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Video games. You love them. We love them. And loads of them are coming out next year - or are expected to, at least. We've rounded up ten really rather big games that we're hoping to play in 2021 - so let's get stuck into the future, shall we?
For years, Harry Potter fans have wanted an open-world game set in and around the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where they can truly explore the landscapes made famous by movies and novels alike. And, finally, Hogwarts Legacy is set to be that game.
After years of being rumoured, with gameplay first leaking in 2018, Hogwarts Legacy was officially revealed in September 2020, and is in development at Avalanche Studios. But it's promising a very different Hogwarts to the one previously seen in the Potter franchise, and very different characters too, as the game is set in the 19th century and will star a player-customised protagonist. Harry and his friends are unlikely to be involved, given they're not born until the late 1970s and early 1980s. (Which makes them all in their 40s now, which sure is a thing, huh.)
As well as Hogwarts itself, Legacy will take players into the Forbidden Forest and Hogsmeade Village. There's no firm release date for this one yet, but knowing that it's been in development for a few years now, we're hoping it makes it into stores in 2021.
The sequel to 2017's celebrated Horizon Zero Dawn is certain to represent another high point for PlayStation games in 2021, as the adventures of Aloy continue across the wild landscapes of a much-changed future United States.
Whereas the previous game was about Aloy understanding her place in the world, this sequel sees her journey far from home to discover the source of a mysterious virus - which, not gonna lie, sounds a bit close to home right now. Anyway, based on Zero Dawn, there's no doubt this will be a visual stunner, which will take full advantage of the PS5's capabilities. We're looking forward to exploring its ruined San Francisco.
But those who've not upgraded to next-gen yet, worry not as developers Guerrilla Games will also bring Horizon Forbidden West to the PS4. You'll be losing out on all that haptic feedback goodness, but it's great that this much-anticipated game isn't exclusively targeting Sony's newest console.
Alternatively, enjoy this article in video form...
The two rebooted Hitman games to date have been phenomenal playgrounds of murderous trial-and-error fun, rewarding smart thinking over brute force at almost every turn. Hitman 3 looks sure to follow in the same mould, taking Agent 47 to more exotic locations in order to carry out his deadly assignments.
Developers IO Interactive have promised that Hitman 3 will be "more mature, serious and darker" than 2016's Hitman and its 2018 follow-up - but we're hoping it finds space for the jet-black comedy that made playing the games before it such a joy. I mean, really: killing a target with an explosive golf ball? Brilliant.
The game's release on Switch - albeit via the cloud - makes Hitman 3 the first game in the long-running series to appear on a Nintendo console since 2003's Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. Another notable feature of Hitman 3 is that it will be compatible with PlayStation VR - so you can get really immersed in the sneaking and stabbing, if you've the right headset.
A PlayStation 5 console exclusive for a year - sorry, Xbox users - everything we've seen so far of Arkane's Deathloop has had us making a fist and punching the air in joy. Hugely stylish, with an aesthetic that's somewhat reminiscent of the comics-colliding-with-cinema of Into the Spider-Verse, this game's about an assassin, Colt, who's stuck in a time loop as he's trying to bump off a series of targets.
Given Arkane's recent output - the Dishonored games, Prey - we're confident this will play magnificently, giving the player several ways to approach any situation. And of significant interest is the game's multiplayer mode. Here, Deathloop casts the player as a second assassin, Julianna, who dives into other player's games to interfere with Colt's plans.
Arkane have described Deathloop as a "murder puzzle" or like an inverted version of Cluedo, with one run as Colt unlikely to play like the next. There's always a way to beat the game 'perfectly', and for Colt to cross out everyone on his hit-list - but really, where's the fun in that? Deathloop is sure to be at its best when tables turn, and the game's option of bringing a second player, as Julianna, into the mix should ensure that chaos is never too far away.
We really don't know much about this one - even its title of Ragnarök is a working one, based on the game's sole trailer to date. But there's no doubt whatsoever that the sequel to 2018's God of War will be the biggest PlayStation exclusive of 2021.
Sadly, it looks like Santa Monica Studio's sequel, unlike Horizon Forbidden West, will only land on the PlayStation 5 - great news for those who want to see Kratos (and son, surely?) looking better than ever, but a bummer for anyone who can't make the next-gen switch in 2021.
