The hype leading up to a big game release is always an exciting time in a game’s life, but sometimes it’s the post-release reaction from fans that really shines. Some games see an even bigger outpouring of support once they’ve released, while others titles humbly drop without any fanfare and end up garnering a huge following because of their proven quality. In both such cases, we can see interest skyrocket by how popular a game’s Fandom wiki gets in the wake of its release. We’ve been tracking that data and have a list of the ten wikis with the biggest post-release jump in 2022.
This year, our list had a few items you might expect, as a clutch of highly anticipated sequels conspired to black out our calendars. But there are also some titles that might surprise you, originals that managed to build up whole new communities around them due to their impressive first showings.
10. Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5, a beloved classic about a well-dressed anime schoolboy entering the mind palaces of all the scummy adults in his life and systematically lobotomizing them, got a second life this year with its re-release, Persona 5 Royal, as part of the franchise’s 25th anniversary. P5R adds new characters and confidants, different locations to visit as part of the game’s complex time management system, and a brand new third semester in a different reality where the party members’ wishes have all been granted.
Royal has the unique distinction of being the only re-release on this list, but the additions are so extensive that it’s more like a director’s cut than a rehash of an already successful game. It also helps fill in some of the gaps between Persona 5 and Strikers, its Dynasty Warriors-fueled spinoff. Ultimately, gamers at large seem to agree that Royal is the definitive Persona 5 experience, so it tracks that the game’s wiki was teeming with players trying to optimize their playthroughs and figure out the perfect day to ask Yoshizawa out for coffee. (The answer is “every day.” You should never not be going out with Yoshizawa.)
9. Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Everybody loves Kirby, but few Kirby releases have attained the same level of hype in recent years as Kirby and the Forgotten Land did in 2022. It could’ve been that it was the first Kirby game with fully 3D gameplay, or perhaps it was the post-apocalyptic vibes that drew players to the latest installment. Or, you know, maybe it was the fact that Kirby ate a whole-ass car in the trailer. Who’s to say?
Fortunately, the fabled Mouthful Mode ended up being more than just a disturbing gimmick. It opened up a whole new world of fun puzzle-solving and combat opportunities in what’s already a solid action platforming RPG. An ability upgrade system provided a refreshing sense of progression in a series where copy abilities have traditionally been used and quickly discarded, and the Waddle Dee Town hub acted as a cozy little hamlet for players to upgrade their hats and take a much-needed breather.
Ultimately, Forgotten Land seems to have breathed new life into the franchise with all the force of a pink alien shapeshifter. Its innovations almost make up for how Kirby f***ing ate those foxes in the trailer. Almost.
8. Horizon: Forbidden West
It may have been snubbed at the Game Awards, but the Horizon franchise always seems to be on its back foot in terms of its release timing. The first game had the misfortune of launching just days before Breath of the Wild, while Forbidden West—a breathtaking title that improves on its predecessor in every way—happened to time its release with that of Elden Ring. Honestly, Horizon 3 needs to look at every open-world RPG in its release window and push it out, like, two months away from any of them, just to be safe.
Though it didn’t get as much buzz as it deserved at first, the gorgeous, massive world of Horizon nevertheless brought players to its Fandom wiki in droves. The sheer volume of characters, enemy types, gear options, and sidequests gave them plenty to research, but it’s also a franchise with such expansive world-building that it’s easy to get lost down a rabbit hole of the different cultures and factions created for the game. (My personal favorite is that of the Tenakth tribe, residents of the Memorial Grove. Their culture is built around a war museum whose glitched-out exhibitions have generated a whole religious tradition and pantheon. It’s such a cool freaking concept.) Horizon spares no effort in its attention to detail, and with a new DLC set in Hollywood just announced, we’ll have even more to sink our robot dinosaur teeth into.
7. Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Techland’s Dying Light franchise seems like it was created in a lab specifically to cater to my idea of “cool” circa 2009: it has a lot of zombies and a lot of parkour. As tricky of a balance as that kind of gameplay is to strike, the first game absolutely managed to capture the fast-paced traversal of freerunning and merge it elegantly with the looming threat of zombie hordes. Its sequel, Dying Light 2: Stay Human, took that proof of concept and built upon it in every direction. Set in the fictional city of Villedor, players take on the role of Aiden Caldwell, another serendipitous traceur living in the last days of human civilization. Villedor is four times as large as Harran, the city from the first game, giving players oodles of exploration opportunities, each of them rendered far more dangerous when nightfall descends.
While the story has been criticized—in no small part due to some well-deserved developer switch-ups—there’s still so much to do in the game’s massive open world that it hardly matters. It managed to bring in 3 million players during its very first week, and its wiki exploded in popularity as a result. Not bad for the end of days!
6. Bayonetta 3
The two words that best encapsulate gaming’s relationship with Bayonetta: “Mommy?” and “Sorry.”
“Mommy?” As in, everyone loves Bayonetta’s cool, effortless swagger, her sultry voice (although we won’t get into, uh, that whole ordeal here), and the thing she does with her feet. The feet guns. What did you think I was talking about?
And, “Sorry.” As in, you don’t mess with Bayonetta unless you want to end up begging for forgiveness. Because no matter who you are, she will discover a latent special ability that allows her to destroy you in a bombastic, over-the-top cutscene.
