It’s been about one week since E3 2021 drew to a close, and it was certainly… something. With the (ongoing) pandemic affecting the games industry in countless ways, E3 held a digital showcase that tried to recapture the glory of conferences past.
While the jury is decidedly out on whether or not it was a success, presentations from Xbox / Bethesda, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Capcom, and more did provide gamers with plenty of exciting reveals and some surprising announcements. Here are some of the PLAY team’s favorites!
Sam Comrie – Elden Ring
Currently being forged in the FromSoftware furnace of dreams, Elden Ring’s mythological self-imposed question as purely existing has finally been answered. Bringing together their subtle series innovations and conceptual prowess from their SoulsBorne adventures, Elden Ring is shaping up to a sprawling beast of an experience. Offering players a world far more grandiose and fantastical than what we’ve seen before, the notion of getting to explore this world grows more exciting by the second. Backed up by tailor made lore from Game of Thrones creator George R.R Martin and the masterful guidance of Hidetaka Miyazaki, January can’t come any quicker.
[Runner-ups: Battlefield 2042, Metroid Dread]
Harry Abbott – Elden Ring
“Ohhhhhh, Elden Ring!”
Technically announced at Summer Game Fest, Elden Ring was an easy choice for the number one spot. Two years after it was first announced, we were spoiled with a gameplay trailer and a release date. The trailer featured horse jump pads, big ‘ol turtles, and terrifyingly big hands. What looked like a satisfying blend of Dark Souls and Sekiro gameplay will surely grab me like every other game in the series has. I cannot wait to become Tarnished and disappear into the world of Elden Ring in January 2022.
[Runner-ups: Redfall, Forza Horizon 5]
David Restrepo – Battlefield 2042
Battlefield 2042 looks to take signature Battlefield moments and amplify them to an extent the franchise has never seen. In the pantheon of modern multiplayer shooters, no series provides the emergent moments Battlefield is capable of. With 128-player matches and major weather events such as unpredictable, real-time tornados, Battlefield 2042 is poised to bring the franchise back in the spotlight in a way it hasn’t had since Battlefield 3. With so many shooters today taking cues from each other, Dice’s unabashed chaos will fill a niche that’s been missing too long. The best compliment that can be bestowed upon the E3 reveal is its real-time gameplay looked more exciting and cinematic than the in-engine trailer.
[Runner-ups: Doom Eternal Next-Gen Patch, Shin Megami Tensei V]
Aaron Bayne – Battlefield 2042
There were a lot of announcements and reveals to get excited over during E3, but for me nothing topped the triumphant return of Battlefield. Despite impressing with its cinematic trailer, Battlefield 2042’s gameplay reveal was exactly the kind of jaw-dropping, spine-tingling, and hair-raising level of awesomeness needed to prove that Battlefield was back to being Battlefield. Grapple guns, 128 players, on-the-fly customization, and a freaking tornado. Give me it all now!
[Runner-ups: Halo Infinite, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora]
Ruth Coppens – Firegirl: Hack ’n Splash Rescue
I covered Firegirl for PLAY during the conference; it already looked incredibly charming when I watched the trailer, but as I did more research about it, this game seemed right up my alley. It’s a roguelite in an adorable art style where you rescue people instead of killing things. I love rogues with a twist and I can’t wait for this one to come out later this year.
[Runner-ups: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel, 12 Minutes]
Ben Ingham – Metroid Dread
A few weeks ago when we got together to record our E3 predictions podcast, one of my predictions was some 2D Metroid news. I half-expected a port of Samus Returns from the 3DS, though I wasn’t really getting my hopes up. Finding out that my favourite game in the series, 2002’s Metroid Fusion, was getting a sequel and it was coming out later this year? I was not expecting that. MercurySteam obviously impressed Nintendo with their 3DS remake of Metroid 2 back in 2017, and in fairness Samus has never looked as stunning or as fast and agile as we saw in the trailer for Metroid Dread.
After the release of one of the best Metroidvanias of all time (Hollow Knight) a few years ago, how will the series that defined the genre fare, after almost 20 years on the sidelines—I, for one, cannot wait.
[Runner-ups: Tracks of Thought, Elden Ring]
Markus Almerud – The Outer Worlds 2
Back in 2019 we saw the release of The Outer Worlds, a satirical first person RPG developed by Obsidian. It was one of, if not my favorite, games of that year. It was exciting, deep, charming, and insanely funny. So I think you can imagine my excitement when a teaser was brought out for The Outer Worlds 2. Now, we don’t really know anything about this game beyond the fact that it’s happening. And while that usually makes me raise an eyebrow, I must give the team behind this trailer some credit. They poke fun at it being a generic reveal trailer thanks to some funny narration that very much captures the irreverent sense of humor of the first game. It’s a nice touch that I have to give some love. And Obsidian are masters when it comes to crafting quality RPGs, so I am hyped that we’re getting another space romp from them.
[Runner-ups: Hades announced for PlayStation and Xbox, Elden Ring]
Oisin Kuhnke – Somerville
Ever since I first played Inside, I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it. If you’ve played the whole game and seen the ending, you’ll probably feel similarly. That’s why I felt incredibly excited once I saw the reveal trailer for Somerville, the first game from Jumpship—a studio founded by ex-Playdead co-founder Dino Patti. Somerville seems to be following in Limbo and Inside’s gameplay style, but with an added plane of movement. I have no idea what’s actually happening in the trailer other than “otherworldly apocalypse where you have to protect your family,” but with that hook, the talent that’s attached to it, and a graphical style that stands out from the crowd, this one is high up on the list of games I’m excited for.
[Runner-ups: Redfall, Sable, Tinykin]
Megan Williams – Silt
I didn’t think a black and white puzzle game would catch my attention among all the grey and black settings of the space shooters that were shown at the PC Gaming Show, but it did. Silt is an indie game set underwater and revolves around a diver with mind control powers. With a visual style similar to the fantastic Limbo, this game looks beautiful, challenging, and fun.
[Runner-ups: The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, Happy Game, To The Rescue]
Chazz Mair – Sable
Shedwork’s Sable was the game that stuck out to me the most. Cel-shading, deserts, and hoverbikes are all things that tend to catch my eye. The song featured in the trailer, “Better the Mask,” by Japanese Breakfast amplified a sense of adventure that gave me flashbacks to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
Sable is a coming-of-age story wrapped up in an explorative puzzle-adventure game. The opening bit of the game really made me feel like this was a personal tale, and as someone who is still stumbling their way through the wider world, it struck a chord. I’m also really in love with the way the characters animate. I’m not an artist or animator by any means, but removing a few frames from the run cycle adds a truckload of feels for me, and that’s really nice.
[Runner-ups: Halo Infinite, Metroid Dread]
Jeff Zoldy – Guardians of the Galaxy
While there were many games shown off this year that have my full attention, I was the most pleasantly surprised by the reveal that Eidos Montreal, the team behind the Deus Ex games, were releasing a Guardians of the Galaxy game this fall. A fully single-player, action-adventure experience set within an original universe, this game combines the charm, humor, and soundtrack of my favorite MCU series with gameplay that looks like hard sci-fi Uncharted. While its showcase may have been a bit on the long side (okay maybe a lot on the long side), it’s still the game that I wanted to run out and play as soon as its reveal ended. I’m hooked on that feeling.
[Runner-ups: Elden Ring, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel, Battlefield 2042]
What were your favorite games shown at E3 2021? Let us know on Twitter @JumpCut_PLAY!