20 of the most anticipated video games of 2021 (and 21 more that you should still look out for)
The year is coming to an end which means it’s time to look forward to all the new titles that 2021 has to offer. We have to say, it’s looking pretty stacked. We’ve put together a list of some of our most anticipated titles coming up next year. Some are major releases that everyone is looking forward to, while others are some smaller titles that we think need more time in the spotlight.
There’s no particular criteria that we have used to make this list other than the game needing to have been announced, at some point, for a 2021 release date. As much as we would like to put the Breath of the Wild sequel or Metroid Prime 4 on here, they are just glimmers in Nintendo’s eye right now. Keep in mind that game developers are still experiencing massive delays due to COVID so many of these very well may be pushed to 2022, but based on the info we have now, these are the major releases we are looking forward to next year.
Classic platforming is making a return by way of Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima of Sonic fame. You’ll follow the mysterious Maestro through twelve worlds of dream and imagination as you make your way through this platforming adventure. The big draw? There are over 80 different power-ups to collect on your way, granting out a wide variety of abilities to play around with. Balan Wonderworld will release on March 26 for PC, PS4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X, and the Switch.
Bravely Default 2
Bravely Default took up the mantle of classic Final Fantasy while Final Fantasy itself spun off into open-world adventures. Everything you loved from the golden era of turn-based JRPGs is here. You have a deep job system, an enthralling fantasy story with a brand new cast of characters, huge hand-painted worlds to explore, and much more. Perhaps most exciting, Square Enix is specifically listening to fan feedback after their public demo and is reworking quite a few game systems to suit the preferences of their target markets. If you have something you’d like to see in this game, make sure to make your voice heard. Bravely Default 2 will release on February 26 for Nintendo Switch.
Chorus was one of the major titles announced during the next-gen showcases earlier this year, and it got us fairly excited. Space-flight combat sims are fairly rare and they are never given major AAA billing the way Chrous has. On top of that, this will have a deep narrative whereas other dogfighters usually only put together a light plot to string together a bunch of instanced battles. It will also feature RPG mechanics, allowing you to customize your sentient Starfighter, Forsaken. It’s doing things with space-sims that we simply haven’t seen before, a real bright star of innovation in the vast universe of 2021 game releases. Chorus will release for PC, PS4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X, and Google Stadia.
This was originally one of our most anticipated indie-RPGs of this year, but it was another victim of COVID-based delays. Still, our hype hasn’t dwindled. It’s a tale of time travel inspired by classic RPGs like Chrono Trigger, featuring a modern cartoon style of animation. Its big gimmick is the ability to separate different parts of the screen into different time eras. Fighting a boss with impenetrable armor? Shift it and only it into the future, when its armor has worn from age. Need to get info from someone who has unfortunately passed away. Shift their house into the past so that you can talk with them one last time. Cris Tales will release on PS4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X, and Nintendo Switch early next year.
Speaking of time shenanigans, Deathloop is a game of assassin vs. assassin. You wake up on an island filled with dangerous rich psychos stuck in a time loop and you are the only one who remembers what happened from loop to loop. You have to take out eight targets to escape this Groundhog Day hell while being hunted yourself. Leaving even one target alive will make the loop happen again, causing you to be stuck in this party that lasts forever. Deathloop will release on PS5 and PC on May 21, 2021. It will stay as a PS5 console exclusive for one year before releasing it on Xbox platforms.
Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny
Disgaea 6 is updating the classic grid-based strategy series for the modern age. Finally, character models are going polygonal instead of sprite-based. A ton of quality of life improvements has been added allowing you to grind at super light speed. Even the reincarnation system has been retooled, as the main story following a young zombie, Zed is based around it. This quirky title will be releasing in January 2021… in Japan. The rest of us will have to wait until the summer to pick it up on PS4 and Switch.
Far Cry 6
You pretty much know what to expect from Far Cry these days. You have a big open world map to explore, a bunch of towers to take down, stealth gameplay, vehicle gameplay, and a whole lot of guns. However, it’s the storytelling that really hooked us for this one, with a chilling performance as a dictator by Giancarlo Esposito. You’ll be able to explore the “largest Far Cry to date” when it releases for PC, PS4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X, Amazon Luna, and Google Stadia next year.
