Video games are the marrow and the bones of my entire existence. They are actually what got me interested in books, then anime, and finally cinema. The narrative prowess that can be achieved in the gaming medium is definitely unsurpassed in virtually any other platform or piece of media out there. There’s such versatility to storytelling via video games, and these tales only become more and more fascinating with the flexibility to its engagement (for example, visual novels differ quite heavily from action RPGs or FPSs).
With the quarantine shenanigans following us like a homing tornado straight into 2021, my biggest salve from the stress and anxiety of this Pandemic Era has been video games. I’ve played more games in the last year or so than I have in many years prior combined. It’s been fucking fantastic and I’m not about to slow down anytime soon. As such, I thought it would be neat to chat about a few of my most-anticipated games hitting shelves in the first half of the year.
The first four games aren’t in any specific order as I’m equally delighted for their releases. The last three, however, are situated in top three order as the depth of thrilling passion that I feel for them outweighs everything else on this list by a gargantuan margin. Links to available websites are shared in their respective sections, for anyone wanting more info.
I’m kicking this list off with something fun, that is also geared towards my obsession for sharks and shark-centric media (e.g. Deep Blue Sea and Meg). This underwater, open-world, RPG is all about taking the reins of a vicious sharky and causing a lot of havoc and mayhem by terrorising the coastal waterways. I imagine this shall be an amazingly indulgent and quite vicious romp, or it’s going to be absolutely horrendous. Either way, I am really looking forward to checking it out when it drops later this year. (Exact release date TBA.)
Maneater is being developed and published by Tripwire Interactive. For more information you can visit it’s official webpage here.
Persona 5 Strikers
Given how much I fucking adored Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal, it would only be natural for me to be pretty enthused about Strikers as well. This action JRPG follows the Phantoms during their summer vacation as they work to prevent the spread of corruption to all corners and major cities in Japan.
I expect this to offer amazing music, excellently interactive gameplay, and a fascinatingly wild story. I haven’t been disappointed by its predecessors at all, so I really have no reason to be negative about this new addition. Either way, I’m going to keep my fingers crossed for the best all-around.
Persona 5 Strikers is being developed by ATLUS and published by Sega. For more information, feel free to visit the official website. The game is set to launch at the end of this month (February 2021).
Another horror picking (I’m starting to see a pattern here, oops), Hidden Deep is a 2D mining, horror thriller game that consists of a team controlled by the player, who must explore, climb, swim, scan, blast, shoot and more to complete dangerous tasks in a huge suboceanic mining and research facility. It’s developed by Cogwheel Software and being published by Daedalic Entertainment.
This game wasn’t even on my radar until Steam’s Gaming Festival that occurred a few weeks ago. When I saw it pop on my Recommendations list, I checked it out. At first I was somewhat on the fence about it as I’m not the greatest at 2D games (I fucking love them a lot, even though I suck at them royally). However, when I saw that it was inspired heavily by Aliens, The Thing, and Half-Life, I became supremely intrigued. The gameplay footage looks really eerie and the settings give off hefty spine-tingling, claustrophobic vibes. Things I hate in real-life but am ravenous for in my video games. As such, it became a highly anticipated title quite hastily afterwards.
For more information on Hidden Deep, you can visit its website here. The game is currently scheduled to drop sometime this year (an approximate release date is TBA.).
NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139
This is the updated prequel for NieR:Automata. It follows a compassionate young dude who sets out with Grimoire Weiss, a weird chatty book, to search for the “Sealed Verses” so that he may save his sister, Yonah, who became terminally ill due to the Black Scrawl.
This game looks so fucking badass from all the previews and trailers that I’ve seen, plus the soundtrack sounds absolutely fantastic (I’m a huge sucker for cinematic musical scores, especially gaming ones). The NieR franchise is a rather famous one, so I’m sure a lot of gamers, particularly the JRPG sorts, shall definitely recognise this. I’m really looking forward to the storytelling and gameplay as they both look exciting and quite compelling. Plus, it’s a prequel to one of the fiercest games to come out of Square Enix (Automata) and that alone is a humongous appeal for me.
