The 14 most exciting video games of summer 2022
Although we’re almost two years into a new console generation, we’re heading into a relatively light summer in terms of flagship releases. The pandemic has pushed a variety of blockbusters back toward the tail end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023, making a previously stacked lineup look uncharacteristically sparse. However, if you’re willing to dig a little deeper, there are still a whole bunch of games worth getting excited for.
That’s where we come in. We’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some of the most promising titles slated for release between May and August. Some will be games you’ve likely forgotten about, whereas others might be totally new to you. We also have new entries in mammoth series like Mario and Saints Row. This summer, as it turns out, might not be as slow we originally thought.
So, for the days when you’re not crossing another winter game off of your backlog or diving back into that service title you’d previously sworn off, here are 14 of the most exciting video game releases for the summer of 2022.
Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion
Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion looks like a particularly strong way to kick off the summer — especially if you dig dark fantasy.
For those unacquainted with Gloomhaven, it’s a tactical RPG based on the extremely popular board game of the same name. Jaws of the Lion is an upcoming expansion that adds a bunch of new features to the game, increasing the already excellent bang for your buck. Gloomhaven’s base game alone is deeper and more complex than many of its ilk, so Jaws of the Lion’s arrival will be especially welcome for anyone (un)fortunate enough to have gotten locked in its grip over the last few months.
If you need to be convinced further, read Polygon’s Gloomhaven review, in which we called it “a marvelous turn-based dungeon crawler.” It’s an excellent adaptation of an already excellent board game, particularly because of the Guildmaster mode, which adds original story missions unique to the digital incarnation.
Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion will be released on May 17 on Windows PC
Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong
Here’s one stealthy little bloodsucker: After being delayed because of COVID-19, Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong is finally just around the corner. If you’re one of many people on the lookout for quality single-player games, this is something to keep an eye on — particularly if you’re excited for Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, which has been pushed back indefinitely.
Developed by Big Bad Wolf, Swansong is one of several games based on the beloved tabletop RPG Vampire: The Masquerade. This particular adaptation is set in Boston and revolves around a vampire cult’s attempt to unite with opposing factions. You assume control of three different vampires — each from a unique background — and are tasked with uncovering a mystery at the heart of the U.S. underground vampire scene. Not a bad concept, eh?
The thing is, all of your detective-ing has to be done in secret — the eponymous Masquerade refers to the ancient practice of concealing your vampirism from humanity. There’s a lot going on here, from strange conspiracies to intense moral dilemmas. And if you’re interested in skulking through Boston as a trio of roguish bloodsuckers … well, that’s a very specific request, isn’t it? And you can’t really get closer than this.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong will be released on May 19 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X
Sniper Elite 5
Set in France toward the end of World War II, Sniper Elite 5 is the latest installment in the methodical series. As with the previous games, 5 will feature tactical third-person combat, stealth, and a variety of immersive-sim elements — and even newcomers should be able to tell that a game called “Sniper Elite” is focused on, you know … snipers.
Beyond its incorporation of factors like gravity, wind, and heart rate, the environments in the game are also replicas of their real-life counterparts that have been captured using cutting-edge photogrammetric techniques. If you’re at all interested in a shooter that prides itself on realistically inhabiting WWII, this stealthy jaunt along the coast of 1944 Brittany may very well resonate.
If you want to know more about how Sniper Elite 5 feels to play, be sure to check out our preview, in which we said it still has “the slowest and most sensual burn among shooters.”
Sniper Elite 5 will be released on May 26 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X
The response to Diablo Immortal over the last few years has been … interesting, to say the least. It was originally announced during BlizzCon 2018, and to say that fans were unhappy with the free-to-play MMO would be like saying hellfire is hot.
Basically, fans were expecting news pertaining to Diablo 4. When they were instead served a spiel about yet another free-to-play mobile game with a dizzying variety of different progression systems, they were pretty pissed off. Since then, however, impressions of the game have skewed relatively positive.
As for what Diablo Immortal actually entails, it aims to tell a story set between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, and it takes design influence from both. There are six champions to choose from and, as announced in April, the game is also now slated for a simultaneous release on PC — although this likely has more to do with avoiding emulation than appeasing fans.
Diablo Immortal will be released on June 2 on Android, iOS, and Windows PC
Mario Strikers: Battle League
On one hand, you have soccer — a fast-paced, 11-on-11 sport with very precise rules and regulations. On the other, you have Mario soccer, which flies in the face of literally all of that.
