E3 2021 - A Failed Opportunity

Articles Jun 16, 2021

Every year, E3 gathers together an entire industry to showcase the products that will be available in the coming 365 days. Over the last several years, it’s even been opened up to include the public, which has lessened the Business Convention aspect, and made it more a media event. Bringing in celebrities, merchandise and lots and lots of sponsors.

Last year was in such a chaotic state, with the governing body, the ESA clashing with multiple affiliates and presenters, along with the pandemic causing world wide shutdowns and chaos, E3 splintered into a multi-month event, with video presentations scattered throughout the entire summer. Even with some vendors doing multiple video showcases of products, all under the “E3” banner, while not necessarily officially recognized or sanctioned.

This year has felt much more structured, but a growing divide is very much present. Geoff Keighly, who seems to be single handedly waging his own personal war with the ESA, has now not just a end of year awards show, celebrating gaming, but now the “Summer Game Fest” as a mid-year check in and platform to bring back some of the excitement and fun to gaming. Say what you will about Keighly as a presenter and his obvious bias and friendships to award winners and developers, but he seems genuine in his efforts to make gaming a more fun hobby, medium, art, and pastime. Sure some sponsors seem ridiculous, but he has to get the money for that massive production from somewhere, his pockets seem only so deep.

E3 didn’t officially start till June 12th, but we had Summer Game Fest kicking off the “Gaming Event Season” a few days earlier, and here are some of my thoughts on the whole shebang.

Summer Games Fest

  • Tiny Tina’s Wonderland
  • I loved Borderlands 1 & 2, and the Tiny Tina DLC where she plays a Dungeon Master and guides you through a D&D campaign was really a fun and memorable experience. Even years later, it’s the DLC everyone references at “good”
  • Metal Slug Tactics
  • I owned a real MVS cabinet (three actually) and have a great love the Metal Slug series. Taking the core characters, enemies, designs and throwing them into a new genre is exactly the right call for a long loved but forgotten franchise.
  • Death Stranding: Director’s Cut
  • Wasn’t the original game a “Director’s Cut”. Kojima infamously was fired from Konami and Sony all but said he had a blank check and unlimited budget and full 100% creative freedom to make whatever he wanted for his next game. What we got was Death Stranding back in 2019
  • Jurassic World Evolution 2
  • I love theme park simulators… like, I LOVE them. The first Jurassic World Evolution seemed like it would have been right up my alley, but for whatever reason I just didn’t get into it as much as I thought I would. Hopefully I can get into this one, but not seeing any actual gameplay, it’s hard to tell.

Ubisoft Forward

  • Rainbow Six: Extraction
  • I love Rainbow Six games, 3 and Black Arrow were my favorites. I was bummed when they turned Patriots into Siege and made it a “Games as a Service” multiplayer only game, basically solidifying it as something I’ll never play. Making Extraction a alien storyline makes it seem silly and really weird, and again something I couldn’t care less about at this point. It really bummed me out.
  • Rocksmith+
  • I actually tried Rocksmith back on launch day, determined to finally learn how to play guitar. I quickly got sidetracked. Just a few months ago, I tried again, this time on the PC instead of my Xbox 360. I got the official Cable, bought the game on steam and proceeded to play Blitzkrieg Bop about 75 times until I could strum along with it and now I never want to hear that song again. Just like before, life got in the way and traveling really ruins being able to learn how to play for me. Hopefully RockSmith+ can help me try yet again.
  • Riders Republic
  • I was in the Beta for it last weekend, before it got announced, and 2 things I will say about it are 1. Having my name plastered over the entire screen to make sure I don’t break NDA is annoying and made me hate playing the game. 2. It’s basically a Summer Games version of Steep. The map littered with others playing is cool, but you will notice not all are real people.
  • Oh, and the writing is horrible. Either made by bots, or the most obnoxious scummy douchebaggiest of people you’ll ever encounter “Yo Bro, you shredded that to the gnarliest max! Let’s touch base manana and sync our sched’s to blast some wicked pipes and chillax back at my pad while the ‘rents are out of town!”
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla DLC
  • I played about 12 hours of AC Valhalla, and will probably never finish it… so more DLC isn’t going to excite me much. The history modes are much more interesting to me, as I think being a Historical Time Machine is the best part of Assassin’s Creed games now.
  • FarCry 6
  • I love the FarCry series, and I’m always down for more of it. While the marketing always makes the game seem so much more somber and serious, the game is just a really fun sandbox of being able to take control of watchtowers and interact with the cool villain of the game and see how sadistic they really can be.
  • The DLC letting you play as the villains from 3,4 and 5 seems cool, but I need more information to know if it’ll really be worth my time.
  • Mario + Rabbids: Spark of Hope
  • I enjoyed the first one but never finished it. Rabbids can get annoying, and Mario is just centered too much in the realm of childish appeal for me to really care if it’s a spin off mostly. I’ll check it out, but probably won’t play more than a couple hours of it.
  • Avatar
  • Literally couldn’t care less about anything about that franchise. Never went to see the movie back in 2009, and won’t even pirate a game based on it in 2022

