With COVID-19 bringing the entire planet to a halt for most of 2020, we saw video games start to get delayed last year. However, the real effect of the pandemic seems to be in games planned for 2021, as teams had to use new work-from-home setups that delayed processes and ultimately often slowed down development. We aren’t too far into the year yet, but a number of games have already been delayed, and we’ve rounded up a list of them all.
Games on this list had either concrete release dates or a release window, so certain games announced for 2022 like Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 were not included. A game also didn’t have to be delayed out of 2021 to be on the list–it just had to be delayed.
Gran Turismo 7
Sony confirmed back in February that Gran Turismo 7 had been delayed into 2022. The decision came as “critical” parts of the development process were affected by the pandemic, and because of the changing nature of the global situation, a firm date wasn’t set. As we get closer to next year, that will likely change.
Originally scheduled to release back in February, Ubisoft delayed its extreme sports game Riders Republic just about a month prior to launch. It is now coming at an unspecified future 2021 date, and Ubisoft gave a vague statement about wanting to “deliver the best fun-fueled experience” when announcing the delay.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
We won’t be able to get our “handses” on The Lord of the Rings: Gollum until 2022. The game’s planned 2021 launch got pushed early in the year, with companies Daedalic Entertainment and Nacon partnering on the project moving forward. It’s still planned to release on several different systems, including Xbox Series X, PS5, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Returnal didn’t get an enormous delay, but it was delayed nonetheless. Originally planned for a March launch, the PS5-exclusive roguelite third-person shooter from Housemarque is now releasing April 30. Publisher Sony said this time would allow Housemarque to add additional polish to the game, which blends its signature arcade-style bullet-filled action with a third-person perspective and production values more akin to a AAA game.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
Kena: Bridge of Spirits got a delay to early 2021 a short time after it was showcased at the PS5’s official reveal event. However, that window didn’t stick, either. In late February, it was delayed against, this time getting a firm August 24 date for both the PS4 and PS5 versions. There is nothing to say it won’t be delayed again, but the new, concrete date does inspire a little more confidence that it will actually come out then.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Originally planned for a launch this March, the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time remake was delayed to an unclear future date back in February. Ubisoft cited wanting to make a remake that still feels fresh while staying true to the spirit of the original version, but it didn’t specify how long the delay would be or if it’s even still planned to release in 2021. The series has been largely on ice since Assassin’s Creed exploded in popularity over a decade ago.
Hogwarts Legacy, a 19th century game based on the Harry Potter series, was scheduled to release later this year, but it has been delayed to 2022. The delay came amid controversy surrounding author J.K. Rowling, who is not directly involved with the project. Developer Avalanche Software previously worked on the Disney Infinity series and is separate from Just Cause studio Avalanche Studios.
Gotham Knights, a spin-off of the Batman series–and a non-canonical one–was scheduled to arrive before the end of 2021 before being bumped into next year. Warner Bros. gave a very vague statement about wanting to “provide the best possible experience for players” but did not specify the reason behind the delay. The cooperative action game is directed by Patrick Redding, who previously worked on Splinter Cell and Far Cry.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
A game awash in controversy and production issues, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 got delayed late last year to a 2021 date. Since then, publisher Paradox chose to delay the game again, this time out of 2021 completely. Furthermore, a new developer is working on the project, replacing Hardsuit Labs, which was subsequently hit with layoffs. It’s one of a few troubled projects that previously involved writer Chris Avellone, who was later accused of sexual misconduct, though none of his contributions are being used.
Dying Light 2
Dying Light 2 has been delayed a few different times, and it was originally scheduled to release about a year ago. Its latest delay, announced back in January, was indefinite, though it was still confirmed for 2021, and Techland has been accused of a toxic work environment and poor leadership. Writer Chris Avellone also worked on Dying Light 2 and left the project amid sexual misconduct allegations.
Guilty Gear Strive
The latest 2D fighting game from Arc System Works, Guilty Gear Strive, was delayed by about two months, moving from April to June 11, 2021. The delay came after the game’s open beta, during which the studio solicited feedback from the community and determined that it wanted to spend more time polishing it before launch. This includes making improvements to server stability as well as the online lobbies, which have sometimes been problematic in the company’s other online fighting games.
The 4X strategy game Humankind, which lets you rewrite human history as you see fit, was delayed from April to August as developer Amplitude Studios looks to address feedback it received during a beta period. Elements the studio is looking to improve are the pacing, balancing, and diplomacy tools. The user interface will also be getting improved prior to its new August 17 release date.
Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood, a cooperative horror shooter from Turtle Rock that serves as a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, was delayed from June 22 until October 12. The studio didn’t give any concrete information on the reason behind the delay aside from wanting to improve the game, but it did say there would be an open beta this summer for eager players to try out. A separate alpha test was held on PC last year.
First delayed to February before getting delayed again to April 1, People Can Fly’s Outriders may have actually benefited from the delay in unintended ways. A substantial demo released prior to the game’s launch, giving players a chance to try out its cooperative shooting action and see its role-playing elements. It has been popular enough that the studio is even updating the demo to address feedback and issues, and you’ll be able to take progress from the demo into the full game.
Wait, they announced that delay already? Capcom’s Pragmata was shown off in 2020 as a showcase for the PS5, but the game already received a delay. It isn’t coming out until 2023, meaning it’s probably going to be a long time before we hear more about the game at all. It gave Death Stranding vibes in its previous appearance, and it’s scheduled to launch on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.
Amazon’s MMO New World has been delayed more times than we can count. Seemingly one of the only games Amazon hasn’t canceled outright, New World was moved from a vague Spring 2021 window to August 31, 2021. The development team is working to improve endgame features prior to launch, as well as add more polish to the game overall. It’s just one MMO Amazon is working on, with a Lord of the Rings project in the works, too.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
Planned to launch in November, the expansion Destiny 2: The Witch Queen has been delayed into 2022. The scope and complexity of the expansion and its narrative ties to other content was one of the reasons for the delay, and the studio also wanted to avoid putting extra pressure on the development team during the pandemic. However, content for the game, including the Vault of Glass raid, will continue throughout 2021.