A video game delay is not out of the ordinary – it is expected. In 2020, The Last of Us Part II and Cyberpunk 2077 made headlines for their numerous delays. The trend continues this year with Returnal’s push to April and Outriders’ delay to 2021. Suffice to say, the release calendar is unreliable and can change on a dime. That said, Hitman 3 managed to hit its launch date, while Resident Evil: Village is on track for its May release.
Other games were announced or speculated for 2021, but the lack of information and development drama is worrisome. Ideally, the following games will release in 2021, but in all likelihood we won’t get our hands on any of them. At the end of the year, we’ll see how wrong or right these predictions are.
3. God of War Sequel
2018’s God of War reimagined the iconic series and took the gaming world by storm. It weaved a story centered around father and son while tightening the brutal combat. With its overall quality and intriguing story threads, gamers can’t wait for the next entry.
The success of God of War and the nail-biting cliffhanger ending all but confirmed a sequel, but Sony Santa Monica fell silent. Besides some cheeky teases from game director Cory Barlog, the sequel’s development is a mystery. In April of 2019, he conducted a Twitter thread about God of War’s development. The thread slyly revealed information on their next game – the first letter of each Tweet spelled out “Ragnarok is coming,” the catchphrase for the hotly anticipated sequel.
Besides various teases from Barlog, fans were left in the dark. It’s evident, though, that the God of War sequel was planned for a while. The wider gaming community was just out of the loop, at least until something official came to light.
Fortunately, they got their first glimpse of what’s coming late last year in the form of a teaser trailer. Small trickles of snow greet a black screen, and a rune appears. It is then that Kratos’ booming voice tells the audience to prepare.
The teaser ends with the words “Ragnarok is coming 2021.” When a teaser is so small, it’s unlikely the product is far along in development. God of War’s sequel is one of Sony’s most anticipated games and 2021 seems too soon for a quality release. We would rather see it delayed than rushed out for this year.
On top of that, Sony is prepared to release another first-party game towards the end of the year: Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Forbidden West. It’s unlikely for two paramount PlayStation games to release around the same time and thus risk cutting into each other’s success. Each one needs their own time to shine.
2. Overwatch 2
Fans have been clamoring for an Overwatch sequel since the official announcement in 2019. The original game put hero shooters on the map and ushered in a large Esports presence. However, the trend of minimal communication between audience and developer continues, with fans growing more anxious.
They gained some insight at Blizzcon 2019, but Blizzard was clear about its early development status. To some dismay, game director Jeff Kaplan said he had no idea when the game would be released. Blizzard went dark after the initial announcement, presumably to prepare for an in-depth look at the next BlizzCon. After a long period of silence, fans were greeted with a disappointing report from a voice actor in 2021.
The actor, Korea’s Genji, confirmed they haven’t recorded any lines and even questioned their employment. Additionally, Blizzard is hiring 43 developers for the game’s production. It looks as though Overwatch 2 saw a major shift in mid-development, and Blizzard needs help finishing the game.
As for what to expect, Overwatch 2 will feature a story mode for the first time. This announcement pleased fans who fell in love with the hero characters from the original, so much so that they’re the basis for plentiful fanfiction, cosplay, and other expressions of fan enthusiasm. Since the original game is still a popular multiplayer shooter, Overwatch 2 will act as an expansion of sorts.
While information is still limited, fans should be learning more soon. BlizzConline 2021 debuts on February 19, and Kaplan has already confirmed a certain FPS will make an appearance. With any luck, a concrete release date may well be in the cards.
1. Final Fantasy XVI
The next installment of this venerable role-playing series is coming, but not anytime soon.
Final Fantasy XVI was revealed in a lengthy trailer at the PS5 Showcase. Chocobos were shown riding into battle, as a fierce fight with a rocky Eikon ensued. The biggest surprise, and disappointment for some, was XVI’s PS5 exclusivity.
The trailer was epic in scale, but the abundance of screen time shouldn’t trick gamers. Final Fantasy games always take their sweet time and there remains no release date. Director Hiroshi Takai has said the development team is working hard, but that Final Fantasy XVI won’t be available anytime soon. That said, we expect to get more information about the game this year, pointing to a 2022 release if not later.
It’s hard to believe all the planned PS5 exclusives mentioned will come out this year. With Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart on the horizon, PlayStation would have a stacked year. It seems more viable from a business and console longevity standpoint to pace out Sony’s exclusives.
Other anticipated games like the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Halo: Infinite are more likely to hit 2021. Zelda’s 35th anniversary and Switch Pro rumors line up well with the Breath of the Wild sequel, while 343 Industries is on track with Halo: Infinite development. Whatever happens, 2021 is shaping up to be a great year for games.