: Extraction is a spin-off of Ubisoft’s uber-popular Rainbox Six: Siege. In this new game, players team up to fight against a parasitic alien threat.

Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Jan. 28 on Nintendo Switch

Pokemon has stuck rigidly to the same formula for decades, and it’s time for a shake-up. Arceus will be an open-world game that borrows heavily from hits like Breath of the Wild and Monster Hunter and is set in an era before humans learned to live in harmony with Pokemon. Catching Pokemon now requires the reflex-driven style of Pokemon: Go, though the turn-based combat remains in place.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human

Feb. 4 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

The Parkour-heavy zombie game is back, but this time it’s four times bigger. The new installment, arriving seven years after the original, still focuses on leaping across rooftops and evading the undead. But it also boasts major story improvements: Now your choices within the game can change the course of the plot and even the layout of the world.

Sifu

Feb. 8 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and PC

Has a martial arts action game ever looked so fluid? Sifu not only spotlights the beauty of kung fu but also offers an innovative spin on combat gameplay: Every time the playable character dies, he comes back as an older version of himself, a metaphor for the experience we gain as we age.

Horizon Forbidden West

Feb. 18 on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4

My favorite video game of all time is getting a sequel. Players will be reunited with Aloy, a formidable warrior who, in the first game, set off on a journey to find her mother and uncovers the secret of how our America was destroyed and rebuilt. Her world is fertile with plant life but beset with dinosaur-like robots and warring clans. Forbidden West not only promises to answer some dangling questions about Aloy but also to lean into her eco-conscious mission: The game sends her into gorgeously-rendered underwater environs and atop awe-inspiring mountaintops to fight threats to the planet.

Elden Ring

Feb. 25 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

An unlikely duo collaborated on one of the most anticipated games of the year. Hidetaka Miyazaki, creator of Dark Souls, has teamed with A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin for Elden Ring. (So this is what he has been doing instead of finishing Winds of Winter.) The ambitious open-world RPG is set in a medieval land filled with dragons and demigods.

Gran Turismo 7

March 4 on PlayStation 5

The storied racing game gets another entry with stunning graphics that may convince gamers who do not care at all about cars (like me) that they ought to give Grand Turismo a test drive. The real star of Gran Turismo 7 will be PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller, with haptic feedback and adaptive trigger features that should make the “real driving simulator” pretty darn lifelike.

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

March 18 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

Breaking from the typical Final Fantasy mold, this prequel-ish game will be an action-heavy Soulslike from Team Ninja, the studio behind Nioh. The RPG centers on Jack Garland and the Warriors of light. Though the gameplay may be different, the studio has assured Final Fantasy diehards that the lore is the same.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands

March 25 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

Love her or hate her, Tina from Borderlands is getting her own spinoff game. Wonderlands will be a looter-shooter cooperative action game. But in addition to the usual guns, rocket launchers and grenades, players will also get to wield crossbows, swing swords and even cast magic spells. The game’s biggest selling point is the stacked voice cast, which includes Will Arnett, Andy Samberg and Wanda Sykes.

Forspoken

May 24 on PlayStation 5 and PC

The Final Fantasy 15 developers have teamed with a formidable writing crew that includes Gary Whitta (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) and Amy Hennig (the Uncharted games) for an open-world RPG fantasy game. When a young New Yorker named Frey yearns for something more in life, she is suddenly transported to the land of Athia. The Athian people greet her as a savior who must fight a force of evil terrorizing the land.

The Day Before

June 21 on PC, TBA on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S

Maybe it’s not fair to compare every ambitious zombie apocalypse game to the incomparable Last of Us, but The Day Before is giving me serious Last of Us vibes. As you may have guessed, The Day Before is set in a deadly, post-pandemic America. You shoot zombies. You shoot human enemies. You scavenge for food and medicine. You walk through eerily empty streets of familiar American cities. You know the drill.

