With 2019 in the past, we are on the verge of a whole new year of video games. While new releases are still being produced for all of your favorite classic systems, the forefront of gaming in the modern-day is in the world of virtual reality. With immersive technologies ranging from 3D and binaural audio, to advanced tactile and haptic feedback, to 360-degree motion and visual coverage, virtual reality systems such as SteamVR and Oculus are delivering a new and incredible gaming experience to gamers across the world every day. This article will tell you about the hottest new VR games coming to a variety of systems over the course of the next year. After reading this article, you will know all of the best VR games 2020 has to offer.
System: Valve Index, SteamVR Headsets
Release Date: March 2020
Half-Life: Alyx is a prequel to the immensely popular Half-Life series. As the first official Half-Life game in over a decade, this game kickstarts our list as one of the most hotly anticipated VR games of 2020.
Set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, this game puts you virtually into the shoes of Alyx Vance, sidekick to the main character of the past Half-Life games, Gordon Freeman. Alongside her father, Eli Vance, Alyx must fight to free Earth from the clutches of the alien Combine. The traditional Half-Life elements of puzzles, first-person shooter combat, and more are joined by VR-specific gameplay in the form of gravity gloves in this game, replacing the gravity gun from Half-Life 2 for world-bending gameplay.
This game has been developed especially for VR, and Valve has announced no intention of releasing it for traditional systems, so Half-Life aficionados will need to invest in a VR system to experience this monumental game. Luckily, Half-Life: Alyx is designed to work with any PC compatible VR system, so there are lots of options to choose from. Keep an eye out for this game in the spring of 2020!
Developer: BigBox VR
System: SteamVR, Oculus Quest
Release Date: 2020
Population: One is the latest game from BigBox VR, the indie studio that created Smashbox Arena in 2016. Population: One is a battle royale game in virtual reality, with nearly infinite variations due to the player’s ability to climb, fly, and build anywhere in the sandbox environment. Players can soar through the air to gain an element of surprise or take the high ground on their opponents, and the building mechanic allows for countless strategies and counterplays. As with all battle royale games, Population: One has a looting mechanic where only the strongest player can survive.
This game also has a single-player mode, where gamers can improve their skills in the virtual reality world. Players can learn the intricacies of building and moving within this game against waves of computer players powered by artificial intelligence. Population: One is slated for release at some point in 2020, and is another hotly anticipated game from the list of best VR games in 2020.
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond
Developer: Respawn Entertainment
System: Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S
Release Date: 2020
Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is the latest installment in Respawn Entertainment’s popular Medal of Honor series. This game is set during World War II, and situates you as an operative on the Allied side, inside the Office of Secret Intelligence (OSS).
The campaign mode takes you across a European landscape in the midst of war as you take down Nazi plots and aid the French Resistance. The campaign features many significant historical events from the War on all fronts – ground, ocean, and air – and will be sure to satisfy both long-term Medal of Honor fans and war history buffs. This game promises not only exhilarating first-person shooter action but also intense puzzles, pushing all aspects of players’ minds.
In addition to a gorgeous campaign, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond will include a sophisticated online multiplayer mode, featuring historically accurate weaponry and battlegrounds.
Although there is no official release date for this game yet, Respawn Entertainment has promised a 2020 release date, so get ready for one of the most promising titles of this year!
Phantom: Covert Ops
System: Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S
Release Date: 2020
A new release from British VR developer nDreams, Phantom: Covert Ops was initially slated to be released in 2019. However, nDreams decided to delay the release to an unspecified date in 2020 to fine-tune the game, and we’re sure it will be worth the wait.
Phantom: Covert Ops is a unique game, even amongst the VR sphere, as it puts the player into the shoes of a stealth operative manning a tactical kayak! This aquatic gameplay is supplemented with an arsenal of traditional weapons, from pistol to a sniper rifle. The player has one night to infiltrate enemy-ridden wetlands and take down a shadowy yet nefarious threat.
nDreams promises a remarkable experience from this game, with tactical feedback tied to everything from paddling to scoping in on enemies. The game also delivers an immense latitude of options for dealing with potential threats; the player can operate stealthily from the shadows, or engage in adrenaline-inducing direct combat with the enemy. All in all, Phantom: Covert Ops is another game we’re very excitedly awaiting as one of the best virtual reality games of 2020.
