Was 2021 the Worst Year Ever for Games?

Covid-19's knock-on effects have delayed development so much that most games we thought we'd be playing now have drifted into next year. From a report: I'm Keza MacDonald, the Guardian's video games editor. I have been a video games journalist for 16 years, and my extended family only recently stopped asking me when I was going to get a real job over Christmas dinner. I guess they've given up on me now. This December, as usual, the release calendar has been as sparse as the hairs on Agent 47's head. Last year we at least had Cyberpunk 2077's fiasco of a launch to distract us from the end-of-2020 doldrums; you can only hope that it will fare better when the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions are, finally, released in the spring. On the plus side, right now there is actually time to catch up on things without the distraction of shiny new things coming out every week. Absorbing myself in a video game has always been a good way to stave off end-of-year ennui in the festive perineum between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Those Christmas games loom large in the memory -- one year it was Mass Effect 2, which I played for days straight wrapped in a duvet in my freezing cold Edinburgh flat; one Christmas as a teenager I persuaded my parents to get me Animal Crossing on US import and spent the subsequent days completely ignoring my family in favour of my new weird animal neighbours. (I've got my own kids now, and last year I did the same in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Some things don't change.) It's been a strange year for games, partly because the knock-on effects of Covid-19 have delayed the process of game development so much that most of the things we thought we'd be playing now have drifted into next year. Game development is an extraordinarily collaborative endeavour, especially when there are 100 or more people on a team, and working from home has slowed things down massively at a lot of studios with whom I've spoken.

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