20 most anticipated videogames of 2021 that are yet to come

Many of the highest-profile games teased during E3 2021 won’t be out until at least next year, but the next six months will still have plenty to offer for hungry gaming fans.

There is a slew of major titles coming out over the next few months on Sony and Microsoft’s young PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles, while the Nintendo Switch is still going strong with a slew of upcoming games from first and third-party developers. Meanwhile, it’s never been a better time to game on the PC, given that many upcoming PlayStation and Xbox titles will also be making their way to computers.

In the gaming medium, trailers can oftentimes be deceptive, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t cause for excitement about the litany of teasers and information drops surrounding upcoming titles. Here’s a rundown of some of the most anticipated video games (with firm release dates) that are slated to publish throughout the rest of the year.

“Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings Of Ruin” (July 9, Nintendo Switch, PC)

It’s been a banner few years for Capcom’s popular “Monster Hunter” franchise, which has received several successful installments and was adapted into a feature film last year.

While the franchise’s main games are action-oriented titles that pit players against increasingly more outlandish beasts, the “Stories” spin-off games include a heavier emphasis on the narrative, and feature turn-based battles where players can raise and fight alongside monsters, rather than just hunting them.

Image Credit: nintendo

“The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD” (July 16, Nintendo Switch)

“The Legend of Zelda” fanatics will have to wait a fair bit longer for the highly-anticipated sequel to “Breath of the Wild,” but Nintendo’s upcoming remaster of 2011’s Wii game, “Skyward Sword,” could help make the passage of time easier to endure. “Skyward Sword HD” will include an option to emulate the original game’s motion controls as well as a more traditional control scheme.

The original “Skyward Sword” featured the same style of gameplay that has made the “Zelda” series a global phenomenon, but also dug deeper into the franchise’s lore and outlined the origins of staple elements of the series, such as the kingdom of Hyrule and Link’s Master Sword.

Image Credit: Nintendo

“Neo: The World Ends With You” (July 27, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch)

2007’s “The World Ends With You” was one of the best games on the Nintendo DS. It’s taken 14 years, but Square Enix’s follow-up to the hit anime action role-playing game is nearly here. Like the original, “Neo” will take place in a fantastical version of Japan’s Shibuya district where the player is forced to participate in a deadly contest known as the Reaper’s Game.

The 2007 game featured an intricate combat system where players could mix and match various abilities while controlling two characters; “Neo” might change the setting to 3D, but its trailers suggest that the game’s myriad characters and the battles they partake in will be as frenetic and outlandish as ever.

A demo for the game is currently available on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

“Microsoft Flight Simulator” (July 27, Xbox Series X/S)

“Microsoft Flight Simulator” received acclaim from critics when the game was released on PC last year, but Xbox Series X/S owners will have the chance to strap into the pilot seat come July 27. The game, which was the first new installment in the series in 14 years, simulates the entirety of Earth and features realistic effects such as natural weather patterns and air traffic. The series, including the 2020 edition, has consistently received praise for its realistic flight controls and graphics.

Image Credit: Microsoft

“The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles” (July 27, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5*, Nintendo Switch, PC)

Objection! Capcom’s “Ace Attorney” franchise has long been a global hit, but 2015’s “The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures” and its 2017 sequel, subtitled “Resolve,” were never released outside Japan. “The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles” marks the first time both titles will hit American retailers.

Like the franchise’s other games, “Chronicles” will task players with investigating various cases, gathering evidence, and verbally duking it out with others in courtroom battles.

*The game is not specifically designed for PlayStation 5 but will work on the console via the platform’s backward compatibility with PlayStation 4.

Image Credit: PlayStation

“Hades” (August 13, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)

“Hades” already released on the Nintendo Switch and PC last year, but PlayStation and Xbox owners won’t have to wait much longer to play the game that IndieWire’s David Ehrlich lauded as “possibly the most addictive thing on this planet that won’t kill you.”

