Feature Article

The Biggest PC Games To Play In 2021 And Beyond

PC gaming looks to have a strong future with a roster of exciting multiplatform games and a few exclusives.

Despite the new generation of consoles, PC remains its own unique gaming platform that can provide experiences you might not be able to find on other systems while also offering a place to play multiplatform games at their best. PC's seemingly infinite backlog of games makes it a beast of a platform, and there's just as much to look forward to in 2021 and beyond.

It is exciting that PC gamers have options for even more powerful video cards with Nvidia's RTX 30-series and AMD's RX 6000-series (if you can find them), providing more graphical horsepower than ever before and new features like ray tracing and AI-driven supersampling. But while PC pushes innovation in graphics and performance, what matters most is the games. And if you need a cheat sheet for what's in your PC gaming future, and details on why you should be excited for each of these upcoming titles, we have you covered.

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 biggest PC games to play in 2021 and beyond.

Avowed

One of the games that developer Obsidian Entertainment has up its sleeve is Avowed, and it's intriguing considering the studio's track record (Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds). Avowed looks to be the first big RPG from Obsidian under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella, but all we know so far comes from the short teaser trailer shown off during the Xbox showcase from July 2020, which revealed it as a new first-person fantasy RPG set in the Pillars of Eternity universe.

Back 4 Blood

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Back 4 Blood is a spiritual successor to the cult-favorite Left 4 Dead series. Developed by Turtle Rock Studios--the developer responsible for creating Left 4 Dead--this new game will feature the classic cooperative zombie shooting that fans had come to love about Valve's long-dormant series. Aside from the return of the series' familiar formula, a major innovation introduced in Back 4 Blood is the addition of a card mechanic. When players start a level, they must build up a deck of cards that modify their character's traits as they progress and mow down undead hordes. Back 4 Blood is scheduled to arrive for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and PC on June 22.

Deathloop

Arkane Studios has an impressive history with the likes of Dishonored and Prey, and it looks to be taking many of those concepts into something brand new with Deathloop. It's a first-person action/shooter game with a slick art style, wild abilities to seek and assassinate targets, and a mind-bending concept of being stuck in time loops. Deathloop is set to launch on PS5 and PC in May.

Dying Light 2

It seems like Dying Light 2 has been in conversations about anticipated games each year since its reveal at E3 2018, and after a few delays that pushed it out of its 2020 release window, here we are again. While it's still intended to bring that first-person action and parkour experience from the previous game, Dying Light 2 is also said to have a bigger narrative focus that will dynamically impact the state of the game's world and cast of supporting characters therin.

Elden Ring

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Folks keep asking, "Where is Elden Ring?" But nobody stops to ask, "How is Elden Ring?" Hi, From Software, may we please get a crumb of the ring of eld? If you don't know, Elden Ring is the upcoming action-RPG from the Soulsborne creators but it's set in an original fantasy world co-created by A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin--what a wild collaboration.

Everwild

Everwild is a brand-new IP from Rare, and looks to be an adventurous game set in an expansive outdoors with a stunning art style. While we don't know exactly what to expect from Everwild, it seems like a marriage between the natural and supernatural world with interactions revolving around wildlife and your party of four, which is teased in its reveal trailer.

Fable

There is very little we know about the new Fable right now, but at least we know it's real. Its reveal concluded the Xbox Showcase back in July 2020 and confirmed that developer Playground Games is behind the project. Fable is an RPG series known for its take on choice and consequence, and how they affect the way your character looks, grows, and is perceived in the game world. It's exciting to think about what Fable could be in this new generation.

Far Cry 6

Ubisoft's marquee open-world FPS series is going to the fictional island of Yara, which closely resembles Cuba during a revolutionary part of its history. Far Cry 6 is said to emphasize guerilla warfare as you try to overthrow a tyrannical government led by main villain Anton Castillo (played by actor Giancarlo Esposito). After a delay, it's now set to launch on all major platforms sometime in mid-2021.

Final Fantasy XIV's Next Expansion

Square Enix's top-tier MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV keeps getting better and better with each expansion and update. And the team behind FFXIV has been on schedule for one expansion every two years. December's 5.4 update sows the seeds for what's next in the story, too. With a special event scheduled for February 2021, it's likely that the new expansion will be revealed then, and if the past is any indication, it could launch by the end of 2021.

Ghostwire: Tokyo

Ghostwire: Tokyo is a bit different from what we've come to expect from developer Shinji Mikami and Tango Gameworks. After two entries in The Evil Within, it seems the studio is still going for a supernatural concept, but now in a first-person game with a more stylized action focus. Spirits haunt Tokyo and you'll have to fight them with what's described as "karate meets magic."

