We imagine that, like us, most video game enthusiasts are ecstatic to put the awful year of 2020 behind us. It wasn’t awful for games, of course, but even still there’s lost of exciting Triple-A and indie releases worth looking forward to releasing in 2021. For this list we thought we’d run through some of the former, ranking the 10 biggest video games confirmed to arrive this year in order of how excited we are to play them. Just bear this prerequisite in mind as we lay it all out.
All the games featured might be of Triple-A calibre, but we’ve done our best to cover a wide gamut of genres and platforms because, after all, it’s good to have some variety. This means that regardless of where you play there’s sure to be one or two games present in the following list that you are extremely enthusiastic about, too. Let’s get into it…
It’s been a while since the gaming industry was shook up with a new heavyweight looter-shooter. Borderlands 3 released in 2019, sure, but for players craving something a little grittier, Outriders from People Can Fly (the team behind Bulletstorm) could do the trick. It provides the perfect basis for you and a team of two friends to gun down legions of enemy alien invaders, all as you hunt down and collect better powered armour and weapons. Outriders is being published by Square Enix and is set for release on February 2nd. Could this be your next looting fix?
9. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Another underrated Wii U title is set to make the jump to Switch mid-February in Super Mario 3D World. It’s a fun and creative 3D platformer played out from an isometric perspective, which is what you’d expected from a first-party Nintendo release, but what has us intrigued more is this mysterious ‘Bowser’s Fury’ expansion. All we got during the re-release’s announcement is a moody piece that hinted at what this might be, but we’ll find out soon enough when this charming Mario game expands its audience by a few million players. That’s the power of Nintendo Switch.
8. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – Remake
The first sizeable remake to arrive in 2021 comes in the form of 2003’s action-platforming classic Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Everything from the voice lines to the environments have been completely remade and redone from the ground up, all in the effort to have it look just like how veteran players remember it. The updated visuals also help to make this much beloved game feel fresh for a modern generation of players. Experience a classic through a fresh lens when it releases on March 18th, 2021.
7. Monster Hunter Rise
The Nintendo Switch receives its very first exclusive Monster Hunter game very early on in the year in the form of Monster HunterRise, which cherry-picks elements from the wildly successful Monster Hunter World from 2018 and merges them with new ones. Just like with that game Monster Hunter Rise aims to be more successful than previous entries, letting solo hunters and co-op groups alike battle various beasts using a wide suite of weaponry. This you do alongside a faithful canine companion, all while taking advantage of new combat manoeuvres new to Rise.
Releasing in May is a completely new IP from Arkane Studios, the folks most known for Prey and Dishonored. Deathloop is a PlayStation 5 console exclusive that feels stylistically distinct, however, casting players as assassin Colt who has somehow found himself stuck in a timeloop. This forces him to live out the same events over and over again, yet his ability to retain information between loops makes for some cool gameplay opportunities. Will you use stealth, parkour, or the direct approach to take out your 8 required targets? The choice is up to you when Deathloop releases on May 21st.
5. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Though Demon’s Souls and Astro’s Playroom ensured that PS5 owners weren’t left wanting for games that really showcased the power of Sony’s new box, the next true PlayStation 5 exclusive game is set to arrive early on this year. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart promises to deliver the same platforming/shooter concoction the Pixar-like franchise is known for, building off of the success of 2016’s reboot by using the console’s new SSD to instantly transport the iconic duo across dimensions. This is in addition to beautiful ray-traced visuals and an all knew story, all of which can be experienced at a reconstructed 4K resolution and 60 fps simultaneously.
4. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
You can always rely on the LEGO games for a brick-bashing good time with the family. In 2021, however, TT Games is throwing out the rulebook by recreating all nine of the mainline Star Wars movies using a new engine. This will see events play out very differently from any prior LEGO Star Wars game, with sections that resemble third-person shooters and melee combat that’s been completely revamped. Each movie will be playable through 5 missions each, and for the first time there will be multiple hub areas rather than just one. May the force be with this game.
3. Hogwarts Legacy
Hogwarts Legacy is a highly anticipated action RPG that sets you in the shoes of a student training to be a wizard at the eponymous school. Developed by the team responsible for the three Disney Infinity games, the story is fully single-player and takes place roughly 200 years before the events of the Harry Potter books and films, delivering an original story set in J.K Rowling’s celebrated world of witchcraft and wizardry. Confirmed locations you’ll get to explore include Hogsmeade Village, The Forbidden Forest and of course Hogwarts itself. It’s been a long time coming, but Hogwarts Legacy looks to be the Triple-A quality Harry Potter games fans have been crying out for.
2. Halo Infinite
Originally set to release alongside Xbox Series S|X in November 2020, Halo Infinite will in fact arrive this year as Microsoft’s big first-party showpiece. Both a classic-style throwback to the first Halo trilogy and yet also a bold new direction for the series, Infinite will see Master Chief and his mysterious human companion navigate a sprawling Halo Ring in an entry that’s more open-ended and non-linear than ever before. Events will instead pop up at random and it’ll be your choice whether to engage with them. Because of this Halo Infinite intends to live up to its ambitious subtitle and be more flexible than ever before. Expected to play it in late 2021.
1. Horizon Forbidden West
Even coming out the same year as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild couldn’t dampen the open-world spectacle PS4 players experienced when Horizon: Zero Dawn released in 2017. Aloy’s robot dinosaur-slaying escapes return during the latter half of 2021, where this time she must venture to a mysterious location known only as the Forbidden West to prevent an infectious plague. Expect to find new creature types to hunt down and plenty more weapons to do it with, all as Horizon Forbidden West takes advantage of the next-gen PS5 hardware. Providing God of War 2 doesn’t release, it could be 2021’s biggest PlayStation exclusive.