Mark your calendars, players! The pandemic has not stopped 2021’s biggest video games event, E3, from shelling out some gaming goodness, from Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora to the biggest Forza Horizon game yet
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Owing to the pandemic, the 2020 session of E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) was cancelled, but the much-anticipated video games showcase is back this year with a groundswell of gaming announcements that are sure to keep players’ calendars stocked up nicely for the coming year and a half.
This year, Entertainment Software Association took E3 to a virtual setting (which can be accessed via E3’s Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and YouTube pages), with a four-day (June 12 to June 15) spread of mini-events from Microsoft, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Square Enix and more.
Here are our favourite announcements and updates so far:
Microsoft Flight Simulator: ‘Top Gun’ add-on
To the skies! Paramount Studios has partnered with Microsoft Flight Simulator for a special expansion to coincide with the launch of Tom Cruise-starrer Top Gun: Maverick. Players will experience the same level of depth and complexity that fans of the well-received flight simulator have come to love on PC.
Xbox Series X|S release: July 27, 2021
Far Cry 6
Despite umpteen trailers and behind-the-scenes clips being released over the last year, gamers are still excited for Far Cry 6, thanks to Breaking Bad actor Giancarlo Esposito’s role as the main antagonist. And yes, the past few E3 years have actually been singing of Far Cry 6 to no end.
But E3’s Ubisoft Forward event revealed an extended scene and teaser for a Far Cry 6 season pass that will put players in control of various series villains such as Vaas Montenegro (Far Cry 3), Pagan Min (Far Cry 4) and Joseph Seed (Far Cry 5), all played by the original cast.
Gamers will be able to place themselves in these iconic villain’s minds, explore their backstories while reuniting with familiar faces.
The season pass is included in the Gold, Ultimate and Collector’s Edition of the game, which releases on October 7, 2021.
Back For Blood
As if 2020 did not have enough zombie video games, Warner Bros Games and Turtle Rock Studios usher in an exhilarating cooperative first-person shooter. The plot drops you in the middle of a bloodthirsty war against the Ridden, once-human creatures infected by a deadly parasite driven to eradicate human civilisation. It is on you and a rag-tag team of survivors (known as the Cleaners) to take out these enemies and take back your world.
Look forward to a new rogue-lite card system for high replay value as well as an immersive 4×4 player-versus-player mode. To top it off, the game is created by the same team who gave us Left 4 Dead.
Release: October 8, 2021
If you love Russian Doll and Happy Death Day, this one is for you.
One of E3’s more intriguing titles is a rogue-like with an all-star cast. Developed by Luis Antonio and published by Annapurna Interactive, Twelve Minutes stars James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley and veteran actor Willem Dafoe. You play in a timeloop whodunnit as a dead person trying to find out why a mysterious stranger accuses your wife of murder, and kills you. You have just 12-minute loops to piece everything together.
Release: October 19, 2021
Guardians of the Galaxy
After the weirdness that was Marvel’s Avengers, Square Enix and Eidos-Montréal have officially revealed video game Guardians of the Galaxy that lets you play as your favourite intergalactic team of superheroes in an all new single-player adventure.
The game looks to be heavily built on team dynamics (complete with a team huddle action) with tactical elements — and dashes of humour and 80s music. There is also a ‘choice and consequence’ system where the player’s experience will be modified based on choices made through the game.
The game versions of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, Groot, Drax, Rocket, and Gamora sport innovative character design and they possess their movie personalities too. . Plus, the trailer seems to indicate a few cameo appearances, such as Mantis and villain Lady Hellbender.
Release: October 26, 2021
Forza Horizon 5
This is easily one of the best games revealed at E3 at the Xbox and Bethesda games showcase. This time, the Horizon Festival goes to Mexico for some off-road, street and circuit racing in some of the most beautiful environments we have ever seen in a racing game. Gorgeous cars in scenic places are always a win, and the game’s creative director Mike Brown calls it their “biggest Horizon ever.”
And then there’s the Xbox Series Mini Fridge
- Soon, you can Xbox and chill for real. The reveal of the Xbox Series X mini fridge in October 2020 seemed like one of the biggest jokes of the year. But it was real. One of the biggest surprises was when Xbox revealed a new mini-fridge that looks exactly like the Xbox Series X. So you can confuse your Series X with your Fridge. At E3, Xbox has confirmed it will be available this holiday season. They really missed an opportunity to name it XFridge or Xbox Series F, but we will be ‘cool’ with anything.
Even though Forza Horizon 5 will make you want that Xbox Series X, it is also coming to PC.
Release: November 9, 2021
For those craving fantasy world gaming, Elden Ring — which comes from Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki and George RR Martin — is right up your alley. The game was first announced at E3 2019 but now FromSoftware and Bandai Namco have finally something to show for it.
Though the plot details are still foggy, the goal seems to be to become the Elden Lord in the Lands Between, and you have to traverse the vast environments (grassy plains, stifling swamps, treacherous mountains) on horseback. This release claims to be Bandai Namco’s biggest game yet, too. But will it live up to the hype?
Release: January 21, 2022
Arkane Austin —the team behind some of the best first person shooter games, Dishonored and Prey — is is set to release a multi-player cooperative shooter that pits you and your friends against vampires in a once-quaint town Redfall.
Your job after choosing your fighter, is to not only fight off these bloodsuckers but also find out what caused all of this mayhem in the first place as you build your arsenal.
Release: Summer 2022
Starfield, first revealed in 2019, finally got a snazzy trailer and a release date. From the minds behind Skyrim and Fallout series, Bethesda has taken to the stars to craft their next open world game, or rather ‘open worlds’. There is not much else is known about this game, apart from the fact that you are some sort of space-farer.
Release: November 11, 2022
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
Given that James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment are dragging their feet with the Avatar feature film sequels, it was a pleasant surprise to see Ubisoft’s reveal of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. The trailer is just as cinematic as the Academy Award-winning film from 2009.
While many would have missed James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game (2009), this one is likely to have higher anticipation. Much like the original movie, the game offers a front row seat to the ongoing war between the Na’vi aliens and the Humans over the utopic land of Pandora. Players will explore a never-before-seen part of Pandora: the Western Frontier, so expect a gamut of new creatures, environments and characters — and battles.
Considering the hope 2022 will see a new Avatar feature film and the recent surge of video games that engage discourse about the environment, this game comes at a great time!
Release Date: 2022
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin
Square Enix is no stranger when it comes to partnering up with the best action studios for their games, and the latest release Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin is made with Team Ninja and Koei Techmo Games. This mouthful of a game explores a very Devil May Cry-like approach to its Final Fantasy franchise, complete with intricate visuals and that signature Team Ninja action.
The mission for players, who will land in the shoes of main character Jack, is to ‘kill chaos.’ Along with allies Ash and Jed, you will open the gates to the Chaos Shrine in order to literally defeat Chaos so they may all become Warriors of the Light, as per a prophecy.
Good news: until June 24, PlayStation 5 users can access an exclusive demo of the game.
Release Date: 2022
The Outer Worlds 2
The Outer Worlds 2 may just be at concept stage right now, but just the very thought of a sequel to one of our personal favourites being in development gives us goosebumps. The trailer also has one of the most impressive narrations so far.
Release Date: TBC