Written By Jospeh Flores
E3 finally made it’s return this year after cancelling it’s 2020 show due to the pandemic. This year though, they went with an all digital format supporting many publishers’ own smaller, individual presentations. There were still some heavy hitters doing a more traditional E3 presentation though, such as Xbox/Bethesda (who combined their presentation) and Nintendo. Alongside E3, video game personality Geoff Keighley put on a separate show going head to head with E3 called “The Summer Games Fest”. This all digital format with so many individual live streams and presentations may have been a bit jarring and unorganized but nonetheless, it was definitely cool to get a look at new games that are on the horizon. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the stuff that was shown.
The Xbox and Bethesda presentation delivered us new reveals and updates on their upcoming game releases. They showed 30 games (27 of those games will be on Xbox’s Gamepass subscription).
Opening the show was the highly anticipated new IP from Bethesda Games Studios called “Starfield”. The reveal was accompanied with an in-engine cinematic trailer and capped with a release date of November 11th 2022.
The next big reveal was the newest installment in the Halo franchise, “Halo Infinite”. The game was supposed to accompany the launch of the Xbox Series X/S last holiday season but eventually got delayed. The game was presented with a cinematic trailer for the game’s single player campaign and a gameplay trailer for the game’s new multiplayer. They continued the presentation by revealing that the multiplayer component of “Halo Infinite” will be a standalone Free-to-Play experience with a single purchase battlepass. They did make it a point to note that all microtransactions will be cosmetic only and have no impact on performance of the game.
Many other games were announced such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2, 12 Minutes, Replaced, Outer Worlds 2, Forza Horizon 5, Arkane Studio’s Redfall, Psychonauts 2, and so much more.
Square featured a much smaller show but did have a few new things to reveal. The show opened with a really big look at Eidos Montreal’s Guardians of the Galaxy game. Guardian’s is a story focused single player game coming to ALL platforms. You take control of Starlord and he is also able to call on the rest of the Guardians to string in the middle of combos. The game seems to have dialogue choices that affect the story. The game is set to release on October 26 2021.
The other big reveal at this event was Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins. The trailer features a protagonist that seems to REALLY hate a character named Chaos. He wants to kill Chaos, which he states repeatedly over this trailer about 7 or 8 times. Other than the hilarious trailer, the game is kind of a souls-like game with story connections to the very first Final Fantasy.
In true Nintendo fashion, they came to E3 with a “Nintendo Direct”. The Direct featured games such as Shin Megami Tensei V, Advanced Wars 1+2 Reboot Camp, Warioware Get it Together, and a Zelda themed Game and Watch device.
One of the big announcements from this event though is Metroid Dread. Metroid Dread is a classic style 2D Metroid game (i.e. Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion). Seems like instead of aliens, Sammus is going to be up against these sentient robot creatures called EMMIs. Nintendo also made it a point to let us know that Metroid Prime 4 is still in development but did not provide any other information.
The other big announcement was at the tail end of the Direct. Nintendo revealed another look at the highly anticipated Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. This trailer featured a mix of in game cinematics and gameplay in the BOTW world. The game looks beautiful and it seems in addition to the game world from the first entry, Link will have to explore new Sky Islands hovering above Hyrule. No type of release date was announced but Nintendo did come out and say that they are shooting for 2022.
The Ubisoft show was another one of those smaller events but they did provide a look at several games. Of course they revealed their 2021 installment of their Just Dance series, a new entry in the Mario + Rabbids series and they also gave us a look at Rider’s Republic, an action sports shared world game.
Rainbow 6: Extraction, which was previously known as Rainbow 6: Quarantine (name changed for obvious reasons) was shown. It’s a cooperative shooter kinda based on a R6: Siege event from a few years ago where you fight off waves of zombie-like creatures. The game features characters from the Siege universe and will be set to launch on September 16th, 2021.
Ubisoft also gave a new look at Farcry 6. The presentation gave a new look at Giancarlo Esposito’s villain in the game and some new wild looking gameplay that the Farcry series is known for. They also announced a season pass with a game mode that features the villains from past Farcry entries. The game comes out October 7th, 2021.
