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Games That Will Blow You Away In 2021 And Beyond

The next generation of consoles is coming, and with them, the next set of games that will push the boundaries of what the art form is capable of. Expect to see new entrants in stalwart franchises, like The Elder Scrolls and Metroid Prime. But developers also have a whole new opportunity to define what the next generation even stands for — and redefine themselves in the process.

From the team-up between FromSoftware and George R.R. Martin, to remakes of beloved but underrated classics, to titles long-promised (and long-silent), 2021 and beyond promise to bring us the best of what's worked before and the promise of what we haven't even thought of yet. Who knows: the next great franchise might be right in this list, next to all the big series it will soon come to eclipse. And as for those older franchises: well, who's to say that the best isn't still ahead.

Here are the biggest games we'll see in 2021 and beyond.

Hitman 3 - Jan. 20, 2021

Agent 47 makes his sneaky return in January with Hitman 3. Even better, the final game in the "World of Assassination" trilogy will serve as the biggest yet as well as a solid introduction to newcomers.

Not only will progression from previous games carry over to Hitman 3, but developer IO Interactive has also announced that the entire trilogy is playable within the latest game. There aren't a lot of details about what exactly that means (or if you'll already need to own the previous games in order to play them within Hitman 3), but it sounds like there will be a lot of killer missions to take part of.

If you're unfamiliar with the series, you play as a world-class assassin who goes by Agent 47. You are dropped into sandbox levels with an assassination target, and it's up to you to figure out how best to fulfill your objectives. Puzzling out different ways to take down a target is always a lot of fun, and the series' wry sense of humor helped balance out the grisly subject matter. Look for Hitman 3 in January on consoles, Stadia, and PC.

The Medium - Jan. 28, 2021

Fans of old-school psychological horror like Silent Hill should definitely take note of The Medium, an Xbox exclusive title coming at the beginning of 2021. Developer Bloober Team has some experience in the world of horror, having previously worked on the Layers of Fear games, Observer and Blair Witch. They look to continue building their spooky catalog with The Medium.

The Medium puts players in the role of Marianne, who can shift between the physical and spirit worlds. She is haunted by the death of her son, and she must use her abilities to help uncover the truth of what has happened. The Medium uses forced camera perspectives and shifts between first and third person views in order to offer a more cinematic experience. Bloober Team has actually been planning the title for years, but were unable to do it until the most recent generation of hardware.

The Medium features a "dual" soundtrack, corresponding to the two different realms, and even brought on famed Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka to create one of the two. Horror fans (or the others who load up a scary game then hand the controller off to watch someone else) should definitely take note of this one.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood - Feb. 4, 2021

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood comes to us from the same gaming universe as Vampire: The Masquerade, which explains the oddbird naming conventions these games have to use. Unlike the more narrative Vampire video games, Earthblood looks a bit more action-oriented.

Scratch that: it looks like a heavy metal album cover come to life.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood puts the player in the shoes of Cahal, who can switch between human, werewolf, and regular wolf forms to suit the current situation. Cahal is a protector of Earth, who is fighting against an evil entity called the Wyrm. In addition to Earthblood's intense, third person combat, there will also be stealth elements: no surprise, considering developer Cyanide is also responsible for the Styx: Master of Shadows series.

You can look forward to playing Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. As of this writing, its release date is Feb. 4, 2021. The Coronavirus has caused tons of delays in big games, however, so take that with a grain of salt. You can see the official trailer here.

Little Nightmares 2 - Feb. 11, 2021

The original Little Nightmares released to mostly positive reviews in early 2017. This platformer puts you in the shoes of a raincoat-clad child named Six who has to sneak through worlds full of monstrous beings who wish you nothing but harm. Its twisted world, unique style and impressive platforming elements made a lot of fans, so a sequel seemed only natural. Luckily, you don't have too long to wait.

Little Nightmares 2 is set to release February 11, 2021 with a new host of challenges to conquer and terrifying enemies to overcome. This sequel sees the return of Six, but she's "fading" from the world. A new hero named Mono must help Six reach the signal tower in order to help save the world. Along the way, they'll encounter monstrous new foes like the Teacher and the Hunter. It seems likely you'll see those nasty chefs back in action, too. Look for Little Nightmares 2 on consoles and PC.

Century: Age of Ashes - February 2021

There's something about riding a dragon that just sets off everyone's joyous little nerd alarms, so Century: Age of Ashes was a wonderful reveal at the 2020 Game Awards. Even though it could easily stumble into the pitfalls of all too many free-to-play titles, the sheer concept is enough to pique the interest of fantasy fans.

Players choose from one of three classes of dragon riders, each with their own perks and abilities. They then compete on teams of six in a variety of game modes, each full of burninating and dogfighting dragons. Carnage mode is just two teams of six competing for kill counts, Survival is three teams of six vying to be the last team in the air, and Raid is a capture the flag style of things.

Developer Playwing only has one title under its belt so far, and you can probably expect a whole host of microtransactions and the gamut of issues that come with the free-to-play economy, but the idea of shooting friends out of the sky with dragonfire is far too enticing to pass up. As of right now, Century has only been announced for PC.

Returnal - March 19, 2021

A creepy-looking and intriguing roguelike shooter, Returnal is a PS5 exclusive that's hitting the market in March. It's got elements of bullet hell and psychological horror as well, and it's being made by relatively unknown Finnish developer Housemarque.

Returnal puts you in the shoes of Selene, a pilot exploring a dangerous alien world populated by deadly and terrifying monsters. The planet (or maybe Selene herself) is stuck in a time loop, and a huge element of the narrative is finding out exactly why things restart every time she is killed. Of course, since it's a roguelike, things don't reset exactly how they were, meaning each run will provide new weapons, equipment and challenges for Selene to take on as she tries to solve the mysteries of the strange world she finds herself looping back through.

Though many of the plot elements remain under wraps, the tone and atmosphere of Returnal should put it on the radar of anyone interested in sci-fi horror, or those who love a strong single-player narrative. This PS5 exclusive releases March 19, 2021.

Balan Wonderworld - March 26, 2021

Balan Wonderworld looks like it could be an absolutely magical title. It's a 3D platformer with a heavy focus on music and extravagance, set against the background of an enchanted theater and a world of imagination. It also comes from director Yuji Naka and art director Naoto Ohshima, who previously worked together on Nights Into Dreams and Sonic Adventure.

There's a lot to like there.

The central premise behind Balan Wonderworld lies around the game's costume changes. Each costume represents a different resident of the fantastical world in which the game takes place, and they all offer different abilities and attributes to the player. Balan Wonderworld boasts over eighty different costumes that the player can change in and out of on the fly, making it sound like you'll need some serious puzzle solving skills to figure out how best to progress through different areas.

Otherwise, Balan Wonderworld just looks over the top and fun. Hopefully it builds on some of the best 3D platform elements of yesteryear instead of just aping them. Look for it on nearly every modern platform March 26, 2021.

Cris Tales - Early 2021

If you grew up on turn-based JRPGs, then Cris Tales should absolutely be on your radar. It bills itself as a "love letter" to games like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 6 and Valkyrie Profile, and promises a charming cast of characters to recruit and an expansive world to explore.

It certainly looks the part, with gorgeous art direction and a hand-drawn, 2D style. Cris Tales aims to evolve the traditional, turn-based combat with a focus on time manipulation. The story and gameplay mechanics supposedly dynamically evolve as you make decisions and enhance your characters, and combat allows you to warp enemies into the past and the future to set up massive combo attacks. There are airships, world-altering magic spells and plenty more; if you've found yourself turned off by the direction Final Fantasy has taken, Cris Tales may be more up your alley.

There isn't a set release date for Cris Tales as of this writing: it's listed as "Early 2021." It's coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

Rainbow Six Quarantine - Early 2021

Rainbow Six Siege continues to be a massive success, despite releasing in early 2015, it continues to boast growing player counts (over 55 million and growing as of February 2020) and continued developer support. It should come as no surprise that the game's momentum will continue into a spinoff title: Rainbow Six Quarantine. It looks to take the gameplay mechanics of Siege and transport it into a different type of tactical sandbox.

At its heart, Rainbow Six Quarantine sounds like it draws its inspiration from games like Left 4 Dead. However, it will translate Siege's mechanics and squad-based gunnery into these new systems. The teaser trailer from E3 2019 shows off the game's intense atmosphere, and it promises three player cooperative combat against some nasty AI enemies.

We don't have a definitive release date for Quarantine yet, but it's expected in the first few months of 2021. Look for it on every major platform as well as PC.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits - Q1 2021

It's difficult to look at video of Kena: Bridge of Spirits and not immediately become smitten with it. This game is charming and adorable as all get out, so hopefully the gameplay holds up to the premise. Luckily, it looks like that's happening.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a third-person action game with a story driven narrative. You play as Kena, who helps guide the souls of the dead after they pass. Along the way, you build a team of small creatures called Rot, who gradually develop new abilities and help you explore the environment in new ways.

