The GGS E3 2021 Awards

E3 2021 (and Summer Games Fest) have come and gone, and there were some great reveals and showcases. The GGS writers sat down and we picked our favorites from the show – comment below with yours!

Our Most Hyped Games

Brandon The reveal of Metroid Dread, as it was for many others, was the “OH CRAP” moment for me at this year’s E3. Seeing 2D Metroid return after a 19-year hiatus, even with all of the rumors, was shocking and wonderful. This, coming from someone who’s only 2D Metroid is Super Metroid (though I’m working on playing the series now!). For the average Nintendo fan, this was an amazing reveal, and the game is looking great. Given the quality of 2017’s Samus Returns, the game is in good hands with Mercury Steam. With an October release date, we won’t have to wait long.

Right up there with my hype for Metroid, is my excitement for Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (tentative title). The trailer we got at the end of Nintendo’s presentation was painfully short, but hugely exciting. It showcased a beautiful world of sky islands floating over Hyrule, and a bunch of little interesting details that we will be speculating about for months. It seems like the game is still a ways off – Andrew and I suspect a Holiday 2022 release window – but nevertheless my hype is huge for the sequel to my favorite game of all time.

Aside from those big two, there are a number of other titles that caught my eye. Bethesda’s Starfield, finally with a release date, had a nice trailer with a number of little details that made me quite excited. Bethesda has described the game as “Skyrim in space” which sounds incredible. Halo Infinite is also looking quite good – at worst it should be a fun (and free!) multiplayer experience, but I have high hopes the campaign may come close to the heights of its predecessors. As a freshly minted Forza fan, Forza Horizon 5 looks fantastic to me – perhaps the first real next-gen killer Xbox game. The comedic announcement of The Outer Worlds 2, along with the reveal of a Mario & Rabbids 2 were great as well. Lastly, although it’s not something I will personally jump into right away, I have to give a shout-out to Elden Ring. It looks like another quality title by FromSoftware, and I’m excited for their fans.

Forza Horizon 5 will likely end up being one of the prettiest looking games to date

Andrew – E3 has come and gone, and despite the Switch Pro being a no show we did get the next best thing. That’s right baby Pikmin 4… Err I mean Mother 4… Errrr I mean Metroid 5. Seriously though, when fans thought Metroid might be Dead ( is Prime 4 ever going to come out?) Nintendo took the R out of resurrection, and implanted it into our Metroid Dead. Yes, Metroid Dread, the first new  2D metroid in two decades was, in my opinion, by far the game of E3. I first got into the 2D Metroid series back when Mercury steam made Samus Returns in 2017, and I haven’t looked back. So knowing that they are in charge of this new entry has me incredibly optimistic that Dread could be the game of the year. I mean it already looks great, boasting shiny looking HD graphics for the first time, and an ever looming threat called the EMMI (like the SA-X in Metroid Fusion) that Samus has to watch out for.

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild II has to be well number 2 for me. It could have easily been number one, but they barely showed us very much. No subtitle, (although apparently that would spoil the game according to Nintendo), a short trailer, and a very vague 2022 release date. Don’t get me wrong, what we got looked great (although I’m not a big fan of them re-using the same Hyrule). Some Sky Islands ala Skyward Sword, an ancient looking Link with a toga, and the ability to perhaps reverse time itself. Unfortunately, the whole reveal felt kind of forced. Like the game is still far off yet they had to show it or else Zelda fans would get too pissed. Nonetheless, Nintendo please inject this game into my veins.

Finally, for number three I’d have to give it to Mario and Rabbids Sparks of Hope. The first game was a very good strategy RPG that mixed Mario and the Rabbids a lot better than we thought they’d mesh, but this sequel looks like it could be the next Grade A Mario RPG. Big sandbox worlds to explore, action command-like combat, and enemy overworld encounters. The game could honestly be the new Paper Mario, and fans like me could kill for an experience like that again….. Well that or we will just play Bug Fables again.

We still don’t know much about Breath of the Wild 2, but it looks awesome

Alex Microsoft seems to be doing the very, very right thing in letting 343 take their sweet time on Halo Infinite, as the multiplayer teaser and overview appear to be quite polished as-is. This also could possibly be the first time we’ve seen F2P multiplayer done in a consumer-friendly way, as it will be one of the first instances of no pay-to-win mechanics. Watching the trailer gave me goosebumps as years of nostalgia popped back in, something that did not happen when previewing OR playing Halo 5, so we may be in for quite the treat with this iteration of the franchise.

