Here are eight Canadian-made games to look out for in 2021

From the Bat Family-focused Gotham Knights to the long-awaited Cuphead DLC and Mass Effect trilogy remaster, Canadian developers have all kinds of games coming out this year

2021 Canadian games
Last year, Canada impressed the video game industry with a variety of quality titles, including Immortals Fenyx Rising from Ubisoft Quebec, Spiritfarer from Montreal-based Thunder Lotus and Star Wars Squadrons from Montreal-based EA Motive.

Now, in 2021, it’s looking like Canadian developers’ output will be equally strong — if not stronger — with a diverse lineup of games. With that in mind, here are eight Canadian-made games that are well worth keeping an eye on this year.

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

Cuphead DLC

Developer/Publisher: Studio MDHR (based in Oakville, Ontario with developers across Canada)
Genre: Run and gun
Platform:
Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release date: TBA 2021

While not an actual brand-new game, The Delicious Last Course is notable for being Studio MDHR’s first new Cuphead content since the indie darling released in September 2017. Altogether, the downloadable content (DLC) includes a new playable character, Ms. Chalice, as well as new levels and bosses.

The Delicious Last Course has also been a long time coming; first revealed in June 2018, the DLC was originally set to release in 2019, but has since been delayed to 2020 and, most recently, sometime in 2021. Given how wonderful the original game was, though, it’s clear that this will be one dish worth waiting for.

Echo Generation

Echo Generation combat

Developer/Publisher: Cococumber (Toronto)
Genre: RPG
Platform: Xbox One, PC, Xbox Series X/S
Release date: TBA 2021

First unveiled during Xbox’s big July 2020 games showcaseEcho Generation follows a gang of kids as they investigate mysterious supernatural events in their small Canadian town.

Throughout your adventure, you’ll face off against a variety of creatures in turn-based combat while levelling up your party and gaining new abilities. As a nice touch, the Xbox Series X version of the game will also support 4K/60fps.

Overall, Echo Generation seems to be an exciting and clever mix of Stranger Things‘ story, Minecraft‘s aesthetic and Earthbound‘s gameplay.

Far Cry 6

Far Cry 6 Giancarlo Esposito

Developer: Ubisoft Toronto (Toronto)
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: First-person shooter, open-world
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Google Stadia
Release date: TBA 2021

After most of the Far Cry games were made primarily at Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Toronto is taking over lead development duties on the series’ sixth entry.

This time around, players assume the role of freedom fighter Dani as they fight to liberate the fictional Caribbean island of Yara. Notably, Far Cry 6‘s lead antagonist is performed by none other than Giancarlo Esposito, renowned for villainous roles in Breaking BadThe Mandalorian and The Boys.

While we haven’t yet seen any gameplay, the prospect of a current-gen Far Cry centred around a stellar actor like Esposito is tantalizing, to say the least.

Gotham Knights

Gotham Knights Nightwing

Developer: Warner Bros. Games Montreal
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Pc
Release date: TBA 2021

As primary Batman: Arkham studio Rocksteady moves over to the Suicide Squad, Arkham Origins developer WB Games Montreal is putting out its own all-new, decidedly different Batman game.

However, Gotham Knights isn’t related to the Arkham games at all and, in a nice change of pace, doesn’t actually focus on Batman. Instead, the game follows Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl and Red Hood as they fight to protect Gotham in the wake of Batman’s apparent death. While Gotham Knights will feature a variety of supervillains, one of the game’s central conflicts centres around the Court of Owls, a clandestine criminal society that’s become popular in modern Batman comics.

Further differentiating the game from the Arkham series is the ability to play the game solo or with a friend in drop-in co-op in the open-world Gotham setting (explorable via the Batcycle!). On top of that, each of the four characters have their own abilities and progression systems to make them feel distinct.

Move over, Bruce — it’s the Bat Family’s time to shine.

Goodbye Volcano High

Goodbye Volcano High

Developer/Publisher: KO_OP (Montreal)
Genre: RPG
Platform: PlayStation 5 (timed console exclusive), PC
Release date: TBA 2021

Revealed during PlayStation’s first-ever PS5 showcase in June 2020Goodbye Volcano High is a cinematic, choice-based narrative game about dinosaur highschoolers on the cusp of graduation. On PS5, the game features DualSense support to provide haptic feedback as you make decisions, adding an interesting layer to the coming-of-age story.

