2022 saw the release of many multiplayer games - too many to count, in fact. Quantity isn't necessarily a good thing, but this year online players were able to dive into plenty of quality games, too. Our list includes shooters, massively multiplayer online games, fighting games, and action RPGs. Keep reading to find out our picks!
The MMOARPG developed by Smilegate RPG finally launched on Western shores thanks to publisher Amazon Games. It was a big debut, too, as the game soon jumped to Steam's all-time second spot for concurrent online players.
In March, one month after the Western release, Smilegate RPG and Amazon Games revealed that the game had crossed the 20 million player milestone globally, over half of which logged in from the newly added regions of North America, Europe, South America, and Australia.
Lost Ark is unique in its meld of the Diablo-like hack and slash experience with deep MMORPG elements such as dungeons, raids, and PvP. It also includes a veritable treasure trove of content developed over the years by Smilegate RPG, ensuring that Western players will have something to do for a long time (speaking of which, here's a peek at the early 2023 roadmap).
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II/Warzone 2.0
If anyone thought Call of Duty would continue the downward trend among multiplayer games seen with Vanguard, Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare II/Warzone 2.0 combo swiftly put that notion to rest. The premium offering, Modern Warfare II, crushed the previous sales record registered by Black Ops II. MWII earned over a billion dollars in global sales within the first ten days of its launch; in the same timeframe, players had already spent over 200 million hours across one billion matches. Shortly afterward, Warzone 2.0 (also developed by Infinity Ward with the same engine and gameplay mechanics) registered over 25 million players in just five days since its debut.
Between the two titles, Call of Duty now offers something for everyone: single player campaign, multiplayer co-op (Special Ops and even Raids), regular PvP multiplayer, Battle Royale multiplayer, and extraction-type multiplayer (DMZ). The breadth of content, coupled with Infinity Ward's signature tight shooter gameplay, ensure Modern Warfare II and Warzone 2.0 will stay on top of the charts for a long time.
The polar opposite of Call of Duty in the shooter genre is undoubtedly the colorful and quirky Splatoon. With the third installment, released on September 9th exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, the developers at Nintendo EPD have arguably crafted the best Splatoon game yet, as mentioned by Nathan Birch in Wccftech's review.
Splatoon 3 may be the series’ best entry yet, featuring some nice gameplay tweaks and new weaponry, an expanded and polished story mode, and more launch content than its predecessors.
In less than a month after its release, Splatoon 3 sold nearly eight million copies, making it the fastest-selling franchise entry yet. It's also one of the most fun multiplayer games that you can play on the Nintendo Switch, or anywhere else for that matter.
Even though Elden Ring can be played entirely solo, the latest title by FromSoftware still deserves a place among the best multiplayer games of 2022. After all, the studio's Souls games really took off in popularity thanks to the online communities that banded together to help fellow Tarnished/Ashen Ones/Chosen Undead/Hunters in need or to invade their worlds and cause untold mayhem at exactly the right moment. It is no coincidence that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the only single player game of the bunch, proved to be less popular.
Elden Ring is no different than the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games in this regard. Its online functionality was recently expanded with the PvP Colosseums, but the pinnacle of the Elden Ring online experience is available only on PC thanks to the Seamless Co-Op mod that removes all the default limitations placed on the cooperative PvE. With the mod, you can now play together throughout the entire game world while using horses and defeating bosses one after another. The creator even increased the number of maximum total co-op players in a session to six.
There's even a fighting game in this year's best multiplayer games list, and it's from a brand new franchise (albeit crafted out of very well-known franchises). MultiVersus, a crossover fighting game that includes characters from many IPs owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, had a massive debut, attracting over 20 million players in less than a month across all of its platforms. In Wccftech's impressions article, Francesco De Meo lauded the Super Smash Bros.-inspired gameplay formula but criticized the monetization scheme.
MultiVersus has the potential to become one of the most popular platform fighters ever made, thanks to its solid gameplay and great roster, but the game's monetization scheme could have an impact on its popularity in the future, even though the content that matters most (characters) can be unlocked for free with some effort.
As mentioned above, there were plenty more memorable multiplayer games released in 2022, such as: