E3 is almost here -- though, given some of the blockbuster leaks and announcements over the last few weeks, you can be forgiven for believing it was already underway. Despite the recent flood of massive news drops, though, there's plenty more to come in the days ahead.
Prior to last year's cancelation due to COVID, E3 has traditionally been the go-to place for game developers to showcase upcoming titles or reveal their most anticipated projects for the first time. The convention returns this year with an all-digital format, giving all fans a chance to experience the event for themselves from June 12 to 15.
What will you see? Beyond the list of companies attending and a select handful of games confirmed beforehand, we don't really know, which is a big part of what makes E3 exciting -- that, and trying to will into existence beforehand the games you're hoping will get made or are coming soon.
Which is basically what this article amounts to: some combination of wishlist and a series of educated guesses about what we can expect to see or simply want to see at E3 2021. Enjoy the show!
Would it kill ya to make a new Metroid or Donkey Kong title?
We are already aware of at least two Legend of Zelda titles in the works -- Breath of the Wild 2 and Skyward Sword remake -- and it seems a safe bet that Mario will be part of Nintendo's presentation in some way, shape or form. Nothing against those franchises, which are obviously two of the most iconic around, BUT ... it would be nice if the company showed a little urgency in bringing some of their other major properties to the Switch.
Metroid Prime 4 was first announced at E3 in 2017, yet the only meaningful news since has been bad, with development essentially starting over under Retro Studios in 2019. Kudos to Nintendo for putting quality above expedience, but two-and-a-half years after pivoting and four years removed from introducing the project, it would be nice to see SOMETHING, even if the game is still a ways off. After all, it's only been 14 years since a proper Metroid home release.
The Switch at least has seen a port of the most recent Donkey Kong platformer in the last seven years, originally for the (irrelevant) Wii U. That said, with rumors just beginning to circulate that the Mario Odyssey team is working on a new DK title, it would be very exciting news if Nintendo actually confirmed something is in the works.
Prove this new Rainbow Six actually exists and looks good
This is everything we know about the latest entry in the tactical shooter franchise: It's built around a three-player co-op experience and it will allegedly be on the shelves before Sept. 30, 2021. Up until Monday, we didn’t even know the title -- now Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction rather than Quarantine or the rumored Parasite.
That release date is less than four months away, and we've seen next to nothing of this new R6’s gameplay and heard next to nothing about its mechanics, its features or its plot, besides aliens. The last teaser came out over two years ago, and that couple minutes of footage didn’t clear up a whole heck of a lot.
To be fair, when Ubisoft decided to lose the Quarantine name in the midst of a real-life, worldwide pandemic, the company no doubt needed to step back and tweak its strategy. Still, the game's content likely wasn't altered drastically, so it seems strange such a major release could drop in a matter of weeks amid virtually no hype at all.
Ubisoft has since confirmed the new Extraction will have its moment in the sun at E3. Anything less than a full unveiling of gameplay and features, however, might be cause for concern.
Poised to steal the show?
Capcom's "booth" (are we still calling it that for an all-digital convention?) has the potential to sneak up on some people. It makes sense to capitalize on the success of Resident Evil Village while it's fresh on everybody's minds and show any number of upcoming projects in the RE universe, including RE Outrage, which is reportedly due out sometime in the next year. Similarly, we could see future planned Monster Hunter installments teased on the heels of MH Rise's recent release.
Arguably the most anticipated reveal of all though would be for Street Fighter VI. There are leaks dating as far back as last year, largely focused around a rumored team mechanic and whether it would be central to the core experience, an added feature or even left on the cutting room floor altogether.
That's about the extent of what we know. Yet, with a new Street Fighter possibly arriving as early as 2022, E3 feels like the right time for an announcement of some kind that would at the very least solidify a few details -- platforms, release window, the inclusion of teamplay -- and ideally provide fans a taste of the gameplay and visuals for the next generation of fighting games.
Xbox and Bethesda
Show us why Sony should fear the Series X
We'll get our latest look at Microsoft's ace in the hole, Halo Infinite, but Master Chief alone hasn't reversed the company's fortunes in previous console wars. And for all the talk about Bethesda Studio's impressive-looking space-themed adventure and now-Xbox exclusive, Starfield -- also confirmed for E3 -- the reality is that title might be a good year or two away at minimum, depending on who you listen to.
After spending $7.5 billion to acquire Bethesda and promising a bunch of new titles, we're all more than a little curious exactly what that kind of moolah buys. Because as far as the short-term outlook, it remains a mystery.
It's way too early for a new Elder Scrolls announcement, and that's not necessarily even going to be an Xbox exclusive, anyway. Could we be getting another Fallout, maybe? An unannounced Bethesda original? Whatever it is, there's got to be more than Xbox staples like Halo and Forza carrying Microsoft's banner in 2021 and ‘22, right?
With Sony once again skipping E3, it might very well wind up feeling like a missed opportunity to steal some of the PS5’s thunder otherwise.
-- Activision does not traditionally debut the latest entry in its Call of Duty franchise at E3, and that's not a position that appears destined to change, as smack dab in the middle of the Call of Duty League season doesn’t seem like appropriate timing. But with the Battlefield trailer releasing beforehand, maybe there's some kind of effort to pour cold water on the competition? Or, perhaps the event could serve as the premiere for the rumored Modern Warfare 2 remaster?
-- A few months back, Psyonix announced Rocket League Sideswipe, a standalone 2D version of the popular driving ... sports ... vehicular combat -- well, whatever Rocket League is -- for mobile devices. That should be arriving soon, so we may get more gameplay footage and a release date courtesy of the Epic Games booth.
-- News of a Grand Theft Auto 6 or anything of a similar nature is probably going to be a lot to ask from Rockstar, seeing as GTA V is still selling and now headed for a PS5 release. But where Take-Two Interactive might be able to make a splash -- aside from rumored announcements for a new Marvel game and a Borderlands spinoff -- is with a true next-generation rebuild for the latest installment of 2K Games’ popular basketball sim, NBA 2K. Another darkhorse candidate for best booth right here.
-- Square Enix is giving the impression it will save any Final Fantasy XVI news for Sony's show later this summer, which is a bummer. It seems a tad premature for the next chapter in FF7 Remake, too, so maybe the rumored Final Fantasy Origin project gets the reveal treatment? There’s also an announcement coming on a brand new game from its Eidos-Montreal studio, which was behind the most recent Tomb Raider release.
- We're already getting new Sonic the Hedgehog titles, but in a recent earnings report, Sega revealed it was considering remasters, remakes or reboots for several "dormant" franchises, with Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Panzer Dragoon, NiGHTS and Shinobi among those listed. Yes, please! As a longtime Sega fan going back to the Genesis days, I'd welcome announcements for literally any of these titles and then some. Let's gooooo!
Lead image credit: E3