If you’ve had a sinking feeling that 2021 has been light on games, you’re not wrong: We’re witnessing one of the most delay-heavy years in gaming’s history. In our 2021 predictions, we noted that this was a very real possibility due to the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some of 2020’s releases got shuffled around, those games were largely near the end of their development cycle. The real worry was what the pandemic would mean for games that weren’t quite as far along.
- Outriders (April 1)
- Returnal (April 30)
- Axiom Verge 2 (August 11)
- Humankind (August 17)
- Deathloop (September 14)
- SkateBIRD (September 16)
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits (September 21)
- New World (September 28)
- Back 4 Blood (October 12)
- Riders Republic (October 28)
- Battlefield 2042 (November 19)
- Solar Ash (December 2)
- Halo Infinite (December 8)
- Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach (December 16)
- Rainbow Six Extraction (January 2022)
- Dying Light 2: Stay Human (February 4, 2022)
- Sifu (February 8, 2022)
- King of Fighters XV (February 17, 2022)
- Destiny 2: The Witch Queen (February 22, 2022)
- Elden Ring (February 25, 2022)
- Horizon Forbidden West (February 28, 2022)
- Ghostwire Tokyo (Early 2022)
- Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Spring 2022)
- Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp (Spring 2022)
- Saints Row (August 23, 2022)
- Marvel’s Midnight Suns (2022)
- God of War (2022)
- Gotham Knights (2022)
- Gran Turismo 7 (2022)
- Hogwarts Legacy (2022)
- Resident Evil Re:Verse (2022)
- The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (2022)
- Pokémon Trading Card Game Live (2022)
- Digimon Survive (2022)
- Pragmata (2023)
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake (TBA)
- Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2 (TBA)
- Overwatch 2 (TBA)
- Diablo 4 (TBA)
- Final Fantasy XVI (TBA)
That anxiety has become reality. Since the very beginning of the year, seemingly no title has been safe from a dreaded delay, as some of the year’s biggest games move further down the line or to next year. That’s led to a much slimmer release schedule than fans initially expected heading into what was projecting as an exciting year for gaming. Here’s a roundup of all the major video game delays that have happened so far.
Outriders had a tough time locking down a release date. Originally positioned as one of the big games that would launch alongside next-gen consoles in late 2020, developer People Can Fly quietly pushed it back to February 2. As 2021 got into full gear, the game got delayed once again, this time to April 1. Before the release, players got a demo on February 25 that covered the first few hours of the full game.
Among Sony games, Returnal always seemed like the biggest lock to hit its release date. While Sony was vague about dates for games like Ratchet & Clank: Drift Apart and Horizon Forbidden West, it had been firm on the third-person shooter’s March 19 release date. It had even shown up consistently in sizzle reels over the past few months, which made it seem like it was relatively safe from a delay. Unfortunately, Sony delayed it by a little over a month to April 30 to allow developer Housemarque to polish the game. At this point, this list is starting to look fairly identical to the list of our most anticipated PS5 games.
Axiom Verge 2 was one of the most anticipated indies of the year. The Metroidvania-style game is a long-awaited sequel to a beloved 2015 classic. It was such a hot commodity that Epic snatched it up as a PC exclusive via the Epic Games Store. However, its release date changed several times before it actually released. It was initially supposed to launch in 2020 before being pushed to the first half of 2021. Then it was delayed again, to the third quarter of 2021. After a long wait, it shadow dropped on the Nintendo Switch eShop and Epic Games Store on August 11, following a Nintendo Indie World Showcase.
Even games that are just weeks away from launching aren’t safe from potential delays. Just a few weeks before grand strategy game Humankind was supposed to drop, the game was pushed back to August 17. The Civilization-like game’s sudden shift sounds a little more standard than that of some of the other titles on this list. Developer Amplitude Studios simply noted that it was taking more time to respond to player feedback from a recent test. It would take an extra few months to work on features like accessibility, A.I., and pacing. It eventually made that adjusted August 17 release date, getting positive reviews.
