2020 sure was… a year, and thanks to COVID-19 many games were understandably pushed back to this year. There are a ton of games we’re looking forward to in 2021 of all shapes and sizes, from AAA to indie, so let’s get started!
Biomutant [PC/PS4/XB1 – May 25th]
First revealed back in 2017, Biomutant has been slowly but surely gaining traction. While details of what the game actually is have been well and truly under wraps, a recent trailer showed off some gorgeous environments set in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s set to be an open-world action RPG, with promises of branching storylines, bio-mechanical upgrades, and some exploration elements akin to Zelda: Breath of the Wild, such as needing specific gear to reach certain places on the map. This one looks truly unique, and we can’t wait to check it out.
World’s End Club [Switch – May 28th]
From the minds of the people who brought you the Zero Escape series comes another game about people forced into a killing game, but with a twist! What if everyone… just left? World’s End Club follows a group of kids calling themselves the Go-Getter’s Club led by Reycho, a boy who looks straight out of Earthbound. After being kidnapped and taken to an underwater theme park, the kids have to somehow survive the “Game of Tasks” as well as the strange events happening all over the world. This 2.5D puzzle platformer looks to be a heartwarming tale of friendship.
Song of Horror [PS4/XB1 – May 28th]
Song of Horror has been around for just over a year on PC and we are finally going to see it come to consoles on May 28th. The dark spectrum of colors combined with an oddly friendly atmosphere for a horror game creates a game where the darkness in the world itself is kinder than the light. The “Song” of Horror with emphasis on song has a classic feel to its design and is a welcoming addition to the console horror experience, sharing the curse of the “song” with more players than before.
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 [PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XSX – June 4th]
The CI Games team are really dialing in their sniping game, and Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 looks to be the culmination of several of their shooting franchises into one cohesive game. Ron went hands-on with the game and had a lot of great things to say about it in his preview, and we’ve only scratched the surface. Get ready for some high-stakes long-range shooting as this one ships on June 4th.
The Persistence Enhanced [PC/PS5/XSX – June 4th]
While this one has been out on PC, PS4, and Xbox One since July 24, 2018 and the Nintendo Switch since October 16, 2020 it is a welcomed title to the next gen line up of horror. With the visual enhancements one would expect of next gen consoles includes boosting up to dynamic 4k with Ray Tracing, both of which combined can make this a stellar experience both in the visuals and the gameplay. On the PS5 it will also include the ever immersive haptic feedback of the DualSense controller. Be prepared to fight through a 4K, Raytraced world to save a doomed deep space colony!
Umurangi Generation [Switch – June 5th]
While it’s already available on Steam, Umurangi Generation puts you in the skates of a photographer in the shitty future. Set in New Zealand (Tauranga Aotearoa) as the United Nations institutes martial law, each level asks you to take pictures of certain objects or people. For a better score and more cash, you can use a variety of filters, lenses, and angles to express yourself. The Switch version adds touchscreen support, motion controls, a Speedrun Mode, and a creative mode to snap more dynamic photos. This is the real cyberpunk, anti-facist game of the decade.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Console Enhanced [PS5/XSX – June 8th]
ESO is finally getting its long-awaited next generation upgrade in June, which will put the graphical fidelity of the game much closer in line to what’s possible on PC. As part of a free upgrade, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S users will be able to benefit from 60fps in performance mode, or 30fps available in native 4K, as well as upgraded textures, improved draw distances and lighting, quicker load times and much, much more. It’s no secret that ESO struggles a little on the older hardware, so this upgrade should make the console experience significantly more enjoyable.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood [PC/Stadia – June 8th;PS4/PS5/XB1/XSX – June 1st]
Launching alongside the next generation console upgrade, The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood is the latest ‘Chapter’ in Zenimax’s yearly expansion release schedule. If last year’s Greymoor hearkened back to Skyrim, then Blackwood is surely an ode to the best Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion. This time around, players will need to stop none other than Mehrunes Dagon himself, and will have a brand new zone to explore, new quests, a new trial, a companions feature, and oblivion gate world events.
Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection [PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Steam – June 10th, 2021]
The tough as nails Ninja Gaiden trilogy is heading to modern consoles with a brand new collection featuring Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge. Tackle some of the best action games ever created alongside most of their previously released DLC, game modes, and costumes, as well as the ability to play as Ayane, Rachel, Momiji, and Kasumi! Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection will be available in both a regular and deluxe edition, with the deluxe edition featuring a digital artbook and the game soundtrack.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade [PS5 – June 10th]
Along with an upgrade for the base game to finally run at 60 frames per second, free for owners of the PS4 version, Intergrade includes FF7R INTERmission. This expansion follows the beloved Yuffie Kisaragi as she works with Avalanche’s main branch to steal materia from Shinra HQ. I loved 7R and, having recently played through the original game for an upcoming series of articles (Humble Brag: I correctly predicted Yuffie’s playstyle!), I’m excited to dive back into the main campaign to finish up hard mode and experience this new behind the scenes tale.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart [PS5 – June 11th]
It’s been almost 12 years since the last, full fledged, non-remake Ratchet and Clank game. Rift Apart once again separates the iconic duo, this time between different dimensions. Lost in a world where returning villain Dr. Nefarious rules with an iron fist, Clank joins up with a lombax named Rivet (who is definitely trans, assigned female at birth lombaxes don’t have tails, don’t @ me) to find Ratchet and stop Nefarious in both dimensions. The game seeks to take full advantage of the PS5’s hardware including the SSD for instant load times, graphical power for a Ray Tracing or 60fps mode, and the DualSense with its adaptive triggers and haptic feedback. It also includes a ton of accessibility options to help as many people play the game as possible, which will hopefully set a new industry standard.
Guilty Gear -Strive- [PS5 – June 11th]
After two betas for the latest Arc System Works fighter, the excitement for -Strive- continues to grow. With a diverse cast of playable characters and rollback netcode, it’s clear this game will keep genre enthusiasts entertained for quite some time. Whether it will win over casuals though remains to be seen, with its return to complex inputs to pull off special moves.
Game Builder Garage [Switch – June 11]
Game development is difficult to get into, and I’m not just talking about entry level jobs. While game engines and online tutorials are more accessible than ever. there’s a lack of the ability to simply dip your toes into the medium. Sure, we have games like Little Big Planet, Super Mario Maker, and standout Dreams to make creating games easier, but these are entire toolsets that don’t exactly translate to Unity, Unreal, other engines, or even coding. This is why I’m very excited about Game Builder Garage, it seems to simplify coding, modeling, and level design in a way that allows you to more easily transfer skills while having fun making/playing games. On top of that, it looks cute as heck.
D&D Dark Alliance [PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XSX – June 22nd]
We are spoiled with the number of Dungeons & Dragons games that have shipped recently or will ship later this year and beyond. It’s a role playing renaissance, and we’ll be going back to one of the most storied origin stories in the universe in this cooperative beat-em-up RPG, D&D Dark Alliance. This adventure will take us to the frozen land of Icewind Dale, featuring the outstanding writing from series veteran R.A. Salvatore’s Legend of Drizzt series. Playable as single player, or up to four player cooperative online play, the game will feature familiar faces including Drizzt Do’Urden, Catti-brie, Bruenor Battlehammer, and Wulfgar. If you grew up on these novels, this is pure fan service.
Legend of Mana [PC/PS4/Switch – June 24th]
Originally released in 1999, this particular game wasn’t terribly well received on launch. It’s a weird action RPG with some very interesting concepts, like creating your own world map, that can be confusing. This remaster seeks to clean some things up a bit, both visually and in terms of convenience, by updating the UI, going from 4:3 to 16:9 for aspect ratio, allowing you to save anywhere, adding a newly arranged soundtrack you can toggle, and higher quality backgrounds.
