With the biggest gaming conferences of the year over, there are plenty of games in the works and a lot to be excited about. Here are notable highlights from the week-long event, as well as personal favorites everyone should add to their gaming wish list.
The popular Battlefield franchise got the week off to a good start by announcing a new installment,“Battlefield 2042,” which will be released in October. Battlefield’s expansive multiplayer and destructible maps were what made the games popular, and Battlefield 2042 will look to double down on those features with 128-player maps on next-gen consoles – an enticing feature for fans of first-person shooters and large-scale multiplayer experiences.
Possibly the biggest game trailer released this summer, “Elden Ring” is an upcoming role-playing game set in a fantasy realm crafted by “Game of Thrones” writer George R.R. Martin. Developer FromSoftware is known for its brutal yet rewarding “Souls” games and will surely build upon its popular gameplay formula for this highly anticipated release set for early 2022.
Ubisoft gave Avatar fans a delightful surprise by announcing “Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora,” an action role-playing game based on James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster. “Avatar” is the highest-grossing movie of all time, so one can only imagine how popular the game will be when it drops in 2022. Soon, we will all be able to explore the Na’vi alien planet like we’ve always wanted, just in time for Avatar 2.
Speaking over wildly popular films, Marvel has once again teamed up with Square Enix to create “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.” This third-person action-adventure game might give fans of the “Marvel’s Avengers” game déjà vu, but developers Eidos Montreal showed how the game’s quippy style and single-player gameplay set it apart. With an October 2021 release date, it won’t take long to find out if “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy” game can even compare to its popular movie counterpart.
Microsoft and Bethesda announced several high-caliber games during their primetime conference and excited Xbox and PC owners by promising to release most of their upcoming titles on their streaming service Xbox Game Pass. While “Forza Horizon 5” and its fast-paced racing looks unbelievably gorgeous, and “Halo Infinite” regained some of its momentum after an underwhelming showcase last year, Bethesda’s new venture surely turned the most heads. “Starfield” is a sci-fi role-playing game that will take players across the universe with a presumably rich and expansive narrative crafted by developers of “The Elder Scrolls” and “Fallout” franchises. This game will release late 2022 as an Xbox exclusive, hinting at the future of Bethesda titles — or lack thereof — on rival platforms.
Nintendo’s 40-minute presentation largely capped off the main developer’s showcases, and they saved the sequel to one of their most successful games ever for last. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2” — its name for the time being — is set to release in 2022, and it looks to take place in the same world as its predecessor. Expectations for the upcoming Nintendo Switch title could not be higher, but as it gets closer to its release date, fans will have a better look at the sequel and what to expect from it.
Big-budget games always tend to get the spotlight during this time of year, but the vast number of independently-developed games on the horizon also deserve time to shine. One of the most exciting games shown at the Black Voices in Gaming event is “She Dreams Elsewhere”, a role-playing game that will tackle dark and emotional themes with beautiful visuals and exploration. It looks to be a compelling and intimate narrative experience destined for moving moments.
Acid Nerve’s “Death’s Door” and Glass Bottom Games’ “Skatebird” both feature anthropomorphic birds in two wildly different worlds. While the former game features a crow soul reaper, the latter sees you play a tiny skateboarding bird that might be part of the most adorable skateboarding game ever. Bird fans will fortunately get to enjoy these titles by the end of summer 2021.
Wholesome Direct, an event solely meant for cozy and relaxing games, featured several noteworthy indie titles I’m looking forward to. “Garden Story” includes an inviting island protected by Concord, a young grape guardian. Cultivation and community are at the heart of this indie, and these are also the core themes of the upcoming title “Moonglow Bay.” This is another relaxing indie where the Eastern Canadian coastline is your calm haven for fishing and rebuilding a failing town. Heartwarming narratives are usually the best games to explore, and these two will surely make anyone’s day a lot better.
While these are some of the more popular and eye-catching games at E3 2021, there were hundreds of titles announced, trailers released and demos made available. Now more than ever, there is a game out there for everyone’s tastes. Whether you’re into cozy, cinematic or challenging games, the next few months will allow audiences to finally play highly-anticipated releases while hopefully making delightful discoveries along the way.
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