E3 had a lot to prove going into its 2021 edition. After the expo was canceled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some gamers wondered whether the show was still even relevant. At a time when publishers and studios can communicate directly with their fans through live streams and social media, why is a centralized trade show necessary?
Well, the all-virtual E3 2021 made a strong argument that the expo is still the biggest event of the year for the games industry, bringing plenty of big announcements from some of the most important companies in the business, including Xbox, Bethesda, Nintendo, Capcom, Bandai Namco, Square Enix, and Ubisoft. Together, these publishers mapped out the future of the Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and PC gaming.
Here are the very BEST games and announcements showcased at E3 2021:
1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 Gets a 2022 Release Date
Zelda fans patiently waiting to get their hands on the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 will have to wait just a little while longer. For now, here’s a new story trailer which teases what players can expect in Link’s new Switch adventure:
This highly-anticipated sequel is slated for 2022.
2. New Zelda Game & Watch Hits Stores in Time for the Holidays
A new Game & Watch device is coming out this year, just in time for The Legend of Zelda‘s 35th anniversary! The Zelda Game & Watch handheld comes with three games: the original Zelda for the NES, Zelda II: Adventure of Link, and Link’s Awakening. The collector’s item will set you back $49.99.
Here’s what the device looks like:
The Zelda Game & Watch is out on Nov. 12, 2021.
3. Metroid Dread Is a New 2D Metroid Game Coming This October
Metroid Prime isn’t the only series getting a sequel from Nintendo. The classic 2D series of games is also getting a brand-new installment. It’s called Metroid: Dread (teased as “Metroid 5” during the Nintendo Direct) and it’s set after Metroid Fusion, making this sequel further in the Samus’ story than any other installment.
Check out the first trailer below:
Metroid Dread is out on Oct. 8, 2021 for the Nintendo Switch!
4. Tekken’s Kazuya Mishima Joins Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
No, it’s not another Fire Emblem character! Tekken‘s Kazuya Mishima is the latest DLC fighter joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. And following tradition, the first Kazuya trailer has him kill a classic Nintendo character. Hardcore, bro!
Nintendo didn’t say when Kazuya would join the fight.
5. WarioWare Is Back with a New Sequel
You can’t keep a good Wario down! WarioWare: Get It Together! brings the classic series to the Nintendo Switch. Watch a very special message from Wario below:
The game is out on Sept. 10, 2021.
6. Final Fantasy Origin Is a New Game from Team Ninja Set in the World of the Original Classic
Warriors of Light, Garland, Chaos! The world of Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin may sound familiar. That’s because it hearkens back to the story of the original Final Fantasy for the NES. But this new game is no turn-based RPG. It’s actually an Action RPG from Nioh developer Team Ninja!
Here’s the announcement trailer:
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin is out in 2022 for current-gen and last-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles as well as PC.
7. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Gets Trailers and Release Date
The rumors were true: Eidos Montreal’s top-secret Guardians of the Galaxy video game is real! It’s a single-player, action-adventure title starring Star-Lord, the leader of the band of Marvel misfits. He not only has cool moves of his own but he can even command his team during battle, adding an interesting tactical aspect to the game. Guardians of the Galaxy also features some choice-based dialogue, a nice addition to what looks a lot like the Marvel’s Avengers formula overall.
Watch the cinematic trailer below:
And here are more than 10 minutes of gameplay footage:
The game releases on Oct. 26 for current-gen and last-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles as well as PC.
8. Marvel’s Avengers Gets Black Panther DLC This Summer
We’ve known for a while that Black Panther will be the next playable Marvel superhero coming to Square Enix’s Avengers game. But now you finally get to see him in action in a new trailer for the upcoming expansion, War for Wakanda!
Black Panther and Wakanda arrive in Marvel’s Avengers later this summer.
9. Redfall: Arkane’s New Game Coming Next Summer
Xbox and Bethesda had one final announcement before leaving the E3 2021 stage. It’s Arkane Studios’ Redfall, a supernatural co-op game with a dark sense of humor. The game is set in the quiet community of Redfall, which suddenly comes under attack by a cult of vampires. As you can imagine, all hell breaks loose!
“Redfall used to be a bustling, beautiful island community. It had everything a coastal town in Massachusetts should have: a lighthouse, a lobster shack, a boardwalk,” wrote Anne Lewis, senior content manager at Bethesda Softworks, in a blog post. “When the vampires took over, they blocked out the sun, pushed back the tides, and effectively walled off the island from the rest of society, trapping everyone who remained. Now vampires rule the town by night and the human cultists who worship them patrol the streets by day. Not too many people venturing out of safety to check out the boardwalk these days, and forget about getting fresh lobster.”
