Feature Article

20 Biggest Games To Play In 2021 And Beyond

As we approach the end of 2020, we're looking ahead to 2021's next big games, and what they can offer.

As we predicted in last year's round-up for the most anticipated games of 2020, this year turned out to be an eventful time thanks to the launch of two next-gen consoles and some high-profile releases from developers like Nintendo, CD Projekt Red, and Valve. Still, there were plenty of surprises in store for us throughout this year, and now that we're at its end, it's time we look ahead to the games that will likely shape the year of gaming in 2021, which includes some titles that were supposed to release this year.

For our end of 2020 coverage, we want to look ahead to 2021 and its slate of games. Along with shouting out some games that you may already have on your radar, we also want to highlight others that may have gone dark for some time. These games include spotlights on games like Elden Ring, Dying Light 2, and Starfield. In addition to those games, we also include ones that have recently been revealed in 2020, planned to launch in 2021.

If you'd like to see what the biggest games of 2021 are on individual platforms, be sure to check out the features in the list below. Otherwise, read on to see the 20 biggest games to play in 2021 and beyond.

Cyberpunk 2077 (Next-Gen) -- TBD 2021 / PS5, Xbox Series X|S

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While players on PC, PS4, and Xbox One will have collectively sunk thousands of hours into CD Projekt RED's Cyberpunk 2077 by the end of this year, console players will have to wait till early 2021 for the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S editions of the game. There's already a lot of anticipation for the open-world sci-fi action-RPG, and with the release of the new editions of the game, players will be able to dive into the game looking even better with 4K and 60 frames-per-second. From the few gameplay videos we've seen, the now current-gen editions boast some significant visual and performance upgrades, and it might even entice veteran players to start a brand new adventure.

Deathloop -- May 21, 2021 / PC, PS5

Coming from Arkane Studios, Deathloop is an immersive sim where you play as Colt, an assassin tasked with killing key targets on a mysterious island to break out of the time-loop that he's trapped in. Every time you die, you'll restart the day and have to begin the process again, but you'll possess more knowledge on how best to accomplish your goals, even being able to strike down multiple targets at once. What makes this even more complicated is that you have an assassin on your tail as well--played by another player or AI--looking to stop you. Deathloop looks like a mix of Hitman and Dishonored, while also adding in the conceit of a time-travel murder mystery, and that has excited to see more. Currently, Deathloop is planned for release on May 21 on PC and PS5 as a timed console exclusive.

Elden Ring -- TBD 2021 / PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S

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Since 2019, we haven't seen or heard much about From Software's next Soulslike game, Elden Ring. Though details are still scarce, we know that it's in the vein of Dark Souls, taking place in a fractured, chaotic world--with lore written by Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin. Recently, we interviewed Xbox head Phil Spencer, who talked about his experience with the game, which gives us hope that it's on the right track. Fans of the enduring Soulslike sub-genre have been eagerly anticipating new details on the game, but so far, all they have to work off is the initial trailer. We're approaching two years since its debut, so perhaps 2021 will be the year for Elden Ring's new debut.

The Elder Scrolls VI -- TBD 2021 / PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S

Bethesda Game Studios producer Todd Howard said after the reveal of The Elder Scrolls VI at E3 2018 that the game was still a long way out, and we haven't seen or heard much about it since. The quick trailer we saw for TES VI featured sweeping shots of a landscape, far away from Skyrim's icy tundra or the dense forests of Cyrodiil from Oblivion. Though all eyes are fixed on Starfield, Bethesda's next game and a new IP that blends an RPG with interstellar space exploration, there's still a lot of anticipation for The Elder Scrolls VI, and we might be able to see more of the game next year.

Everwild -- TBD 2021 / PC, Xbox Series X|S

In recent years, developer Rare has seen something of a creative renaissance with the rising popularity of Sea of Thieves and its new updates. But with their new IP Everwild, revealed in 2019, the developer's focus falls on exploring a world inspired by high-fantasy fiction. In a similar vein to Sea of Thieves, players can team up with others online or explore on their own in the world, where they'll interact and tame wild creatures and expand their resources to explore the further reaches in the fantasy world. The debut trailer offered a brief glimpse of the characters you'll encounter, and the wonderful-looking world you'll be exploring, which has us optimistic that Rare will be able to keep its hot streak going with this one.

Fable -- TBD 2021 / PC, Xbox Series X|S

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The original Fable trilogy was a popular action-RPG series that showed that your actions, no matter how small, can indeed have harsh and unintended consequences. As one of Microsoft's key first-party franchises, Fable garnered a faithful following within the Xbox community, and there's been an outcry for a new entry for some time. After the unfortunate cancellation of the spin-off game Fable Legends, the series was effectively put on ice until a new entry was announced from Playground Games, the team behind the Forza Horizon series. With a new team behind it, the next major game in the series will be something of a fresh start. It's been more than a decade since the last core Fable series entry, and the next game will be more of a return to the epic scale of the original trilogy. We're still in the dark about what's in store with this new entry, but we're happy that the Fable series is still alive and kicking. Here's hoping 2021 will be the time to reveal more of the plans for where the series is going next.