Lone Echo II
Developer: Ready at Dawn
System: Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S
Release Date: Q1 2020
Lone Echo II picks up where 2017’s Lone Echo left off, putting the player back in the shoes of Captain Olivia Rhodes alongside her robot sidekick Jack. The original Lone Echo game featured zero-gravity gameplay aboard a space station in Saturn’s orbit, combining puzzle and exploration aspects in an immensely moving four-hour adventure.
Lone Echo II was slated for release in 2019, but was delayed for some final edits on the game and is now scheduled to be released in the first three months of 2020. The game’s developer, Ready at Dawn, has promised that this game will include improvements on the unique features of its prequel, as well as extended game length and a mysterious hint at surpassing the boundaries of time itself as the adventure of Olivia and Jack continues.
While we wait for an official release date on this game, players can get up to date with the original Lone Echo game and prepare for one of the best new virtual reality games of 2020!
Developer: IRIS VR
Release Date: Late 2020
An immense open-world virtual reality game, Low-Fi is promoted as the spiritual successor to the immensely popular TECHNOLUST. The player awakens in the shoes of a police officer after the artificial intelligence singularity. The majority of sentience in the world has been uploaded to The Platform, a virtual paradise, while the player is charged with managing the underworld of everyone that’s left. The player can choose between upholding justice and good or delving into the seedy underworld in a game where every choice matters. Set in a gorgeous cyberpunk world inspired by Blade Runner and other similar films, Low-Fi was the result of a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, and interested gamers can get early access on the game’s page now, although the game won’t be released until late 2020.
Sniper Elite VR
Developer: Rebellion, Just Add Water (Development) Ltd.
System: SteamVR, PSVR
Release Date: 2020
Sniper Elite VR situates the player as a top-notch sniper as a member of the Italian Resistance during World War II. A new addition to the Sniper Elite franchise, this game sets the player on a mission to eliminate Nazi submarines surrounding Sicily. For the first time in the Sniper Elite franchise, the player is positioned in the first-person perspective. Realistic and historically accurate weapons from the World War II era are brought to life with controller support for multiple Oculus and PlayStation systems, including a graphic X-ray replay camera to visualize your most elite kills.
Sniper Elite VR is organized into a series of levels, each of which has many ways that it can be conquered. The player traverses a heroic campaign with myriad tactical options, bringing the classic sniper action of the Sniper Elite series to the virtual reality frontier. There is no official release date set for this game yet besides coming soon, but we are excited to see it join the ranks of 2020’s best virtual reality games.
The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners
Developer: Skydance Interactive
System: SteamVR headsets, Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, Oculus Quest
Release Date: 23 January 2020
An immense open-world environment with direct connections to the cinematic universe of the hit TV show The Walking Dead, this game is one of the first on our list to be released in 2020. Set three years after the zombie outbreak in post-apocalyptic New Orleans, this game boasts an incredible array of features, from item crafting and a complex weapons suite to intricate non-player character dialogue and decision trees.
In this open-world game, every decision that the player makes will influence their fate down the line. Using a weapon too conspicuously in a dangerous area can attract hordes of zombies, whereas betraying a human can cause their allies to turn against you in the future. Players can trust no one, as threats of zombie walkers and uncontaminated stragglers are joined by hunger, sickness, and other realistic threats to survival at the end of the world.
Skydance promises to deliver on a state of the art virtual reality physics system, with combat and tactile feedback realistic enough to immerse the player wholly in their adventure. The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners is available on 23 January 2020 on Oculus and SteamVR. Oculus Quest will be supported in the near future, although Skydance has not yet confirmed the exact date.
