2020 was the year we locked inside and played more games than ever. With this year’s forecast looking similar, read on for the most anticipated games coming in 2021.
In March last year when the pandemic really started to set in, video game retailers around the world reported as much as a 200% rise in sales. When the world locked down, many of its inhabitants turned to video games for comfort, connection, and as a way to pass the time. Hence, some of 2021’s most anticipated games are expected to reach a huge audience.
As games become more advanced, more diverse, and generally more jaw-dropping, it’s no surprise that there are a whole bunch of incredible new titles destined to drop in 2021. Unfortunately with much of the planet still in a COVID flux, very few upcoming games have shared a solid release date at this point. As each release date is announced, we’ll update this article.
Here are the 20 most anticipated games coming your way in 2021.
Hitman 3 – January 20 – IO Interactive
The newest title in the hugely popular Hitman franchise is perhaps the first big release of the year, coming to all platforms on January 20. Hitman 3 will follow many of the same paths as its predecessors – it’ll be a third person stealth game where you assume control of the bald Agent 47 who always looks good in a costume.
Players who completed the previous two main series games – Hitman and Hitman 2 – will get the most value out of the title, as they’ll be able to import maps, levels, and their progress into the brand new game.
Hitman 3 is also confirmed to have VR support on the PlayStation 4 version, meaning you’ll also be able to play with VR on a PS5 with backwards compatibility.
Returnal – March 19 – Housemarque
Initially revealed in the jaw-dropping PS5 Future of Gaming showcase, Returnal is an upcoming sci-fi shooter developed by Housemarque. It’s coming exclusively to the PS5 on March 19th, sitting pretty as one of the new console’s most anticipated games.
Players will control Selene as she attempts to escape a time loop she’s trapped in, lending the game a few classic roguelike elements. A gameplay trailer and few other details have been revealed concerning Returnal, but it definitely has all the capabilities of being a sleeper hit.
Monster Hunter Rise – March 26 – Capcom
Monster Hunter is a franchise that has hit a niche for many fans of the role-playing genre, it’s a title for those whom hunger for epic boss battles without grinding levels. Monster Hunter Rise is the sixth instalment in the main series and it’s coming to you in March 26, 2021, exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.
If Monster Hunter:World and the Iceborne DLC were a callback to the nostalgic PS2 era of console gaming, then this is a nod to its hand-held console legacy. This will be a game for the squad to play IRL or online; players can now team up for a hunt anytime, anywhere.
A host of new features are also coming to the franchise, including new monsters, a new canine buddy, and a Wire Bug mechanic which lets players zip around the map with ease.
Deathloop – May 21 – Arkane Studios
Deathloop is an upcoming shooter developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks – the same team who brought the world the brilliant Dishonoured games. It’s coming exclusively to the PS5 on May 21st despite Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, as any pre-acquisition exclusivity deals will be respected by Microsoft.
Gameplay-wise, Deathloop seems to be bringing a fresh flavour to FPS, much like Dishonoured brought a host of exciting changes to the stealth genre. The game revolves around Colt, an assassin stuck in an Edge of Tomorrow-style time loop, where every death will bring him back to his arrival on the island of Blackreef.
A unique art style, high-octane gameplay, and a compelling story hook seem to have Deathloop poised for success. We’ll be picking it up as soon as it drops.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition – Early 2021 – BioWare
And so begins the no-release-date portion of this list! After the fiasco of Cyberpunk 2077, it’s hardly a surprise that publishers are keeping information close to their chests for now – expect release dates to be announced quite close to the mark this year.
The industry’s worst kept secret and still one of the most anticipated games of 2021, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, has been confirmed by BioWare to be coming in Spring 2021 (that’s Autumn for our Southern Hemisphere mates). It’s a remaster of the iconic Mass Effect series, from Mass Effect 1 to the controversial but still excellent Mass Effect 3.
Relive your adventures as Commander Shepard, rebuilt for modern hardware. Hold quality banter with Tali, Wrex, and the crew, destroy civilisations, fall in love, save the galaxy. It’ll be a damn good time, just like it always was.
God of War: Ragnarok – TBA 2021 – Sony Santa Monica Studios
The 2018 God of War reboot reinvigorated the iconic franchise for contemporary players, switching it from a hack-and-slash into an action adventure game that stood up with the best. Kratos was older, wiser, and blessed with a son named Atreus as he embarked on a quest set against Norse mythology, rather than Greek.
