10 Souls-like games to look out for in 2020
2019 was a pretty good year for the Souls-like genre thanks to games like The Surge 2, Code Vein, Remnant: From the Ashes, and, of course, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. As great as 2019 was for Souls-like fans, though, it’s looking like 2020 might be an even better year.
Below, we’ve listed out 10 upcoming Souls-like games that are either confirmed or at least tentatively scheduled for a 2020 release. Some of the games on our list might be more immediately recognizable than others, but if Dark Souls and its ilk are your jam, then all 10 games should definitely be on your 2020 gaming watchlist.
EITR, named after the divine substance from Norse mythology, casts players as a Shield Maiden who must venture to the nine realms of the Norse cosmology so she can save the world tree Yggdrasil from the machinations of the trickster god Loki. The game’s Steam page presents it as an action RPG filled with “exceptional combat” and “formidable challenges,” two things that should definitely speak to Souls-like fans.
Interestingly enough, EITR was technically first announced way back in 2014 by the two-person indie developer Eneme Entertainment. Since then, Devolver Digital has signed on as the game’s publisher, but other than that development on the game has been a mostly quiet affair. Fans were hopeful that a release date would finally be announced during last year’s E3, but sadly no such news ever came. As of this writing, there’s nothing that outright confirms EITR will finally launch in 2020, but it’s still worth keeping an eye on just in case.
Hellpoint is an upcoming Souls-like title from developer Cradle Games which has a strong sci-fi horror vibe. Like many of its ilk, Hellpoint tasks players with taking down powerful and grotesque foes in hack-and-slash combat, and its apocalyptic sci-fi setting looks like what you’d get if you combined Dark Souls with Dead Space.
According to its Steam page, Hellpoint should be launching sometime in “early 2020.” The game’s Steam page also goes into detail regarding one of its more unique features, a behind-the-scenes tool called the ‘Quantic System.’ Using the Quantic System, the game syncs with its internal server clock to determine when dynamic random events are triggered. As an example, a passageway which was empty the first time a player passed through might suddenly contain a tough mini-boss upon revisit. Assuming Cradle Games can pull it off, it sounds like the Quantic System will make Hellpoint one of the most highly replayable Souls-like games to date.
Much like EITR, Dungeonhaven is an indie Souls-like being developed by a two-person team called Cold War Game Studios. As you can see from the above image and from the other assets on the game’s website, what Cold War has created so far looks mighty impressive, especially since the studio is made up of only two people.
Unfortunately, as is also the case with EITR, there is no solid confirmation Dungeonhaven will arrive in 2020. The most recent official updates from Cold War say the game is set for a 2019 release, which we obviously know now to have been a bit premature. Cold War has said it’s building Dungeonhaven for both PC and consoles, which might explain why the developer has been so quiet as of late (from what we can gather, Dungeonhaven has no external publisher which means Cold War is having to do everything on its own).
Some third-party sources claim that Dungeonhaven is indeed launching this year, but none of those claims have been verified by Cold War itself. Fingers crossed we at least get to learn more about the game’s current state before 2020 is over.
Lords of the Fallen 2
Those who have been waiting patiently for the above-mentioned EITR since its 2014 announcement are at least in good company since fans of CI Games’ promised Lords of the Fallen sequel have been waiting for nearly just as long.
CI Games confirmed it was working on Lords of the Fallen 2 back in 2015, shortly after the successful 2014 launch of the original Lords of the Fallen. However, the sequel’s development started hitting some rough patches in 2017 when CI Games parted ways with Lords of the Fallen producer Tomasz Gop. The only major update that’s been confirmed since then was the 2018 announcement that developer Defiant Studios would be taking over the reins for the sequel, and that it’d be starting development from scratch (original Lords of the Fallen developer Deck13 was not involved with the sequel at all).
Assuming development on Lords of the Fallen 2 has been quietly going on since Defiant took over, chances are we might get some more concrete info this year on when exactly the sequel will launch. There’s even a chance (albeit a slim one) that the highly anticipated sequel might arrive before 2020 has ended, though at this point we’re guessing fans would be glad to simply know it’s still in active development.
Along with Hellpoint, fans of both Souls-like games and sci-fi horror also have Massive Work Studio’s Dolmen to look forward to. Dolmen’s Steam page describes it as a “cosmic horror” action RPG with a “lovecraftian plot,” implying that it would touch on elements and themes like madness and evil old gods. The Steam page also mentions how it will include both melee and ranged combat options, making this a game to keep your eye on if you enjoyed last year’s Remnant: From the Ashes.
Dolmen doesn’t yet have a specific release date, but the game’s Steam page at least confirms Massive Work is planning to launch it sometime in 2020. In the meantime you can at least add the game to your Steam wishlist so you can be notified when it does finally arrive.
