AJ’s 2021 E3/Nintendo Direct & September PlayStation Showcase Roundup

Sorry for the delay in posting the usual June E3 news but I (like so many others) was waiting on Sony to get with the program and give the fans at least some idea of what they can expect to get excited about over the next year or two. Well, a year later Covid-19 still wouldn't take a hint and kindly flock off so this year's E3 event still wasn't the typical show everyone is used to. It was back, though, online only and rebranded as the "Electronic Entertainment Experience", but I'll always take some kind of a show over no show at all.

Microsoft and Bethesda got things going with their first E3 press conference as one singular industry titan. Followed shortly after by Nintendo, who did their now-standard E3 Nintendo Direct presentation. Sony, however, decided it was too cool for school, skipped E3 altogether and waited till just this month to hold their own upcoming releases showcase. But now that we've heard from all 3 players, I can finally round up the highlights for you.

  • Forza Horizon 5 - Probably Microsoft's biggest upcoming title (since Halo Infinite seems to be both MIA, and quite a mess these days). Advertised in the conference as both "vibrant" and "authentic", the open-world racing events in Playground Games' newest installment all take place south of the border, in sunny Mexico. Racing was shown through deserts, rivers, jungles, past adobe buildings, Mayan pyramids, and even around a volcano. The video also showed off a new customizable game mode called "Events Lab" that kind of looks like a racing version of Halo's Forge mode. With a slated release date of November 09th, racing fanatics will only have to wait a couple more months to get their hands on this baby.
  • The Outer Worlds 2 - While the reveal of this game may have been a bit premature as even the trailer admitted to little more than the title existing so far, I am nonetheless thrilled (if perhaps not too shocked) by the knowledge of its existence. The first entry in Obsidian's Fallout-in-space franchise was one of my favorite games of 2019, so I will be all too happy to spend even more time in the outlandish universe they've created. Unsurprisingly, no release date has been given as of yet but whenever the sequel does finally land, it will no doubt have been worth the wait.
  • Starfield - Never content with being outdone by Obsidian, Bethesda finally released more information on their own version of Fallout in space; and unlike The Outer Worlds 2, this title actually does have a release date. The game is looking pretty solid too, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to wait all the way until November of next year for it. But then, I could always just play The Outer Worlds (1) to pass the time.

  • Metroid: Dread - The big power bomb Nintendo dropped on the viewers of its E3 Direct presentation was none other than the announcement of a brand new 2D Metroid adventure. Metroid: Dread will be the fifth proper installment to the series, as well as the first all new 2D Metroid game in nearly 20 years! Maybe somebody ought to explain to Nintendo that 2D doesn't stand for "2 decades". This long overdue sequel looks to feature some kind of robot character, apparently named EMMI, will coincide with the release of one or more amiibo toys (because why not?), and is supposed to arrive in just one short month! The only thing I'm dreading about this release is the wait.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 - Though we already new about the existence of the as of yet unnamed Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel, Nintendo had a new trailer to show off that revealed a lot more about what we can expect to see in the game, including cloud islands, skydiving, and some of Link's new powers like a super cool-looking ability to apparently phase right through solid objects. This follow-up actually seems like it might be just as good, if not better than its 2017 mega-hit predecessor, though that would admittedly be a very incredible feat. We'll see if the actual game can live up to the trailer when it finally lands, sometime next year.
  • Mario Party Superstars - While I'm not quite as excited about this game as I am the rest of the titles on this list (there have been a fair number of middling Mario Party games over the years), I do have to admit that Mario Party Superstars looks like it could be pretty fun. Featuring online play, 5 fully remade classic maps from the Nintendo 64 installments, as well as 100 different minigames from across the entire series (all of which will thankfully support button controls), this just might be the best Mario Party game yet. I look forward to finding out, when Superstars launches at the end of next month.

  • God of War: Ragnarok - Sony's PlayStation showcase featured several big surprises and offered greater details about a few previously announced games, like the next installment to Santa Monica's God of War series, for instance. Kratos and son are back and apparently waging full on war against the Norse gods. There was one scene in the video clip that was shown of a tense confrontation with a character who is very clearly the god of thunder himself, Thor. I can't wait to wage battle against powerful new foes, and see where the story takes us this time around. God of War: Ragnarok is expected to arrive sometime next year.
  • Gran Turismo 7 - We already knew about GT7 as well, but Sony had a brand new trailer for the game, chock full of various cars, tracks, environments, options, and racing disciplines that Polyphony Digital's latest installment will offer. The trailer also revealed a release date for the excellent-looking title of March 4th, 2022. Considering that release dates for Gran Turismo games have been known to slip in the past, here's hoping this one sticks firmly to the track.
  • Spider-Man 2 - One of the biggest surprises from Sony's event was the revelation that Insomniac is already hard at work on the official proper sequel to Spider-Man. They didn't have too much to show but by the looks (and sound) of the trailer, Venom will definitely make an appearance, as well as possibly Kraven the Hunter. Unfortunately, the title won't be releasing until sometime in 2023 so we have a long ways to go yet. After seeing such an amazing looking trailer, I just don't know if I can hold on that long.
  • Wolverine - In addition to yet another amazing-looking Spider-Man game, Insomniac actually had one other Marvel title to reveal, a brand new game starring the adamantium-clawed berserker, himself. Though very little was shown of the game or the main character (we really only saw said claws), and no release year was even announced yet, it was still enough to get me pumped up and ready to throw cash at whoever I need to in order to play this game as soon as I possibly can. After Insomniac's spectacular success with Spider-Man, I feel pretty confident we can expect very good things from Wolverine.

  • A Plague Tale -Requiem- - Apart from the exclusives there were also games announced at E3 which will be appearing on multiple platforms in the near future. One of the more notable of those shown during the Xbox conference, was a sequel to Asobo's fantastic 2019 period stealth survival game, A Plague Tale -Innocence-. The game will continue the story of Hugo and Amicia in 14th century, plague-ridden, rat-infested Europe. The trailer looked equally fantastic and I'm pretty much dying to get my hands on it, sometime next year.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy - Also officially announced at E3 was yet another game from the Marvel universe, though this one is being brought to us courtesy of Eidos and Square Enix, as opposed to Insomniac and Sony. Guardians of the Galaxy will be a single-player action-adventure title that looks (and sounds) to feature none of the actors from the films, sadly. Also, only Star-Lord will be playable, which is a bit of an odd choice given that the Guardians of the Galaxy are a whole team of popular Marvel heroes. That being said, the gameplay for the title has apparently been inspired by the fairly recent and well-received Deus Ex games, also created by Eidos and Square Enix, so Guardians of the Galaxy may still be well worth checking out all the same. At any rate, I'll certainly have my eye on it when it releases later next month.

Well, that'll do it for my overdue E3/Nintendo Direct & September PlayStation Showcase roundup. Hope you enjoyed the coverage. Let me know what trailers and/or announcements you were most excited for in the comments below.

[Images: Playground Games, Nintendo, Santa Monica, Asobo]

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