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Will any other 2022 release be as dominant as Elden Ring?

Elden Ring
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

There's no escaping just how incredibly popular Elden Ring is right now. FromSoftware's action-RPG not only launched on February 25 to near-universal critical acclaim, enshrining it as one of the highest rated games on Metacritic of the decade, but it's also reported to be the fastest-selling Souls game yet. In fact, according to the NPD group (opens in new tab), the sprawling adventure set in The Lands Between is currently the best-selling game of the year so far. The question now is can any other release this year match its impact?

It seems likely that Elden Ring's dominance of attention and the charts will continue all throughout the year, particularly as more players are convinced to jump in on the action and as others continue to tear it apart to uncover its secrets. There are some highly anticipated new games of 2022 that have the potential to do it, from Bethesda's long-awaited space-faring RPG to the return of some of the best heroes in video games. Here's five games that could challenge Elden Ring's dominance in 2022. 

Starfield

Starfield

(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

The upcoming new-gen RPG set in space is unquestionably one of the most anticipated releases of 2022, and for good reason. After all, we're talking about an entirely new universe to explore from the developers behind wildly successful RPGs like Skyrim and Fallout 4. Bethesda Games Studios has established a reputation for delivering engrossing, sprawling experiences with in-depth questlines and memorable worlds. The repertoire of the developer only adds to the excitement of experiencing what will be the first new IP from Bethesda Game Studios in 25 years. 

With the promise of allowing you to create any character you want and explore a universe "with unparalleled freedom", Starfield looks set to play to the studio's strengths while also reaching for new heights on the new Creation-2 engine, which will take full advantage of the Xbox Series X. Bethesda's "Skyrim in space" (opens in new tab) has the potential to be one of the biggest games not only of the year, but the entire generation. 

God of War Ragnarok

God of War Ragnarok

(Image credit: Sony)

At some stage this year, Sony Santa Monica's highly anticipated sequel God of War Ragnarok is slated for release and there's already a tremendous amount of buzz surrounding the return of Kratos. God of War's arrival in 2018 signalled a new era for the series, and as reboots go, it sure was a phenomenal one. With its gorgeous graphics, well realized characters, excellent storytelling, and satisfying action, it's no wonder that it went on to enjoy a lot of success and critical acclaim. 

As of August 2021, God of War has sold 19.5M copies on PS4 (opens in new tab), and with the release on PC bringing even more players (opens in new tab) to the Nine Realms, God of War Ragnarok has all the set up it needs to be just as big for Santa Monica Studio. The chance to return to the world inspired by mythology and delve deeper into Kratos' journey with Atreus is also undeniably exciting, and it's made all the more tantalizing when you consider it's set to introduce new characters, combat abilities, and enemies. 

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League  

Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League

(Image credit: Rocksteady)

Rocksteady Studios made a name for itself with the Batman Arkham series of games, establishing itself as a studio that can transform beloved IP into memorable video game experiences. It's somehow been seven years since the release of Rocksteady's Arkham Knight, pushing anticipation for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League through the roof. 

Where the Arkham series is often noted for its freeflow combat and atmospheric action with DC's famous caped crusader, Suicide Squad looks set to continue the studios character-driven action, only this time it will bring a helping of distinct humor and third-person shooter gameplay into the mix. As Task Force X formed up of Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, King Shark, and Deadshot, there's added appeal in being able play along with pals in multiplayer co-op, or dive in as a single-player and take full advantage of the squad's unique skillsets.  

Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2  

Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

In 2017, Link's latest adventure landed on the Switch with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It became widely celebrated for the way it took the long-running series into new territory by delivering an open-world sandbox adventure. The world really is your oyster, with no guiding hand to lead you in the expanses of Hyrule. There's so much to do and discover – so much so, in fact, that players continue to find new features and make use of its mechanics in all manner of inventive ways. 

It quickly became one of the best-selling games on Switch, with a little over 25 million copies sold as of December 31, 2021 (opens in new tab). So, it's not hard to understand why there's already so much excitement about the prospect of Breath of the Wild 2, which looks set to take us to new heights… literally. The upcoming sequel will see Hyrule expand with the chance to explore the skies above, and with new powers and gadgets, Links return has all of the makings of another winner that could have a similar kind of impact as its predecessor. 

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet  

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Given how much love there is for the franchise world-wide, new Pokemon games historically always enjoy success. But Pokemon Scarlet and Violet really could be a big milestone moment for the long-running series when it arrives later this year. Following Pokemon Sword and Shield and Pokemon Legends: Arceus, the upcoming versions will take a new evolutionary leap forward as the first truly open-world game in the main series. 

With the promise of being able to freely explore the world at large, with towns that "blend seamlessly into the wilderness with no borders", Pokemon Scarlet and Violet is sure to draw in a lot of players. And given that Sword and Shield sold through 23.9 million units (making it the fifth best-selling Switch game) and Legends: Arceus having sold over 6.5 million copies in just one week after it launched in January, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet has the potential to generate the attention and sales to be a truly monstrous 2022 release.


Here's why a perfect blend of mystery and cruelty puts Elden Ring's open world above the rest

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.