Dear Santa Claus, I know I know. This Christmas has flown by and we are already in 2021, but having been spoiled so much by the free games offered by Epic Games during the holidays, I didn't feel like adding another stop on your path. After all, we are still in a global pandemic and you are of a certain age, so best to avoid. At this point, I prefer to tell you about mine Wishlist for this new year. And I'll tell you more: this won't just be a list of games most awaited by myself, but also gods games that I would like to see announced or detailed, finally concluding with some thoughts related to the industry and what could be improved. All clear? Then let's go!
Games coming soon
No More Heroes 3
I think I stressed too many friends talking about No More Heroes 3, by its author SUDA51 and my expectations for the latest adventure Travis Touchdown, enough to make them beg that the game will come out as soon as possible to make me shut up. For me, the ideal NMH 3 is the perfect balance of three elements that made the series unforgettable for a small niche: immediate and fun gameplay action, a level soundtrack e a script that never takes itself seriously… on the surface. Who delved into the story behind it Travis Strikes Again will understand what I mean.
It is still not clear the period of 2021 in which the game will come out, but I'm confident and can't wait to get back on track Santa Destroy.
Monster Hunter Rise
Monster Hunter was a series that I had mixed feelings about. That it was for the extreme farming, a key feature of the series, or the fact that the games I tried had already been abandoned by the online community, the Capcom series never did breach in my heart… until Monster Hunter World. That chapter was the perfect starting point for me, allowing me not only to settle into the gameplay formula, but also to kill time during the first lockdown.
Later - in order to play a Monster Hunter with friends - I moved on Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate and from that moment the omelette was done. Indeed, Generations became a priority over its most incarnation Modern. But something was still missing, the intoxication of be able to explore a new Monster Hunter together with the community without talking about things already discussed. Monster Hunter Rise is the second phase of my hunter experience e judging by the images released at the time, could be the mix I was looking for between the freedom of action of World e the eccentricity of Generations. What would make it a potential masterpiece? The introduction of the G-Rank via expansion and the return of the Mizutsune, one of my favorite monsters in terms of aesthetics, consistent with it oriental style of this chapter to be released on March 26 2021.
The platforming adventure of Double Fine Productions is one of those games that I promised myself to play, but for reasons unknown to me I never started. It's since 2017 that that copy of the first Psychonauts has remained inside my Steam library gathering dust and I think the upcoming sequel release may lead me to look back on my backlog and do the great leap into Raz's mental adventures before the sequel's release in 2021.
Ratchet & Clank: RIft-Apart
Let's face reality: this is the first truly interesting PS5 exclusive. I don't want to minimize it in any way Demon's Souls Remake and the guys from Bluepoint games, but leaving out the graphic quality and the immediate loading of the levels, we are still talking about an experience already seen and playable elsewhere. Ratchet & Clank: Rift-Apart instead, it promises to make the most of the features of Sony's new console.
The mechanics of dimensional manipulation could bring the boys of Insomniac Games to work on level design in ways we couldn't even imagine before, perhaps with environmental puzzles where the player travels from one dimension to another or as a way to get rid of an enemy, pulling down the entire dimensional window. At least I hope, because the gameplay shown so far shows a fun combat system and varied, but a gimmick too secondary. Fingers crossed, because I would like a valid reason to squander 500 euros for PS5… If the console will ever go back on sale at that price when the game hits stores in 2021.
Neo: The World Ends with You
In my opinion, the announcement of NEO: The World Ends with You arrived for a combination of two factors: the interest from the public after the release on Nintendo Switch ed the global success of Persona 5. Before you arrive with the pitchforks and stamp me as the Persona 5 fanboy on Twitter, let me elaborate.
Unlike the blockbuster of Atlus, the original The World Ends with You differed both in terms of gameplay and issues addressed, but both productions had - inevitably - one element in common: the deepening of Japanese culture. Neo: The World Ends with You is the perfect title for those who want more Shibuya, whether it's a player of the original who has waited 14 years for the sequel, or a novice who - after completing the original Persona 5 or the Royale version - wants to see the metropolis from a different point of view.
From my point of view, during the summer of 2021 I would like to see a 3D evolution of the original formula. I would like to explore every alley of the metropolis, get confused inside the Scramble Crossing, really enter the district store Towa Records, talk to the clerk about why Rindo wears a maid costume, and try the various combinations of Psi-pins and then collaborate with my party, knock down the Noise on duty and win the Reapers' Game. But most of all: I'd like to go back to swearing in Pork City!
Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course
Let's not fool ourselves: this will be a standalone sequel of the first Cuphead, with the brothers of Studio MDHR ready to delight us with new bosses and quality OSTs. And personally I can't wait to be able to pick up the controller and spend another ten hours with Cuphead and Mugman. If I could recommend anything to the Moldenhauer brothers, I would recommend to to include of the most interesting power-ups e greater care in the Run & Gun sections. Release date? A dry and uncertain 2021.
Games without a release date
Inazuma Eleven: Heroes of Great Road
Level-5, as a company not a developer, it confuses me. On consoles it continues to milk its most important IPs by failing to execute, on mobile it continues to create new IPs and games and then delete them after less than a year. There seems to be no longer any control over the production and the closure of the American offices it could be the first sign of the end.
But as a masochist I still have a glimmer of hope, I hope that Yo-kai Academy is a success at least in Japan and I hope the development of Inazuma Eleven: Heroes of Great Road be the next priority on the roadmap. Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions it is proof of the existence of a small niche of players who value football titles the most arcade-ish and I would like Level-5, like in 2008, to take inspiration from its rival franchise to bring home a project that continues to be postponed from 2016.
Azure Striker GUNVOLT 3
Inti Creates. A name, a certainty when it comes to designing titles with a retro spirit. And among all the series under their protective wing (Blaster Master, BloodStained: Curse of the Moon, Gal Gun) Gunvolt is their workhorse and my absolute favorite. However, let's talk about a developer who knows the genre like the back of his hand and who in recent years has managed to create what Mighty No. 9 was not: a spiritual successor to the MegaMan, at least for the X / Zero / ZX series.
Since its debut in 2015, the series has received a sequel, several spin-offs, CD Drama and an animated mini short and to date have almost all had the eternal struggle between two races at the center: human e adepts, living beings capable of using special powers, in most cases lethal. If with Luminous Avenger iX you have explored a bad ending dominated by adepts, I expect that Gunvolt 3 finally bring the much coveted ending that fans desire after the cliffhanger left by the second chapter on 3DS. And if we add to this a frenetic gameplay and a level design that makes the most of the skills of Gunvolt, of the new character Kirin and perhaps even the anti-hero Copen, I look forward to following the next developments over the course of 2021.
Final Fantasy XVI
If there is one thing that Final Fantasy XV has taught us it is that a cross-media development based on the re-elaboration of someone else's project it can lead to mediocre work. It is not an attempt to blast Square / Nomura / Tabata but more a reasoning that came after completing the - incomplete - journey of Noctis & co.
Final Fantasy XVI is - a bit like it was for XIV: A Realm Reborn - the last resort for the single player branch of the most important series of Square Enix. And just like for the fourteenth, Naoki Yoshida may be the right person to direct this return to origins, which acts as a breaking point with the past. The premise of moving away from the Legend of the Crystal - the focus and sacred element in most chapters of the series - could lead to a real narrative revolution. What is hidden beyond what we know? Beyond the Mystery Box? We just have to wait.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild Sequel
You have to be generous to define the last year of Nintendo disappointing. By removing Animal Crossing: New Horizons - bestseller of course, especially if released in a period like the first lockdown - most of the titles released on the Switch were titles developed in outsourcing, limited edition compilations, indie or third party titles already on other platforms. From my point of view this is not bad, but I understand the fans who expected more.
Turning the page, 2021 could be the year of the ransom for the Kyoto house, especially with the arrival of the 35th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. And if you have known Nintendo for quite a few years, when this anniversary arrives there is a high probability that a new title related to Link. Of course, 2015 brought us Triforce Heroes, but it is 2021 and we are talking about a different Nintendo and in full positive momentum with Nintendo Switch (in spite of everything), so it is very likely that new information will come about Breath of the Wild Sequel and why not, maybe an exit towards the Christmas period.
Personally, what I expect from this sequel is - like The World Ends with You - an improvement of its foundations and any reuse of a slightly altered Hyrule map from the awakening of this new evil force it could be the right starting point. And please Nintendo, rethink the durability of weapons. It must not disappear, it still remains a main element of the survival component of the title, but increasing the resistance of the weapons would eliminate that sense of I would like to use this weapon, but I don't want to destroy it after 10 minutes which led me not to consider the first BOTW as the second coming of the Lord.
