The first full year of the PS5 was a busy one, with exclusives, firmware updates, and studio acquisitions, and sustained support for the PS4 through new, cross-gen releases.
While it was a busy year for PlayStation, 2022 is looking to be even busier, as delays pushed some of Sony’s biggest exclusives – as well as major third-party releases – into the new year. There’s also a question of when PlayStation’s next-gen PSVR will be announced, and how Sony will approach events in a continually evolving and changing pandemic world. So with 2021 largely behind us, let’s look ahead to what’s in store for PlayStation in 2022.
Exclusive Games in 2022
PlayStation is synonymous with marquee exclusives, both from its suite of internal studios, which has recently expanded, as well as launch exclusives from various third-parties. 2021 was no slouch in either category, but 2022 is bringing with it some long-awaited sequels to some of PlayStation’s biggest franchises.
From PlayStation Studios teams, we’re expecting God of War Ragnarok, the follow-up to 2018’s redefinition of the long-running series; Horizon Forbidden West, the first proper sequel to Guerrilla Games’ open-world 2017 hit, and Gran Turismo 7, the next numbered entry in the racing mainstay that only saw one game through the PS4’s lifetime. All three will launch on both PS4 and PS5, ensuring that players who loved their predecessors can still play them on PS4 while everyone who’s managed to find a PS5 amid continued stock shortages and scalpers can play them on the newest hardware. We’ve gotten decent looks at all three games, but right now Ragnarok remains without a firm release date. Forbidden West is set for February 18 and Gran Turismo will hit March 4. Early 2022 will also see a remastered release of Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy for PS5, and there are of course lingering projects we know are in the works, like Naughty Dog’s upcoming multiplayer game, seemingly spun off of work on The Last of Us Part 2’s originally planned multiplayer mode, Pixelopus’ collaboration with Sony Pictures Animation, and more.
That leaves much of the calendar year open for PlayStation to surprise us with other releases, particularly after PlayStation’s acquisition spree in 2021. PlayStation added four studios during the year – Bluepoint, Housemarque, Firesprite, and Nixxes. And while some of those studios just released games and likely won’t have new projects ready for 2022, we’ll likely learn what they’re up to during any of the major PlayStation showcases next year.
2022 will also see a few console launch exclusives from third parties, like Square Enix’s big new RPG series Forspoken, coming next spring, and Ghostwire Tokyo, Tango Gameworks’ first-person adventure that will still be hitting PS5 first despite the fact the developers are now owned by Xbox. 2022 will also see indie exclusives that have been mainstays of PlayStation showcases, like the Annapurna Interactive-published Stray, and Absolver developer Sloclap’s kung-fu fighter Sifu, though it’s unclear if other indie highlights like Little Devil Inside will also hit in 2022.
Big Multiplatform Games
2021 saw a number of multiplatform third parties delay their biggest games into 2022, and while it’s certainly likely we’ll see delays into 2023, there is currently a lot scheduled for next year. Like, enough that you might need to take more than a few days off work to play everything.
Rainbow Six Extraction, Dying Light 2, Elden Ring, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, and, somehow, GTA V are all multiplatform games coming to PS4 and/or PS5 in just the first quarter of 2022. Beyond that, there are some nebulous release dates, but the list of potential heavy hitters goes on and on and on.
And it seems some publishers are gearing up for 2022 to be a particularly major year after relatively quiet publishing windows. Warner Bros. Games, after years of slimmer pickings, has no less than FOUR potential games launching in 2022, including LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, Hogwarts Legacy, Gotham Knights, and Suicide Squad Kills the Justice League. GTA publisher 2K is planning 60 games between 2022 and 2024, including 23 “immersive core” games (meaning sports and big releases like GTA).
Again, it’s likely we’ll see delays for some of these games, as well as surprise announcements, annual releases, and continued support of ongoing, live-service games that will only add to 2022’s potentially massive and packed release schedule.