Mario Strikers: Battle League replaces typical soccer with “Strike,” a 5-on-5 version of The Beautiful Game that eschews any semblance of order for unadulterated chaos. Instead of catching someone offside, you can shoulder them into an electric fence. If you thought two-footed challenges were bad, wait until you see what you can pull off with a banana peel. And don’t even get us started on Waluigi, the Mario equivalent of Maradona.
Fans of previous Mario Strikers titles may be particularly excited for Battle League given that it’s the series’ first entry in a whopping 15 years. Mario sports games are also just pretty great in general. Hopefully this is, too.
Mario Strikers: Battle League will be released on June 10 on Nintendo Switch
In stark contrast to the family fun of Mario Strikers: Battle League, Supermassive’s upcoming horror romp The Quarry calls for the coining of a new term: “family unfun.”
That’s not to say it isn’t fun! It’s just not the kind of game you should be playing with your 4-year-old. The Quarry follows a ragtag band of nine teenagers working as counsellors at Hackett’s Quarry summer camp. It’s your last day on the job and, with neither kids nor adults around to bother you, you decide to have a party. Yes, a party hosted by teenagers on the final day of camp — what could possibly go wrong?
Everything goes wrong, obviously. As the game progresses, you’ll be forced to make a variety of difficult decisions that determine who lives and who dies. One second you’re bantering away around the fire. The next, your best friend is murdered. All nine characters can either be the surviving protagonist or the first victim, meaning that there are loads of different ways the story can play out, incentivizing both multiple playthroughs and co-op with friends.
It’s also worth noting that The Quarry — which we previously called “Supermassive’s next swing at Until Dawn-style horror” — looks like a real love letter to old-school horror cinema, complete with cutting-edge performance capture and even a Movie Mode that reduces the amount of player input necessary to finish the story. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart, but if you’re into Supermassive and want an extra dose of summer vibes, this is a promising June release. You know, provided you’re not a scaredy-cat.
The Quarry will be released on June 10 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X
AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative
What little we know about AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative has been revealed via snazzy hacking stunts. But we do know that protagonist Special Agent Mizuki will be making her return. We also know that six years ago, half of a corpse was found.
Now, the other half has turned up. Bit strange, yeah? We think so too. Your job is to play as Mizuki and another Special Agent named Ryuki to figure out the origins of a string of half-body serial killings. Based on trailers, the game will feature multiple timelines that hop between legs and their long-separated torsos.
Characters such as hardboiled detective Kaname Date and internet idol Iris Sagan are also set to make a return. Whether or not they also have a weird narrative affinity for halves is anyone’s guess.
AI: The Somnium Files – Nirvana Initiative will be released on June 24 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One
Capcom Fighting Collection
A veritable time capsule for fans of classic fighting games, Capcom Fighting Collection includes 10 fighters from its arcade catalog: Darkstalkers, Night Warriors, Vampire Savior, Vampire Hunter 2, Vampire Savior 2, Red Earth, Cyberbots, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo, Hyper Street Fighter 2, and Super Gem Fighter Minimix. Yes, most of the names are ridiculous.
While this is obviously targeted at retro enthusiasts, younger players should also definitely consider picking it up. A collection like this can provide valuable insight into the history of one of video games’ most storied genres, while modern quality-of-life improvements make even the oldest titles in the bundle significantly more approachable by contemporary standards. Hell, it even supports online play!
Now that Street Fighter 6 is on the way, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a fighting aficionado or have no idea what a Roman Cancel is — you’d best get to learning your combos before Ryu hadoukens you into oblivion.
Capcom Fighting Collection will be released on June 24 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
Like with the majority of Musou games, reception to the announcement of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has been fairly mixed. It wasn’t that Byleth has been replaced by a new protagonist called Shez, nor has it got much to do with basing a new story around characters like Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude. It’s just the Musou bit.
Friends, let’s be honest here: Musou is great. You just need to give it a chance.
Admittedly, the change from Three Houses’ more strategic, turn-based combat to one-on-1,000 battles is drastic, to say the least. That being said, Persona 5 Strikers retained much of its strategy element even after its conversion to the Musou format, meaning that Three Hopes could be every bit as tactical as Three Houses before it. You can still order your companions around and exploit enemy weaknesses to your own personal advantage — it has the spirit of Fire Emblem, if not the exact style.