It has been a long road to Deathloop. When Arkane Studios announced its stylist first-person shooter, it seemed like it was primed to launch with the PS5. The game was eventually moved out of 2020 and scheduled for a launch in the first quarter of 2021. That quietly became a May 21 launch day before it was pushed back even further, with Arkane citing the health and safety of its team as a primary reason for the delay. Deathloop finally launched on September 14, 10 months after the PS5’s launch in November 2020.
SkateBIRD gets the award for the best delay announcement. Whereas most studios tend to put out long-winded apologies filled with canned PR lines, the indie skateboarding game went a sillier route. A short video shows a computer getting ready to upload the game in time for its planned August 12 release date. That is, until the game’s titular bird botches a skateboard trick and bails out over the keyboard. The machine malfunctions and thus, the game is delayed to what would be its final release date: September 16. Hard to be too upset about that one.
Not every delay has been a major push. Some games have experienced smaller delays to allow developers more time to polish the final product. That’s pretty standard in the gaming world, and you’d expect to see schedule shifts like that regardless of a health crisis. Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a good example of that. The charming adventure game was originally set to release on August 23, but it got a short, one-month delay. It eventually launched on September 21.
Not even Amazon is immune to the current game delay wave, though that may have less to do with COVID-19 than it does for other games on this list. The company has been trying to break into gaming for quite some time now, with weak results. Its free-to-play multiplayer game Crucible had a particularly rocky life span after it was put back into beta and then outright canceled. Amazon’s next game, New World, is having similar problems. Originally scheduled to launch this spring, the game was pushed back to August 31 and then delayed again to September 28. Amazon says the decision was made to ensure the game had a proper endgame when it launched, so it’s likely the studio was trying to avoid the same pitfalls games that Marvel’s Avengers hit at launch. It didn’t end up actually launching until September 28.
There was some good news and bad news for Back 4 Blood this year. Initially, the bad news was that the Left 4 Dead spiritual successor got delayed to October 12 after originally being planned for a summer 2021 launch. No specific reason was cited for the move outside of the usual “need more time” note. The good news is that the multiplayer game got an open beta over the summer instead. So, fortunately, players got a chance to play it around the time the full game was supposed to launch. It eventually launched on October 12, just in time for Halloween.
Following Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake’s delay, Riders Republic was the sole Ubisoft game that had yet to be pushed back in some form. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. Originally scheduled for a February release, the game was originally pushed back to “later this year,” with no specific time frame attached. We wouldn’t get its September 2 release date until this year’s Ubisoft E3 presentation, which finally shared full details on the game. But as one final twist, the game was delayed again just a month after it got a release date. It finally launched on October 28.
Battlefield 2042 is a huge game. It features the series’ biggest maps yet and will support 128-player matches on next-gen consoles and PC (last-gen will only get 64-player multiplayer games, which is still substantial). All that considered, it’s understandable that Ripple Effect would need a few extra weeks to finish it. Citing complications with the pandemic as a main reason for the delay, Battlefield 2042 will now launch on November 19. Was a few extra weeks all it took to fix whatever issues were outstanding? According to our review, the final experience does have a few bugs, but is ultimately a new peak for the series overall.
Solar Ash is one of the most interesting indie titles of the 2021 holiday season. The action game comes from Heart Machine, the studio behind the hit Hyper Light Drifter. It ditches pixel art for fully 3D graphics and gameplay that’s more about movement than combat. In our preview, we called it “Shadow of the Colossus on ice.” The game’s release window has moved around quite a bit, though October 26 seemed like it would be the final date. However, a last-minute push just weeks before its launch puts it at December 2 instead.
While it was originally scheduled for a 2020 launch alongside the Xbox Series X debut, Microsoft delayed Halo Infinite indefinitely. We now know that it will launch a full year out from its original release plan. Like many games on this list, it’s not fully clear if the pandemic has been a key factor in Halo’s delay. While companies like Ubisoft have been transparent about the struggles of work from home, others are a bit more tight-lipped about why the schedule shake-ups are happening. Whatever the case may be, Halo Infinite’s delay was the most significant to occur in 2021. Fortunately, it eventually landed on Xbox consoles and PC on December 8 following a free multiplayer beta in November.
