Destructoid names its most anticipated games of E3 2021
If there is one thing the summer of 2020 taught me, it’s that I actually really liked going to E3. It’s not a popular opinion to have in the game writer community, and I won’t argue I wasn’t ecstatic to leave every time it ended, but where else could I go to be amongst my peers, shake hands with the developers I admire, and gawk at the ridiculously hot Australian games journalists?
Well, I guess there is PAX…
Anyway, after a year away from the three-day assault on the senses, E3 is back. Sure, it’s gone digital this year, and yes, it doesn’t really seem necessary given how successful most publishers were last year with their streams, but starting next Saturday, gamers around the world can relish the fact that for four straight days, they’ll be treated to massive amounts of overzealous hype and trailers for games that won’t launch until 2023. As we do with every E3, I asked the Destructoid staff to write down their most anticipated games of E3 2021 and the summer of streams.
CJ Andriessen: LEGO City Undercover 2
I actually had to double-check this because I didn’t think it could be true, but did you know it’s been more than two years since we got a new LEGO game? Well, I mean, if you don’t include the ones on Apple Arcade. Anyway, with The Skywalker Saga getting pushed back multiple times, we’re now in the largest gap between LEGO games since LEGO Star Wars: The Original Trilogy came out in 2006.
I’ve been on a LEGO kick as of late with actual LEGO sets. Over the past few weeks, I’ve picked up the Ideas sets for Sesame Street and the apartments from Friends. I also just bought that massive Daily Bugle set, which I actually can’t build because I don’t have room for it anywhere in my apartment. Rediscovering my love of LEGO has made me nostalgic for my favorite LEGO game: LEGO City Undercover.
I’m honestly not a huge fan of LEGO games because the gameplay leans a little too elementary for my liking. But the big, open world of Lego City absolutely grabbed me back on the Wii U. Diving back into my Switch copy, I’ve come to realize this concept still has a lot of potential. With the increased hardware power of the PS5 and Series X|S, I think that potential could be realized. A bigger city, bigger jokes, bigger set pieces, and a bigger array of minifigs and vehicles would all make for one outstanding adventure, and I don’t see any reason why a LEGO City Undercover 2 game couldn’t stand side-by-side with all of its Rated M for Mature open-world competitors. It’s unlikely to happen, but that’s my most anticipated game for E3 2021.
Zoey Handley: Pikmin 4
I have absolutely no reason to believe Pikmin 4 will show up at E3 this year. I’m probably setting myself up for disappointment, but Shigeru Miyamoto himself said as far back as 2016 that the game is almost done. They were just waiting for the right time to release it.
What about now? Now seems like a good time. Last year would have also been rad. Five years ago would have been just fine.
This new entry will obviously focus entirely on everyone’s favorite tiny space person: Brittany. She’ll no doubt be reuniting with the Pikmin to stop a galaxy-wide disaster that threatens to wipe out all fruit. Expect a new crafting mechanic, romance options, and themes of fruit addiction. Listen, I don’t care. I’ve been patient, just give it to me.
Chris Carter: Elden Ring
I feel like I’ve been beating this drum for a few years now, and I guess I have. The George R.R. Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki collaboration is still extremely secretive, and pretty much the only thing we know about it is that “Phil Spencer liked it.”
We have to get some semblance of info this time around right? I mean that’s not exactly how From Software operates (it’s ready when it’s ready), but given the news of the latest potential delay, some form of CGI teaser (perhaps…gameplay?!) would probably help ease the wait.
Chris Moyse: Steelrising
I’m really hoping for some solid gameplay footage from Spiders’ robo-revolution title, Steelrising. I think Spiders has shown a lot of untapped potential with titles such as Greedfall, and I think the studios’ eye for olde tyme worlds and deep adventure — coupled with an amazing concept about a robotic French Revolution — sounds like a winner.
Marie Androidette, historical rewrites, system-smashing, and senate-stomping, all wrapped up in a great-looking, steampunk-style aesthetic? Sign me up. Vive la révolution!
Dan Roemer: Starfield
Bethesda needs a win this generation, and I’m hopeful that Starfield is that potential winner. The company flew high during the 360/PS3 era, scoring critical acclaim and financial success with Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim. Setting financial success aside, you straight-up can’t say the same for this past generation. Although Fallout 4 sold well, it more or less only ever got a lukewarm reception from fans and critics alike.
Now, after dropping the ball right through the floor itself with Fallout 76 and The Elder Scrolls VI still years away — Starfield feels like it has no choice but to succeed. But I think there is also a ton of potential here. It’s a clean slate. They don’t need to abide by an established universe or decades of pre-existing lore to appeal to a hardcore fanbase.
Starfield has a damn good chance to kick this generation off on a high note with a new universe to explore (both literally and in terms of narrative), and I’m excited to learn more about it from E3 this year, hopefully. Plus, who doesn’t love seeing a developer come back from a dud with a great game? And when Bethesda is on their A-game, I’m down to sink endless amounts of hours into whatever they put out.
Eric Van Allen: Splatoon 3
I know most folks are probably excited for another certain Nintendo franchise, and I am too. But with a 2022 window set, I’m eager to see what the Splatoon team has in store for its third installment.