Bethesda finally pulled back the curtain on their first new IP (Starfield) in ~25 years (please fact check me on that), and it looks absolutely gorgeous. There have been many sci-fi space RPGs made, but if the trailer is any indication, this could be one of the most expansive, and well-done due to Bethesda’s massive effort in creating this game. Although they have had some hiccups lately, I believe this will see Bethesda returning to form and putting out a generation-defining game. Also good looks to Microsoft for arranging this to be an exclusive

Finally, we got to see a teensy tiny bit of the next game in the Zelda franchise (BOTW2), and that little tidbit was enough to set off massive speculation. Although short, the trailers Nintendo presented had a massive amount of information that I’m sure someone more dedicated than me will go over with a fine tooth comb to derive the direction the story is heading in, or where it might fit in the ever-confusing timeline. But at a base it appears that numerous fun and interesting gameplay mechanics are being added and the map is being changed significantly, with floating islands appearing above Hyrule.

Halo Infinite looks to be a return to form for the series

Overall E3 Takeaways

Brandon I think E3 really benefits from being a live, in-person show, and I feel like that was felt this E3. The sense of tension was not as strong, on top of most of the shows being relative duds. There’s something special about everyone getting together for E3 – I was kind of disappointed even back when Nintendo originally went digital, as their events were always exciting. When it comes to in-person E3, you either get hype games or cringe moments, and both are entertaining.

In terms of content, Xbox and Nintendo both had strong showings, and I think this is a portent of things to come with Microsoft. With their acquisition of Bethesda, they are posed to have some good years. Additionally, I of course think the absence of Sony was felt. It’d be nice one day to have a classic E3 again but those days may be over.

Andrew – As for E3 as a whole it was well… Disappointing, until the Nintendo direct. Ok, fine, Microsoft had a pretty good E3. Games like Starfield, Outer Worlds 2, Halo Infinite, and Forza 5 are going to be pretty great. Also, pretty much everything they showed at E3 is going to be on Gamepass day 1 (If the stuff they showed actually comes out) so that will be a huge bang for people’s bucks. So, good job Microsoft, you’re getting there. As for the others?… Well Ubisoft’s was meh, Capcom could have just twitter dropped their stuff, and Square’s was so bad that them announcing nothing would have been better. Seriously, Babylon’s Fall and FF Origin look like dogshite, and FF collection on PC only? GTFO Square, that was embarrassing.

Anyways, to me it was Ninty that clearly took number one. The third party stuff wasn’t the best (although super monkey ball banana mania looks great), but they killed it with the first party stuff. A return-to-form Mario Party (even if it’s more of a remake type of thing), a new 2D Metroid, a new Warioware, and a remake of friggin’ ADVANCE WARS 1 and 2! Most Importantly, these games all look really good, and are all coming out this year. The Smash reveal (I’m pissed at you too Namco, why not Lloyd!?) and the Zelda 35th stuff (Or lack of) was disappointing to me, but it was overall a fantastic event. Nintendo not only has a ton of games coming soon, but has also given an optimistic outlook on its future.

Alex The first of my two biggest takeaways from this year’s E3 conference is that yes E3 is still a very good idea and fun way to involve gamers from all genres and generate massive amounts of hype in a competitive way, almost like a gaming Olympics. The second being that Microsoft seems to really be bringing out the big guns this generation, between their own first party games and that of their newly acquired studios. Although we haven’t seen what Sony is up to, because they were one of the very few major game studios that decided not to attend, Microsoft seems to be the most eager to bolster their existing franchises, as well as branch outwards, with some fun new IPs to try out.

Starfield is the highlight so far of Microsoft’s aggressive push for big exclusives, and it’s looking great

The GGS Writers’ E3 2021 Picks

E3 Most Hyped

  1. Metroid Dread
  2. Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
  3. Starfield

(Runner-up: Halo Infinite)

Best Conference

  1. Nintendo
  2. Microsoft
  3. …Ubisoft?

What were your E3 favorites? Comment below!

The GGS Writers

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