For fans of the Five Nights at Freddy’s series, the road to the upcoming Security Breach has been a long one. The horror game was originally supposed to launch in late 2020, but it was quietly pushed to early 2021. Eventually, creator Scott Cawthorn confirmed that the game was moving to late 2021, putting it a full year out from its original launch window. Cawthorn noted that the game’s scale had ballooned during the development process, requiring more time and money for it to be completed. It eventually launched on December 16.
It’s been a long road for the next installment in the Rainbow Six series. The shooter was originally scheduled to launch during the holiday 2020 season. At the time, it was titled Rainbow Six Quarantine — a title that quickly became awkward as the pandemic forced the world into lockdown. We wouldn’t see the game again until E3 2021, where Ubisoft gave it a grand reveal. The newly named Rainbow Six Extraction was set to be a big fall release, landing on September 16. Just one month later, Ubisoft shockingly delayed the game to January 2022, pushing it over a year past its original launch window. It’s now rumored for a January 20 release date, per a leak.
The weirdest part of 2021 is that its big holiday season has bled into early 2022. Usually, we see the wave of big games end in early December as companies try to snatch up holiday sales. That won’t be the case this year, as January and February 2022 are loaded with overflow. Case in point, Dying Light 2: Stay Human was originally scheduled for a December 2021 launch, but has now been pushed to February 4, 2022. Start scrolling down this list and you’ll see why that’s just the start of an unusually crowded month … that is, if these games don’t get delayed again.
Sifu was looking like it would be one of 2021’s bigger indie releases. The martial arts game made a big splash, debuting during one of Sony’s State of Play presentations. While developer Sloclap was hoping to launch the game by the end of 2021, it eventually made the decision to delay the game to 2022 — and for good reason. In a tweet announcing the move, the developer noted that the delay will prevent its team from crunching to finish the game. Sifu was scheduled to launch on February 22, 2022, but it was bumped up to February 8 shortly thereafter.
While some games have been delayed a few months due to the challenges of the pandemic, others have seen much deeper delays. King of Fighters XV was originally scheduled to launch in 2020 before getting pushed to 2021. Halfway through the year, the fighting game was pushed back again — this time to 2022. SNK attributes the delay to the still-rising number of COVID-19 cases in Japan, which could signal that more Japanese productions could see unexpected delays. It’s now set to launch on February 17, 2022.
Last summer, Bungie announced an ambitious and thorough plan for the next few years of Destiny 2. The developer planned to drop three major expansions, one each year until 2022, starting with 2020’s Beyond Light. This year, the plan was to continue that expansion’s story with The Witch Queen, but now those plans are changing. Bungie delayed the expansion to the first half of 2022 due to the coronavirus and the game’s scale, meaning players won’t get a major Destiny 2 expansion this year. It’s now scheduled to launch on February 22, 2022. Bungie did not mention whether 2022’s Lightfall expansion would also shift as part of the schedule change.
The year isn’t over yet, but we’re already starting to see delays hit 2022 video games. Elden Ring was heavily rumored for a holiday 2021 release, but it ended up landing in January 2022 instead (which likely does indicate that Bandai Namco had originally aimed for a holiday spot and couldn’t hit it). As it turns out, that release date still wasn’t final. The game has been pushed back another month to February 25. To help make the wait easier, developer FromSoftware held a closed test for the game in November where players got to try it for themselves.
Not a lot has been certain this year, but one thing that seemed like a foregone conclusion was that Horizon Forbidden West would be delayed. Despite Sony spending the entirety of 2021 hyping that it would hit the PlayStation 4 and 5 by the holidays, it didn’t share much information on the game. We only got one State of Play presentation dedicated to it, showing off a little footage. When that stream didn’t give a firm release date, it seemed clear that Aloy’s next adventure wouldn’t make it out this year. Sure enough, Sony officially delayed the game to February during Gamescom.
It didn’t come as much of a shock when Ghostwire: Tokyo got a delay. First announced at E3 2019, the game has barely popped up since. It got one gameplay trailer, which gave a sense of how it plays, but few details otherwise. Considering how 2021 has gone so far with delays, a pushback was starting to feel inevitable. That hunch was correct, as Ghostwire: Tokyo is now slated for an “early 2022” launch. The game’s developer cited team health and safety as a main reason for the delay, which has become a common refrain this year.
