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Art to Play in 2021

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Art to Play in 2021

21 Upcoming games that have the looks - and our attention.

Arjan Terpstra

07 Jan 2021 ⋅ 7 min read

If Cook and Becker staff gets to play every title selected below, we aren't sure. 2021 promises to be yet another busy year for us, and there never seems to be enough time to work through our backlog of great games.

While we will see how this new year in gaming plays out for us (pun intended) we are sure we will at least enjoy looking at these upcoming games in 2021. There's some real stunners in the lineup, and we're sure our alphabetical listing is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here's to a great year in games!

1- Backbone

Come for the 'dystopian noir adventure', and stay for the use of pixel art in this 2D point-and-click adventure game. While pixel art is very much en vogue with indie studios, the combination of a 1940's nightclub atmosphere with blocky graphics certainly takes it places. Here's to looking at you, kid!
Backbone
2- Baldur's Gate 3

Launched in Steam Early Access last October, Baldur's Gate 3 hits all the right aesthetic notes, as far as we're concerned: it's a beautifully crafted, rich game world filled with interesting characters. Rolling the dice for a full launch this year!

3 - Book of Travels

Coming to Windows PC in October, Book of Travels impresses us with a trailer as beautiful as it is soothing. While 'exploring a fairytale world' (the main goal of the game) could go anywhere thematically (for us it's the same, to be honest, because, you know - fairy tales?), we look forward to seeing more of the art.




4 - Deathloop

As fans of Dishonored and Prey, we are excited about everything coming out of Arkane studios. Their games have always excelled in art direction, and the upcoming Deathloop, with its striking seventies' feel in key promotional art, looks to be no different. We also look forward to 'escaping the death loop' in the gameplay - fight, die, repeat is how we roll anyway.




5 - Destiny 2: The Witch Queen expansion

The games-as-a-service approach to Destiny 2 has always been obvious, with Bungie rolling out seasonal content in a steady rhythm. Yet this year promises something more than new Crimson Days' events: The Witch Queen expansion will likely roll out too, and with it loads of new playing opportunities.

6- Elden Ring

Any follow-up to the beloved Dark Souls games would have sparked our interest, but the news Hidetaka Miyazaki teamed up with Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin for Elden Ring makes the news all the more exciting. The trailer shows a mix of Dark Souls with a Lord of the Rings-like fantasy story, so count us in!




7 - Far Cry 6

When Ubisoft delayed Far Cry 6 from a 2020 launch date to cross the t's and dot the i's, we knew we wanted to play this sixth installment even more. The franchise moves to a carribean island setting, where we get to deal with a local crime lord. Sounds like our kind of trouble in paradise.
Far Cry 6
8 - FIFA22

No, seriously: FIFA22 is one to watch this year, and so are NFL22 and other long standing sports games series. The art direction in this genre always looked at real matches for reference - but how will they fare now that the 'real thing' feels more like a simulation than anything else? Covid altered the experience of a match in a million little ways, so we're curious to see how art directors will take on that design challenge.

9 - God of War: Ragnarok

The last God of War had us beg for more. The 2018 role playing (or was it hack-n-slash?) game is revisited in God of War: Ragnarok, where we again face both physical enemies and our inner demons. That means more axes to grind in a Norse decor.

10 - Gotham Knights

Gotham Knights has Batman dead and Gotham destroyed, and four playable characters to fill the shoes of the caped crusader. WB Games Montréal has long stood out as an excellent studio, so we can't wait to see how the glossy promotional art holds up in-game. Also: co-op!
Gotham Knights
11 - Horizon Forbidden West

Aloy is back! Oh and also that superb game world, carried by Guerrilla Games' very own Decima engine. On PS4, it elevated both the visuals of Horizon Zero Dawn and Death Stranding to unprecedented heights in rendering, lighting et cetera, so just imagine what they could do with a PS5.
Horizon Forbidden West
12 - It Takes Two

Hazelight Studios titles A Way Out and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons had us purr with excitement. So of course we look forward to It Takes Two, especially as we're big fans of local co-op. The new game is built for two-player cooperation, and the world looks ridiculously fabulous and is simply teaming (sorry) with joy.




13 - Outriders

Remember 2011's Bulletstorm? A decade after the sleeper hit, studio People Can Fly will launch Outriders, a third person looter-shooter with a gory and over-the-top aesthetic that sits somewhere between Gears of War and Destiny. We have to play it before we know if we actually like the game, but the juxtaposition of realistic and fantasy elements in the character designs looks very good to us.

14 - Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Do we look forward to playing a new Ratchet & Clank? On a PS5? Where Dr. Nefarious has a dangerous Dimensionator and needs to be stopped? Are those actual questions?




15 - Resident Evil: Village

Available on PS5, Xbox Series X and Steam, the eighth installment in the Resident Evil series promises to be a true next-gen experience. With the rendering capabilities of the new consoles coming into play, we can only hope to survive Capcom's haunted village with our nerves intact.
Resident Evil
16 - Ruined King: A League of Legends Story

The first League of Legends spin-off game, Ruined King takes us to pirate town Bilgewater to fight foes in turn-based fashion. Your team is a mix of three LoL champions, diving deeper and deeper into 'the dark mist', but to us it is the impeccable art direction that truly lures us into the abyss...




17 - Sable

Everyone faintly aware of the artist Moebius will understand our longing to live inside his art. Sable promises us that experience. The open world exploration game dazzles with a Moebius-inspired art style, where you get to wear fancy armor and ride a rocket like a Mandalorian on Tatooine. One to watch!
'Sable'
18 - Scorn

For H.R. Giger's art it's different - we like to never live inside his dark and unsettling art, thank you very much. This is precisely why we look forward to the launch of Scorn, that throws us smack in the middle of a Giger-inspired world, for what one journo called 'a truly transcendental take on survival horror'. That sentence alone gives us the creeps.

19 - Stray

Play as a cat - how come this great concept isn't everywhere? In Stray, you solve mysteries by snooping about as a detective cat, in a robot-populated world that is simply beautiful. A game we'll purrrchase without thinking twice once it's there.
Stray
20 - Unexplored 2

Another good looking indie is Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy by developer Ludomotion. The rogue-like RPG has everything you wish for from an open-world game in terms of adventure and questing, and we keep coming back to the art style that feels very graphic novel-ly to us.

21 - Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel

Nintendo, are you listening? Last year's Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity didn't click with us. The fact Age of Calamity looked the same as BotW but played differently made it stick out like a sore thumb. Give us back the exploration and shrine puzzles and meals and korok seeds, take it easy with the mass murder, and all is forgiven ok?
Zelda

The official God of War Art Collection

Boy!