You and your teammates will get to “choose from a lineup of unconventional heroes, each with their own unique abilities and specialized weaponry.” You can also play the game solo, if you prefer.
Redfall is out next summer, exclusively for Xbox and PC.
10. The Outer Worlds 2 Is a Thing That’s Happening, Eventually
Obsidian Entertainment, the studio behind some of your favorite RPG hits, has announced The Outer Worlds 2. That makes three projects on the docket for Obsidian, which is also working on fantasy RPG Avowed and its Grounded multiplayer title.
Here’s the announcement trailer:
Obsidian cheekily confirmed in the trailer that this sequel won’t be out for a while.
11. Halo Infinite Multiplayer Will Be Free-to-Play, The Game Is Out Holiday 2021
Well, we didn’t get to see Craig this year, but at least Xbox confirmed that Halo Infinite‘s multiplayer component will be free-to-play across Xbox and PC. The multiplayer will get seasonal updates, the first of which is called “Heroes of Reach.” The campaign and multiplayer will launch during Holiday 2021, with a day 1 launch on Xbox Game Pass.
You can check out a first look at multiplayer below:
343 Industries also introduced a new AI called “The Weapon,” a mysterious addition to the cast that displays more than a passing resemblance to Cortana. Master Chief decides to take the Weapon with him on his new mission.
“Cortana’s fate is one of the Infinite campaign’s big mysteries, and early in the story, you will meet a new UNSC AI, ‘the Weapon,’ that was created to help stop Cortana,” wrote Joseph Staten, Halo Infinite‘s Head of Creative, in a blog post. “Together with the Pilot, the Master Chief, and the Weapon begin an epic adventure to explore Zeta Halo, defeat the Banished forces who control the ring, and unravel even more mysteries along the way.”
12. Starfield Gets a 2022 Release Date, Coming Exclusively to Xbox and PC
The Washington Post got a little ahead of itself and posted the Starfield trailer about half an hour before the start of the Xbox and Bethesda showcase. You can check out the cinematic teaser, which gives us just a taste of what to expect from the new space RPG, below:
Starfield is coming exclusively to Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC on Nov. 11, 2022. The game will hit Xbox Game Pass on day 1!
13. Diablo 2: Resurrected Is Out This September
Diablo 2: Resurrected will allow a new generation of players to experience one of the best Action RPGs ever made for the first time. The game is remastered with the power of the Xbox Series X/S in mind, and players who want to see what the remaster is all about on Xbox will be able to participate in a limited beta period in August.
The game is out on Sept. 23 for current-gen and last-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles, Nintendo Switch, and PC!
14. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Announced for 2022
James Cameron’s fledgling sci-fi universe just got a little bit bigger with the announcement of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, a new first-person action-adventure game from Massive Entertainment (which also happens to be working on new Star Wars game for Ubisoft).
The game is described as a “standalone story [where you] play as a Na’vi and embark on a journey across the Western Frontier, a never-before-seen part of Pandora. Explore a living and reactive world inhabited by unique creatures and new characters, and push back the formidable RDA forces that threaten it.” Indeed, the game will flesh out a new corner of the Avatar universe, an exciting prospect for fans looking forward to the many movie sequels currently planned for the big screen.
Watch the first trailer below:
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is slated for 2022 for Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC.
15. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope Is a New Nintendo Switch Exclusive
If you loved the first Mario + Rabbids game, Ubisoft and Nintendo are partnering up once again for a new installment. This time, your favorite Mario and Rabbids characters are headed out into space!
“Explore and uncover mysterious secrets while meeting each planet’s curious inhabitants. Use your heroes` skills in an innovative combat system, which combines freedom of movement and strategic turn-based decision making as you take on new and familiar foes. Take control of your heroes to dash your enemies, team jump on your allies, hide behind covers… and make the best out of your turn.”
Here’s your first look at the gameplay:
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is coming in 2022.
16. Far Cry 6 Is Out in October, New Story Trailer
Far Cry 6 is the newest installment in the long-running open-world action-adventure series. The new game takes place in the fictional nation of Yara, specifically in the sprawling capital city of Esperanza, and stars Breaking Bad and The Mandalorian legend Giancarlo Esposito as the villainous dictator Anton Castillo. The story trailer below showcases just how cruel Anton can be:
Far Cry 6 will release on Oct. 7 for current-gen and last-gen consoles as well as PC.
17. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Is Getting Another Year of Expansions
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has been out for a little over six months, and Ubisoft plans to support the game for at least another year with new expansions and DLC drops. The next expansion is called Siege of Paris, which is coming sometime this summer.
The publisher will follow this up with another expansion, one that seems to involve Odin…
18. Rainbow Six Extraction Gameplay Trailer and Release Date
The new solo and 3-player co-op shooter spinning out of Rainbow Six Siege pits the elite squad of anti-terrorist operators against a multitude of Archean threats, including new types of monstrous enemies like you’ve never faced before. Set in four containment zones across the US, you and up to two of your friends must assemble the perfect squad from 18 Rainbow Six operators, each with their own specialties, abilities, and loadout. It’ll be up to your team to pick the right soldiers for the job.
As you’d expect, Rainbow Six Extraction isn’t just about killing all the aliens on a map. You’ll not only have to complete objectives but also make sure that no one is left behind.
According to the game’s description, “If an Operator fails to get to an extraction point, you and your team will have a choice: Leave your Operator behind to push on for bigger rewards or head back to mount a daring rescue. Those who don’t make it will find their operator MIA, making them temporarily unavailable for future missions. The only means of recovering an MIA Operator is to extract them before the parasite takes them over completely.”
The stakes are very high, indeed.
Check out the E3 gameplay trailer below:
Rainbow Six Extraction is out on Sept. 15 for current-gen and last-gen consoles as well as PC. Cross-play functionality will allow you to team up with other players regardless of the platform they’re playing on!
19. Devolver Digital Schools the Competition Once Again
You WON’T get a better E3 2021 presentation than Devolver Digital’s pitch-perfect showcase. We won’t spoil it for you, just watch it:
Doesn’t disappoint, right?
20. Trek to Yomi Already Looks Like an Indie Classic in the Making
Evoking the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa, Trek to Yomi is a moody, black-and-white 2D side-scroller about a swordsman who must protect his town and his loved ones from human and supernatural invaders. Have a look at the beautiful trailer below:
Trek to Yomi is out in 2022.
21. Sable Wows at Summer Game Fest
Sable was easily the most visually stunning game shown at Summer Game Fest this year. It’s an indie open-world exploration game from Shedworks, which also boasts a beautiful soundtrack from artist Japanese Breakfast. Heavily inspired by the movies of Studio Ghibli and the art of Jean “Moebius” Girard, the game stars a young girl named Sable who embarks on a rite of passage across her desert land. This is one indie you don’t want to miss.
Here’s the new trailer:
Sable is out on Sept. 13, 2021 for Xbox consoles and PC. It’ll be a day one launch on Xbox Game Pass as well!
22. Elden Ring Trailer and Release Date Revealed
Few games are more highly anticipated than FromSoftware’s Elden Ring, a new Action RPG collaboration with Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin, who crafted the lore for this fantasy open-world. Fans hoping to finally learn more about the game at E3 2021 after two years of radio silence were rewarded for their patience at Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest Kickoff Live event.
A new trailer gives fans a much better look at what they should expect from the game. There are flying mounts, giant enemies, and the epic scale we’ve come to expect from both FromSoftware and Martin. Most importantly, the trailer finally gives us a release date.
Watch the trailer below:
Elden Ring hits shelves on January 21, 2022 for last-gen and current-gen consoles as well as PC.
23. Death Stranding: Director’s Cut Coming to PS5
There will likely be no E3 troll as amazing as the trailer for Death Stranding: Director’s Cut, an expanded and enhanced edition of Hideo Kojima’s 2019 maximalist open-world adventure starring Norman Reedus. We don’t want to spoil it for you. Just watch it:
After the announcement, we spent a few minutes trying to figure out what Kojima could have possibly cut from a game with such a massive scope. Here’s what we came up with.
Kojima Productions will have more to share about this new edition of Death Stranding soon. No release date has been announced.
24. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Is Fantasy Borderlands
Although the game was leaked ahead of E3, it was still nice to see Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands finally make its debut at Summer Game Fest. What exactly is the game? It’s a fantasy loot shooter in the style of Borderlands with some familiar characters as well as a whole roster of new ones.
“For me, bringing actual Borderlands guns to fight dragons, skeletons, goblins, and more in an original fantasy world imagined by the galaxy’s deadliest 13-year-old, Tiny Tina, as a new, full-featured AAA video game is a dream come true,” Gearbox president Randy Pitchford said in a statement.
Check out the zany trailer below:
The game will be release in early 2022 for last-gen and current-gen consoles as well as PC.
