Rachel KaserInternet Culture Writer
Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.
2020 was a tumultuous year for gaming — well, it was a tumultuous year for everything, but in gaming’s case at least it wasn’t all bad. We got four new consoles from two of the major companies, and we got a number of wonderful games.
However, several of the games we thought we were going to get were delayed to 2021. And while that sucked for us this year, it does mean we’re going into 2021 with several more games to look forward to. Here’s a list of the games which we’re most looking forward to in the coming year.
Note that I’m only including games that have at least some vague release window in 2021. I had to leave out the likes of Far Cry 6 because it’s been delayed and doesn’t have a new release window. I know they could still get delayed (or delayed again, in the case of some of these), but I’m hopeful that we’ll see at least a few of these by this time next year. And in case anyone is wondering where the God of War sequel is, I’m belaying that one until it stops screwing around and gets a proper title.
First up in the list of “games that we should have had already, damn you 2020” is Halo Infinite, the next adventure of the armor-bedecked Master Chief. 343 Industries has been a little reticent about the exact details of his next adventure, but the previews so far imply Chief’s going to fight the Banished, a Covenant splinter group that have taken over a damaged Halo ring.
I’m looking forward to this one not just because I want to play as Master Chief again (though that grappling hook looks absolutely sick), but because I’m eager to play a game that can properly test the Xbox Series X’s hardware. Had things gone according to plan, that’s the role Infinite would probably have served in the launch line-up, but as it is that slot was pretty empty.
Resident Evil Village
Like clockwork, the Resident Evil series just keeps ticking along. While the last two years have given us remakes of RE2 (which was excellent) and RE3 (which was alright), the series’ 25th anniversary title is the new game Village. Unlike previous installments, this one gives us a touch of the supernatural, as RE7 protagonist Ethan appears to be trapped in the titular village with what can only be described as “zombie-werewolf-looking things.”
RE7 broke with series tradition for the vast majority of its runtime by focusing on entirely new characters, rather than the staple heroes of Redfield-Kennedy-Valentine, etc. Sure, original hero Chris Redfield played a role in one of that game’s DLCs, but he was not the star of the show. Now, however, the teasers of Village imply that good ol’ Chris might actually be the villain in this outing, and that’s a turnabout I’m curious to see.
Vampire: the Masquerade — Bloodlines 2
Another in the list of games that were delayed to 2021, the sequel to the cult classic Bloodlines has not had the easiest production. But at last report, we should be getting it finally sometime in 2021. From the looks of it, it aims to offer the complete role-playing experience the first game offered, plus a few things the original development team had to leave out.
The pre-release material seems to imply the main character will have to work their way up from the bottom of Kindred society in Seattle, and you’ll be able to choose which of many dark factions to support. It’s a bit disappointing that some of the titular bloodlines — namely, the Nosferatu and the Gangrel — won’t make it into the release version of the game, though rumor has it they’ll be added later as DLC.
The next installment in Agent 47’s globe-hopping killing spree will be one of 2021’s first offerings, set to release on January 20. Not only will it be one of the first games in the series in a very long time to arrive on a Nintendo console (the Switch), but it’ll also be fully playable in VR, PSVR specifically.
This would be the conclusion to the reboot trilogy started by 2016’s Hitman, and it looks like the same sort of stealth, covert murder shenanigans that the series is known for. While the first game (the 2016 game, I mean) was released in an episodic format, Hitman 3 has thankfully shed that pretension.
Monster Hunter Rise
Monster Hunter World was such an overwhelming success, it’s no surprise to see the series return. Unlike its predecessor, this one will be Nintendo Switch exclusive, and is set to launch on March 26. This game’s art design appears to follow a more Asian aesthetic than previous games in the series.
The title “Rise” is based on the game’s vertical level design, which you can traverse via an in-game grappling system. Like World, it’ll feature a seamless open world rather than separated levels. And I will agree with my fiance’s opinion that the most interesting part of the new game is something we’ve wanted for a while: mounts!
Bravely Default 2
I’m throwing this one in because I’m inordinately fond of the Bravely Default series and I have been waiting for another one. The latest Bravely Default game was revealed last year and is set to release on February 26.
The name of this game is a bit confusing: we’ve already had a direct sequel to Bravely Default, called Bravely Second: End Layer. What’s more, Bravely Default II appears to be following completely new characters, so I’m more than a little confused. But it’ll be fun to dive back into this fantastic JRPG once more.
Horizon Forbidden West
Did I call it or did I call it? The sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn was one of the major titles to be revealed for the PlayStation 5, and while it’s not a launch title (technicalities), it does mark the return of redheaded archer Aloy. The word is that her next adventure, Forbidden West, will take place in post-apocalyptic California.
We haven’t seen anything of the game other than a pre-rendered trailer, but if that’s anything to go by, we’re going to see a selection of slightly more exotic locations than what we got in Zero Dawn. It definitely seems designed to take full advantage of the PS5’s hardware, and it’ll be nice to have a game that’ll show what the console is capable of.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart
Speaking of games that were meant to test the limits of the PlayStation 5, the gameplay showcase of Rift Apart, which showed the titular duo warping between multiple different realities, seems like it’ll do exactly that. Rumor has it the female Lombax shown in the trailer will be playable alongside Ratchet.
We’re likely to get this game earlier in the year than Forbidden West. The gameplay looks like it’ll rest on the dimension-jumping mechanic, with Ratchet able to grab rifts and jump between realities with them. One would hope, with the PS5’s SSD, the game will be able to switch between them with no loading times.
The reputation of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is not good, to say the least — so I will not blame anyone who doesn’t want to play the new game set in her literary universe on principle. However, if you’re a lifelong HP fan and simply want to enjoy more time at Hogwarts, then the upcoming Hogwarts: Legacy looks like it’ll scratch that itch and then some.
This game marks one of the first serious attempts by a game to portray the Wizarding World outside the time of Potter. It looks like a full-blown RPG, with the houses of Hogwarts serving as your starting classes. You’ll get the full wizard school experience, learning spells, crafting potions, and exploring the whole castle. It’s basically everything us aspiring witches and wizards have wanted since the books came out.
The Medium looks like one of the most promising horror games of 2021. This psychological torment adventure takes place in Poland, and is set to launch on January 28. Assuming RE Village doesn’t surprise launch in the next few weeks, that means it’ll fill the January horror slot filled the last few years by Resident Evil games.
The point of the titular main character is that she can travel between the human and spirit worlds at will, and can use her ability to solve puzzles and work out the truth of what happened in the abandoned hotel she’s stuck in. There’s also some kind of evil entity called The Maw — it’s all very Silent Hill, and that’s never a bad thing.
These and many more games will be gracing our PCs and consoles when the new year hits. Happy gaming to all of you!
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.