On its surface, Kena: Bridge of Spirits looks to have a lot of the trendy elements that many big budget games have, but hopefully a compelling story and its sense of whimsy help put it over the top. It is expected to release in Q1 2021 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC.

Outriders - April 1, 2021

Developer People Can Fly has a pretty good track record with old-school, over-the-top shooters – the team co-developed several Gears of War titles and created Bulletstorm – so fans will probably like the look of Outriders. It was scheduled to release in late 2020, but got pushed back a few months to give it a little more polish.

Outriders is a third-person shooter featuring some RPG elements, with multiple distinct classes and options to play both single player and cooperative campaigns. It's got a distinct sci-fi lean, with each class possessing powerful skills that can be combined into completely savage abilities. It looks violent and brutal, and the ability to play solo or with friends will definitely give it some legs.

Outriders looks like it draws inspiration from a few different recent shooters, including Destiny and Remnant: From the Ashes. You won't have to wait until April to give it a go, either; People Can Fly have promised a free, playable demo in February that will even allow players to transfer their character over to the full game. The actual release date is April 1, 2021 for consoles and PC.

Hood: Outlaws and Legends - May 10, 2021

It isn't often that fans get something completely new in video gaming, but Hood: Outlaws and Legends seems like a pretty good fit. It's a multiplayer heist game, where up to four players take on different roles in order to steal treasure from a heavily guarded fortress. A veritable army of AI guards stands in your way. As another wrinkle, another team of four is planning a heist at the exact same time. This means you're competing against a second team of players against the same AI.

It's got elements of other games, but the emphasis on stealth and tactical planning and the varied classes available to each team help set Hood: Outlaws and Legends apart. On top of all that, the game is set in a gritty reimagining of the world of Robin Hood, where players take on the hopeful mantle of the folk hero.

The main issue with a game like this will be maintaining a player base strong enough to keep the game afloat. It looks like it's headed in the right direction if it is able to. Look for Hood: Outlaws and Legends on consoles and PC in May.

Deathloop - May 21, 2021

Plenty of movies have found success with the concept of Groundhog Day, so it's only fitting that a video game get in on the action. Deathloop sounds like it's doing just that, putting the player into the role of an assassin on an island who has to kill eight targets before midnight. If one target survives or you are killed, you'll reset at the start. Fortunately, your targets do the same thing each day. Learn their patterns and set up the perfect path to victory.

One other fly in the ointment, however, is the counter-operative. Another player can transport into your game, actively hunting you as you set up your kills. You can turn this "invasion" aspect off, leaving AI to control the counter-operative. So, a little bit Hitman, a little bit Groundhog Day and a sprinkle of Dark Souls multiplayer. Sounds like a recipe for success.

Deathloop is being developed by Arkane Studios — the studio responsible for both Prey and Dishonored — so the team behind it has some experience in the stealth-action genre. Look for it on PS5 and PC once May 21, 2021 rolls around.

Back 4 Blood - June 22, 2021

It doesn't take long to figure out what the developers are aiming for with Back 4 Blood. It's got all the key selling points of Left 4 Dead, including even the number in the middle. It's a four-player cooperative shooter that pits players against hordes of zombies. There's a game director that manages the AI and keeps every playthrough unique. There are modifiers, a PvP mode where one team controls the undead... it's Left 4 Dead in everything but name.

Even the developer is the same: Turtle Rock Studios, formerly known as Valve South, created the original Left 4 Dead and a few of the supplements for the sequel. Turtle Rock then went on to create another asymmetric shooter, Evolve, which was a great concept that hamstrung itself with a confusing and expensive DLC catalog that seemed to scare players off from joining a competitive game.

Hopefully Turtle Rock learned from its mistakes with Evolve and can create the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead that people have been waiting for. Back 4 Blood releases for consoles and PC in June 2021.

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous - June 2021

There's a lot to be excited about with Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, and lots of people agree. You can see that by the game's massive fundraising haul on Kickstarter, where it brought in over $2 million during its campaign. Wrath of the Righteous is an isometric RPG and kingdom management simulator, and it's set in the massive tabletop RPG world of Pathfinder, which has more system lore in place than anyone could ever take in. It's a pseudo-sequel to Pathfinder: Kingmaker, the 2018 release that met with a fairly positive response.

Not everything about Pathfinder: Kingmaker was well received, but that feedback is being taken to heart. Alexander Mishulin, the creative director for Wrath of the Righteous, said the team learned from past mistakes with the release of Kingmaker. Wrath of the Righteous features a new setting, new classes and plenty of quality of life upgrades, so it basically sounds like everything fans wanted Kingmaker to be.

According to the Kickstarter campaignPathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous has an estimated June 2021 release window.

Kerbal Space Program 2 - Fall 2021

The original Kerbal Space Program has grown from a little project into a massive indie phenomenon. Despite releasing in 2015, it still receives massive patches and has an active mod community, so the game stays fresh and continues to grow. Still, it's about time a true sequel landed, and Kerbal Space Program 2 looks to take everything you love about the first game and improve it.

Kerbal Space Program 2 will continue to allow players to build spaceships, overcoming a variety of barriers (you know, like gravity) to take their Kerbals to the stars. It promises "exciting new parts, stunning visuals, colony building, interstellar travel, enhanced modding, and multiplayer."

Unfortunately, you're going to have to wait longer than you might like. In May 2020, the Kerbal Space Program 2 development team took to Twitter to tell fans the game release was being pushed back from late 2020 to Fall 2021, partially due to delays caused by COVID-19. Hopefully, this is ample time to refine everything as Kerbal Space Program 2 has some big shoes to fill.

Halo Infinite - Fall 2021

Halo Infinite was supposed to help kick off the launch of the Xbox Series X during the 2020 holiday season, providing the killer, exclusive IP Microsoft needed. Unfortunately, the coronavirus decided no one can have a good year, and forced the development team behind Halo Infinite to push Master Chief's next adventure back a whole year.

This delay hurts, but it might actually be a good thing. The reaction to Halo Infinite's reveal was a bit mixed, with fans unsure it looked like a truly next gen Halo game. Hopefully the delay will allow the team to polish things up in time for its release.

Infinite takes place well after Halo 5, with Master Chief adrift in space before being picked up by a pilot. He then goes to battle against a faction called The Banished, led by the villainous War Chief Escharum. In addition to the single player campaign, Halo Infinite will also feature the multiplayer action that fans know and love. Microsoft also announced that the game's multiplayer mode will be free to play.

Look for Halo Infinite in Fall 2021.

Crimson Desert - Winter 2021

Black Desert still supports a pretty large player base, and developer Pearl Abyss looks to continue the game's success with its next entry in the MMORPG genre: Crimson Desert. It's one of those "kitchen sink" games that looks to let you do pretty much whatever you want.

It bills itself as an "open world action adventure," and a massive trailer shows off a lot of the features of the game. Expect huge bosses, cooperative raids, a "living world," plenty of skills to level up — the works. Just to hazard a guess, you can probably expect microtransactions and plenty of skins to grind out as you build your character.

Crimson Desert was originally being billed as a prequel to Black Desert, but more recent press seems to indicate that the stories are not linked in any way. It's more in the spiritual sequel realm than true sequel. Look for it on PC and consoles in winter of 2021.

Far Cry 6 - 2021

The Far Cry series is one of the truest AAA titles out there — an open world first person shooter with amazing visuals, memorable villains and enough side quests and sandbox fun to keep you busy for dozens of hours. The sixth numbered title in the series (there have been some spinoffs along the way) is headed our way in 2021, and Far Cry 6 looks to continue on the traditions that gamers expect from the series.

Far Cry 6 is set on the island nation of Yara, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Cuba in both aesthetics and history. It went through a series of revolutions and economic blockades, and its current leader, Anton Castillo, is trying to put the country in a better position for when his son assumes power. You play as part of a resistance force, as Castillo is starving his own population in order to better his own lot in life. By the way, Castillo is modeled after and played by Giancarlo Esposito.

Far Cry 6 comes out Feb. 18, 2021 for just about every platform. Here's the trailer.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide - 2021

Apparently, developers are tired of waiting for Left 4 Dead 3 and decided they'll just fill that void themselves. Warhammer 40,000: Darktide captures the spirit of Vermintide and transports it to the metal-as-hell Warhammer 40k universe of space marines and swarms of alien monsters.

It's made by the same developer, Fatshark, as the Vermintide series, and looks to build on the visceral melee combat that made it so satisfying. Vermintide set itself apart by pushing the action right into your face, forcing you to battle hordes of enemies with swords and spears. Ranged weapons will be a bit more at home in the 40k setting, but it looks like you'll still be able to get up close and personal with some of the classes here.

If you're looking for another way to slay with your friends, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide will scratch that itch. Good developer pedigree, a setting with tons of lore to draw from and a beautiful gothic-tech setting, it could easily become your go-to. Look for it on Xbox and PC sometime in 2021.

