We are finally moving into a new year and hopefully leaving behind some of the bad luck that tainted 2020. I am looking to making 2021 everything that 2020 was not and that includes playing even more games. Luckily, this year looks like it’s going to feature some really great new and returning faces in gaming.
Hollow Knight: Silksong
Hollow Knight was one of my favorite games when it released on the Switch in 2018. I had missed the original PC release but I more than made up for it with several play throughs in the ancient kingdom. The original game was a masterclass in metroidvania design. From the sounds to the look to the combat, Hollow Knight was a fantastic experience and Silksong looks like it will match that same quality.
In Silksong, you play as Hornet, one of your rivals in the first game, and you explore a whole new kingdom. The game looks faster and more focused on movement than ever before. The trailer claims Team Cherry added over 150 new enemies which is absolutely wild that this small team has so many ideas for this universe. The Silksong trailer dropped in 2019 and I have been on the edge of my seat ever since for additional news. I can’t wait to see what Hornet’s story will bring and I hope Team Cherry are close to revealing when the game will be ready. All we have for right now is that it will be coming sometime in 2021. I can’t wait to see all the hard work and detail Team Cherry has put into the game.
Hollow Knight Silksong releases on PC, Mac, and Nintendo Switch sometime in 2021.
Unfortunately, Halo is one of those childhood franchises that I keep coming back to over and over again hoping that it will surprise me with why I loved the series so much to begin with. I don’t know why but I can’t help but hope for it to succeed.
Halo Infinite continues the Chief’s story after the events in Halo 5. I heard rumors that there might have been some retcons to that story but we will have to see just how some of the major story details from Halo 5 are handled in Halo: Infinite. Gameplay wise, Infinite looks like a return to the Combat Evolved days. The days where Chief felt like a meandering tank and the forerunner world you were exploring felt alien and yet believable at the same time.
Halo: Infinite didn’t make a great first impression when its first gameplay trailer initially dropped. There were glaring issues with the campaigns textures and some weird scripting paths. After the trailer released, the game was quickly delayed and recently was said to be delayed until holiday season 2021. I believe this is for the better and, with the recent Cyberpunk 2077 debacle, I believe Microsoft and 343i will do everything in their ability to ensure the game is in a workable state at launch. I just hope that 343i are able to deliver a Halo that is worthy of the name.
As of this writing, Halo Infinite releases Holiday season 2021 on PC, Xbox One and the Xbox series X/S.
Speaking of childhood franchises, Pokémon Snap is finally getting a new game in its line after nearly 20 years! Nintendo has not given us too much information on the new game but from the looks of it there will be interactive items again and environmental changes. The trailer showed Pokémon moving much more dynamically than was possible on the N64 with a lot more Pokémon on screen at a time. The Sharpedo jumping out of the water made me smile like a kid. The first game was a fun little 40-60 minute adventure if you knew what you were doing. The game really shined when the player had to figure out how to manipulate a stage or Pokémon to get the best shot. All that useless Pokémon knowledge that I have could finally shine in Pokémon Snap.
It isn’t a hard game but it can be a fun game. Pokemon Snap is an opportunity to get lost in the world of Pokemon in a way that you can’t anyway else and I hope Pokemon Snap 2 continues that philosophy. Pokemon Snap will probably be very similar to the first game and if Nintendo’s recent track record has anything to say, the game will be an hour or two long as well. The game length is my biggest fear and I hope that we get something that is more substantial than the original’s release but Nintendo likes to do whatever they like.
Pokemon Snap 2 launches on the Nintendo Switch sometime in 2021.
Sable was one of the biggest surprises for me. I had forgotten about the game because it was first announced in 2018 but in doing research for this list I found that it is finally projected to released this year. Sable is being developed by Shedworks and looks absolutely incredible. The gameplay trailer shows Sable exploring a desolate world and uncovering some mystical secret. I am a huge fan of non-ordinary art styles and games that place a focus on world exploration. I can’t wait to give this game a try and explore this weird world. There is no set release date yet but hopefully we will see this game earlier rather than later.
Sable launches on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
Horizon Forbidden West
I am sad to say that I have yet to play Horizon: Zero Dawn, yet. The game has been at the top of my list for a couple of years now but it’s just kept getting pushed to the side. However, this year, I hope to play not only Horizon: Zero Dawn but Forbidden West as well.