Gotham Knights

Who's going to protect Gotham City without Batman around? Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin, of course. And in an open-world action RPG called Gotham Knights, no less. The game can be played solo or in two-player co-op with what's said to be a seamless drop-in-and-out system. The story will be separate from the existing Batman: Arkham series, though. Gotham Knights' main story will be about the rise of the Bat family following Batman's apparent death, and their conflict with the Gotham City's rogues' gallery, which includes the infamous Court of Owls.

Guilty Gear Strive

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Guilty Gear never ceases to impress from a visual and art direction standpoint, especially with its stunning take on 2D anime-inspired art pressed against 3D environments and camera cuts in Guilty Gear Xrd. Somehow, Guilty Gear Strive pushes it forward with refined art, stages, and transitions. But it's also a return for the rad fighting game series with new and familiar characters. We've had hands-on time with it in preview form and it's the fighting game you'll want to look out for in 2021.

Halo Infinite

Halo Infinite is, of course, one of the most anticipated games of 2021, considering Halo's status as Microsoft's marquee franchise. But this upcoming entry has been through a few ups and downs. It was originally slated as an Xbox Series X|S launch game (simultaneously releasing on Xbox One and PC), but was pushed into 2021 shortly after its first full gameplay reveal and is now slated for Fall 2021. It's taking on a more open structure with its campaign, with a multiplayer component that'll be free-to-play. Notably, it will be the first-ever core Halo game to launch for PC on day one.

Hitman 3

Soon, we'll be back in the world of assassination for the third entry in the Hitman reboot series. The two previous entries set a new standard for the franchise by focusing on the stealth-action and spying within expertly designed sandbox levels. Hitman 3 is said to be darker and more serious in tone this time around. There will also be PSVR compatibility, which is wild to think about for a Hitman game. For PC specifically, IO has outlined how it's optimizing for the platform.

Hogwarts Legacy

Hogwarts Legacy is the much-anticipated action RPG set in the Harry Potter universe, but in this adventure in the Wizarding World, we don't need Harry. The story takes place in the late 1800s, but all the things you know and love about the franchise are still here: spells, potions, magical beasts, and the house rivalries of Hogwarts. J.K. Rowling isn't directly involved in the project--take that for what you will.

Humankind

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One of the few high-profile PC exclusives coming in 2021 is Humankind, which is a 4X strategy game similar to the Civilization franchise. Humankind is being developed by Amplitude Studios, which did the Endless Space series, and seems to be trying different things compared to Civ. It introduces different victory conditions and an emphasis on how civilizations develop over the ages, rather than a specific end-goal.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Kena: Bridge of Spirits looks to be a whimsical action-adventure game starring a young girl who can guide spirits and use magical abilities in a world influenced by East and Southeast Asian locations. You might get the impression of Pixar-esque art style in Kena, and its a credit to indie developer Ember Lab and a Vietnamese art studio called Sparx. It was revealed during a PS5 showcase but is coming to PC, too.

Kerbal Space Program 2

The original game was a wild space flight and aerospace engineering simulation with many daunting systems and mechanics and a lighthearted concept of sending Kerbals to space. Kerbal Space Program 2 is said to emphasize tutorialization to help players get into its intricate gameplay. It was recently announced that the game was being pushed to 2022, however.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

The Lego Star Wars games always seem to hit a nice spot of lighthearted fun while retelling the events of the Star Wars universe. However, The Skywalker Saga will capture the events from all nine mainline movies, which seems wildly ambitious, especially because this isn't a remaster of the previous Lego Star Wars games that covered Episodes I through VI. It's set to launch in Spring 2021 on all major platforms.

Little Nightmares 2

This sequel to the horror puzzle-platformer Little Nightmares picks up right where the story left off, but now with two characters in the mix: the returning main protagonist Six and newcomer Mono, a boy with a paper bag for a head. However, Six will be an AI-controlled character who guides Mono along the way. You can read more in our hands-on Little Nightmares II preview.

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.

Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139…

With the success and critical acclaim of Nier: Automata, it's likely that it made a ton of new fans who haven't played the original Nier from 2010. Thankfully, we'll get to experience that game in a full-on remake with Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139… and we're in for a wild Yoko Taro trip. It'll feature a revamped combat system, new music, and new art while retelling the original Nier story.

Oddworld: Soulstorm

Oddworld: Soulstorm marks a return for the long-running series and sticks to its roots as a 2D side-scrolling puzzle platformer. But it has a modern-day look thanks to detailed 3D environments as a backdrop to main character Abe's new adventure. It's set for release sometime in 2021 for PC, PlayStation 4|5, and Switch.

