2020 has been a rollercoaster year for gaming – and the wheels aren’t going to stop turning as we head into 2021. The majority of what we’re looking forward to is a sequel – but that’s only because those first entries in a new franchise tend, almost by definition, to come out of nowhere. Let’s take a look at some big games launching in 2021.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
It’s been a long, long time since the first Bloodlines landed, way back in 2004. We know that the sequel is set in 21st century Seattle and that you’ll play a vampire in a first-person perspective, so it’s worth getting a high-end PC to match. Expect plenty of rain-sodden night-time scenes, spooky music, and goth-looking blokes standing around as though they’re auditioning to be extras in a Cradle of Filth video. Beyond that, details are scarce. We’re not even sure when the game will land, precisely; but when it does, we’ll be playing it.
The original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was a masterpiece of atmosphere, survival and exploration. It was amazing how much atmosphere a few periodic lightning flashes could create, even set against low-poly 2000s backdrops. While HBO will have reignited interest in all things Chernobyl, it’s fans of the first game that’ll be relishing a return to The Zone. One of the defining features of the game world is its sheer size: we’re promised unprecedented vastness, which usually leads to lots of wandering around in the middle of nowhere, and a depressing feeling of isolation. In this case, that’s exactly the atmosphere we’re looking for.
Empire of Sin
This mob-based strategy game is set in prohibition-era Chicago and comes courtesy of Romero Games (that’s the same John Romero of Doom and Quake fame). Recruit mobsters, whack opponents and expand your various criminal enterprises. This is a strategy game on a smaller scale to stuff like Civilisation and Age of Empires – you’ll need to get acquainted with the various players at large in the city if you’re to successfully deal with the mob politics.
Fans of the Hitman franchise won’t have long to wait for another dose of sandbox murder-action. The word is that the next game is going to take a darker turn, while still keeping the branching gameplay that made the first two rebooted Hitman games so compelling. This third game is being put forward as the conclusion of a trilogy. Shown thus far has been a manor level, in which Agent 47 poses as a detective, as well as a more vertical level in the form of a Dubai skyscraper.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
Vermintide was such a monster success, and developer Fatshark are shifting the action from the Warhammer Fantasy universe (that’s the swords and sorcery one) to the 40k universe (that’s the one with Lasguns and Tyranids). What’s important is that, with the help of a few friends, you’ll be able to blast your way through the hive city of Tertium.
A wildcard here, from the good people who gave us Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgement, comes this quirky-looking role-playing shooter. There seems to be a strong emphasis on magic powers, as well as gunplay – with more aggressive playstyles being rewarded. One to keep an eye on, especially during February (which tends, let’s face it, to be pretty barren release-wise).
This upcoming open-world explorer has been a long time coming, having been delayed twice since its premiere at the 2018 PC Gaming Show. It’s based on puzzle-solving and wandering around a vast desert on a hoverbike. What makes this one interesting is its aesthetic; every frame looks as though it’s been hand-drawn with pen and ink. We’re reminded a little bit of the Tatooine sections from Star Wars, and of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. How the game itself stacks up remains to be seen.
Evil Genius 2: World Domination
This build-em up title puts us into the role of an evil genius bent on world domination. Build a base beneath a volcano (or some other similarly imposing location), recruit an army of thuggish peons, and wreak havoc across the globe. It’s a little bit like Dungeon Keeper, except a lot bigger and more colourful. And Brian Blessed has chipped in a little bit of his inimitable voice talents, if you needed further persuading.
Baylon’s Fall is another unknown, but one that’s generated considerable interest thanks to the pedigree of developer Platinum Games. The action appears to be set against the backdrop of an enormous tower, and features plenty of swirling magical effects and a main protagonist with an implausibly neat coiffure.
The first Everspace had players fly, shoot and craft their way across a vast open galaxy, and the sequel looks ready to take the baton and run with it. It’s perfect for those who like to customise their spacecraft and then use it to blast holes into other spacecraft. Given that Kerbal Space Program 2 has been pushed back into 2022, this might be unrivalled when it comes to space exploration; fans of the first one have reason to be excited.
You might think that Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin would have his hands full writing the concluding two books in his all-conquering fantasy series (and hopefully doing a better job of it than the people who finished the TV show). But he’s still found time to collaborate with Hidetaka Miyazaki (he of Demon Souls fame) for this upcoming action RPG. We don’t know much about this one, other than the fact it’s going to feature a sprawling open world, packed with ruins to explore.
Baldur’s Gate III
Larian Studios’ long-awaited sequel to one of the most popular RPGs of all time has been in early access since October and promises to be just as expansive, deep and engaging as the last two critically-acclaimed Divinity: Original Sin titles. You can expect those Dungeons & Dragons mechanics to be a little more prominent this time, and there’s an online multiplayer component for up to four players. Those who played the early access version of Baldur’s Gate 3 got to enjoy Act I of the new game, with the rest coming when the full game lands, which with any luck should be late 2021.
If you’re looking for a machine that can handle all of these titles and more, then why not invest in a high-end gaming PC, custom-built by our team of experts? You can be fairly sure that any machine you buy now will be fit for years to come, and capable of delivering all of the gaming 2021 has to offer!