Open Roads - 2021

Developer Fullbright has a short but impressive list of story-driven indie titles to its credit: Gone Home told a beautiful love story and subverted a lot of expectations about gaming along the way, and Tacoma used a clever augmented reality mechanic to help uncover the mystery of an abandoned space station. Fullbright's next release, Open Roads, leans more heavily into the Gone Home aesthetic, but looks much more substantial than its inspiration.

Open Roads tells the story of a mother-daughter duo who set out on a road trip to uncover a family mystery. Of course, Fullbright fans can expect a very human approach to things, and it seems likely that the pair will learn just as much or more about one another along the way. Open Roads also features the voice talent of two big name actresses: Keri Russell and Katilyn Dever. With those two involved, it isn't a stretch to imagine some serious emotional lifting from our leads.

Open Roads is expected in 2021, but a solid release date hasn't been revealed at this point in time. It's coming to consoles and PC.

Endless Dungeon - 2021

Dungeon of the Endless is an oft-overlooked entry in the roguelite genre, perfectly encapsulating that "everything is fine until it all falls apart" feeling that the best of that style of game possesses. Developer Amplitude Studios is looking to recapture that with Endless Dungeon. It's hard to tell whether it's a true sequel or some sort of reimagining, but Endless Dungeon looks to build on the framework of its predecessor and breathe new life into it.

Endless Dungeon puts you in charge of a crew of mercenaries on a derelict space station. You build defenses and set up choke points as you try to carve a path through waves of enemies to the exit. Part tower defense, part strategy, part tactical action — there's a lot going on here, and it can all come crashing down at a moment's notice. If it can build off Dungeon of the Endless, expect moments of calm strategy followed by panicked, on-the-fly actions to try to patch holes before they get too big to handle.

Amplitude has found success across multiple genres with the Endless games, but Dungeon of the Endless has remained one of its strongest titles. Look for Endless Dungeon for consoles and PC sometime in 2021.

Evil Dead: The Game - 2021

One of the most beloved horror franchises around is bringing its boomstick back to the world of gaming in 2021. Evil Dead: The Game is a collaboration between Boss Team Games and the various Evil Dead films and the television series, and looks to let players battle the forces of darkness — or become that darkness, if they so please.

Evil Dead: The Game is a cooperative shooter where up to four survivors loot, craft, explore and try to seal off the gates that are spitting out deadites. Memorable locations from the Evil Dead universe will show up, as will over 25 weapons. Players can also take on the role of a powerful Kandarian demon, hunting the survivors down and dashing their hopes.

It looks and sounds a lot like Dead By Daylight, but transported to the universe of Evil Dead. This is made equally fascinating by the fact that Ash is already a playable character in Dead By Daylight. Either way, Evil Dead: The Game is shaping up to be a must-have for fans of the franchise, and looks like a fun multiplayer time even for those who aren't overly familiar.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum - 2021

Anyone who has read or seen The Lord of the Rings knows that Gollum is the story's real hero. Spoilers for the three of you who don't know the story: it's Gollum, not Frodo, who ends up dunking the One Ring in Mount Doom. Still, it's hard to guess what Daedalic Entertainment's upcoming spinoff, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, is going to be about. During the time period when the game takes place, after Gollum found the Ring but before the events of the books, he spends most of his time lurking under the Misty Mountains, gnawing on fish and the occasional goblin, talking to himself.

As a studio, Daedalic is best known for its narrative-driven point-and-click adventure games, so we're guessing that its writers have something a little more exciting in mind, and they have a lot of freedom. See, Daedalic has the rights to the Lord of the Rings books, not the movies. That means that you won't see a Shadow of Mordor-esque Andy Serkis impression in the game, but it also means that Daedalic can explore portions of Middle-earth history that go beyond what was referenced on the big screen.

Daedalic tells PC Gamer that Gollum will be an "action/adventure" game, and that the anti-hero's split personalities will play a big role in players' decision-making process. Otherwise, Gollum remains one big riddle. Historically, Lord of the Rings games have been pretty hit-or-miss. With any luck, Gollum will be one of the oh-so-precious good ones. We'll see.

Chorus: An Adventure Musical - 2021

Chorus: An Adventure Musical is a quirky adventure game from Summerfall Studios that brings musical theater to gaming. Part narrative adventure and part interactive musical, it promises murder, gods, romance, tragedy and ... band practice. Former BioWare writer David Gaider — of Dragon Age vintage — is the lead writer on the project, and Chorus is the culmination of his vision to create a story rich in narrative and characters. The game has RPG elements that shape story outcomes, an interactive musical score (obviously), and some stunning artwork. You can feast your eyes on it in the game trailer.

At its heart, Chorus is a fantasy murder mystery. The protagonist Grace, endowed with the gift of song, gets involved with gods and monsters, each with their own pound of flesh to claim. Grace must use the power of music to navigate this otherworldly situation. The game has already exceeded its crowdfunding goal and a Steam release is expected in 2021.

A Rat's Quest: The Way Back Home - 2021

Romeo and Juliet, but with rodents? Bizarre, but that's what this one is about: a puzzle platformer featuring starstruck rodents. Imaginative, with some excellent artwork that even makes rats look cute, A Rat's Quest is expected to release in 2021. Meanwhile, here's a trailer.

Mat is a house rat, while Nat is a pet mouse. They are in love, but they come from different worlds. True love, it is said, will find a way, overcoming any obstacle — or feral cat — standing in its way. Players must solve a series of quests and help Mat navigate his way back home, over woodlands, caves, swamps, and the perils of a human household, armed only with a rivet for a sword, a button for a shield, and rusty nails as a throwing daggers.

One Hand Clapping - 2021

One Hand Clapping is an unusual 2D puzzle platformer that tasks players with solving musical puzzles by singing into their microphones. Mysterious landscapes rendered in quirky artwork, along with an intriguing cast of characters that includes singing hermits, bring the game to life. It is set to release in 2021 on Nintendo's eShop and will also be available on Steam.

This is a rather difficult game to describe as it defies the usual. One Hand Clapping's unique mechanics work by song; the player must sing into their microphone to make choices for the protagonist and explore the environment. The landscapes comprise six expansive, eye-catching biomes where the protagonist escapes to get away from the hostile gazes of the inhabitants of the Silent City. Her songs help her interact with the world as well as the various characters she encounters. 

Path of Exile 2 - 2021

It's official: a follow up to Grinding Gear's hugely popular online action RPG, Path of Exile, is coming in 2021. The announcement came at ExileCon in November 2019, along with the news that Path of Exile 2 will serve as a sequel to the original game. Beta testing is expected to begin in late 2020. Meanwhile, you can watch the official trailer and a gameplay preview.

The developer has hinted at major updates to Path of Exile for a while, and it looks like a lot of those elements will arrive with the sequel, which features a lot of new content. This includes improvements to classes, items, skills, graphics, animations, game mechanics, and more, all enabled by an updated game engine. The seven-act story line will still take place in Wraeclast, but 20 years after the death of Kitava when the corruption has started to eat its way back.

Players can expect their characters, skills, and game progressions to carry forward from the original Path of Exile, as well as all expansions and other content.

Endling - 2021

How far would you go to feed your cubs if you were the last fox on the planet? Gamers will find out in Endling, a 3D side-scrolling eco-conscious adventure developed by Herobeat Studios, coming to Steam in 2021. You must tend to your "three tiny and defenseless fur balls," shelter them, feed them, keep them from being eaten by larger predators, and generally help them survive in a world stripped of most of its natural resources by humans.

Endling — with its strong environmental message and the tagline "extinction is forever" — forces players to engage with real issues related to climate change as they explore a planet ruined by humans and have to make decisions in devastated ecosystems from the point of view of a wild animal. The vivid artwork, almost cute in its depiction of the fox cubs, is a stark contrast to the ragged environment.

Chorus - 2021

Chorus, not to be confused with the music game Chorus that is also releasing in 2021, is an upcoming space shooter developed by Deep Silver Fishlabs. It features an elaborate, single player campaign that gives off some serious Control vibes.

Chorus puts you in control of two different protagonists: an ace pilot named Nara, and her sentient ship known as Forsaken. Both Nara and Forsaken have dark secrets hidden in their backstories, and a big part of Chorus will be unraveling their stories and finding what binds them together.

From the information we've seen so far, Chorus will showcase several different types of battles. You'll take place in epic, zero-G dogfights as well as tight, corridor combat on foot. Chorus looks like it's swinging for the fences with its elaborate story, and promises some extremely strange locations that the player will explore as Nara and Forsaken.

Chorus is scheduled to release in 2021 on PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. It will be a part of the Smart Delivery system, meaning you'll only need to buy one copy to play it across Xbox platforms.