Even Lego isn’t safe from delays. With the game calendar clearing out, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was shaping up to be one of the more delightful releases this spring. It never got a firm release date, though, which started looking like a red flag the deeper we got into March. TT Games announced that it would no longer make its spring window and was moving the game. No new release window was given at the time. The post didn’t even say if it’s expected for 2021 at all anymore. While it still doesn’t have a firm release date, it’s now scheduled for a spring 2022 launch.
Frankly, it’s not shocking to see Advance Wars 1+2: Re-boot Camp get pushed into 2022. When the Game Boy Advance remaster was announced at E3 2021, it got a December 3 release date. However, that was the last thing we really heard about it. As the holiday season approached, Nintendo’s marketing efforts were more focused on Metroid Dread and Mario Party Superstars. We haven’t heard a peep about Advance Wars by comparison and now we know why. The game has been pushed to a spring 2022 window, with no set release date. Considering that Kirby and the Forgotten Land is Nintendo’s big March game, it’s possible we don’t see Advance Wars until April or May.
The Saints Row franchise was set to make a big return at the top of 2022 with a new reboot. Originally, the game was slated for a February 25 launch, but it only took a few months for that to change. The game was quickly moved to an August 23, 2022, release date, moving it out of a crowded month. In a statement announcing the delay, developer Volition admitted that it underestimated how much the pandemic would ultimately impact its development timeline, even though the team adapted well to a work-from-home environment.
The amount of time from Marvel’s Midnight Suns‘ announcement to its delay feels like a record. The game was revealed in late August with a March 2022 release date attached to it. Just a few months later, it was delayed to the second half of 2022. A tweet gave a boilerplate explanation for the delay, saying that the game needed more time. With such a short time between release date announcement and delay, one has to wonder what drastically changed in those few months. In any case, the delay does help alleviate a bloated early 2022 game release schedule (which is so crowded because of the game delays featured earlier on this list).
When Sony officially revealed the PS5 in 2020, it made a lot of big promises. We saw games like Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Horizon Forbidden West, which set some gargantuan expectations about the console’s first year. The most eyebrow-raising moment came when Sony revealed a sequel to 2018’s God of War. Despite only getting a logo reveal, Sony placed a 2021 release date on it, which seemed unrealistic at the time. So it came as no surprise when Sony finally delayed the game to 2022 following a year of silence on the project.
Gotham Knights was originally scheduled to launch sometime in 2021, but many fans predicted that a delay was inevitable. So it’s not surprising that the next big Batman game has been pushed to 2022. Warner Bros. casually announced the game’s new launch window with a generic message about giving the game more development time. At this point, it’s more shocking when major studio games release on time, rather than when they don’t.
Gran Turismo 7 getting delayed is both surprising and entirely obvious at once. Sony seemed pretty confident that the game would not only launch in 2021, but in the first half of the year. Considering that anticipated release window, it seemed like the game was likely in good shape and would launch by the end of the year, even with a delay. However, Sony has been entirely silent on the game, signaling that something was off. In an interview with GQ, Sony confirmed that the game was undergoing “COVID-related production challenges” and would now launch in 2022. With that big delay, it now looks like only three major Sony first-party releases will come out in 2021 … and that’s only if Horizon Forbidden West still drops in 2021 as planned.
Hogwarts Legacy was set to be one of 2021’s biggest power players. The open-world Harry Potter game was first shown during a PlayStation 5 livestream, signaling that it would be a next-gen game to watch. Unfortunately, the title has been pushed back a full year to 2022. Warner Bros. hasn’t clarified how deep into 2022 the game is expected to launch, so next year is already looking like as much of a mystery as this year.
Miraculously, Resident Evil Village made its planned May 7 release date with no delay. That’s an increasingly rare feat among big studio productions this year. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Resident Evil Re:Verse. The multiplayer game was supposed to launch the same day as Village, but now it was quickly pushed back to a vague summer 2021 window, which became a slightly less vague July 2021 window. The decision came shortly after the game’s first beta, which was full of matchmaking issues. When July finally rolled around, Re:Verse still didn’t launch; instead, it got delayed again. Now the game won’t launch until sometime in 2022, making this one of 2021’s most significant delays.
