Best Upcoming Survival Games 2021 (And Beyond)

If you welcome the challenge of relying on just your surroundings and natural instincts to stay alive in a video game, then you should prepare yourself for the best upcoming survival games of 2021.

From open-world sandboxes to survival horror, there are a bunch of exciting titles to look forward to playing. 

In this list, we’ll be highlighting our most-anticipated survival games releasing throughout 2021 and beyond.

If we forgot to mention your favorite game, feel free to sound off in the comments and let us know. And lastly, make sure to check back as we continue to update this list in the future.

Related:Best Upcoming PC Games 2021 (And Beyond)Best Upcoming Open-World Games 2021 (And Beyond)Best Upcoming Horror Games 2021 (And Beyond)

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Set during The Dark Age, Going Medieval sees you rebuilding civilization in a world where 95% of the global population has died from rampant plague. In the wake of society’s ashes, nature has reclaimed most of the land, indirectly providing the perfect foundation for new settlements.

This is where you step in, guiding the few remaining survivors as they come together to establish a new home protected from disease, outlaws, barbarians, and religious fanatics. You’ll design, build, and expand your own settlement, going from basic wooden huts to massive stone castles and underground strongholds.

As you progress, you’ll unlock new weapons and equipment using research and crafting systems to give your colonists a fighting chance. However, there’s more to caring for your people than winning battles, as each villager has individual wants and needs that will affect their mood and productivity if left unaddressed.

When the original System Shock released in 1994, critics praised the game’s realistic physics for the time, as well as the ambitious scaling of its 3D environments. Today, the series is remembered for elevating first-person survival games even though its success was relatively short-lived.

Fortunately for fans, developer Night Dive Studios is looking to bring the original back to life with a backer-funded remake currently in development. The scrappy developer has been taking their time with the project, carefully recreating the distinct sci-fi look and tone of System Shock.

This includes collaborating with former members of Looking Glass Studios, the original game’s developer. In it, players take on the role of a resourceful hacker as they try to survive a space station overrun with terrifying creatures while also engaging in a game of cat-and-mouse with a rogue AI by the name of SHODAN.

Undying is a linear-focused survival game that sees you playing as a Mom who becomes infected with a zombie virus at the start of the game. With only days remaining before her transformation is complete, Angling makes it her duty to teach her young son as many valuable skills as she can to prepare him for the challenges that lay ahead.

The game features some common survival game activities such as finding shelter, gathering and refining materials, and fighting enemies to stay alive. An interesting idea Undying brings to the table is this concept of an infected protagonist who’s constantly inching their way towards becoming a monster.

There will be instances where the player will have to succumb to their zombie instincts to protect themselves and the child. This includes feeding on other members of the undead or using your infected body to camouflage your son from the zombies.

It’s been more than five years since Team Junkfish’s survival horror roguelike Monstrum was released, and fans no longer have to stress over getting a sequel. The original saw you attempting to escape a procedurally-generated ship before one of three unique monsters hunted you down.

While the enemy AI always seemed to get tripped up on the ‘hunting’ part, the game was generally creepy, especially when it came to atmosphere. For the sequel, Junkfish has decided to explore some new ideas, namely adapting the experience for asymmetrical multiplayer, which has become quite popular in recent years.   

Monstrum 2 will toss groups of four into procedurally-generated levels where they’ll have to outsmart a monster controlled by a fifth player. Similar to games like Dead By Daylight, teams will have to work together to find a way to escape while trying to avoid getting killed by the monster. As if that weren’t enough, the game introduces permadeath, upping the stakes for both sides.

Zeno Clash developer ACE Team is currently working on an open-world survival game called The Eternal Cylinder. In it, players are tasked with guiding various species of bizarre-looking creatures through life as they try to survive in an ever-changing world filled with a myriad of dangers.

This includes run-ins with predators, combating thirst and hunger, and avoiding a massive, continually moving roller that kills anything in its path. As creatures explore, feed, and essentially thrive, they’ll start to experience evolution as their bodies adjust to the environment.

The total number of evolutions is currently unknown; however, they include things like learning to breathe underwater, growing wings to fly, changing body shape to fit through narrow areas, etc. Every playthrough offers a unique experience with procedurally-generated worlds and random types of species.

Scavengers presents a hybrid open-world PVE, class-based PVP experience that sees you building up your character after selecting from one of several Explorer specializations. Each class comes with its own unique abilities and weapons that can be useful for taking on any challenge the frozen wasteland throws at you.

The game takes place in an alternate sci-fi world where the Moon was shattered by an asteroid, ultimately freezing the Earth and introducing a virus that turns humans into bloodthirsty monsters called the Scourge. Your character is tasked with helping find a cure while fighting for the future of mankind.

