2021 brought a multitude of game launches, whether massively anticipated titles from major studios and franchises or surprise hits that quickly climbed the charts and pulled in glowing reviews.
If you’ve been following gaming throughout the year, you’ve probably heard most of these names. With so many new releases, though, you may have forgotten exactly which titles came out this year. Here you’ll find a recap of some of the biggest game launches that took place over the last 12 months.
Halo Infinite (November/December)
Halo Infinite‘s free-to-play multiplayer had a surprise launch a month before the campaign mode, bringing fans an early treat to get them ready for the next installment in a legendary franchise. Infinite is perfect for players waiting for a next-gen Halo experience, and its free-to-play multiplayer makes for a low barrier of entry for veterans and newcomers alike. Add to that a battle pass, an in-game store, and seasonal events, and there should be plenty to keep the longevity of the newest part of the Halo franchise.
New World (September)
After multiple delays, in September Amazon’s entry into the MMO genre, New World finally launched to much anticipation from fans and quickly became one of Steam’s biggest hits for the year.
New World, Amazon’s foray into the MMO genre, finally launched in September 2021 after several delays, and it quickly became one of Steam’s biggest hits for the year.
While New World has hit a rocky slope since its rapid rise at launch, the game can still be a great MMO for both casual and hardcore players—and in terms of numbers, it’s definitely one of the biggest game launches this year.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (June)
Ratchet & Clank is one of the most iconic PlayStation series of all time, and 2021 saw the first addition to the franchise since 2016. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart‘s stunning visuals, exciting gameplay, and expert adaptive trigger implementation make it stand out, and that’s before adding in its perfect soundtrack to immerse players into the world.
Those who prefer single-player adventures and have access to a PS5 may not want to skip on this game. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart might be the most visually impressive game of the year and definitely a must-play.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (November)
While fans wait for the next-gen of Pokémon games in 2022 with Pokémon: Legends Arceus, 2021 brought with it the highly anticipated remakes of the gen-four titles Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl launched a few months ago, and they’re already breaking sales records around the globe. These two remakes perfectly encapsulate the original games and bring the Sinnoh region to a new generation of players.
Far Cry 6 (October)
Far Cry 6 may have faced a ton of criticism, but it still had a tremendous launch in 2021. The sixth entry into the Far Cry franchise takes players onto a fictional Caribbean island with massive inspiration from Cuba.
If you’ve played previous Far Cry titles and enjoyed their style of combat—mixing massive gunfights with stealth gameplay—this new addition is a surefire choice. If you’re looking for something new or expecting Ubisoft to deviate too much from the Far Cry formula, though, you can probably skip this one.
Forza Horizon 5 (November)
Forza Horizon 5 is one of the most dominant forces this year, and it had a massive audience ready to get in on the racing action even before launch. A huge part of this hype comes from its inclusion on Xbox Game Pass at launch.
The game boasted an enormous launch, with over 10 million players hopping in on the action. Sales have seemingly tapered off since then, but Forza Horizon 5 had one of the biggest launches in 2021.
Super Mario 3D World and Bowser’s Fury (November)
The re-release of Super Mario 3D World and the addition of the Bowser’s Fury expansion market marked one of the biggest game launches this year.
Released for the Nintendo Wii-U almost a decade ago, the 3D platformer found new life on the Nintendo Switch, selling over five million copies in just five weeks after going on sale. The game has received fantastic reviews from Mario fans and critics alike and is a must-have for Switch users.
Resident Evil Village (May)
Resident Evil has been on a tear since the release of Resident Evil 7 in 2017. Its follow-up, Resident Evil Village, launched to huge fan anticipation, which was reflected in day one sales.
The game ditches the straight-up thriller elements of its predecessor for a more action-focused approach, but it still kept the usual spooky Resident Evil setting. Even those who didn’t fancy the change in tone can admit the game is fantastic. With its engaging narrative, fast-paced gameplay, and decent runtime, there’s little to dislike about the latest entry in the Resident Evil franchise.
Monster Hunter Rise (March)
Like several Nintendo titles on the list, Monster Hunter Rise also made waves when it launched. In the tone of Monster Hunter World, this Nintendo Switch title brought a more polished style of Monster Hunter game to a new audience.
With fantastic multiplayer features, plenty of variety in enemies, and lots of replayability, Monster Hunter Rise is one of the best Switch games from 2021. And thanks to the addition of more content and an upcoming Steam launch, it promises to continue delivering a great experience throughout the year.
One of the surprise hits of 2021 was Arkane Studios’ Deathloop. It brings some of the most unique premises and gameplay mechanics of the year, with two rival assassins stuck in a time loop that forces them to relive the same day.
The single-player shooter game has something for all kinds of players, whether they’d rather use stealth or run and gun. There’s also a multiplayer component that lets you crash other players’ loops, throwing a wrench in their plans. If you’re after something different and challenging, then Deathloop is one of the best options released in 2021.