As 2021 kicks into high gear, a harsh reality is setting in for gamers: Major delays are coming. In our 2021 predictions, we noted that this was a very real possibility due to the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some of 2020’s releases got shuffled around, those games were largely near the end of their development cycle. The real worry was what the pandemic would mean for games that weren’t quite as far along.
That anxiety is quickly turning into reality. Delays are dropping left and right, as some of the year’s biggest games move further down the line or to next year. That’s leading to a much slimmer release schedule than fans initially expected heading into an exciting year for gaming. Here’s a roundup of all the major video game delays that have happened so far.
Outriders: April 1
Outriders has had a tough time locking down a release date. Originally positioned as one of the big games that would launch alongside next-gen consoles in late 2020, developer People Can Fly quietly pushed it back to February 2. As 2021 got into full gear, the game got delayed once again, this time to April 1. In the meantime, players will get a demo on February 25 that covers the first few hours of the full game.
Returnal – April 30
Out of any Sony game scheduled to hit its release date, Returnal seemed like the biggest lock. While Sony has been vague about dates for games like Ratchet & Clank: Drift Apart and Horizon Forbidden West, it has been firm in the third-person shooter’s March 19 release date. It has even shown up consistently in sizzle reels over the past few months, which made it seem like it was relatively safe from a delay. Unfortunately, Sony has now delayed the game one month to April 30 to allow developer Housemarque to polish the game. At this point, this list is starting to look fairly identical to our list of our most anticipated PS5 games.
Halo Infinite: Fall 2021
While it was originally scheduled for a 2020 launch alongside the Xbox Series X debut, Microsoft delayed Halo Infinite indefinitely. We now know that the company is planning for a fall 2021 launch, putting it a full year out from its original release plan. Like many games on this list, it’s not fully clear if the pandemic has been a key factor in Halo’s delay. While companies like Ubisoft have been transparent about the struggles of work from home, others are a bit more tight-lipped about why the schedule shake-ups are happening. Whatever the case may be, Halo Infinite’s delay is the most significant to occur yet.
Riders Republic: TBA 2021
Following Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake’s delay, Riders Republic was the sole Ubisoft game that had yet to be pushed back in some form. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. Originally scheduled for a February release, the game was pushed back to “later this year,” with no specific time frame attached. Ubisoft has not shared new details on the game since it was first announced during a Ubisoft Forward stream in September.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake: TBA
Ubisoft is a recurring name on this list. Even before 2021, the company started making significant changes to its plans. Far Cry 6, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Quarantine, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game – Complete Edition were all moved out of their 2020 launch windows, signaling that more titles could follow. As far as planned 2021 releases go, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake was the first to move. Originally slated for a January 20 release, the remake was shifted a few months to March 18. Now, Ubisoft has announced that the game is delayed indefinitely. A February 5 tweet updating fans on the game’s progress now simply says it’s coming out “at a later date.” Oddly, 2021 isn’t mentioned at all, which could mean a much bigger shift than anticipated is happening.
Hogwarts Legacy: 2022
Hogwarts Legacy was set to be one of 2021’s biggest power players. The open-world Harry Potter game was first shown during a PlayStation 5 livestream, signaling that it would be a next-gen game to watch. Unfortunately, the title has been pushed back a full year to 2022. Warner Bros. hasn’t clarified how deep into 2022 the game is expected to launch, so next year is already looking like as much of a mystery as this year.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum: 2022
Back when new console talk was first making the rounds in 2019, Lord of the Rings: Gollum was one of the first games to be confirmed for next-gen. The somewhat mysterious game originally seemed like it was on track to be a PS5 or Xbox Series X launch title, but that never panned out. In fact, details about the game have been sparse since its announcement and all we’ve known is that it was supposed to come out sometime in 2021. Now, the game has been delayed to sometime in 2022 following a new publishing deal between Nacon and Daedalic Entertainment.
Pragmata was tentatively scheduled to come out in 2022, but it’s worth mentioning here because it highlights how long-term the industry’s problems might be. According to a Sony video reel dropped during CES, Capcom’s mysterious sci-fi game has been pushed back to 2023. Since the video came out, Sony has since released a new version that scrubs the game out of the fine print, along with all other third-party games.