While primarily a third-person shooter, Scavengers also features melee combat and the ability to go in guns blazing or play stealthily. Since the game is both PVE and PVP at all times, you’ll have to coordinate with teammates to secure outposts, gather intel, and take out the other team.

Have you ever wanted to become one of the animals you see in a nature documentary? In Away: The Survival Series, you can do just that. The game sees players stepping into the role of a sugar glider who’s forced to flee his home after a powerful storm passes through.

In search of safety and a new home, you’ll explore a sprawling open-world, all while grappling with your unique position in the food chain. The game focuses on traversing environments using the sugar glider’s unique abilities while paying attention to dangers.

Beyond natural disasters, there are a bunch of predators as well as prey to keep your eyes peeled for. AWAY is currently in development at Breaking Walls, an indie game studio comprised of designers and programmers who have worked on triple-A franchises like Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed.

If you enjoy games that incorporate base-building into their survival gameplay, then you may want to keep The Riftbreaker on your radar. Currently in development at EXOR Studios, the game sees you stepping into the shoes, or rather mecha suit, of Ashley S. Nowak, a highly-skilled scientist/commando.

Tasked with building a foundation for future colonies to inhabit a hostile alien planet, Nowak and her mecha-suit “Mr. Riggs” set out to connect space across vast distances by building a network of bases. However, to do so, you’ll have to venture into diverse ecosystems with unique wildlife and weather conditions, many of which aren’t too friendly.

Slowly, you’ll build and refine bases, adding defenses and production stations in order to gather resources and upgrade your equipment. Combat is akin to a twin-stick shooter and sees you spraying enemies with Mr. Riggs’ machine gun in addition to a rocket launcher, a sword, and possibly even more down the road.

Endling tells a not-so-uplifting tale about a near-future where the world falls into ruin on account of mankind’s negative impact on ecosystems. Presented as a 3D side-scroller, the game focuses on the destructive nature of the human race by casting you as the last remaining fox on Earth.

With resources scarce, you’re forced to do whatever it takes to care for your pups while keeping yourself alive in a hostile world teeming with predators and other dangers. However, your world truly comes crashing down when one of your pups get taken by an animal.

You’ll use clues such as your pup’s scent to track down the predator, all while protecting the rest of your litter and showing them essential skills for braving this harsh world. Over time, your pups will grow and begin to develop unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses that will either help or hinder their chances of survival.

If you’re the kind of survival game fan who likes to team up with other players, there’s a good chance you’ll like Tribes of Midgard, an upcoming open-world survival game with vibrant cel-shaded graphics and an isometric perspective. 

In it, you play as a Viking living in a village that houses the Seed of Yggdrasil, a beacon of power that protects the Gods from other Realms. The game tasks you with exploring an expansive world filled with diverse environments, powerful creatures, hidden deities, and natural resources that can be used to craft new gear.

In addition to fighting enemies throughout the open-world, the game features tower defense inspired battles that see Giants invading your village to destroy the Seed and fulfill the Ragnarök prophecy. Players can work together in tribes of up to 10 to build bases, battle enemies, and infiltrate enemy camps.

Sporting striking hand-drawn visuals, Trash Sailors is an upcoming co-op survival game that sees up to four players controlling a group of castaways as they sail across the open seas. Gameplay focuses on traversing oceans while battling rival AI-controlled ships and avoiding environmental hazards such as massive waves and icebergs.

Along the way, your sailor skills will be tested as parts of your ship can break off and must be repaired. Additionally, you’ll encounter various bits of trash floating in the water that can be retrieved and used to craft weapons, make fuel, or upgrade your boat.

Trash Sailors includes dozens of maps for players to explore, each with their own unique hazards and enemy types, including swamp crocodiles, arctic pirates, toxic sharks, and many more. Overall, the game has a fun and cartoony vibe that’s sure to provide hours of enjoyment for you and a couple of friends.

If you like your survival games to have highly-technical gameplay systems, Occupy Mars might be right up your alley. The game sees you exploring the Red Planet in hopes of establishing a colony for future generations to inhabit.

Of course, getting started on an alien planet entails a fair share of elbow grease and know-how. Your job is to build and upgrade your base, research nearby regions, gather resources, grow crops, generate oxygen, and much, much more.

To get from point A to B quickly, players are given a modifiable rover and can even craft a jetpack later on. The game places an emphasis on realism and simulation, but not to the point of feeling unforgiving. That being said, expect to plenty of deaths early on as you come to grips with life on Mars.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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