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Niche Games to Watch in 2021: Shooters

Shadow Warrior 3

As we enter the year 2021, it’s time once again to partake in my yearly tradition of highlighting some of the most promising games we have to look forward to in the year ahead of us. As usual, this will consist of a series of a dozen or so articles over the next few weeks, each showcasing a collection of around 15 to 20 games in a wide range of genres.

Being the local indie snob that regularly dives into Steam’s dreaded and unfiltered All New Releases tab to find games for Niche Spotlight; I’ll be taking special care to focus a lot on slightly more obscure games you might not have on your radar yet.

While there will be some higher budget or AA games from middle tier publishers on these lists, the majority of them will be indie, or from indie-focused publishing groups.

While I will try my best to highlight as many of the cool games coming in 2021 as possible, there sheer number of games that come out in any given year means that many will probably slip through the cracks. Be sure to mention any we miss in the comments section!

Let’s start off this year with a bang by focusing on some of the many adrenaline-fueled shooters releasing in 2021. Be they third-person or first-person, retro or modern, story-driven or competitive multiplayer; if you like blowing things to pieces with high caliber firepower, then chances are you’ll find at least a few games that catch your attention in today’s article.

Here are Niche Gamer’s selection of 20 promising shooter and FPS video games releasing in 2021:


Brutal Fate
Developer: Marcos Abenante
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: Q3 2021 (Early Access)

Brutal Fate

The creator of the highly successful Brutal Doom mod is currently creating a full-fledged game called Brutal Fate.

A colony on Jupiter’s distant moon of Castillo has been overrun by demonic entities after its civilian population was butchered to fuel dark rituals. As one of the few survivors of the marine platoon sent to investigate the colony, your only objective now is to use an arsenal of devastating weapons to slaughter hordes of enemies out for your blood.

As befitting the developer’s background, Brutal Fate will also be highly moddable right out the box.

 

HROT
Developer: Spytihněv
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: January 29th

HROT

HROT is a retro-inspired shooter set in Czechoslovakia in 1986 following a mysterious disaster. Fight an invasion by unknown forces using a mixture of real weapons, and experimental retro-futuristic Soviet super weapons like ball lighting cannons. The game is built in a custom engine by a single Slav with a fetish for early-’90s shooter mechanics and aesthetics.

You can find the free demo on Steam.

 

Core Decay
Developers: Ivar Hill, Slipgate Ironworks
Publisher: 3D Realms
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Core Decay

Core Decay is another retro-inspired shooter coming this year, though instead of being a fairly standard Boomer Shooter copycat, it leans a bit more to the FPS-RPG hybrid side of the genre.

The game is set in a cyberpunk dystopia, where dwindling resources and corporate greed have pushed humanity to the brink. Upgrade your character with over 100 cybernetic implants, and turn your enemy’s weapons against them as you explore high tech facilities guarded by robotic security systems.

 

Graven
Developer: Slipgate Ironworks
Publishers: 3D Realms, 1C Entertainment
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Release Date: TBA 2021

Graven

Retro-inspired shooters are the current trend among indie devs, but like Core Decay, Graven sets itself apart by focusing on being a different subgenre of ’90s shooter.

Inspired by Heretic and Hexen, Graven is more of a first-person action-adventure with RPG elements where you play as an exiled priest wandering a dark land in search of redemption. Fight zombies, demons, cultists, and other monsters with a mix of melee weapons, crossbows, and arcane tomes.

You can find our preview here.

 

Fallen Aces
Developers: Trey Powell, Jason Bond
Publisher: New Blood Interactive
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Fallen Aces

Yes, we are still talking about retro-inspired shooters. Fallen Aces is a ’90s-inspired FPS set in the comic-style crime noir world of Switchblade City.

The A.C.E.S. are being taken out one by one, and it’s up to you to delve into Switchblade’s criminal underworld to find out who is responsible. Beat down thugs using pipes, trashcans, knives, fists, and other improvised weapons; or pull out your trusty revolver or Chicago Typewriter when things get out of hand.

 

Scathe
Developer: Damage State
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Scathe

Rounding out the ’90s-inspired portion of the article is Scathe, a shooter about escaping a maze in Hell. Choose your path through the maze to change up the possible encounters and pickups you’ll find, all while melting demons with exotic weapons like disc launchers and homing rocket barrages. Scathe also supports 4-player co-op.

 

Shadow Warrior 3
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Shadow Warrior 3

Flying Wild Hog is back with their third Shadow Warrior game. With Shadow Warrior 3, the developers are bringing the series back to its roots, abandoning the looter shooter mechanics of the previous title in favor of handcrafted levels in a mystical take on feudal Japan.

Lo Wang will have access to plenty of new and returning weapons, as well as magical abilities and a grappling hook that can be used to swiftly navigate arenas or manipulate environmental hazards.

 

Trepang2
Developer: Trepang Studios
Platforms: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Trepang2

Trepang2 is an FPS that bears more than a passing resemblance to the F.E.A.R. franchise. You play as a superpowered soldier that has been rescued from a top secret government facility, and is now on the run. Your superpowers include the ability to turn invisible, slow down time, and kick enemies with incredible force. You can also shred your pursuers with a hail of machine gun fire and shotgun shells.

You can find our preview here.

 

Lemnis Gate
Developer: Ratloop Games Canada
Publisher: Frontier Foundry
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2021

Lemnis Gate

Lemnis Gate is a competitive multiplayer shooter with a rather unique take on time manipulation. This 1v1 shooter involves two players dueling in a series of 25-second time loops. Each time loop gives players a chance to move around and take potshots at their rival, trying to use their past selves to set up elaborate traps, crossfires, and combos to come out victorious in the battle.

