It’s not a digital E3 without gaming’s most iconic hype man, and this year, it took Geoff Keighley to really begin E3 2021 proper. The amount of reveals and new stuff was always going to be somewhat limited with Microsoft, Bethesda and Ubisoft to follow later in the week, but the Summer Games Fest still plenty to kick off with.
The Summer Game Fest began with Keighley on a stage alone — customary for these still-COVID times — with Gearbox’s latest stylised title. Starting with a heavily stylised dragon and someone wielding a hammer, Wanda Sykes, Will Arnett, Andy Samberg and Ashly Burch, were unveiled as the headline stars for Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands.
Due out in “early 2022”, it’s still going to be a looter shooter according to a small interview with Burch after the reveal. The difference is that it’s more of a high-fantasy game, and it’s a standalone game that isn’t connected to the Borderlands universe. “Tiny Tina’s got her own thing going on now,” Burch said.
Players will be able to customise their character, and there’ll be the typical spellcasting that you’d expect. Tiny Tina’s involved because she’s effectively the DM, Burch added, leading the player on an adventure to defeat the Dragon Lord.
DotEmu and SNK were next with Metal Slug Tactics, a XCOM-styled take on the Metal Slug universe. The look and feel is absolutely bang on for Metal Slug — it’s almost reminiscent of Into The Breach.
Hideo Kojima then appeared for a surprise reveal shortly after in a pre-recorded interview, although the interview largely began with Kojima talking about how he has changed how he thinks about creating games. “The reality came on too soon,” he said in the interview. “Since the era is catching up so quickly, it’s really not just fiction anymore.”
When asked what the future for Kojima games would look like, he responded it would be a “drastic” change for him as a creator, adding “I need to really consider which prediction I make and which ways I introduce ideas to the player”.
But before the interview ended, a classic “one more thing” began — revealing Death Stranding: Director’s Cut. It’s effectively the PS5-updated version of the game, with a “full reveal weeks away”, according to Keighley.
Jeff Goldblum then appeared to do a slightly elongated voice over for another Jurassic Park game, Jurassic World Evolution 2. It’s due out later this year, and will launch concurrently on all platforms.
Sable then got a release date – September 23rd — with more info to be revealed at the Tribeca Games Festival, held tomorrow morning. Smilegate’s Lost Ark then finally got a long-overdue Western announce, and an extra surprise bit of information: the Korean Diablo-esque ARPG has been backed by Amazon’s gaming division.
It’ll be out sometime this spring for Australians. I’ve been writing about Lost Ark on Kotaku for years, so it’s nice to finally see it get an English release. Hopefully it runs well!
Call of Duty: Warzone was up next, with the first look at some of the changes for Activision’s ongoing battle royale. Some classic maps are returning, like the boat themed Hijacked, while zombies mode is also getting what looks like a flaming train? That’s all being patched in next week on June 17.
Another chat about Call of Duty esports and the Twitch Rivals Warzone followed, with Ryan Reynolds showing up to confirm that he’s not the star of Elden Ring. It was a plug for the Free Guy movie due out later this year, revealing more of the cast and the movie’s direction. The latest trailer also had some cameos from popular influencers, like Pokimane and Ninja, Lazarbeam and Jacksepticeye.
Among Us then showed up with some footage of the game’s fifth map, with more details to be revealed at a later date. Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida then appeared — in one of the few appearances expected from any Sony executive over the course of the week — to talk about Chicory: A Colorful Tale, which is launching on PS4 and PS5 today.
Sword and Sacrifice was then unveiled as the latest 2.5D Souls-inspired adventure from the makers of Salt and Sanctuary. Sword and Sacrifice will have local and online co-op this time around, and it’ll be out in 2022. Solar Ash got some new footage as well, plus confirmation that it’s still coming out later this year. (It’s coming to PS5 and PC.)
Keighley then reminded everyone that Chivalry 2 launched this week with 64-player medieval chaos. I’m still surprised so many people go into medieval battle without wearing helmets, but hey, that’s the fun of Chivalry for you.
Valorant‘s getting a new agent as part of its third episode, although the tease was a cinematic one and extraordinarily brief. It showcased what looked like a robotic helmet with some kind of screen on the front.
Streets of Tarkov, the new area under development from Escape from Tarkov, then had a gameplay reveal. It’s a huge, sprawling urban area with car parks, plenty of abandoned buildings, multi-level threats, destructible walls (from what sounds like small explosives or breach charges) and plenty of potential. An APC full of NPCs showed up at the end of the trailer, although we didn’t get any extra footage revealing what would happen.