“Hades” is an indie roguelike — die once, you go back to the beginning — where players must attempt to claw their way out of Hell to reach Mount Olympus. The game received universal critical acclaim last year due to its intense hack and slash gameplay, variety of weapons and unlockable powers, and strong narrative, the latter of which is particularly rare in roguelike games.

Image Credit: Game Sauce

“Kena: Bridge of Spirits” (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC)

“Kena: Bridge of Spirits,” which was showcased at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier in the year, will center on Kena, a young spirit guide who must befriend small spirit animals while fending off larger monsters. Early gameplay trailers suggest that the game will offer a healthy mix of platforming and action and the game’s colorful (and graphically impressive) art style and promise of an affecting story could help “Kena” serve as a breath of fresh air from the grey and gritty action games that tend to populate the market.

“Kena” is the first game from Ember Lab, which was founded in 2009 as an animation studio. Ember Lab previously developed various animated commercials and shorts for entities ranging from The Coca-Cola Company to Major League Baseball.

Image Credit: PlayStation

“Psychonauts 2” (August 25, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5*, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

“Psychonauts 2,” the sequel to developer Double Fine’s acclaimed 2005 platforming game, has been in development for years, but the wait is nearly over. Players will control Raz, a young psychic with powers such as telekinesis and levitation, as they dive into platforming environments that reside in the minds of the game’s various characters.

*The game is not specifically designed for PlayStation 5 but will work on the console via the platform’s backward compatibility with PlayStation 4.

Image Credit: xbox.com

“New World” (August 31, PC)

“New World,” a new massively multiplayer online role-playing game as well as the latest in Amazon’s efforts to dominate every entertainment vertical on the planet, will release at the end of August.

Amazon’s teasers and info drop about “New World” suggest the game will feature most of the staple elements that have defined “World of Warcraft” and other long-running MMOs: Players will be able to align themselves with one of several factions and gather an expansive variety of weapons, armors, and talents to use against other players and AI-controlled antagonists. Buy a house. Conquer a dungeon. Game the player-run markets. All of the core elements of the best-selling MMOs appear to be in place. Time will tell if Amazon can coalesce all of those ingredients into a successful product.

Image Credit: Steam Powered

“WarioWare: Get It Together!” (September 10, Nintendo Switch)

The most sinister video game character who wears purple overalls with a jean jacket is back. Like the series’ prior installments, “WarioWare: Get It Together!” will offer a frantic mish-mash of over 200 “microgames” for up to four players. Squeeze toothpaste out of a tube. Dodge pooping birds. Pull armpit hair out of a statue.

It’s an… eclectic sales pitch, but the critical and commercial success of the “WarioWare” games, which began publishing in 2003 and have encompassed nine titles, speaks for itself.

Image Credit: Nintendo

“Diablo II: Resurrected” (September 23, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC)

If a video game has a lot of loot, it was probably at least partially inspired by Blizzard’s legendary “Diablo” franchise. The second installment in the series, which was originally released in 2000, is getting remastered and re-released on every major gaming platform.

The “Diablo” games revolve around the player character, who is represented by one of several classes with varying abilities, as they hack and slash their way through the underworld and constantly acquire incrementally more powerful armors and weapons.

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“Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania” (October 5, Nintendo Switch)

The “Super Monkey Ball” franchise is back! It’s the one where you play like a monkey in a ball. And the monkey is presumably super.

The first “Super Monkey Ball” game, which was released on Gamecube in 2001, was a huge hit and spawned a variety of sequels. The franchise has been dormant for several years, but Sega’s upcoming revival (which is developed by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, best known for the “Yakuza” series) aims to encapsulate the best elements of the prior games and will feature remasters of over 300 old stages.

Image Credit: theverge.com

“Far Cry 6” (October 7, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

“Far Cry 6” is the 14th game in Ubisoft’s “Far Cry” series. Like most of the other games in the franchise, “Far Cry 6” will put players in a sprawling open world where they can use a myriad of weapons and vehicles to take down a villainous regime led by a big bad.