 

Boundary
Developer: Studio Surgical Scalpels
Publisher: Huya
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2021

Boundary

Boundary is a rather unique take on the small scale, squad-based competitive tactical shooter. Two teams engage in fierce zero-g firefights while wearing customizable space suits, equipped with a variety of futuristic weapons and gadgets. The game is heavily based on movement in low or zero gravity environments, where you’ll need to use jet packs and grappling hooks to get around.

 

Earthbreakers
Developer: Petroglyph
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Earthbreakers

Earthbreakers is a spiritual successor to Command & Conquer: Renegade‘s online mode. It was developed by Petroglyph, a company that was formed in 2003 by former Westwood developers after the studio succumbed to the EA curse.

Much like its inspiration, Earthbreakers is a mix of RTS and FPS where players have to harvest resources, build and upgrade a base, and purchase more advanced classes and vehicles using resources they’ve accumulated.

 

’83
Developer: Antimatter Games
Publisher: Toadman Interactive
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

'83

’83 is a new team-based combined arms FPS developed by one of the teams that worked on the Rising Storm series. The game involves a theoretic war in the ’80s between NATO and the Warsaw Pact forces across Europe, with player counts that currently go up to 80. Like the Rising Storm games, ’83 will focus on authenticity; with limited HUDs, accurately modeled firearms from the time period, and very quick time-to-kills.

 

I.G.I. Origins      
Developer: Antimatter Games
Publisher: Toadman Interactive
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: TBA 2021

I.G.I. Origins

The same developers of ’83 are also working on I.G.I. Origins, a reboot of the classic stealth-action series from the early 2000s. This new pseudo-prequel is set in the ’80s, and follows Regent. He is an MI6 operative tasked with infiltrating Soviet facilities across Europe on a mission to prevent a devastating war between the superpowers.

 

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2
Developer: CI Games 
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: Q1 2021

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is the follow-up to CI’s stealth-sniper FPS from 2019. You will once again be sneaking around enemy encampments as a sniper for hire, using a variety of futuristic gadgets and modern weapons to assassinate key targets.

This time around though, you’ll be leaving the frigid forests of Siberia behind in favor of the war-torn deserts of Syria and Lebanon, as you take down terrorists and power-hungry warlords.

 

Brigador Killers
Developers: Stellar Jockeys, Gausswerks           
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: TBA 2021

Brigador Killers

Brigador Killers is the sequel to 2016’s hit isometric vehicular-based shooter by Stellar Jockeys and Gausswerks. This new game involves a hit team from Solo Nobre sent to get revenge on traitors that escaped justice. You’ll be placed deep behind enemy lines on a whole new planet, as you pilot a variety of mechs and other heavily armed vehicles through fully destructible environments.

 

Metal: Hellsinger
Developer: The Outsiders
Publisher: Funcom
Platforms: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X 
Release Date: TBA 2021

Metal: Hellsinger

Metal: Hellsinger is a rhythm-based FPS about slaying to the beat of an original metal soundtrack by the likes of Matt Heafy, Mikael Stanne, Björn Strid, Alissa White-Gluz, and Tatiana Shmailyuk. Blast your way through the eight Hells with an arsenal of demonically-infused blades and firearms. Your destructive potential is based around your ability to time your shots and abilities to the beat of the level’s music.

 

Bright Memory: Infinite
Developer: FYQD-Studio
Publisher: Playism
Platforms: Windows PC, Xbox Series X
Release Date: TBA 2021

Bright Memory: Infinite

Bright Memory: Infinite is a mixture of FPS and combo-based character action game. The game follows the adventures of Shelia, an operative for the Supernatural Science Research Organization, as she investigates an ancient mystery that connects two worlds.

The game involves a combination of gunplay with a variety of firearms, combo-driven melee combat, and upgradable special abilities that can manipulate time and gravity.

 

Everspace 2
Developer: Rockfish Games
Platform: Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: January 2021 (Steam Early Access)

Everspace 2

Everspace 2 is the follow-up to Rockfish’s hit roguelite space shooter from 2017. While the original was a roguelite, Everspace 2 is closer to a sandbox space RPG, and gives players a massive universe to explore as they take odd jobs, mine for valuable resources, buy and sell commodities, and increase their reputation.

You can try out an early build of the game on Steam for free.

 

Century: Age of Ashes
Developer: Playwing
Platform: Windows PC
Release Date: February 2021 (Early Access)

Century: Age of Ashes

Century: Age of Ashes is a free-to-play team-based shooter where players fight each other in the skies of a medieval fantasy world from the backs of dragons. The game will have multiple playable classes, customizable dragons, and game modes that include 6v6 team deathmatch, capture the flag, and 6v6v6 survival.

 

Gal*Gun Returns  
Developer: Inti Creates
Publisher: PQube Limited
Platforms: Windows PC, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: February 12th, 2021

Gal*Gun Returns

Finally, lets finish up this article with a very different type of shooter. Gal*Gun Returns is a remake of the original game in the popular ecchi rail shooter series, and includes most of the DLC alongside some new content and upgrades. Defend yourself from hordes of anime girls, find true love, and discover a staggering 423 panty designs for the over 70 different girls in the game.


That’s all for our first batch of articles highlighting some of the promising games coming our way in 2021. Next time, we’ll be taking a look at some of the RPGs releasing this year. Until then, which of these games are you looking forward to? Are there any other shooters you are excited for in 2021? Let us know in the comments below!

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Frank Streva

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Niche Gamer’s resident indie expert. Digs through the Steam new releases so you don’t have to. Massive fan of miniature and board games as well.