Two-Point Campus was then officially announced, taking the Two-Point Hospital mechanics and charm into a school setting. But also it’s a school that supports magic? Some kind of weird frisbee type sports? There’s a hell of a lot going on, but we’ve got time: it won’t be out until 2022.
Keighley then announced he was guest-hosting Netflix’s Geeked Week tomorrow morning, which would feature the first clip from the Cuphead Show animation. Arcane, The Witcher season 2, and the live-action Resident Evil series would all get new footage.
A cinematic trailer for the Stranger Things / SMITE crossover then played, showcasing that game’s continued branching into every entertainment franchise possible. Eleven, the demigorgon, mind flayer, and Hopper would all appear as skins in-game for some of SMITE‘s existing heroes.
We then got the first look at a new game publishing label, one that will oversee PAYDAY 3 and what looks like Kingdom Come: Deliverance according to the footage. The name is Prime Matter, and the label will also be publishing a new Painkiller game, although absolutely no footage or key art was shown.
A world premiere for a co-op adventure followed, in what could best be described as Left 4 Dead in space. It’s called The Anacrusis, and it’ll be released for all platforms.
The multiplayer game set in the Vampire: The Masquerade universe then followed. There’s gunplay and supernatural phase-shifting style abilities, a whole bunch of spellcasting, vampires running around with katanas, and more. It’s called Vampire: The Masquerade Blood Hunt, and it’ll get a closed alpha on July 2 internationally, with a full release later this year.
Hosue of Ashes, Supermassive’s latest title in the Dark Pictures Anthology, was next. The trailer jumped around a little, talking about monsters, showing footage of soldiers in Iraq and supernatural creatures attacking them from the darkness.
We got a new trailer for Tales of Arise afterwards, revealing some of the characters that’ll form a part of your anime army. On June 29, Sky: Children of the Light will launch on the Nintendo Switch.
Planet of Lana from new developer Wishfully was next up, and it’s an immediate treat: the whole game has a huge watercolour design, and what looks like a beautiful black cat. “Planet of Lana will be launching exclusively on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC via Steam and the Windows 10 Store in late 2022,” the developers revealed.
Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance — which is hitting Xbox Game Pass on June 22 — then had a brief Let’s Play, cut-away style trailer featuring Keighley, a developer and WWE star Ember Moon. That was followed by a new trailer for the Paladins: Genlock expansion, which is due out later this month. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin played an official story trailer, showcasing a decidedly upset Rathalos in chains. There’ll also be three new amiibo for Monster Hunter Stories 2, although no word yet as to whether those will come to Australia.
Weezer’s live music performance then played with bits of footage from Wave Break, the game about skateboarding with boats. Endless Dungeon, the latest game from Amplitude Studios (Endless Space, Endless Legend) then revealed more details, including the fact that players will be setting up turrets and defending crystals just like Dungeon of the Endless.
Far Cry 6 then followed with an interview with Giancarlo Esposito, who made an interesting quip about Anton Castillo‘s politics and its parallels with modern society. “I want to be a renegade within reason,” Esposito added, basically indicating more about how Far Cry 6‘s main villain will effectively be recasting all of this actions through the lens of loving his country.
The actor added that Fidel Castro was an obvious inspiration. Far Cry 6 is due out on October 7 for PC, last-gen consoles and next-gen consoles. That was followed by the most 180 move possible: Fall Guys getting what looked like a NiER Automata crossover.
Deviation Games was then announced as a new studio, along with a PlayStation partnership. An update on Tunic and Tribes of Midgard followed, with the former having been in development for 6 years now.
Tim Willits — the former id executive — appeared to talk about Evil Dead The Game, the first reveal of gameplay for the title. Starting with Bruce Campbell saying “hi cyber-friends” and a move that looks like thrusting a shovel into someone’s neck. Similar to Death by Daylight, players can either play as the humans or a demon, with the humans having to collect artifacts and pages from the Necromicon to banish the demon forever.
Evil Dead The Game will be released on all platforms, Switch included, and it’s due out sometime this year.
And then, after all of that: we finally got Elden Ring. It’ll be out on January 21, 2022 for last-gen and next-gen consoles.
Honestly, what a trailer.
January 21 is so close I can almost taste it.
After that the show came to a close, and proceedings rolled straight into the indie Day of the Devs showcase.