The first full year of Google’s Stadia platform saw the debut of over 100 games and the promise of four times that many on their way. As opinions of Stadia change, here are some of the top games we want to see arrive on Stadia in 2021.
In this list, the most active Stadia players here at 9to5Google – Kyle Bradshaw, Damien Wilde, and myself – will go over our top three picks of what we want to see coming to Stadia in 2021 either out of personal preference or what they might mean for the platform as a whole.
Ben’s 2021 Stadia games wishlist
Star Wars: Squadrons
A recent addiction for me and some friends, EA’s Star Wars Squadrons is a game I’d love to see on Stadia. I’m a huge Star Wars nerd, and the space battles have long been one of my favorite parts of the movies and shows. I still geek out entirely during the Battle of Scariff during Rogue One every single time I watch it.
I picked up Squadrons on my high-end Windows PC, and it runs really well, but there are three reasons I want to see this game on Stadia. First, device support. As much as I love playing this game on PC and specifically on a keyboard and mouse, I would love to be able to play through the story on my living room TV easily. The second reason? This is the first semi-demanding game I’ve purchased on PC in a while, and wow, I forgot how annoying fans are. My PC is by no means loud, but the silence I enjoy while playing games on Stadia is great, especially when I’m not wearing my headphones. Over the weekend, I was playing Squadrons, and I had to keep turning up the volume on my speakers to keep up with the whirring fans.
No Man’s Sky
Why not go from one space flight game to another, right? No Man’s Sky had my interest from day one even though I somewhat regretted my purchase with the game’s launch state. At this point, though, No Man’s Sky has become a gorgeous game that’s an absolute blast. However, it’s a game I rarely play on my PC, not out of disinterest, but because of frustration.
No Man’s Sky is an absolutely massive game, not just in scale, but in storage size and the power it demands. The game eats up at least 10GB on a hard drive — admittedly not a crazy amount but has been a deal-breaker for some I know — and frankly has never run particularly well for me on a PC despite my build running on a Ryzen 5, an RTX 2070, and packing plenty of speedy RAM and SSD storage. The game still just takes what feels like ages to load. What makes that worse is that the friends I have that also want to play the game aren’t on as good hardware, meaning their experience isn’t as good.
For those reasons, Stadia and No Man’s Sky feel like a great pair and something I hope to see in 2021. Stadia would provide affordable access to high-end hardware as well as eliminating any storage concern. Plus, I think No Man’s Sky could be one of the few games that could really, properly take advantage of Stadia’s tech. For example, using State Share to directly link someone to a specific planet could be really fun for streamers or just the community in general.
One of the other games I’d love to see come to Stadia in 2021 is Slime Rancher, an RPG that can appeal to players of all ages and that can take advantage of Stadia pretty well.
If you’ve never heard of or played Slime Rancher, the game sees players exploring the “Far, Far Range” as they wrangle various types of slimes, build out a farm, and upgrade their tech. It’s a really fun game, and one I truly wish I could easily play across all my screens. Over the past few months, one of my most-played titles on Stadia has been Little Big Workshop, and I’d love to see more management-style games on the platform in 2021. They’re great for picking up for a few minutes regardless of the device your on, whether that be a phone, a computer, or your TV.
Also, I think Slime Rancher would make a great addition to Stadia Pro. If the Monami Park-developed title were to come to Stadia, it would make sense as a Pro title given the game’s inclusion in Xbox Game Pass.
Kyle’s 2021 Stadia games wishlist
Can I just answer Hades three times?
Where do I begin..? Hades is the latest game from Supergiant Games, a studio whose entire back catalog — especially Bastion — needs to be ported to Stadia. Hades follows the story of Zagreus, son of Hades and therefore Prince of the Underworld, in his repeated attempts to escape from the Underworld in search of his birth mother.
More importantly, Hades is one of the best roguelikes — a genre poorly represented on Stadia today — ever created with an ever-deepening combat system. Choose from a variety of weapons and combine various perks from the gods of Olympus to create a build to perfect your latest escape attempt.
Another part of what makes Hades so great is how accessible it is, a rare trait in roguelikes. Things like an upgrades system that rewards failed runs and an impressively designed “God Mode” pave the way for more casual players to enjoy the beautifully crafted storylines and the unique interactions and reactions of various characters.
I can go on and on about why I like this game, but there are three key reasons that Stadia needs to get Hades. First, there aren’t nearly enough roguelikes on Stadia. Second, Hades was many publications’ Game of the Year, and it would be a shame for Stadia to not have 2020’s Game of the Year. And third, Hades is having a “moment” right now, with a massive community of fans and artists coming together to share their love of the game and its characters. Google Stadia needs — needs — to keep up with the gaming zeitgeist if the platform is going to ever become relevant.