Bayonetta 3 is no exception to the tried-and-true formula of letting players control a badass witch with legs for days. It’s as self-aware as ever, pushing its titular gunslinger through an increasingly ludicrous plot, setting up hilarious excuses to move her between action setpieces. Bayonetta doesn’t pretend to be anything but a flamboyant power fantasy—that, or a self-imposed challenge for the in-game camera to switch focus between planet-sized monsters and Bayonetta’s left hamstring in record time. Either way, the game certainly delivers on all its promises, and with Jennifer Hale taking over the role in a move that hasn’t generated any controversy whatsoever, it looks like we’ve only scratched the leather-clad surface of everything Bayonetta has to offer.
5. God of War: Ragnarok
We knew this one was going to be big, but just how much bigger than its 2018 predecessor remained up in the air. Then, God of War: Ragnarok dropped onto the scene like a hammer dropped by a thunder deity, and the sheer scale of the project finally became clear. Some might call it a bit overstuffed and unfocused, but none can argue that Santa Monica Studio skimped out on any effort to turn the latest entry in the Dad of Boy franchise into a sprawling epic, a storytelling endeavor that crams as much bang as it can into every buck.
This time, Kratos visits all the realms, and we’re not just talking about those little Muspelheim trials from the previous game. It’s a full-fledged exploration of Norse mythology, soup to nuts, with all the environmental hazards dialed up to 11 thanks to the advent of Fimbulwinter. Gamers can spend endless hours backtracking through the game’s massive world to complete every minor objective—or they can use the wiki to hit all the important spots, which is precisely what they’ve done. Players were eager to learn about every unpronounceable name the game throws at you, most of which have some precedent in the real-world mythos. An epic adventure and educational. Zaddy truly does provide.
4. Overwatch 2
Overwatch became the gold standard for competitive shooters practically overnight, giving its sequel a lot to live up to. Many consider it to be little more than a shiny update for the original, but that doesn’t mean its base isn’t still constantly keeping tabs on new developments in the meta. Not only that, but the characters are just so gosh-dang appealing, both in terms of their designs and their diverse gameplay. Overwatch 2 expands on lore that was only ever gleaned from the first game in snippets, and is even adding a full-on permanent PvE mode with a dedicated story campaign. With all these new promises to longtime fans—as well as a fresh new slate to allow new players to break into the game—Overwatch 2 is already averaging around 2 million players per day, and its wiki’s massive jump in popularity since its release reflects that.
3. A Plague Tale: Requiem
Did you know the bubonic plague is still totally a thing? The Black Death was just one of many historical pandemics caused by it, and even now it’s carried by fleas across the globe, with a few thousand new cases every year. At the present, it’s fairly treatable with antibiotics, but the people of the Eastern Hemisphere circa the 14th century were more likely to treat it with pungent herbs or maybe a nice trip to the countryside.
It’s here, Aquitaine in 1348, the bleakest setting imaginable, where A Plague Tale: Requiem takes place. Frankly, the fact that this sequel to a historical fiction survival horror game has garnered so much acclaim and attention is pretty unreal. The pitch sounds more like an A24 flick than a global gaming phenomenon, but A Plague Tale has managed to amass a sizable following among gamers. With its stealth-based gameplay and an uncommon emphasis on controlling swarms of rats, it offers a perspective on a time period underrepresented in most media, telling a story that captivates and compels audiences. It may not be the most optimistic entry on the list, but it absolutely has its niche (if you don’t mind a little grimdark).
What if you were just a little guy? Like, really small. Some of us already are, but I’m talking even smaller, like the characters in Grounded, Obsidian Entertainment’s co-op survival game that pits players against things that are unacceptably bigger than them. In this case, that’s pretty much everything: spiders, bees, ants, mosquitoes, and everything else you’d absolutely hate to see a much bigger version of. Players have to work together to build up shelter, gather resources, and complete quests that will hopefully help towards getting them back to their regular size. The game’s map is a single backyard, riddled with treacherous terrain and the aforementioned arthropods. In theory, the whole game in its current iteration can be played solo, but the definitive experience is with a group, struggling together to survive and thrive in the microscopic frontier.
Technically, Grounded entered early access in 2020, but since its official release in September of this year, it’s had a windfall of playership and engagement. Were it not for the final item on this list, its Fandom wiki would’ve easily secured the distinction of having the biggest post-release jump.
But this year, there really was one Ring to rule them all.
1. Elden Ring
This game was basically designed to have a wiki. An enormous open world with little to no in-game guidance. An extensive gamut of different playstyles, gear types, abilities, and specializations. Painstakingly detailed environment design with secrets still being discovered even now. An impressive roster of boss creatures to strategize around and defeat using the many interconnected game systems at your disposal.
Elden Ring does take a few steps to be more accessible to newbies than some of its Soulsborne predecessors, but at its core, it’s still an experience that rewards failure after maidenless failure. Players sought out ways to play the game on “easy” mode by following optimized class guides, while others imposed challenges on themselves to amp up the difficulty. Even non-gamers got in on the insane volume of memes spawned by the Elden Ring release hype. Few games are able to truly establish themselves as a real cultural moment, especially games with such a high barrier for entry, but Elden Ring did it against all odds.