Five gaming predictions for 2020

The end of the year usually delivers "best of" and "most anticipated" lists. The start of a new year, on the other hand, means there are plenty of predictions to be made for the following 300+ days. Last year, I made five educated guesses as to what we could expect in 2019... and all five were way off. Um, my bad! In any case, it's time to make some predictions for the 2020 calendar year.

It should be mentioned that there are a few rules in place for this list of predictions, just to keep things interesting. For starters, you won't see any of last year's predictions recycled here — so no mention of Cyberpunk 2077 or Slightly Mad Studios' Mad Box platform will be present below (I mean, the Mad Box might not even happen after all on account of trademark issues with another company in addition to Slightly Mad Studios losing investors). A new year means new predictions. So here we go!

Rockstar will reveal a GTA VI trailer

Let's be real: Grand Theft Auto VI probably won't drop until 2022. Yes, we've all seen the rumors and leaks pointing to a 2021 launch, but that's not going to happen. Grand Theft Auto games are huge — really huge. The series is highly ambitious, and Rockstar Games puts endless amounts of effort behind each entry, and GTA VI will be no different. The game will be ready when it's ready, and given the company's track record, it'll likely be a little while before we see the next chapter in the famed open world action-adventure series.

Rockstar doesn't release games the way it did back in the early 2000s. Gone are the days of new reveals and releases along the lines of The Warriors, Bully, Manhunt, and, hell, even Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis. The company is all-in with GTA and Red Dead, its two prime franchises, which means its resources go primarily to each new installment of those series. That, in turn, means it usually takes a while for these games to release.

That said, prolonged release windows don't mean we can't at least get a fun trailer. Considering that GTA VI is in the news at all, it's probably safe to say that we'll get some sort of trailer, even if it's just a teaser. But a teaser wouldn't be enough for a series as beloved as Grand Theft Auto, so I'm guessing, and hoping, we'll get a trailer that's at least a couple minutes long. And because I'm in a predicting mood, I'll also wager a guess as to the game's setting: Vice City. Yup!

PS5 will launch with a major exclusive

The Xbox Series X is scheduled to launch in November 2020. That's not too far off. We're already getting rumors surrounding the PlayStation 5, and we just recently got to see Sony's official logo for the platform (which was very PlayStation-esque). The two companies usually go head-to-head for the holiday season, and that will most likely be the case this year.

Xbox Series X is supposed to get Halo Infinite at launch, which means the PS5 will need to use its star power at launch, too. It feels a bit early to call for a new God of War, and while Ratchet and Clank is a series worthy of the utmost praise, it's not the biggest draw like some of the more mature franchises in Sony's repertoire.

Realistically, it'll probably be The Last of Us Part II launching alongside the PlayStation 5, and that's fine, except most people will have already played the game on PS4. Obviously, the game will still sell because there will be plenty of folks who want to witness the game on the next-generation of hardware from Sony.

Predictions are meant to be bold, though! So let's say Sony does release The Last of Us Part II with the PS5, but the company also announces a new installment in one of its other exclusive franchises. If I were betting man, my money would be on a follow-up to Horizon Zero Dawn. Guerrilla Games introduced the world to a bold new franchise, and it paid off big time. If ever there was a time for Horizon Zero Dawn 2, it's when the PlayStation 5 launches.

Google Stadia still won't take off, but it will have an audience

The world wasn't ready to take the leap to streaming video games in 2019. That likely won't change in 2020. We're just not there yet — although that's not to say that the gaming medium isn't moving in that direction. Will gaming transition into streaming services like Google Stadia this year? Hmmm… Nah.

While gaming may not be moving completely into the realm of streaming, it's obvious there's an audience for platforms like Google Stadia. That audience will definitely keep Stadia afloat, and it'll ensure that Google further develops and improves the platform, which is great because it'll mean more games for everyone.

Streaming is destined to become more common, and Sony and Microsoft will surely embrace it and move forward with it. There's the disc-less Xbox One model, so it's clear that these companies are taking games streaming somewhat seriously. Google Stadia is a different story entirely, though — a story that's still developing after a not-so-hot start. But it certainly has its fans, and those fans are a vocal bunch that will surely help Stadia thrive, even if it is on a somewhat smaller scale.

A new Zelda game will be revealed at E3

This March will mark three years since the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I'd say it's about time for a new Zelda reveal. Sure, we got the remake of Link's Awakening last year, but there has to be an all-new new Zelda in the works, right? That game probably won't be released for a while, but I predict we'll at least get a teaser this year — maybe even just a title logo — and it'll happen at E3 in June.

Unfortunately, the game won't be playable until next year's E3. Thankfully, by then, it'll be well into the later stages of development, which means we'll see a release sometime in 2022 for the next Zelda title.

Red Dead Redemption 2 will get a switch port… sort of

Alright, it's time for my long shot guess. You know that rumored Switch port of Red Dead Redemption 2 we've heard about? Well, I think it's totally real, but not in the way you'd think.

Red Dead 2 is a huge game with lots of ground to cover, secrets to hunt down, and world to explore. It would be a massive accomplishment if the Nintendo Switch hardware could run RDR2 with no hiccups. That's why I think the Switch will indeed get a version of the game, but it'll be a special “story edition.” You'll see all the cut-scenes and big story events, and you'll get to play the majority of missions, but you won't get to ride on horseback across the sprawling countryside.

To some, that may sound like a stripped down version of the game, but if Rockstar were to release Red Dead Redemption 2: Story Edition for the Switch, I'd totally be down to check it out. One of the things that's kept me from purchasing Red Dead 2 after playing a bit of a friend's copy is the super-slow-paced nature of progression. I don't mind slower-paced experiences, but something about RDR2 just didn't click with me. Still, I think the lore Rockstar created was pretty cool, and I would totally be up for experiencing just the story.

Or maybe Rockstar will pull it off and deliver a Red Dead Redemption 2 experience on Switch that's on par with the other versions. If that's the case, I'll pass, but hey, that would be great news for Switch owners!