Goodbye Volcano High - 2021

Goodbye Volcano High should sell you just on the description. It's a story-driven narrative adventure about a group of anthropomorphic dinosaurs in high school. They play in a rock band at one point, and there looks to be some serious emo overtones. You probably know already if this is one you'll be preordering or one you'll be staying far, far away from.

It features an amazing art style, and the story looks like it will combine elements of nostalgia (all the characters are about to graduate high school) with the sadness that comes coupled with it. There are a lot of not-so-subtle nods to the fact that the dinosaurs' time on the planet may be coming to a close.

In a PlayStation blog post, the community manager for Goodbye Volcano High wrote, "We want playing Goodbye Volcano High to bring you the satisfaction of binging your favorite TV shows. But, unlike with TV, you'll have the power and the emotion in your hands as you guide our characters through a branching narrative."

You had us with the idea of "emo high school dinosaurs." Look for Goodbye Volcano High sometime in 2021.

Horizon: Forbidden West - 2021

Horizon Zero Dawn is still one of the best PlayStation 4 exclusives around (even though it is coming to PC sometime in 2020), so we were extremely excited to see a sequel announced at the PlayStation 5 reveal. Entitled Horizon: Forbidden West, the sequel will take place directly after the events of the first game, continuing to follow protagonist Aloy.

In Forbidden West, that's where Aloy heads: west to visit more of the post-apocalyptic world. You'll continue to try to piece together exactly what happened to the world, and Aloy will again spar with wildlife and giant, mechanical enemies. Horizon: Forbidden West will feature breathtaking environments of post-apocalyptic America, and the trailer shows off some really impressive underwater sections.

According to Guerrilla Games, the studio is targeting a 2021 release for Horizon: Forbidden West. Unfortunately, as of this writing, there's nothing more specific to go on than that. Still, keep your eyes peeled as more information becomes available. Forbidden West will be a big title for the PlayStation 5, and Sony will undoubtedly be very eager to talk about in the future.

Resident Evil 8: Village - 2021

Capcom has been on an absolute roll with the Resident Evil series since it released Resident Evil 7. That game helped bring horror back to the franchise, and the dramatic upgrades ushered in with the Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 remakes were really impressive. Now fans of the franchise have Resident Evil 8 (or Village, or some permutation of those words) to look forward to in 2021.

The game was officially announced at the PlayStation 5 unveiling, and it looks to be a direct sequel to Resident Evil 7. The trailer showcased the same first person view that game utilized, and it also featured the same protagonist: Ethan Winters. The trailer also showed off an evil Chris Redfield, who leads Ethan to the titular village where there is sure to be plenty of grisly secrets to uncover.

According to Capcom, Resident Evil 8 will have a greater focus on combat and exploration than Resident Evil 7 did, but it will hopefully maintain the similar atmosphere. It was announced for PS5, but we'll probably see it on all available platforms come 2021.

Stray - 2021

For many, the reveal of Stray went something like this: "Ooh, Cyberpunk 2077! No, wait, that's a cat. And it's wearing a backpack? Yessssssss." Stray looks like it was designed for photo mode and streaming, as it's the type of game that will immediately draw eyes with its feline lead and neon-soaked cityscapes. On top of that, it looks like a pretty fun game too. But still, the central draw here is the adorable kitty wearing the backpack.

The odd setting will be fun enough to explore, but this adventure game will also try to realistically replicate how a cat would explore a city. As such, players will spend a lot of time lurking in tiny hiding spots and also using heights to their advantage. Actual details about how Stray will play are in short supply, but the concept seems unique enough to keep players interested as the release date gets closer.

Speaking of the release date, by the way, all there is to go on at the moment is the extremely broad "2021." Stray will release on PS5 and PC (there's a Steam page for it already), but there's no indication the game will appear on any other platforms at this time.

Shin Megami Tensei 5 - 2021

If you're a casual fan of Japanese role-playing games, you may not recognize the name Shin Megami Tensei. You've probably heard of one of its most famous progeny, though: Persona — y'know, the teen-centric JRPG series that's quietly carving out a place alongside heavyweights like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Pokémon in the public eye — is little more than a Shin Megami Tensei spinoff.

If you enjoyed Persona, you'll probably enjoy Shin Megami Tensei, too. Both series put a big emphasis on recruiting demons (or personas, but same difference) and fusing them together to create new abilities. There are differences, though. While Persona games tend to feature modern-day settings, the Shin Megami Tensei titles have a more post-apocalyptic vibe. Mainline Shin Megami Tensei games also focus on individuals, not parties full of characters like Persona does. Still, like Persona, Shin Megami Tensei likes to push boundaries, and if you want a JRPG with an edge, Shin Megami Tensei will serve you well.

And what can veteran fans expect from Shin Megami Tensei 5? Well, so far, we know that the game is going to be a Nintendo Switch exclusive, and that it'll use the Unreal Engine 4. Other than that? Not much.

GhostWire: Tokyo - 2021

A survival horror title that promises to distinguish itself from the usual games of its ilk, Ghost Wire: Tokyo is poised to spook and enthrall in equal measure. Set in an alternative version of Tokyo overrun by a supernatural threat, the title tasks you with discovering why people are disappearing. As the protagonist, you have access to certain special abilities as you face an unspeakable, occult evil. The official teaser released at the Bethesda Showcase in E3 2019, along with the tagline "Don't fear the unknown, attack it," indicating you won't want to play this game alone in the dead of night.

Helmed by Shinji Mikamione of the creators of the Resident Evil series, GhostWire: Tokyo is in development at Tokyo-based Tango Gameworks. Ikumi Nakamura, former head of the creative team and another industry veteran, announced her departure from Tango a few months after the announcement of the game. Sony has since revealed GhostWire: Tokyo will release in 2021 as PlayStation 5 exclusive.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong - 2021

Fans of the Vampire: The Masquerade series have a lot of options recently and in the near future. One that has really caught our attention is the upcoming Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, based on the 5th edition rules of the tabletop RPG and developed by Big Bad Wolf. It sounds like a killer mix of video game RPG mechanics and the heavy duty narrative elements that a tabletop RPG like Vampire: The Masquerade has to offer.

The plot will be familiar to fans of the series; it revolves around a secret society of vampires that stay hidden from humanity (hence, The Masquerade). Swansong is a single player RPG that, according to the developers, will have players "weave between the intertwined tales of 3 vampires, each belonging to a different clan of the Camarilla, confront their bias and unravel fact from fiction." The Camarilla is essentially the council that makes the rules for all vampires.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong will release sometime in 2021 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS5 and Xbox Series X. Check out the trailer here.

Battlefield 6 - 2021

According to publisher Electronic Arts, Battlefield 6 will release in 2021. With EA focusing on Respawn Entertainment's shooter Apex Legends, EA DICE's Battlefield 6 gets pushed down the list. Disappointing, but not altogether surprising as 2019 has seen a lot of Battlefield 5 content. That said, this will likely be the longest gap between two Battlefield games.

Speaking at an investor call in October 2019, EA's CEO Andrew Wilson indicated they are looking at next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X for the next Battlefield game, hoping to see them build a base before the launch. Live service offerings, multiplayer modes, social interactions, and more are likely to be among the "cutting-edge" features. It's still a long way away, though news and rumors trickling in about Battlefield 6 suggest a Vietnam War setting. There is precious little known about the game at the moment, and with no announcements or trailers available yet, fans will have to wait a bit longer for the juicy details.

Shadow Warrior 3 - 2021

Lo Wang is headed back to PC in 2021 with Shadow Warrior 3. Yes, the game's hero is really named "Lo Wang," and you can expect that type of humor from the game. The first Shadow Warrior game released in 2013, and has leaned into its juvenile sense of humor and over the top violence with much more success and self awareness than comparable series like Duke Nukem. Now, the third title in the series is headed our way.

Shadow Warrior 3 will feature "devastating" precise swordplay and a freerunning movement system that allows for wallruns, double jumps and air dashes. There's also a new grappling hook mechanic, so it seems like there's even more focus in Shadow Warrior 3 on verticality than in past games. Finally, it's set in a "Neo Feudal" Japan, allowing for a nice fusion of modern technology with old timey swords and architecture. Players will take on demons that are breaking through into our world – pretty standard FPS stuff.

Shadow Warrior 3 will be released in 2021 and is under development from Flying Wild Hog, who also made the previous games. Check out the trailer here.

Psychonauts 2 - 2021

It's hard to describe what makes Psychonauts so special. It's not just the premise, which throws a bunch of psychic-powered kids into an otherwise normal summer camp, mixing up superpowered-shenanigans with all kinds of cartoony teen angst. It's not just the inventive levels, which use the environment itself to explore Psychonauts' quirky characters. It's not just Psychonauts' weird sense of humor, and it's certainly not the game's sales — these days, Psychonauts is a cult classic, but it absolutely bombed at release.

Psychonauts is all of that combined, and it's no wonder fans have been clamoring for a sequel for a decade and a half. In 2021, they're finally getting one. Back in 2015, players hungry for more Psychonauts contributed almost $4 million to help fund the long-awaited sequel, and if developer Double Fine follows through on its promises, it looks like Psychonauts 2 will be worth the wait.

