Most of us worked remotely for nearly the entire year. Here are the games we turned to and enjoyed when 5PM hit.
Toni A. from Digital Engineering
It gave the chance for a lot of old and new friends to come together regardless of platform.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Saved the beginning months of the pandemic from being too lonely.
Michael L. from Software
More Spelunky but with all the improvements needed to improve it and keep things exciting. But I still curse Derek Yu's name every time I get a darkness floor.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
It was nice to pretend talking to people face-to-face in this Hell Year. Also stop being mean to Rodney, he's a cool villager.
As in, imagining what outside is like.
Joe P. from Creative
The Last of Us 2
This is a masterclass in linear storytelling; and shows just how far Naughty Dog has come in perfecting their craft. The way the story is told through so many inter-woven flashbacks, would make even Tarantino jealous. The acting is first class, the gameplay holds it’s own and the scripted set-pieces blew me away. When the credits roll Hemmingway came to mind: "It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end”.
What a crazy way to end 2020. To see the game struggle so much upon release is heartbreaking. I am however, enduring its shortcomings and really enjoying it for what is is. As an 80s child (cheesy b-movies, retro sci-fi and synth wave) I keep coming back almost every night for another Neon Noir fix. And as a designer, this game blows my socks off. The world-building, art direction and design fantastic and the gameplay and story beats, that actually work, are very entertaining.
Dragons Dogma: Dark Arisen
I took a leap of faith on this ARPG from 2013 in 2020. It gets so much right, especially the combat, which feels fun, visceral and responsive. The best I can describe it is Devil May Cry meets Monster Hunter: World. A lot of the systems at play are way ahead of their time too, like the Pawn AI system and the day and night cycle that has a very unique impact on gameplay. Make no mistake, this is a gameplay first title. The voice acting is hilariously bad and the story super campy to boot - but it just plays so good.
Angela H. from Marketing
Just a perfect sandbox and absolutely adorable.
MMORPG is always great when you got friends to play it with.
Jonathan R. from Customer Experience
My favorite game of the year. It brought me back to the love of the game. During this pandemic, this made it so much more fun with people playing online.
A close second and really good in my opinion. Plus it always fun to play a good free game! :)
John D. from Digital Engineering
Crusader Kings 3
What other game can you lead a cannibal, satan-worshipping nudist to re-form a medieval era roman empire and seduce the pope?
Animal Crossing New Horizons
I think I speak for everyone when I say this game hit at the perfect time and was a bright, hopeful experience when it seemed like the world was falling apart around us with COVID.
Sure, it's broken and feels incomplete, but Night City is one of the most engrossing, beautiful open worlds I've seen in a long time.
Zach H. from Console
The Last of Us Part II
I absolutely loved the first one and as a fan of story-driven campaigns it was incredible to see the risks they took with the plot and the characters. Part II was one of the few games in 2020 that held my interest enough to quickly play it all the way through and leave me excited for a Part III.
Joanna B. from Marketing DACH
Total War: Warhammer II
It's my favourite game for quite some time - we play multiple coop campaigns, trying our various scenarios and just having fun with friends. We actually play a bit of Three Kingdoms too, but so far TW:WHII is just number one of all times.
Rainbow 6 Siege
Although I didn't have as much to play it as I'd like to - we usually play in a group of 5 and the 2nd half of a year was a bit tricky to find a time when all of us would like or could play ;) I absolutely love R6 and the challenge behind it. Currently it's my favourite shooter.
Among Us and Don't Starve Together
There's nothing better to socialize with your friends when you have to stay at home, even if Among Us broke some friendships and made us all suspicious of people we thought we could trust ;D But a little bit of challenge in Don't Starve and the need of working together, fixed once damaged trust from the previous game ;)
Brian F. from Product Development
Crusader Kings 3
I had been waiting for a new grand strategy game to suck me in and force me to stay up late trying to conquer the world. The best part of the game though is the strange and wonderful stories that occur as you rule over generations.
Spiderman: Miles Morales
A close second for me. I never played the first one (though I'll likely go back and do it now). But I think the mechanics of the game are brilliant in making you really feel like a super hero. Soaring through the city, fast paced action, and great story telling.
