The year of COVID-19 was a particularly long, rough year for all of us, including the video game industry. A lot of releases were pushed back (and for good reason!), and even with the release of the new PlayStation V and the Xbox Series X, there just wasn’t a lot of positive and uplifting news for video games. A lot of developers had to adjust to new stay at home orders, and in turn this either broke some games, or encouraged developers to take the time to make games even better before release. But with New Years just around the corner, it’s time to take a look forward into the bright future of 2021, and what new video games it has to offer. Also, with any luck, a new Nintendo Switch hardware revision certainly isn’t out of the question, but whatever happens the schedule is already looking promising for new games next year.
So, without further ado, here’s a look at my most top five anticipated video games of 2021!
5. Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town
As much as I loved the original Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town on the Gameboy, the remake Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town didn’t do much for me. As I said in many previous articles, there was a lot of content left out, and that really perturbed me as to the future of Story of Seasons. I’ve been a adoring fan since way back on Harvest Moon 64, and Friends of Mineral Town was one of my favorites as a kid, but the remake was really… well, it was empty, and just bad in some ways. There were so many left-out pieces of the game that made it feel less than whole, and I still don’t understand why those choices were made (I’ll probably never understand) and it makes me hesitant for the future.
The Story of Seasons games themselves were pretty good (I really liked Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns), but for some reason, it felt like they really let this remake slip away from its potential. With any luck, and I’m very hesitant to say this, Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town for the Nintendo Switch could be the next best game in the Bokujou Monogatari franchise. There are so many charming aspects that they could bring back and improve upon even further, and I’m looking forward to it. Marvelous Inc. don’t fail me now, please. Give us what we miss! You can do it!
Marvelous’ next installment in the Story of Seasons farm franchise is coming to Nintendo Switch on 23rd March 2021 and you can pre-order it now.
4. Tales of Arise
I got my first taste of the Tales series way back on the GameCube with Tales of Symphonia—I loved this game so much, and I sunk hours and hours trying to get to 100% completion. And I have to say, the only reason I got that far was because the story was just so great every time (you had to play New Game+ to receive all that the game had to offer…). I always realized something new through each playthrough, and maybe that was because I was so young and there was always so much going on, ToS had so much to easily gloss over.
With that being said, the latest installment, Tales of Berseria, was a huge letdown for me because the old elements of the game just weren’t there. However, I’m hopeful. Look on the bright side, nothing can be worse than 2020, right?
Currently, Tales of Arise doesn’t have a release date, and not much is known about the gameplay besides the trailer, but that’s okay because the producers knowingly set the release date back to give themselves more time in making this game the “best it can be” for fans. I am very much looking forward to this release.
3. Final Fantasy XVI
As much as I love Final Fantasy XIV, the last few Final Fantasy games have been a huge letdown, in my opinion, but maybe this is the game we all need to restore our hope in the Square Enix/ Final Fantasy team. Family and friends know that I’ve played just about every Final Fantasy game out there, and I have some strong opinions about the newer releases. The summons (eidolons, primals, whatever you want to call them) don’t shift into cars that you can ride into battle (as far as I can tell, fingers crossed…), and it doesn’t seem like they’re giving us a half-baked plot divided into a million DLC for purchase.
In any case, this probably won’t be as good as the old favorites, but since Yoshi-P is working on this game, I’m looking forward to it being a modest success.
2. Bravely Default II
I enjoyed Bravely Default I, but that was released years ago (2012), and we’ve yet to have anything similar to a Final Fantasy Tactics game whet our appetite since its release. The first Bravely Default II demo was released back in March, 2020, and there were several flaws that didn’t go unnoticed by fans. We all had some opinions that were definitely heard by and addressed by the Bravely Default II team. Honestly, I wish more feedback would be addressed like this, and this gives me hope for the new game. I’ve included the Demo Questionnaire Feedback Video below, and you can read the Twitter post here.
This video is Bravely Default II’s response to the feedback from the first demo, and what they did to improve the final demo. Their final demo is available on the Nintendo Switch eShop to whet your appetite for when the final game appears on 26th February 2021. Fingers crossed it doesn’t slip.
1. Hogwarts Legacy
I saved the best for last, and maybe I shouldn’t place this as number one on my list because I have so many expectations that I’m sure will end up disappointing me, but dang it, when it was announced that we were getting an open-world Harry Potter game my jaw dropped—I immediately turned to my best friend and screamed I get to be a wizard?! If you’re a fan of Harry Potter this game could mean so many things—maybe I get to choose to be good or bad, can I major in potions and dark arts (and leave out the rest?), will my character go home for the summers, do I get to choose if my character is from a wizarding family or a muggle family, can I send letters to friends in-game with an owl, what kind of wand will I have… I had so many questions! With any luck, the answer to these questions is “Yes” and so much more.
There isn’t a release date set in stone yet, but you can check out the website here along with the trailer and a multitude of frequently asked questions around the game and its production.
EDIT Hogwarts Legacy was pushed back to 2022, and you can read more about that here.