Grab your map and get ready to get lost in a world full of areas to discover and secrets to be revealed. 2021 has some great upcoming exploration games coming out and here are some of our most anticipated titles for the PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, along with the Nintendo Switch platforms.
#15 Everspace 2
Fans of Everspace finally have a sequel to dive into today. Everspace 2 kicked off its early access journey in January of 2021 so players can get some enjoyment out of this game right now while the developers continue to work on the project for a proper full launch. With that said, this title is still a spaceship focused title with a massive galaxy out there to explore. With a narrative journey filled with characters to missions to complete, this is not an endless wandering around space shooter.
The Everspace 2 journey will have players going through intense space battles, gathering loot, expanding your ship collection, and raking in the funds along the way. As mentioned, this is still a Steam early access title so there’s the potential of changes being made within the game, but for the most part, it looks like Everspace 2 is filled with interesting areas to discover while you set off towards your next destination. As for how long we can expect this game to be stuck in early access, the developers are hoping to release Everspace 2 fully within the next year.
#14 Exo One
Exo One is an interesting game as it puts players in control of an alien spacecraft that can alter its shape. This game is all about progressing forward as you gain velocity with players being able to quickly zip through the open world. Since you’re endlessly roaming, you’ll come across all sorts of unique lands to roll, glide, and jump off from. It’s a simplistic game that doesn’t have a specific release date attached right now, but you can try the demo out on Steam right now.
Stray is a unique game that was first shown off at the PlayStation event during the summer of 2020. We Still don’t know a whole lot about this game but it is slated to release this year. With that said, we do know that Stray will put players in control of a stray cat in a world filled with robots. It turns out that players will be exploring this cyberpunk world in an attempt to discover what happened to humanity and where our feline friend can get back to its rightful home.
Still, players can expect plenty of areas to explore and in this unique world. For now, we’ll have to wait and see just what all the developers are planning towards this game in terms of narrative and gameplay mechanics.
#12 Junkyard Simulator
Junkyard Simulator is exactly what it sounds like. You’re in control of a junkyard where making money is all about finding scrap metal. Within the game, players can freely roam the open world to find junk to process, dismantle, repair, or just to destroy. There are even quests to take on where you’ll get orders from clients which means having to explore the open world to find the necessary items to complete their orders.
Players can even take a gamble and purchase random containers that can either have some valuable parts, old vehicles, to being filled with nothing but old boxes leaving you with worthless scrap. It’s a bit of a wacky game, but you can give it a try for yourself later this year when it launches as an early access title. However, there is a demo prologue available to try right now through the Steam marketplace.
#11 Occupy Mars: The Game
Occupy Mars: The Game is a simulation survival game where you’re not only tasked with exploring the planet but building up enough equipment to sustain life. Here players will have to build habitats, solar panels, vehicles, and mining equipment to not only obtain some necessary resources but to also keep their vitals in check.
However, don’t expect things to go smoothly. With a day and night cycle attached, there’s the constant threat that your panel equipment might not have enough power stored to last through the cold nights. Likewise, when things break, you’ll have to figure out how to fix them which can get technical such as taking out electronic components and fixing all the circuitry or even soldering the boards.
#10 Skull & Bones
Ubisoft first Showcased Skull & Bones a few years ago. Originally, the game was first revealed as a pirate title where players took control of a pirate crew in search of loot. From what we were shown off originally this was first set up as a title where players would be cruising the open oceans with an emphasis on ship combat. While roaming around the seas, players could attempt to fool the law as they hid any signs of piracy on their ship while carefully raising the jolly roger and sending out attacks when the coast looked to be cleared.
Other pirate crews could also be found with some either being helpful or hostile, after all there is no honor among thieves . Likewise, the players could make various upgrades to their ship and crew when docked at a nearby port. However, there was a change up to the game development. As a result, We’re unsure just what Ubisoft has planned for Skull & Bones. Currently, we’re waiting for the next big reveal which will help tell us if there were any significant changes to the gameplay or premise.
#9 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
The legend of Zelda franchise has been around for decades. Fans can’t get enough of these adventure games and it wasn’t that long ago that we got the latest mainline installment. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild For a lot of fans quickly became the best installment For the entire franchise as players were once again stepping back into the role of Link who must save the day from impending doom. However, what made this game such a massive hit was the enormous open world that players could explore.
We won’t ruin the game for you if by chance you have yet to pick this game up, but the world itself was filled with puzzles, towns, characters to meet and battles to partake in. With that said, we do know that Nintendo is developing a sequel. Unfortunately, we don’t know anything about this game yet, but we should get a chance to once again explore this open world which could very well have some significant changes since the first installment or new areas in general.
We waited a good while to get some information for Biomutant. Within this game, players step into the shoes of a small creature. After a poisonous oil springing up from the ground, most of the world is quickly infected and dying off leaving you as the world’s last hope of survival. The developers behind Biomutant, Experiment 101, have stated that the entire world is open for players to explore with only sections blocked off.
