I truly missed E3. After being cancelled last year, 2021 returned with all the lovely game announcements and surprise reveals that I once cherished as a gaming connoisseur. While my tastes and standards have shifted since 2019, I still viewed the Wholesome Direct, Xbox/Bethesda Showcase, and Nintendo Direct in full, and otherwise kept a pulse on the E3 “hype train” on social media.
So many games… I can barely keep my head on straight (not that I could before). Now that most of the celebration is done and gone, what’s there to look forward to? What games am I, specifically, foaming at the mouth to get my hands on? These are the ten games that I’m most looking forward to post E3 2021.
As a quick note before we begin, this list may include games that were already announced prior to E3 2021 and may not have even been featured during it. Even so, this list will (probably) feature games that are publicly pretty fresh.
10. The Gecko Gods
However unpopular this opinion may be, I prefer when games are a little more offbeat. The swarm of open world games, shooters, and survival co-ops are beginning to provoke the hipster tendencies within me, driving me away from them. Thus the Wholesome Direct became a safe haven, away from the big, corporate, EPIC games from larger corporations. And it was here where I saw a peculiar little game by the name of The Gecko Gods.
To be frank, a lot of my excitement from this game spawns from its similarities to another game. It’s like La Rana, a quaint, student-made game I once looked at years ago, only far more advanced. The picturesque, ancient ruins aesthetic. Controlling a reptile/amphibian. The promise of a lot of platforming and puzzle-solving. A simple, straightforward showcase, though it hits a certain beat for me that harkens back to games of old. Maybe like Gex or something, except you behave more like a gecko, don’t talk, explore one environment, do completely different things… Okay, maybe it’s not like Gex.
Nevertheless, while it likely won’t cause much of a stir in the gaming world, it’s something I’m looking forward to. Growing up on platformers, and being fond of reptiles and history-esque settings, there’s a lot for me to be into with The Gecko Gods. Given its 2022 release date, there will be a bit of a wait before it gets into my hands. I only hope by that point that I’ll still be interested.
9. Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes
I don’t know what a “Suikoden” is, but Eiyuden looks really rad.
This one took me off guard a little bit. When I was tuning in to Xbox’s presentation, I didn’t think I would see something along the lines of Octopath Traveler. Not to say this is much like it; aesthetically, though, it gave off those vibes quite a bit. Gameplay-wise? Something more akin to early 2000’s adventure JRPGs. Basically, I expect Xbox to showcase shooty bang-bang games for aggressive Western audiences, not pixelated anime RPGs (which I like).
Eiyuden specifically, is gonna be a massive wait, however. According to Steam (and the trailer), this isn’t coming out until 2023. It’ll be yeeeeeeeeeears before I can hand Steam my money for this game.
Something about the way the game blends realistic graphics with pixelated characters and environments is super appealing. Not sure how the gameplay will shape up, though it seems turn-based RPG-like. Evokes a lot of the same aura as old-timey JRPGs, which I suppose is the point given it’s a “spiritual successor” to the Suikoden franchise.
8. Button City
This is something I was already following development for. After the Wholesome Direct showed a new trailer stating that this was coming to modern consoles, I was a little more excited.
There is an intensely likable spirit to Button City that I find rare in modern gaming. It’s silly, borderline stupid, and with a charming atmosphere of inclusivity and positivity. Just look at that color shine, those mini-games bounce, those characters animated; such a bouncy, fun game that promises many different turns and moods. Let’s just hope they don’t go a little overboard…
Whatever the case, as mentioned, I’ve been following development of the game for a little while. I happened across a trailer on Twitter maybe a year ago, and have been closely monitoring the official account. Currently, the title is slated for release in Q3 2021, so this is pretty close to coming out. If I seem hard to reach during this time, assume I am living up life in the arcade scene as a low-poly fox dude.
7. River City Girls 2
No trailer for this one yet. That’s how fresh the news is!
River City Girls was a nice little surprise from developer WayForward, announced back in early 2019 or so. Eagerly awaiting the next Shantae game, it seemed like a pleasant buffer to play with before the real thing I wanted by that company came out. As it happens, I ended up liking River City Girls more! Funny how that works out.
And now we’re getting a sequel! Coming out of complete nowhere, the Limited Run Games showcase unveiled that River City Girls was getting a sequel and a (technical) prequel! If you ask me, though, I’m more intrigued by the sequel. What more could they do with the story? What other characters could they bring to the table? I’m certainly looking forward to 2022, when they claim the title will release.
Beat ’em ups aren’t super natural for me, with my earliest memory of playing a game from the genre was the TMNT arcade game at Chuck E. Cheese. Regardless, playing River City Girls was a pretty pleasant surprise, containing not just a protagonist that dabbed as an attack, but an assortment of stupidity that was immensely charming. What could they possibly include in the sequel? The salt sprinkle?
6. Mario Party Superstars
A very pleasant surprise from Nintendo’s E3 Direct. While my thoughts on Super Mario Party were somewhat lackluster, the prospect of taking boards and mini-games from the series’ history and remastering it all for modern consoles is very appealing. A nostalgic cashgrab? Perhaps. Will I buy Mario Party Superstars day one anyway? Perhaps. (Yes.)