They closed the show with a reveal of a completely new title set in the Avatar universe. The game is called Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. The game was shown with an in-engine cinematic trailer but no actual release date was shown. The game is being developed by Massive, who are known for The Division series of games.
Summer Games Fest
Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest went first out of all the conferences and featured a look at a wide selection of games. Geoff checked in with his good friend Hideo Kojima to see how he was doing and talk about 9/11 a little bit? It was definitely a strange exchange but Kojima did leave us with something before he signed off. Death Stranding: Director’s Cut was shown off with a trailer featuring some super heavy references to Kojima’s previous series Metal Gear Solid. No date was shown for this new edition but it was revealed that there would be more information on this game in the coming weeks.
The announcement that everybody seemed to be waiting for though was Fromsoftware’s Elden Ring. The game has been in development for a long time and seems to be getting story and lore written by George R.R. Martin. Elden Ring seems to be building on the very popular Dark Souls formula but adding a complete open world to the mix. Your character also has a summonable horse at their disposal and a jumping ability absent from previous Dark Souls entries. The game was also given a release date of January 21st, 2022.
E3 this year was definitely interesting with it’s new format. There were many other presentations from the likes of Capcom, Bandai Namco, Devolver Digital and more. Playstation opted out of being present for E3, as they did last year but we can only assume that they will have something planned in the near future. EA will be hosting an event in July to showcase their lineup of games which will include Battlefield 2042, Madden 22, and they recently announced that they will be reviving one of their old IP’s (please be Dead Space). That does it for E3, it’s always good to learn about new and awesome video games on the horizon.
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A Review From Hidai Moya
As someone whose played the last 8 AC games but never the 1st one I finally came full circle to experience it. Half expecting it to be some “rudimentary” title as some led me to believe I was somewhat stunned by what I found. Not only does it have outstanding writing & dialogue but I can confidently say it has what are some of the most memorable assassination sequences of the entire series.
Altaïr is an instantly memorable character as a brash & arrogant Assassin. Even if AC1 lacks the complexity of latter titles I felt it more than held its own as the core experience of parkouring across a wonderful historical city to escape the guards worked very well here.
The story was quite intriguing & the city of Damascus floored me with its beauty & became one of my favorite AC cities.
Amazing how Ubisoft took the real world history of Christian Templars and Islamic Assassin’s during the Crusades & made that into a blockbuster series. This is an innovative & groundbreaking game.
A Review From Hidai Moya
Ubisoft’s 2002 ‘Splinter Cell’ got so many things right in its series debut that much of it still holds up well 17 years & 3 gaming generations later.
It has an outstanding atmospheric tone with its use of light & shadow, hilarious “Kafka”esque writing, a fantastic stoic main character in “Sam Fisher” who was perfectly voice cast, by Michael Ironside, & an interesting espionage story.
This is a serious stealth game that leaves no room for error and offers no forgiveness for any mistakes. You have to move & operate like an invisible ninja to defeat your target & obtain classified data. In many ways it’s like the best “Mission Impossible” game we never got.
That being said what has aged terribly is its very cumbersome platforming mechanics which require exact positioning & are often frustrating to pull off in the heat of the moment. Some of the unwritten rules of the game, that you can shoot lights off, don’t always apply either, leaving for some frustrating moments & sometimes the checkpoint systems can be terribly flawed.
In the end though its the execution of the concept that is still impressive. Very few things in gaming have the type of sex appeal as Fisher grabbing someone by the head and pulling them into the dark at the point of a gun.
A Review From Hidai Moya
FARCRY 5 never aimed to be a “Game Of The Year” contender, however it more than deserves an honorable mention.
Ubisoft has a natural propensity to make really fun games from ideas that seemed really obvious and yet nobody does them. They proved that with the last two ‘Assassin Creed’ games and they did it again here by placing players in rural United States & make the traditionally castigated rural “American Redneck” the heroes of the story. Not only did this game improve on the FARCRY formula with considerable innovations, it also has the best gaming soundtrack of the year with its mesmerizing original cult songs…and for the record I genuinely loved its subversive ending.