As 2022 comes to a close, it’s a great chance to look back on the many games that graced us with no shortage of spectacular and diverse experiences. From incredible adventures from our friends at other PlayStation Studios like Santa Monica Studio’s God of War Ragnarök to blissful skateboard sessions in OlliOlli World, 2022’s lineup of amazing games were as varied as they were memorable. While there were many, many games from the year that made major impressions on our studio members, here are a few of the games that most excited, captivated, and inspired us in 2022.
Arne Meyer, Vice President
I know Elden Ring will be a popular choice this year, but if you have heard me talking about playing games this year or looked at my 2022 PlayStation Wrap-Up, it won't come as a surprise I'm fully on this hype train. So much of what draws me to Elden Ring is the layers of narrative and world building that get richer the more you dissect the visual references, listen to character dialog, and read item texts. Connecting so many complex elements to metaphors of trees, to say the least, is just stunning in the attention to detail and volume of deliberate work required. The addition of Torrent and the ability to explore massive areas of the game not far into playing hooked me right from the start. I loved taking my time to just travel through spaces and soak in the different, vast environments all while making mental notes of more difficult enemies I knew I would come back to.
I haven't even said anything about the mechanics! FromSoftware did a lot in their continuous learning and refinement of their combat mechanics and systems from their previous games. I loved trying out different weapons and different builds at any point to find my own satisfying way to play. Even though I'm not one to go deep into NG+, Elden Ring will be a game in steady rotation. Fantastic work Miyazaki-san and team!
Jeremy Yates, Animation Director
My favorite game of 2022 is still Elden Ring. As someone who has given much of his life to animation, I could appreciate the devotion, wild creativity, and attention to detail that went into the creation of every encounter. From the originality of Godrick’s second phase to the moment you descend a strange lift to see the Siofra River for the first time, Elden Ring gave me an experience that I simply did not want to end. I could go on about the vast world the developers created, the edge-of-your-seat combat, or the hours of fun I had co-op’ing a tough boss…but I will say that what FromSoftware did with this game is nothing short of a masterpiece and should be regarded as such.
Gran Turismo 7
Christian Gyrling, Vice President
I was really impressed with Gran Turismo 7. I ended up driving and perfecting my cornering until the wee hours, day after day. It's a game that’s hard to put down and offered so many ways to customize the difficulty to allow me to grow as a driver in the more challenging circuits as I continued to spend hours playing. I am sure that the holiday break will bring me back to the circuits for many more hours of fun.
Matthew Gallant, Game Director
As a longtime digital card game enthusiast, I've been completely enamored with Marvel Snap. The streamlined turn-based mechanics and condensed game length are laudable design innovations in the genre. But the real genius of Marvel Snap is the addition of the three, slowly-revealed random locations, which gives each match a unique flavor and rewards skillfully playing around uncertainty. Hats off to Second Dinner on its debut release!
Rochelle Snyder, Communications Lead
The absolute vibes OlliOlli World put out into the universe this year have been immaculate. I cannot think of a game I spent more time with, or had more fun playing in 2022. I chose to boot this game on my Nintendo Switch, and I have zero regrets – it’s the perfect platform for a Candyland-like approach to a dreamscape skateboarding sim.
Not only did I sink countless hours on my couch to it, but I took OlliOlli World all over the world traveling. Had a break at GDC? I was mastering that 720 stalefish spin transitioning into a slick grind, while high fiving the local ice-cream headed natives in Sunshine Valley. A few free minutes at PAX? You could catch me scooting through Radlandia on a “gnarly route” absolutely loving the stylish art and musical accompaniments that Roll7 took care to include. Vacation with the S.O? Bet I’m pushing off touristy things to flowride as a genderless banana in hot pink boots, slapping palms with a dude with a Starfish head (sorry about that, hon). Give this game your money, your time, your attention - it's fantastic, complex, and a totally unique build on the OlliOlli franchise.
God of War Ragnarök
Theo Tanaka, Senior Quality Assurance
Very few games grab hold of me, make me play every day, and leave me satisfied like God of War Ragnarök did. It has a great mix of good combat, skills, and equipment progression, built into satisfying levels, and a deep narrative that has a real purpose. Every beat of the latest God of War is engaging, every character has their own little arc, and it's great to see Kratos as this aged warrior who wants nothing but to protect his son. I had some truly cathartic moments with this game, so good!