Taken as a pastime with friends, Overwatch is a great game and continues to provide fun moments for me and my evening group. But as a management of the competitive landscape, Blizzard hasn't handled the various balances optimally and in recent years the playerbase has shrunk considerably, despite the various smurf accounts that haunt the game's low ELOs. Overwatch 2 it is the perfect opportunity to pick up the situation, focusing mainly on the PvE component and the narrative, and I hope that the creative momentum seen in recent months with the latest comics published increases until release. But in the meantime, eyes on the next one BlizzCon 2021.
Bayonetta 3 is that ace in the hole of Nintendo that still does not arrive. For heaven's sake, we're not talking about a flagship title like a new Zelda or a new Mario, but we're still talking about a genre (Hack-and-Slash) and a developer (Platinum Games) that in recent years have begun to enter the hearts of the general public, especially after the release of Nier Automata e Devil May Cry 5. I hope that new information arrives this year and that the game arrives before the holiday season begins. If both of these expectations of mine are met, we could finally see the fruits of Nintendo's investment in Bayonetta 2021 exclusivity on Wii U in 2.
I know Santa, the list is long and you probably won't even read it in full, but try to hold out a little longer. See, 2020 has been a complicated year not just for us but also for the video game industry. I think I've lost count of how many scandals are erupted, how much it is controversy have been raised and how many others mess they arrived during this crazy 365 days, so I'll try to briefly summarize the changes I'd like to see.
Developers: be more flexible
It is not a case that The Last of Us Part 2 e cyberpunk 2077 are the most discussed titles of recent months. And if we will talk about the latest game in the Naughty Dog saga later, both he and Cyberpunk share a development process based on the practice of crunch. We agree that towards the release of a title, more or less all developers have to face at least one session of the infamous Extraordinary April, but at the same time there should be no abuse of this practice, which instead happens most of the time.
Results on product quality? Swings. Sure, the crunch can give life to a Game of The Year like TLOU 2, but it can also create unpleasant situations like the launch of cyberpunk 2077. Results on workers? Many of them end up in hospital or come marked by grueling shifts. A side effect that is not suitable for studies that are awarded as the best by the specialized press.
Where can we improve in this 2021? In my opinion, one way to significantly reduce crunch abuse lies in the organizational management of a project. Postponing the release of a product forever may work, but then it's no better do not disclose the release date until you have a complete product ready for the bugfix phase? So it is up to who manages the timetable take investors by the marbles and be realistic: if the game is not ready, would better not talk about. And with this comes the need for communicate correctly with an increasingly demanding public and now prey to the hype culture.
Players: Be less fanboy and more patient
And how not to end this letter if not by speaking of the engine of the whole industry: we players. In recent years, the player has gone from being a simple user of the work to taking the place of consumer, judge and executioner. And although this has led software houses to be a little more attentive to user feedback during the development phase, it has also led to an abuse - as for the crunch - of these roles.
As a consumer, the hype culture has led some of us to pre-order blindly with no ifs and buts, even when nothing is known about the game. And with the same blindness, some of us have used our faculties judge to defend your favorite game or, vice versa, go against the title of the moment or when a delay is announced. In certain cases, the judge may even turn into floater, coming not only to boycott a game, but also to launch death threats or other insults.
If you do not know what I mean Santa, I am attaching a video dedicated to Bombing Review loaded from the channel I play with the fool, where various examples of what I have just described are presented.
Sure Santa, not all players are like that and generalizing an entire category in this way might seem like an extreme stance, not at all different from leaving a 0 or a 10. However, even considering a toxic minority equivalent to 10% of the global gamer community, social media is the ideal tool to magnify the flame of hatred and virtual fistfight, even when it comes to products related to entertainment, to the point of making them far from rare cases.
My request, at the end of all this, is to make 2021 a transition period: make us better players and more aware of our role in the market. A little too big a wish? Maybe, but look at it this way: in 2020 no one expected the arrival of a global pandemic that would confine us indoors for months. After this experience, this new year can do nothing but amaze me. Then I am sending you this letter in January, I would say that 12 months is more than enough to organize a little surprise for next Christmas.
Now all I want to do is leave the house, go to the nearest post office and send this long, tedious and probably useless wish list to the North Pole. I really wish, but there is a problem: I don't know yours address.