Solaris: Offworld Combat
Developer: First Contact Entertainment
System: Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, PSVR
Release Date: 2020
Solaris: Offworld Combat is a new multiplayer first-person shooter game from First Contact Entertainment. First Contact Entertainment has been quite sparse on specifics about this game, but based on the popularity of the previous version of this game, Firewall Zero Hour, we expect Solaris: Offworld Combat to be an impressive addition to the list of VR games coming out in 2020.
Firewall Zero Hour included the ability to join attacking or defending teams, each with special goals and attributes, as well as twelve different character classes to construct an ideal team. Solaris: Offworld Combat will likely improve upon the design of Firewall Zero Hour, and will at a minimum include the features of its predecessor: 360-degree vision, 3D audio, and total freedom of motion on the battlefield. Solaris: Offworld Combat will be released at some point in 2020, although the exact release date is not yet confirmed.
Developer: Cyan Worlds
System: PSVR, PC, PS4, SteamVR
Release Date: July 2020
Firmament is the latest release from developer Cyan Worlds, which has put out amazing titles including Myst, Riven, and Obduction in the past. They are well-versed in creating adventure games and unique worlds, and Firmament is no exception. The player traverses a beautiful cyberpunk world, accompanied by a mysterious clockwork sidekick. The player communicates with this adjunct through hand motions and interactions, rather than words or traditional dialogue trees. As the game progresses, Cyan Worlds promises a symphony of complex interactions between the player and their ever more familiar companion.
Firmament is built to take advantage of the VR platform in creating a beautiful story, but will also be released for PC in case players have yet to invest in a virtual reality system. The game saw a successful Kickstarter campaign and will be released in July of 2020.
Developer: Zach Tsiakalis-Brown and Errol Bucy
System: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality
Release Date: 2020
Vertigo 2 is a mystery thriller that builds upon the classic Vertigo 1 that was released in 2016. It takes place after the events of Vertigo 1 where you are underground within the Quantum Reactor VII. You are tasked with the mission of finishing what you started; heading back to your home.
To complete this task, you have to complete several mini-tasks while trusting and working with other mysterious individuals. The aliens and people you encounter all provide clues on how to find your way to the center of the reactor, but a wrong move could spell the end for everyone aboard the reactor and life as we know it.
At its core Vertigo 2, much like its predecessor, is a game built on branching decisions. Each choice you make sends you down an interesting path that takes you further from your destination or closer to it. It’s tough to tell exactly who to place your faith in, but as the story progresses you learn to trust your instincts and find your way back home.
The Vertigo series continues to astound with its phenomenal voice acting and fully fleshed original soundtrack. With a rich storyline and unique gameplay, Vertigo is one of the most anticipated games of 2020.
Like other games on this list, Vertigo is a game that is meant for mature audiences. There is some gameplay with graphic violence as well as obscene language during cut scenes.
Developer: Pixel Reef
Release Date: Q1 2020
Paper Beast is an indie adventure game from French developer Pixel Reef. The player awakens in a fantastical ecosystem within the virtual world of data servers, populated by gorgeous origami paper animals. The player manipulates their environment to pass through levels and find the solutions to puzzles, constantly moving forward and digging deeper into the world of Paper Beast.
The player’s decisions when interacting with their environment and their fellow creatures will shape the outcome of the game, so be careful what you do and the choices you make! The different natural elements of the game’s different climates are integral parts to solving the puzzles that the player is faced with and passing the game’s many obstacles. The game is backed by a powerful physical simulation for realistic and immersive VR gameplay. 3D sound shapes the player’s adventure and draws the player even deeper into this beautiful world. Paper Beast is scheduled for release soon, within the first three months of 2020. This wonderful game is one of our top recommendations for the best VR games of 2020.
In conclusion, there are countless new and exciting games coming to every virtual reality platform over the course of the next year. VR is the frontier of gaming, and we are extremely lucky to live in a time when this technology is just coming to fruition. Now you know the best virtual reality games 2020 has to offer. Be sure to look out for any of the games discussed here coming to stores in the near future!