Forbidden West continues Aloy’s story and this time around she has to save the world by adventuring towards the forbidden west. The world looks just as imaginative as the first game did and the combat looks smooth and enjoyable. If Guerrilla Games are able to continue Zero Dawn’s pedigree, I don’t think anyone will be complaining. Of course, like every other game on this list, Forbidden West does not have a detailed release date quite yet but it should be coming out sometime in later half of 2021.
Forbidden West launches on PS4 and PS5 sometime in 2021.
Ghost Wire: Tokyo
I didn’t know what I was expecting when I first heard the name of this game, maybe an undercover agent stealth game? Well, I would have been very wrong because Ghost Wire: Tokyo is actually an action-adventure game developed by the same people who made Evil Within. The trailer shows you fighting against faceless enemies with magic infused combat. It looks like it can be really intense and if I had to pick a game it reminded me of I would say it’s a hybrid between Dishonored and Bioshock set in Japan. Ghost Wire is set for a 2021 release no specific date or timeframe given as of this writing.
Ghost Wire: Tokyo launches on PC and PS5 sometime in 2021.
2021 is turning out to be the year of acclaimed franchises making big com backs. After a 15 year hiatus, Double Fine is looking to return to the world of Psychonauts with a direct sequel. Psychonaut 2’s trailer seems a return to form for the series with the same witty writing and platforming taking place in a fantastically weird world which made the first game so engaging. I can only hope that the entire game is as charming as the first one had been. The most striking thing from the trailer was just how much better the game looks this time around.
I understand that it has been 15 years but it’s still shocking to see a game look so good. If the game turns out to be half as good as the original, it may be hard to return to the outdated graphics of the first for me. Psychonauts 1 was the swan song of the 6th generation in my opinion. It offered one last hoorah for the Original Xbox and PS2. There have been talks for years about a sequel and in early 2016 the game was funded in full. Microsoft bought Double Fine Productions in 2019 presumably adding to the budget of the game.
Psychonauts 2 launches on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
I somehow missed this game being announced but I am glad to know it exists now. Outlast Trials looks to return to the found footage-esk gameplay the series is known for. The game is not technically Outlast 3 but a smaller game that the team at Red Barrels has been working on. The game is set during the Cold War so you can expect some seriously creepy experiments being committed in the name of Nationalism and science. The trailer showed, who I can only assume is the main character, being strapped down and tortured by a team of doctors before switching to the sepia film of the character’s point of view. It keeps it simple, which is what I like in my survival horror games. Don’t overcomplicate the trailer. We need out mysteries and I can’t wait to uncover what grotesque abominations are being done in the world of Outlast Trials.
Outlast Trials is scheduled to release sometime in 2021 on Windows. No other platforms have been announced yet.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was an absolute touchstone for the gaming industry. The original game helped to launch a system and set one to rest while also helping to redefine what it means to be an open world adventure game. We don’t know yet how similar the games will be but from the looks of the trailer, Link and Zelda will be exploring the origins of Calamity Ganon. Whatever they add to BoTW 2, I know I will be happy to explore the open world of Hyrule again with all the tools that made the original game’s sandbox so immersive and fun.
The sequel was announced at Nintendo’s 2019 E3 presentation but we have heard very little since then. There are rumors that the game will launch holiday season of 2021 as part of Zelda’s 35th anniversary but Nintendo has yet to say anything definitive.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 launches on the Nintendo Switch an official date is yet to be announced.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course
This one is a bit of a cop-out but Cuphead finally returns in, what will be, its only DLC release. The Delicious Last Course has been delayed a little from its original 2019 release, Studio MDHR are committed to delivering the same quality product as the original game had been. Cuphead was hard but very approachable due to its quick resets and (mostly) fair boss battles.
The DLC introduces Ms. Chalice as a third playable character and the update will include a new island. There doesn’t seem to be any information about the total number of bosses and run and gun sections but, looking at the average of the first game, we can speculate the total bosses will be around 5-7 bosses with 2 platforming sections. I absolutely loved the original Cuphead and I hope this DLC is substantial because I know when I step back into the shoes of Cuphead and Mugman, I won’t be ready to leave for sometime.
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course releases sometime in 2021 on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.
There are a lot of fantastic games projected to be released in 2021 and this isn’t all. There are far too many games that are slated to come out in 2021 that I would enjoy playing. There are probably even more games just waiting to be announced and we don’t even know it yet. 2021 should be a really great year for video games and I can’t wait to see what else might be revealed in the coming months.
We can only hope that all these games come out in 2021 and that the ongoing pandemic has not delayed the games too much during their development.