While the fallout from 'Cyberpunk 2077' might have some people reevaluating game hype, we still can't help ourselves looking forward to 2021.
While television and movies may have had their production schedules impacted and release dates have evaporated, gaming appears to be more or less on the same track as before - with one or two exceptions.
With that in mind, here's a selection of games we're eager to get our mits on in 2021.
With a release date set for January 20th, the third game in the rebooted 'Hitman' trilogy is looking as slick and polished as ever. This time around, the developers have gone for something much darker and mature. Not only that, the game also has the ability to import your progress from the last two games, as well as levels from the two previous games as well.
'Mass Effect: Legendary Edition'
Interestingly enough, 'Mass Effect: Legendary Edition' has been described as neither a reboot nor a remaster. It's almost as if it's just a graphics update. Indeed, BioWare are stating that the intent is "not to remake or reimagine the original games, but to modernize the experience so that fans and new players can experience the original work in its best possible form." Given the huge leaps and bounds that gaming graphics have come on since 'Mass Effect' was first released in 2007, seeing the likes of the Normandy and the Citadel in full 1080P, HDR driven, ray-traced glory is going to be special. No release date has been set as of yet, however early indicators seem to suggest it'll be this quarter.
'Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2'
Footage that debuted at Gamescom last year did, admittedly, look gorgeous but came with a certain amount of reticence. For one, it looked empty and the frame rate wasn't exactly wowing the audience either. With that in mind, the development for the game has pushed the release date into 2021, and that's all the better for it. Role-playing games are under a cloud at the minute, thanks to the debacle surrounding 'Cyberpunk 2077', so here's hoping 'Bloodlines 2' doesn't fall into the same trap.
Speaking of role-playing games, 'Hogwarts Legacy' is sure to catch a lot of headlines in 2021, if it ends up being released this year. Set in the 1800s inside the school from the Wizarding World, you play as a student of one of the four houses who uncovers a secret that could threaten to tear said Wizarding World apart. So far, it's been hard to tell exactly what the game will be like as the developers being the game have no track record in role-playing games. All that said, the fact that it's a current-gen RPG with Wizarding World attached is enough to get people's attention.
Yes, it's the cat game announced at the PS5 Reveal. So far, 'Stray' has captured people's imagination for a number of reasons. It looks quite unlike any game that's been out before. Moreover, what would a game be like when it's told from this perspective? Obviously, you can't fight, then is it just like a convoluted platformer? If so, is it along the lines of 'Unravel', another PlayStation exclusive? Cat-yarn parallels aside, this looks gorgeous. Just look at the teaser trailer.
The concept behind 'Deathloop' is an intriguing one all on its own, but couple that with the Swinging Sixties aesthetic, the groovy animation style, and you've got something very promising. 'Dishonored' developers Arkane Lyon rarely disappoint, so here's hoping 'Deathloop' will be more than just a splashy trailer.
'Far Cry 6'
Returning to a tropical setting and taking a big page out of 'Narcos', the latest 'Far Cry' game has expanded the map to be the biggest in the franchise's history. Not only that, Giancarlo Esposito has been drafted in as the game's big bad, and the game's weapons system has been updated to include makeshift weapons you can piece together on the fly.
While 'Halo Infinite' didn't make the release window for the Xbox Series X/S, there's still quite a weight of expectation on it. For one, the visual showcase of the game went down like a lead balloon, and the rumours suggesting that the game's development was heavily outsourced also has question marks over the game. Still, 'Halo' has always been a solidly entertaining game, so the hope is there for 'Halo Infinite'.
'Horizon Forbidden West'
When 'Horizon Zero Dawn' crashed onto the scene in 2017, its sense of scope and depth was not something that had been seen in years. The game really was beautiful to experience, and with 'Horizon Forbidden West' taking full advantage of the PS5's graphics processors, solid-state storage, and everything else, it's going to be a feast for the eyes when it launches in the third quarter of 2021.
While 'The Outer Worlds' might not have been everything we hoped it would be, there was still more than enough to show that Obsidian were making progress and building on their already strong reputation. If 'The Outer Worlds' was to 'Fallout: New Vegas', then the hope is 'Avowed' is along the same lines as 'Skyrim'. No firm release date has been set, so odds are this may not even make it into the 2021 release calendar. In fact, all that's known so far is that it's an Xbox and Windows exclusive.
'Grand Theft Auto VI'
We're probably tempting fate here, but the fact is that 'Grand Theft Auto VI' has to be - HAS TO BE - in development at the moment. Rockstar have stated in the past that they prefer not to announce games until there's a clear release date set with at least a three-month wait. 'Grand Theft Auto V' is now eight years old, and there's paid DLC still being made for it. Surely it's time enough to move on, and release the next chapter?