Well, my Best Games of 2020 list is done now, so it's time to move ahead to 2021. There's a lot to look forward to over the next 11 months. Assuming the release dates all hold, that is. At any rate, it's looking like it should be another solid year for gaming, all in all. Go ahead and read on for a list of 12 particular highlights that you should be able to play all of before the year's end.
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac, Q2) (PS5) - A long-awaited, brand new entry to the beloved Ratchet & Clank series, Rift Apart will be the first proper sequel since 2013's Into the Nexus on the PlayStation 3 (far too long, if you ask us). New features appear to include the ability to play as a female lombax, as well as a very cool-looking dimensional-rift traversal mechanic. The game is expected sometime in the first half of the year, so start to prepare your PlayStation 5's for greatness now.
- Horizon II - Forbidden West (Guerrilla, Q4) (PS5, PS4) - A sequel to Guerrilla's incredible 2017 PlayStation (and recent GOG) release, Horizon: Zero Dawn. I loved the original so much I included it on both my Best Games of 2017 and Best Games of the 2010s lists. I absolutely cannot wait to hunt more giant robotic beasts on the PlayStation 5 (and/or 4), later this year.
- Gran Turismo (7) (Polyphony Digital, 2021) (PS5) - While I am more than just a bit skeptical that this game will actually see the light of day in 2021, Sony hasn't announced any date changes as of yet. So until then, I guess we can all go ahead and look forward to the long overdue (proper) next installment to this beloved PlayStation-exclusive racing franchise, supposedly coming at some point and time this year. I'll probably take that release window with a couple of grains of salt though.
- Forza Motorsport (Turn 10, TBA) (XSX) - Unlike with PlayStation's Gran Turismo game, a release date for the newest entry in the rival, Xbox-exclusive, Forza Motorsport racing series hasn't actually been announced yet (to my knowledge). Yet, if I was a betting men, I'd say the odds are in favor of a new installment coming out this very year. Based on the recent history of the franchise, the next installment is already past due and would make a great showcase of the power of the Series X. So, I eagerly await the game's likely announcement, this coming June (and apologize in advance if my prediction proves to be incorrect).
- Halo: Infinite (Xbox, Q4) (XSX, XBO, STM) - You may recall seeing this highly-anticipated Xbox Series X launch title on last year's Roundup. Halo: Infinite was one of several titles expected for 2020 that saw its release date slip, at least partially as a result of the pandemic. Although in Infinite's, case there may have been a bit of general retooling going on as well. Whatever the reasons for the delay, I just hope it results in the game being all that much better when it does finally arrive (supposedly, now this year).
- Axiom Verge 2 (Thomas Happ, Q2) (SW) - Another title that fell off of last year's calendar, Axiom Verge 2 is now supposed to arrive on the Switch by the middle of this year (and presumably elsewhere, not too long after that). Considering that the Metroid-inspired original was one of my favorite games of 2015, I'm willing to wait however long it takes to get my hands on the sequel. That being said, you know, the sooner, the better.
- No More Heroes III (Grasshopper Manufacture, 2021) (SW) - Suda51's No More Heroes series is kind of (in)famous for being ridiculously violent, humorously juvenile, and incredibly outlandish. While series fans were able to somewhat satisfy their need for more crazy Travis Touchdown antics with a welcome spin-off two years ago, there hasn't been an official sequel in over a decade. Which is downright criminal, as far as I'm concerned. Thankfully, word on the street is, that will be rectified sometime this year. All I know is, if I had an exact date, I'd be counting down the days to its (hopefully fast) approaching Switch release.
- Resident Evil VIII: Village (Capcom, May 7th) (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, STM) - While I wasn't quite as enthusiastic about the direction of Resident Evil VII as others, I will admit that it was a pretty overall decent-quality game. Therefore, I do welcome the opportunity to see where this next terrifying multi-platform adventure will take us (especially since series stalwart, Chris Redfield, will supposedly play a somewhat larger role in this new entry than in the last). Unlike the other titles I've mentioned so far, Resident Evil VIII does have an actual, specific release date. Which will be here before you know it! So it won't be too long before we can all experience the (hopefully) exciting next chapter of the continuing nightmarish saga.
- Guilty Gear -Strive- (Arc System Works, April 9th) (PS5, PS4, STM) - Arc System Works has appeared on several of my Best Games lists over the years (including the one I just did). That's because just about everything they create is pure, highly-polished and deeply engaging entertainment. So the fact that, not only are they releasing a new installment to their insanely popular Guilty Gear fighting series this year (on PlayStation and Steam), but the release date is known, and nearer than any other game on this list, means that I'm already very prepared to throw my money at whoever will take it to get this game into my hands. April really can't come fast enough.
- Gotham Knights (WB, 2021) (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO) - A brand new Batman spin-off from the creators of Batman: Arkham Origins, Gotham Knights is a 1-4 player action RPG in which you fight crime in Gotham City as one of four popular Batman allies. That you have a choice to play as either Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing, or Red Hood is exciting enough, but the fact that you can play multiplayer with any or all of them truly makes this game something to look forward to. While I don't know when it will be exactly, it should arrive on multiple platforms at some point and time, this year.
- Psychonauts 2 (Double Fine, 2021) (XSX, PS4, XBO, STM) - Psychonauts 2 is still another game that got delayed from last year into this one. Reportedly, to allow time for some final touches, including special optimizations for the Xbox Series X version (though it will be releasing on other platforms as well). As with Axiom Verge 2, I'm willing to wait as long as is needed, provided the game is every bit as good as I hope it will be.
- Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX (Merge, 2021) (PS4, XBO, SW, STM) - Following the recent trend of refreshes and/or updated sequels to classic Sega properties like Wonder Boy and Streets of Rage, indie publisher Merge Games will be getting in on the fun with a remake of Alex Kidd in Miracle World. As one of the greatest titles to ever grace the Sega Master System (Sega's sadly underrated predecessor to the Genesis), this is one refresh I am especially looking forward to. The only word on a release date so far is simply a vague 2021 but believe me when I say I will be ready and waiting to check it out the moment it drops.
So those are a nice even dozen of the titles you should be able to safely start saving/getting pumped up for this year. As usual, there will also likely be some additional surprises at E3, this June (if or when they decide to have it). Feel free to talk about any games you're most looking forward to in the comments below.
[Images: Insomniac, Turn 10, Capcom, Double Fine]