God of War: Ragnarok will continue this newer story, once again occupying the pantheon of Odin, Frigg, Thor, and the rest. Little has been revealed beyond the above teaser trailer, so stay tuned for more news on perhaps the most anticipated game coming to the PS5 in 2021.
Horizon Forbidden West – TBA 2021 – Guerrilla Games
Side-by-side to God of War: Ragnarok comes Horizon Forbidden West, another PS5 exclusive coming sometime in 2021. It’s the much-hyped sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, a highly acclaimed 2017 PlayStation exclusive.
Developers have shared that Horizon Forbidden West will take place in post-apocalyptic California, Utah, and Nevada, and will feature a prominent underwater component. The map is reportedly larger than the open world of the first game.
At CES 2021 Sony unfortunately leaked a number of release windows for the PS5’s biggest upcoming games, effectively confirming Horizon Forbidden West for a 2021 release date.
Far Cry 6 – TBA 2021 – Ubisoft
Yes, Far Cry is up to its sixth instalment, and it looks to be a belter. Starring Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, The Boys) as dictator Antón “El Presidente” Castillo, the game is set on a fictional Carribean island known as Yara.
Far Cry 6 will follow its predecessors in terms of gameplay, so expect wildly unpredictable firefights set in wildly picturesque locations, makeshift weaponry, and a villain to remember. Developers have called it the “biggest Far Cry game to date”.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – TBA 2021 – Insomniac Games
They’re back! Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart marks the next-gen debut of PlayStation’s dynamic duo, taking advantage of the PS5’s solid state drive and numerous other features to deliver a gameplay experience that’s worth shouting about.
The SSD allows for instant transportation between world spaces through rifts – a defining gameplay feature, as you’d guess from the title. Players will be able to drop between levels in the blink of an eye as they jump, dash, and explode their way through Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
Ghostwire: Tokyo – TBA 2021 – Tango Gameworks
A Bethesda-published title coming to the PS5 and PC, Ghostwire: Tokyo is a first-person action adventure game set in a Tokyo haunted by supernatural and, apparently, very creepy spirits. Combat director Shinichiro Hara has penned the gameplay as “karate meets magic”.
Players will attempt to find out what has happened to the Japanese megacity as they wield mystical powers, battle demons, and encounter allies along the way.
Another tidbit from Sony’s 2021 CES leak is that Ghostwire Tokyo should hit shelves in October 2021. It was a leak from Sony, but a leak nonetheless, so don’t take it as gospel until we’ve received official word.
Lord of the Rings: Gollum – TBA 2021 – Daedelic Entertainment
The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy has become the epic, fantasy classic we’ve all at least heard of. Based on the novels by J. R. R. Tolkien, the tale of our beloved band of heroes is one we would all love to relive.
But it’s Gollum who you’ll play as in Daedelic Entertainment’s 2021 The Lord of the Rings: Gollum game. Not as Frodo, nor as Gandalf, but as the little gremlin-looking halfling. But as any fan of Middle Earth would know, there’s more to Gollum than meets the eye.
Gameplay-wise, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will be reminiscent of the Prince of Persia series where stealth overrides action. Expect to see it sometime in 2021 – as is the mantra for most upcoming AAA games.
Gotham Knights – TBA 2021 – WB Games Montréal
From Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Origins developer Warner Bros. Games Montréal comes Arkham Knights, a Batman game… without Batman? The next-in-line action RPG will feature four different playable characters from the DC universe; Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin, and Redhood.
The game is set in a version of Gotham City torn asunder by the deaths of Batman and Commissioner Gordon, where the player’s four characters bear the ugly task of subjugating a new wave of crime. It’ll be playable solo as well as in a two-player cooperative mode.
No release date has been shared yet.
Psychonauts 2 – TBA 2021 – Double Fine
Now this one’s been a long time coming. Psychonauts 2 was first announced in 2015, a sequel to cult classic platformer Psychonauts which was released all the way back in 2005. Now within reach, the long-awaited follow-up from original developers Double Fine is easily one of the year’s most anticipated games for its timeline alone.
Psychonauts gameplay is all about the mind – your Psi-Powers include telekinesis and levitation, and the player character Raz is able to jump into other beings’ minds for wacky, psychedelic adventures. Most importantly of all, Jack Black is in it.
Look out for Psychonauts 2 sometime in 2021.
