It’s like we have some bizarre premonition of where the industry as a whole is headed: massive corporations being overseen by executives that know very little of the industry are finally appearing to be on the way out.
Granted, some may note that it’s too little, too late: Cyberpunk 2077 and CD Projekt Red have already been drug through the mud thanks to executives deciding to randomly promise various aspects that reportedly had no basis in reality, but perhaps it’s fair to say that the future looks far brighter than it used to.
Indie companies, or at least small and tightly-knit teams of developers, are the new wave of the industry if the Steam‘s 2020 releases are anything to go by.
Gauging popularity and reviews to find the top three best games on Steam that were released in 2020, one might notice a complete absence of any gargantuan developers such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, 2K, Gearbox, or anyone else. Without further ado:
#3 – Phasmophobia – Kinetic Games 196,538 Votes – 98% Positive
Released in September of 2020 (just in time for the spookiest month of the year), Phasmophobia is still very noticeably in Early Access. The textures aren’t particularly enthralling, the lights can act odd, the objectives themselves can become repetitive, and the adage of why hasn’t been announced.
But good heavens, the scares come good and well. Spirits attempting to kill players while interacting with in-game voice chat turned a genre on its head and made it the crowning horror title this year.
Twitch streamers picked up the game en masse for October, which helped bring the title to fame for a large sure base on Steam; now, the developers have been talking about what they’re excited to bring next for the title as it becomes even more fleshed out.
With the inclusion of the (occasionally wonky) VR, users can feel free to turn coal into diamonds as they clench during flickering lights.
#2 – Factorio – Wube Software 106,256 Votes – 99% Positive
We’ve double-checked the math, and more than a few predictions are being dashed here: Factorio has come in at second with only a few votes off of grabbing the #1 spot.
Fully released in August of 2020, Factorio has brought about a mind-boggling level of detail and planning to video games in a way that most gamers would ever dream of. With sprawling conveyor belts crisscrossing their way around an alien planet and the tech-tree always offering greater rewards for the ability to plan and execute, Factorio is likely the result of more surprise-sunrises for gamers on an international scale than anything else released this year.
It can be daunted to enter: the sheer volume of technology and items that will need to be planned for never fails to surprise new players, and the number of times you’ll find yourself refactoring your iron forges might be embarrassing, but Factorio offers a mind-blowing amount of content with a slew of mods that will keep you busy for years.
#1 – Hades – Supergiant Games 104,140 Votes – 99% Positive
If we broke this down by decimals it would be easier to explain, but Factorio missed this mark by a matter of only a few votes.
You would be hard-pressed to hold it against Supergiant Games, however: Hades plunged through Early Access with a vigor that hasn’t been seen in quite a while.
Explaining where they were at in terms of what was being worked on and added, consistently hitting and executing promised dates for fans that were eagerly awaiting the next content patch, and some crisp roguelike action easily turns heads in favor of Hades regardless of what genre they may stomp around in usually.
Further, Supergiant Games made the frankly difficult obstacle of having a story-based roguelike appear almost easy, grabbing players with its story. Sure, we wouldn’t say no to a few hundred levels, but that’s the issue with games that are so dang good: no one wants it to end.