The game is being developed by Square Enix and Toylogic Inc. and shall be published by Square Enix. You can check out the website on Square’s site here. NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 is set to launch on April 23rd.
Little Nightmares II
Of course Little Nightmares II is on my top three most-anticipated game releases for the year list! I have been raving about it over on Twitter, and after it hit consoles last week, I am practically dying to get my hands on it (waiting until March, when I have money).
Little Nightmares II is a horror, adventure, platformer game that follows a young boy named Mono who is trapped in a frightening world that has been completely distorted by evil transmissions. He joins up with a little buddy and hopes that together they can find the source of the evil that’s taken over. It’s being developed by Tarsier Studios and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment.
Biomutant is another new title that I discovered during the Steam Gaming Festival, and aside from Little Nightmares II and the last title on this list, it’s part of the top three games I want to play in 2021. It’s a post-apocalyptic, Kung-Fu fable RPG about a plague that’s ruining the land. The Tree-of-Life is being bled to death via its roots. The world is divided as the lands fall further into turmoil. It’s up to one lonesome dxde to help save the realm or damn it forever. The game’s being developed by Experiment 101 and shall be published by THQ Nordic (fuck yeah!).
Two words made me want to pick this up: THQ NORDIC. If anyone’s friends with me on Steam, they’ll know that I’m fucking obsessed with Titan Quest. It was my very first action RPG and it’s still one of the best of its genre out there. When I saw that THQ Nordic was publishing it, I knew that I could trust it without hesitation.
Biomutant is marketed as implementing a blended style of martial arts for its combat system, allowing users to create a fighting concoction of shooting, meleeing, and the utilisation of special mutant abilities. Depending on how one builds their character classes in Titan Quest, we could do the same thing there. What this does it formulate a superbly interactive and versatile gameplay experience. Plus, it gives the game tons of RPV (replay value). If it’s crafted the way that I think it is, there shall be something new to discover with each playthrough for a while to come, and that is exceptionally alluring to me as an avid action RPG gamer.
All in all, I’m fucking ecstatic for Biomutant. If you’d like to learn more about this game, please check out its website here. Biomutant is currently scheduled to drop on May 25th.
Resident Evil Village
Last, but certainly not least, and definitely my number one of 2021, is the next instalment in my favourite survival horror franchise of all-time, Resident Evil. This eighth official title takes place a few years after the events of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and follows Ethan Winters and his wife Mia. They have relocated and seem to be living in peace, free from the horrendous nightmares of their recent past. However, just as they start to truly build their lives together, tragedy rises up out of the ground to overwhelm them once more. The game’s being developed and published by Capcom Co., Ltd.
I fucking love Resident Evil. I have most of the games (a lot of the older ones are hard to come by nowadays, unfortunately), all of the official books, including the Archives that go into great detail about all the baddies and virus variations, the anime films—all kinds of shite. Even the worst games in the franchise will find some sort of enthusiastic fanhuman element from me. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was the ultimate epitome of survival horror, one that we haven’t had since the release of the very first game. Plus, in VR, it is so fucking beyond scary (especially the scene with the hand and the chainsaw, WHAT THE FUCK EVEN?!), I can’t even put it into words, y’all. Hands-down one of the best VR games ever released.
Given all of that love and mushy gushy affection that I feel for the franchise, it easily became my number one most-anticipated video game release of 2021. I may have already mentioned this… Oh well. I’ll probably end up getting it on all available platforms throughout the year (I do this with most RE games), starting with the PS5 and the PC. So much narrative stuff was introduced in the preceding instalment that I’m quite dying (pun intended) to see what this new chapter is going to bring, not only in terms of the virus’ evolution, but also with Mia and Ethan and how psychologically fucked-up they really are post-Biohazard. (No one comes outta shite like that without getting a little fucked-up; just sayin’.)
More information on Resident Evil Village can be found here. The game is currently scheduled to launch on May 7th, assuming there are no impending delays.
That does it for the video games I’m most stoked for in the first half of 2021. Just thinking about them and all the different reactions that I may have (especially in terms of jump scares) makes me all the more elated for them! What are some games that you’re looking forward to checking out in 2021?