Another first-person action-adventure from Bethesda that was set to be an exclusive for the PS5 before Microsoft bought the studio, Ghostwire: Tokyo puts you in a modern-day Tokyo where all the city’s residents have mysteriously disappeared. In their place, ghosts, apparitions, and mythological creatures. Your supernatural powers have just begun to manifest and it’s up to you to get to the bottom of this, in a game whose combat has been described as “Karate meets magic.” Ghostwire: Tokyo will release for PS5 and PC next year, and will be a PS5 console exclusive for one year before releasing on Xbox platforms.
God of War: Ragnarok
We know absolutely nothing about God of War: Ragnarok. Heck, we don’t even know if that’s actually its name. It’s just a title the community gave it after Sony’s teaser told us to “prepare for Ragnarok.” All we know is that it’s going to be a PS5 exclusive and, supposedly, it’s coming out next year. Still, 2018’s God of War was so incredible that we can’t help but look forward to this one, despite the lack of info.
Guilty Gear -Strive-
Fighting game releases are few and far between for 2021 so far. Mostly we have more DLC to look forward to for existing titles that are getting ported to next-gen consoles. However, Guilty Gear -Strive- has enough hype behind it that it might carry the whole year. A new installment in Arc System Works’ classic heavy metal fighting game series, Strive is looking to remake the series, giving it a fresh start that will appeal to series veterans and new players alike. It’s also, hands down, the best looking fighting game that has ever been released. This is definitely going to be the one to play in 2021, and hey, if it gets rollback netcode we might even see a thriving tournament scene. Guilty Gear -Strive- will release on April 9 for PS4, PS5, and PC.
If you want to talk killer next-gen apps, this is it. The Xbox Series X is practically being sold on this title alone. Granted, the fanbase was very vocal after we got our first few looks at gameplay, but Microsoft and 343 studios are going back to give the game a once over. Still, it’s very likely we will see this release in 2021 because Microsoft is going to want it to come out within the launch year of Xbox Series X.
The World of Assassination trilogy will finally come to a close next year. One of the biggest Hitman games yet, Hitman 3 sees Agent 47 traveling around the world to six new locations including Dubai, Dartmoor, and Congqing. On top of 47’s new disguises and weapons, we will also be able to experience games from 47’s viewpoint with Playstation VR. Hitman 3 will release for PC, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series X, Google Stadia, and Nintendo Switch on January 20, 2021.
Horizon Forbidden West
Horizon: Zero Dawn was easily one of the best open-world games of the last generation, so obviously we would look forward to its sequel. This, too, is another game that we have very little information about but the trailer makes it seem like Alloy will have to fight against some sort of strange new plague as she travels to new and bigger ruins of the humans who came before. It looks like the civilizations she meets won’t be too friendly. This will release on PS5 sometime next year as a console exclusive.
Monster Hunter Rise/Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
Monster Hunter World took the gaming world by storm... except for the Switch. The Switch just wasn’t powerful enough for the massive world of World. Instead, they are getting this new title, Monster Hunter Rise, which speeds up Monster Hunter gameplay, puts a new focus on verticality with grappling hook centered combat, and most importantly, is a Switch exclusive. It will also have special cross-compatibility features with the upcoming Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, which is also a Switch exclusive and will be releasing later in the year. Monster Hunter Rise will be available on March 26.
Neo: The World Ends With You
One of the latest announcements this year is also one of the most hype! Square Enix and Tetsuya Nomura are finally taking a break from Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy to bring us a sequel to one of the greatest cult classic RPGs of the DS era, The World Ends with You. With a brand new cast of characters (and one clear returning fan-favorite), this will bring a brand new battle system, a new 3D graphic style, but the same fantastic soundtrack to new platforms. It’s slated for release on Switch and PS4.
No More Heroes III
The ongoing adventures of a dirty otaku who bought a lightsaber off eBay continue in No More Heroes III. What’s this one about? We don’t know! Suda 51 has been super coy about his reveals, even going so far as to have a full gameplay reveal that he plastered his face in front of so we couldn’t see it. It probably will involve giant robots, pro wrestling, a bunch of assassination missions, and more than a handful of anime references though. It will release next year on Nintendo Switch.
