At this time in 2020, I was anticipating the best year of gaming ever. Cyberpunk 2077, The Last of Us 2, Doom Eternal, and Ghost of Tsushima were all on the horizon, a new console generation was set to launch later that year, and I was planning on attending PAX West in Seattle in September.

Can…we go back to that time?

Obviously, none of that really happened the way I was expecting back in January 2020 due to Covid, game delays, and apparently hundreds of millions of bots. It was still a decent year for gaming as a whole, but nowhere near the year, I was expecting. But hey, that’s why we make stupid ass bold predictions and expectations in January: so we can spend the rest of the year in a pit of sorrow that none of them will be met.

Honestly, looking at the slate for 2021 that has been announced so far we should be gearing up for a badass year, especially if this “leak” comes true for the Nintendo Direct next Monday:

I mean that has to be the most ridiculous lineup Nintendo has released since 2017, maybe even better. My thoughts? Has to be fake. There’s no fucking way Nintendo is going to launch Mario Odyssey 2, Breath of the Wild 2, a new Metroid game, AND a new Mario Kart all in the course of 12 months. I know they didn’t exactly have a stellar 2020 outside of Animal Crossing, but that’s just way too much to expect.

We are due for a new Mario Kart so I think that might be true and maybe Breath of the Wild 2 since they’ve already teased it, but last I heard they were still hiring for the new Metroid Prime and we haven’t heard shit about Mario Odyssey 2. We’ll find out next Monday I guess but regardless, I’m excited for all 4 whenever they release.

The rest of the 2021 triple-A’s outside of Nintendo look pretty stacked as well, but I’m already anticipating delays. God of War: Ragnarok is going to be absolutely badass whenever it is released but Sony Santa Monica was hiring all the way into late last year, which may not be relevant to the production cycle but I just have a gut feel that game will be delayed into 2021. I also don’t think Elder Scrolls 6 comes out until 2022. All we’ve seen is a fancy PNG of the world with no trailer or gameplay. I think it’s more likely Bethesda’s new IP Starfield launches in 2021 instead.

What won’t be delayed until 2021 though is Halo. Halo Infinite absolutely 100% must launch this year or Xbox is dead. You can say all you want about all the exclusives they have and Betheseda and blah blah blah but if you actually care about Xbox and Halo, this is what you should be thinking:

If 343 Industries cannot launch a successful Halo game on the biggest budget of all-time with a full extra year added to the production time, the Halo franchise is dead.

That’s the truth of it. And all you Halo diehards are gonna get your panties in a wad over that statement but what else is Xbox gonna do? Buy Bungie back? They already tried and Bungie said no. Give it to another studio? That’s literally what we’re dealing with right now. This is truly Halo’s last shot at returning to glory. And even with the absolutely horrifying gameplay trailer we saw last year, I’m still kinda optimistic. But this is their last chance. Xbox has pumped so much money into this title, has provided so many resources, and now is extremely involved in the development due to the failure of meeting last year’s launch deadline that this is no longer just about 343. This is Xbox’s game. And if they can’t make a good Halo with all hands on deck, they’ll never make a good one again.

So…moving on from that morbid reality and onto the fact that I have a shitton more to say but this blog is already pretty long, let’s go rapid-fire (links are for trailers to each game mentioned, none are ads. this is a blog not IGN):

  • The game I’m most excited about right now that we know is coming out in 2021 is Far Cry 6. Perfect villain, perfect location, perfect premise, and Ubisoft Toronto has been on fire for almost a decade now.
  • Xbox exclusive The Medium comes out in a few weeks and it’s gonna be mediocre AF. It’s being made by the team behind Blair Witch and Layers of Fear, and that team hasn’t made anything that groundbreaking. Temper your expectations.
  • Same goes for PS5 exclusive Returnal. That studio has only really made top-down and side-scrolling shooters. Their first game outside of that category is probably going to be rough.
  • Destruction All-Stars is being heavily slept on and I think it could win a few multiplayer GOTYs at the end of the year. You literally just drive around destroying other people’s cars with powerups. Looks like it has Rocket League growth potential. PS5 exclusive at launch, then multi-plat after a few months.
  • We still haven’t heard much about Crossfire X, the Xbox console exclusive that Phil Spencer hyped up at E3 2019 that has vanished for like 2 years other than a quick note saying it would be coming in 2021. Like ok kewl how bout you show us what you’ve been doing…
  • Hogwarts Legacy is a wait-and-see for me on launch. It looks cool, but I’m not sold yet that it’s the type of Harry Potter game I’m interested in playing. It might be more tuned for a younger audience considering the devs are the team behind Disney Infinity.
  • The other game I’m most excited about that we know is coming in 2021 is Ghostwire Tokyo. That looks like a trip and a half and I can’t wait to shit myself through the streets of Tokyo.