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“Halo Infinite” is set to release in fall 2021, and the community will surely receive regular updates on the progress of the game until then.  

It’s finally over. The year 2020 is in the past, and what lies directly ahead is some much needed rest, and of course, more video games to satisfy the never-ending appetite. I’m excited to say the first official year of the next generation has some exciting titles in store for all communities. Whether it’s the return of Master Chief, the revival of Left 4 Dead’s couch co-op experience or perhaps the debut of some new IPs, 2021 has something for everyone. 

“Back 4 Blood” 

Turtle Rock Studios is back in action, and don't worry, it has nothing to do with the short-lived release of “Evolve” back in 2014. The original developers of “Left 4 Dead” have returned to the roots of their success in the new survival horror game, “Back 4 Blood.” Some might say, “Wait, isn’t this just ‘Left 4 Dead 3’ with a new name?” My answer to that would be, yes, yes it is. But what in the world is wrong with that? 

The gameplay looks absolutely thrilling as four friends run through each level blowing the limbs off the undead that occupy the world. It’s nothing the genre hasn’t seen before, but it should put a smile on gamers’ faces to see Turtle Rock Studios back where it belongs. “Back 4 Blood” is set to release June 22.

“Deathloop”

Arkane Studios, developers of the “Dishonored” series, have started the next generation with a brand new IP and an interesting concept. The game is called “Deathloop,” and it’ll ask players to continuously play on a loop until one goal is achieved: kill all the targets without dying. It’s a new direction for the company, as it strays away from the stealth tactics that made “Dishonored” so popular and leans more on quick-thinking and fast-paced combat. 

It’s interesting to point out that “Deathloop” is a timed Playstation exclusive that’s now owned by Microsoft. This is the first time that’s happened, as Microsoft purchased Bethesda — parent company of Arkane Studios — and now owns the rights to “Deathloop.” I doubt this’ll conflict with the production or release of the game, but it adds some lore to a title that’s already looking fantastic. 

“Halo Infinite”

I know “Halo” fans have been skeptical of “Halo Infinite’s” release since the debut of its gameplay last year. I know it’s also hard to argue that 343 industries have proven themselves capable of handling the “Halo” franchise since taking over in 2012. However, the developers did listen to the backlash received in 2020. With the delay of the game, 343 industries has proven that it’s here to take the community's feedback into consideration while still maintaining the core elements of “Halo.”

That’s of worthy recognition, and yes, this is a shot at CD Projekt Red. I think fans should be more than excited to see the return of “Master Chief,” and let’s not forget the developers are releasing the multiplayer section for free. “Halo Infinite” is set to release in fall 2021, and the community will surely receive regular updates on the progress of the game until then.  

“Monster Hunter Rise”

The “Monster Hunter” series has been around since the early 2000s and has never found more success than 2018’s “Monster Hunter: World.” It brought beast slayers from across multiple platforms to hunt and loot flying Rathians and giant dinosaur-like creatures together. So it might be a surprise for most to see “Monster Hunter Rise” releasing exclusively on the Switch in March. 

With the growing popularity of the Switch, I doubt this decision will hurt Capcom’s “Monster Hunter'' series. In fact, I think players will see another massive community form on this delightfully small hand-held console around the release of this game. If hunting ridiculously huge monsters and using their remains to craft better armor and loot sounds fun, then I wouldn’t miss out on “Monster Hunter Rise.” 

“God of War: Ragnarok”

The God of War is back, and it’s just in time for “Ragnarok.” Sony teased the release of the next “God of War” entry in last year’s Playstation 5 showcase with a simple video that had Kratos say four words: “You must prepare yourself.” That was all fans needed to lose their minds in excitement for this game. 

There’s no date attached to the release so far, but Santa Monica Studios has confirmed that “Ragnarok” will release in 2021. If players have yet to play the 2018 reboot of the series, then now would be the perfect time to catch up on this beautiful story and its unsettling world. 

That might be the end of the list, but there are plenty of more releases planned for 2021. So make sure to grab some friends, a controller and enjoy the new year with the ever-expanding video game community. 

Contact Daniel Carter at carte3dt@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.