It was a great year, I will never forget it… And if I could wish for something in terms of games for 2021, I would wish for the same thing in 2020. Unfortunately, years like these are quite rare. However, as the end of December is the perfect time to take stock, let us recall what has been happening over the last 12 months.
- The last 12 months have been very intense in the game world.
- In addition to new games, the biggest event was, of course, the emergence of ninth-generation consoles.
- Two remarkable productions have also made their debut this year, one that has raised a record amount of controversy and Cyberpunk 2077, widely regarded as the most awaited game of recent years
For several days now, we have been publishing summaries of the year from various branches of the world of new technologies. This time it was a game that was so close to my heart. The arrival of a new generation of consoles always heralds an earthquake in the industry, but fortunately, it was not the only notable event. Apart from the long-awaited (and, as it turned out, not entirely successful) premiere of Cyberpunk 2077, there were a few other items on the list that will be remembered for many years. To sum it all up sensibly, in the following text, I have decided to discuss events briefly month after month. Take your seats, fasten your seatbelts… the gaming train of memories is just leaving!
January – unlucky return of the Warcraft
The beginning of the year turned out to be surprisingly ‘intense’, mainly for console games. Although January is not a traditional time for big premieres, there were some very interesting items on the market. The first one that is worth mentioning is, of course, the Blood War: Witcher tales, behind which stands no one else but CD Projekt RED. The title had its PC debut a few months earlier, but just in January, it was released on Nintendo Switch. The game, based on the mechanics of the thread, added a few solutions from the Heroes of Might & Magic series and as a result, we got a really successful card strategy. Less successful turned out to be the premiere of refreshed Warcraft III. The players waited for it for years, but the final version turned out to be quite lacking… and this then warm image of the Blizzards certainly did not help. Among other premieres – at that time also very well received Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, which, however, had a hopeless marketing campaign and sold far below expectations, made its debut on consoles. The entry into the new platforms has unfortunately changed little in this regard.
February – premiere of an outstanding tool for creating games on PS4
The Yakuza series need not be presented to anyone. And even though the subsequent versions are extremely popular also in our part of the world, the whole thing is directed mainly to the Asian market… and that means that “the rest” usually gets access to them with some delay. The original version of Yakuza 5 made its debut on PlayStation 3, but due to its ‘outstanding’ and unflagging interest, it was decided to refresh the game and re-release it on PlayStation 4. The world could see how great this production is, just in February this year (Japan received access already in 2019). From other events, it is undoubtedly worth mentioning the premiere of Dreams – an absolutely spectacular console achievement, which stands between the game, the artistic platform and the creation tool. Just imagine that instead of “writing” the games – you can simply draw them, while “programming” in a simple way even very complex interactions. This is what Dreams is like, which still brings together many, very talented artists. February is also the moment of the official premiere of Dota Underlords – a representative of the auto-chess genre, behind which Valve of course stands.
March – one of the strongest months of this year
In March 2020, the world was slowly starting to ‘fall apart’ in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. Most of us locked ourselves in our homes, and with too much free time we usually ended up with one – increased interest in games. And since there was no shortage of really great games at that time, the first stage of the world quarantine did not seem to be so onerous. On the list of titles that made their debut in March, we have some absolutely outstanding positions. The first one is Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which proved to be a perfect escape from the gloomy reality outside the window. The game sold out phenomenally (the current state is about 27 million, one of the best results ever) and attracted content for long, long hours. In March we could also play the new, absolutely phenomenal Half-Life. Half-Life: Alyx was the title for VR, it theoretically limited the target group, but not only was the production a financial success, it literally started a new era in game history. People without VR who wanted to shoot their opponents also got an equally great alternative in the form of Doom Eternal and a free, breakthrough in terms of availability, Call of Duty module, i.e. the network Warzone. Other premieres include the atmospheric Nioh 2, the very successful Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Teamfight Tactics. It was really successful 30 days!
April – a fulfilled fantasy about the awaited remakes
April can actually be called the ‘remake months’. Although other titles debuted during this time, such as XCOM: Chimera Squad or nicely refreshing Gears Tactics, the attention of the gaming world focused on the great return of two classics. The first one is, of course, Final Fantasy VII Remake, which was created over the years. The game in the new edition turned out to be surprisingly successful, and it was able to truly impress with its graphics. Slightly fewer fireworks were found in the Resident Evil 3 Remake, but here we also had success. The Snow Runner, in which we delivered loads under extreme weather conditions at the helm of large vehicles, is also one of the less loud but equally successful premieres. It is also worth recalling that the Cyberpunk 2077 was originally due to debut this month, but was eventually postponed to another date.
May – Mafia silence before the storm
In May, relatively little really happened, and the only really loud premieres were the refreshed versions of the cult Mafia – Mafia II and Mafia III, both as Definitive Editions. A new Minecraft also debuted on the market at that time – resembling the Diablo spin-off series, i.e. Minecraft Dungeons, but despite an interesting formula the game did not achieve spectacular success. May was also the debut of the first big game from Amazon – Crucible, which turned out to be such a disaster that soon afterwards it was completely withdrawn from distribution. It was a quiet week… but it was about to change.
June – The release of The Last of Us: Part II overshadowed everything
And finally, June has come. After a quieter May, we again had a drip of interesting prime ministers. Among other things, free Valorant – the first shooter from Riot Games, the creators of the League of Legends, surprisingly successful Desperados III, a remaster of the adored Command and Conquer – was released on the PC, as well as the warmly welcomed Persona 4 Golden years ago. All this, however, was finally “overshadowed” by the premiere of The Last of Us: Part II, which, due to the subject matter discussed and strongly surprising script decisions, caused great historical controversy. The game itself turned out to be outstanding, I myself for the first time in my life staged any 10/10 production, but there were people on the web who declared war on the creators and “bombarded” the aggregators with critical reviews on an unprecedented scale.