As in the first game, you'll play as Raz, the freshly-minted Psychonaut agent who uses abilities like telekinesis and pyrokinesis to solve puzzles and tackle platforming challenges. The summer camp is gone, but many of its occupants will return, including Raz's girlfriend, Lili. You'll still be diving into the minds of various agents to unravel the mysteries hidden in their psyches, but you'll also learn more about Raz and his unique family. Obviously, the graphics will be better than in the last Psychonauts, and the 3D platforming is getting some much-needed tweaks, but all in all Psychonauts 2 is simply going to be more Psychonauts.

State of Decay 3 - 2021

If you've always wanted to test your mettle in surviving the zombie apocalypse, then State of Decay 3 is your chance to do just that. It's a direct sequel to 2018's third-person survival game, and looks to bring the Xbox series into the next generation of consoles.

The State of Decay games straddle a lot of genres, but they're all in the realm of what you'd expect from a "zombie apocalypse survival simulator." You have to manage your camp, scavenge for supplies, train the skills of your survivors and fight the undead hordes. State of Decay 2 was "robust" yet buggy game, according to IGN, so hopefully the new release learns from some of its criticism to give players the experience they're searching for.

There's a trailer for State of Decay 3, but it's only an announcement trailer. That said, you should probably still watch it. There's a zombie deer, after all. It's set to release sometime in 2021 on PC and Xbox Series X.

Stalker 2 - 2021

Stalker 2 is actually the fourth game in the Stalker series, but that's beside the point. What you should know is that the Stalker series is a really fascinating combo of horror and FPS gameplay that has never quite hit the mainstream level of success of other similar titles. Stalker 2 looks like it'll ramp that combo of horror and white-knuckle action up quite a bit when it releases in 2021.

The Stalker series takes place in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, but with a bit of a twist on reality. In this version of things, there was an attempt to repopulate the area after the initial disaster, but another disaster occurred and either killed or mutated those in the area. You play as a "stalker," sort of a bounty hunter who explores the area after these disasters have occurred.

There aren't a ton of details available yet on the story of Stalker 2, but there's a trailer you can watch that shows off the game's atmosphere. Stalker 2 will be released for PC and Xbox Series X sometime in 2021.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 - 2021

If there has ever been a flawed masterpiece in video games, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is it. Released on PC in 2004, Bloodlines was praised for its script and its narrative design, which flooded players with meaningful and interesting choices, tackled adult topics like sex and death with actual maturity, and introduced fans to realistic, well-written characters. It's also, unfortunately, a technical mess, and it sold poorly, ultimately driving its developer out of business.

Still, over the decade and a half, Bloodlines has become a cult favorite among RPG fans, making a sequel an easy proposition. Even better, developer Hardsuit Labs seems like they're doing Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 right. The company has enlisted writer Brian Mistoda, who worked on the first game, to tell a new story about a freshly turned creature of the night in Seattle. As in the first game, you'll have to navigate your afterlife while trying to keep your very existence a secret. Camera phones and surveillance equipment are everywhere, and staying off of the radar is easier said than done.

You won't make this journey alone, either. Bloodlines 2 is set just after an event called the Mass Embrace, during which Seattle's vamps bit a whole bunch of people and created a horde of so-called Thin-Bloods, while the supernatural community's age-old clans continue to battle for supremacy. Get ready. When 2021 rolls around, you would-be vampires are going to have your work cut out for you.

Gotham Knights - 2021

Batman fans, rejoice – Gotham Knights is coming in 2021 to bring the Bat-family back to gamers. Announced at DC FanDome 2020 with a lengthy and impressive trailer, Gotham Knights comes from WB Games Montreal, which previously worked on Batman: Arkham Origins. Despite that, Gotham Knights is reportedly not directly tied to the Arkham series -– even if it looks similar to those titles.

The trailer begins with shocking news: Batman's dead. Although that seems extremely doubtful, his death triggers a call to four of his proteges, as Robin, Batgirl, Nightwing and Red Hood are called on to step up and save Gotham now that he's gone. With the Dark Knight out of the picture, criminals have taken over the streets. It's up to these four to explore an open world, unlock new abilities and save the day.

Gotham Knights looks like it will strike a fun balance between its four main characters, and hopefully each will allow unique enough playstyles and will all be useful in their own regards. The trailer also teases appearances from Mr. Freeze and the Court of Owls, and there are probably many more of the rogues' gallery involved as well. Gotham Knights is coming sometime in 2021 to consoles and PC.

Unknown 9: Awakening - 2021

Strap yourself in: Unknown 9: Awakening seems like a lot. There aren't a lot of details available for this one so far, nor is there any gameplay footage. More fascinating still, Unknown 9 looks to be a massive undertaking across several mediums — it's more than just a video game. If it works, it could wind up being something truly impressive.

Unknown 9: Awakening focuses on a young Indian girl named Haroona, who discovers she has superhuman abilities. She soon encounters a mentor who teaches her to master her power to move in and out of another dimension called "The Fold." Even though there's no gameplay footage yet, general trends and the tone of this one scream "open world, third-person action RPG." That has yet to be confirmed, however.

Even more interesting is that Awakening is just one small section of the Unknown 9 franchise that is being built. There's also a podcast (Unknown 9: Out of Sight), a novel (Unknown 9: Genesis), a graphic novel series (Unknown 9: Torment) and an augmented reality game (Unknown 9: Chapters). They are reportedly all interconnected, and it will be interesting to see how much of it all winds up catching on.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 - 2021

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice was a surprising hit when it released in 2017, with a great one-two punch of fun gameplay and incredibly immersive design. It won several awards, specifically for its writing and audio elements, which helped capitalize on its impressive setting inspired by Celtic and Norse mythology. Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 is a bit confusingly titled, but it looks to expand even further on the first game's successes.

One aspect of the original game was the way it depicted mental illness. Senua is afflicted with psychosis, which she considers a curse from the gods. This facet of her character played into every bit of the game, and it really helped the player climb into Senua's headspace. The sequel looks like it will be leaning even further into the hallucinogenic aspect of the original, with plenty of creepy looking scenes and all sorts of unusual imagery. There isn't a ton of info on the story available for this one, but overall, it looks to be headed in the right direction.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 was poised to be one of the first releases with the new Xbox console, so early 2021 sounds right. However, keep your eyes peeled.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - 2021

Ratchet & Clank is one of the rare 3D "mascot" platformers that has not only stuck around, but continued to evolve and improve since the genre's heyday. With the PS5 releasing at the end of 2020, it only makes sense that fans would get another iteration in the series. Enter Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

Rift Apart appears to just be a new evolution for the Ratchet & Clank series, upgraded for the powerful new PS5 hardware. Expect crazy weapons, powerful movement abilities and a relatively irreverent story as you blast foes and probably collect lots of things. It looks really, really pretty, and boasts all sorts of cool upgrades that show off the power of the PS5. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart looks to be one of those "tentpole" titles that really shows off what the system can do. The series has always been a blast to play, too, so it won't just be a pretty face.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart doesn't have a set release date, but it is expected sometime in 2021. It's a PS5 exclusive.

Everspace 2 - Early 2022

Between No Man's Sky: Beyond and Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, casual-oriented space sims are finally having their moment — and the best may be yet to come. At Gamescom 2019, Rockfish Games revealed that Everspace 2, a sequel to 2017's indie hit, is on the way, with an early access launch planned for 2020 and a full release scheduled in 2021.

Everspace 2 isn't just a bigger, better version of Everspace, although visually it's just as good, if not better, than the original. Where Everspace was a roguelike-inspired race against time in which you'd gather as much loot as you could before getting blown to smithereens, Everspace 2 is more of an RPG. Its universe isn't procedurally generated anew with every run. It's a "hand-crafted" open world. Exploration is encouraged. There's more of an emphasis on upgrading your pilot's stats and hunting down secrets.

This isn't No Man's Sky or Outer Wilds, of course. In Everspace 2, making things explode real good is still your primary goal. It's just happening in a world that's bigger than a series of gorgeous dogfights. It's well past time for the space shooter to make a come back, and Everspace 2 looks like just the game to make it happen.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League - 2022

Though it looks to be a bit of a departure from the gritty, grimy world of Gotham City, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is actually tied to the continuity of the Arkham games. It's developed by Rocksteady, and will reportedly pick up threads that were introduced in previous games in the franchise.

The trailer released at DC FanDome 2020 introduced fans to the game's four playable characters: Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark. The four are sent on a mission by Amanda Waller to kill an "Alpha Target," who turns out to be none other than a mind-controlled Superman. Judging from the game's title and some of the other imagery, it seems likely that Brainiac will have members of the Justice League under his control, and it's up to your lovable band of misfits to stop them. With murder.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League promises the ability to switch between all four characters or play four player co-op, and looks like it has the over the top style and humor you'd expect from Harley and the gang. It will release in 2022 on consoles and PC.