This is mainly a game where you’ll need to progress and find the means to open these areas up which not only is above ground but underground as well. Since this is an RPG as well, Biomutant will give players the ability to tweak the different attributes of your protagonist which may come in handy for different hairy situations when you’re venturing around the different biomes. For now, we’re having to wait until May of this year before we’ll get a chance to try Biomutant out for ourselves.
#7 Open Roads
Open Roads is an upcoming game that will take players on a mysterious adventure. Players follow a sixteen-year-old girl named Tess Devine as she embarks on a journey with her mother Opal. After discovering a series of old cryptic notes and letters from their family, the duo ends up venturing out into a slew of clues promising to hold secrets and lost treasure.
Open Roads also comes from Fullbright the developers who delivered titles such as Gone Home and Tacoma. Both games were heavily focused on searching for clues and solving puzzles. If you happened to have played both of those games then that should give you a bit of insight into how Open Roads will play out when it launches into the marketplace, later this year. If not, then this game is all about discovery, as you wander around the map finding clues and investigating different objects around the map.
From the development studio, Rare comes their next big IP release, Everwild. Right now, we don’t have a ton of information to go off from but it looks like Everwild will be putting players into a fantasy world where we can explore this open lands and take in the beauty of this digital nature. It looks like the developers are aiming to provide players a more peaceful journey in this game with a focus on helping creatures and connecting with others along the way. At the time of writing this description, we only have one trailer to dissect for this game and while it doesn’t feature combat, it gives us a look into a heavily flourishing forest filled with unique animals and colorful landscapes.
The season is an atmospheric adventure title that comes from the same developers that brought out the battle royale title Darwin Project last year. In this game, players will be stepping into a female protagonist that’s curious as to why advancements to society have stopped. With tools such as a bicycle, tape recorder, and a camera, players will be going through a journey of not only capturing the world around them but studying to figure out what upcoming cataclysm event may pop up next.
This should be a relaxing journey as you explore the open areas and meet interesting characters. We haven’t seen much about the game quite yet and we’re not sure if this game will make it into the marketplace before 2021 wraps up. With that said, if you enjoy calm adventure style games then this is one title you’ll want to keep tabs on.
Tchia has players taking the role of a little girl whose interest in her archipelago home has sparked a grand adventure. Players will be exploring this open-world in hopes of discovering secrets along with meeting some new friends. What makes this game a bit unique is that not only can our protagonist Tchia have the ability to wander around, swim, and climb, but she’s able to transform into different objects or animals.
As a result, Tchia can fly to new heights by becoming a bird, dig into the ground as dog, or become a tire and roll down mountains to quickly traverse the island. This looks to be a relaxing adventure title when it launches, but right now we’re uncertain just when we can expect Tchia to hit the marketplace.
Returnal is an upcoming third-person action game from the developers Housemarque, the same folks who were responsible for the likes of Matterfall and Mex Machina. Within Returnal players step into a female space pilot that ends up crashing on an unusual alien planet. Stuck in this unfamiliar new home, players will need to figure out how to escape. However, this world is full of hostile enemies making it a difficult uphill battle.
To make matters worse is that not even death will be an escape as players will be stuck in a loop with each death putting players right back at the start. Not only are players are forced to restart their progress, but the world itself will also constantly change giving players new areas to explore and battle within. To top things off we can’t forget to mention that her memories are fading away as well. Fortunately, our protagonist has a few weapons to use against the alien parasites that come across her path while she attempts to piece together her past and find a way back home.
#2 Sherlock Holmes Chapter One
Developers Frogwares have delivered several Sherlock Holmes games into the marketplace before so this studio has a pretty solid track record for this IP. Now their next big installment for the franchise is a prequel of sorts. Sherlock Holmes Chapter One is set to be the origin story of Sherlock Holmes as he begins his first big case, to find out the truth behind the death of his mother. As you can imagine, this will be a younger Sherlock Holmes who’s more arrogant and quick to action while also not having his companion Watson to aid him in his journey.
Sherlock will need to carefully examine the area for clues along with finding out information behind his suspects. So far we know that there are five main quests in the campaign along with a series of side quests available. Likewise, this game is set to be placed in an open world where players will be able to freely explore the map after they complete the first mission. As a result, you’ll be able to investigate the entire city both normally or in disguises as you attempt to gain enough evidence to build up case.
#1 Horizon Forbidden West
One of the more iconic exclusive titles to come out for the PlayStation 4 was Horizon Zero Dawn. From developers, Guerrilla Games came to a new open-world action RPG that puts players into the future long after humanity has fallen. Players step into the role of Aloy, a young woman who was banished from her tribe as a baby. Throughout the game, players go on an epic journey to discover her past while dealing with hostile tribes and large mechanical beasts that have now taken control of the open lands. Fortunately, we’re not done with this game IP quite yet as we’re going to receive a sequel for both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 platforms.
Horizon Forbidden West will follow Aloy on another grand journey. Now the world is under threat when a new plague has spread across the world killing off nature. In an attempt to save the world, Aloy must travel to the west coast in hopes to find the source of the plague. With Aloy charting to new territories, players will find a bigger expansive game world to explore. Players can also expect to see more mechanical beasts along with new hostile tribes that have claimed territories along the way.