The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – 5th Anniversary
Hey, remember that little game called The Witcher 3? Yeah, already feeling old right off the bat, huh?
It’s been five years since CD Projekt Red released their magnum opus, with the Witcher 3 quickly becoming one of the most successful and critically acclaimed games of the last decade.
The Witcher 3 completely redefined open world design, and helped popularize the Witcher franchise more than ever before.
Even more surprising, however, is that the game has had a second lease on life because of the Netflix series, with more concurrent players on Steam in December 2019 than on launch day in 2015.
Bayonetta and Vanquish – 10th Anniversary
Two all-time PlatinumGames classics turn ten in 2020, Bayonetta and Vanquish. These two games helped define Platinum’s style, and both have gone down as some of the best in the action genre.
Bayonetta introduced us to a phenomenal new character, who’s even a part of the Super Smash Bros. roster at this point. Vanquish, on the other hand, features some of the best third-person shooting out there, and there’s still nothing quite as intense and fast-paced.
Luckily, Sega is taking time to honor this anniversary with a double-pack of 4K remasters coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. PlatinumGames has come a long way over the last decade, and it’s the perfect time to look back and see where it all began.
Resident Evil 4 – 15th Anniversary
Widely considered one of the greatest games ever made, the prolific Resident Evil 4 turns a whopping fifteen in 2020.
Resident Evil 4 completely redefined the franchise forever, switching to a new over-the-shoulder gameplay style while still retaining all of the tense horror and survival elements.
Since its release in 2005, Resident Evil 4 has been released on practically every system that’s been released, even mobile and iOS. The game’s legacy still lives on, as it’s inspired much of the design of the recent Resident Evil 2 remake.
God of War – 15th Anniversary
Alongside Resident Evil 4, the God of War franchise is turning 15 this year. Now one of the most successful PlayStation series of all time, it’s amazing to think it’s only been fifteen years. After all, just look at all of the game’s we’ve gotten.
God of War, God of War II, God of War III, Chains of Olympus, Ghost of Sparta, and God of War 2019.
It’s safe to say that the franchise is still going strong, especially hot off the heels of the critically-acclaimed “reboot.” Now it’s just a matter of where we go next.
Mario Tennis (and Waluigi) 20th Anniversary
Mario has engaged in countless sports and leisure activities over the years, but one of the most popular spin-offs remains Mario Tennis. It’s been 20 years since the Mushroom Kingdom took to the court, but that’s not all, oh no.
Mario Tennis on Nintendo 64 was also the introduction of Waluigi, a character that’s since become a cult classic meme. Wario’s lankier older brother, Waluigi has become a staple in the series appearing nearly every Mario spin-off since.
Now we can officially declare 2020 the Year of Waluigi, so it’s about time he gets his own game, right?
PlayStation 2 – 20th Anniversary
One of the most successful video game consoles of all time, the PlayStation 2 turns twenty in 2020. That’s a lot of twos.
It’s amazing to think that the same year we got games like Mario Tennis, was when Sony introduced the PS2, alongside games like Dynasty Warriors 2 Timesplitters, and Midnight Club.
The PS2 was a staggering success for Sony, selling over 150 million units over its lifetime, and it’s still the best-selling video game console in history.
Not to mention the countless fantastic games that graced the system; Final Fantasy X, GTA: San Andreas, Okami, Shadow of the Colossus, Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, and many many more.
E3 – 25th Anniversary
It might be hard to believe, but the biggest trade event for the gaming industry has been running for 25 years.
While it certainly wasn’t always the event it is now, E3 has had a profound effect on every aspect of gaming, from the way that companies announce games to the deluge of interviews and bits of news that come out of every show.
Of course, now it’s an event that’s open to the public, drastically changing the face of the show over the last few years.
E3 helped give video games an event of their own, and it’ll be interesting to see what the show does moving forward.
Fire Emblem Series – 30th Anniversary
Nearly a decade ago it seemed like the Fire Emblem franchise would fade into history, as sales waned and interest simply wasn’t enough. Fire Emblem Awakening changed all that, and now we have a series that’s hit its stride like never before.
While it took many years for the franchise to make its way West the very first game, Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, launched on the Family Computer in April 1990.
Since then we’ve seen the franchise redefine itself multiple times with the weapon triangle in Genealogy of the Holy War, bonding system in Awakening, and now leveling system in Three Houses.
Strategy games simply wouldn’t be what they are without Fire Emblem, and hopefully, Nintendo has a few surprises in store for the 30th anniversary.
NES and Super Mario Bros – 35th Anniversary
Yes the Family Computer actually launched in 1983 in Japan, but it wasn’t until 1985 that its Western counterpart, the Nintendo Entertainment System, would hit shelves.
Coming off of the 1983 video game crash, Nintendo’s marketing strategy tried to help restore consumer’s faith in platforms by not using highly exaggerated art, and they tried to market the system exclusive to children. This is partly where Nintendo’s longtime family focus comes from.
Clearly the NES was a massive success, and it helped pull a reeling industry out of the biggest crash it’s ever seen. That same year the world was introduced to Super Mario Bros., the game that would cement Mario’s place as the biggest gaming icon of all time.
1985 was one of the most important years ever for video games, and now 35 years later it’s fascinating to look back on the influence it had.