After the year of plenty that was 2020, 2021 has so far been a pretty lean one for video games. Are things about to turn around?
It has not, I’m sure we can all agree, been a standout year for video games. Although the ongoing pandemic certainly encouraged more people to play, especially online, the release schedule has been … patchy. The fact that two standout titles of 2021 so far are cartoon platformer sequels to games from the 00s – Psychonauts 2 and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart – tells us a lot about how weird this year has been. Hitman 3, Resident Evil Village and It Takes Two were all solid (and my editor would tell you that Returnal is unmissable), but the schedule has relied heavily on updated editions and remakes – take a bow Super Mario 3D World, Mass Effect Legendary Edition and Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut.
We know why this has happened. Covid ramped up the difficulty level of building games to Impossible Mode, with teams working at home, having to download millions of GBs of data, dealing with remote access to dodgy builds and holding intricate design meetings over Zoom from the kitchen table while homeschooling their kids. The result has been endless delays, including Horizon Forbidden West, Ghostwire: Tokyo and Gran Turismo 7 (though that last one is not really a shock, to be honest).