2022 is set to be a huge year for games, with a ton of blockbuster titles from the world’s biggest developers and publishers set to release by the time we’re all counting down from 10 to usher in 2023. To help you pinpoint the games you absolutely need to have on your wishlist, we’ve compiled this list of the best open world games in 2022 to look forward to, or to at least have on your radar. So, let’s dive right into it.
1. Pokemon Legends: Arceus – Jan. 28 (Switch)
After what seems like an eternity of asking for a proper, open-world Pokemon game, it looks like Nintendo and The Pokemon Company have finally listened. Pokemon Legends: Arceus takes place in the Sinnoh region, but way back before the events of the Diamond and Pearl titles.
While the gameplay largely looks like it’ll remain the same in this new format, there are some changes including the new Hisui forms of Pokemon, different ‘Styles’ in battle, and much more. You’ll even need to complete Research Tasks on your adventure across this new but familiar world as you try to catch ’em all.
Fortunately, there’s not much longer to wait, as Pokemon Legends: Arceus releases this Friday, Jan. 28.
2. Dying Light 2: Stay Human – Feb. 4 (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, XB1, PC)
Best Open World Games 2022
If you prefer a flavor of the undead in your open-world outings, then Dying Light 2 has you covered. With a blend of zombie-slaying combat and parkour traversal, you’ll be tasked with reshaping the world following the fall of civilization after the virus outbreak.
With one of the largest human settlements torn by conflict, its up to protagonist Aiden to shape its future and reunite the survivors that live there. The decisions you make along the way and the actions you take in quests will all go to shape the story and the way things unfold, so take no choice lightly.
This isn’t just a basic undead open-world game, though, there’s also a day night cycle which forces you to explore with caution when the sun sets, as the Infected begin hunting survivors and leave their lairs free to explore. Will you dare risk venturing inside? Only time will tell.
Dying Light 2’s been in development for six years, so you can expect this to be a pretty enormous open-world game with plenty to see and do.
3. Horizon Forbidden West – Feb. 18 (PS4, PS5)
Guerrilla Games shocked the industry when it cast aside the linear hallways filled with Helghast from its Killzone series and embraced a futuristic open-world with Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017. It was absolutely fantastic, with a strong protagonist in Aloy, a compelling combat system that saw you disabling weapons and attacks of enemies by targeting them with different weapon types and traps, and a beautiful, immersive world to explore. The whole thing ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, so it should come as no surprise that we’re just weeks away from the sequel in Horizon Forbidden West.
Continuing on Aloy’s adventure as she tries to uncover the secrets behind the vicious storms and unstoppable blight that are sending Earth towards another period of extinction, all the while taking on new machines with your bow and arrow, tripwires and plenty more.
If you were a fan of Aloy’s first outing, then start counting down the days for the next chapter. It’s set to be an absolute banger.
4. Elden Ring – Feb. 25 (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, XB1, PC)
Best Open World Games 2022
Elden Ring is what happens when you take the fantastic development team and creative minds behind the Dark Souls series, and bring in George R.R. Martin to help write the story and narrative. What you get is a stunning, fantasy open-world, with punishing boss fights, interesting side quests and plenty of sights and sounds dragging you in different directions, distracting you from the main quest at hand.
It’s not just the stunning landscapes of the open-world that you’ll be busy exploring, but complex dungeons that are connected seamlessly into the larger overworld. Oh, and don’t worry, you’ll be able to get around on horseback to make things less time-consuming, and easier, too.
Ensuring that your character suits your play style, you’ll create them with an in-depth creator that allows you to pour points into attributes that’ll benefit the way you play and ignore those that don’t.
There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to Elden Ring, and yet so much of it is still under wraps. Get it marked on your calendar and prepare for plenty of rage-inducing boss fights once more.
5. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands – March 24 (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, XB1, PC)
Inspired by D&D, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is a strange Borderlands spin-off. Maintaining the bonkers amount of different weapons that can be found and the stunning cel-shaded visuals, the gameplay is more focused around emulating the gameplay in board games, rather than the fast-paced FPS action the series is renowned for.
It’s almost a sequel of sorts to the Assault on Dragon Keep DLC that clearly inspired this title, so expect more of the tabletop inspirations to shine through again here.
The open world itself, though, looks absolutely gorgeous with plenty of varied environments to keep us gawking away at our screens. Underground caverns with moody lighting, dense magical forests and even a place called Butt Stallion Castle. If that’s not enough to get you interested, honestly I don’t think anything I say will.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands has our attention simply because of how different an open world game it could be in comparison to the usual fare of action-RPGs. If its predecessor DLC is anything to go by, it’ll deliver on this premise, too.
