We've finally made it into 2021, and that means there's a whole new crop of shooters to look forward to. Last year was rife with remasters and remakes across a multitude of genres. Now, as we hopefully look to the future with change on the horizon, one thing remains the same: the joy of gunning down enemies with a variety of awesome fantasy and realistic weapons.
There's plenty to look forward to this year, like Turtle Rock Studios' exciting riff on Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood. There's also the time-looping adventure Deathloop. If all goes well, we'll also be playing Halo Infinite later this year. It's time for this year's games to show us what next-gen is really about, and we can't wait to try these shooters on for size.
Note: Only games with confirmed 2021 release dates are eligible for these lists. Stuff that’s only rumored or speculated to be coming out is relegated to the honorable mentions.
Deathloop introduces players to Colt, an assassin who finds himself the victim of a time loop. He finds himself coming back to life over and over again on a beach at the island of Blackreef. Each time the loop restarts, Colt finds himself back on the island with memories from the last loop still fresh on his mind. He has to use the information he learns from each go-around to take out eight targets and figure out the mystery behind this time paradox. It's an intriguing new IP from Arkane Studios and Bethesda, and it looks like it's going to have some pretty interesting twists and turns.
Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood is Turtle Rock Studios' grand attempt at reviving the Left 4 Dead-style co-op multiplayer zombie shooter. Since Valve isn't bringing Left 4 Dead 3 to the masses, Back 4 Blood is the next best thing. Taking place following an outbreak after most of humanity has been wiped out, the game finds players eliminating enemies called "the Ridden." As a band of veterans called the "Cleaners," players will slay zombies while an AI director continues to use tactics in the background to stop them. It's as close to the third Left 4 Dead 3 we're apparently going to get, and it couldn't be a bloodier good time.
Shadow Warrior 3
Shadow Warrior made its debut during the golden age of shooters, and its glorious return with its first remake was an exciting time for fans of the original. The first two games were met with positive reviews, thanks to their humorous approach to the classic shooter formula. There's also a strong focus on ranged and melee combat as well as freerunning, which makes Shadow Warrior stand out from the rest of the pack. This time around, the third entry, Shadow Warrior 3, will find players traveling to Neo Feudal Japan, which brings a new look, new executions, weapons, and carnage. It's going to be another exciting helping of more Wang, that's for sure.
Outriders is the latest game from Bulletstorm studio People Can Fly, and it's a co-op third-person looter shooter. It follows humanity's efforts to colonize an alien planet named Enoch. While attempting to complete their mission, the expedition team suffers a setback thanks to an energy storm known as "The Anomaly." It grants the humans and those who live on Enoch superpowers, and as you can imagine, chaos erupts from there. With plenty of skills to utilize based on player classes (Trickster, Pyromancer, Devastator, and Technomancer), there are plenty of opportunities to slay any enemy that crosses your path. There's also a wide selection of weapons to choose from. Expect a fun, RPG-centric game akin to Borderlands with customizable weapon mods, plenty of loot, and a co-op focused narrative. Fans of shooters should find plenty to love here.
PC gamers have long been acquainted with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, one of the more challenging diamonds in the rough on the platform. It debuted in 2007, so it's been quite a while since developer GSC Game World has pushed out any sort of update about a sequel. Now, we're looking at a whole new entry in the franchise with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, full of terrifying creatures and an oppressive atmosphere. It looks like one of the most inventive shooters of 2021, and we can't wait to dive in and see what this terrifying vision of Chernobyl has in store for us.
It's been a long time coming, but Halo Infinite is the latest installment in the iconic sci-fi shooter series. With 343 Industries in the driver's seat, this Halo entry is going to be one of the biggest yet. This time around, players will take on The Banished as they make their way to a new Halo ring, crawling with Covenant enemies. It's familiar Halo action with the same weapons and mechanics you know and love, with a few new surprises added in for good measure. Though the game was initially pushed back beyond its planned debut for Xbox Series X, it looks like 2021 is the sweet spot for when we'll finally get to experience the latest chapter of the franchise's critically-acclaimed "Reclaimer Saga."
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is an upcoming 4-player co-op shooter from Fatshark that looks like it should be up any fan of the franchise's alley. Working to clear out the enemies in the city of Tertium looks like a blast, especially with weapons like shotguns and chainswords at your disposal.
CrossfireX is already a huge hit in Korea, and Xbox Game Studios, along with Smilegate and Remedy Entertainment, are looking to make it big in the west as well. Though it's typically a multiplayer-only affair, the added single-player campaign should make for an exciting turn of events for folks looking for a team-based squad shooter.
Graven is Slipgate Ironworks' take on a dark fantasy world shooter in the vein of games like Hexen and Heretic. It looks to combine familiar RPG elements with large-scale boss battles. What's more, you can play with friends via local co-op or split-screen play across some truly intriguing magical realms. Then there's Returnal, which is a PlayStation 5 exclusive third-person shooter with roguelike elements and a sci-fi setting in development at Housemarque; it'll be out on March 19th.
Oh, and of course, beyond the obligatory new Call of Duty game, we should also get the next Battlefield installment (rumored to be a soft reboot influenced by Battlefield 3).
Lastly, below you'll find a few other Honorable Mentions in terms of shooters that will remain on our radar for release at some point this year.
- SiN: Reloaded
- Insurgency: Sandstorm
- Core Decay
- POSTAL: Brain Damaged
- Metal: Hellsinger