When Raz takes on a special mission and dips out of standard Psychonauts business for a few years, he comes back only to find his beloved organization has now dipped their fingers into some nefarious pies, including Necromancy! This sequel to a much-beloved comedy platformer marks Double Fine’s debut on next-generation consoles. It will release for PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X next year.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
The PS5’s killer app is this major revival of a classic action-adventure series. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart makes use of the PS5’s SSD and fast loading capabilities to constantly change the environment around you as you hop through interdimensional portals. Of course, there’s going to be plenty of guns and gadgets to fool around with too when this launches as a PS5 exclusive next year.
Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil is seeing something of a renaissance these days. After the amazing remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3, we now get to see the continuation of Ethan’s story in Resident Evil VII: Village. This one is giving us major Resident Evil 4 vibes, as you end up in a town gone crazy, that may also be filled with zombies. What secrets does this village have and how will it inevitably end up connected to Umbrella? We will have to wait until it releases for PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC next year to find out.
Shin Megami Tensei V
Finally, we have Shin Megami Tensei V, one of the original titles teased for the Switch well before it even released. There’s a lot of Switch abandonware right now, from Metroid Prime 4 to Bayonetta 3. But Shin Megami Tensei V, a post-apocalyptic RPG of, quite literally, biblical proportions, is actually still happening. You’ll get to remake the world in your own image next year when this releases as a Switch exclusive.
21 more titles to keep an eye on
Normally this is when we say “that’s all we have for you this year” but that would be a huge lie. The 20 we gave you before were the 20 most anticipated titles in our book, but these 21 lesser-known titles are still worth keeping an eye on, even though they didn’t make the list. 20/21… get it?
Anyway, let’s lightning round these off.
- Axiom Verge 2 – A sequel to a much-loved indie Metroidvania with a Giger-esque graphics style. Much anticipated by speedrunners.
- Braid: Anniversary Edition – An HD remake of one of the original indie darlings… possibly with more content and secrets?
- Evil Genius 2 World Domination – A sim game that allows you to build an evil lair and thwart the plans of James Bond-style heroes of intrigue.
- Goodbye Volcano High – Queer dinosaurs have to come to terms with the end of the world… what a 2020 mood. Or would that be a 2021 mood?
- Hello Neighbor 2 – Your neighbor is still up to some strange experiments and you are still breaking into his house to try and figure out what he’s up to. Unfortunately, there’s a monster stalking you and he doesn’t seem friendly.
- Humankind – A 4X game that takes you from the very beginning of intelligence all the way to the far future of technology beyond our wildest dreams.
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits – A Zelda-like for the PS5 with a fairy-tale narrative surrounding spirits of the forest.
- Kerbal Space Program 2 – Build a rocket and watch the Kerbals die as you fail launch over and over again, now with more options and better graphics.
- LEGO: Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga – The whole Star Wars saga with funny LEGO people in an action game.
- New World – Amazon’s much-anticipated MMO breakout into the gaming industry.
- Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 – An HD remake of the original Nier Replicant with new gameplay and systems that connect it more solidly to Nier Automata.
- Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis – Really more like Phantasy Star Online 3, the next big installment of the first big online console game.
- Saga Frontier Remastered - A remaster of the original PS1 Saga Frontier with a whole new character and plotline to experience made from cut content that was never included in the original.
- She Dreams Elsewhere – A fantastic Persona style indie-RPG featuring an all POC cast dealing with dreams and how they reflect the grim reality that we all live in.
- Solar Ash – A spiritual sequel to Hyper Light Drifter, but in full 3D instead of sprites.
- Stray – Take control of a cat in a bleak cyberpunk future.
- Super Lone Survivor – A brand new version of the original indie 2D survival horror.
- The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes – The next installment of The Dark Pictures Anthology will take place in the desert and will deal with military PTSD. In the end, it will probably all end up being another illusion, like the first two.
- The Lord of the Rings: Gollum – A new Lord of the Rings action-adventure game starring everyone’s favorite creepy river folk abomination.
- The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe – An HD remake of The Stanley Parable with next-gen graphics and a few more endings.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood and Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 – Adaptations of White Wolf’s World of Darkness tabletop RPG series.
What 2021 games are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.