The rest of the 2021 game is taking shape
A cascade of gaming announcements over the past week has shown that the rest of 2021 could be lighter in big releases than the norm, but it won’t be sterile.
Why is this important: The impact of COVID on the gaming industry has hit more in 2021 than in 2020, as production schedules have been delayed due to the challenge of working from home and, of course, human survival thoroughly.
Between the lines: All of these E3 conferences have established key points.
- Microsoft’s one-year gaming drought is probably over: The company will release an Xbox port of “Flight Simulator” in July, the cross-platform “Psychonauts 2” in August, a new racing game “Forza Horizon” in November and “Halo Infinite” during the holiday season.
- Nintendo is more prolific than ever: After shedding light on releases in late 2020, the Switch maker is back at a monthly rate with five notable releases from October through December.
- But a lot of companies are going lighter: EA is skipping “Need for Speed” this fall to focus on October’s “Battlefield 2042”. Aside from a possible “Lego Star Wars” release, Warner Bros. has suspended its biggest house games until 2022 or later.
Some unknowns remain, including how next-gen console versions of some of the greatest games in history – “The Witcher 3” and “GTA V” – will be this fall. Other question marks:
- 2021 editions of the annual pillars has yet to be revealed. Activision’s next “Call of Duty” and Take Two’s “NBA 2K” are expected in the fall (and would normally have been announced by now). This year’s “Madden” will be unveiled tomorrow, a month later than 2020.
- Sony Next announced in-house PlayStation exclusive, “Horizon Forbidden West” is not guaranteed this year, in part due to COVID-related production delays.
- PlayStation’s biggest fall console exclusives could turn out to be “Deathloop” and “Ghostwire: Tokyo”, both of which originate from studios now owned by Microsoft, but under timed exclusivity deals with Sony.
With my apologies to all the great indies Likely to make the rest of 2021 great, here’s a list of notable releases for the second half of the year, mostly from big publishers:
- July: “Monster Hunter Stories 2” (Switch), “Microsoft Flight Simulator” (Xbox Series), “F1 2021” (PC, console)
- August: “12 Minutes” (Xbox), “Kena Bridge of Spirits” (PC, PS), “Psychonauts 2” (PC, PS, Xbox)
- September: “Riders Republic” (PC, console), “WarioWare: Get it Together!” (Switch), “Deathloop” (PC, PS), “Rainbow Six Extraction” (PC, console), “Diablo II: Resurrected” (PC, console)
- October: “Far Cry 6” (PC, console), “Metroid Dread” (Switch), “Back 4 Blood” (PC, console), “Battlefield 2042” (PC, console), “Guardians of the Galaxy” (PC, console ), “Age of Empires IV” (PC), “Mario Party Superstars” (Switch), “Ghostwire: Tokyo” (PC, PS)
- November: “Just Dance 2022” (PC, console), “Forza Horizon 5” (PC, Xbox), “GTA V remastered” (PS5, Xbox Series), “Shin Megami Tensei” (Switch), “Pokémon Brilliant Diamond / Shining Pearl “(Switch),” Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker “(PC, PS)
- December: “Advance Wars 1 + 2” (Switch), “Dying Light 2” (PC, console)