A list of games that need to come to Stadia is simply incomplete without Minecraft. On its own, the infinite building, crafting, and resource managing loop of vanilla Minecraft would bring an almost entirely unrepresented genre to Stadia.
That said, what really makes Minecraft an almost must-have for Stadia is that there are nearly endless possibilities thanks to its add-on system. A new world with some different add-ons can be a breath of fresh air for even the most seasoned Minecraft player.
Yes, technically, the game belongs to Microsoft now. However, they’ve shown themselves to be more than willing to put Minecraft Bedrock Edition on every platform, including Android, iOS, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch. There’s no reason for Stadia to not be the next place — and the easiest place — to play Minecraft.
This is a more eclectic and personal choice on my part. Another genre with almost no Stadia representation is music games, and one of the all-time best music games is Rock Band. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the days of fake, plastic rock and roll were left behind with the aughts, but the series came to something of a roaring return in 2015 with Rock Band 4 on the last generation of consoles.
Before you go writing me off as crazy, remember that Stadia is fully capable of whatever exotic controllers you could ever want to use. The Rock Band instruments could easily plug into the Stadia Controller using the new tandem mode capabilities or simply plug into a computer/phone.
Most importantly, this isn’t as farfetched of an ask as you may think. Just a few months ago, Stadia Games and Entertainment announced a partnership with Rock Band’s developers, Harmonix. Surely Rock Band is not the game they’re working on together, but I still want to have hope.
Damien’s 2021 Stadia games wishlist
I make no apologies for listing EA’s Apex Legends as a “must” for Google Stadia as an avid player. However, if Fortnite is unlikely to come to the platform, Apex is arguably the next best thing. It plays similar to the criminally underrated Titanfall 2 but with all the benefits of a battle royale in the same in-game universe.
The gunplay is some of the best of the battle royale genre, and the mechanics are easy to pick up for old school Call of Duty players, too. Shortly after launch, Apex Legends attracted 50 million players, which have dwindled somewhat but still remain very high — especially in the US. There are still millions of daily players, and with crossplay already possible, it would be easy for Stadia players to play across devices.
Many competitive online games on Stadia have suffered due to a small-but-growing number of players. EA could easily tap in and nobody would lose out. The game is free-to-play regardless, with optional in-game cosmetic items and battle passes having costs associated.
Considering that we already have PUBG, it would be nice to have an alternative that is a proper FPS title, too.
There are 3D platforming games on Stadia, at least in a traditional sense. We’ll likely never see a Mario game make the jump — sorry! — over from Nintendo consoles, but how about something like the spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie in the form of Yooka Laylee?
We’ve got plenty of open-world games, a decent number of FPS titles, and classic 2D platformers, but we need some 3D platformers to sink our teeth into. I’m not classing some of the adventure games in this category. I mention Yooka Laylee as there are very few “new” IPs that are trying to offer something that competes with Mario.
Plus, with releases across multiple consoles and PC, it’s not a massive ask for Team17 to port the game to Stadia we’re sure. It’s a colorful, nostalgia trip for players of a certain vintage while simultaneously being a great family-friendly title that will introduce new gamers to some classic gaming tropes.
Considering just how much of a cash cow that GTA V has been for Rockstar since it released 2013 — yes, 2013! — and we have Red Dead Redemption 2 already on Stadia, it’s a wonder why we haven’t yet seen GTA on Google’s game streaming platform. The ability to play through as Trevor, Michael, and Franklin in 4K UHD at 60fps without needing a decent gaming PC is a personal draw, but there are other benefits.
GTA V still maintains a frankly massive player base thanks to the ever-expanding online game universe. Sure, it’s basically pay-to-win at this stage, but it’s pretty fun being able to maraud around Los Santos and take on bank jobs, heists, or simply mess around with the in-game NPCs and online players alike.
It would be great to see the entire backlog of GTA titles come to Stadia, but with GTA V still clinging to relevancy, it should be a major priority for the service. Heck, it would keep some Stadia players happy, at least until GTA VI.
What do you want to see on Stadia?
There are countless other games that would be great to see make their way to the cloud. Other titles we’ve chatted about include Rocket League, Astroneer, Fortnite, the Jackbox games, Jurassic World: Evolution, and so many others. One of the biggest games we all agree needs to come to Stadia, even though none of us are particularly excited for it, is Call of Duty. The extremely popular series needs to arrive on Stadia with its next installment, though it would be nice if the current version, Cold War and Warzone, would make its way to the platform. It’s a prime candidate for its storage size alone.
What are your top picks? Drop a comment below and let us know what your top three picks would be if you could choose any game to arrive on Stadia in 2021.
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