Make no mistake about it, 2020 was a banner year for the gaming industry. Already a fledgling sector as is, the COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated its popularity as people stayed locked indoors with little else to do but game on their consoles or PC.
Moreover, for a two-to-three-month period, while mainstream sports were on hold, eSports was the only attraction for bookmakers to dangle sportsbook bonuses and deals for desperate bettors. Suddenly, games like Overwatch and Counter-Strike were put on the betting forefront over the NBA or Champions League soccer.
Then, of course, new-generation versions of the Playstation and Xbox were just released a month ago, which were instant sell-outs. These updates will usher in a new era of gaming, with 2021 being up first to establish it. That’s why we’re looking ahead to the biggest video-game titles releasing within the next year. Here’s the “cream of the crop:”
The Halo series almost single-handedly put Xbox on the map. The original game, Halo: Combat Evolved, dropped in 2002 and became the console’s first runaway success that was exclusively available on the Microsoft system. Many more record-selling sequels followed.
The latest installment, the sixth in the entire franchise, will be the first to hit Xbox Series X, but will be available on PC, too. Master Chief will be the main playable character after a few games where he either didn’t appear or played second fiddle in the story arc.
No true date has been set for Halo Infinite’s release, only that it would be in late 2021. Whenever it does drop, there’s no doubt it’ll become the premier title on Xbox Series X.
God Of War: Ragnarok (working title; not official name)
While Sony’s newest Playstation 5 will be without Halo, that’s not to say the console doesn’t have its own exclusive games that’ll be must-plays in 2021. Leading that group is the latest version of God of War.
Akin to Master Chief, series main character Kratos has become a cult figure among Playstation gamers. The first God of War came out in 2005 and 11 more games have followed since — all of which on PS systems only. Details are mostly slim about the 2021 version, including its exact release date, but that’s probably added more hype to the next God of War installment.
Overwatch doesn’t have the history of Halo or God of War, but few video games are more relevant today than it. Developed by the famed Blizzard Studios, the original Overwatch took over the competitive gaming scene as soon as it launched in 2016. That moniker remains today as it’s still one of the most-followed eSports in large part to its own Overwatch League.
Overwatch 2 will build upon that legacy as it releases across all systems — PC, Playstation, Xbox, and probably even Nintendo Switch. Here again, Blizzard is keeping a tight lid on game details and leaving an exact release open-ended for 2021.
Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild 2
In the history of video games, few franchises are as beloved as the Legend of Zelda. It includes 19 entries and spans every single Nintendo console ever — from the original Nintendo to the N64 to the present-day Switch.
A direct sequel to the 2017 release, Breath of the Wild, is slotted for 2021 (no exact date here either). If it’s anything like the 2017 version, it could become one of the top-rated games in Switch’s entire history.
Resident Evil 8: Village
Capcom, makers of the Resident Evil Series, have played the nostalgia card as of late. Remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3 have hit major consoles each of the past two years.
But with Village, due out sometime next year, the series returns to its natural storyline progression. It will follow the trend of recent installments in that the game will be played from a first-person perspective, not a third-person view like the games of old.
Other honorable mentions that just missed our list include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (it’s a remake), Final Fantasy XVI, Far Cry 6, and Gran Turismo 7. Like we said at the beginning of the article, a new era of gaming will truly arrive in 2021.