The trailer we saw during September 2020's PS5 showcase implied that the story of Ragnarök - working title, remember - will follow directly on from the 2018 game. At the end of that, Kratos and Atreus are faced with the imminent arrival of the end times, of Ragnarök, and by a certain Norse god showing up at their front door. Would it be cool if God of War 2021 kicked off with its protagonist going head to head with the God of Thunder himself? Um, yes, obviously.
Another game we only know by a single trailer, the sequel to 2017's superb Breath of the Wild - GAMINGbible's own greatest game of all time - was revealed at E3 2019. But since then, Nintendo's been very tight-lipped on the project. When we spoke to Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma around the release of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, itself a prequel to BOTW, we tried to get something, anything out of him on this sequel. But, nope, nothing.
Nevertheless, if the next Zelda comes out in 2021, it'll absolutely be the biggest game on Nintendo's console for the year - unless a Mario game we don't yet know about pops its head up. There's rumours that Breath of the Wild 2 will be something of a launch game for a more powerful New Nintendo Switch, and that's something we could definitely see happening, as a revised model of Nintendo's massively popular console is widely expected in 2021.
With Arkham series creators Rocksteady Studios' own Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League game not due until 2022, next year has something rather different up its sleeve for Bat-fans in the shape of this offering from WB Games Montréal.
The makers of Batman: Arkham Origins are back in the driver's seat for Gotham Knights - an optionally multiplayer adventure set seemingly after Batman's death, starring Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl and Red Hood as playable characters. The baddies in this one, so far as we know, are the Court of Owls, who oversee a group of assassins called the Talons.
Said to be set outside of the prior Arkham series, the characters of Gotham Knights aren't expected to have any ties to appearances in past games. But don't rule out an Arkham-shaped easter egg or two.
The franchise comeback that should have been a Series X and S launch title has, for pretty apparent reasons, been delayed - but, surely, Master Chief will emerge in 2021, instead of making us wait any longer. Indeed, it's strongly rumoured that the game will come out in the spring of 2021, so fingers crossed there.
Halo Infinite is set after the events of Halo 5: Guardians, but the series' leading man is going to be a more prominent character in this release than he was in the 2015 title, which launched to a pretty mixed reception. Developers 343 Industries have said that the game's story will be "more human" than entries of the recent past, and that Infinite's multiplayer mode will be both standalone from the campaign and made free to play.
From past trailers, it looks like the campaign side of Infinite will be set on a previously unexplored Halo Ring, and the game will pit John-117 and allies against an enemy faction known as The Banished - a mercenary group composed of several species that first featured in Halo Wars 2. Will Master Chief finally finish the fight? It's... unlikely, isn't it.
Resident Evil's first new-gen release is still shrouded in mystery, but we know for sure that series stalwart Chris Redfield will feature in the game, and that its setting is a remote European village (hence the title).
The game also stars Ethan Winters, the protagonist of Resident Evil VII: Biohazard, and Village is set to continue the story of the 2017 survival-horror hit. And just like Resi VII, Village will be played from a first-person perspective, maintaining a clear stylistic separation from the third-person remakes of Resi 2 and 3.
Village's producers, Tsuyoshi Kanda and Peter Fabiano, have spoken about the setting of the game being a character in and of itself - perhaps in a way that's comparable to the Spencer Mansion of the original Resident Evil. We can't wait to see what Capcom's premier horror franchise has in store for us.
When the new Ratchet & Clank game was initially revealed, many assumed it'd be a launch title for the PlayStation 5. Clearly, that's not been the case - but every time we see Rift Apart running in previews, we get more excited to play it for ourselves, so we don't mind waiting a while longer.
Insomniac Games' action-platformer will see the titular pair travel across several different realities - with the PS5 enabling no-loading-required transportation from place to place - as they attempt to stop a Big Bad from collapsing all dimensions at once. Sounds intense, but this is Ratchet & Clank, so it's sure to be shot through with winning humour and warmth.
As a PS5 exclusive, you can expect Rift Apart to make full use of the console's DualSense controller, with the devs promising advanced haptic feedback. 2016's Ratchet & Clank is something of an underrated gem of the outgoing gen, so here's hoping Rift Apart really puts its heroes in the gaming spotlight, again.
Featured Image Credit: Bethesda Softworks, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Xbox Game Studios
Topics: Harry Potter, Horizon Forbidden West, Hogwarts Legacy, Halo, Deathloop, Xbox, Gotham Knights, Resident Evil, Hitman, list, Nintendo, PlayStation, Best of 2020, The Legend of Zelda, Batman, God Of War
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