Far Cry 6 -- March 2021 / PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

The Far Cry series is known for its towering and threatening villains, and the next game looks to have its most intimidating antagonist yet. In Far Cry 6, the fictional island country Yara is on the brink of revolution to overthrow menacing dictator Anton Castillo, portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito--who is channeling elements of his role as Gus Fring from Breaking Bad with his performance. Unlike previous entries that hinged on the "a fish out of water" conceit, Far Cry 6 has you play as a native of Yara, who must work with the rebels to dismantle the Castillo regime. The game was initially planned for a February 2021 release, but it's been pushed back to March. Still, Far Cry 6 is one of the first major AAA games of the new year, and it'll be exciting to see how much of an improvement the next game in the franchise will be on new current-gen hardware.

Final Fantasy XVI -- TBD 2021 / PS5

One of the biggest surprise reveals of 2020 was Final Fantasy XVI. Coming to PS5 as a console exclusive, the next game in the long-running RPG series is developed by the same team behind the popular MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV. Given its surprisingly gruesome and melancholic debut trailer, it seems FFXVI's main plot will venture into some dark territory that the franchise seldom sees. Coming off the heels of the fantastic Final Fantasy VII Remake, having another full-fledged game in the series is an exciting prospect, and we're looking forward to hearing more of what's to come with FFXVI in 2021.

Untitled God of War Sequel -- TBD 2021 / PS5

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2018's God of War was a new beginning for the series, and in the two years since its release, the game has stood as one of the PS4's crowning achievements. During the June PS5 reveal stream, Sony revealed a quick tease for the sequel, which closed out with a message stating that "Ragnarok is coming," along with a 2021 release date. Though it's since been referred to as God of War: Ragnarok by fans and press, the game does not have an official title yet. The term "Ragnarok" was heavily referenced throughout the previous game, meaning the Norse world's end days. Given that the ending of God of War showed off Thor's brief appearance, the sequel will likely be upping the stakes in some extraordinary ways--which will be no small feat.

Gotham Knights -- TBD 2021 / PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

The next Batman game coming from WB Montreal moves away from the Batman Arkham games' storyline for something new. In Gotham Knights, you play as the remaining defenders of Gotham City--Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, and Red Hood--after the apparent death of Batman. While it takes some gameplay cues from the Batman Arkham series, Gotham Knights move closer to the realm of an action-RPG, focusing on building up your crew of crime fighters and decking them out with new gear. While on the surface, it looks like it's moving into the same Destiny-like territory as Marvel's Avengers, the core gameplay is still rooted in the classic Arkham-style gameplay, but with more of a focus on co-op play. Set for release sometime in 2021, we should expect to see more info on what's to come with Gotham Knights in the months ahead.

Gran Turismo 7 -- TBD 2021 / PS5

The Gran Turismo series still stands as one of Sony's more iconic PlayStation franchises. From its earliest release on the PS1 to the release of GT6 on the PS4, the sim-racing franchise appealed to gearheads and casual racing fans alike. The series has made a name for itself by offering realistic vehicle performance, high-end customization, and numerous tracks on which to take each of its vast selection of cars out for a spin. The Gran Turismo series is widely regarded as the gold standard for sim-racing, and with Gran Turismo 7 planned for a 2021 release, we're anxiously anticipating more details on how the racing series will fare on new hardware.

Halo Infinite -- TBD 2021 / Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One

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343 Industries' Halo Infinite was originally planned as a launch title for the Xbox Series X|S, but it was pushed back to 2021 following the gameplay debut at the Xbox Games Showcase. As the latest entry in Microsoft's flagship shooter franchise, Infinite is something of a return to the series' roots, focusing on Master Chief and his battle across ancient ring worlds filled with hostile Covenant forces. The reasoning for the delay was to refine the quality of the game, which is still shaping up to be an ambitious step forward for the series. While the general response to the gameplay demo was a bit polarizing, there is still a lot of promise with Halo Infinite. The next showing for the game stands as an opportunity for Microsoft to exhibit its true scope and presentation, and we hope that it will prove to be a more show stopping reveal than it last.

Hitman 3 -- January 20, 2021 / PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

The recent games in the Hitman franchise have been about expanding the scope of Agent 47's campaign to take down the world's worst villains and operatives who have a checkered past. With Hitman 3, IO Interactive continues the evolving, games-as-a-service approach by presenting the current Hitman trilogy's most complete experience. Launching on January 20, 2021, Hitman 3 not only allows players who own Hitman 1 and 2 to import their maps into the third game, adding new gameplay innovations and visuals upgrades to past levels, but it also includes total virtual reality support for every mission--a first for the series. At launch next year, Hitman 3 will already be the most comprehensive game of the series, and it will continue to grow from there with new updates and levels.

