It’s been quite the year for videogames. From blockbuster new releases like Death Stranding and Sekiro to glimpses into the next-generation with fancy streaming tech and spec-heavy consoles, it’s quite an exciting time to follow gaming.
But, with the pace of information released across 2019, it can be easy to forget about the main memorable moments of the year.
Don’t worry, here at TechRadar, we’re going to run through 10 of the best gaming moments of 2019. So take a walk down memory lane with us as we recall exciting game reveals and key cultural conversations, as well as a particularly mischievous waterfowl...
Pokémon comes to the UK
Since the dawn of the millennium, Pokémon has dominated portable consoles, but so far the franchise has failed to show the UK community the love it rightfully deserves.
As great as Kanto, Johto and Hoenn are, we finally saw Pikachu land on Great British soil with Pokémon Sword and Shield. Game Freak’s latest entry into the iconic series gave us Galar, a land full of teapots and coal and Pokémon centres that double as pubs.
Valve revealed a new Half-Life game
We know, right? Valve is actually starting to make software again. It’s been 12 long years since Half-Life 2: Episode 2, and Valve is ready to deliver the next experience in the series: Half-Life: Alyx. But hold your horses there, it’s a prequel, and it’s only available in virtual reality. 2020 will prove whether it is the system seller it wants to be, but for now, we wait with bated breath for the continuation of the series and any future games from Valve who have plenty of classic properties in their vault to build upon in the virtual realm.
This looks to be one of the first true AAA VR experiences that could drag millions of players into the ecosystem, especially given it’s backed up by the talent of Campo Santo (Firewatch, In the Valley of the Gods) who Valve absorbed in 2018.
Auto Chess becomes the new Battle Royale
Much like Battle Royale last year, 2019 was really the year of Auto Chess. Drodo Studio launched its runaway hit Dota Auto Chess as a mod within Dota 2 in January of 2019 and the rest is history.
Since then, we’ve had Valve come to a formal agreement with Drodo to launch Dota Underlords as a separate game with official Dota 2 characters and League of Legends got in on the fun with Teamfight Tactics. The Auto Chess scene is starting to breach into the esports space and is finding great success on mobile, with record -breaking numbers already. If you missed the zeitgeist, the games are starting to feel less like rush-to-market prototypes and actually taking aim at the fun boundaries of a burgeoning genre, so go check them out!
More PS5 and Xbox Series X details revealed
New consoles are set to launch during late 2020 and, in 2019, we learned a lot more about how they would shape up. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X will bring ray-tracing to consoles, be capable of 4K at 60 FPS and boasts a bumper SSD for faster loading times.
Meanwhile the PS5 will support 8K TVs, also have an SSD and is rumored to come with an upgraded VR package (perhaps PSVR 2?), so prepare your wallets, gamers! The next generation is right around the corner.
The exclusivity war rages on
The success of Fortnite enabled the rise of Epic Game Store, a developer-friendly answer to Valve’s PC market monopoly with Steam. After launching in December 2018, the service quickly turned heads and dominated the conversation in 2019 as it secured game after high-profile game, netting many game of the year contenders including Control, The Outer Worlds and Outer Wilds - to name a few.
That horrible goose
It’s a lovely day in the games industry, and everyone is a horrible goose. That about sums up the explosive launch of Untitled Goose Game from House House, a viral phenomenon that appeared from a group of developers making humble geese memes in slack.
When it dropped into our laps in September, gamers erupted in unison with praise for this irreverent, mischievous beast. The game has since sold hundreds of thousands of copies and topped sales charts. Not a bad result from a silly joke, eh?
Apple Arcade breathes life into the mobile market
Apple surprised everyone when it launched its mobile arcade subscription service, Apple Arcade, in September of 2019, only for many to realize that its library was packed with a legion of undeniable hits, launched almost in secret, dragging many to game seriously on their mobile phones once more.
There are plenty of experimental and exciting indie games already available on the fairly priced service with, get this, no microtransactions. Sayonara Wild Hearts, WhatTheGolf, Grindstone and more have delighted critics and mobile gamers, with new games arriving in the arcade on a monthly basis, providing consistent and welcome gusts of fresh air into the mobile market.
Keanu Reeves in Cyberpunk
“You’re breathtaking!“ was the cry heard around the world during Microsoft’s illustrious E3 conference this year when Keanu Reeves took the stage to reveal he was playing Johnny Silverhand in Cyberpunk 2077.
A twist absolutely nobody saw coming but everyone was extremely happy with, Keanu Reeves’ broody mug is now set to become an AI companion in one of 2020s most wanted games. As if we needed any more reasons to be excited about CDProjektRed’s follow up to The Witcher 3.
Breath of the Wild 2
Another massive moment during E3 2019 has to be the reveal that Nintendo is working on a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the phenomenal Nintendo Switch launch title that warped the way we think about Zelda.
Breath of the Wild 2 doesn’t even have an official title yet but fans are already dying to know how the next entry is going to shape up. If the reveal trailer is anything to go by, it looks like it’s going to be a bit spooky this time around. The Majora’s Mask to Breath of the Wild’s Ocarina of Time, if you will.
A 16-year-old wins 3 million at the Fortnite World Cup
From litigious dance crazes to virtual concerts and Star Wars clips being shown in-game, it’s been quite the year for cultural phenom Fortnite, but no player has benefited from its rise to stardom as much as Bugha, a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania who became a household name after winning the inaugural Fortnite World Cup in New York in July this year, taking home a very cool $3 million dollars thanks to his elite building skills.