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Halo Infinite and all the 2021 gaming release dates you should know

Halo Infinite is coming on December 8, and there's plenty of good stuff between now and then.

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Game on.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

After a series of big Gamescom presentations, we know have a complete picture of what gaming's final quarter of 2021 will look like. Halo Infinite is launching on December 8 (with a sweet Xbox Series X|S), and we're also getting a new Call of Duty game called Vanguard

So far, 2021 has been a good -- though not great -- year for gaming. It started off dry, but we got a steady stream of great titles, including Resident Evil Village, Ratchet and Clank and a surprisingly fun Pokemon Snap. As with any year though, all the heavy hitters are coming in the last quarter. That means the next few months can really make 2021. 

September will see the long-awaited (and delayed) release of Deathloop, which might be one of the biggest and best games of the year. It'll also see a new Wario Ware game on the Switch, an updated Diablo 2 and a new IP in Kena: Bridge of Spirits. 

Below is a list of all the big release dates for the year -- but note that delays are always possible.

Nintendo

WarioWare games, for those who don't know, absolutely rule. You wouldn't know it by watching gameplay, or indeed the launch trailer for WarioWare: Get It Together!, but the collections of microgames are always fun and often addictive. The newest game, which launches on the Switch in September, adds multiplayer for the first time. 

Bethesda

After years focusing mainly on Dishonored, developers Arkane Studios are moving onto a new IP in Deathloop. And it looks sick.

Here's the idea: You're an assassin trapped in a timeloop that resets after each day. In order to get out, you need to kill eight "visionaries" who are scattered around an island. The caveat is that you'll need to do it within one timeloop. The second caveat is that, as you hunt for the eight visionaries, a rival assassin keeps herself busy by hunting you.

Deathloop will hit the PlayStation 5 and PC on September 14, with an Xbox version probably coming next year (it has timed console exclusivity for one year).

Ember Lab

Ratchet and Clank is easily one of the best games of the year and it can be best described as "a Pixar movie if it were a game." Kena: Bridge of Spirits looks like much the same thing, except it has more of a DreamWorks vibe to it. You'll play as Kena, a spirit guide who helps the dead move on to the physical world to the afterlife. We're hoping this one is as charming as it looks.

Blizzard

Diablo 2 is one of the most famous and vaunted games in the history of... well, games. Its gameplay still stands up, but its presentation is definitely dates -- 21 years will do that. To fix the problem, Activision Blizzard is launching Diablo II: Resurrected. It keeps the gameplay the way it is, but brings everything else into the year 2021. Dolby 7.1 sound, 3D graphics, 4K resolution, you know the drill. 

Nintendo

Metroid Prime 4 was announced four years ago -- and we've heard pretty much nothing about it since. Fans hoped we'd get a peek at E3, but instead we got a totally different Metroid game: Metroid Dread. Rather than the first-person-shooter Prime series, Dread takes the series back to its 2D roots.

It's not Metroid Prime 4, but it's coming out in less than four months -- and it's sure to be good. Take the wins where you can get 'em.

Ubisoft

Originally slated for a February release, Far Cry 6 was pushed back to October.  It's set to be the biggest, most fully featured Far Cry yet and takes place in the tropical region of Yara -- loosely based on Cuba. Not only will the game launch on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X|S, PC and Google Stadia, it'll also come to Amazon's Luna platform

EA

Battlefield 2042 is the first brand-new Battlefield game since 2018's Battlefield V, and it's all about multiplayer. Literally: There is no single-player campaign, with the storymode, which takes place in a world destabilized by climate change, being multiplayer only. That'll suit many franchise fans fine though, since Battlefield is mostly about online multiplayer combat, and there'll of course be plenty of that.

Call of Duty: Vanguard

Release date: November 5.

Activision Blizzard

It's been a rough 18 months, and Call of Duty: Vanguard wants to help by inserting you into the relaxing locale off... Stalingrad during World War 2. Yes, Sledgehammer Games is taking Call of Duty back to the second World War, with the pitch this time being that you'll play through all the main areas of war: Europe's Western Front, its Eastern front and the Pacific Theater. It launches November 5 on Xbox One, Xbox X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC.

Microsoft

Halo Infinite was meant to be the big thing that launched alongside the Xbox Series X|S but, after poor fan response to a preview last year, it ended up delayed until fall of 2021. After Gamescom, we know that the game will launch on December 8. The Halo name alone makes this a must-play for most Xbox owners, and the fact that it'll hit Xbox Game Pass on day one makes this a no-brainer. 

Read more: Most anticipated gaming laptops of 2021