Wow, what a year we just left behind, right? 2020 may not have gone the way that many people had hoped, thanks in large part to a global pandemic which basically forced us all to stay home and abandon many things we were hoping to accomplish out there. Thankfully, video games were there to pick up the slack as well as brand new next gen consoles for those who were able to snag one.
January 2021 is finally hear, promising a fresh start and just a ton of new video games over the next 12 months. As I do every January, it is time to look ahead at what’s coming this year and what I’m excited about with my annual GamerCast. Basically, this is my not so subtle version of the “FutureCast” segments that weathermen use to show you what the weather is going to be over the next few days.
However, we’re not just taking a look at the next seven days. Instead, I’m bringing you a years worth of games to look forward to over the next 12 months. Granted, sometimes my picks don’t actually make it to the finish line, but that’s part of the fun with forecasting releases this year in advance. Of course, if there’s something you’re excited about that I missed, let me know in the comments.
So as I like to say, it’s time to dust off that crystal ball and have a sneak peek into the future to see what’s coming out in 2021.
The Obvious Names
Even though this game was just delayed again, Outriders has been a game that I’ve personally been looking forward to. Made by the fine folks at People Can Fly, Outriders is another looter shooter with different classes you can play. I get it, been here, done that, right?
Well, hold on a minute! This isn’t just another game chasing Destiny. PCF have been extremely vocal in saying that unlike most of these looter games that come out (many of which don’t make it), Outriders is not a live service game. They’re making a game that can has a start and finish. No seasons. No Battle Passes. No content droughts. You get the complete experience on day one and what’s better is that Outriders does have an endgame that doesn’t recycle missions or content. On paper, this one looks like one to watch if you like third person shooters with a power fantasy. Thankfully, we’re getting a substantial demo in February, so everyone will be able to check it out for free. Neat!
I think you all knew this one would be on the list considering it’s high profile delay last year. While it’s not expected until later in 2021, another whole year of development time should really benefit the game. Picking up after the events of the previous game, 343 Industries seem to have really taken inspiration from the classic Halo titles. While the past couple of games have had their share of issues, many are hoping Infinite can be that title that finally reaches its potential.
I’m sure Xbox Series X fans will also be thrilled to get first party exclusives, which was one of the biggest knocks against the system at launch.
Monster Hunter Rise
While Capcom stuck gold with Monster Hunter World, Switch players felt left out of the fun. Capcom remained adamant that World just wasn’t possible on the Switch, what fans didn’t realize is that the company was working on a unique title for them.
Monster Hunter Rise retains a lot of what made World and the franchise so popular with players. You’re a hunter using oversized weapons to fight massive creatures and harvest them to continue getting better gear. While the maps remain open, Rise puts a greater emphasis on vertical movement using a Wirebug which opens up all sorts of traversal and combat techniques. The player also gets a dog looking creature called a Palamute to ride around, scale cliffs, and assist in battles.
While it’s only been shown off once at the DC FanDome this past summer, I really dug what they showed off. While it’s not an Arkham game, Gotham Knights seems to have been build on a similar foundation in terms of gameplay, only with loot and a few more RPG mechanics sewn in for good measure.
Essentially, this is WB Montreal’s take on the Court of Owls storyline. Unlike the comics, Batman is (supposedly?) dead, leaving the Bat Family to safeguard Gotham City. Players can pick from Batgirl, Robin, Red Hood, and Nightwing, level them up, get gear, and all that good stuff. It’s an open world Gotham with Arkham style combat and plenty of iconic villains to take down.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Sony is lining 2021 up to be another strong year with a number of big first party games on the horizon. The first one to arrive this year is from one of Insomniac’s biggest franchises, Ratchet and Clank. This classic action platformer looks visually stunning while also boasting a number of new features thanks to the power of the PlayStation 5.
The SSD allows players to use the rifts to instantly and seamlessly enter and exit new worlds, something which would previously result in a loading screen. The DualSense controller and it’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers aim to make each one of the wacky weapons feel distinct from one another. All in all, this looks like one of the safest bets in all of gaming for 2021.
