Boss Rush Banter: Will 2022 Be Dominated by Dark and Gritty Themes in Video Games?

Like most forms of consumable media, video games have seen its fare share of trending themes or genres. For example, indie titles used to be incredibly niche, but now they have their own showcases and categories in the Game Awards. Some gamers even actively seek out indie games over AAA titles. Another example is the resurgence of rogue-likes to the mainstream player. Rogue-likes can be incredibly frustrating and turn many people off; however, with the advent of Dead Cells in 2017, Hades in 2018, and Returnal in 2021, the genre became the next hot thing. What is trending next in the gaming industry?

During the Game Awards this year, there were a plethora of trailers (some argue too many), and almost all of them held a common thread. At first, I thought my impressions were simply my own; however, I have heard several podcasts that confirmed my thoughts. Many of these games have this dark, gritty, and mature feel to it. The colors are earthy, sometimes devoid of color altogether, and the premises felt heavy. Some occur in a desolate environment while others are straight up dystopian. Here are some examples: Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, Star Wars: Eclipse, Alan Wake 2, Slitterhead, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, Babylon’s Fall, and Lost Ark.

Star Wars: Eclipse. Cool but very dark.

While this is certainly not a blatant criticism, it made me crave for diversity, and although not all games shown will be released in 2022, the trailers at the Game Awards gave me the impression that we are in for a “darker” year of gaming ahead!

Will we be walking in Senua’s shoes in 2022?

Did you get this sense from the Game Awards as well? Let us know what you think will be trending in the gaming industry for 2022 in our Boss Rush Discord!

Image Source(s): IGN, PlayStation, Star Wars

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