What’s On Your Gaming Wishlist For 2021?

What’s On Your Gaming Wishlist For 2021?
Planet-sized Samus? Idk, sure. (Image: Nintendo)

It’s Monday and time for Ask Kotaku, the weekly feature in which Kotaku-ites deliberate on a single burning question. Then, we ask your take.

This week we Ask Kotaku: What’s on your gaming wishlist for 2021?


Can we get a new Metroid this year? I know Prime 4 is a ways out. That’s fine. How about a side-scroller?

Also: Less outrage about dumb things in gaming, more energy about things that do matter. More mutual respect, more consideration, more patience, more openness to different good-faith views, more games that challenge us and show us who each other are, and more time — for developers, for reviewers, for players, for anyone and everyone who has seen their days pinched by forces beyond them.

Seriously, have you played this? (Image: Capcom / Arika) Seriously, have you played this? (Image: Capcom / Arika)


2020 was a historic cluster in almost every imaginable way, and our little corner of reality, the video game industry, compounded the chaos by launching expensive, hard-to-get, next-generation consoles over the holidays. Did we need them? Not especially. But they’re here now so it’s time for them to start justifying their expense.

With that in mind, I’m hoping to see both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S start to break away from the previous-generation machines with more meaningful “next-gen” exclusives that flex the new consoles’ capabilities and better make the case for upgrading. (The new Xboxes in particular have almost no next-gen exclusives, contributing to their “commodity game-streaming VCR” vibe.) After an incredibly distressing year I’m ready for some technically novel, escapist gaming entertainment. (Capcom, if you’re reading: Dragon’s Dogma 2. Please and thank you.)

Scepticism aside, I’m heartened by both Sony and Microsoft building solid 3D audio capabilities into their new consoles. Headphone virtualization can make it sound like the action’s happening all around you; done well, it adds a lot of enjoyment to my gaming experience. In the coming year I hope publishers continue to push this tech and developers take it seriously, implementing it in any game that can benefit. Heck, just take audio mixing more seriously in general. It’s super important and too many games end up sounding like mud.

Finally — no one said we have to be realistic here — I’d really love to see the return of high-quality B-games and other mid-budget wonders. When the industry transitioned to HD visuals, development costs shot up and lower-budget games grew scarce. Bring back the quirk! The hidden gems! King’s Field and Armoured Core! Klonoa and Maximo and R-Type! Scuba-diving, casual flying, and demolition games! Oddball Taito and SNK puzzlers! Heck, even slightly off mascot platformers! The indie scene covers some of this ground, but that’s a band-aid rather than a panacea. Give me more randomness, more weird shit, more delightful surprises. The industry lost something when mainstream publishers decided only big, expensive, focus-grouped games were worth betting on.

This represents Ian's general objection to the way shit be. (Screenshot: Capcom) This represents Ian’s general objection to the way shit be. (Screenshot: Capcom)


I think games are in a good place heading into 2021, especially if we finally get some news and/or a release date for Elden Ring in the coming months. It’s everything surrounding games that makes spending any amount of time discussing them a miserable experience.

Talking about video games has been fundamentally harrowing for years. I think, for the most part, video game people are good people. But when it comes to discussing games, their impact, and the environments in which they are developed, a highly vocal minority does whatever they can to muddy the waters and ruin discourse. And while many can be written off as reactionary chuds, I would be remiss not to mention this behaviour is employed by journalists, influencers, and developers as well.

I guess when it comes to what I want out of gaming in 2021, it would be a more constructive atmosphere to discuss gaming’s successes and failures. We shouldn’t be afraid of saying something critical about a release just because some idiot YouTuber or, perhaps worse, a director at a major studio is going to send a horde of arseholes flooding into our mentions. It only holds us back.

Besides, that energy would be a lot more productive if aimed at challenging the executives who make gaming worse at every turn anyway.

Pretty sure your gun and Flowbee scruff are sticking out, you tragic augmented Slim Jim. (Image: Square Enix) Pretty sure your gun and Flowbee scruff are sticking out, you tragic augmented Slim Jim. (Image: Square Enix)


Do you know what I’d give right now for a first-person immersive sim set in a cynical, futuristic metropolis where high-tech body mod shops are more common than Starbucks and contemporary social issues are reimagined as paper-thin allegories? I’m talking, of course, about another entry in the Deus Ex series. If next August rolls around without a word, that will mean Adam Jensen has been radio silent for half a decade.

