Though many video game fans consider November to be the busiest month in terms of blockbuster releases, major publishers have released plenty of noteworthy titles in February. The following selection of February 2021 gaming anniversaries serve as evidence of the success popular manufacturers have found during the month.
1. Stardew Valley (5th Anniversary)
ConcernedApe’s Stardew Valley was released for PC on February 26, 2016. Developed by a single person in four years, this simulation RPG heavily inspired by Harvest Moon allows players to pursue a range of activities, including farming, mining, and raising livestock, in however order they wish. Fans may also marry and have children with residents of the town. Stardew Valley reviewed incredibly well among critics and quickly attracted an audience. It’s no surprise that the game arrived on other platforms after its PC launch, allowing it to sell over 10 million copies across platforms by 2020.
2. Bulletstorm (10th Anniversary)
Before Fortnite set the world on fire, Epic Games developed a crass first-person shooter called Bulletstorm with Polish studio People Can Fly. When the game launched for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC on February 22, 2011, it was generally well-received by critics. Unfortunately, that sentiment failed to translate into sales, and Epic Games announced it had failed to turn a profit on it. It’s a shame more people didn’t play the title, as its goofy, over-the-top style and creative Skillshot-based combat system continue to stand out today.
3. Sonic Riders (15th Anniversary)
Sonic Team’s Sonic Riders infamously debuted for PlayStation 2, GameCube, and the original Xbox on February 21, 2006. Though some Sonic fans may continue to look down upon this hoverboard-racing spin-off, it sold well enough to warrant two sequels. It seems Sega’s attempt to cash in on the SSX franchise’s success at the time paid off well. Its greatness among the Sonic community, however, may continue to be disputed.
4. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages (20th Anniversary)
Capcom/Flagship’s The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages launched for the Game Boy Color in Japan on February 27, 2001. After the early Pokemon entries, these Zelda installments portray separate but similar narratives that eventually intertwine once players complete both titles. The concept continues to be fascinating today, as few publishers and developers have dared to replicate it. The pair’s gameplay, graphics, and fun designs continue to impress, though sound quality could use some improvement.
5. Pocket Monsters Red and Green (25th Anniversary)
Game Freak’s Pocket Monsters Red and Green – the first two games in the massively popular Pokemon RPG franchise – released for the original Game Boy in Japan on February 27, 1996. Known as Pokemon Red and Blue in the United States, the games completely changed the media landscape through a simple gameplay loop, easy-to-grasp RPG systems, and incentive to catch every monster to complete one’s Pokedex. Through movies, anime, and merchandise, it’s not hyperbole to state that the franchise has captivated the world many times over since its debut 25 years ago.
February continues to be a popular month among major game publishers, as highly anticipated releases like Little Nightmares 2, Persona 5 Strikers, and Bravely Default 2 are all slated to launch within the next 28 days. There’s reason to believe that the month will continue to see noteworthy releases in 2022 and beyond, especially among Japanese companies looking for some room to breathe.