Homeworld 3 - Late 2022

Some series get a new installment every year. Not Homeworld. While the 1999 real time strategy game is considered one of the genre's very best, it's only gotten one full sequel, one stand-alone expansion, and one prequel — and the last one of those came out in 2003.

Homeworld deserves better. Now, Gearbox is giving fans the chance to show how much they care. At PAX West 2019, Gearbox revealed that work on Homeworld 3 is underway, and said that you can own a piece of the action. Blackbird Interactive, the same studio that handled the HD Homeworld remakes, is on development duties, but a large portion of Homeworld 3's budget will come from a crowdfunding campaign on Fig, which gives participants equity in the game.

Even if you don't want to help subsidize Homeworld 3, RTS fans should be excited about the upcoming sequel, which promises to fuse "a gripping continuation of the story, fully 3D combat, and the classic RTS elements you expect" with input from hardcore fans. Just be prepared to wait a while before playing. While Homeworld 3 has a late 2022 release date, crowdfunded projects often face delays. Hey, it's taken this long to get another Homeworld. Another year or two won't hurt, right?

The Elder Scrolls 6 - TBD

When it comes to The Elder Scrolls 6, it's not a question of if. It's a question of when. Of course Bethesda Game Studios is going to release a new installment in its flagship franchise. Bethesda is a company, and companies like making money. There just aren't any reasons why Bethesda needs to release The Elder Scrolls 6 now. In fact, it's got plenty of great reasons to wait.

Still, the game is coming. We know that because, while Bethesda usually uses its E3 showcase to highlight the projects that it's releasing in the near future, in 2018 executive producer Todd Howard broke with company tradition and revealed The Elder Scrolls 6 early. Really, really early. In follow-up interviews, Howard admitted that The Elder Scrolls 6 is still in pre-production. It's not even playable yet, much less nearing release-ready form.

That hasn't stopped fans from scouring The Elder Scrolls 6's sparse teaser trailer for hints regarding the game's location, of course, but try to keep that hype in check. Howard says that production won't truly begin on The Elder Scrolls VI until Fallout 76 and Starfield are finished, and it's not like a game the size of The Elder Scrolls can be cranked out in a matter of months. Howard claims that he knows The Elder Scrolls 6's release date, but he's not telling. With the game still many years away, that's probably the right call.

Dragon Age 4 - TBD

Anthem is poised to be BioWare's focus for a while, but if you're worried that the company is going to forget its roots with its move to a Destiny-like shooter, never fear. During The Game Awards' 2018 broadcast, the fan-favorite RPG maker dropped a bombshell: a brief teaser trailer featuring a line of dialogue, a provocative hashtag ("#TheDreadWolfRises"), and confirmation that a new Dragon Age game is on the way.

BioWare's Mark Darrah and Matthew Goldman followed up with a blog post that revealed a few other small details. The next Dragon Age project has been in development for a few years now, and is being made by many of the same people responsible for Baldur's Gate, Jade Empire, and previous Dragon Age titles. The game will continue the "rich legacy of colorful companions, romance, and epic choices" that BioWare and Dragon Age are known for, and the game's producers will "push BioWare's storytelling to the next level."

In other words, a lot of hype but not a ton of specifics. That catchphrase reveals one tidbit, though, and it's a juicy one: in Dragon Age lore, the Dread Wolf refers to Fen'Harel, the elven god of betrayal. He also revealed himself as Solas, Dragon Age: Inquisition's elvish mage, in Inquisition's cliffhanger ending. Fans have been waiting to find out what happens next ever since. At long last, it looks like they'll finally get some answers.

Metroid Prime 4 - TBD

Nintendo unveiled Metroid Prime 4 at E3 2017 and has said barely a peep about it since. Here's why: while Bandai Namco was originally reported to be the studio developing the latest entry in the Prime series, Nintendo executive Shinya Takahashi claims that the game wasn't living up to Nintendo's usual standards. After a year and a half of work, Nintendo decided to restart the whole thing.

But the reboot comes with a silver lining. Retro Studios, the same development studio that brought Samus into 3D with the original Metroid Prime and its two sequels, is back in the saddle and leading the charge on Metroid Prime 4. Retro hasn't made a Metroid game for a while — instead, it's been busy turning out top-tier platformers like Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze — but the studio knows how to make a solid Metroid game. It's done so three times before, and all of its titles are classics.

So, yeah, it's a bummer that we'll have to wait a little bit longer, but it's already been a decade since the last new mainline game (Samus Returns is a remake, and Federation Force is a tangential spinoff). What's a few more years?

System Shock - TBD

There's a good chance that you haven't heard of System Shock. If not, you should change that. Looking Glass Technologies' first-person action adventure isn't just the inspiration behind mega hits like Deus Ex and BioShock. It was the first game to graft role-playing game mechanics onto a first-person shooter. It proved that action games could tell deep and nuanced stories years before Half-Life and Metal Gear Solid did the same. It also didn't sell all that well, which is why System Shock isn't as famous as it should be. Still, it's a big deal. You should play it.

At the very least, you should play the upcoming System Shock remake, which is due to hit PCs sometime in 2020. That's a later than originally expected. In June 2016, Night Dive Studios raised $1.3 million on Kickstarter to fund a complete remake of Looking Glass' original game. Along the way, things changed. Night Dive switched game engines. The project's scope grew. Money started running out, forcing the Looking Glass team had to take a step back and reevaluate the project.

It did. Looking Glass revived its earlier plans for the game, but the refocusing came at a cost: time. So, System Shock will take a little bit longer to arrive than we all originally anticipated. That's a bummer, but if System Shock arrives at all, that'll still make it more successful than two-thirds of the crowdfunded games out there. Yikes.

Star Citizen - TBD

Work on Star Citizen, the all-encompassing multiplayer space sim from Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts, started development in 2012. Since then, Cloud Imperium Games has gathered over $188 million from fans to make the game through a mixture of crowdfunding campaigns and in-game purchases and has been in development for years.

Most game makers would kill to have resources like that, and many excellent titles have been produced with far, far less. At the time of this writing, however, Star Citizen, is still in alpha. Not beta. Alpha. To be fair, Star Citizen is wildly ambitious: when it's done, it'll blend space combat with on-the-ground action, a galaxy full of explorable planets, trading, multi-person crews, a persistent world that's governed by players' decisions, an entirely separate single-player campaign, an entire fleet of ships to buy and pilot, and much, much more.

But all that assumes that Star Citizen comes out at all. The game has already been in development for far longer than expected — Star Citizen's original Kickstarter campaign cites a fall 2014 release date — and there's no end in sight. If Star Citizen ever arrives, it'll be well into the 2020s, if not later. Not that Cloud Imperium actually needs to finish the thing, of course. Either way, the company seems to be making money just fine.

Elden Ring - TBD

Of course George R.R. Martin and FromSoftware are making a game together. The former likes to kill off all of his characters. The latter likes to you kill your characters. Elden Ring isn't set in the Game of Thrones universe, but Martin should be right at home among FromSoftware's signature dark fantasy aesthetics. After all, he quite literally wrote the book — five of 'em, even — set in a similar world.

According to director Hidetaka Miyazaki, Martin created Elden Ring's backstory, while he and From's other designers handled the game mechanics. As such, don't expect Elden Ring to veer too far from the formula established by Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It's still a third-person RPG, and it still has exacting combat.

In a twist, however, Elden Ring is more of an open-world game than FromSoftware's previous efforts (yes, in From's other titles, the world is interconnected, but it's still more like a linked series of stages than one contiguous landscape). Miyazaki claims that the spacious environments will make combat feel different. Hopefully, we'll see if he's right soon. Mr. Martin has a few other things that he really should be working on.

Payday 3 - TBD

When Starbreeze Studios said that it'd be taking its time with Payday 3, it wasn't kidding. Starbreeze confirmed development on the next entry in Overkill Software's co-op heist-a-thon all the way back in 2016. Now, Starbreeze's financial reports imply that Payday 3 might not show up until sometime after 2020. It's like CEO Bo Andersson Klint says: "You simply don't rush Payday 3."

You probably won't be seeing many updates about how the game is progressing either, Klint says. Payday 3 is in full production, but the team would rather spend its time making the game as opposed to simply talking about it. Don't take the silence as a lack of respect, though. "This is our single most important brand today and the cornerstone of our business," Klint says. "We will treat it accordingly."

Given that Starbreeze's stable includes The Walking Dead, Psychonauts, and System Shock, that's a bold claim. Payday's earned it. Aside from a PR nightmare that erupted when Overkill decided to add microtransactions to the game  — one that Starbreeze quashed when it bought the franchise — Payday 2 delivered on the promise of bringing Hollywood-style capers to consoles and PC. Payday 2 isn't as technically impressive as Grand Theft Auto 5, but its heist missions blow Rockstar's out of the water, and we're excited to see what Overkill and Starbreeze can pull off with all of that extra time.