Horizon: Forbidden West
The other big confirmed Sony title this year is Horizon: Forbidden West, a sequel to one of my favorite PS4 games. Aloy is back, picking up after the events of the first game heading west through iconic areas of the United States like Las Vegas and San Francisco. However, this is a post-apocalyptic game so don’t expect to see these places exactly how they are.
Frankly, I’m excited to see where the story goes from here and where many of the big characters ended up. The combat and exploration also felt amazing so I can’t wait to shoot and harvest more robot dinosaurs and animals.
Games We Don’t Know Much About But I’m Optimistic About
God of War 2…Ragnarok…something?
A short teaser is all we got and for many, that was enough. Although we have yet to see the game in action or learn the official name of the game, the promise of another Dad Kratos adventure is enough to get people hyped. We don’t have an official launch window, but most are assuming a late 2021 launch for the PS5. So here it remains.
Metroid Prime 4
This has turned into the game I write about every year, taking over for Cyberpunk 2077. I’m feeling confident this is the year we finally get Metroid Prime 4. I know, I said that last year as well. Still, we basically know nothing about this game outside of the fact that its development was rebooted and handed back to Retro Studios. That was early last year so my hope is that the game will be ready by the end of 2021, or at the very least, finally get some trailers and gameplay footage.
An open world game set in the Harry Potter universe just screams cool. While there’s really not much known about this one outside of the announcement trailer, I’m still very much intrigued by what was shown. Creating your own character, exploring iconic locations, and getting stronger through RPG mechanics sounds like a recipe for success. I’m assuming this one will arrive this year, but you just never know with the pandemic forcing studios to work remotely.
It’s been a while since we got a proper Battlefield game and while EA has teased that one is in development, we have basically no information on it. I’m excited to see what DICE can do with the new consoles, though I hope that the gameplay takes more influence from some of the older games in the series. I just couldn’t get into Battlefield V. What do I want? I’d love a new Bad Company game, but honestly, my biggest want is an awesome destruction/physics system. Let me blow holes in walls again and topple buildings like the old days.
I still don’t really know what this game is going to play like, but every time Rare shows it off I’m entranced by its wonder and beauty. It looks to feature a lot of nature and magic and considering its a first party Microsoft studio, it’ll be on Game Pass so I’ll be there checking it out at launch.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
Like Metroid Prime 4 above, I may have jinxed them by putting them on this list. After the relatively quiet 2020 that Nintendo had, I’m fully expecting some fireworks for 2021. Where are the major first party games, Nintendo?!
I’d love to say this is a November 2021 release, but who knows. Again, all we have is the short teaser trailer, but what was in there was so compelling that I NEED MORE INFORMATION.
Rainbow Six Quarantine
Okay, I’m going to put this one here, but it’s been delayed so many times at this point and so little is actually known about it, the game could be vaporware at this point. Ubisoft announced this like a few years ago and its placeholder says 2021, but who really knows.
All we do know is that it deviates from Rainbow Six Siege being based more on the limited time PvE event known as Operation Chimera. Essentially, teams of three are investigating an outbreak of some kind, fighting mainly NPC creatures and enemies rather than focusing on competitive multiplayer. One thing that unites the titles is the heavy reliance on tactical gameplay rather than Call of Duty style running and gunning.
Similar to Rainbow Six Quarantine above, Elden Ring is another game which is shrouded in mystery. After it’s reveal at Microsoft’s E3 presser in 2019, the game seemingly disappeared.
It’s still on the docket and after such a prolonged absence, you’d think From Software would need to start talking about it sooner or later. I’m pretty confident we’ll be seeing this one later this year, which should mean new trailers and details sooner than later. For Souls fans, this is one to keep an eye on.
Other notable 2021 games: Far Cry 6, Hellblade 2: Senua’s Sacrifice, Hitman 3, Deathloop, Resident Evil Village, The Medium, Psychonauts 2, Gran Turismo 7, Persona 5 Strikers.