Mario Golf Super Rush [Switch – June 25th]
I’m sure there were a lot of people who bonded with their golf-loving dads as kids through Mario Golf. The seventh entry in this series seems more arcadey than ever, complete with super moves, cool characters, and a mode where you run along the course and punch each other in a bid to finish first. What else is there to say? It’s golf and Mario, together again.
Scarlet Nexus [PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XSX – June 25th]
After discovering a psionic hormone hidden in the human brain, mutants called Others descend upon the Earth. Using their new psionic abilities, members of the Other Suppression Force Yuito Sumeragi and Kasane Randall are the planet’s last line of defense. Scarlet Nexus takes place in a self described Brain Punk world, a fusion of classic anime and western science fiction. You can choose between either Yuito or Kasane at the start of the game, and experience their stories along with the unique, fast paced psychic combat.
Destroy All Humans! [Switch – June 29th]
Listen up, you twisted little monkeys! Crypto is headed to your favorite handheld, and you better be ready! Ron already reviewed the game, so you know what all of this is about. It’s about taking it on the go, ya numbskull! Man, it’s so easy to see why Crypto does experiments on us… You get the jumbo probe when the game ships on June 29th.
Curved Space [PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XSX – June 29th]
Curved Space is a twin stick shooter taking place in a titular curved space with bullets hugging the surface. It’s a modern take on the arcade genre with all the trappings of its contemporaries as well as mechanics like upgrades and online leaderboards and a branching, story driven campaign. With several modes to enjoy, we’re ready for this specific brand of intense arcade action.
Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin [Switch – July 9th]
I never expected we’d get a sequel to the sadly overlooked 3DS RPG spinoff of Monster Hunter. It follows the grandchild of the legendary hunter Red (whom you create) after a fateful encounter with a Wyverian named Ena, who guards a dangerous Rathalos egg. Along the journey, you battle, befriend, and raise Monsters to fight at your side and help you explore the world.
The Chameleon [PC – July 13th]
Developed and published by Merlino Games, The Chameleon is a Sci-Fi stealth game set in the 70s where you can transform into your enemies, teleport, slow time, and suckerpunch baddies. After stumbling across one trailer on social media, I was instantly captivated by its style, atmosphere, and unique gameplay. The main character wakes up in a strange facility with no idea how he got there or why he’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and has one objective: escape.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD [Switch – July 16th]
I feel like the only person who really enjoyed Skyward Sword. Sure it had a lot of problems, but I still enjoyed it for what it is. Hopefully people will give this new HD version another chance, but it doesn’t look like Nintendo is fixing many of the issues. They’re even locking fast travel behind a $25 amiibo. Put this one down as cautiously optimistic.
Cris Tales [PC/Switch/PS4/Xbox – July 20th]
Cris Tales is a gorgeous JRPG taking inspiration from classics like Chrono Trigger/Cross, Final Fantasy, and more. In it, Crisbell gains the ability to view the past, present, and future all at once and embarks on a journey across the world to stop the evil Time Empress, making friends along the way. Crisbell can use her new powers both in and out of combat to manipulate the environment and change how her foes fight. or even deal massive damage. While we’ve seen time travel explored in various games, like Chrono Trigger and Titanfall 2, Cris Tales takes this idea and runs with it.
NEO: The World Ends With You [Switch/PS4 – July 27th]
Fans who have been clamoring for a follow up to cult classic The World Ends With You (including yours truly) finally get their wish. NEO follows Rindo and his band of misfits in the Wicked Twisters as they participate in a game for their lives. In the Reaper’s Game, players need to use abilities granted by fashionable pins to survive and erase Noise over the course of 7 days. While the original took full advantage of the DS’s two screens to control two characters at once, NEO has you control a full team of four at the same time. With it’s gorgeous 3D cel shading, we can’t wait to scramble across the streets of Shibuya once again.