If 2D side-scrolling Souls-like adventures are more your speed, Plague Hunter looks like it will tap into the same grim 2D aesthetics that made games like Salt & Sanctuary and Death’s Gambit so evocative despite their limited viewpoint angles. Developed by established indie studio Shiv, Plague Hunter combines elements of fantasy and real-life history to conjure up a world that uses minimal game assets to maximum effect.
Best of all, Plague Hunter has an actual set-in-stone release date: May 8, 2020. No price point has been announced as of this writing but you can visit the game’s Steam page and wishlist it if you want to stay up to date as its May release creeps ever closer.
With 2017’s Nioh, developer Team Ninja proved that fast-paced Devi May Cry-style combat and a Dark Souls-esque degree of difficulty can blend together as smoothly as chocolate and peanut butter, especially when the two are supported by a backdrop of Japanese mythology. With the upcoming Nioh 2, Team Ninja is looking to take the first game’s signature characteristics and flesh them out even further.
Interestingly enough, Nioh 2 will actually be a prequel set several years before the events of the original Nioh. Also, unlike in the first game, players will get to create their own custom character from scratch and utilize a unique form-switching mechanic thanks to their character’s half-yokai lineage. Other new features include support for up to three-player co-op, Benevolent Graves that allow players to summon friendly AI versions of other players, and new weapon types such as dual hatchets and a unique ‘Switchglaive’ implement.
Much like its predecessor, Nioh 2 will be a PlayStation 4 exclusive when it launches on March 13, 2020. However, the original Nioh did eventually come to PC several months after its initial launch, and Team Ninja has confirmed it will be implementing a similar rollout for the sequel.
Sand is the Soul
What if Dark Souls was made in the vein of a choose-your-own-adventure novel? That seems to be the question one-person indie developer MPG Studios is attempting to answer with their upcoming game Sand is the Soul. Set in an original “Victorian post-punk” world called Crosshill, Sand is the Soul combines 2D beat-em-up-style combat with a deep morality/sanity system and a branching storyline that can lead to one of over 30 different endings.
It’s not clear when exactly Sand is the Soul will launch, though its Steam page promises a 2020 debut and it is available for wishlisting. According to the Steam page’s early access disclaimer, MPG Studios is currently in the process of switching game engines to allow for better performance. Hopefully that process will be finished sooner in 2020 rather than later, though again MPG Studios is only one person so interested fans should set their expectations accordingly.
Hollow Knight: Silksong
Team Cherry’s mesmerizing action-platformer Hollow Knight was one of the biggest highlights of the year when it launched in 2017, and now the studio is following up with what looks to be an equally spellbinding game in Hollow Knight: Silksong. In Silksong, players will get to directly control the deadly acrobatics of Hornet, the female needle-wielding warrior who appeared as an NPC throughout the original Hollow Knight.
Silksong’s Steam page still lists its release date as “to be announced,” but it has been just under a year since Team Cherry first unveiled it. Our hope is that the sequel will arrive in full before 2020 is over, and at the very least we’ll likely hear more about it as we progress deeper into the year.
When it comes to the Souls-like genre, you really can’t do much better than FromSoftware, the developer behind the original Dark Souls saga. FromSoftware unveiled Elden Ring, a new game it’s working on with help from A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin, to the public just last year during E2 2019. However, the studio has apparently been working on Elden Ring as far back as 2017 ever since it wrapped production on post-launch DLC for Dark Souls III.
Little is known about Elden Ring as of this writing, and true to form FromSoftware has remained pretty tight-lipped since last year’s unveiling. What we do know at least is that the upcoming game will allow players to create their own characters and explore a massive open world that’s on a scale unlike anything From has ever made before. A 2020 release hasn’t been confirmed as of yet, but given how long From has been working on Elden Ring, it’s not entirely inconceivable to think we’ll be playing it before the year is out.
Observed from afar, Biomass already has a lot going for it. Sure, its 2D visuals are somewhat simplistic and its combat isn’t very intricate, but it makes up for those shortcomings with some truly engrossing lore that, in typical Souls-like fashion, players must piece together on their own. It’s also set in a slick dystopian future city and allows players to wield a litany of different weapons, including what’s essentially a lightsaber.
The reason we felt so compelled to sneak Biomass in as a secret 11th entry to this list is that, while it’s not technically set to arrive until February, it’s the only game on this list you can play right now. Developer Final Scene dev recently completed a fully playable demo which is available to download now via Biomass’s itch.io page. The demo offers roughly two hours worth of gameplay, affording Souls-like fans plenty of time to see if the game’s for them.
If you play the Biomass demo and end up enjoying it, you can also wishlist the game on Steam ahead of its February 25 launch.