Speaking of which, there’s still a large emphasis on your relationships with other characters and how they influence the rest of the game. Seriously, just give this one a chance, OK?
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes will be released on June 24 on Nintendo Switch
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course
Like Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion, this is an expansion, rather than a game in its own right. But still, it’s a Cuphead expansion — which makes it an extremely big deal.
Most people will recognize 2017’s indie smash hit Cuphead as a cutesy and cartoonish game that is deceptively difficult in the most demonic way imaginable. It revolves around a brutal boss gauntlet that pits you, a sentient cup, against ferocious monsters who relentlessly batter you until you master the game.
The Delicious Last Course introduces an all-new character, Ms. Chalice, who can accompany Cuphead and Mugman on their odyssey through Inkwell Isle. It also features new weapons, extra bosses, and a whole host of other additions. As the final adventure for these ceramic slayers, The Delicious Last Course is one well worth gorging on.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course will be released on June 30 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One
OK, so Outriders: Worldslayer is a bit … odd. It’s technically an improved version of the existing Outriders experience with an all-new campaign, additional gear, fresh ways to customize and build your character, and more. But at the same time … it’s still Outriders.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In Polygon’s preview of the new version, we said it “improves on the game’s already solid build crafting,” meaning that there is definitely value in People Can Fly’s decision to overhaul the core game. It’s just a bit difficult to know how much fresh material there is for people who have spent the last two years exploring Enoch, or how much of a barrier to entry there may be for fledgling Outriders who are considering arriving late to the party.
It’s worth noting that all of the original content is there, and anyone with an existing Outriders character can import it into Worldslayer. Those elements certainly help to alleviate any concern that people might have too much or too little experience with Enoch to truly enjoy Worldslayer, but we suppose nobody will know for sure until it launches at the end of June.
Outriders: Worldslayer will be released on June 30 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X
The first and only racing game on this list, F1 22 has a lot to live up to after the successes of Forza Horizon 5 and Gran Turismo 7.
Fortunately, F1 is in an interesting position in that it has been tasked with reflecting a bunch of changes that have occurred in real-life Formula One, which is something Polygon had the chance to speak to Codemasters about earlier this month. Essentially, the studio has taken it upon itself to design the most immersive racing game possible — whether or not they succeed with that fairly lofty task will be apparent in a month and a half’s time.
On the contrary, Codemasters has also introduced a new hub for showing off your cars and accessories, which has given some fans pause on account of its implication of microtransactions. So, as of now, we won’t know whether the game is an immersive marvel or a money-printing catwalk for cars until early July. Fingers crossed for the former.
F1 22 will be released on July 1 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
It’s been nearly five years since the launch of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, so it’s only natural that Nintendo fans have gone borderline feral about the prospect of Xenoblade Chronicles 3 being just a couple months away.
This is further compounded by how bizarre Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is shaping up to be. Its setting is directly related not just to that of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but also the location of the series’ inaugural game — it simultaneously depicts the futures of both, which, when you consider its status as a Xenoblade title, isn’t surprising in the slightest. The franchise is bonkers.
The story, meanwhile, takes place on Aionios, where two nations with differing views are at war with each other. You actually play as trios from both countries and can have up to seven party members.
Despite initially being slated for release in September, Nintendo recently revealed that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was being brought forward for a release date of July 29. At least one game wasn’t delayed, eh?
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 will be released on July 29 on Nintendo Switch
Last but not least is Saints Row, the eagerly awaited reboot of a series that has long been in need of one.
Currently in development at Volition, Saints Row will be the first entry in the series in quite a while. If you include Gat Out of Hell — which many people don’t — it will have been seven years by the time launch rolls around. If you go off Saints Row 4, however, it will have been nine. Almost a decade!
Details on what exactly we can expect from Saints Row aren’t in high supply, but we do know that you assume control of a character named “The Boss,” who leaves one of three local gangs to form their own. Your job, then, is to establish dominance over the other groups.
Like previous Saints Row games, there will be a large emphasis on driving and combat, while you’ll also be able to disguise your illegal businesses as legitimate ones. Oh, and the character creator looks rad, which is nice.
Saints Row was originally slated for a release of Feb. 25, but it was pushed back to late August in November of last year. Given how this year’s release schedule has shaped up, it may be a great palette cleanser to round out the (relatively) relaxed summer.
Saints Row will be released on Aug. 23 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X