Five months after it launched, the PS5 is still ridiculously hard to come by at retail. What it takes to actually buy the console in 2021 is a hefty amount of luck, quick-acting fingers and snap decisions. Stock drops tend to come as a major surprise, and cold-calling retailers rarely ever bears fruit.
The circumstances are understandable. We’re still living through a global pandemic, and there’s a long-term semiconductor chip shortage which means consoles aren’t just “not in stock”, they’re not being made. When supply does reach Australia, it tends to sell out immediately. People are desperate for the new console — and there’s plenty of reason to be.
While the first few months post-launch were fairly quiet for the PS5, we’re now entering the period where exclusives are ramping up. Over the course of 2021, owning a PS5 will be essential — and these are the reasons why.
Returnal — Out Now
Returnal is the first “true” PS5 exclusive, and one that’ll certainly interest fans of sci-fi or time-loop style adventures. The premise is fairly standard: you’re a pilot who crash lands on an alien planet and is forced to traverse an incredibly hostile environment filled with oozing creatures and strange biodomes. Your purpose is mostly a mystery, but alone the way you’ll discover a horrifying secret: you’re not the first “you” to take this journey.
What follows is a high intensity tale of survival against all odds as players try to understand how they came to crash on the planet known as Atropos and what secrets lie in its heart.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade — June 10
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is the PS5-enhanced version of the original FFVII remake with an added bonus: Intergrade features a brand new chapter starring ninja Yuffie as she pulls off a daring heist in Midgar. She missed out on an appearance in the original version of the game, but her story is one worth experiencing for yourself.
Alongside this new chapter, Intergrade sports great lighting improvements and haptic feedback integration, so everything in Midgar is prettier and more engaging (although the original game is already very good in that regard.)
Everyone who owns a PS4 copy of the game will get a free upgrade to the PS5 version (you will have to purchase Yuffie’s chapter for an additional fee) — so if you were looking to experience the game in shiny, beautiful 4K, owning a PS5 is the best way to do it.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart — June 11
The excellent 2016 Ratchet & Clank reboot is getting a continuation this June in the form of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, a full-blown sequel featuring alternate dimensions, swanky new weapons and absolutely stunning alien worlds.
The first trailer, released way back in 2020, reveals absolutely incredible-looking landscapes, sleek action and plenty of high-speed, high-octane shenanigans. Some of these involve your typical running-and-gunning in Ratchet & Clank style, but there’s also segments showing off dragon rides, hog rides and split-dimensional shifts.
It looks set to be an absolutely wild time, and should show off the immense power of the PS5 when it launches in June.
Deathloop — September 14
Deathloop is the latest adventure from Arkane, the developers of Dishonored and Prey. If you’ve played either of these franchises, you probably know what to expect here: excellent hand-to-hand combat, intriguing worlds and high concept action. But every trailer for this game makes it seem like the most exciting and original adventure Arkane’s had a hand in creating.
On top of the typically great-looking combat, Deathloop‘s trailers show off a unique retrofuturistic 60s aesthetic and Spy vs. Spy style gameplay, making the whole thing look like an incredibly stylish thriller.
Then you add in the whole time loop concept, and you’ve got a game that looks absolutely banging. While it does appear the game will be hitting PC down the track, it’s a PS5 exclusive at launch. This is one original game you won’t want to miss.
Horizon Forbidden West — “Late 2021”
Horizon Forbidden West is reportedly still on track for a 2021 release, so there’s a high chance we could see the continuation of Aloy’s post-apocalyptic adventures by the end of the year. Horizon Zero Dawn is a beautiful open world adventure, and carved out a tale of survival in a harsh and unfamiliar land. It was a story that felt rooted in reality, and explored questions many of us should be asking now such as whether humanity is becoming too reliant on technology.
Forbidden West is set to expand on these questions, with its reveal trailer revisiting the gorgeous open plains and cybernetic wilderness of the original title. Whether it releases this year or not, Horizon Forbidden West is set to be a glorious PS5 adventure.
God of War: Ragnarok — TBA 2021
God of War: Ragnarok is the PS5 exclusive we know the least about, and also the one most likely to slip into 2022. Still, it’s a game that should be on everybody’s radar.
2018’s God of War transformed the franchise from a generic hack-and-slasher to a rich narrative tale about a father and a son carving their way through a world filled with gods and monsters. It also leaned heavily into Norse mythology and grounded these myths in a wonderfully-told, realm-spanning journey.
Ragnarok is set to continue the tale of Kratos and Atreus, and it’s fair to assume this sequel will be just as moving as the original game. It’s expected to be a PS5 exclusive, meaning you’ll only be able to follow Kratos if you’ve managed to nab a PS5 by the time it releases.
But that’s not all…
While those are the major PS5 exclusive games releasing in 2021, there’s plenty of other crossgen enhanced titles to get excited about in 2021. These are the games you won’t need a PS5 to enjoy, but will look and feel much better on the console:
- Resident Evil Village (PS4 | PS5 | XBO | XSX/S | PC) – May 7
- Scarlet Nexus (PS4 | PS5 | XBO | XSX/S) – June 25
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits (PS4 | PS5) – August 24
- Life is Strange: True Colours (PS4 | PS5 | XBO | XSX/S | PC) – September 10
- Far Cry 6 (PS4 | PS5 | XBO | XSX/S | PC) – mid 2021
- Goodbye Volcano High (PS4 | PS5 | PC) – TBA 2021
- Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One (PS4 | PS5 | XBO | XSX/S | PC) – TBA 2021
- Little Devil Inside (PS4 | PS5 | PC) – TBA 2021
- Cyberpunk 2077 (PS5 | XSX/S) – TBA 2021
- Final Fantasy XVI (PS5 | PC) – TBA 2021
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong (PS4 | PS5 | XBO | XSX/S | PC) – TBA 2021
- Stray (PS4 | PS5 | PC) – TBA 2021
There’s likely a whole lot more we don’t already know about — and more still that’ll be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the current 2021 release schedule is looking very, very good.
If you don’t already have a PS5 and there’s games on this list you’re keen to experience for yourself, there’s a few things you can do right now. First, follow Kotaku Australia on Twitter for stock drop alerts. Then, keep your eye on this stock tracker and stay alert for any buzz online. You can also ring your local gaming and electronics stores to find out more about stock (and please be polite if you do ring) or you can save retail tabs to your browser to check easily.
While it might feel like you’ll never get your hands on a PS5, there is hope coming. The semiconductor shortage which has caused major production issues is currently in the spotlight, with multiple companies (including Sony) working on a solution.
In the coming months the PS5 will become a must-have, and you’ll want to be ready for the wave of exclusive games set to launch throughout 2021. Stay tuned for more news on the console and when you can expect more frequent stock.