6. Forspoken – May 24 (PS5, PC)
Best Open World Games 2022
We’ve all been there. We’ve ventured too far away from our friends and family and have found ourselves a little lost. Perhaps its in a foreign country when we’re older, or just in a different neighborhood when we’re kids. Well, Forspoken takes this premise and brings it into a magical world.
Following the journey of Frey, a young New Yorker transported to the dangerous world of Athia, players must use a number of magical abilities to find their way home. Of course, this is a magical world, so don’t expect this to be a straightforward journey. You’re going to need to face-off against formidable creatures and use some magical parkour skills to clamber up canyons, leap from lofty ledges and snowboard down small streams.
Forspoken also brings some of the prettiest visuals we’ve seen on current-gen consoles so far. If you’re a sucker for excellent presentation in games, then you’re probably going to want to pick Forspoken up and see what all the fuss is about.
7. Saints Row – August 23 (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, XB1, PC)
While the wait for a new Grand Theft Auto game seems to be going on for quite a while longer, still, developer Deep Silver Volition is here to fill the gap with its tongue-in-cheek open world action game, Saints Row.
Set in the fictional city of Santo Ileso, in the American southwest, players must set up their own gang, recruiting members of the other three gangs of Santo Ileso vying for control and make it their own.
The game will retain the same format as its predecessor, tasking players with taking over the nine districts of Santo Ileso which, in turn, grant new benefits to help you on your quest for total control.
If you’re looking for some of the lighthearted sandbox action of the previous Saints Row games, this certainly looks like a modern, rebooted take on the classic formula.
8. Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown – Sept. 22 (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, XB1, PC)
Best Open World Games 2022
This one’s for all the racing fans out there. Open worlds are great, but when you’re walking around on-foot the entire time, traversing enormous maps can get a little tedious. I mean, why walk when you can be sitting in a supercar that’ll send you hurtling across asphalt at over 200mph? There is no reason.
Solar Crown takes the classic Test Drive Unlimited gameplay and gives players the freedom to do as they wish around the world once more. You can take on the classic open championship, just cruise around the world, or complete little races or challenges with friends.
The world will be complimented with a roster of some of the world’s fastest cars, from Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Porsche’s through to Dodge Chargers and Bugatti’s.
If you’re eager to crank that e-brake and get your drift on, then Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown needs to be on your wishlist for 2022.
9. Starfield – Nov. 11 (Xbox Series X|S, PC)
Bethesda is best known for its Elder Scrolls and Fallout series. The two have dominated the conversation when it comes to open world RPGs for some time now, taking us to fantasy and post-apocalyptic lands alike. This time, however, the studio has set its collective minds on taking the classic open world Bethesda series to space. Introducing: Starfield.
Unfortunately, we really don’t know a whole lot else about Starfield. The game will take place in space in the 2300’s and will have exploration at the heart of the experience. We also know it’ll have twice the number of lines of dialog as Skyrim, just to give you an idea of how enormous this game will be.
If Starfield is able to deliver on an open… space(?) RPG then this could well usher in a new era in video game development and what is deemed achievable with modern technology. Given Bethesda’s excellent pedigree, we’re incredibly excited to finally check this one out.
10. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl – Dec. 8 (Xbox Series X|S, PC)
Best Open World Games 2022
Developer GSC Game World is going big with its description of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl, stating that the game will feature “one of the biggest open-worlds to date.”
That open world is the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a dangerous and ever-changing environment home to mutated creatures, radiation and some priceless artifacts that you’ll, obviously, want to get your hands on.
Thanks to its particularly eerie setting, Heart of Chernobyl looks set to fantastically blend the open-world experience with the original game’s excellent FPS mechanics and immersive sim and horror elements.
Every decision you make along the way will also play a part in determining the outcome of your adventure, ensuring ample replayability once you’ve rolled the credits the first time.
Even better, GSC Game World’s open world will be realized in better detail than ever, thanks to being powered by Unreal Engine 5. PC players are sure to have a blast experimenting with the official mod support, too, opening up endless possibilities.
Oh, and a multiplayer mode will come soon after the game releases as a free update, ensuring you’ve got plenty of reason to return to the radiated city of Chernobyl.
11. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 – TBC (Nintendo Switch)
Will it actually release in 2022? Currently, nobody really knows. Some fans believe it could be coming sooner rather than later, but given Nintendo’s track record when it came to delaying and eventually releasing its predecessor, we could be waiting for some time, still.
Even so, Breath of the Wild 2 is easily one of the most anticipated, announced games right now. The original was a masterpiece, offering up a version of Hyrule littered with Shrines, powerful boss-type enemies, and other hidden little secrets scattered throughout. The combat was rewarding, its ‘dungeons’ were innovative, and it was just a fantastic world to get lost in.
It may be wishful thinking on our part, but maybe if we all assume it’ll come out this year, we’ll will it into existence. Right?… Right.