Many of us have been alone in 2020. Quarantine has separated once-thriving friend groups into isolation. In that time, gamers found solace in finding new digital social spaces to bond with pals. We've witnessed numerous multiplayer games rise to fill this void including Fall Guys, Valorant, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
To celebrate the best games players enjoyed in 2020, Inverse polled more than 1500 readers about their gaming highlights of 2020, including the year's best multiplayer game. The biggest winner was the out-of-nowhere indie sensation that captured the gaming world by storm — 35.2 percent of 1206 respondents pushed Among Us to the top spot.
Nothing brings friends together like a good cartoonish manhunt. Among Us provides a natural setting to trade barbs between pals and roast each other, in addition to a rock-solid murder mystery experience. Meanwhile, Call of Duty: Warzone offers a digitally familiar experience. In High School, there was always at least one friend group that played Call of Duty until the wee hours. It was a fantastic way to bond over some bullets flying. Warzone might replicate feelings from that experience. Being a free-to-play game it has an extremely low bar for entry, making it possible for anyone to hop right in.
After those two heavy hitters, gamers were near equally divided between the Wipeout-esque battle royale, Fall Guys, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War occupied the next slot with 10 percent of respondents claiming it as their favorite multiplayer game.
Here's a closer look at the two biggest multiplayer titles that gamers kept coming back to in 2020.
Call of Duty: Warzone — 20.9 percent
Activision's latest attempt at turning Call of Duty into a battle royale began on March 11, 2020. Within seven short months, over 80 million gamers gave the free-to-play game a shot, myself included.
The game has provided me a safe haven to hang out with my friends in a controlled setting. We've been enjoying the multiplayer game together since Jun. In that time, we've used ridiculous tactics like our pattened helicopter strat. Each game has brought us just a little closer together. It's easy to share laughs when you can wipe out an entire team by making running them over with a tiny ATV. Alternatively, you can bond over surviving a John Wick-ian action movie encounter. The variance in experiences to be had in Warzone is what keeps me coming back. It's a great game to create a rhythmic social life while staying completely indoors.
Warzone also maintains its popularity due to a high level of polish. Being a triple-A game, there's a bit more spick and span to Warzone than its battle royale peers. There's enough regular new content to keep things interesting. You can find secrets like bunkers in the monolithic map or you can enjoy the overarching narritve. Warzone is a great way to continue engaging with pals while enjoying something genuinely interesting.
Among Us — 35.2 percent
Among Us first launched in 2018 then through a spot of chance rose to prominence during Summer 2020 after numerous Twitch steams. As we close the year, every Dick, Jane, and John has heard something about the murder mystery game. New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even played the game to increase voter turnout.
Among Us apes childhood games like Mafia and Werewolf. 10 players enter a ship together and are defined as either a diligent crewmate or a villainous imposter. As a crewmate, your goal is to catch the Imposter before they can thin your ranks to the point of no return. The Imposter is there to kill everyone in sight, taking full control of the ship.
Unlike Mafia, you're given a full ship to utilize when on either side and there are more tells than just shakey reasoning. This makes the game a far more compelling battle of wits and shenanigans. While you're trying to trap the imposter with logic, you're also bonding with your friends. Each successful encounter makes for a memorable story. How will your friends defend themselves when charged with murder?
I've encountered so many variances from game to game. Sometimes there's a full acceptance when the Imposter is cornered. On other occasions, my friends have been cunning enough to make it out of an accusation safely. You'll leave Among Us with new memorable quotes from your closest pals. You might even learn something new about them.
Among Us taught me that I have far more conniving friends than I initially thought. I'll always be thankful for learning that.
Year in Games is an Inverse celebration of 2020's best new video games and most memorable gaming moments.