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The first full month of Summer 2020 is here, and there are two hotly anticipated titles coming down the pipe. As luck would have it, they're both being released on the exact same day.
The first is the latest in the Paper Mario series, which incorporates origami art into its winning RPG formula. The second is a samurai action/adventure that's getting advance hype as a possible Game of the Year.
And to top it off, there's a murderer's row of free games this month, courtesy of Microsoft, Sony, and Google. Here is your video games news roundup for July 2020.
XBox Live Gold Free Games
WRC 8 FIA World Rally Championship (July 1 - July 31)
This realistic racing simulator is licensed by the World Rally Championship. Race through dynamic weather in varied locales including Sweden, Finland, and Argentina.
Dunk Lords (July 16 - August 15)
This fanciful basketball game features NBA Jam-esque dunks and even wilder characters. Beat up your opponents, and then beat them to the rim.
Xbox 360 (backwards compatible)
Saints Row 2 (July 1 - July 15)
Relentlessly dumb and irresistably fun, the second entry in the Saints Row franchise continues your adventures as a member of the Third Street Saints. Explore the open world environment of Stillwater, Michigan.
JuJu (July 16 - July 31)
A family-friendly title, JuJu is a brightly colored 2D platformer. Think Mario but with a few more fantasy elements.
Playstation Plus Free Games
Rise of the Tomb Raider (July 7 - August 3)
This is the sequel to Crystal Dynamics' 2013 Tomb Raider reboot. Lara, bow and arrow in hand, traverses icy Siberia in search of the lost city of Kitezh. This game added foraging and crafting to an already impressive, pre-established template.
NBA 2K20 (July 7 - August 3)
Put aside the microtransactions for a second, and you're left with the best basketball simulator one could hope for. Create a player, draft him to the team of your choosing, and simulate the games you never got to watch this year.
Erica (July 7 - August 3)
An interactive thriller with supernatural elements, Erica casts you in the role of a teenaged girl who's trying to solve her father's murder. You choose what clues to investigate and which people to trust.
Google Stadia Free Games
Crayta (July 1)
This game lets you make your own games, and it features 'state share,' allowing other players to drop in and collaborate with you in real time.
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (July 1)
A platformer that's part of the long-running Wonderboy franchise, this game stars Jin, who must defeat the evil Lord Xaros and prevent him from turning everyone into animals.
SteamWorld Dig (July 1)
This puzzle platformer stars a steampunk robot named Rusty, who explores the extensive mines beneath the Wild West town of Tumbleton.
West of Loathing (July 1)
A turn-based RPG -- with stick figures? This game doesn't have the lush graphics expected of its genre, but it does have a great sense of humor and a charming DIY aesthetic.
Maid of Sker (July)
Based on the 1872 novel Maid of Sker, this 1st person survival horror game is set in a haunted hotel. Rather than fighting the enemies with guns blazing, you sneak around and keep hidden; you can even hold your breath to stay undetected.
Trackmania (July 1)
This is the latest title in a racing franchise that debuted in 2003. You race across 25 maps in a quarterly official campaign, and after you've mastered them all, you can design and upload your own race tracks to the servers.
Animal Crossing Summer Update (July 3)
Wave 1 of the Summer Update is coming. Among other additions, you'll now have the ability to dive and swim in the water, and capture sea creatures to add to your museum. You'll also be able to customize your home with brand-new, mermaid-themed furniture!
F1 2020 (July 10)
The officially licensed Formula 1 game will let you create your own team and race against established drivers on 29 different tracks. Both online multiplayer and couch split-screen are available options. This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the first Formula 1 season.
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise (July 10)
An exclusive for the Nintendo Switch, this is an open world survival horror game. Its predecessor, Deadly Premonition, became a cult classic based on its weird storyline, bizarre dialogue, and offbeat characters. The sequel, which moves the setting from the Pacific Northwest to New England, will likely be more of the same.
Ubisoft Forward Conference (July 12)
Ubisoft is holding an online conference to announce new games and build hype for several upcoming titles. Likely to spotlighted: Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Rainbow Six Quarantine. As always, we're holding out hope for a Splinter Cell announcement. A boy can dream.
Death Stranding PC release (July 14)
One of the best games of 2019 is coming to PC this month. Thanks to COVID-19, the story of a courier who delivers packages between isolated people is more literal and relevant than ever.
Stadia Connect Conference (July 14)
Google's latest online conference will announce new games along with a few "surprises." It is part of Geoff Knightley's larger Summer Game Fest, which is running on select dates all summer.
Ghost of Tsushima (July 17)
A high-budget open world action/adventure set in the 1200's, this game casts you in the role of a Japanese samurai, who makes a last stand on Tsushima Island against Mongolian invaders. Heavy on stealth and realism, rumors place it as an early contender for Game of the Year.
Paper Mario: Origami King (July 17)
The Paper Mario franchise is known for its humor and cuteness. And Origami King, which reinvents the series' RPG combat system, appears to deliver on both counts. As Mario, you fight the evil King Olly, who threatens to turn all who oppose him into folded origami soldiers.
Summer Game Fest Developer Showcase (July 20)
This showcase will preview and announce AAA games and small titles alike. Nicknamed "Day of the Devs," the event will also feature indie developers, who submitted their games for consideration in the showcase.
Destroy All Humans! (July 28)
An enhanced reboot of a 15-year-old franchise, Destroy All Humans! casts you in the role of an alien, sent to earth to destroy humans and harvest their DNA. Level cities with your UFO's Death Ray and subject Earthlings to your Anal Probe Gun.