Hardware and Services
PlayStation hasn’t officially announced any plans for major hardware changes or releases in 2022. And while it’s still facing a big problem of simply getting enough PS5’s out there to meet demand, producing more of its latest console will most likely be the biggest focus. That doesn’t mean we may not see additional console or accessory colorwares – we’ve already gotten a couple of DualSense and Pulse headset variants, after all, and Sony ended the year by announcing even more colors and the first-ever new PS5 faceplates. Now you can swap your white PS5 siding for red, pink, blue, black, and purple options.
But the biggest lingering question we have is what PlayStation plans to do with its next VR headset, which for simplicity’s sake we’ll just be referring to as PSVR 2. PlayStation confirmed its next-gen VR headset was in the works just a few months after the PS5’s launch, already showing off its new controllers, though not the headset itself.
Though that may change soon. Reports in 2021 suggested PSVR 2 could be primed for a holiday 2022 launch, six years after the first PSVR debuted. Other reports have hinted at the technical and game focus PlayStation is allegedly taking with the new hardware. On the former, UploadVR reported early in 2021 that PSVR 2 will use 4K resolution display, a massive step up from the original headset, eye tracking, and haptic feedback in the headset itself to complement the controllers, which PlayStation has confirmed will use the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers of the DualSense, along with finger tracking for improved gameplay.
And as for PSVR 2 games, PlayStation has reportedly told developers that its focus is on console-quality AAA games with hybrid gameplay offerings, allowing them to be played both in and out of VR. Backward compatibility remains unconfirmed as well, but reports also claim Sony will reveal launch details of the new headset early in 2022, so hopefully it’s not too long before we find out what’s in store.
And a new report also suggests that PlayStation is shaking up its services in a bid to more aggressively compete with Xbox’s Game Pass. PlayStation has previously indicated it would have plans on bolstering its subscription service, and a new report from Bloomberg may give us a sense of what’s on the way. Sony is allegedly planning a three-tier program, the first being your standard PS Plus, the next coming PS Plus with the capabilities of streaming service PlayStation Now, and a third tier that would include perks like extended demos, game streaming, and games from way back in the PlayStation console library. It remains unconfirmed for now, but Sony could be planning a big shift to its current services.
One of the biggest questions about PlayStation’s presence in 2022 is what their event rollout will look like. PlayStation decided to stop attending E3 back in 2019, before the pandemic cancelled all events in 2020, and it decided not to return to the show in its digital version in 2021. Events could, of course, look much different next year, but so far PlayStation hasn’t announced any plans to or not to attend major shows like E3 and Gamescom.
Regardless, we’ll probably continue to see PlayStation lean into its State of Play showcase, a naming convention that can take many forms, but most commonly has been used to show a smattering of third-party releases, exclusives, and indies. Occasionally, State of Play has singularly focused on major releases, like Horizon Forbidden West earlier in 2022.
If anything, PlayStation may decide to stick to the pattern it established in the last two years. Strangely, the company’s biggest shows don’t use the “State of Play” moniker and instead have been known as PlayStation showcases – the two big ones in 2020 revealed the first PS5 games, major first-party releases, and details like the PS5’s launch date and price. And 2021’s showcase included both third party and major first- party reveals, like the KOTOR remake and Insomniac’s Wolverine, respectively. Rather than returning to E3, it wouldn’t be shocking to see PlayStation host another showcase or two on its own timetable.
But really, we’re all just hoping Sony decides to make PSX a thing again.
And that is just about everything we currently expect from PlayStation in 2022. There are plenty of lingering questions, like official word of PlayStation’s VR plans, what’s going on with its recently ramped up focus on PC ports and an interest in mobile games, plus much more. But it’s clear there is plenty of potential exciting PlayStation news and releases for PS4 and PS5 owners to look forward to in 2022.
Jonathon Dornbush is IGN's Senior Features Editor, PlayStation Lead, and host of Podcast Beyond! He's the proud dog father of a BOY named Loki. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.