Maybe I’m needlessly panicking. After all, there was a five-year gap between Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011) and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (2016), both of which were developed by Eidos Montreal. In the interim, the studio pushed out a multiplayer mode for 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot and a cross-gen revival of Thief, the cult-classic stealth series.

But maybe I’m not. Over the past five years, Eidos Montreal released Shadow of the Tomb Raider and pitched in on this year’s tepidly received Avengers, the result of an early 2017 partnership with Square Enix. It’s a similar output as that prior half-decade period, but consider what we reported in 2017: that Eidos apparently back-burnered Deus Ex in order to focus efforts on a game based on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Three years later, that one has yet to (officially) be announced. There’s also the small matter that we haven’t heard a damn thing about another Deus Ex. In 2013, Eidos showed off a glimpse of a “next-gen” Deus Ex.

All considered, the future for Deus Ex does not look bright. A guy can hope, though, right?

Oh, yeah, and then there are the pipe dreams: for everyone to be a bit nicer to each other, for the pendulum of discourse to be less volatile, for everyone to have an easier year, and for the covid-19 vaccine rollout to go as smoothly as possible. Online connections are all well and good, but the offline ones — the concerts and conventions and happy-hour debates — are sorely missed.

I guess that's a 3. Bad penmanship though. (Image: PlatinumGames) I guess that’s a 3. Bad penmanship though. (Image: PlatinumGames)


For my wishlist, I’d really like game makers to think harder about what options they add to their character creators. I understand the limitations of development mean one can’t have a slider or an option for every little different thing a piece of a human body could be, but what a creator chooses to include versus what they don’t can spark a meaningful and necessary conversation about what it means to make a diverse video game. In 2021, I want more thoughtful character creators that include options for body size, different hair textures (creators are getting there but parity between straight and not-straight hair options is far off still), and maybe hearing and mobility aids. Everyone deserves a chance to see themselves in the games they play.

As for other wishes: ctrl-f Bayonetta 3, 0 of 0 found. My colleagues are slipping! Please PlatinumGames, it’s been three years since you announced the third entry in the Bayonetta series and we’ve barely heard a word since. Give me a trailer, some artwork, a peek of whatever new hairstyle you’ve got my girl in this time around. I’ll take anything, my crops are dying!

How About You?

Kotaku’s weighed in, but what’s your take? Where would you like to see the gaming hobby go in 2021? Trends you want to see continue, trends you want to see begin, or even just specific games you really wanna be able to play? Have your say! We’ll be back next Monday to deliberate and debate on another nerdy issue. See you in the comments!


  • How about minimising the time between announcing and then releasing a game? Say 6 months, and then only announcing/releasing a game when a publisher knows it’s ready? The lessons of Cyberpunk (and countless other games) need to be heeded. If that means releasing them a ‘beta’ tag then just do it.

    • Unfortunately I suspect they might learn the wrong lessons from CP2077 – namely that the insane hype and frenzy they whipped up over such a long marketing campaign netted them a really succesful launch despite the poor state of the game itself.

  • Hoping to see BotW2 in November.

    Gran Turismo 7 would be great, but unlikely.

    Death Loop looks interesting.

    A big fantasy RPG would be nice.

  • Silksong (I’d be stoked with just a release window announcement too),
    Metroid Prime 4 (I know that won’t happen this year),
    a PC release for The Last of Us (probably never going to happen),
    a PC release of MGS 3 and 4 (maybe one day, but probably not this year)
    N1RV Ann-A,
    and as I was reminded by this article a new Deus-Ex announcement would be amazing – I hope with the buzz and partial PR failure of CP2077 they might see an opportunity to come back to the franchise with a take on Cyberpunk I greatly prefer (even if MD was far from perfect narratively, visually it was exactly what I love in a Cyberpunk setting, and the gameplay was incredible).

    • Prime 4 *might* still happen this year, knowing the dev cycles games normally go through. The project was given to Retro in January 2019, which is 2 years ago now. 2-3 years is about average for a game development phase and most of Retro’s previous games have taken about that long, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see it sometime this year. Maybe an official trailer around E3 time, with a release later in the year. We’ll see.

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