2021 is set to mark important anniversaries for a number of popular titles from the last few decades of video games. Perhaps hitting such a big number is enough to bring us some sort of revival or sequel, but we’ll probably have to wait months before hearing anything. And since there has yet to be anything announced from the following, this list could possibly tease what’s yet to come. Take a look at some iconic games celebrating big in the new year.
Ultima – 40 years old (June 1981)
One of the original fantasy RPG titles is Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness which came out for various computer systems before launching into a series with a dozen or so entries. Even more fans came aboard with the release of Ultima Online, a successful MMORPG in 1997. The most recent installment appeared in the form of a mobile title in 2013 that didn’t fair well. So, with the series’ 40th anniversary taking place in 2021 we would love to see some sort of announcement come out. Whether a teaser of brand new MMORPG, new generation console releases, or something on a smaller scale to keep longtime fans engaged, this could become the ultimate year for Ultima.
Kid Icarus – 35 years old (December 19, 1986)
Shooting arrows at monsters was a good time back when Kid Icarus first released on the NES along with a sequel on the Game Boy. It took many years, however, before Pit was back in the spotlight and thanks to his selection for the Super Smash Bros. Brawl roster, some interest was gained in the character but an official entry to the series wasn’t released until 2012’s Kid Icarus: Uprising on the 3DS and there has been nothing ever since. Now with Pit popping up in a few titles within the last decade, it’s truly time for him to gain a brand new release. We can only hope Nintendo is figuring out a Switch game packed with cool features for Pit to appear. Let’s pray to the heavens we get news for more Kid Icarus in the near future.
Sonic the Hedgehog – 30 years old (June 23, 1991)
What more can we say about one of the most iconic video game characters of all time? Sonic the Hedgehog zoomed onto the Sega Genesis back in the day to amazing success with speedy gameplay and quite a bit of attitude. There have been a couple of successful sequels and an array of spin-offs and new takes since. Many are aware of the lull of quality titles during the last two decades, but a huge anniversary like this should be cause for celebration. After a popular feature film and an upcoming animated series, a new Sonic game is exactly what fans need for 2021. Get Sonic back to his roots running through level after level, there will be no slowing him down during this year.
Metal Slug – 25 years old (April 19, 1996)
Runnin’ and gunnin’ in Metal Slug was a huge joy back on the Neo Geo and in arcades. It had the right mixture of humor, action, platforming and explosions, but there hasn’t been a release in the series for over a decade and that was a remake. There was also a multiplayer online game in South Korea that ended support in 2013. So in 2021 it would make for a thrilling comeback for Metal Slug to release either a new entry or way to play. Perhaps something like VR or more online options including a battle royal mode. We just want Metal Slug to start picking up the pace with more enjoyable content.
Max Payne – 20 years old (July 23, 2001)
Edgy, noir-style titles have a special place in the heart of gamers and Max Payne is likely at the top of genre. The Max Payne series kicked off a couple of decades ago and the most recent release came in 2012 with all of them receiving great ratings (the same can’t be said for its movie adaptation). Max seems to have retired from the force in the third installment but there could always be some reason he gets pulled back into action. He would be older now, though could probably still show off those bullet time moves if needed, but the story would likely reflect his knowledge from over the years as opposed to his combat skills. It would be a more story and character driven making it a different entry, but one longtime fans could appreciate. With series like Hitman and Perfect Dark, both from the same era, getting new releases, maybe it’s time for Payne to bring the pain once again.
Ico – 20 years old (September 24, 2001)
One of the most visually stunning titles of all time is having a big moment in the new year. Ico has been highly regarded as a masterpiece and serves as influential inspiration for many video games that came after. With a beloved game like this, there’s no need to mess with its perfection by adding a sequel, prequel or spin-off (though any of those would surely be welcomed). Most recently it did receive an HD remaster about a decade ago. Ico deserves celebration for its 20th anniversary, but if anything it should at least receive a PS5 upgrade. Adding this title to a new console can solidify its legacy even further.
Ōkami – 15 years old (April 20, 2006)
Speaking of influential, artistic masterpieces, we have another with Ōkami. You play as a goddess in the form of wolf who uses a brush to attack enemies and interact with the environment. It received such high praise upon release for its style and gameplay earning numerous awards and even an HD version several years later. Developers do have a want and some ideas for a sequel which could make for perfect timing when celebrating its 15th anniversary in April 2021. With so many dedicated fans and equally determined developers, it may be likely we see a new installment to Ōkami.
Bastion – 10 years old (July 20, 2011)
With a debut title receiving praise for its gameplay, story, music and more, Supergiant Games was instantly put on the map with Bastion. It truly tapped into a fantastical world full of whimsical style many have enjoyed playing through. A sequel may be tough to come up with, not that it’s impossible, but like many already wonderful games it just wouldn’t need one. Perhaps a re-release on new consoles with upgraded looks and additional features or content would be just enough for the milestone decade. Plus, with the developer’s huge success in 2020 with Hades, there’s going to be a ton of new fans looking forward to more of anything Supergiant Games puts out.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – 10 years old (November 11, 2011)
It’s hard to believe a game as huge and popular as Skyrim is already a decade old. The game has made tremendous contributions not only to the game industry in terms of its expansive world and storytelling, but to culture with its art direction, epic scores and of course so many memes. Skyrim recently made its way to the Switch a couple of years ago, so what’s left for such a monumental title to do? Well, the Elder Scrolls series is still being worked on with a new installment currently in development, but there’s bound to be something for Skyrim to celebrate. It will surely arrive on PS5 and Xbox Series X with upgraded visuals but maybe some sort of 10 year collector’s edition will have dedicated fans excited. Skyrim has been a favorite for so long that it doesn’t show signs of slowing down; not even an arrow to its knee can make it stop.
Stardew Valley – 5 years old (February 26, 2016)
With a charming aesthetic, humble gameplay and tons of simulated RPG joy, it’s no wonder Stardew Valley has sold millions of copies in just a few years. Many fans continue playing and much of it is thanks to constant updates and added features. So, if it’s already receiving this level of support there may not be a need for a sequel. Perhaps in celebration of its anniversary a spin-off of some sort gets announced or a truly gigantic update is coming. It’s hard to tell but there’s got to be something fun on the way, even a huge community event to show how much the fans love playing this game since release or a behind-the-scenes documentary. It’s truly a special title that makes players feel at home and should be enjoyed for even more years to come.
There are many video games that have been released over the decades. Obviously, plenty of others are celebrating some big moments in 2021, but we couldn’t fit them all. Comment below with some of your all-time favorites you wish to see make a comeback in the new year.