The Great Ace Attorney: Chronicles [PC/PS4/Switch – July 27th]
It may have taken several years, but the Great Ace Attorney games are finally making their way west. Ace Attorney may not be the most popular series, being a combination of visual novels and adventure games, but they’re near and dear to my heart. These two games serve as a sort of “prequel” to the main series, with players taking on the role of Ryunosuke Naruhodo (which means “I see” in Japanese, much like Phoenix’s name in the region) in the late 19th century as he seeks to prove the innocence of his clients in both Japan and England. The series hasn’t let me down yet with its constant barrage of brain teasers and puns, so bring it on Herlock Sholmes!
In Sound Mind [PC/PS5/XSX/Switch – August 3rd]
A first person psychological horror game is a welcome sight for PC and consoles. In Sound Mind brings a unique mix of boss fights, puzzles, and original music done by The Living Tombstone to a dark and confusing world. That world being the inescapable place of your own mind. The demo is currently playable through Steam, but be warned, play it and you too will join the paranoia!
Humankind [PC – August 17th]
Have you ever wondered about the origins of humanity? Where we came from, and how we got where we are now. Well, in Humankind you can go back to the dawn of man and shape it as you see fit. In this simulation/strategy game, you’re the master of our destiny – create your own leader and civilization as you try not just to survive, but thrive.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits [PC/PS4/PS5 – August 24th]
In an abandoned village, a young girl discovers a forgotten community filled with lost spirits. In this action adventure title, Kena must free the trapped spirits by exploring, solving puzzles, and engaging in fast paced combat. This is a gorgeous title that actually looks like a Pixar movie, and we’re excited to dive into this colorful world.
No More Heroes 3 [Switch – August 27th]
In No More Heroes 3, Travis Touchdown will have to face his most formidable opponents yet: Aliens! Travis needs to do odd jobs and learn new wrestling moves to reach the top of the Galactic Superhero Rankings along with breaking out his trusty beam katana. This entry looks just as insane and violent as the previous games, the Garden of Madness has never seemed so inviting. Welcome back, Crownless King.
New World [PC – August 31st]
While it’s already in beta, this open world MMO from Amazon Games heavily features both PvP and PvE as well as crafting. Taking place on the magical island of Aeternum, players are set loose after a shipwreck to explore the island, discover its past, and carve out their own place in it.
Life is Strange: True Colors [PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XSX/Stadia – September 10th]
From the developers of Before the Storm, Deck Nine Games is hard at work creating the next Life is Strange adventure. Alex Chen returns to her hometown after eight years to reunite with her brother, who suddenly dies. Using her power of empathy, allowing her to see and absorb other people’s feelings, she must find the truth behind her brother’s death in this choice based adventure game.
Tales of Arise [PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XSX – September 10th]
The seventeenth entry in the Tales of series is shaking things up for its 20th anniversary. From what we’ve seen in trailers, combat appears much more fluid with arts being assigned to the face buttons similar to Bersaria. Arise follows Alphen and Shionne as they try to free someone from slavery and end a family curse respectively, which is a much more personal premise than is typical for the series. Speaking of typical, the game retains the anime art style but turns it up to eleven with some absolutely gorgeous environments. Personally, I’ve been avoiding coverage for this one since I’m so darn excited to experience it blind.
Deathloop [PS5/PC – September 14th]
It’s assassin vs. assassin in this recurring game of death. Blackreef island is stuck in a time loop, and Colt’s only way out is to end the lives of eight targets. His rival assassin Julianna’s goal, however, is to kill him and keep the loop going. Deathloop seeks to marry single and multiplayer shooters, with players being able to take on the role of either Colt or Julianna. With an art style inspired by the 60s and the ability to play as an African American woman (sadly uncommon today), Deathloop looks to be one of the most unique titles this year.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale [PC/PS4/PS5 – Spring 2021]
Chicory is basically a virtual coloring book. From the creators of Wandersong and Celeste, this top down adventure game has players take up the legendary brush which is used to add color to the world after the previous wielder goes missing. By painting anything and everything, you solve puzzles, help people, and bring color back to the Picnic Province.