Horizon: Forbidden West -- TBD 2021 / PS4, PS5

One of the final games to be revealed during the PS5 reveal stream was Horizon: Forbidden West, the sequel to Guerrilla Games' open-world post-apocalyptic game from 2017. In the a direct sequel, we find Aloy heading to the west coast to explore the ruins of what was once known as California to stop the spread of a deadly disease. While Forbidden West will also be available on PS4, the developers have stated that the sequel takes advantage of the PS5's advanced processing and loading power to render more detailed environments and allow for even quicker fast-travel times. This will no doubt make the exploration of its visually stunning world all the more engaging. Currently, Horizon: Forbidden West is set to launch sometime in 2021.

Hogwarts Legacy -- TBD 2021 / PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

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The Harry Potter franchise has been a staple of the modern fantasy-fiction discourse since its debut in the late 1990s. Though the franchise has seen a whole set of tie-in experiences, they've always been connected to the live-action films. Hogwarts Legacy marks the first time for a game where players will be able to dive into the Wizarding World as an original character and start their academic career at the school for budding wizards. Though we've only seen the debut trailer, we know Hogwarts Legacy will have you explore a fully open-world Hogwarts and the surrounding environments, while interacting with students and professors. The game's 2021 release window means we'll likely be seeing more of this game sooner than we think.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 -- TBD 2021 / Nintendo Switch

It's been more than three years since the launch of The Legend of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and it's still a regular topic in the discourse of open-world games. It represented a breakthrough for the Zelda franchise that not only turned the series into a proper open-world game, but managed to inspire other imitators that sought to blend its inspired immersive sim-style gameplay with the spirit of adventure. Last year, we saw a quick tease for the direct sequel to Breath of the Wild, which showed off Link and Princess Zelda exploring a dense underground cavern that hides a dark secret. Though we haven't seen the game since its reveal at E3 2019, we're still hoping that 2021 will be the year that Breath of the Wild 2 will have its re-reveal.

New Mass Effect

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That's right; a new Mass Effect is coming. Announced at The Game Awards 2020, the upcoming entry in the fan-favorite series still seems to be early in development, with Bioware at the helm. With only a teaser to go by, very little is known about the game. Many speculate that it may more directly tie into the original trilogy than continue from where Mass Effect: Andromeda left off. No release date has been confirmed, but if it's anything like the Dragon Age game in development, then it's likely still a while out.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart -- TBD 2021 / PS5

The Ratchet & Clank series has been a staple of the PlayStation brand since 2002, and it's become one of developer Insomniac's most iconic and long-running franchises. The next game in the series is Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, which brings the galaxy traveling duo and their arsenal of weapons into a new adventure revolving around inter-dimensional travel. During the reveal at the June PS5 online event, we got to some dimension-hopping come into play, which is a gameplay mechanic powered by the PS5's advanced loading and processing capabilities. And with the tease of an alternate-dimension version of Ratchet, it looks as though there will be a lot more going on with the dimensional travel in this adventure that it appears.

Resident Evil 8: Village -- TBD 2021 / PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S

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Resident Evil 7 was a fantastic fresh start for the franchise, which scaled back the over-the-top action of previous games, made the move to a more intimate and terrifying first-person perspective, and brought Resident Evil back to its roots as a survival horror game. If RE7 was drawing inspiration from the classic Resident Evil trilogy, then Resident Evil 8: Village looks to reflect its shift into heavily atmospheric action-horror, similar to that of Resident Evil 4. From the game's reveal, we saw that returning protagonist Ethan finds himself in deep conflict with Chris Redfield, and he travels to an isolated European village in pursuit. But in typical RE fashion, the setting has its dark secrets and some unsettling horrors that lie within. Though we've only seen a little gameplay so far, RE8 looks to carry on with the same tone that its predecessor hit, while upping the stakes even more. We can't wait to see more of the game, which is still on track for release sometime in 2021.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 -- TBD 2021 / PC, Xbox Series X|S

Ninja Theory's stunning narrative-based action game, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, is getting a sequel, and it'll debut on Microsoft's new Xbox Series X|S platforms. Though we are still in the dark about the story of Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, the fantastic debut trailer revealed last year shows off the returning protagonist in a mysterious new land, filled with beings that look to be on the hunt for her. One of the most significant elements of the original game was its empathetic portrayal of characters struggling with mental illness. That internal struggle that Senua has looks to be the focal point in the sequel, and we hope that 2021 will have more to show from the sequel to Ninja Theory's most impactful games.

Starfield -- TBD 2021 / PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S

While Bethesda Game Studios is commonly known for the modern Fallout series and The Elder Scrolls franchise, its next game is the anticipated and still-enigmatic new IP Starfield. Officially revealed during E3 2018, Starfield brings the familiar Bethesda-style RPG gameplay to deep-space, focusing on interstellar space travel. While the trailer was a great mood piece, not much else is known about the game. In the nearly three years since its debut, we feel that 2021 is the right time to re-debut the game, and with Microsoft now in the ownership of Bethesda, we might see the game on an even bigger stage for its next showing.

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