Things were looking bleak for Google Stadia at the start of the month, when Google announced that its two first-party games studios were closing, with every post-2021 title cancelled. But it looks like the short-term prospects for the streaming service are relatively bright, with Google promising “more than 100 games” coming to the platform this year.
Google made the commitment in a post on the Stadia Community Blog, and went as far as to reveal nine titles, with release dates for the first six.
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First up is Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition, which is pegged for February 23. It’s a generally well received platform game, but not exactly a new one, having first emerged on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U and Vita back in December 2016. Still, this version comes with all the DLC in one package, and it’s joined on the same day by its predecessor Shantae: Risky’s Revenge, so there's plenty for platform fans to get their teeth into.
The two platformers are followed on March 2 by 2015’s ‘It came from space and ate our brains’, a top-down shooter that can be played by up to four players locally. Sports fans will be pleased to see FIFA 21 following on March 17, before the list returns to platformers with the brand new Kaze and the Wild Masks on March 26. On April 23, Sega gets in on the act, bringing critically acclaimed Yakuza spin off Judgement to the platform.
Then there are three titles with unconfirmed release dates. There’s Hellpoint, a space station based RPG that bears more than a passing resemblance to Dark Souls, another soccer game in the shape of Street Power Football, and Killer Queen Black, a multiplayer action platformer for four players locally or eight online. Intriguingly, the Stadia version promises cross play with Steam and Switch players.
It’s an interesting mix, but it’s perhaps revealing that only two of the titles – FIFA and Judgement – could be described as heavy hitters and all (with the exception of Kaze and the Wild Masks) have been playable elsewhere for some time. While it’s possible that the remaining 91-plus titles to be confirmed could all be triple-A games, it feels a little unlikely, given this announcement comes after a tricky week for Stadia. If the company had showstopping games waiting in the wings, then wouldn’t it make sense to mention them, even if they didn’t have a release date attached?
We shall have to wait and see. While Stadia is undoubtedly going through a rocky patch, there’s still potential for things to turn around in 2021. Back at CES, it was announced that LG’s 2021 televisions would be supporting Stadia with no extra hardware required, and given the company makes some of the best TVs around, this could be just the kind of shot in the arm that Stadia has been looking for.