Resident Evil Village – TBA 2021 – Capcom
Resident Evil Village is Capcom’s newest game in their spooky Resident Evil franchise, set to be released for the PS5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X/S in 2021. A sequel to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and set a number of years following that game, it’s actually the tenth instalment in the series.
Game aside it’s a massive year for Resident Evil fans, with an original Netflix animated series also on the cards. Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness will feature the dual protagonists you know and love, Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, with veteran series producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi at the helm.
Look out for Resident Evil Village sometime in 2021, with a release date yet to be announced.
Hogwarts Legacy – TBA 2021 – Avalanche Software
Apart from a few film tie-ins made for Game Boy or dispensed for free in cereal packets, the Harry Potter franchise has been somewhat cheated in the gaming world. Until Hogwarts Legacy, it seems.
A brand new RPG from Avalanche Software will be set in the wizarding world established by the much-loved book series, though the clock is being wound back a touch. Hogwarts Legacy takes place in the 1800s, a good chunk of time before Harry and co. first set foot within the grounds of their mysterious and loveable school.
Few details have been revealed (you can bet a release date isn’t one of them), but expect spells, mystical creatures, wondrous artefacts, and all the other lovely tropes that fans know and love Harry Potter for.
Everwild – TBA 2021 – Rare
It’s hard not to get excited about a brand new game from Rare. Many gamers will find themselves slipping into a nostalgic reverie at the mention of titles like GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, and Perfect Dark. More recently, it’s been Sea of Thieves on everybody’s lips.
But despite their track record, Rare are keeping their cards close to the chest for their brand new IP, Everwild. Based on the trailers released so far, players in Everwild will play as ‘Eternals’, people who care for and tend to the wide variety of exotic, mysterious fauna and flora that inhabit the game’s world.
While important details (such as a release date) remain unannounced, one thing that can be said for sure is that Everwild is looking absolutely gorgeous. A recent trailer that included developer commentary showed a selection of concept art pieces, each depicting a unique, imaginative, colourful beastie.
Grand Turismo 7 – TBA 2021 – Polyphony Digital
The ridiculously photorealistic Gran Turismo 7 will come in 2021 to the PS5, taking full advantage of next-gen hardware to deliver an experience that feels as good as it looks.
It’s the game for car freaks in all shapes and sizes – whether you want to line up the world’s most gorgeous garage, score a new personal best on the toughest tracks, or fine-tune a machine to utter perfection, Gran Turismo is the series that does it best.
Halo Infinite – Late 2021 – 343 Industries
Another game that fell particularly victim to pandemic delays, Halo Infinite was initially meant to launch alongside the Xbox Series X/S. In fact, it was the first time that an Xbox ever launched without a Halo title in tow.
Nevertheless, this is a franchise that’s as big as it gets, and Halo Infinite will remain one of the year’s most anticipated games despite delays. It’ll see the Master Chief decked on in MJOLNIR armour, a return to the design style found in Halo 2 and Halo 3.
The current plan is for Halo Infinite to be released on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 – Speculative – Nintendo
A sequel to Nintendo’s industry-changing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is currently in development, as confirmed at E3 in June 2019. Of course there’s no release date yet, but with the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda franchise coming in 2021, many fans are looking to this year for a potential release.
To add to this, the first Breath of the Wild instalment was first revealed in 2015 before being released in 2017, meaning a two-year journey from first look to release day isn’t off the cards for Nintendo.
Given how popular Breath of the Wild was and continues to be, if this sequel nails a 2021 release date, you can bet it’ll be one of the most anticipated games on the calendar.
Elden Ring – Speculative – FromSoftware
OOOOHHHHH Elden Ring! The lovechild of Game of Thrones and Dark Souls, Elden Ring is the upcoming role-playing game developed by FromSoftware in collaboration with bestselling author George R. R. Martin.
That creative combo certainly tickled the pickles of more than a few gamers, who in absence of any official news have slowly been going insane since the game’s announcement trailer at E3 2019. Fans have created entirely speculative fan art, imagined their own NPCs from the game, created hordes of desperate memes, and generally gone hollow during every convention that fails to mention Elden Ring.
After over a year of diabolical silence out of FromSoftware, a few recent tweets have reignited the fact that Elden Ring does, in fact, exist. It’s being worked on and was recently crowned Most Anticipated Game at the 2020 Game Awards, meaning 2021 would be the perfect time to release it to FromSoftware’s storm of hungry fans.