25. Battlefield 2042 Takes the Franchise Back to the Future
The Battlefield series is going back to the future with its latest installment. In Battlefield 2042, you must fight for control of a planet ravaged by climate change, where a superstorm can completely change the course of a battle. The game will feature a mix of modern and futuristic weapons as well as a dynamic weather system that should add a bit of chaos to the gameplay. We’re not in World War II anymore.
In another departure, Battlefield 2042 will skip the story campaign in favor of an increased focus on multiplayer gameplay. The two major modes, Breakthrough and Conquest, will emphasize massive battles on next-gen consoles, putting up to 128 on one of the game’s many giant maps.
Here’s a first look at the gameplay:
And here’s the cinematic trailer, too:
Battlefront 2042 releases on Oct. 22.
26. Call of Duty Goes Back to WWII in Vanguard
While Activision didn’t plan to reveal this year’s Call of Duty game during E3 2021, Video Games Chronicle beat the publisher to the announcement with a huge scoop: the next installment in the shooter franchise is called Call of Duty: Vanguard. The game is reportedly set in the European and Pacific theatres of World War II, and will feature a campaign, multiplayer, and a Zombies mode.
Vanguard will also introduce big changes to Warzone, including a new map set in the Pacific theater that is “significantly larger” than Verdansk. The report didn’t include any info on the types of weapons and operators that will come to Warzone when Vanguard launches, but VGC did confirm new vehicles will be introduced to the battle royale mode.
Sledgehammer Games, along with the help of every other internal studio at Activision, is working on the game, which is currently scheduled for a November release on current and last-gen consoles as well as PC. An official announcement is reportedly planned at a later date. Meanwhile, Activision will unveil what’s coming in Warzone Season 4 during Summer Game Fest this week. Season 4 is said to be scheduled to start on June 16.
27. New Castlevania Animated Series in the Works at Netflix
Season 4 of Netflix’s epic Castlevania anime series ended on a bit of a cliffhanger: Trevor and Sypha are expecting a baby, the future of the Belmont clan of monster hunters. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that Netflix has already green lit a sequel series starring a new Belmont.
Set during the French Revolution, the new Castlevania anime will star video game protagonist Richter Belmont (Castlevania: Rondo of Blood), one of Trevor and Sypha’s descendants, and Maria Renard, a young vampire hunter.
No release date has been set for the new series.
28. Splinter Cell Animated Series: First Look
There’s no new Splinter Cell game in sight, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t getting more Sam Fisher in other ways. Netflix is working with Ubisoft to adapt the fan-favorite stealth franchise into an animated series. The project is being helmed by John Wick creator Derek Kolstad. And, that’s all we know about this project at the moment.
There’s no release date. You probably shouldn’t expect this one for a long while.
29. Resident Evil Netflix Series Casts Albert Wesker
There are a few Resident Evil projects in the works right now. There’s the new anime series coming to Netflix as well as the new movie reboot destined for the big screen. That’s not enough, though. Netflix is also working on a live-action series about the inner workings of the Umbrella Corporation. It focuses on Albert Wesker and his children across two timelines.
According to the official synopsis from Netflix (via Polygon), “In the first timeline, 14-year-old sisters Jade and Billie Wesker are moved to New Raccoon City. A manufactured, corporate town, forced on them right as adolescence is in full swing. But the more time they spend there, the more they come to realize that the town is more than it seems and their father may be concealing dark secrets. Secrets that could destroy the world.
“The second, more than a decade into the future sees less than 15 million people left on Earth. And more than 6 billion monsters — people and animals infected with the T-virus. Jade, now 30, struggles to survive in this new world, while the secrets from her past — about her sister, her father, and herself — continue to haunt her.”
Netflix has announced the cast for the series: Ella Balinska, Tamara Smart, Siena Agudong, Adeline Rudolph, and Paola Nuñez are all playing mystery roles. The real showstopper is Lance Reddick (Fringe) as Albert Wesker. That absolutely rules!
The first season will comprise of eight episodes. No release date as of yet.
30. The Witcher Season 2 Teaser
The Witcher season 2 is coming later this year, so Netflix is ready to start teasing some things about what’s coming up on the show. During Geeked Week, the streamer announced that fans will meet Ciri in the second season.
Here’s a very brief teaser:
Fans will be able to learn more about The Witcher season 2 at the first Witchercon, hosted by Netflix and CD Projekt Red, on July 9.
We’ll keep updated this article as more E3 2021 news comes in!