I was excited to dive into this game with my 7 year old son and give him his first taste of dungeon crawling in a setting that he was already familiar with. They did a really nice job of making the game approachable but not too simplistic that kept both of us coming back for more.
Megan T. from Marketing
If you had told me last year that a Call of Duty game would be my favorite game of 2020, I'd have laughed. But wow, Warzone truly brought me a lot of joy this year. I believe it perfected the Battle Royale model: the game design is forgiving, as you can die several times before getting truly knocked out, and your teammates can buy you back into the game. The gunplay feels great, and there's no shortage of dopamine rushes from mowing down enemies in any way possible. It's one of the most clip-worthy "holy crap you have to see this" games that I've ever played, and I expect to continue enjoying Warzone next year too.
Hades is so well executed that you don't even need to like the rougelike/rougelite genre to enjoy it. It's the first roguelite game that I've ever become hooked on, and one of the very few single player games that I actually played until the end. Awesome soundtrack, thoughtful storytelling, gorgeous characters, enjoyable and varied gameplay, and a pristine level of polish from a small, passionate 20-person studio.
Among Us was a widely accessible cultural phenomenon this year that I enjoyed throughly, and it's variations (like Proximity Chat mod or Hide and Seek settings) add wider degrees of gameplay. Having fun in Among Us is less about the game itself, and more about the people you play it with.
Nathan M. from Engineering
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
I've played a lot of Animal Crossings / Harvest Moons / Stardew Valleys in my day, but never have I stuck with one for as long as I stuck with New Horizons. Nearly every day from it's March 20 release to today I've hopped on the island to putter around with some small project or with crossed fingers hoping for a Redd sighting.
In a year that's been pretty crummy it was really nice to have a little patch of paradise to hang out with my friends in.
A near perfect marriage of tight combat, great storytelling, and roguelike gameplay. I had a blast chewing through this game on my Switch Lite. Having that little bright yellow console in my periphery vision and knowing that within two seconds I could jump back into a run was honestly a problem.
Ellie Q. from Software Engineering
Final Fantasy XIV
This game keeps me coming back with its endless content, fresh new patches, challenging raids, and great community. An MMO I could play with friends was exactly what I needed to help get through quarantine.
Also makes the list. I know it's had a mixed reception but I played on PC and have been enjoying it a lot. I have a weakness for large-scale RPGs and I couldn't ignore the GTAV and Fallout vibes it gave me. The story is great, but just walking around appreciating Night City in all its detail is an experience in itself.
Drew V. W. from Customer Experience
Final Fantasy 7 Remake
I was always a fan of Final Fantasy 7 and its world, and seeing it revisited with so much care and passion has been great. Excited to see what it'll look like on the PS5!
Demon Souls Remake
Another remake, surprisingly enough (I usually complain about reboots) I had the original Demon Souls on PS3 but I never got far because I complained about the game being ugly and wonky (I was just a scrub).
It's not out yet, but I can dream. OHHHHHHHHHHH ELDEN RING.
Maxime C. from Software Development
Impressive visual design and directing, incredible story depth, profound characters development, smart crafting, meaningful side quests, beautiful music and audio design.
The Witcher 3
Toss a coin to your Witcher.
Plant vs. Zombies
Best coop game to play on PS3 with my 8 yo daughter.
Jeff C. from Product
Just always this game. I should find some other ones, but got the crew in Asia to queue with. Even went to a Nvidia certified lan cafe in Taipei to play out here, as my PC is back in the states. Hadn't been to a lan cafe in ages.
Another high FPS team based shooter. Always good to see more enter the scene, it should create healthy competition. Got to play with a few from the SteelSeries team.
Plus, the NA CS:GO scene was really awkward for most talent outside of the top 2-3 tier 1 teams. Nice to see the players have somewhere to go develop. Also great to see Sgares and DDK casting in Valorant.
Warzone or Among Us
Not really my types of games, but any chance to game with more of the SteelSeries fam is always fun.
David C. from Digital Merchandising
Social strategy game that's a mixer of Mafia and Poker. Much more fun than Mafia since as crew you can still collect information and try and figure out who the impostors are. Requires balancing your gameplay like Poker so that you play similarly as both Crew and Impostor so that you can gain trust and get wins as both roles. Nothing better than marinating your friends into throwing for you.