Persona 5 Strikers

Persona 5 Strikers (the western version of Persona 5 Scramble) was revealed to launch in February 2021. What's more surprising is that it's also coming to PC via Steam. This game is a continuation of the events after the original Persona 5 featuring the main cast of the Phantom Thieves and a few new faces, but with an action combat system similar to what we've seen in Dynasty Warriors and Hyrule Warriors. Many elements of the Persona games are woven into the combat gameplay, and the social simulation aspects are a part of the experience, too.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time first came out in 2003 and turned the series into a 3D action platformer. In a way, it also established the framework for parkour gameplay elements we've seen throughout Ubisoft's games since then. The remake was shown in action through its reveal trailer and was just recently pushed slightly back to March 2021.

Psychonauts 2

It feels like Psychonauts 2 has been talked about for a very long time, given its announcement in 2015 and crowdfunding run in 2016. But after a number of delays, 2021 is likely the year we'll see it release. We saw it in action during E3 2019 with a live gameplay demo that showed off Raz's new story and combat abilities, and the types of puzzles and trippy environments we'll navigate.

Project Athia

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Little is known about Project Athia, but it is a brand-new action-adventure IP out of Square Enix. Judging from its reveal trailer, the main character seems to be in a foreign fantasy world that features vast mountain ranges in the sky and a broken world below. She has traversal and supernatural abilities to fight monsters, and a dragon shows up. Wild.

Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village is picking up where Resident Evil 7 left off, not just in terms of narrative, but also in gameplay concept. The franchise's shift to first-person survival horror and action was met with critical acclaim, and with two solid remakes since then, it's exciting to see Capcom build on what Resident Evil 7 started.

Ruined King: A League of Legends Story

Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is a single-player turn-based RPG that's also a narrative-focused take on the League of Legends universe. In the reveal trailer, you see several well-known Champions from League of Legends in a new context for the game world of Runeterra.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 has been slowly teased, at first in 2018 with just a website that had "2021" below the title, and most recently with a cinematic trailer during the Xbox Showcase. Much like the rest of the series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 takes place in the Nuclear Exclusion Zone (or "The Zone") in radiated Chernobyl, but supernatural elements lurk about to create a horror-like atmosphere. It's said to have one of the biggest open worlds ever in games, which sounds pretty daunting to explore and ambitious for the first-person action franchise.

Scorn

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Scorn is an Xbox Series X|S and PC exclusive and looks like a grotesque horror FPS. We got to see gameplay of Scorn, and its environments are like a mix of gothic structures inside of a monster's body with mutant flesh hanging on the walls and creatures used as tools for environmental puzzles. Big H.R. Giger vibes.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade II

Senua's Saga: Hellblade II continues the harrowing journey of the titular protagonist that started in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. Although we don't know much about the next of this sequel, it was revealed alongside the Xbox Series X in 2019 with a cinematic trailer, and it's one of the major upcoming games from Ninja Theory, which is now under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella.

Starfield

One of the big hitters in development at Bethesda is Starfield, which seems to be sci-fi space-themed take on the studio's RPGs. Not much, if anything, is known about Starfield gameplay-wise other than it's said to have a major game engine overhaul. Todd Howard has spoken about it in vague terms, too, and mentioned we'll see it before The Elder Scrolls VI.

The Elder Scrolls VI

All we know about The Elder Scrolls VI is that it's real and it's being worked on. We got a short teaser trailer with a title, and that's it. Here we are patiently waiting. Maybe we'll get another Skyrim remaster for new-gen consoles and PC in the meantime.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

Listen, I'm not sure who wanted a Lord of the Rings game starring Gollum, but we'll give it a chance, of course. If you check the Steam page, the release date is marked as "Lurking until the time is right." We respect that.

The Medium

Bloober Team is known for its horror-themed games such as Layers of Fear, Observer, and most recently The Blair Witch. And it seems that its latest, The Medium, is an ambitious Xbox and PC title that follows an investigator who can instantly switch between realms to solve puzzles and mysteries.

Unknown 9: Awakening

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Unknown 9: Awakening was revealed at Gamescom 2020 with a trailer that showed kids in what looked to be a South Asian setting and a girl being bullied, before she uses her time-stopping powers to fend off others. And that seems to be just one piece of a larger supernatural story, as there are other characters shown before the trailer concluded. It's coming to PC and new-gen consoles but no release date has been set.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is such a fascinating concept considering the cult status of the original games from 2000 and 2004. It's a first-person RPG set in the same World of Darkness universe as its tabletop RPG source material, but in a modern-day Seattle, and it looks to build on what the Bloodlines did in 2004.

Most Anticipated Games of 2021
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Most Anticipated Games of 2021

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Michael Higham

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Most Anticipated Games of 2021

Most Anticipated Games of 2021
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