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Special Report: E3 2021

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After missing 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, E3 returned to the Los Angeles Convention Center this year. This should have been a triumphant return and an exciting week for gamers, but in addition to the fact that a number of companies offered digital presentations last year during the planned E3 period, E3 has been in a weird place the past few years. In the past, there were three big press conferences from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo and the various developers typically used the exhibition floor to showcase game-play and demos of their upcoming projects. In recent years, however, publishers have been hosting their own press conferences and the press conferences of the big three have felt less like must-watch events. A few years back, Nintendo stopped doing press conferences altogether and instead opted for prerecorded presentations, and this year, Sony even skipped E3. So rather than my usual E3 breakdowns, I figured I would try something new this year and talk about some of my personal standouts from E3 2021~

Halo Infinite (XBSX, XB1, PC)
I have made no secret of my love for the Halo franchise and knowing the next entry was pushed back to some point in 2021, I was expecting some major news about Halo Infinite, and while there was a trailer, it mostly focused on multiplayer. Yes, there was additional information shared over the course of the week, but learning about seasonal plans, cosmetics, and battle passes was not what I was hoping to see this week and did little to assuage my concerns about this game. It is especially strange given that there has been one game-play reveal, almost a year ago, which, while it showed promise, had more than a few issues and left a lot of questions. I also have concerns about some of the game-play decisions on the multiplayer side, specifically the seeming embrace of mobility featured in the trailer, but I am willing to give it a chance to see how it feels in practice.

Oh, and I am really not feeling this new knockoff-Cortana AI..

Slime Rancher 2 (XBSX, PC)
I accept that the inclusion of this game on this list will be a head-scratcher for most people, but I am thrilled that there is a sequel to Slime Rancher in the works! The first game was an open-world game which featured farming, exploration, and mysteries. It was an adorable game that was just fun to play and the sequel looks to recapture the charm and mood that made the first game so enjoyable. I am a little bummed that it is seemingly an Xbox exclusive, but I played the first one on PC after it never came out on the Switch, so I will get over that.

Elden Ring (PS4, PS5, XBSX, XB1, PC)
I am somewhat torn about this game. On one hand, it looks to be a new FromSoftware game that will fit in perfectly with the Souls franchise and Bloodborne. I will admit that there is a part of me that wishes FromSoftware would explore a new aesthetic, but the graphics look gorgeous and the world looks incredible. I am also excited to see what they do with a more open world and think the mounted combat looks great. But on the other hand, I am pretty over George RR Martin.

Guardians of the Galaxy (PS4, PS5, XBSX, XB1, NSW, PC)
Even as someone who reads comic books, the Guardians of the Galaxy were not on my radar until the Marvel Cinematic Universe made them household names, so it is hard for me to separate other iterations of the characters from the ones I have seen in the movies. Even without that issue, this game stood out to me for the wrong reasons. It is hard to judge the dialogue of a game off a trailer and a brief game-play demo, but what they showed of team definitely lacked the charisma of their movie counterparts. Also, I think it is a mistake to only let players control Quill. I want to give this one a chance, but the game-play that was shown and SquareEnix’s missteps with the recent Avengers game do not have me hopeful.

Metroid Dread (NSW)
Continuing a recent trend where they announce a game and then reveal it will be out in a few months, Nintendo unveiled the newest side-scrolling Metroid game in almost twenty years, Metroid Dread (but also, there was a conspicuous lack of information on Metroid Prime 4, so take that for what it is worth..). This follow-up adventure to 2002’s Metroid Fusion, adds stealth elements to the Metroid formula as Samus must battle (avoid) indestructible robotic enemies called EMMI while uncovering the ultimate fate of the metroid creatures. Nintendo devoted a considerable chunk of time during their Treehouse: Live segment to showcase the game-play, and from what they’ve shown, the game looks to hit all the right notes to remind players of those classic Metroid games. Having said that, while Nintendo has not put out a side-scrolling Metroid in years, other developers have embraced the genre. Games like Hollow Knight and the Ori franchise have perfected the formula, so I am curious to get my hands on this game and see how Nintendo approaches the genre after so many year. Also, can we take a moment to laugh that Nintendo doesn’t consider Other M a side-scrolling Metroid game?

The Legend of Zelda (NSW)
2021 is the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Legend of Zelda franchise and Nintendo devoted a bit of time to discussing their remaining plans, as minor as they are, for the franchise this year. This included information on the upcoming DLC for Hyrule Warriors, a segment on the remaster of Skyward Sword, a Zelda themed Game and Watch, and a new trailer for the sequel to Breath of the Wild, announced to be coming out in 2022. Look, there was a new trailer and I feel contractually obligated to state that I am excited. Having said that, the trailer was a minute and a half and there was only about thirty seconds of new game-play footage. Am I excited for this game? Yes, one-hundred percent. Will I buy this game on day one? Also yes, undoubtedly. Was this trailer one of the best moments of E3. Ehh, not really (yes, it hurt me to say that..).

I had a conversation with a friend earlier this week and we both agreed that it feels like E3 is becoming less important. So many game companies relied on their own reveals and presentations over the past year, so I am curious to see how long trade shows like E3 remain relevant. But, maybe we are just getting older. In any case, those were my standouts from E3 2021. What were your thoughts this year and what games made an impression on you, positive or negative? Feel free to leave a comment below!


  1. 6souls -
    6souls's Avatar
    imo, the indie showcases won.