Notably, the main character is voiced by Chilling Adventures of Sabrina‘s Lachlan Watson, one of Hollywood’s youngest non-binary actors, while music is being handled by local Montreal musician Brigitte “Common Holly” Naggar (Playing House).

Basically, Goodbye Volcano High looks like Life is Strange meets BoJack Horseman, and I’m here for it.

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Developer: BioWare (Edmonton)
Publisher:
Electronic Arts
Genre: Third-person shooter, RPG
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (PS5 and Xbox Series X enhancements are also planned)
Release date: Spring 2021

After years of requests, BioWare is bringing back its beloved original Mass Effect trilogy in a big way.

With The Legendary Edition, you’ll get Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 plus all of their downloadable content. What’s more, all three games will receive higher resolutions and frame rates, as well a slew of other enhanced “textures, shaders, models, effects, and technical features.”

Bringing all three games together allows you to experience Commander Shepard’s galaxy-spanning quest to stop the advanced machines known as the Reapers. Throughout your journey, you’ll recruit a variety of human and alien companions and make choices that will shape the narrative of the entire trilogy.

The Legendary Edition is especially well-timed given last month’s teaser trailer for the upcoming new, untitled Mass Effect game, which will continue the story of the original trilogy. Whether you’re a series newcomer or just looking to revisit three modern classics, the Legendary Edition should be the perfect collection for you.

Rainbow Six Quarantine

Rainbow Six Quarantine

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal (Montreal)
Publisher:
Ubisoft
Genre: First-person shooter, strategy, co-op
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Release date: TBA 2021

We’ve been waiting a while for this game, since it was first revealed in June 2019 but later pushed to late 2020, and, most recently, to a yet-to-be-confirmed 2021 date. We also still haven’t seen any gameplay footage from it.

Nonetheless, Quarantine is particularly notable since it’s the follow-up to Ubisoft Montreal’s massively popular Rainbow Six Siege, which released in December 2015. With Quarantine, Ubisoft is promising a “deep, radically re-designed full game experience” that’s inspired by last year’s Outbreak event in Siege.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the game’s similar subject matter, it will also be interesting to see how much real-world developments might have informed Quarantine‘s development.

Venba

Venba

Developer/Publisher: Visai Games
Genre: Narrative, cooking
Platform: PC
Release date: Winter 2021

This unique cooking-centric narrative game puts you in the shoes of an Indian mother who immigrates to Canada with her family in the ’80s.

As you cook various Southern Indian dishes, you’ll engage in branching conversations and learn more about the family. Throughout all of this, you’ll hear a distinct soundtrack that’s inspired by Indian musicals.

So few games focus on Brown characters and storylines, making Venba stand out all the more.


It’s important to keep in mind that because making games is especially difficult, there is a possibility that some of these titles could be delayed to later in 2021 or even out of the year entirely.

Further, it should be noted that another thing to look out for regarding Ubisoft’s upcoming games is how the company continues to handle its workplace culture. Throughout last year, many employees across its worldwide studios — including Far Cry 6 developer Ubisoft Toronto and Rainbow Six Quarantine maker Ubisoft Montreal — accused those in positions of power of various kinds of toxic behaviour, including sexual harassment and physical abuse.

So far, Ubisoft has said it’s taken a variety of steps to address these concerns, including a restructuring that’s seen several accused leaders ousted and implementing mandatory anti-sexism/anti-harassment training. Hopefully, we as consumers can look forward to the games being made by Ubisoft’s talented and hardworking frontline developers while continuing to hold higher-ups accountable for improving the company as a whole.

Still, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2021 from Canadian developers, who are creating an impressive variety of indie and AAA titles spanning all kinds of genres. Of course, since it’s only January, there will undoubtedly be more games announced throughout the year.

And that’s not even including promising, already revealed Canadian-made games that remain undated, like the charming Zelda-like adventure game Tunic from Halifax’s Andrew Shouldice or third-person bicycle roadtrip game Season from Montreal’s Scavengers Studio.

What Canadian-made games are you looking forward to this year? Let us know in the comments!

Header image credit: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

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