Starfield

Nov. 11 on Xbox Series X|S and PC

Bethesda’s first new IP in 25 years, Starfield is being billed as Skyrim, but in space. The original, epic role-playing game should allow Bethesda to flex its muscles on a next-gen console. And the developers have certainly set expectations high: When the studio announced the game last year, they said the characters in Starfield will “search for the answers to life’s greatest mysteries.”

Arc Raiders

TBA on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC

Embark Studios’ first game will be a co-op shooter set in a sci-fi world. Arc Raiders borrows from Star Wars’ grubby, retro-futurist, ’80s aesthetic. (Many of the developers worked on Battlefield and Star Wars: Battlefront.)

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

TBA on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC

Look, let’s be honest, Avatar projects rarely release on time. (James Cameron has delayed Avatar 2 no fewer than eight times.) But assuming that Avatar sequel does, indeed, make its debut in theaters this year, Frontiers of Pandora should stoke fan anticipation. The first-person, open-world action-adventure game centers on a fight between the Na’vi and the Resources Development Administration.

Bayonetta 3

TBA on Nintendo Switch

I have mixed feelings on this video game series. The gun-toting witch Bayonetta is undeniably a badass who can summon demons with her hair to help her dispatch her foes. But she’s also a wildly sexualized character. She battles evildoers wearing nothing but her own strategically placed hair. Bayonetta 2 featured an absurd number of crotch and cleavage shots. Thankfully, she gets more clothes in this third installment. There is a chance Bayonetta 3, like the rebooted Tomb Raider before it, can find new dimension in the character who, as Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian once pointed out, was initially created solely for the pleasure of straight male gamers

Bear and Breakfast

TBA on Nintendo Switch

In this charming hotel sim, you play as a well-meaning bear trying to run a bed and breakfast for unsuspecting human guests. The cozy B&B is located in a forest filled with woodland creatures and plenty of secrets. The game hints that it may be hiding some intriguing mysteries beneath its cuddly surface.

The Callisto Protocol

TBA on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC

From Glen Schofield, the co-creator of the Dead Space series, comes another sci-fi horror game in the vein of Alien. You play as an inmate at the Black Iron Prison, located on the second-largest moon of Jupiter and haunted by at least one predatory alien. As a prisoner, you work to uncover a mystery about the penitentiary. The creators have promised The Callisto Protocol will be the scariest game on next-gen platforms.

Card Shark

TBA on Nintendo Switch

I’m intrigued by this stylish game set in 18th century France that teaches you how to cheat at cards. The stakes are high: get caught and you might find yourself in an old time-y duel. It’s certainly an upgrade from the sad game of Hearts you’ve been playing on your phone.

Choo-Choo Charles

TBA on PC

Am I, personally, a big ol’ scaredy cat, likely to play this game about a demonic spider train? Probably not. But, reader, this list is for you, and you may love horror games. I must admit, the trailer is oddly compelling. It’s like a cross between Halloween and Thomas the Tank Engine. Got to give them points for inventiveness.

Dune: Spice Wars

TBA on PC

In a bid to capitalize on Dune‘s successful film adaptation, Shiro Games is turning Frank Herbert’s novels into a real-time strategy game. As a wannabe ruler of Arakis, you must attempt to take over the sand planet by any means necessary—cunning, military might and control of the most precious resource: spice. Control the spice, control the world!

Ghostwire: Tokyo

TBA on PlayStation 5 and PC

This spooky action-adventure game looks utterly bonkers in the best way possible. The story begins in Tokyo when 99% of the population disappears without a trace, like the finale of Avengers: Infinity War but somehow even more dramatic. The survivors must battle the ghosts that now inhabit the city. The studio behind this game also made the horror hit The Evil Within, though the creators promise Ghostwire: Tokyo is not scary, just mysterious.

God of War Ragnarok

TBA on PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4

The sequel to the much-heralded 2018 God of War game continues the story of demigod Kratos and his son, Atreus. Kratos and Atreus face Ragnarok, or the end of the world. And the only way they can stave it off? War! What else? And, yes, Kratos gets to fight Thor. The developers have said this will be the “final Norse chapter” in this series. After battling the Greek gods on Mount Olympus and the Norse gods in Midgard, I wonder what mythological gods he can subdue next.