Dune - TBD

The upcoming Dune movie, which will be helmed by Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve, has already gobbled up almost every A-list star in Hollywood. Now, it's coming for video games, too. Norwegian developer and publisher Funcom recently announced that it has signed a deal to bring Frank Herbert's iconic sci-fi novel (and the film spinoff) to players around the world.

There are a few reasons to be excited. For one, Funcom already has a decent, if not stellar, record when it comes to bringing genre fiction to life. Conan Exiles, a DayZ-style survival game, is based on Robert E. Howard's classic stories, while Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, which Funcom published, adapts the tabletop role-playing game of the same name. Dune's sandy world Arrakis is perfect for video games, too, with all of its political maneuvering, mysterious prophecies, and hulking monsters. It's basically, like Villeneuve says, Star Wars for adults.

Besides all of that, Dune has a pretty special place in video game history: Westwood Studios' Dune 2, which came out in 1992, laid the foundation that every real-time strategy game that's come out since has followed. Production on Funcom's games — yes, games plural — is set to begin later in 2019, so expect to learn more as the film's 2021 release date approaches.

Earthworm Jim - TBD

If you weren't around for gaming's mid-'90s heyday, take our word for it: Earthworm Jim, a run-and-gun shooter with absolutely gorgeous hand-drawn animation, is weird. It stars a worm in a super suit who uses his head like a grappling hook. His nemesis is Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed Slug-For-A-Butt. His would-be girlfriend is Princess Whats-Her-Name. Flying cows aren't just a throwaway gag, they're a major plot point.

Earthworm Jim's upcoming revival is weird too, although for a different reason: it's coming out on an Intellivision console. In 2020. Yes, seriously. The Intellivision Amico, which is scheduled for release on October 10, 2020, is a throwback machine that will play both revamped versions of old Intellivision classics and new video games designed to take advantage of the hardware's retro charms.

For better or worse, that includes a new Earthworm Jim, which will reunite all of the game's original creators, including the extremely controversial cartoonist Doug TenNapel and platformer mastermind David Perry. That means that Earthworm Jim will probably be full of the same zany, wonderfully immature energy that made the original so great. We just hope that we get to play it. At this point, the Amico feels like an iffy proposition, even if Earthworm Jim is more or less a sure thing.

Saints Row 5 - TBD

After the critical misfire that was Agents of Mayhem, Volition Entertainment is back to doing what it does best: take the zany open world formula established by the early Grand Theft Auto games, and kick the crazy up to 11. According to THQ Nordic's latest earnings report, the fifth full installment of the Saints Row franchise is in active development, with an eye towards release sometime between 2020 and 2021.

Neither Volition nor THQ Nordic have said what Saints Row 5 (or whatever it ends up being called) will be about, but it's probably even wilder than you expect. Saints Row: The Third saw the titular street gang become corporate icons and pitted them against a gang of criminal luchadors. Saints Row 4 made your character president, introduced an alien invasion, and gave you superpowers. Its stand-alone expansion took the Saints to Hell (literally). 

Saints Row 5 is going to have to go very, very big to top those — but going big is what the folks at Volition are all about. If anyone can do it, it's them.

Dead Island 2 - TBD

In 2011, a single Dead Island promotional video was enough to make Techland's survival RPG a household game. Never mind that the finished game had lackluster gameplay, unpolished graphics, and an unstoppable hoard of glitches and bugs. That video gave us a taste of what Dead Island could be. Even after the first Dead Island disappointed, we wanted more.

Unfortunately, we got it. Dead Island: Riptide, the first game's stand-alone expansion, was a mess. Escape Dead Island, the cell-shaded spin-off, was even worse. It's not that Techland doesn't know how to make a zombie game — after Riptide, the studio went on to make the parkour-zombie thriller Dying Light, which is legitimately good. It's just that something about Dead Island never seems to click. Despite the promising start, the franchise seems doomed.

So far, Dead Island 2 looks like it's in similar trouble, although it's not (un)dead yet. Announced all the way back in 2014, Dead Island 2 has gone through three separate developers and has been restarted from scratch at least once. Maybe the third time will be the charm. A game that lives up to Dead Island's initial promise would be fantastic — and if not? Hey, we'll always have that trailer.

Age of Empires 4 - TBD

Though Microsoft announced the next Age of Empires game in 2017, the company shared little about the title beyond its exclusive release for Windows 10. Other than revealing the development team was "making good progress," Xbox's Phil Spencer didn't have much to add in the wake of E3 2019, instead teasing an update later in the year. This update arrived at X019 in November, confirming Age of Empires 4's medieval setting and providing the first look at gameplay.

Creative director Adam Isgreen described Age of Empires 4 as a "fresh start" for the franchise, indicating that Microsoft and Relic Entertainment want to modernize the game while retaining the essence of the series. The team has preserved the feeling and flow of Age of Empires 2 while building new features around it. "It's been 13 years since the last Age of Empire game so we have a lot of catching up to do. We're doing things that no other RTS game has done before." Oh, and Age of Empires 4 won't have microtransactions.

BioShock Sequel - TBD

2K Games has another BioShock title in the works from Cloud Chamber, its new studio helmed by Kelley Gilmore of Civilization and XCOM fame. She leads a team that includes several BioShock oldies, and hints at "many creative directions to explore." Though the developer has given little away about the story and gameplay, some speculate it might take place in a new environment away from the underwater Rapture and the floating Columbia.

The BioShock series has sold over 34 million units, with its focus on story forming the bedrock of its success. Gilmore tips her hat to the "many amazing storytellers" on her team but has deftly sidestepped giving out any information on narrative or setting. Plenty has changed since BioShock: Infinite launched in 2013, and it will be interesting to see how the creators adapt the forthcoming title to technologies like VR and live streaming. With its unspecified timeline, you can safely expect the sequel to release for the next generation of gaming consoles.

Diablo 4 - TBD

In November 2019, Blizzard announced the next game in the Diablo series, one that will hopefully abandon some of the more forgettable aspects of Diablo 3. The cinematic trailer looks pretty amazing too. The story seems to center on treasure hunters trying to enter a decimated Sanctuary who stumble into a gateway to hell instead. The main antagonist looks like one of the Lesser Evils, though the great Diablo is billed to make an appearance too. Word is, Blizzard will be embracing the horror aspect in greater detail for Diablo 4.

There is a little bit of mystery about when it might be released. Some say 2020, but others imply that 2021 or even later might be a better estimation. One reason being that the Nintendo Switch appears to be missing from the platforms its being developed for, with no explanation forthcoming from Blizzard. "We're not coming out soon, not even Blizzard soon," said game developer Luis Barriga.

Grand Theft Auto 6 - TBD

Though Rockstar has yet to confirm the existence of Grand Theft Auto 6, new rumors about the game seem to pop up every few weeks. According to one Reddit user, there might even be a clue about the next Grand Theft Auto game in Grand Theft Auto 5. Screenshots of Grand Theft Auto 5 show three different doors at Los Santos Airport bearing the numbers 2013, 2014, and 2021. Interesting choices, considering Rockstar released Grand Theft Auto 5 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2013, and for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One the next year. It's not much of a stretch to conclude the door numbered 2021 points to the next big release for the series.

Other rumors indicate the game will take place during the 1980s in Vice City and will feature a plot centered on drug-running. Until Rockstar unveils Grand Theft Auto 6, you'll have to content yourself with supposed leaks and rumors, including theories about what the game might look like.

Dual Universe - TBD

Dual Universe's alpha began in November 2018, but don't expect to see the full game anytime soon. Why's it taking so long? Just look at the game's features list. If developer Novaquark can deliver what it's promising, Dual Universe should be very, very cool. At the very least, it's remarkably ambitious.

Too ambitious, perhaps. Like No Man's Sky, Dual Universe takes place in a procedurally-generated universe. Like EVE Online, it's an interstellar sandbox driven by players. Governments, corporations, and the economy? Novaquark is leaving it all up to you. Additionally, Dual Universe has a Minecraft-style voxel-based crafting and building system that'll let you make more or less whatever you want, and a Star Citizen-like blend of first-person and interstellar combat. In-game devices are programmable via LUA script, meaning that tech-savvy players will be able to create artificial intelligence and low-key mini-games.

Oh, and by the way: Dual Universe is a massively multiplayer online game in which all the players live on the same server. No shards. No instances. Everyone is in it together. If this all sounds too good to be true, well, maybe it is. Only time will tell if this game ever makes it out the door.

Skull & Bones - TBD

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag is one of the best Assassin's Creed games ever made thanks almost entirely to its pirate theme, which let Ubisoft's developers take Assassin Creed 3's well-received ship sections and bring them to the next level. In fact, Black Flag's naval battles are so fun that Ubisoft decided to give them their own game. It's called Skull & Bones, and it looks great.

