Thoughts on E3 2021

Shockingly, almost a month has gone by since the return of E3. I know I had a ton to say prior to the show, and as expected, we were all bombarded with information, reveals, announcements, and everything in between. These past few weeks have really allowed my to digest a lot of what I saw, and maybe even change or soften some of my knee jerk opinions and reactions.

Before we dive in, let me just say it was great having the show back at all. Regardless of what you thought about specific announcements, wasn’t it nice having something big to look forward to again? Yes, we had a lot of mini announcements in 2020, but there really felt like there was a void last June.

Alright, so let’s get into some actual thoughts on the show. Considering it was digital this year, there was plenty of companies that wanted in, meaning we got more than we would have normally.

Before we touch on what didn’t really work, let’s celebrate the good stuff! Personally, Nintendo and Microsoft resonated with me the most. I really felt like they not only had showcases that felt like they were ripped out of a normal COVID-free presentation, but they also had the most exciting announcements.

Microsoft

Microsoft, as they’ve been doing over the past few E3’s, stuck to games rather than stats or people talking. It was a barrage of games and announcements, intended to keep you glued to your screen asking ‘What’s Next?!’ Sure, not every announcement may be for everyone, but considering the amount of stuff they showed, you’re going to find plenty to latch to.

Obsidian Entertainment continued to floor me with their trailers. The humor and references are spot on, especially with The Outer Worlds 2. Considering they showed basically nothing at all and even told you that in the trailer, it was one of my favorites. Weird, right?

I thought the Halo: Infinite reveal was so much better than last year, you can really tell the extra time was hugely beneficial. Things appear to be on the right track now and that multiplayer trailer reveal was really well done.

The Forza Horizon 5 reveal was pretty unexpected in my opinion, but holy crap does it look stunning. Set in Mexico, the team at Playground Games went all out to make it a visual feast for the eyes. I’ve always loved how the Horizon series was able to toe the line between realistic racing but also placing a priority for fun and a more approachable arcade style. This one just looks like it’s going to be a treat when it hits in a few months.

It was a little strange to see Bethesda integrated into Microsoft’s show at first considering that they always do their own thing, but obviously with Microsoft having purchased them last year, it makes sense. The Starfield announcement didn’t do much for me and considering it’s still super far off, I’ve already put it out of my mind.

As a huge fan of Arkane and the work they did with Dishonored, I’m intrigued by Harvey Smith’s newest title Redfall. There’s still a ton of stuff we don’t know about it and I don’t even know what it’s going to play like, but I’m certainly interested to find out more.

Nintendo

Microsoft showed off a ton of stuff, too much to touch on everything here, but I also wanted to mention Nintendo which I also felt was incredibly strong this year. Sure, they didn’t give everyone exactly what they were hoping for and the showcase felt a little brisk, but man, what they did announce was fantastic.

I half joke every year about Metroid, one of the many franchises that Nintendo seems to like to ignore. Metroid Prime is still on the way, but hasn’t seen the light of day in years at this point. That’s an easy prediction to make for E3 each year, but I’m also a massive fan of the old school side scrollers like Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. I’ve been always hoping that Nintendo would return to this style of game, but was certain that with how little Metroid we get these days, it wasn’t going to happen.

Well, well well. Metroid Dread came along and I was stunned. Not only was this game heavily rumored for around 16 years, but I can remember hearing that it was canceled at least a couple times. I’m stupidly excited to dive into this one, especially because it picks up the story from Metroid Fusion.

Oh hey, we finally got a look at Breath of the Wild 2, as short as it was. It looks great and I am curious to see more on it because the trailer certainly has some head scratching elements to it. Did Link undo his hair or is that potentially a different character? Why isn’t Nintendo willing to tell us the official name of the game? Is there a reason why skydiving looks similar to the environment in Skyward Sword?

Growing up a big Advance Wars fan, I was stunned to see the franchise return. Yes, it’s a remake of the first two games, but I’m totally cool with that. I know Nintendo likes Fire Emblem more these days, so I’ll take what I can get.

Also, special shout out to Nintendo for holding a Treehouse Live event after their Direct. It felt like a true E3 (without all the people walking around and noise from the show floor) getting to watch the games they just announced be played live and getting insights from those working on the games. It was great.

Everyone Else

As for the rest of the show, much of it was hit or miss. I felt like since E3 was entirely digital, most companies decided to opt in, even if they didn’t have much to say. Square Enix probably spent too much time showing off Guardians of the Galaxy, but I have to say, I really enjoyed what I saw. It looks very true to the comic book characters and the franchise’s legacy, plus I’m thrilled that it doesn’t follow the design choices of Avengers. I think a lot of people were surprised by the lack of other big announcements like Final Fantasy 16 and any news on Remake Part 2, though I’d assume Sony will be the one showing them off.

Ubisoft was another hit and miss. Yes, they had some big announcements like Rainbow Six Extraction, a first look at the Avatar game, another Mario + Rabbids, and Far Cry 6, but I don’t know. While much of it looks cool, I just didn’t feel the excitement for anything like I have in the past. Far Cry 6 looks bonkers, but I’m hoping it veers away from the usual Far Cry template which has caused the series to feel stale, regardless of how many big name actors they pull into them.

Devolver Digital again brought a completely outrageous show to E3 this year, as we expect from them.

Capcom basically told everyone exactly what they were going to talk about and I was still left somewhat disappointed in their decision to not talk about the games they had told us they weren’t going to showcase.

Take-Two, Gearbox, and Koch…ugh, don’t even get me started. Were they even necessary? I’m glad Koch set expectations prior to the show but when you say the bulk of what people are excited for won’t be shown, it certainly is a gut punch.

Bandai Namco…I mean, I don’t remember anything of what they announced so that’s probably not a good sign?

While the show was largely a hit or miss once you got outside the old faithful companies like Nintendo and Microsoft, I’m still glad the show existed at all. It’s fun to get jazzed up to see new announcements and just anticipate what else could be there. Thankfully, there’s still half a year left with plenty more showcases to go, so if your favorite game or franchise didn’t make the cut, we may see it yet later in 2021.

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2 Responses to Thoughts on E3 2021

  1. Hatm0nster says:

    Metroid Dread was hands down the Game of Show for me. Everything else was eh…

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