Back 4 Blood [PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, October 12th]
Is this Left 4 Dead 3? No, because Valve can’t count to 3. Well, the team at Turtle Rock (many of them ex-Valve and original developers of the L4D franchise) want another shot at this genre that they helped create. Recently delayed till October 2021, Back 4 Blood will feature four player online cooperative gameplay, but this time with a card system that’ll change up how your character plays, as well as shakes up the enemies, spawning fog, giving them additional traits, and even dropping a boss battle into the mix of things. It should be a good twist on the formula. I’ll be over here, “Grabbin pills” to get ready for the October 12th launch.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker [PC/PS4/PS5 – November 23rd]
You should try Final Fantasy XIV! It has a free trial up to level 60 including the critically acclaimed Heavensward expansion. In all seriousness, FFXIV is a game near and dear to my heart where I’ve met great friends and experienced the best Final Fantasy story in recent memory. With Endwalker taking players to the moon to defeat Fandaniel, Zenos, and end the story that began all the way back in 1.0, you could say I’m looking forward to the expansion. On top of a full length RPG bringing the level cap up to 90, Endwalker adds two new jobs, Sage and Reaper, and bunny boys in the form of the Viera’s male counterpart with female Hrothgar coming at a later date.
Shin Megami Tensei V [Switch – 2021]
Announced in 2017, we haven’t heard much about the latest entry in the SMT series since, but supposedly it’s still coming this year worldwide. The spinoff Persona series has seen a huge boost in popularity in the years since IV, so perhaps it will take a few cues from that series while still retaining what makes it different like the press turn system and dark apocalyptic story.
Backbone [PC – 2021]
The best pitch I could make for Backbone already exists in a free prologue on Steam, so go play that. If you need more than that though, the game follows an anthropomorphic Racoon detective named Howard Lotor as he investigates a series of disturbing cases in a dystopian Vancouver. It’s a point and click adventure game inspired by classic CRPGs with a gorgeous, 3D pixel art style, stealth elements, and branching paths by letting you choose which leads to follow. It’s an ambitious indie game that, if the prologue is any indication, could make you feel like a real detective.
Sable [PC – 2021]
Sable is one of those games that looks like it was made specifically for me. It’s an exploration game with an incredible art style where everything that happens is up to you. There are puzzles in the world and people to help, but it’s all optional. You can experience Sable’s pilgrimage through the desert at your own pace, and your own way.
One Dreamer [PC – 2021]
One Dreamer is a game about game development. You play as a burnt out game developer struggling to fulfil his dream in an indie studio of two. To rediscover his love of the medium, Frank can manipulate the code of the real world using a system very similar to actual coding language C#. In the free prologue on Steam, for example, you can edit an arcade cabinet to make it easier for you to win. It looks to tell a personal story about the darker side of trying to live out your dreams.
Psychonauts 2 [PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XSX – 2021]
If you missed our behemoth of a review on the original Psychonauts which was added to Game Pass recently, you might not know how excited we are for the sequel. That review was 11 pages long. Now you know.
Far Cry 6 [PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XSX – 2021]
Ubisoft’s Far Cry series hit a real high note with Far Cry 5, and this sequel looks to take it to the next level. Coming from Ubisoft Toronto, Far Cry 6 takes place on the fictional Caribbean island of Yara. Ruled by “El Presidente” Antón Castillo (played by the stellar Giancarlo Esposito), this country is in a state of upheaval as Castillo prepares to transition his power to his young son Diego. You won’t be playing Diego, though — you are a young guerrilla soldier named Dani, fighting against the corrupt Castillo regime as you try to restore the island of Yara back to its former glory. You will inevitably be able to pet the dog in this game when it ships in mid to late 2021.
That’s our list of games we’re looking forward to this summer and maybe a few that sneak into the latter part of the year. Did we miss anything? What are you looking forward to? Join us on our Discord channel and let us know!