Goodbye Volcano High

TBA on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and PC

If you’re looking for a nostalgic narrative game to pull at the heartstrings, I’m betting Goodbye Volcano High will suit your needs. The Life Is Strange-style game chronicles the last year of high school for a group of anthropomorphic dinosaurs and centers on a nonbinary dino named Fang. While the trailer gets a little saccharine, I think many of us can all admit we got a bit teary-eyed in those final days before graduation.

Gotham Knights

TBA on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

Batman is dead. Long live all the Batman sidekicks. Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, and Red Hood must protect Gotham after Bruce Wayne passes away. The game is clearly taking some cues from the forthcoming Batman reboot starring Robert Pattinson: Like that film, it’s dark and heavily features the Penguin. You can play as a single player or two-person co-op.

Hogwarts Legacy

TBA on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

I have personally been waiting 20 years for a playable Harry Potter game. Not even good. Just playable. And this latest attempt at a game based on J.K. Rowling’s universe has suffered its fair share of controversy, from one of the lead developers defending the misogynistic #gamergate movement to Rowling’s own anti-trans rights comments. That developer departed the game, and the creators who were left leaked to Bloomberg that the game will have a transgender character option. Now finally, finally millions of Potter fans will be able to design their own character, submit them to the sorting ceremony, and take classes at Hogwarts. The open-world adventure game is set in the 1800s, and beyond attending Transfiguration classes and petting your owl, you’ll get to decide whether you dabble in dark magic. You presumably can fight to protect Hogwarts or join up with the 1800s equivalent of the Death Eaters.

Hollow Knight: Silksong

TBA on Nintendo Switch, Mac and PC

Is it wishful thinking to include the long-awaited Hollow Knight sequel on this list? Look, the creators have set a 2022 release date, and I will optimistically believe that the follow-up to this award-winning metroidvania game is actually coming. But we all may need to practice patience. The sequel promises to be gigantic with more than 165 new enemies, and that takes time to build.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

TBA on Nintendo Switch

Remember earlier when I compared the zombie game The Day Before to The Last of Us? I take that back. This is the game that is unexpectedly, intriguingly giving me Last of Us vibes. The adorable, vibrantly colored Kirby goes on an adventure in an abandoned city. Hopefully, for Kirby’s sake, the Last of Us comparisons end there, and the place isn’t filled with zombies. Though Kirby can steal his enemies’ powers. Maybe Kirby could fight zombies by turning into a cute, conscious, flying zombie? Free idea, Nintendo. Anyway, this game doesn’t actually involve zombies and does look like a ton of fun.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

TBA on Nintendo Switch

We have arrived at the yet-unnamed Breath of the Wild sequel, whose predecessor was perhaps the most influential, groundbreaking and popular video game to debut in the last decade. Do I really need to pitch you on this? It picks up right where the last one left off. The open world is even bigger. Yada, yada, yada. You already know you’re buying this game if you own a Switch.

Little Devil Inside

TBA on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC

A gothic dollhouse come to life, Little Devil Inside is an indie action-adventure game in which your player, trapped in a spooky town, must rely on survival tactics when spooky monsters attack. The game started as a Kickstarter project way back in 2015 and breaks boundaries by shifting from an overhead view to close-up interactions.

Lord of the Rings: Gollum

TBA on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC

Just in time for the yet-unnamed but very expensive Lord of the Rings TV series, set to debut on Amazon Prime in the fall, we get yet another Lord of the Rings video game. Unlike Shadow of Mordor, this game will trace the specific events of LOTR and The Hobbit, but from Gollum’s perspective. Given that the ring-obsessed erstwhile hobbit was always more of a sneaker than a fighter, the game focuses on stealth rather than hack and slash encounters with orcs.

