With 2021 being a huge year for video games and next-gen consoles, here are the biggest titles to look out for.
While 2020 has been another stellar year for video games, it's also the year that has sown the seeds of the future in terms of software and hardware. As the world was tossed into a global pandemic and studios around the globe were also thrown into chaos, a slew of delays have made 2020 an odd one for the gaming world. Although there have been logistical problems behind the scenes, we're playing more games than ever before.
This year rattled through huge releases like The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima to celebrate the end of the current-gen's life cycle, however, it was November that really elevated things to the next level thanks to the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and Assassin's Creed Valhalla will bridge the gap, but looking ahead to next year, rest assured that next-gen consoles are going to explode into the market. With this in mind, here are the seven biggest games to look out for in 2021.
Cyberpunk 2077 (console)
Even if most of us have zipped off to Night City for some neon-splashed murder and mayhem in 2020, we'll have to wait until next year to try it out on next-gen consoles. CD Projekt Red's long-awaited title is hoping to sweep the awards boards as the developer tackles something very different to its usual fodder of The Witcher. As well as being able to customise your character more than we ever thought possible, Night City is a sprawling backdrop that's split into six unique districts.
In Cyberpunk 2077, you play a mercenary called V and try to navigate this seedy underworld. The game is supposed to spawn a whole media franchise to cash in on the classic Cyberpunk name, so expect CD Projekt Red to keep the content coming. Any game that has Keanu Reeves playing a character called Johnny Silverhand should be guaranteed as a winner, however, it's recent release has been far from smooth.
Yes, the first reviews haven't been great, and with glitches galore, CD Projekt Red has even started issuing refunds. The general consensus is that Cyberpunk 2077 should've never been released on the sometimes sluggish current-gen consoles. Here's hoping the next-gen version lives up to the potential we were all promised.
One of the biggest blows that 2020 delivered in terms of games was the ongoing delay of Halo Infinite. Microsoft's Xbox Series X event didn't exactly go to plan as Halo Infinite got dragged across the coals for its disappointing graphics. Alongside this, Craig the Brute was born - and later became the company's unofficial mascot. As the long-awaited sequel to Halo 5: Guardians, here's hoping Infinite will be worth the wait.
After the game was shifted from its OG launch of November 10, 343 Industries has played coy with exactly when we'll be able to play Halo Infinite. When it comes to loyal Xbox fanatics, who isn't ready to see Master Chief suit up again for another epic instalment to the "Reclaimer Saga"? Here, we join the lead on his "greatest adventure yet to save humanity". It will always be disappointing that the Xbox Series X didn't have its flagship title ready for launch, but still, Halo Infinite will pack a punch.
Horizon Forbidden West
Guerilla Games blew the competition away with the apocalyptic Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017. It's no surprise the studio is back for more Avatar-esque adventures as Aloy is tossed back into the unforgiving landscape of the Forbidden West. The young hunter has to journey into ravaged versions of California, Utah, and Nevada to find the source of a mysterious plague that kills all it infects.
There's a danger we could have more Cyberpunk syndrome as Gurelilla has confirmed it will release on PS4 and PS5. That being said, it's designed to make the most of the PS5's growing graphical abilities and hopefully be one of the games that defines the next-gen system. What other game can you fight a giant robotic dinosaur in? Back in the day it was Turok, but now, we have Horizon Forbidden West to fill that gap.
Batman is spreading his wings once again - well, briefly. It's time for the Bat Family to step up to the plate for Gotham Knights. Rocksteady rounded off its acclaimed Arkham trilogy with Batman: Arkham Knight in 2015, and since then, players have been hoping someone would pick up the cape and cowl. Gotham Knights is a spiritual successor that will be set in its own continuity and tell a wholly new story. At the centre of this crime-fighting family are Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin.
In the aftermath of Bruce Wayne's death, his former friends must take over his mission to keep Gotham City safe. This open world adventure game lets you play as any of the above and face-off against the sinister Court of Owls. With a combat system similar to the one Rocksteady left behind, Warner Bros. Montreal is taking over after its work on Arkham Origins. Rocksteady will be a little late to the game with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, leaving 2021 open for WB. Montreal to rule the roost with Gotham Knights.
Grand Theft Auto V Remastered
What better way to celebrate the most profitable entertainment product of all time than by giving it a 2021 makeover? It's hard to believe Grand Theft Auto V came out all the way back in 2013 and went on to become the second best-selling game of all time (trailing behind Minecraft). By the time we got to the fifth main series entry, the GTA name was going strong, however, something about GTA V saw it rocket to the top of the charts.
Thanks in part to the introduction of Grand Theft Auto Online, GTA V still has a massive fanbase all these years later. Rockstar Games has promised the next-gen version will add new content and features, teasing that the latest version will provide more than just a fresh lick of paint. The recent introduction of the Cayo Perico Heist to Online should take the game through into 2021, while a glossy remaster of the base GTA V can tide us over for a little longer. Gamers are searching high and low for even the slightest hint of GTA 6, but for now, we're stuck playing the GTA V remaster. To be honest, no one's mad about it.
Far Cry 6
Adding to Ubisoft's already acclaimed legacy, Far Cry 6 is charting a new chapter of consoles. The series has always been known for its terrifying villains, and when it comes to recruiting Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito as "El Presidente" Antón Castillo, the game could be onto a winner. We're (whoah) off to the island as players take on the role of Dani Rojas - a guerilla fighter who wants to take out El Presidente once and for all. The fictional island of Yara is on the brink of war, meaning it's up to Dani to restore peace to this tropical backdrop.
Fary Cry 6 has already been pushed from its proposed February release due to COVID-19, however, Ubisoft has only shifted things by a month. Alongside the typical crafting systems for weapons, you'll be jumping behind the wheel of vehicles, and exploring a typically detailed storyline. Aside from the customisable Dani, perhaps our favourite new addition are Amigos replacing "Fangs for Hire". We've already met the dog called Chorizo, and we've got to say, we're in love. Before you ask, no, this isn't a Far Cry 3 prequel and Diego isn't a young version of Michael Mando's Vaas. Well, that's what devs are telling us anyway.
Resident Evil Village
Last, but by no means least, the rotting corpse of Capcom is shuffling into its next era with the cleverly titled Resident Evil Village. The eighth main series entry is channelling some serious Resident Evil 4 vibes with its rural locale. Following in the footsteps of the acclaimed Resident Evil VII breathing new life into the long-running zombie shooter, Village is once again pumping up the horror and the shotguns.
Kicking off as a direct sequel to RE7, protagonist Ethan is back with wife Mia. A tragic turn of events and return of Chris Redfield catapult things forward as Ethan heads into gothic Europe for answers about what's going on. The announcement trailer had us suitably spooked with werewolves, vampire aristocrats, and creepy witches. There are plenty of questions swirling around the game, namely, what's going on with Chris Redfield? Capcom is taking a break from its current model of remastering older titles to deliver its most ambitious outing to date. Thankfully, we're confident Resident Evil still has the "bite" it needs.
2020 might've been one of the biggest years for gaming in living memory, but looking ahead to 2021, it's clear we're going to have start saving our pennies. With so many AAA titles just over the horizon, this is going to be a bank-busting year where we'll be mashing buttons on our shiny new consoles and souped-up PCs. Now you know what's coming, there's still the hard job of figuring out when we'll have time to play all of the above.
Images via Ubisoft | 343 Industries | Warner Bros. Montreal