2020 is almost over! The year from Hell is in the rear view mirror, gone, done, finito; so it’s time to look ahead at what’s to come. Okay, so what can we expect in 2021? Well, a lot of games have been announced, but almost nothing has a solid release date thanks to COVID. We’re also moving into the second year of next generation of consoles, but with demand far outweighing supply (along with bastard scalpers) it is still very hard to find a PS5 or Series X. What does this mean for software sales? My guess is that you’re going to see a lot of titles be available on both 8th gen and 9th gen systems, but after the Cyberpunk 2077 debacle we could see companies skip 8th gen console versions, severely hinder the performance of 9th gen console versions, or maybe delay their games even further to make sure they work on both. Grab your notepad and set aside some cash now folks because, as always, it’s going to be another expensive year in gaming.
Like in 2019 and 2020, January is just as slow in 2021. Still, we’ve got one big title with the release of Hitman III, the third game in the very well received reboot of the franchise. Switch owners will even get a chance to play the game as it will be one of their fancy new, cloud based, streaming game offerings. We’ve also got the re-release of Ubisoft’s long lost beat ’em up Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, a new game from Yacht Club called Cyber-Shadow, a brand new entry in the Atelier Ryza series, a new dungeon crawler called Sword of the Necromancer, and the very first Series X game not available on the Xbone, The Medium.
Things pick up quite a bit in February, with probably the first must buy game of the year, the musou inspired Persona 5 Strikers. Like Dynasty Warriors and Hyrule Warriors, Strikers has you taking on the role of the Phantom Thieves as they run around giant maps, slashing and bashing their way through a ridiculous amount of enemies. If that’s not enough for you, we also have Ys IX and Bravely Default II to fill the JRPG hole in your life. February is also a month where we start to get a bunch of ports and remasters, including; Nioh Collection, Gal Gun Returns, Super Mario 3D World +, and Capcom Arcade Stadium. Speaking of Capcom, a brand new Ghosts and Goblins is coming that looks just as tough as the previous entries. Finally, for PS5 owners, you are slated to receive a brand new, exclusive title (not even coming to PS4) with Destruction All-Stars.
Unlike 2020, March’s 2021 offerings aren’t quite as exciting (at least not yet). The biggest title coming out is probably Balan Wonderland, the new game from Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka. Taking heavy inspiration from one of Naka’s previous games, Nights Into Dreams, Balan Wonderland is a 3D platformer that takes place over a series of 12 stories as players collect various hats that will transform them into different characters. Hmmm, switching hats to become something else…where have I seen that concept before…hmm. Another PS5 exclusive, Returnal, hits stores in March, and the PS5 enhanced version of Yakuza: Like A Dragon also comes out. A couple of remakes/ports come out with Price of Persia: The Sands of Time – Remake and Disco Elysium: The Final Cut dropping. Other big titles include a Switch exclusive with Monster Hunter Rise, a new game from the creators of Brothers called It Takes Two, and a new Harvest Moon game that is probably not as good as Story of Seasons, the game that used to be called Harvest Moon.
“Confirmed” for 2020
We’ve also got a good amount of titles that have a “confirmed” 2021 release window, though we all know that can change. April brings a new Guilty Gear game, as well as a remake of the first Nier title. May has the new Arkane Studios game, Deathloop, and June brings us the Left 4 Dead spiritual successor Back 4 Blood. Early 2021 is supposed to bring us remakes/ports of both Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Braid, while Spring promises Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, Shin Megami Tensei III, and LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. The middle of the year brings titles like Far Cry 6, Disgaea 6, The Good Life (maybe), SaGa Frontier, Monster Hunter Stories 2 (another Switch exclusive), and Scarlet Nexus to brighten up our Summer. Finally, late in the year we are supposed to get Halo Infinite, originally set as a launch title for the Series X|S, the game was supposedly retooled after a disastrous showing last Summer. There’s also a rumor it might not be coming to the Xbox One, which if true would be a huge middle finger to all 15 owners of that console.
As always there are a ton of games that have been announced but have no release date aside from either a generic “2021” or “Coming Soon”. Some I expect to arrive this year, like Horizon: Forbidden West and No More Heroes III, while some I would not be surprised to see in 2022 (or later) like Starfield and Beyond Good and Evil 2. This list will also likely have adjustments to the consoles they arrive on as well, think of this more like a “hey these might come out” list.
- Axiom Verge 2 (Switch)
- Babylon’s Fall (PC/PS4)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S)
- Bayonetta 3 (Switch)
- Beyond Good and Evil 2 (PC)
- Biomutant (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
- Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One)
- Boyfriend Dungeon (PC/Switch)
- Conv/rgence: A League of Legends Story (PC & consoles)
- The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S)
- Dragon Age 4 (PC/PS5/Series X|S)
- Evil Dead: The Game (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S)
- Garden Story (Switch)
- GhostWire: Tokyo (PS5)
- God of War: Ragnarok (PS5)
- Goodbye Volcano High (PS5)
- Gran Turismo 7 (PS5)
- Hello Neighbor 2 (Series X|S)
- Horizon: Forbidden West (PS4/PS5)
- Mineko’s Night Market (PC/Switch)
- No More Heroes III (Switch)
- Psychonauts 2 (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S)
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (PS5)
- Resident Evil: Village (PC/PS5/Series X|S)
- Shovel Knight Dig (PC/PS4/Switch)
- SkateBIRD (PC/Switch)
- Starfield (PS5/Series X|S)
- Tales of Arise (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
- Tunic (PC/Xbox One)
- Windjammers 2 (PC/Stadia/Switch)
- The Wolf Among Us 2 (PC)
What are the odds we see something wild come out, like Metroid Prime 4, Breath of the Wild 2, Shin Megami Tensei V, Elden Ring or the new Mass Effect? Do you think Cyberpunk 2077 will fix all of its problems or sink even lower than it already has? Be sure to call out anything I’ve missed, and chastise me soundly if I’ve fucked anything up. I won’t pay attention to it, but it’ll make you feel better. Next week will see this column go back to regular coverage, however I would not expect it to be full of notable or big titles, so maybe catch up on your 2020 backlog for now. Be safe this week and try not go to any large New Year’s Eve parties (please); here’s to another great year of gaming!