The leap from Splatoon to Splatoon 2 was already pretty big. It had more modes, more weapons, and loftier ambitions. The Octoling Expansion was the height of this: a discrete single-player expansion focused on unique puzzle rooms that pushed Splatoon‘s mechanics in fascinating ways, from playing pool with a sniper rifle to a Sunset Overdrive-alike rail-grinding challenge.
The early gameplay shown in the reveal earlier this year seems to indicate Splatoon 3 headed in a new direction as well. A new setting, and potentially a new format for its single-player, could be in store. I’m really eager to see what changes could come to this squid-kid shooter that’s fast become one of my favorite series on the Switch.
Noelle Warner: Breath of the Wild Sequel
Breath of the Wild is truly one of my favorite games of all time, partially because of how much I love its version of Hyrule. Naturally, I was stoked to hear we were getting another Zelda game. But after discovering we were staying in this version of the series’ mythology? Now you’ve really got my attention.
We got a first look at the game during E3 2019, but things have been fairly quiet since. The announcement trailer teased a few different aspects of the upcoming title, like Ganon’s inevitable return and a darker tone than its predecessor, although any story or gameplay details are still hazy. Personally, I’m most excited to see more Zelda, as it’s implied she’ll be a larger part of the sequel. Plus, her new haircut looks so cute!
Anyway, I’m amped for absolutely any news about this game, but I know Nintendo likes to take its sweet time. If I had to put money on it, I’d say we’d be in for a more in-depth trailer, but no release date, as unfortunate as it sounds. Any news is good news for me though, because this is one of my most anticipated games of the next few years.
Josh Tolentino: Tsukihime Remake
E3, whether in digital or physical form, is absolutely not the kind of place for console makers and big publishers to reveal that they’re publishing a popular Japanese visual novel, this much I know. But wouldn’t it be absolutely rad if it were? Imagine how cool it would be for weebs and otaku if Sony or Microsoft or somebody announced, on the stage or whatever they’re doing in place of a stage, that they’ll be publishing the first-ever localized edition Type-MOON’s upcoming remake of their legendary adventure game Tsukihime. The very notion both makes a lot of sense (Tsukhime, like the Fate series, is more popular than it’s ever been) and is still somehow unthinkable (it’s still hard for me to believe that franchises this outwardly nerdy have achieved such widespread awareness).
And yet, that’s a torch I still wanna carry, just because it’d be great to see these games get some big-stage attention at what is still one of gaming’s flashiest events.
Jonathan Holmes: Bonk for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Barring the PlayStation brand (which doesn’t seem ready to hold hands with Nintendo quite yet), every major home console brand has at least one mascot in Smash Ultimate. From Minecraft’s Steve to Neo Geo’s Terry Bogard, the game’s roster has become a veritable video game history lesson. Pong even made the cut, albeit as an Assist Trophy that isn’t legally bonded to the Atari brand. But still, it’s there, alongside, well, just about everyone.
Except for Bonk.
This little baby-faced bastard was once one of gaming’s biggest names, especially in Japan, where he even managed to give Mario and Sonic a run for their money. The official face of NEC’s PC Engine/Turbografx-16 console, there was a time when Bonk felt like a permanent part of the gaming landscape. Even after NEC left the industry, Bonk persevered in arcades and on the SNES, PS2, Gamecube, and even smartphones. The origin and history of the cartoon caveman’s now-extinct franchise are fascinating, and reading it over has me all the more convinced that he should be in Smash. If you only go by his biggest adventures, you may guess that his move set would be pretty limited, but in later, weirder Bonk games, he can grow, shrink, transform into a crab, an ape, and even a lady!
Smash Ultimate won’t truly deserve to be called “Video games: The Video game” until Bonk “butts in”, and I’m hoping to see that happen at E3 2021.
Jordan Devore: Metroid Prime 4 (or Trilogy on Switch)
I’ve tried to not keep tabs on Metroid Prime 4 ever since the infamous “development update” in which Nintendo explained that it had reexamined and restarted the project. Two years later, are we any closer to seeing the long-time-coming next Metroid Prime?
It doesn’t really feel like it. Especially with the way Nintendo has been staying quiet about its upcoming games until they’re pretty much ready to go. But Chris already called dibs on Elden Ring, Zoey got Pikmin 4, and I genuinely am hopeful. E3 or otherwise, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of Metroid Prime 4 — eventually.
Metroid Prime is one of my all-time favorites — the title screen still works its magic on me today — but my expectations are reasonable. Nothing sky-high. I’d be thrilled with a game that captured the spirit of the first Prime in a way that makes sense for the 2020s if that’s the direction it ends up taking. Or the new game could be totally distinct in a potentially risky way. That would be fine too! Creative risks can work out really well.
The fact that we still don’t know much about Metroid Prime 4 only makes me want it more. In a year full of mostly known quantities that may or may not slip to 2022, that mystery excites me. If all else fails, Nintendo, please bust through the emergency glass and pull out Metroid Prime Trilogy on Switch. That’ll buy you another couple of years in my book.
That’s our list of the most anticipated games of E3 2021. Let us know which games you’re hoping for in the comments below.