Genshin Impact: AKA Breath of the Waifu
Open world RPG that has some rough edges since it just came out last October but has a lot of potential. It's the first gacha game that has real gameplay rather than just auto battle. I'm mostly just playing it to play as Keqing AYAYA.
Dota Auto Chess
The OG Auto Chess/Battler game. You died for our sins and got replaced by TFT and Underlords. You deserved better. Please come back one day.
Carlos A. from KontrolFreek Creative
Ghost of Tsushima
The perfect compliment to the binge of Kurosawa movies during quarantine. Excellent gameplay and the perfect way to end the life cycle of the PS4.
God of War
Dad simulator 2020.
Surprisingly enthralling and immersive, great story. I need to play more Remedy games.
Koob from Social Media
Mini Putt (web browser game)
It was enjoyable for me to play on stream and not take too seriously!
Because of all the funny memories I had with friends playing it (and failing over and over again).
It was the first true team-based FPS game I took seriously on PC, and it was cool to see my improvements over months of playing/practicing.
Alex M. from Digital Engineering
Really awesome story with really awesome characters. I loved how it started off somewhat grounded and gradually grew more surreal. The skill system created so many cool dialogue branches and gave you a bunch of different ways to interact with stuff.
I beat this game last year and then replayed it this year only like 4 months later because it's just that good. Insanely cool way of doing storytelling and another incredibly surreal and gripping setting.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Sometimes I'll slam my fists down on my desk in tandem with the characters in court.
Andy G. from Product
Because i'm able to keep in touch with my friends during quarantine in a competitive team setting.
Thomas R. from Software Development
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
I have been an Animal Crossing player from the first released on GameCube (I was 12 at the time) and I have played almost every titles since then. This latest release managed to bring something new to the table while keeping the spirit of the serie.
I was recommended this game for so long but was afraid of its length. I finally decided to give it a try with the release of the Royal Edition. I'm 80 hours in and I don't regret any second! The real question is: will I be able to beat it before 2020 ends?
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
I've discovered this series a few years ago and every game I've played has been a blast. This one is a fresh new start, with a new gameplay, new characters and a new map and... well I think it's safe to say it's a success!
Thomas N. from EMEA Marketing
Insanely big game with a cool story (play it on Series X, so no crashes) - SO MUCH TO DO in the game.
Assassins Creed Valhalla
Beautiful game set in a very interesting era - also the storyline here is pretty interesting combined with the historical aspects.
Forza Horizon 4
Just keep coming back to this epic driving game.
Jordan T. from Product Management
Read Dead Redemption 2 A masterclass in open world story telling. Played on PC, started in 2019, finished in 2020! Definitely my current gold standard for visuals and engaging open world story telling. No spoilers but this one really got me at couple moments, so good!
Crusader Kings 3 A truly awesome RP/Strategy game which greatly improves on the previous title, which was already a great game. Really excited to see where Paradox takes the title through their DLC/updates, so much more they can add and expand on. Now back to uniting the Western Slavs and becoming an Emperor!
Ghosts of Tsushima A very engaging and beautiful open world RPG for PS4. Definitely an end of life release, you can tell they nailed the PS4 limitations and turned out one of the best visual experiences I've had on the PS4 or really any console. And, we basically finally got our "Assassin Creed: Japan"!
Adam P. from Software
Star Wars: Squadrons
I've always dreamed of the view from an X-Wing cockpit, imagining what the legendary pilots of Rogue Squadron must have felt like in the heat of battle. Now, I don't have to wonder anymore, I get to live it.
Jackson M. from Digital Engineering
Dragon Ball FighterZ
World of Warcraft
It's kinda making a comeback.
Ryder M. from Customer Experience
Total War: Warhammer 2
Sometimes all you need is to tear down fictional empires full of Druchii to feel good after a long week.
World of Warcraft
I finally dove into the soul sucking world of WoW this year & while it is a time sink, playing with friends & exploring the Azeroth with friends is a great feeling.
It's simple - I like ninjas in space.
There was no 1 clear winner for our collective favorite game of the year, although Animal Crossing, Cyberpunk, Warzone, and Among Us made several lists.
Find us and other gamers on the official SteelSeries Discord server, and have a happy holiday, friends!