Marvel’s Midnight Suns

TBA on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC

I don’t know what to expect from these Marvel games anymore. Some are fantastic, like Spider-Man. Some are awful, like The Avengers. And some fall somewhere in between, like Guardians of the Galaxy. Midnight Suns is taking a totally different tact from its recent predecessors: It will be a turn-based game focusing on tactics and incorporating a card battle system. You can develop relationships that affect the plot, a la Fire Emblem. And the story leans into the weirder, more supernatural side of Marvel: A new character called Hunter will join Marvel heroes including Iron Man, Wolverine and Blade.

Nightingale

TBA on PC

Ex-Bioware developers have formed a new studio, Inflexion Games, and Nightingale, a shared-world survival/crafting game, is their first product. Set in a fantastical Victorian world, filled with gas lamps, corsets and monsters, you play as survivors of a magical disaster. You must band together to build tools, weapons and gigantic settlements in order to survive.

Oxenfree II: Lost Signals

TBA on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Mac and PC

In the first Oxenfree, a bunch of teens snuck onto an eerie island to party but instead opened up a supernatural portal (whoops!). The only way they could solve the mystery of the island was by using radio signals. The new game, set five years after the original, stars a new group of characters in a similar adventure, though the creators at Night School Studio have teased that the choices characters make in the game can shape the story in unexpected ways.

Planet of Lana

TBA on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC

I know very little about Planet of Lana except that its lush atmosphere and soothing soundtrack are beautiful. It reminds me of Inside, if Inside weren’t so dark and depressing. (That’s not a dig at Inside. I just need colorful games in my life as we enter the third year of the pandemic.) Planet of Lana follows a young woman and her animal companion on a journey to save their bountiful planet.

Redfall

TBA on Xbox Series X|S and PC

You may have noticed post-apocalyptic zombie games are having quite a moment. Good news: This is a post-apocalyptic vampire game. And say what you will about vampires, but unlike zombies they can talk, which makes for some fun dialogue opportunities if you’re in the snarky combat game business. And Arkane Studios—the creators of Dishonored, Prey and Deathloop—are in that business. In this open-world co-op shooter, you get to kill vampires with guns loaded with stakes, magic and one-liners.

Somerville

TBA on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC

Somerville is the debut game from Jumpship, the studio co-founded by the former Playdead CEO Dino Patti (Inside). Somerville shares Inside’s distinctive and lovely aesthetic. It also looks to carry over Inside’s dark—dare we say, Orwellian—tone. The sci-fi adventure will focus on the intimate consequences of a large-scale catastrophe.

Splatoon 3

TBA on Nintendo Switch

The family-friendly, ink-splattering shooter is a major seller for Nintendo, so it was inevitable that the game would get a third installment. This time, though, Splatoon will offer a single-player campaign mode, along with the co-operative game. The action is set in a Mad Max-style wasteland. (Seriously, what’s with the post-apocalyptic aesthetic even creeping into kids games? We’ve been in this pandemic too long.)

Stray

TBA on PlayStation 5, PayStation 4 and PC

Ah, the game whose trailer instantly captured the heart of animal lovers everywhere. You get to play as a lost cat. Wandering around a city. A cyberpunk city filled with robots. Some of those robots are guzzling booze. You even make that squealing, surprised cat noise when something unexpected moves. Given that creator Annapurna also produced What Remains of Edith Finch and Outer Wilds, expect this cat game to have true depth. If you’re not sold, I don’t know what to say. I mean, look at that adorable cat!

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

TBA on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC

Rocksteady, the studio behind Batman: Arkham, has turned its attention away from the Caped Crusader and onto the Suicide Quad (Harley Quinn, King Shark, Deadshot and Captain Boomerang, in this iteration). In a fun twist, the group of antiheroes must battle brainwashed versions of Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League. The game will be set in the so-called Arkham-verse and feature Batman villains from the previous Arkham games.

Tunic

TBA on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Mac and PC

You play as a little fox on a big adventure armed with a teeny, tiny sword and shield, which is very Disney’s Robin Hood. But this isn’t your typical Zelda copycat. Everything word in this game is written in a fictional language and never translated. So you have to rely on your intuition and knowledge of how other adventure games work to solve the puzzles and explore the world.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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