July – in sports and samurai language
In July, the industry continued to be in controversy about The Last of Us: Part II, and it was clear… after Prime Minister Ghost of Tsushima. Although the game itself was not overly revealing, it offered a very safe theme and a traditional way of leading the hero. And that was enough. Those opposed to the vision from Naughty Dog took this title as a banner and made it one of the highest-rated Metacritic ever. And even in the recent vote for the game of the year, special ‘rallies’ were organised on the page of the plebiscite, so that the Ghost of Tsushima became number one. Nevertheless, the game turned out to be a very good (simply not outstanding) production set in reality, which is definitely missing in the games. This translated into great sales and an impressive record of “the best new brand debut on PlayStation 4”. This month is also the moment of numerous debuts of games connected with motorsports – here the new Trackmania and also F1 2020 are worthy of attention. What is interesting, at this time PC users also received Death Stranding, which a year earlier was making a furore on consoles. Crysis debuted on Nintendo Switch – a game which used to “burn graphics cards” on computers.
August – Trojan Total War and a flight over the wilderness
August is another month that can be counted among the very successful ones. There were no big blockbusters here, but many of the games that made their debut during this period can quietly be called sensational. Even if in some circles they may be regarded as slightly niche. Firstly, Microsoft Flight Simulator, which is an absolutely phenomenal achievement in the field not only of simulators but also of cloud technology. Secondly, in August we were able to play in Wasteland 3, which was filling the void of isometric Fallout in a very successful way. Finally, August is also the premiere of one of the most viral games of this year, Fall Guys: Ulitmate Knockout. The popularity of the title exploded overnight! There was also no reason to complain about the strategy – A Total War Saga: Troy made its debut on the market, and from other premieres, it is undoubtedly worth mentioning the return of cult Battletoads, Risk of Rain 2 and Project Cars 3.
September – a true cannonade of prime ministers, but it is Among Us that is making the biggest furore
Every year, the big premieres started in September. And what kind of premieres! The loudest debut was undoubtedly Marvel’s Avengers, which, however, in practice turned out to be a rather average title, and poor results most probably “killed” the chances for any continuation in the near future. On the second pole, there was a phenomenal Crusader Kings III, taking perfect notes all over the world. In September there was also a new game debut from the talented Supergiant Games, Hades, which in our review was very close to the 10/10 rating. Also noteworthy are the premieres of a surprisingly successful remaster of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, the absolutely embarrassing debut of NBA 2K21, Serious Sam 4, quite a successful Mafia: Definitive Edition, and Genshin Impact, which has won the hearts of players all over the world from the place. However, all this overshadowed Among Us – a simple game based on an idea known for years, which was originally debuted in 2018. A bit by luck, the title suddenly began to be played by streamers and literally overnight was on everyone’s lips. Its phenomenon continues to this day – more than half a billion people log in there every month! September also saw the purchase of Bethesda by Microsoft – a transaction that may change the shape of the gaming market in the coming years to the advantage of the giant from Redmond. Thanks to this purchase, the company gets a very strong tool to fight against exclusive games served by Sony on PlayStation consoles.
October – the last moments of the old generation
The last quarter of the year has traditionally been marked by sports games. It was then that FIFA 21 or NHL 21 debuted. Fortunately, there were also representatives of other species. A very decent, but at the same time quite shallow Star Wars: Squadrons, a new Crash Bandicoot appeared on PlayStation 4 and the Polish, strongly cyberpunk Ghostrunner also had its five minutes. Also noteworthy are the premieres of Watch Dogs: Legion, the long-awaited but ultimately moderately successful Torchlight 3, the very original Mario Kart Live and Amnesia: Rebirth.
November – The great debut of new generation consoles
I would not really have to write anything at this point. For obvious reasons, the eyes of the whole gaming world were on Microsoft and Sony in connection with the great launch of the ninth generation consoles. PlayStation 5 was so popular that even now there is a shortage of consoles in the shops, and the Xbox Series X – as the most powerful console in history – has also generated huge interest from gamers. The power of the new consoles is, of course, not yet being fully utilised by the developers, but the first effects were already visible at the time of their debut – the games debuting on them look phenomenal! The titles worth noting at this time include the very successful Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the crazy-looking Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the brilliant Demon’s Souls, but also the well-received Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, a niche but phenomenally executed Fuser, as well as another large addition to World of Warcraft: Shadowlands and Destiny 2: Beyond Light.
December – Cyberpunk 2077 and long, long nothing
The most awaited game of recent years, the great promises of CD Projekt RED and… one of the biggest image disasters in the industry. The premiere of Cyberpunk 2077, after very good reviews of the PC version (although we were the only one of the few to issue the game “only” 8/10 for technical errors and deficiencies) promised a spectacular success… but then the hidden problems with console versions came to light. The great sales of pre-orders were due to an amazing marketing campaign, but when it came to what… well, enough to say that Sony removed the AAA game from PlayStation Store for the first time ever because of the huge technical problems of the title. CD Projekt RED immediately took on the patching and fixing of the game, but the damage to the image and a certain disgust will remain. The confusion around the game continues to this day and effectively covers any other releases… although these obviously still happen. Noteworthy are the Super Meat Boy Forever, as always, the addictive Football Manager 2021, and the disappointing but ambitious Empire of Sin. There are also very interesting Immortals in the background: Fenyx Rising and Worms Rumble.
As you can see, a lot has happened and we can only hope that the next few months will be equally interesting.