2020 did not turn out to be the breakout year that it was suppose to. Not only did last generation games get pushed into 2021 but so did most of the launch titles for the next generation consoles. With everything being carried over and the inescapable barrage of E3 announcements, 2021 is looking to be a jam packed year.
1. Monster Hunter Rise
The Monster Hunter games are my favourite of the last decade so of course I am super excited about Monster Hunter Rise. I've always preferred the portable Monster Hunter games so a return to the Nintendo Switch is A-OK in my books. Hopefully we'll actually be able to take advantage of the portable nature and go play somewhere other than the living room couch. Something simple, like a coffee shop in downtown Tokyo. That shouldn't be too difficult right?
2. God of War Sequel
I had my problems with the combat in 2018's God of War but visually it was absolutely stunning. I have to imagine the untitled God of War sequel is going to be one of the best games to showcase the true capabilities of the PlayStation 5.
3. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
I have never played a Ratchet & Clank game in my entire life. But the demo they showed for Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has me very excited about what can be achieved with the PlayStation 5's super fast hard drive. Based on what I know about the franchise I don't think I'm going to love the game but hopefully Insomniac has created some fresh gameplay mechanics that can inspire other developers.
4. Back 4 Blood
Because Valve Software is incapable of making a third game in any of their franchises, Turtle Rock Studios decided to make Left 4 Dead 3 anyway and just call it Back 4 Blood. It is amazing that the idea of an "AI Director" hasn't caught on since the days of the original Left 4 Dead. It's been over a decade and the only other thing we've gotten that has come close is probably World War Z.
5. Baldur's Gate III
Baldur's Gate III has been in early access since October 2020 and there hasn't been any indication that it is going to exit in 2021. For a massive RPG like this I want to wait until it is "finished" before jumping in so fingers crossed the amazing people at Larian Studios can get a 1.0 release ready for the end of 2021. But if I am being honest with myself I am expecting this to slip into 2022 and I ain't even mad. After seeing the debacle that was Cyberpunk 2077's launch we don't need any more of the big indie developers releasing their games too soon.
6. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin
I bounced off the original Monster Hunter Stories pretty hard but I think that had a lot to do with me not being in the mood for Nintendo 3DS games at that time. With Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin being released on the Nintendo Switch, I will definitely give it a shot in 2021.
7. Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town
OK let me get this straight. The original Harvest Moon that I loved so much had to be renamed to Story of Seasons because the developer wanted to publish the games themselves but their old publisher owned the rights to the Harvest Moon name. So now there are Harvest Moon games being released that aren't being made by the original developers and the games named Story of Seasons are the actual sequels to the original Harvest Moon.
Names be damned, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town looks like the Harvest Moon gameplay I enjoy and since we're going to be stuck inside for the first six months of the year again I'm down to simulate growing crops.
8. Rune Factory 5
Rune Factory 5 has been described to me as Harvest Moon with swords so it has my attention. It is being released after Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town so we'll see which one I end up playing more of.
9. Far Cry 6
I can't believe I am putting an Ubisoft game on my most anticipated list. You'd think I would have learned after being burned so many times before but what can I say. When I see Giancarlo Esposito all reason goes out the window and therefore Far Cry 6 makes it onto this list.
10. Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
The first carryover from my 2020 list, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is still showing a lot of potential but it's development appears quite troubled. There has been a lot of turnover in the staff and the work-from-home situation seems to be hitting this developer particularly hard. The publisher has already said that they don't see the game being released in the first half of 2021 so I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see it in the back half either.
11. Shin Megami Tensei V
I've always been aware that Persona is a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series, so I am very interested to see how Shin Megami Tensei V compares to the games that I love so much.
12. Persona 5 Strikers
Persona 5 Strikers looks like your standard musou game but it has Persona 5 in the title so it has to make this list.
13. Halo Infinite
Halo Infinite is like watching a train wreck in super slow motion. It's on this list out of sheer morbid curiosity. In July 2020 Microsoft showed off their gameplay demo and announced that Halo Infinite was to be the biggest launch game for the Xbox Series X. Less than a month later they announced the game had been delayed into 2021 and then four months later they said Fall 2021 was their new release date. Let that sink in for a second. In July 2020 Microsoft thought Halo Infinite was ready for November, showcased what they thought was amazing gameplay, and then had it shat on by the public so much they delayed the game over a year! They launched the Xbox Series X without a single exclusive game!
Halo Infinite is one of my most anticipated games because I just cannot believe how such a venerated franchise is going to crash and burn. This is probably going to be the last Halo game for at least a decade. Six years after the release of Halo 5 we're essentially going to get Microsoft's take on what if Halo was a shitty open world Ubisoft game.
14. Digimon Survive
The final carryover from my 2020 list. If I had to pick one game that was at risk of being cancelled it would be Digimon Survive. This game appears to be in the deepest levels of development hell and I haven't seen any signs of them making their way out. It's been over 18 months since we've last seen any gameplay footage.
But that being said, what I wrote last year is still valid now, a turn based strategy survival Digimon game where characters can straight up die? You have my attention.
15. Tales of Arise
Tales of Arise is biggest wildcard on this list. I think I know what to expect from all the other games but Tales of Arise is part of a JRPG series that I have never played before. Similar to the Yakuza series, I had always heard great things but just never got around to trying it out. Hopefully I change that with the Tales series in 2021.#VideoGames