Microsoft/Bethesda

  • Starfield
  • I really like Bethesda games like Fallout and Skyrim, no matter the jank it has, it’s never kept me from enjoying the games. Skyrim in space sounds cool, and I’ll play it when it comes out, but I’m not champing at the bit to hear about it till I can get it in my hands.
  • Back 4 Blood
  • I loved Left 4 Dead 1 & 2, and it’s one of the only multiplayer games I played in the last decade. Evolve was a really big disappointment, and B4B seems to just be Left 4 Dead with different characters, lots of same enemy types with tweaks… I’m not sure I’ll play more than a couple matches.
  • ContraBand
  • I need more than a CGI trailer showing me absolutely nothing. The same effect could have been achieved with a black screen with Steely Dan playing over it and I’d know just as much about the game. Zilch
  • Sea Of Thieves: Pirates of the Caribbean Expansion
  • Sea of Thieves is probably the biggest gaming disappointment for me ever. I had such high hopes for it, and when it came out, it was basically an hour and a half worth of content with zero reason to ever go back and play it again. As beautiful as it looks, there is just no point in doing missions just to get cosmetic items that I can’t even see. If there is a good story, I’ll maybe give this a try since it’s free…. But even being a huge Disneyland fan and Pirates being my favorite ride, and loving the movies… this seems really childish and not really super appealing.
  • Battlefield 2042
  • Not a big Battlefield multiplayer person, I’ll play the story, but the WW1 and 2 campaigns were more my style than modern or futuristic warfare.
  • Twelve Minutes
  • It’s taken this long to release the game, might as well play it. Honestly though, I don’t remember anything about this game other than what that trailer showed, and I’m really interested in it.
  • Psychonauts 2
  • The original Psychonauts is my favorite game of all time, great humor, and the absolute pinnacle of level design and creativity in all of video games. The VR game gave us a bit of what to expect for the long long…. Long awaited sequel and it’s almost here (Backed it on Fig when they announced it, so I was all in on this game from the beginning)
  • Party Animals
  • Gang Beast with animal skins… that’s about it.
  • Halo Infinite
  • Halo was always a blast with friends, I remember getting the leaked french version of Halo 2 and having a all night LAN party at my house with around 50 people…. That was insane. Halo will always have a special place in my heart, even after 343 kinda just botched the whole series. Infinite will be free with Gamepass, so I’ll play through the campaign with a friend and have fun either way.
  • Shredders
  • I’m always down with a fun snowboarding game. More realistic ones always have been more boring to me, games like the first two amped games just didn’t offer enough to keep me interested for long. The SSX series and Amped 3, where everything is exaggerated and it’s more style over authenticity is where snowboard games shine.
  • Atomic Heart
  • Not sure what the game is actually going to be, as there were just too many quick half second MTV ADD style cuts to help me understand what the game is actually about. The music was fun, but Giant Bomb being baffled really shows how out of touch they are. Mute the audio, and throw in a somber cover of All along the watchtower and see how much less interesting the game looks. Editing really can change the perception of presentations
  • Replaced
  • Looks really good, but the super detailed sprite games are kinda like a dime a dozen on Steam, this needs to do something much better than just being set in another Cyberpunk dystopian rain soaked future for me to really pay attention.
  • Grounded
  • I played it last year and had fun with it, but I will be waiting for the 1.0 release to play it again.
  • Age of Empires IV
  • I played so much AOE2 in high school, and I’ll gladly play a new game in the series.
  • The Outer Worlds 2
  • I really enjoyed Outer Worlds, and the biggest issues was that the game felt really unbalanced with it’s environments, like it was only half a game’s worth of levels, and got rushed out the door. And the other being that Outer Wilds had a very similar name and that’s what everyone focused on. I can’t wait for this game and really hope all the mechanics and ideas just get expanded upon
  • Forza Horizon 5
  • Horizon 3 was my favorite, 4’s English Country side seemed fairly bland, and seasons didn’t change anything other than making it harder to drive in the snow or rain. Mexico is a location that seemed much more varied and interesting, and I’m excited to have another more arcady racing game that still looks phenomenal.
  • RedFall
  • It’s a year away, and again, CGI trailers with zero gameplay do nothing for me. I know nothing about the game other than it’s going to have a “diverse” cast of characters and be about hunting vampires with 3 other teammates. I’m gonna just assume it’s borderlands with vampires…. Yeah, that seems like about it.

SquareEnix

I’m not a huge SquareEnix fan at all, but they have a couple games that I look forward to every once in a while.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • I’m so done with Super Heroes at this point. Movies, TV and games are so over saturated with Comic Book superheroes, that I just can’t care anymore. But, I will say, this game looks cool and fun and a million times more interesting than anything the Avengers game showed off. The character looks could have gone a bit more stylized, but I’m willing to play it.

Nintendo

  • WarioWare: Get It Together!
  • I love the WarioWare series, and seeing a new release (unlike the 3DS Gold remaster which just was all the old microgames in a new package) released on my birthday is the perfect birthday present to myself!
  • Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2
  • Breath of the World is probably my favorite launch game of all time now. My wife and I played over 160 hours of it, and loved every moment of the open world exploration aspect of it. A sequel to it sounds like it’ll be just as good and we just hold out hope that “we’re aiming at a 2022 release date” really means they’ll hit their mark.
  • Metroid 5: Dread
  • I’ve never been a Metroid fan, I’ve only played a few of them, and only for a couple hours if that. But playing Metroid Prime in VR makes me want to fully investigate the series some day, and Metroid 5 looks like a great new version of the series. I probably won’t get to it day one, but I think it’s nice that others are psyched for it.
  • Advance Wars 1+2
  • I honestly never thought they’d ever mention this series ever again. A ground up remake of the first two games is cool, and I’ll play it day one. Hopefully this will garner more interest to bring the series back from the dead.

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