Back when new console talk was first making the rounds in 2019, Lord of the Rings: Gollum was one of the first games to be confirmed for next-gen. The somewhat mysterious game originally seemed like it was on track to be a PS5 or Xbox Series X launch title, but that never panned out. In fact, details about the game have been sparse since its announcement and all we’ve known is that it was supposed to come out sometime in 2021. Now, the game has been delayed to sometime in 2022 following a new publishing deal between Nacon and Daedalic Entertainment.
Just about every Pokémon game that released in 2021 made its planned launch date without delay … except for one. The new digital version of the Pokémon trading card game was supposed to enter beta in late 2021. That release date was moved to 2022, with the developers noting that they want to deliver a more “polished” experience. When it does finally release, a mobile version will soft launch in Canada while the desktop beta will go live globally. We don’t know when that will be as no firm information was given for the new release.
Digimon Survive has been in the works for a long time. First announced in 2018, the game originally looked like it would release in 2019. The game was delayed to 2020, then delayed once again to 2021. The cycle continues, because the long-awaited game will now arrive in 2022 — we hope, at least. A message from Game Producer Habu Kazumasa announced the delay, simply noting that more time was needed. Will the fourth time be the charm here? Who knows, but at least the troubled project hasn’t been canceled yet.
Pragmata was tentatively scheduled to come out in 2022, but it’s worth mentioning here because it highlights how long-term the industry’s problems might be. According to a Sony video reel dropped during CES, Capcom’s mysterious sci-fi game has been pushed back to 2023. Since the video came out, Sony has since released a new version that scrubs the game out of the fine print, along with all other third-party games.
Ubisoft is a recurring name on this list. Even before 2021, the company started making significant changes to its plans. Far Cry 6, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition were all moved out of their 2020 launch windows, signaling that more titles could follow. As far as planned 2021 releases go, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake was the first to move. Originally slated for a January 20 release, the remake was shifted a few months to March 18. Now, Ubisoft has announced that the game is delayed indefinitely. A February 5 tweet updating fans on the game’s progress now simply says it’s coming out “at a later date.” Oddly, 2021 isn’t mentioned at all, which could mean a much bigger shift than anticipated is happening.
This is the roughest delay story of the year so far. Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2 has been delayed indefinitely after it was scheduled to launch in 2021. Why? Because the game’s lead developer, Hardsuit Labs, has been fired. Publisher Paradox Interactive confirmed that the game is still in development, but that it would be going in a different direction moving forward. On top of replacing the game’s developer, Paradox has canceled all pre-orders for the game entirely. The game was already delayed once after it was scheduled to release in 2020, so the latest move certainly makes the situation behind the scenes sound a bit dire.
Overwatch 2 has never had a release date or window, despite being announced way back at Blizzcon 2019. There’s a fair chance the game has been internally delayed several times already — this list only collects delays we know about. We did learn about one of those internal delays thanks to a Blizzard investor presentation. The company was vague about when the game was actually supposed to release, but it did note that it’ll now launch later than “originally envisioned.” The wording seems to imply that the game was slated to come in 2022, so fans shouldn’t expect to see the sequel until 2023 at the earliest.
Take the paragraph above this and replace Overwatch 2 with Diablo 4. The exact same story applies, as the delay news came from the same exact Blizzard investor presentation. There’s an important context to both of these delays: The current crisis happening at Activision Blizzard. The publisher is currently embroiled in a legal battle relating to its workplace culture. A lawsuit alleges that the company has a long history of toxic behavior, including sexual harassment. That’s led to several leadership changes at the company, which may have shuffled key leadership of games. Any Blizzard delays are likely due to that more than your average development woes.
Much of this list has covered games that had a publicly known release date or launch window prior to being delayed. We have no way of knowing how many games were internally pushed back, though. Final Fantasy XVI was one of the last high-profile games to get a delay in 2021 and it gives us some insight into how much more widespread development woes were in 2021. A message from producer Naoki Yoshida explained that Square Enix was hoping to share more details about the game in 2021, but plans exploded when the industry had to adapt to a work-from-home setup. The game was quietly delayed as a result, even if gamers didn’t realize it. Yoshida notes that the team will finally share more details on the game this spring “leading up to the game’s eventual release.”
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