The PlayStation 5 is a promising console, to say the least. It’s a powerful machine capable of generating gorgeous visuals and the DualSense controller is a legitimately exciting piece of technology that makes games like Astro’s Playroom feel more immersive. Sony certainly made a strong first impression with launch games like Demon’s Souls and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, but now it’s time to ask “what’s next?”
Barring some major schedule shakeups (which are bound to happen to some degree), it seems like the console’s momentum will only push forward in 2021. Between huge first-party exclusives like Horizon Forbidden West and third-party heavy-hitters like Resident Evil Village, there are plenty of games in the pipeline for PlayStation 5 owners.
For those who are looking for a quick snapshot of next year’s release calendar, we’ve rounded up a list of our most anticipated PlayStation 5 games scheduled for 2021 release below.
For those who haven’t played them, Io Interactive’s previous two Hitman games are both hidden gems from the last generation. The stealth games are essentially elaborate puzzle games where players need to find clever ways to assassinate enemies. Hitman 3 takes that to new extremes with more locations and wackier scenarios, like a Knives Out style whodunit mission. The game’s developer is about to have a major breakout moment as it is working on the next 007 game, so Hitman 3 seems like a perfect way to become familiarized with the studio.
For JRPG fans who are missing the world of Persona 5, there’s exciting news in store next year. Persona 5 Strikers is a Dynasty Warriors-style spinoff (in the vein of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity) starring the beloved RPGs colorful cast of characters. Despite featuring much different hack-and-slash gameplay, it’ll expand the story of Persona 5 even more and deliver more music to fawn over. Dynasty Warrior-type games are having a bit of a moment right now and this could very well keep the Musou momentum up if it’s as fun as it looks.
Next year will be busy for Ubisoft. The studio plans to release Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake, Far Cry 6, Rainbow Six: Quarantine, and much more in 2021. One of the more interesting games on their slate is a new IP: Riders Republic. The game is an extreme sports game with a heavy social component and an emphasis on customization. It’s looking colorful, wacky, and just plain different. It’s hard to know how the final product will come out, but it feels like it could be a throwback to early 2000’s action sports games, which is a welcome nostalgia trip.
PlayStation 5 has so many high-profile exclusives coming next year that Returnal has gotten somewhat lost in the mix. Judging from what we know about it so far, it’s definitely a game that’s worth keeping an eye on. Developed by Housemarque, the team behind Nex Machina, Returnal is a third-person sci-fi shooter with roguelike elements. It revolves around a time loop mechanic, where players control a different pilot every time they die. The idea of a big-budget roguelike sounds intriguing and it’s always nice to see a new IP, so this has the potential to be a surprise hit when it launches this spring.
Developer Hazelight is known for its commitment to co-op multiplayer games like A Way Out and its latest game is another step in that direction. It Takes Two looks way more bombastic than anything we’ve seen out of the developer so far, with bright colors and wildly inventive gameplay. It looks like a big fantasy cartoon meant for two players. Those who buy a copy will get an extra code that they can pass to a friend so you can enjoy the game the way it’s meant to be played.
If nothing else, Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 certainly has the most memorable title of the year (though hardest to remember too). The game is a remake of the PlayStation 3 game Nier, which later spawned a hit sequel, Nier: Automata. Considering how absolutely adored Nier: Automata is by fans, the idea of modernizing the original Nier game in the same engine that made that game work is exciting. The sequel is sure to bring more of Yoko Taro’s signature weirdness to the table, which is always welcome.
Developed by Arkane Studios, Detahloop is certainly one of the most exciting new IPs in 2021’s pipeline. The stylish shooter is about an assassin who’s stuck in a time loop. It basically sounds like a bloodier version of Groundhog Day. Arkane is known to deliver some mind-bending experiences, like Dishonored 2’s time-hopping mission or clockwork mansion, so this feels like the kind of game it can knock out of the park. The title will be PlayStation exclusive for a year despite the fact that it’s published by Microsoft-owned Bethesda.
Ratchet & Clank: Drift Apart is set to be one of the PlayStation 5’s first major exclusives following the console’s launch. The action platformer takes full advantage of the console’s hardware with gameplay that plays with shifting environments and alternate dimensions. The 2016 Ratchet & Clank reboot was an absolute blast, and Drift Apart looks like it’ll only expand on what made that game fun with a handful of clever design tricks.
There are a lot of reasons to be excited for Gotham Knights, the new Batman game by WB Interactive. While Arkham series developer Rocksteady is off working on a Suicide Squad game, Gotham Knights is building on that game’s fluid combat and adding multiplayer to boot. Most excitingly, the plot revolves around the wider Bat-Family and the villainous Court of Owls, who are standout baddies in the Batman comics. All of those ingredients seem like the perfect mix for another exciting trip to Arkham City.
With the PlayStation 4’s lifespan mostly over, it’s safe to say that Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the console’s best games. The open world title featured a captivating story, memorable enemies, and a complex combat system anchored by satisfying bow shooting. All that considered, Horizon Forbidden West could be one of the biggest titles released in the PlayStation 5’s lifespan. Set for a late 2021 release, the game continues Aloy’s story through gorgeous new environments. What’s particularly exciting is the potential for DualSense integration, as it’s easy to picture the adaptive triggers providing extra feedback when drawing a bow.
Capcom has been on a roll when it comes to the Resident Evil franchise lately. Resident Evil 7 successfully brought the survival horror series back to its roots, while a pair of excellent remakes gave two classics the modern remake they desperately needed. This year, the rebooted series takes its biggest leap forward with Resident Evil Village. The latest installment looks more in line with Resident Evil 4, revolving around a smaller village filled with zombies. The trailers shown so far almost give off an air of mysticism, so it’s possible that this could be a bit of a turning point for the series as it delves deeper into weirdness.
Once upon a time, Gran Turismo was just about the biggest game on PlayStation. Way back in the PlayStation 2 days, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec was something of a killer app for Sony. The franchise’s popularity has waned in recent years as racing games have become more niche, but Gran Turismo 7 could be a triumphant return to form. PlayStation 5 owners are dying for an excuse to see how powerful Sony’s latest console truly is, and racing games are perfect for that. Expect to see a lot of jaw dropping ray tracing showcases as the game approaches, which should be sometime in the first half of 2021.
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