E3 has returned, brought to you live via stream, offering free entry for all to make up for another year without the show’s wild cosplay. If there was an overriding theme of this show, it was pandemic-related delay: A lot of the games we’ve been champing at the bit for are further away than expected, or made no appearance at all. If you didn’t manage to catch all the conferences from the comfort of your desk chair, don’t worry—sit back in relative comfort and peruse this summary of the best E3 had to offer.
Breath of the Wild 2
Undoubtedly the moment of the show, Nintendo finally (finally) aired some gameplay footage from the sequel to its 2017 masterpiece. Link was shown falling towards islands blanketed in clouds, as Nintendo confirmed that much of the game will take place in the sky, rather like in Skyward Sword, which, relatedly, is also getting an HD remake. We’ll hope this sequel retains Breath of the Wild’s rolling green plains and doesn’t trade them in for Skyward Sword’s rather stunted linearity. The release date was a slight disappointment, a vague 2022, which extinguishes any hopes of players who wanted to get this by Christmas. Still, it’s a new Zelda—it’ll be awesome.
An early Halo Infinite trailer was mocked for featuring an alien now nicknamed Craig, whose sad, poorly rendered face the community pointed to as an example that the latest in this long-running first-person shooter series had last-gen graphics. The new trailers have assuaged these fears somewhat. A high octane story trailer showed Master Chief reuniting with Cortana to kick some ass, while a deep dive into the game’s multiplayer looks to draw on the best of previous titles. 343 Studios has promised an Academy training mode, to encourage new players to take up Halo without fear of being destroyed by the game’s older community. Classic matches such as 4v4 Arena and 12v12 big team battle also return. No release date yet, as even Master Chief has proven no match for Covid lockdowns.
The Outer Worlds 2
The Outer Worlds was a sleeper hit, a kind of Fallout New Vegas in space that sold more than 3 million copies. Now a sequel is in the works, as revealed by this hilarious trailer, that mocks the conventions of many of the trailers we’ve seen at E3. As the developers admit, they haven’t finished any gameplay, nor anything really “except the title.” A sequel will be a great chance to fulfill the first game’s massive potential: basically, to polish and extend its lively universe.
Metroid Dread came with an apology; Nintendo is sorry you’ve had to wait so long for Metroid Prime 4, and sorry it can’t show you any of the game yet. The latter has gone through a troubled development: Nintendo ripped the game away from Bandai Namco back in 2019, and asked Retro Studios, responsible for the original series, to start it from scratch. Instead, we’re getting the first 2D Metroid in 19 years. In the trailer, Samus flees a red-eyed robot: like Glados from Portal sprouted lizard-like legs. Metroid has a rich history of survival horror chases: Older gamers will recall the sterling Metroid Fusion on Gameboy Advance. Dread will be released on October 8, 2021.
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp
Advance Wars 1 and 2 were two of the greatest Game Boy Advance games ever made: a kind of cartoonish chess, where you took turns with your opponent to capture cities and manufacture armies to crush their opposing forces. Now these two games are returning with remasters for the Switch, “built from the ground up” in the cartoony style of Link’s Awakening. Many questions remain: Will it add enough to attract back players who plausibly put hundreds of hours into the Game Boy Advance originals? Will it nerf Kanbei? Only time will tell. Expect it in December.
This was an underwhelming trailer, if we’re being honest: It’s included here because we’ve been so starved of any news from Bethesda, whether it be this or The Elder Scrolls. It’s difficult to know what Starfield is about: The trailer showed a generic-looking rocky alien planet mixed in with some moon landing-y footage, and a space pilot getting ready for liftoff. The November 2022 release date means that fans of The Elder Scrolls will plausibly have grandkids by the time the next game in the series comes out.
A stunning-looking game that isn’t a sequel or another entry in a long running franchise? Replaced looks beautiful—a mix of high-res moodiness and pixel art in the vein of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery. The trailer shows the protagonist climbing neon signs, wandering through dark, dystopian towns, and generally kicking ass. There isn’t much else to say about the game yet: Its developers describe it as a “sci-fi, retro-futuristic action platformer” where players control an artificial intelligence trapped in a human body. It’s an Xbox exclusive, and it’s coming in 2022.
WarioWare Get It Together
The WarioWare series has always provided some of the best games for parties—quick, hilarious mini-games you can jump in and out of. This new game, which features over 200 mini games, will let you play locally with a friend, too. This, along with Mario Party Superstars, which includes classic boards from the series’ past—like Mario Party 2’s classic Space World—should be must-haves for those post-pandemic reunion parties. WarioWare is released on September 10, 2021.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
The recent Avengers game attempted to piggy-back on the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, albeit without the rights to the actors’ likenesses, resulting in an oddly stilted experience which was further hampered because it oozed DLC and microtransactions. Superhero game Guardians of the Galaxy has the first problem, but not the second—made by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix (who were behind that Avengers game too), it’s an entirely single-player experience. You play exclusively as Star-Lord, the leader of the gang of misfit heroes that also includes the green-skinned alien Gamora, buff blue bruiser Drax, sentient cybernetic raccoon Rocket, and Groot, a walking tree who can only say the words “I am Groot.” It’s out on October 26, 2021.
Far Cry 6
Far Cry 5, which featured a murderous, religiously fanatic American family, was resolutely not a political statement, according to Ubisoft. It has changed tack for the new game, saying it is political “as all games about revolution must be.” It seems unlikely Far Cry 6 will provide a nuanced take on armed class struggle: The trailer promises players they will, in true Far Cry spirit, still be able to “blow shit up.” Most strikingly, the game will feature the fantastic Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad, with full voice work and motion capture.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
Avatar occupies a slightly strange place in popular culture. The 2009 James Cameron movie was a huge hit—it is the second highest-grossing title of all time when you adjust for inflation—but when was the last time you heard anyone mention it? It was the biggest thing in the world for about six months, and then disappeared off the face of the earth. That could change in 2022 with the release of Frontiers of Pandora, a game set in the Avatar universe being developed by Ubisoft and Massive, which worked on the likes of Far Cry 3 and The Division; and timed to coincide with the release of Avatar 2 in December next year. The trailer certainly looks the part, but there are few clues on gameplay—all we really know is you’ll play as a Na’vi and “embark on a journey” on a new part of Pandora.
This story originally appeared on WIRED UK.
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