The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S have been out for a few months now, and despite continuing supply problems, releases are starting to ramp up. April, May and June are going to be big months, but the rest of 2021 is looking promising too. Yup, there are a lot of hot games coming out this year, perhaps too many to keep track of. With that in mind, here’s a short list of games to watch out for in the next couple of months as well as one or two to keep on the long-term radar.
Release Date: April 30
Returnal follows the harrowing experiences of astronaut Selene after she crash lands on an alien planet. It doesn’t take long for her to be overwhelmed by the planets many hazards and creatures, but then something curious happens: she wakes up and crashes again. It’s the same world, but circumstances are completely different.
Based on what’s been shown so far, it looks like Returnal focuses heavily on intense combat encounters and exploration. There’s also a roguelike element thanks to the time-loop and rearranging planet mechanics. Developer Housemarque has said that players won’t have to start from zero after death, and they’ll have plenty of chances to devise new strategies and equipment combinations. There are also the curious visions Selene experiences as she journeys deeper into the planet. Perhaps there’s some deeper mystery at play here.
Release Date: May 21
Deathloop is another game based heavily around the idea of a time loop, but the approach is different. Players take on the role of Colt, an assassin who must either kill all eight of Blackreef Island’s most nefarious residents in a single day or be condemned to relive that day over and over for all eternity. Colt, however, has opportunities to retain powers and even weapons in future loops, so perhaps it’s only a matter of time.
Where Returnal has players learning to overcome new circumstances with each attempt, Deathloop appears to require something else. The island of Blackreef isn’t a chaotic, shifting place: it’s just an island. That means most characters will be following the same patterns and will react predictably to anything Colt does. It’s not about survival. Rather, it’s about learning enough about each character and their routines to engineer the perfect loop and escape. It should be an interesting challenge at the very least.
Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart
Release Date: June 11
Apart from the new weapons and funny dialogue that have become standard for every new Ratchet and Clank game, Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart is stepping things up with a new rift mechanic. As seen in the announcement trailer, rifts in space can appear all over the place and give the heroic duo new battlefield opportunities and advantages.
Insomniac has said that the new game will feature a mix of old and new locales, so perhaps fans will have a chance to see alternate-universe versions of some of their favorite planets from past games. Other than that, it’s the first Ratchet & Clank game to release since Ratchet & Clank (2016) and the first entirely new game since Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus on the PS3. It’s been a long time coming.
Release Date: TBA 2021
Another game that’s been in the works for a while, Atomic Heart definitely looks like it’ll offer players a unique adventure. Taking place in a future where the Soviet Union never collapsed, players are cast as Major P-3, and their assignment is to clean up a biological disaster of sorts. As the major explores Soviet Facility №3826, he’ll have to use everything from exotic weapons, to environmental elements and even bodily implants to pacify both biological horrors and technological terrors.
Players will have the chance to explore the unreal world of Soviet Facility №3826, uncover secrets of the past and find all manner of strange weapons even stranger components to upgrade them with. This has all the makings of a modern BioShock, so hopefully developer Mundfish can stick the landing once Atomic Heart finally releases.
Release Date: TBA 2021
There are still scant details available for Quantum Error. Developer TeamKill Media describes the game as a “cosmic-horror FPS,” and early footage has it looking like one. It seems humanity encountered some sort of alien entity and used as a means to travel through space. The trailers show several facilities located in space or on other planets, so this apparently worked well for a time. As the video shows though, that time appears to be over.
Until more is shown of the game, it’s hard to say what its hook will be beyond the hard-space setting and the mysterious circumstances that enabled mankind’s ascent into the stars. There’s a psychological aspect to it, so perhaps it’ll try to play with players’ perceptions in a manner similar to the Dead Space games. Indeed, Quantum Error isn’t looking like a must-buy at the moment, but it’s worth keeping track of over the next few months.
These aren’t the only interesting games releasing in 2021, of course. They are but a small, exciting slice out of the mass of 2021 games. Personal lists will likely vary, but gamers fortunate enough to already have a PS5 and/or Xbox Series X|S likely won’t regret picking up any of these upon release.