Want to hit the seas solo and build a pirate empire all by your lonesome? You can. Despite the focus on epic five-on-five sea fights during Skull & Bones' big reveal, the game will have a dedicated single-player campaign. Even better, the solo missions will be fully integrated with Skull & Bones' multiplayer content. Basically, Skull & Bones will have something for everyone, whether or not their friends are online or how they like to play.

It'll also have a whole fleet of different ships and an arsenal full of weapons like cannons, mortars, and rockets to choose from. You'll be able to board other people's ships, conquer enemy territory, and scour the Indian Ocean for hidden treasure. All that, and Skull & Bones will constantly improve, too. Ubisoft Singapore says its been listening to fans since the game entered development, and plans to keep that back-and-forth going for as long as possible.

If you want to live out all of your swashbuckling dreams and find Sea of Thieves just a little too cartoony, Skull & Bones is for you.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 - TBD

Creator Michel Ancel never envisioned his 2003 action-adventure game Beyond Good & Evil as a one-and-done deal. It was supposed to be the first part of a trilogy, kicking off a brand new franchise Ubisoft could exploit for years and years to come. Then, the disappointing sales happened. Beyond Good & Evil has gone on to become a minor cult classic, but it deserved better.

Still, the fans who love Beyond Good & Evil — and there are quite a few — have been clamoring for a follow-up for ages. Ubisoft promised one back in 2008, and then went silent. It took almost a decade to learn more, but as of E3 2018, we know the following: Beyond Good & Evil 2 is a prequel (although the first game's hero, Jade, will still appear), features an open world and custom-made characters, will allow players to explore numerous planets, and, going off of the trailers, is certifiably bonkers.

It also won't be out for awhile. Ubisoft hoped to get a Beyond Good & Evil 2 beta ready for fans by "the end of" 2019, however, it's yet to deliver. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has since shared the full game won't launch until after April 2021.

The Sims 5 - TBD

Rumors about The Sims 5 have been flying back and forth for years. It did not release in 2019 as many fans expected, and you're unlikely to see the fifth installment anytime soon, especially with EA focused on releasing copious amounts of new material for The Sims 4. Given the series has far surpassed its typical four to five year gap between games (The Sims 4 came out in 2013), some have started to wonder if there ever will be a The Sims 5.

The closest confirmation of The Sims 5 came from EA CEO Andrew Wilson's comments during an investors' call in January 2020, where he mentioned "The Sims for a new generation." His reference to the now defunct The Sims Online fuels speculation about the next game having single and multiplayer modes.

Getting rid of the lengthy loading screen, adding the ability to drive or ride in vehicles, the return of toddlers, a larger world to live in — these are some of the features and changes many hope will arrive with The Sims 5. The follow up will likely launch on multiple platforms and include VR capabilities. While there's no official release date, 2021 is probably the earliest you can expect to see this game.

Somerville - TBD

Somerville is another side-scrolling action platformer that gives off strong Limbo and Inside vibes. This association hardly comes as a surprise: Dino Patti, founder of Jumpship, the indie studio making the game, also co-founded Playdead, which created Limbo and its spiritual successor, Inside.

Not much is known about the story of Somerville, except that extra-terrestrials are involved and the gameplay focuses on trying to survive the alien invasion. Like its predecessors, this one has dark side too, and you can expect plenty of puzzles and obstacles to overcome, as well as some arcade and stealth action challenges.

Patti has stated that — unlike his previous games — Somerville won't unfold from a single, side-on vantage point, but will have more interesting perspectives. A release date is not known, though don't expect anything before 2021. In the meantime, you can check out the first and second teasers.

System Shock 3 - TBD

The once hopeful future of System Shock 3 seems to have gone up in flames. With its entire development team allegedly "no longer employed," the game seems as good as canceled. 

Back in September 2019, OtherSide Entertainment revealed screenshots and a gameplay trailer for System Shock 3, offering the first glimpses of a wrecked space station and ghastly happenings orchestrated by Shodan, the rogue AI villain. No release date was announced, but Warren Spector, one of the developers, sounded optimistic as he spoke of a storyline that explores what makes Shodan tick.

While the situation looks bleak, no official cancellation has come from OtherSide. On the other hand, the game has lost key team members — including the writer and director, lead programmer, and design director — in the past few months. An anonymous poster claiming to be a developer from OtherSide alleged on RPGCodex that the project had failed, and offered insight regarding the issues that led to this outcome. It remains to be seen whether System Shock 3 can be salvaged.

Scorn - TBD

Scorn is a bizarre beast. It is the first game developed by Serbian studio Ebb Software, despite the fact the company was founded in 2013. It has had two Kickstarter campaigns — the first failed — with the last one concluding in 2017. It has been in development for the better part of a decade, and we still don't have a concrete release date. It also looks like Scorn will be one of the marquee titles around the launch window of the Xbox Series X.

The hype for Scorn is now reaching a fever pitch, and that should come as no surprise. It's a first person, atmospheric horror game that looks like an unholy child of Alien: Isolation and Dark Souls. Players will explore a "dream-like world in a non-linear fashion" while solving puzzles and battling enemies. And while Scorn definitely draws inspiration from the likes of H.R. Giger, it also claims filmmakers like David Cronenberg and David Lynch as central influences.

If "gross and horrific" describes your ideal evening, Scorn looks like a slam dunk. It'll be available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC, and could possibly release in 2020, though that seems extremely doubtful at this point.

Second Extinction - TBD

"What if... Left 4 Dead with dinosaurs?" That seems to be the thinking behind Second Extinction, a cooperative shooter that puts players in charge of cutting through hordes of mutant thunder lizards. These dinosaurs have taken over the planet, and it's your job to take it back.

Second Extinction is being billed as a three-player cooperative experience where "teamwork is vital as you adopt the role of one of the survivors, using a unique combination of weapons, abilities and skills to take on the vast number of enemies." According to the game's description, Second Extinction will ask you to "Fight through a maelstrom of bullets, bombs, teeth, claws and gore" in order to win back Earth.  It also features progression systems for its different characters, and is built in the same engine as Just Cause 4.

This is another game that could seemingly release before the end of 2020, but that seems highly unlikely. We know it is coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC via Steam. As of this writing, we are not aware if it is coming to other platforms.

Scarlet Nexus - TBD

Remember Code Vein? Bandai-Namco's "anime vampire Dark Souls?" Well, the company has a similar looking title headed our way in 2021, and it looks pretty darn slick. Scarlet Nexus has a similar graphics style to Code Vein, but sounds like it will have different gameplay elements to complement an equally bonkers story.

Whereas Code Vein focused on vampires, Scarlet Nexus focuses on psychics. The official description reads: "In a far distant future, a psionic hormone was discovered in the human brain, granting people extra-sensory powers and changing the world as we know it. Just as humanity was entering this new era, deranged mutants known as Others began to descend from the sky with a thirst for human brains... Those with acute extra-sensory abilities, known as psionics, were our chance to fight the onslaught from above."

Scarlet Nexus is described as an action-RPG with a streamlined combat system that strikes a balance between tight action and strategic planning. Judging from the trailer, the combat looks sort of like Devil May Cry, but there aren't a ton of details yet. It will be released on PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.

Forza Motorsport - TBD

In the world of exclusive racing sims, Xbox has always had Forza and PlayStation has always had Gran Turismo. Few games showcase a console quite like these hardcore racing sims, so it should come as no surprise that Turn 10 will release Forza Motorsport sometime after the launch of the Xbox Series X.

Obviously, most of the next generation games showcased have looked pretty darn impressive, but Forza Motorsport looks to be the cream of the crop so far. The trailer shows a game that looks photorealistic, and it looks like it will be direct competition for Gran Turismo 7. Because of that, there is plenty of speculation and rumor hunting that indicates the series may return a bit to its roots. Forza Motorsport is expected to be closer to the "sim" side of things than more recent entries in the series. This reboot of sorts could explain why there isn't an "8" attached to its name.

Forza games generally release in the fall, but because this one is still in "early development," it's unlikely it'll see a release alongside the Xbox Series X launch. There is no word on a release date at this time.

Avowed - TBD

There is a lot of hype surrounding Avowed, despite the fact that very, very little is known about it. It's being developed by Obsidian Entertainment, which has brought fans a variety of great first-person titles like Fallout: New Vegas and The Outer Worlds, not to mention other great RPGs like Pillars of Eternity, South Park: The Stick of Truth and Neverwinter Nights 2. Even though information on this new title is scarce, that track record alone is reason to be excited.

On top of that, there's the cinematic trailer, which gives off some serious Skyrim vibes. It's set in the same world, Eora, as the Pillars of Eternity series, although how exactly it will fit into the timeline of that series remains to be seen.

Avowed is still under some seriously tight wraps at the moment. However, an open world, first-person RPG from a studio like Obsidian is definitely something to look forward to. Avowed is an Xbox Series X exclusive that doesn't have a solid release date just yet. Considering how little info is available, it could be a long while until this one hits store shelves.