I'm wondering if holiday 2021/ early 2022 will feature some of the most polished AAA games we've seen in a while
I doubt it. The driving force behind the publicly listed AAA companies hasn't changed—ie driving maximum shareholder value. So CEO & C-levels are driven by that, since if they're not, they get fired.
That means revenue & profit asap, which means sales and minimizing costs. So we'll get releases, the Q being what kind of shape they're in.
I haven't see anything about how production people—those who make the games—have been working this year and last. Have they all been furloughed or working from home or in the studio? I doubt their co-ordination has improved since 2018-19.
So with hundreds working on a game for years, what's fallen thru the cracks recently? How has the integration of different studios working on the same game been affected? I can't see it being better than before, and expect it to be worse.
Far Cry 6 releasing October 7th will be interesting. Ubisoft will have been working on it for 5 years by then with presumably multiple studios involved—eg 5 Ubisoft studios worked on FC5. Far Cry games have generally released in good shape, so FC6 should indicate what to expect from holiday season releases.
I would guess that a title with a lot of pre-orders will be released regardless of what shape it's in—no CEO can let such captive revenue wait in the wings. Games with low pre-orders will have to weigh the pros & cons of some immediate revenue v killing later sales.
Capitalism is all about the current & next quarter tho, so I'm not optimistic that many decisions will be taken where gamers' interests are a factor.