E3 2021: Day One Roundup - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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E3 2021: Day One Roundup

Hannah reports in with all the news from day one of E3 2021.

Ah, E3. Some would say it’s the biggest gaming event of the year. With some of the top developers in the world coming together to showcase the future of their company. But with a global pandemic still raging on, it’s hardly surprising that the conference was cancelled last year and replaced with individual showcases. Thanks to this cancellation, a lot of dev companies realized they could easily go it alone and so when E3 announced its return this year, it was hardly surprising to find that some of the usual faces would not be attending. A few of the independent developers even moved their showcases over to Geoff Keighley’s ‘Summer Games Fest’ which started in the absence of E3. It has made streaming a weekend’s worth of gaming news particularly difficult this year, having to swap back and forth between two separate broadcasts if you don’t want to miss anything.

Well, whether you missed out entirely, or dedicated yourself to one stream, I’ve done the hard work for you, having compiled all of the greatest news from both streams into one handy document. So, kick back, grab a drink and enjoy our E3 Day One highlights.

Guerrilla Collective

Honestly, I was expecting a lot more from this presentation, after a super exciting debut last year that detailed some of my personal favourite indie game releases from the past year, I was all ready to chuck my money at this showcase. Alas, it seems that what’s cool in the indie scene right now if not for me. But, if you’re interested in rogue-like, pixel-art based games then you’re in luck, turns out there’s a ton of them coming out: Archvale, Death Trash and Hunt the Night being the standouts from this category. We did get to see more of Behind the Frame though, a narrative-driven puzzle game with art elements; the style of which is clearly inspired by Studio Ghibli.

Wholesome Direct

Oh my, I love a good wholesome game showcase, and this one was no exception. Highlighting some of the cutest and therapeutic games coming in the near future, this was a full hour of non-stop cuteness, with Beasts of Maravilla Island – a Pokémon Snap style game but with Breath of the Wild graphics. Keywe – A game where you play two kiwi birds working in a post office: Animal labour aside, the art style for this piece is gorgeous. The Outbound Ghost – With Paper Mario style graphics, the RPG-esque game sees you finding you finding out the cause of your own death whilst helping others come to terms with the idea of loss. With Spiritfarer being my surprise stand-out this past year, this theme speaks to me. However, the game I am most excited for from this showcase has to be Pupperazzi; finally, something that allows me to fulfil my dream of taking photos of cute doggos without the fear of strangers calling the police on me…

Ubisoft Forward

Kicking off the official E3 stream, Ubisoft Forward’s pre-show treated us to about half an hour of various walking scenes through some of their biggest franchises, and about half an hour of interesting videos on upcoming game releases and as well as mini documentaries on how Ubisoft are driving Accessibility in videogames, which was cool. As for the actual showcase…eh. Rainbow Six Extraction looks awesome, and this is coming from somebody who doesn’t really care about the Rainbow Six franchise. The idea of fighting off an alien invasion and having the ability to be ‘captured’ by the threat is interesting and new. My only issue with RSE is that you cannot play local co-op. I know local co-op doesn’t really exist anymore. But I feel like rather than trying to push more units, they should be a little bit more inclusive to those of us that don’t really like being verbally abused by strangers over the internet when you’re just trying to enjoy the game. I’ll probably stick to Left 4 Dead for my co-op horde-based game.

We finally got a glimpse at the Assassins Creed: Valhalla roadmap, with a second DLC incoming as well as a ‘Valhalla Discovery Tour’, which enables you to play as ordinary citizens in the time and discover more about the era. Cool idea for anyone who is fascinated by Vikings like I am. We also got to see an extended look at Far Cry 6 as well as a teaser for its season pass. I must be honest here, if what the teaser is suggesting is that we will be able to relive Farcry 3, 4 and 5 as Vaas, Pagan and Joseph then I’m looking at sinking £70 on a game just for its DLC. Probably not a great move…

Finally, as Ubisoft’s encore piece, they announced Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. Um… it looks nice and all and I know James Cameron is trying to create some hype for his incredibly late and unwanted five sequels to the original 2009 film, but was this really how you wanted to end your presentation? It has been rumoured for years that another game was coming, but at this point I think we might have a Duke Nukem situation on our hands. Years of hype build-up with little to no chance of what is released living up to it…

Devolver Digital Showcase

This is a showcase that I look forward to every year, not necessarily because they release good games (which they do) but because every year they put on an over-the-top skit which never fails to make me laugh. This year is no exception. Devolver Max Pass+ enables you to subscribe for free to pay for premium game content. Your free subscription also includes access to purchase your very own Devolver Max Pass+ merchandise, which included a $1000 ‘unfuckablewith tape’: A VHS that they had recorded their showcase on and removed the tab so it could not be recorded over. With only one copy available, this had sold before the segment was even over.

They also announced a few games. Standouts being Phantom Abyss; a massive asynchronous multiplayer game in which you race each other to steal treasure from procedurally generated temples. My personal favourite announcement was Death’s Door, a game in which you play as a Crow Reaper on the hunt for an escaped soul. The art style looks stunning, and you play as a crow, what more could you want?


Gearbox had to final slot for the day, and with Tiny Tina’s Wonderland having already been leaked and subsequently announced during the summer games fest kick-off show, I wasn’t really sure what Randy Pitchford would have for us. Turns out, he wasn’t sure either. We got to learn very little about the Borderlands Movie, although listening to Eli Roth and Ari Arad talk about how excited they were made me excited. Other than that we got to see the same teaser for Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands that we’d already seen, some more Tribes of Midgard footage and then an announcement that Godfall was coming to PS4. Wait, what? This must be the first time in history that any development team have made an E3 announcement to say that they are downgrading one of their games… I know it didn’t sell as well as they wanted it to, but really?

Well, that’s Day One complete. With Xbox & Bethesda, Capcom and Square Enix coming up, I am hoping for some bigger news over the coming days.

Preferring the company of fictional characters to living, breathing people; it should come as no surprise that Hannah is a connoisseur of all things geek. Whilst their body resides in the capital of Wales, their heart resides in Middle-Earth and their mind remains firmly lodged in the memory of that embarrassing thing they did when they were eight.

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