2021 has had a quiet first few months. Some of the most highly anticipated new games of 2021 have been delayed to the fall, which makes a few months in our upcoming PC game calendar look a little bit lean. But it's hardly empty, and you never know when a game like Valheim will come along and become a surprise smash hit.
Release date: April 30
Games optimized for PS5 are nice, but games exclusive to the PS5 are nicer. Returnal is one of the first big-budget exclusive titles to drop on a next-gen console, and its spectacular visuals reflect that distinction. It follows a space pilot (you) stuck on an alien planet and in a time loop, so it's a third-person shooter with horror and roguelike elements.
After crash-landing on this shape-shifting world, Selene must search through the barren landscape of an ancient civilization for her escape. Isolated and alone, she finds herself fighting tooth and nail for survival. Again and again, she’s defeated – forced to restart her journey every time she dies.
Brought to life by stunning visual effects, the dark beauty of the decaying world around you is packed with explosive surprises. From high stakes, bullet hell-fueled combat, to visceral twists and turns through stark and contrasting environments. You’ll explore, discover and fight your way through an unforgiving journey, where mystery stalks your every move.
Resident Evil Village
Release date: May 7 (Released as of posting)
Don't let the name fool you: Resident Evil Village is really Resident Evil 8. It's a direct sequel to Resident Evil 7's story, but developers called it "Village" to signify how the village the game takes place in is a key element. Not so subtle -- but sure to be scary. It looks to be big, too, as its developers have promised a larger game than Resident Evil 7.
Resident Evil Village (there’s an “VIII” in there) will continue that theme, looping back on the same main character with a return to first-person horror. It’s unclear whether we’ll get VR again this time around in a quest set around an entire eerie village, but it ought to be plenty spooky however we’re able to experience it.
GOD OF WAR: RAGNAROK
Release date:TBA 2021
Speaking of brilliant PlayStation 4 exclusives, Sony’s God of War reimagining was among the generation’s best games, and now it’s coming back in 2021 on PlayStation 5.
While not officially confirmed to be called God of War: Ragnarok just yet, the first teaser hints at that title and suggests that the Norse mythological event - which led to the end of days - will drive the latest brutally intense adventure. It’s also unclear whether this one will also come to PS4, unlike Horizon, which has been confirmed for both.
Release date: Autumn 2021
We should’ve been playing Halo Infinite already, and it was supposed to be the big Xbox Series X/S launch game. Instead, the above trailer showed that it could potentially use a fair bit more polish, and it wasn’t long after blowback that Microsoft and 343 Industries decided to push the shooter sequel into 2021.
Surprisingly, it’s now slated for an autumn release - but the stakes are high here. Halo 5 was a letdown and Halo Infinite is supposed to be the big boost the flagging series needs, so Microsoft can’t afford to rush it. We’ll wait… and hopefully be rewarded with an Xbox epic late in the year.
FAR CRY 6
Release Date: TBA 2021
Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito serves as an intimidating presence in every show or movie he appears in, and it looks like he’ll do just the same for Far Cry 6 as an authoritarian leader (and garbage dad) in a fictional Caribbean island nation.
You’ll play as a freedom fighter attempting to take him down, and if the series’ history is any indication, we should see an exciting open-world adventure full of unpredictable elements and beautiful sights. Ubisoft has this frustrating habit of showing potentially hot-button topics in trailers and then never really having anything meaningful to say in the actual game, so we’ll see.
FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE
Release Date: 10 June
No, it’s not the next episode of the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Instead, FFVII Remake Intergrade is an expanded next-gen upgrade, bringing the game officially to PlayStation 5 with a bevy of enhancements — better lighting, various other graphics improvements, speedy loading times — as well as fresh content.
The new content sees the addition of fan-favourite character Yuffie, who wasn’t in last year’s first chunk of Remake, starring in a new episode in which you’ll infiltrate Shinra to steal some powerful materia. Her combat looks frenzied and fun, and thankfully Intergrade will be a free upgrade to existing PS4 owners. Square Enix also announced a pair of FFVII mobile games releasing this year… so basically, Remake fever isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
KENA: BRIDGE OF SPIRITS
Release Date: 24 August
Kena: Bridge of Spirits was the first PlayStation 5 game shown that really made us say “wow,” and it was planned as a launch title but slipped into 2021. That’s fine: we’ve seen much larger titles from huge teams launch in a messy state, so this small upstart studio should take their time.
Hopefully not too long, though. This gorgeous adventure game looks like a clear Zelda homage, with some Studio Ghibli influence in the mix and a lot of charm along the way. Will it play as good as it looks? Fingers crossed on that front.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD HD
Release Date: 16 July
New Zelda! Wait, no: old Zelda! True, it’s not the Breath of the Wild 2 that many fans are feverishly anticipating, but this upgraded version of the Wii’s Skyward Sword still ought to be well worth a look this summer.
Skyward Sword got widely positive reviews when it released, but isn’t typically one you’ll find in the all-time pantheon of many fans. It might be a smoother experience on Switch, however, thanks to the option to skip the motion control swordplay, plus you’ll get upgraded graphics for this enhanced role-playing odyssey.
LIFE IS STRANGE: TRUE COLORS
Release Date: 10 September
Square Enix’s Life is Strange franchise has delivered some of the most emotionally gripping and surprisingly affecting game experiences of the past several years, and now Deck Nine - developer of the earlier Before the Storm prequel spinoff series - is stepping up to make what’s being billed as the third core game of the bunch.
Life is Strange: True Colors breaks from previous entries by being released as a single game, rather than a series of episodes, but it keeps the supernatural twist. This time, you’ll play as Alex Chen, a young woman who can feel others’ strong emotions… a skill she’ll need to find the truth when her brother mysteriously dies in a seemingly tight-knit community.
Release Date: TBA 2021
Heart Machine’s Hyper Light Drifter is one of the coolest-looking pixel games you’ll ever see in action, and now the studio seems intent on securing the 3D crown as well with Solar Ash.
As the State of Play trailer shows, however, how Solar Ash looks is probably at least as important as how the game feels in motion, with silky movement a key aspect of the experience. It looks like a blend of Gravity Rush and Journey in design, and like an absolute dream in terms of aesthetic. We’ll see this one on PlayStations and PC sometime later this year.