There are thousands of game developers out there, some of them working for major AAA publishers, others, for boutique studios releasing indie games or simple puzzles on Android. Many of the games released week after week are lost in the white noise or don’t make it into the spotlight due to the big titles everyone is waiting for. Did you know, for example, that Microgaming, one of the oldest developer of the iGaming industry, has released a dozen brand new online casino games at partners like the JackpotCity Casino, including several slot machines and card games for its fans to play?
The slot machines and card games released at the JackpotCity are, of course, hyper-casual games that, while they are highly popular, never make it into the spotlight. After all, releasing a new slot machine is not such a big deal as building a game like Cyberpunk 2077 or the upcoming Far Cry 6. Years of development go into the release of a triple-A title. Last year was a hard one for game developers, too, causing delays in the release of several titles. Still, there are many new games that we can be excited about in 2021 – let’s hope they are released as planned.
Deathloop (May 2021, PS5, PC)
Developed by Arkane Studios, perhaps best-known for titles like Dishonored and Prey, Deathloop puts players in the skin of Colt, an assassin stuck in a time loop on a remote island. What makes the island special is that it was once the stage of secret military experiments – and it resets every night. And also its endless party where the participants know of the time loop, and of the fact that their actions have no real consequences. Colt is the exception: while the memories of all other people on the island are wiped, he retains his. This is very useful for completing his task: take out eight targets among the partygoers and break out of the time loop.
To make things even more interesting, Deathloop has a multiplayer mode where another player can take on the role of Julianna – her task is to take Colt out and protect the targets. Bethesda hoped to release Deathloop in 2020 but delayed the release to this May due to setbacks caused by the pandemic. The game will be exclusive to PC and PlayStation 5, followed by release on other consoles a year later.
Chorus (2021, consoles, PC)
Among the many shooters, battle royale games and RPGs, Chorus brings some refreshing variety: it is a third-person space shooter action-adventure game. The players take on the role of Nala, the deadliest pilot the mysterious cult known as the Circle could create, set out to terminate the very organization that brought her to life. Her weapon of choice is Forsaken (perhaps a nod to Acclaim’s 1998 space shooter?), a sentient stargighter.
Together, the two explore the ancient temples, sprawling planets, and futuristic space stations, fighting their way through hordes of opponents to finally have a chance to take on The Great Prophet – and find redemption. The game, developed by Fishlabs – know for titles like the Switch version of Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV: Re-Elected – is currently listed as “coming soon” – hopefully, it will be released in 2021.
Returnal (March 2021, PS5)
Returnal is a PlayStation 5 exclusive title developed by Finnish studio Housemarque, responsible for several PS exclusive titles. The game puts players into the role of Selene, a space pilot stranded on an alien planet – and caught in a time loop. Luckily, she has an arsenal of futuristic weapons to take on the alien entities she comes across as she explores more and more of the strange environment. Of course, there’s way more to this game than just fierce aliens and a breathtaking environment. PS5 owners will have a chance to explore it on March 19, 2021.
Outriders (February 2021, consoles, PC)
If you thought you’d had enough of superheroes after a decade of Marvel vs DC battles, how does a planet filled with super-powered people sound? Because that’s where Outriders will take you. Developed by Polish studio People Can Fly, known for titles like Gears of War and Painkiller, Outriders take players on the planet Enoch, where a mysterious energy storm called The Anomaly has turned both the human colonists and the indigenous life forms into super-powered entities.The Outriders – either solo or in teams of up to three – explore the hostile lands of Enoch, fighting their way through increasingly dangerous and violent enemies using increasingly violent and dangerous weaponry and gear. People Can Fly’s sci-fi-action-RPG will hit the shelves on February 2nd, 2021.
12 Minutes (2021, Xbox, PC)
Finally, here’s another game involving a time loop. Well, not as much a game as an interactive psychological thriller by former Rockstar Games and Ubisoft artist Luis Antonio. As the title suggests, players will relive a 12-minute time loop (from a top-down perspective) that starts with a piece of great news and ends with a crime. By exploring various actions, the player can try to avoid the 12 minutes ending with a disaster by finding the “best” course of action – this is not very easy, though, especially because there’s no way of knowing what it could be. The developer expects most players to be able to beat the game in 6 to 8 hours. Antonio hoped to release the game before the end of 2020 but ultimately, the game was delayed to 2021.