Jonathon Dornbush, Editorial Content Manager
Somehow the incredible teams over at Roll7 delivered two of my favorite games of 2022 between OlliOlli World and Rollerdrome. I loved both but wanted to give a special shoutout to Rollerdrome as a brand-new franchise but one that comes fully formed from the jump. A mix of roller skating and arena combat shooters, Rollerdrome takes two disparate ideas and meshes them beautifully. I found myself always improving, always learning more nuance, as I chased high scores and arena-specific missions. The layers of Rollerdrome's mechanics extend to its setting, gorgeously depicted (and brought to life by an incredible soundtrack) and filled with more intriguing worldbuilding than I expected. But even if you're just in it to look stylish and pull off cool tricks, Rollerdrome's core is so fun and fresh you may find yourself playing for weeks like I have.
Yang Liu, Cinematic Lighting Artist
I was first stunned by Stray’s elegant lighting design, which is not only beautiful, but intelligently used to lure players. The verticality and interactivity in each level also amazed me, as I was never lost and found myself having so much fun exploring everywhere and wanting to poke everything (just like a cat!). That the developers at BlueTwelve Studio were able to make you feel, experience, and think like a cat is an impressive achievement.
El Trofimova, Character Artist
Stray was beautiful, short, and fun to play. Adult life is hard and when there’s little time to play so many games, turning into a cat in a dystopian world for a little while was a great distraction. Purrfect game, [it] took just a few short sessions to finish. Best of all, our cat loved it too, and watched us play from start to finish. 🐾
Kurt Mendoza, Senior Localization Manager
Valorant was incredibly hard to put down this year. There's a very steep learning curve but it's super satisfying to see yourself make improvements.
Horizon Forbidden West
Joy Liberatore, Senior Quality Assurance
I loved playing Horizon Forbidden West and adventuring with Aloy again! As a San Francisco Bay Area native, it was extra fun playing in the post-apocalyptic version of the city I know and exploring this version of the Sierra Nevada. The art direction was rich and gorgeous; I spent the first 10 minutes of playing just admiring the vegetation! I loved seeing Aloy's character growth as she became a part of a community.
J Dietrich, Accessibility Quality Assurance
I can't get Signalis out of my head; everything about this game was fresh and new with the right amount of Survival Horror Nostalgia vibes. The story is unlike anything I've ever seen, and I'll remember this narrative for the rest of my life. 10/10 beautiful, fun. and delightfully challenging!
Ray Hayse, Recruiting Coordinator
It's gotta be Sifu for me; Sloclap started 2022 with a bang! It was challenging but the learning curve wasn't brutal, I felt right at home after a few runs. It was one of the first Platinum trophies I added to my collection this year!
Paul Bishai, Game Designer
Sifu's combat has a lot of elegant design behind it and every level is packed with unique themes and shapes.
Julian Elwood, Environment Artist
This year I finally got my Playdate console, a tiny, hand-held, one-bit console with a crank. Bloom, a game developed for Playdate is probably the game that stands out the most to me this year. Between the epic AAA experiences we all love, I kept coming back to Bloom, a real-time, Tamagotchi-style game about a flower shop owner who, under the pretense of being in college, has secretly opened up a small business growing and selling flowers.
This charming little story unfolds through the texts you receive at real time intervals throughout the day. I found myself checking my Playdate as I would check my own messenger apps, awaiting new developments in the life of myself as a flower shop owner. I scraped by, lied to my parents, fought with my partner, all to make the dream of this flower shop a reality. This small one-bit game that consists of functionally, two background images and one menu, delivers a riveting experience and emotional performance from a vibrant cast of characters! I was blown away. Bloom and just the existence of the Playdate really excites me from a game design perspective.
Happy New Year!
Before we sign off for the year, we want to give a massive thank you to the developers who created these amazing games. To our fans, thank you for your continued support, and for playing any of our adventures new and old over the last year. We can’t wait to share all the exciting things to come in 2023 with you.