The biggest games of 2021 still to come


Game on.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

If 2021 was shaping up to be a grim year for video games, E3 has breathed life back into it. Highlights of the year so far include Resident Evil Village, New Pokemon Snap, Returnal and Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, but the second half of the year was looking somewhat dry. That’s no longer the case, now that E3 is (mostly) done: We have new Metroid, Forza and Marvel games to look forward to, among others. 

Below is a list of all the big release dates for the year — but note that delays are always possible. A few games have been pushed out of 2021, including Hogwarts Legacy and Gran Turismo 7.

Nintendo

Mario is dusting off his clubs for another 18 holes. Mario Golf: Super Rush reprises the N64’s Mario Golf, and is Mario’s third sports jaunt on the Switch after Tennis and the Winter Olympics (with Sonic). Super Rush includes a promising multiplayer mode, as well as a role-playing single player mode that stars your Mii.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 is still coming along, but its a 2022 thing. In the meantime, Nintendo is reviving Skyward Sword, released in 2011 on the Wii, for the Switch. Skyward Sword HD will run at 60-frames-per-second, enjoy Amiibo support and use the Joy-Cons to control Link’s sword and shield.

Neo: The World Ends With You

Release date: July 27

WWE

The World Ends With You was a cult classic on the Nintendo DS and in July, 14 years after its initial release, the game is getting a sequel. Neo: The World Ends With You adds another dimension to the game — literally, it’s now a 3D action RPG game. It’ll be produced by Tetsuya Nomura, of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy 7 Remake fame, and will launch on both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. 

Grasshopper Manufacture

No More Heroes is a hack-and-slash game series that began all the way back in 2008 on the Wii. It’s since amassed a considerable cult following, and has enjoyed strong critical acclaim. After a COVID-19 related delay, No More Heroes 3 will release on Switch on Aug. 27.

Nintendo

WarioWare games, for those who don’t know, absolutely rule. You wouldn’t know it by watching gameplay, or indeed the launch trailer for WarioWare: Get It Together!, but the collections of microgames are always fun and often addictive. The newest game, which launches on the Switch in September, adds multiplayer for the first time. 

Bethesda

After years focusing mainly on Dishonored, developers Arkane Studios are moving onto a new IP in Deathloop. And it looks sick.

Here’s the idea: You’re an assassin trapped in a timeloop that resets after each day. In order to get out, you need to kill eight “visionaries” who are scattered around an island. The caveat is that you’ll need to do it within one timeloop. The second caveat is that, as you hunt for the eight visionaries, a rival assassin keeps herself busy by hunting you.

Deathloop will hit the PlayStation 5 and PC on September 14, with an Xbox version probably coming next year (it has timed console exclusivity for one year).

Nintendo

Metroid Prime 4 was announced four years ago — and we’ve heard pretty much nothing about it since. Fans hoped we’d get a peek at E3, but instead we got a totally different Metroid game: Metroid Dread. Rather than the first-person-shooter Prime series, Dread takes the series back to its 2D roots.

It’s not Metroid Prime 4, but it’s coming out in less than four months — and it’s sure to be good. Take the wins where you can get ’em.

Ubisoft

Originally slated for a February release, Far Cry 6 was pushed back to October.  It’s set to be the biggest, most fully featured Far Cry yet and takes place in the tropical region of Yara — loosely based on Cuba. Not only will the game launch on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X|S, PC and Google Stadia, it’ll also come to Amazon’s Luna platform. 

EA

Battlefield 2042 is the first brand-new Battlefield game since 2018’s Battlefield V, and it’s all about multiplayer. Literally: There is no single-player campaign, with the storymode, which takes place in a world destabilized by climate change, being multiplayer only. That’ll suit many franchise fans fine though, since Battlefield is mostly about online multiplayer combat, and there’ll of course be plenty of that.

Square Enix

The Avengers’ is Square Enix’s ever-evolving Marvel action game, one that’ll soon see the addition of Black Panther. The Guardians of the Galaxy is a standalone adventure that lets you play as Star-Lord — and only as Star-Lord. There’s surprisingly no multiplayer mode, but that, the developers say, will allow for a more focused, cohesive narrative experience. I’m down. 

Age of Empires IV

Release date: October 28.

Relic Entertainment

We don’t know too much about Age of Empires IV. It was announced in 2017, and we saw a glimpse of gameplay in 2019 and got  new trailers in March and later at E3. They showed the same format you know and love, but with vastly improved graphics, and showed the civilizations known to be in the game: The Chinese, the English, the French, the Mongols, the Abbassid Dynasty and the Delhi Sultanate.

The game is scheduled to hit the PC on October 28.

Microsoft Studios

Gran Turismo 7 may have been delayed to next year, but the Xbox’s big racing franchise thankfully hasn’t. Forza Horizon 5 was revealed at E3, with a trailer showing the open-world racing game’s new digs in Mexico. If you’ve played a Forza Horizon game, you already know the deal: It looks gorgeous, and it’s probably going to play extremely well.

Forza Horizon 5 will launch not only on Xbox Series X|S, but also Xbox One and PC.

Grand Theft Auto V

Release date: November 11.

Take-Two Interactive

Grand Theft Auto V continues to be a best-selling game on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and on November 11 it’s coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Note: You can play the game now on Game Pass if you own an Xbox One or Series X|S. 

Games coming TBA 2021

The following titles are slated for release this year. We’ll update this page as games get an official release date.  

The Pokemon Company

Pokemon Red and Blue got a remake on Game Boy Advance (and later on the Switch), Silver and Gold on the DS, and Ruby and Sapphire on 3DS. Pearl and Diamond, originally released on the DS in 2007, are up next.

Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are coming to Switch in “late 2021.”

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake

Release Date: 2021

Ubisoft

Remasters are cool, but remakes can be truly magical. After Shadow of the Colossus, Resident Evil 2 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake, three fantastic remakes, 2021 brings Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Originally released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2, Ubisoft is giving the platformer a full 2021 do-over. Hopefully. 

The game was originally slated for January 2021, but was then delayed to March. It’s been delayed again, but Ubsisoft hasn’t given it a new date yet. 

Price of Persia: The Sands of Time is slated to launch on PC, Xbox One and PS4. 

Warner Bros.

Lego Star Wars is back after five years. The last time we saw the franchise was with 2016’s The Force Awakens. This game seems far more ambitious: The Skywalker Saga Lego-izes all nine Star Wars films. The game was slated for an early 2021 release date, but was delayed until — we don’t exactly know when. 

Microsoft

Halo Infinite was meant to be the big thing that launched alongside the Xbox Series X|S but, after poor fan response to a preview last year, it ended up delayed until fall of 2021. The Halo name alone makes this a must-play for most Xbox owners, and developers 343 Industries are trying something new by making the multiplayer free-to-play. 

Horizon Forbidden West

Release date: 2021

Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the best games on the PlayStation 4, and its sequel is coming in 2021. Horizon Forbidden West tracks Aloy’s journey to 30th century Utah, Nevada and California as she tracks down the origins of a killer virus. Truly, a game for our times.

Horizon Forbidden West will launch on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 this year.

Read more: Most anticipated gaming laptops of 2021

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