Next generations consoles are scheduled to release later this year, but the last generation of consoles are far from over. The global pandemic going on has certainly made this a very strange last few months, but at least there have been some fantastic game releases like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Doom Eternal to keep people busy while in quarantine.
Summertime is typically a lighter period when it comes to game releases, but Sony in particular is ready to go with some heavy hitters. They aren’t the only company with some big games out this summer either, as we have some other big companies and even an indie developer with a notable game coming in the next few months.
For this list, we are not going by the traditional summer that starts on June 20 and runs until September 22. That would eliminate a lot of games still to come in the next month or so, while also throwing some major releases like Marvel’s Avengers and Cyberpunk 2077 into the backend. We are instead going with the general summertime period that people think of from May through August with anything releasing after the date of this article’s publication.
There are also a few expansions on this list, because they are some major ones for the respective games and definitely are huge releases this summer. We decided not to rank the releases by how excited we are for them, but rather put them in release order so you can know just when to grab each of these games.
Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath (PS4/Xbox One/Nintendo Switch/PC) – May 26
One of the most recently announced of the group, Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath is the new expansion for last year’s phenomenal Mortal Kombat 11 that continues the story right from where it ended. Not only is there new story content that involves previous DLC characters like Shang Tsung and Nightwolf, this expansion adds three additional playable characters with Fujin, Sheeva, and even Robocop. You will need the base game to get this expansion, but there are multiple versions of this available that you can get that include the full package or just the expansion if you need it.
Minecraft Dungeons (PS4/Xbox One/Nintendo Switch/PC) – May 26
Minecraft is the game that just keeps on chugging along. People thought the game was dying in popularity a couple years ago when Fortnite rose up, but now it’s bigger than ever. While there hasn’t ever been a sequel or any sign of one coming in the near future, Mojang has not been afraid to try new things. They previously teamed up with Telltale games for an episodic series and now they have partnered with Double Eleven for Minecraft Dungeons. This game is very different from anything Minecraft has done before, as there is no building or crafting involved. Instead, if it a dungeon-crawler with up to four player local and online co-op. With many people still at home and schools out for the summer, there is little doubt that this one is going to be a hit.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor (PS4/Xbox One/PC) – May 26 (PC), June 9 (PS4/Xbox One)
The Elder Scrolls Online launched way back in 2014 for PC before coming to consoles a year later. It wasn’t for another two years after that until the game received full expansions, and it has received a new expansion every summer since. The latest of these is known as Greymoor, which has players incredibly excited due to the fact it’s a return to the world of Skyrim. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is still one of the most popular games ever and has been released a gazillion times it feels like now, but people just can’t get enough of that world and that’s why this entry is on the list.
Shantae and the Seven Sirens (PS4/Xbox One/Nintendo Switch/PC) – May 26
We decided to show a little love to the indie game scene, as there are so many good indie games that come out these days. There are likely plenty of others coming out this summer that we missed, but it felt just right to put the latest entry in the Shantae series on the list. Technically, this game released already for Apple Arcade in two parts, part one last year and part one back in March. However, the majority of people that will be playing this game likely were waiting for other platforms, as it arrives on pretty much everything else. WayForward has proven time and time again that they are one of the premier indie developers out there, especially when it comes to 2D platformers.
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition (Nintendo Switch) – May 29
Xenoblade Chronicles has certainly had an interesting history, with the original game almost missing a release in the US entirely if not for a fan campaign known as Operation Rainfall that led to it getting an exclusive release at GameStop and through Nintendo directly. This meant the game became a tough commodity to find at a reasonable price, though this was alleviated later with a port to the New Nintendo 3DS and a release of the Wii version on the Wii U eshop. Even with these other avenues to play the game, a lot of people missed out on this game regardless, which made it all the more exciting when Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition was announced. This isn’t just some mere port either, as the visuals have been greatly improved and now the game features a new epilogue as well that make it even more attractive for gamers.
The Last of Us Part 2 (PS4) – June 19
What more really needs to be said about The Last of Us Part 2 at this point? Naughty Dog’s masterpiece, The Last of Us, is one of the best games ever made and the sequel is looking to live up to those high standards with everything we have seen from it so far. If not delayed, The Last of Us Part 2 would have been in our hands even sooner, but thankfully the delay was not too long. June is a pretty dry month for game releases overall, so this is one that’s going to be arriving at just the right time to give everyone something to play. With that gap before, might even be the perfect time to replay through the original, or perhaps even play through it for the first time for some people.
Pokemon Sword and Shield: The Isle of Armor (Nintendo Switch) – June TBA
Of all the games on this list right now, this is the most uncertain of the bunch when it comes to release date. Not only does it not have a set release date beyond June, it is very possible it could end up being delayed due to the current circumstances around the globe. However, we are going under the assumption that Game Freak was ahead of schedule and will still be getting the first expansion out for Pokemon Sword and Shield this summer. The Isle of Armor is set to add another entire area to both Pokemon Sword and Shield where you can catch a number of Pokemon that were missing from the original release along with lots of other new content. More Pokemon is always a good thing and we are really hoping this one still meets its original target release window since we haven’t heard anything to the contrary thus far.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR (PS4) – July 3
Like The Last of Us Part 2, Marvel’s Iron Man VR is yet another game that was delayed as a result of COVID-19 and worries about the distribution of the game. Originally scheduled to already be out by now, this game got bumped back just a bit to early July. After some early concerns, reports that this game is much more than just a tech demo has people really excited to play this one. On top of that, with the delay of Black Widow, it will have been nearly a year since the last MCU film release, so people will be itching to jump into the Marvel universe in whatever way they can and Marvel’s Iron Man VR is a good option. What better way is there to celebrate 4th of July weekend than inside blowing up enemies with Iron Man?
Ghost of Tsushima (PS4) – July 17
PlayStation really came to play this summer, even if it wasn’t originally planned to work out this week. In less than a month, Sony will release three three games between The Last of Us Part 2, Marvel’s Iron Man VR, and lastly Ghost of Tsushima. Even though it was first revealed a few years ago, Ghost of Tsushima has definitely been the most held under wraps of their recent and upcoming releases. As Sony has revealed more and more of the game though, it just continues to look better and better. While there will still be a number of first party releases for Sony on the PS4, this one feels like the last major PS4 exclusive to be coming ahead of the PS5 later this year and it’s looking to be a good one.
Paper Mario: The Origami King (Nintendo Switch) – July 17
The last entry on our list is the one that was most recently announced, as it was only revealed a few days ago in a surprise trailer release by Nintendo. There have been rumors swirling about a new Paper Mario game that goes back to the roots of the series for awhile now, with more substantiated ones coming in the last month or so along the talk of multiple Mario remasters. Even with Nintendo’s empty slate after Xenoblade and potentially the Pokemon expansion, we still figured this rumored game wouldn’t release until the fall. That made the surprise all the better when Paper Mario: The Origami King was announced with a July 17 release date. Going up head to head against Ghost of Tsushima, this jolly looking title appears to truly be going back to what made Paper Mario great for the first few entries rather than what made the last few flop. Hopefully this actually comes to be true when we get to actually play it, which is only a couple months away thankfully.