This go-around, the big bad is portrayed by television’s favorite villain, Giancarlo Esposito. Esposito will play a fascist dictator who is attempting to train his son while dealing with a revolution.

Image Credit: Xbox

“Metroid Dread” (October 8, Nintendo Switch)

At long last, 2D “Metroid” is back. “Metroid Dread” will feature side-scrolling gameplay similar to the franchise’s classic installments, but it’s expected to incorporate a handful of stealth elements and gameplay mechanics from the franchise 2017 “Samus Returns” title.

The 2D action genre that “Metroid” helped inspire has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, but the “Metroid” franchise has been relatively dormant recently; “Dread” will mark the first original 2D “Metroid” title since 2000’s “Metroid Fusion.” Unsurprisingly, “Dread” was one of the biggest announcements to come out of E3 2021.

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“Battlefield 2042” (October 22, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

“Battlefield” is one of the biggest first-person shooter franchises on the market, and the Electronic Arts-published series is set to return in October. Whether the finished product will be able to live up to the chaos promised by its pre-release trailers is to be determined, but hey, it sure has some very impressive trailers that could appeal to multiplayer FPS fans — there’s no single-player component this time.

The “Battlefield” franchise differentiates itself from most other FPS titles on the market via its large scale; “Battlefield 2042” will support up to 128 players on the PC and the new PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

Battlefield 6
Image Credit: xbox.com

“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” (October 26, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC)

There have been surprisingly few big-budget Marvel video games in the years since the Marvel Cinematic Universe exploded in popularity, but Square Enix is aiming to remedy that issue (and capitalize on an undersaturated market) via the publisher’s upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy” game. Players will only be able to control Star-Lord/Peter Quill, but they can still give orders to the rest of the now-famous squad popularized by James Gunn’s films. The game’s trailer promises plenty of quips to go along with the combat. A lot of quips.

The game is developed by Eidos-Montréal, the studio best known for its work on the “Deus Ex” video games.

“Forza Horizon 5” (November 9, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

The “Forza” series has long been one of Microsoft’s most critically and commercially successful franchises. “Forza Horizon 5” turned plenty of heads when it was unveiled at E3 2021, and Microsoft is marketing it as one of Xbox’s biggest titles of the year.

“Forza Horizon 5” will take place in an open-world recreation of Mexico, and developer Playground Games has teased that the game will feature the largest and most environmentally diverse map of any game in the franchise. Also, graphics don’t make a game good, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that early trailers suggest that “Forza Horizon 5” will look absolutely beautiful in motion.

Image Credit: xbox.com

“Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl” (November 19, Nintendo Switch)

Yet again, the highest-grossing media franchise of all time is back to tickle the part of your brain that deals with nostalgia via “Pokémon Brilliant Diamond” and “Shining Pearl,” remakes of the franchise’s 2006 “Diamond” and “Pearl” video games. The remakes will feature a new chibi art style, but other than that, it’s shaping up to offer much of the same gameplay that has made “Pokémon” a global phenomenon. If it ain’t broke — and still has ever-increasing amounts of commercial viability — don’t fix/innovate it.

Image Credit: pokemon.com

“Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp” (December 3, Nintendo Switch)

The first two “Advance Wars” games, which were released in North America in 2001 and 2003, were surprise hits and among the few successful turn-based strategy titles that have been published by a major company. The franchise has been dormant since 2008, but Nintendo is bringing back the two games that made the franchise a stateside success via its “Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp” remake.

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“Dying Light 2 Stay Human” (December 7, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC)

Open world survival horror is a fairly saturated gaming genre, but “Dying Light 2 Stay Human” has generated plenty of interest nonetheless. The sequel to 2015’s well-received “Dying Light” promises to up the ante with regards to exploration — early trailers suggest that the playable character is a parkour expert who can fluidly move around the game’s massive city — as well as a storyline where player choice can significantly impact the game’s narrative.

Image Credit: Games radar

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