Last year’s Future Games Show was an incredibly strong first showcase of a wide range of games. From deeper looks into already announced and anticipated titles to brand new reveals, the 2021 Spring Showcase that aired earlier this week — which follows up on the last Future Games Show that aired back during Gamescom — did not disappoint in comparison. A lot of games were shown, and we know you can just easily watch the trailers for all of them over at the GamesRadar YouTube channel. So, instead, we’ve picked what we feel were the best games in the show. Among the more than 40 titles that had the spotlight, here are our nine favorites.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
It’s not like I can be much more excited than I already am for Kena: Bridge of Spirits — or so I thought until I saw this new trailer. I have watched many a trailer in my life, and this has to be one of the absolute best. It’s hard to describe it as anything other than majestic. It feels like I’m watching the trailer for a Disney movie, filled with cute characters, stunning visuals, and incredible accompanying trailer music. It gives me goosebumps every time I watch it!
Kena: Bridge of Spirits follows Kena, a young spirit guide who uses her magical abilities to help those who have passed move from the physical to the spirit world. Think Yuna in Final Fantasy X, except with a totally different, usually cuter vibe. I say usually because some of the footage we’ve seen seems terrifying, so I feel it’ll have a wide range of atmospheres despite its adorable and gorgeous aesthetic. In September last year, it was delayed to Q1 2021 due to COVID-19 complications. Developer Ember Lab revealed in the February 2021 edition of Sony’s State of Play that it will be released on August 24, 2021, for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and the Epic Games Store.
Back 4 Blood
If Back 4 Blood looks and sounds like Left 4 Dead, that’s because it’s a spiritual sequel made by much of the same development talent. Originally planned to be released in the summer, developer Turtle Rock Studios announced earlier this week that it’s been delayed to October 12. However, fans excited to play this cooperative first-person shooter can look forward to a summer open beta.
It sounds like a great move. Judging by this pre-alpha gameplay, it seems like a fun time with friends just like the Left 4 Dead games. You play as a member of the cleaners, a veteran group of eight dedicated to exterminating zombies. In this world, a catastrophic outbreak has caused most people to either die or become infected by “the devil worm,” which turns them into what is called the Ridden (zombies). To try to distinguish the game from its clear inspirations, the team has created the Ogre among its many enemy types. It is a mutated Ridden mini-boss that can interact with the environment in cool ways. The game will also have rouge lite elements with a card system that will impact each round and your abilities.
Back 4 Blood will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. You can wishlist it here.
Lost Words: Beyond the Page
Releasing on April 6, Lost Words: Beyond the Page is a 2D adventure platformer set inside of a young girl’s diary. You get to walk on the words contained within and use them as tools to solve different puzzles. Sketchbook Games is creating what seems like a beautiful game about the seven stages of grief. I’m extremely intrigued by this lovely-looking game, especially because Rhianna Pratchett — known for her work on Mirror’s Edge, the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, and its sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider — is writing the script.
“The story starts to kind of reflect what’s happening in the real world. We use things like the seven stages of grief as art inspiration, music inspiration, puzzle inspiration,” says Pratchett. “Fantasy is a lens through which we can examine the real world, and this is a very visual representation of that.”
Lost Words: Beyond the Page will be released on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Judging by the emotional song that plays in the trailer alone, you can tell it’s a game poised to warm your heart and possibly even make you cry. You can wishlist it here.
Life is Strange: True Colors
Life is Strange: True Colors got an incredible reveal earlier this month in the first Square Enix Presents showcase. The Future Games Show: Spring Showcase had more to show of the anticipated next entry in the award-winning franchise near and dear to so many people’s hearts.
“Coming off the heels of making [Life is Strange:] Before the Storm, we wanted to explore who we are as storytellers and what the franchise has to offer fans with new characters and a new setting,” says Zak Garriss, Deck Nine Games’ chief creative officer and director of the upcoming game. He delves into details on Alex Chen as a protagonist, as well as her unique empathic superpower. He also explores the Life is Strange franchise’s new direction as more of an anthology series, and how True Colors fits within that shift.
I’m curious as to what Garriss means here by True Colors offering more choice than previous Life is Strange games regarding romance. Alex is bisexual, and as her you can develop a romantic relationship with two characters. This has also been the case in Life is Strange and Life is Strange 2, as both games have bisexual protagonists with two romance options each. I’m deeply excited to learn more about that, and True Colors in general, as we near its September 10 release date. You can wishlist it here.
Returnal continues to be a funny name — and Housemarque’s sci-fi psychological horror shooter continues to intrigue. Set in a futuristic setting, the game will have you play as Selene, a deep space astro-scout. She crash lands on a mysterious alien planet called Atropos, on which she realizes she is stuck in a nightmare loop. When she dies, she wakes up in the same location but in a different world with different threats. Every loop offers new combinations of items and forces, pushing your boundaries so that you approach combat with a different strategy. The combat is fast-paced, with bullet hell elements and a focus on maneuvering. As you explore Atropos, you will find out more about Selene, the deepest secret that she’s trying to answer, and how the planet and its inhabitants tie into this story.
Returnal will be released exclusively on the PlayStation 5 on April 30.
Serial Cleaners was first revealed last year at the Future Games Show through a short artistic trailer — but that trailer stood out enough that I was excited to see this first gameplay reveal now. A new title from Draw Distance, creators of the first Serial Cleaner and Vampire: The Masquerade – Coteries of New York, it’s a story-driven stealth-action hybrid set in 1990s America.
You’re a professional cleaner whose job is to clean up murder scenes through the disposal of bodies, removal of blood stains, and hiding of incriminating evidence. You’ll play as four characters with four different perspectives and play styles. This is another short trailer, but again one that manages to make a strong impression. The art style looks fantastic, almost reminding me of Disco Elysium with its painted look and deep colors.
Serial Cleaners is slated to be released in 2021 for PC and consoles. You can wishlist it here.
Sifu is the new game from Sloclap, the independent studio behind Absolver. You play as a young Kung-Fu student on a path of revenge after his whole family is murdered by five mysterious assassins. You will go through five main environments to hunt for them, using your Kung-Fu skills and objects in the environment to survive and win your battles. Each boss is inspired by Kung-Fu values and the five elements of Chinese mythology — wood, fire, water, metal, and earth.
Interestingly, when you die, your character will be revived where you fell — but he will age each time. Becoming a master is an important theme of the game, and this mechanic exists to help the story achieve that. However, there is a limit to how much you can age. More on this aspect, which is what grabbed my attention about this game, will be explored in the future. Sifu will be released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and the Epic Games Store in 2021.
I’ve been keeping an eye on Cris Tales for months now, especially as it seems its release is within sight. From its presentation alone, you can tell it’s an incredibly gorgeous and ambitious game. Serving as an “indie love letter to classic JRPGs with a new perspective,” you’ll be able to peer into the past, present and future — sometimes all at once on your screen. Your choices as you defend the world from evil will affect the future. This trailer focuses on showcasing the game’s main cast of characters: Crisbell, Willhelm, Cristopher, Matias, JKR-721, and Zas.
Cris Tales will be available on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Google Stadia in July. You can wishlist it here.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
The Future Games Show: Spring Showcase saw the world exclusive gameplay reveal of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. The game was first announced in 2019, but this marks the first time we’ve seen its moment to moment gameplay. In this story-driven action adventure, you’ll embark on a dangerous journey as Gollum, who is chasing the only thing that is precious to him. It is being developed by Daedalic Entertainment and contains “Prince of Persia-like stealth action” while featuring a branching narrative. It aims to serve as a brand new story that will fit alongside the iconic books by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is scheduled for release on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch in 2022.