There is a great feeling of flipping a calendar over to a fresh year, isn’t there? All that promise and potential spread out in front of you, the mystery of what the next 365 days will contain. If 2020 is anything like last year, it’s going to be a wild ride full of delights, surprises, and bizarre news.
The new year is also shaping up to be one of the most exciting that the MMO genre has seen in quite some time, with many wildly diverse projects coming to a head. In today’s list, we’ll be counting down upcoming MMOs that are shaping up to test, launch, or do something significant in 2020. In any case, they’re games you’re going to want to watch — and watch closely!
A month ago and there would have been no way I would be brazen enough to put this on the list, especially after Amazon yanked it out of alpha testing for extensive retooling last May. But now that Amazon’s emerged from months’ long silence to show off its reworked Age of Exploration MMO, it has our attention. The timetable of a spring beta and May 2020 launch concerns us, but in any case, this title is barreling our way and demands some investigation.
Phantasy Star Online 2
What was once a long-running joke about how western players would never get it, Phantasy Star Online 2 shocked us all this past year by announcing that it was getting a North American release in the spring of 2020. The scifi sequel to one of the very first console MMOs has many years of development and live operation under its belt, and many players are understandably exciting to get ahold of it. Closed beta testing looks to be starting soon, so your chance to see what this plays like might not be that far off at all!
So far, the only thing that’s upset us about Torchlight Frontiers is that we didn’t get to enjoy a launched game this past year. Apart from the delay, this MMOARPG is delighting us with fun gameplay, a cool housing system, meaty content updates in its testing cycle, and a willingness for the devs to rethink underperforming systems. Alpacas, trains, and robots dance in our heads every night when we go to sleep — hopefully it’ll come out before too long.
Book of Travels
Quiet, odd, and definitely veering far off from the WoW clone crowd, Book of Travels became the underdog hit of Kickstarter MMOs in 2019 with a $261,000 haul. More than just the money it raised, the design and scope for this “serene” tiny multiplayer game utterly charmed us and made us mad that it wasn’t out yet. Shouldn’t be too long, though: This buy-to-play title is slated to release in 2020.
Ship of Heroes
As it stands right now, Ship of Heroes is winning the race to become the first and best City of Heroes spiritual successor on the market. Its character creation beta became the talking point of fall 2019 among superhero MMO fans, and beta testing should commence in the new year. So make sure you have your best costume concept drawn up, because you’ll probably be able to put it into action before you know it!
While Star Citizen fans can continue to wait indefinitely for a definite release, Dual Universe is over here revving up for a 2020 beta test and a 2021 launch. This smaller profile build-anything, fly-anything sandbox might just win the space race — and when it does, we want it on the record that we were cheering it on before it became the popular destination for interstellar tourists.
Once the darling child of Kickstarter, Crowfall has stuttered and stalled in its lengthy development as it struggled to bring the right refinements to the online PvP scene. Happily, it looks as though forward momentum has been achieved once more, and ArtCraft is hinting broadly that beta is coming soon thanks to core systems and features achieving fulfillment.
While I think we’re going to do a list solely devoted to mobile MMOs very soon, I couldn’t in good conscience leave EVE Echoes off this particular list. By all accounts, this EVE Online mobile edition is its own addictive and accessible MMORPG and worthy of your time. Our own Brendan said that it boasts “a lot of potential as a serious mobile game.” This game is currently in open beta.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen
Don’t let the passing of Brad McQuaid convince you that Pantheon’s development has ceased. On the contrary, the team at Visionary Realms seems more determined than ever to bring McQuaid’s fantasy MMORPG to life. While we still have a good way to go before seeing this one launch (it’s currently in pre-alpha testing), the team is bringing together the concepts and features to life in Faerthale, a slice of the game that will serve as a launchpad for the greater MMO to come.
While continuing to bring in more money than the seven richest kings of the west, Star Citizen’s actual release date is still a vague and uncertain notion. However, players are enjoying the ongoing alpha test and seeing what new pieces that RSI adds to it monthly, including all manner of new (and pricey) ships. The exciting and contentious nature of this title makes it irresistible to track, even if you aren’t its target audience.
It’s Fake Pokémon Online, and it’s going to be obscenely popular. Don’t believe us, believe the $573,000 it brought in through Kickstarter despite not being attached to any known IP. Temtem is scheduled to jump into early access on computers this coming January 21st with a good chunk of the game accessible to those who want to collect all of ’em.
Formerly known as Project C, Life Beyond is a persistent open-world space sandbox that is bringing the Unreal Engine 4, SpatialOS, and cross-platform gaming to bear. If, of course, it actually comes out — which seems riskier than normal considering that Darewise’s ROKH sandbox died an early death. But it’s ambitious, it’s pretty, and it might slate that galactic wonderlust that bubbles inside some gamers.
Cryptic Studios’ long-anticipated Magic the Gathering MMO was finally given a name and a face this past month as Magic Legends. The upcoming RPG will feature five swappable classes, action combat, and (we’re guessing) lots and lots of lockboxes. We’re due to receive an info dump on Magic Legends in the first month or so of 2020, so stay tuned to discover what Cryptic has up its sleeves on this one.
While the above are the titles that I personally think we’ll see the most movement and action with in 2020, I don’t want to overlook some other upcoming MMOs that may surprise us. In no particular order, they are:
- Project Gorgon
- Ashes of Creation
- Saga of Lucimia
- Chronicles of Elyria
- Ascent: Infinite Realm
- Mortal Online 2
- City of Titans
- Valiance Online
- Lineage Eternal
- Lost Ark
- Ever, Jane
- Gloria Victis
- Crimson Desert