There are a lot of good looking games coming out this year, and graphics and performance are often intertwined in the same sentence. With games becoming more and more demanding, the race to upgrade your rig to play the next big games with MAX settings becomes an all-too-real issue. So here we’re going to talk about what might possibly be the most demanding PC games of the year in 2020. That way, we can all either prepare or cry. Probably cry.
First of all, let’s get some good news out of the way: some games this year are going to run pretty well, or at least we imagine so. With remakes and sequels typically using the same engines as each other we can gather that these games should, at least, run smoothly on PC. You can read all about the expected performance success stories right on over here.
Great so that’s the good news! Now let’s get on to the tearjerkers, the soul-crushing weight of realisation that these games listed below will mostly likely be some of the most demanding games of the year. Get ready to start saving, maybe even sell your house/rob your landlord if you’re looking to play these ones on Max settings:
Let’s get this one out of the way first as, I think it’s safe to assume, Cyberpunk 2077 will probably be the most demanding game of 2020. That is, if you want CP2077 to look anywhere near as good as it did during the gameplay reveal. Not only has it been delayed due to circumstances surrounding performance, there are literally tonnes of features announced for the game which sound like you’d need an IBM supercomputer to run. That, and The Witcher 3 also had a rocky start on launch, plus The Witcher 2 still doesn’t run very well to this day.
The track record for performance and optimisation isn’t looking too good for CD Projekt Red, so Cyberpunk 2077 is most likely going to be one hell of a demanding game on your system. The system requirements have yet to be announced but we can guess they will be higher than Everest after a cheeky smoke. If you’re looking forward to this game (who isn’t really?) then be prepared to possibly upgrade your rig.
In the words of Johnny Silverhand: “Wake the fuck up, Samurai… We have a PC to burn”, or something like that I think?
The Mount & Blade games have always been pretty big in scope, and the new addition to the franchise, Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord, is no different. The last game in the series was quite demanding for it’s time, and with the new game having better graphics, more units, and more things going in general we’re assuming it’s going to be pretty taxing on your CPU at least.
Will this game ever come out? It seems to be stuck in limbo at the moment. But here we are anyway. A single player version of the game is supposed to be coming out this year: Squadron 42, and we’re going to guess it will probably be the worst optimised game of the year.
It sure looks good, crazy good actually, but the base game that you can play right now (the still very-early-state version of Star Citizen) is poorly optimised and runs not-so-well in most areas. With Squadron 42 being a big step-up in terms of gameplay, this will be one to watch out for (although perhaps not in a good way).
Whatever the next game in the franchise to come out will be, we can assume it will be similar to the past two entries in the series: Assassins Creed: Origins and Assassins Creed: Odyssey. Both of those games ran just about okay when on lower settings, with the higher settings being extremely demanding for most systems. In particular, both AC Odyssey and Origins shred through a CPU like a hot hidden blade through the gut.
So the next game, being bigger and better than ever, will most likely be the most demanding in the series to date. If Ubisoft doesn’t up its optimisation game, we might hit Ragnarok-bottom in terms of performance here.
It’s amazing that this type of game is on this list, but not as amazing as that tremendously surprising trailer! Weather effects, animals, 3D buildings modelled from satellite images and AI?? We’re going to guess Microsoft Flight Simulator will be a formidable test for PC gamers.
But what is more interesting is that it might be even more demanding on your internet speed, as Microsoft has said there will be tonnes of geometry data pulled from the cloud to constantly update the game with real-time weather and geometry. If you really look into it, Microsoft Flight Simulator might be one of the craziest games ever made, and it will certainly be pretty demanding to say the least.
Marvel's Avengers is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated games of 2020 for fans of homogeneous content. However, will it be up to snuff when it comes to performance? Probably not… This joint venture is from Eidos Montreal, whose previous ventures include Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, while Crystal Dynamics has consistently pushed graphical boundaries with the Tomb Raider franchise.
So it’s safe to say that Marvel's Avengers will be pretty demanding. You won’t be needing Tony Stark’s arc reactor to run it but somewhere pretty close, we'd imagine.
Another game that seemingly will never come out, but regardless of that we’re going to guess it will come out late this year, or at least that way we can talk about it on this list. The first Dying Light ran really well and was fairly less demanding. However, it's been a considerable amount of time since the last game and the graphics are getting a lovely overhaul. So whilst we anticipated the minimum specs for Dying Lgiht 2 may be reasonable to hit, if you want to take full advantage of the graphics settings however: raytracing will be available in Dying Light 2, and for that you’ll need a raytracing compatible graphics card, which speaks for itself in terms of performance demand.
Let’s be real: Watch Dogs 2 was pretty demanding already, Ubisoft seem to have a really tough time with optimisation. But while other games in Ubi's franchises tend to streamline a lot of their mechanics, Watch Dogs has so much systemic stuff going on at all times that it’s difficult to get a consistent framerate even on high-end computers. With Watch Dogs Legion allowing players to control almost anybody they want in the world, we’re going to go ahead and say that it will be very demanding on your CPU, quite ironic for a game all about fast-acting technology.
There's a through line of logic here. Godfall's a next-gen game, therefore very taxing… perhaps. It's still early days for this one yet but, with no PS4 version in development, this makes Godfall the only next-gen exclusive game currently announced. The PC version could well require a rig far more powerful than a typical modern AAA title.
All signs are currently pointing toward the Xbox Series X being the fastest games console on the planet when it launches later this year. Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 may or may not release in 2020, we just don't know yet, but it's a beautiful game nonetheless. Ninja Theory has clearly been given a much larger budget for this sequel and it shows. The initial reveal trailer was all in-engine. Achieving this level of visual fidelity could require an eye-wateringly powerful gaming setup.
So there you go, our predictions for the most demanding games of 2020. What do you think? Was there any we got wrong? Are there any that we forgot? Let us know!