Many have been comparing this to the previously released Mario Party: The Top 100. Where that game only had mini-games, this one has 100 mini-games and five boards from the N64 era of Mario Party games. So essentially, it’s a game that properly places context to playing those mini-games, as well as tickling the souls of those who played these games as children. Like me! Even if it is rather simple in nature, Mario Party has always spoken to me on a spiritual level. I cannot escape it.
Admittedly, the appeal to this game may have been in the surprise of its reveal. After Super Mario Party, I figured they would do something to further the franchise. But this is something of a safe prospect, in hindsight. I do like the idea of replaying old Mario Party mini-games/boards in glorious HD graphics, but how long will that carry me? A few weeks after it releases and I buy it day one, I’ll let y’all know.
Now this… this was a very nice reveal.
Calmly watching the Xbox presentation, I was pretty content just passively watching announcements for games I would certainly not play. Some looked neat, some looked quirky; nothing really grabbed me in any significant way. Not until some dreary, heavily stylized pixel game suddenly came onscreen. Dark, broody, and atmospheric, it immediately reminded me of a more realistic Katana Zero.
Not too much is shown in this trailer. Yet with as little detail as provided, I’m still beyond interested in this ambitious indie project. One can immediately sense a very gripping narrative as well as the outright gorgeous animation on display. Replaced came out of complete left-field and now it is gone again, leaving me in a state of disbelief. Releasing in 2022, next year is shaping up to be a very, very, very good year in gaming.
Just earlier today, I found out that the game is coming to Steeeeeeeeam! I am so happy! I don’t have to buy a god damn Xbox for one indie game!
4. Axiom Verge 2
This was something I had known about long before. It was only mentioned briefly during the Limited Run Games presentation, announcing that it would be getting a physical release. As for why I’m looking forward to it… Axiom Verge was amazing. Why would a sequel not be appealing to me?
Prior to drafting this article (and prior to E3 overall), I figured this would rank pretty high on my list of anticipated titles by default. My adoration for the original game ended up being something of a springboard to my initial (and very short) YouTube reviewer career back in 2016. I would link to the article on my blog, but that’s almost like re-opening a scar and looking into past regrets. Afterwards, it re-energized my affinity for indie titles, which still holds true today.
With an original release window of late 2020, Axiom Verge 2 has already been delayed twice, all the way to Q3 2021. So assuming this time it sticks (fingers crossed), it won’t be too much longer before one of my most anticipated games since its announcement in early 2020 finds its way home.
3. Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
In a previous article containing my most anticipated games following an E3 event, this title without a title ranked #1. Years have passed since then, and the lack of any information certainly dulled my excitement surrounding the game. Now, two years after it was first announced, they’ve just now given us a tentative release date and just a snippet of otherworldly gameplay mechanics. They don’t even want to reveal the name in hopes of not spoiling the main gimmick.
To be perfectly frank, the sheer hype behind this project ended up jading me just a little bit. I do like The Legend of Zelda fine as a franchise, though it’s not something I’m generally too crazy about. Breath of the Wild was a fantastic step in revolutionizing the series as a whole and I enjoyed my time with it tremendously. After seeing more footage of what to expect, I’m both more excited… and a little let down.
I really liked the idea of Link and Zelda being sort of a dual-playable team, with each responsible for specific mechanics and quirks. That first trailer gave off some really interesting ideas for how much more they could push the franchise forward. This trailer? See ya, Zelda. Into the pit you go. Just Link. Again. Only this time, you get to fly around in the sky! Whoooooooa! Seems more of an extension of the prior game rather than something more… unique, I suppose.
Then again, it still looks great. More bizarre, more gritty, even. An extension of Breath of the Wild is certainly welcome even if it wasn’t exactly what I wished it would be. With Nintendo “aiming for” (key words) a 2022 release date (probably very late 2022), a little more patience will be necessary.
2. Mario Golf: Super Rush
“Kapodaco. What the fuck is this? Are you really putting Mario Golf over the Breath of the Wild se—” YES, I AM.
I am unapologetically a huge fan of the Mario Golf franchise. I loved doing the mini-golf mini-game as a kid in the original N64 game; Toadstool Tour was a childhood favorite (with a killer soundtrack). Even as an adult, I played the original game on an emulator and, once again, had an absolute blast. I even wrote a post on how it’s way better than Super Smash Bros. I genuinely adore this stupid Mario-skin replica of a boring real-life sport.
When they first unveiled this newest addition to the franchise earlier this year, I was absolutely ecstatic. “A new Mario Golf game?! On the Switch?!?!?” My heart was soaring. I was more hyped about this than I was for… almost anything, frankly. Just a stunning reveal that I did not expect to occur in a million years. The best part? Mario Golf: Super Rush comes out next week. I do not have to wait long before I can golf to my heart’s content… virtually. I want to make it perfectly clear that virtual golf is waaaaaaay better than real-life golf.
However, just now, I looked up the game to confirm when it was announced and I found out that it will feature only four game modes. That… is very disappointing. Let’s see how it shakes out for me.
1. Metroid Dread
I wanted Metroid Prime 4. I didn’t think I would get Metroid Prime 4. In the end, I didn’t.
What were some of your favorite E3 reveals? What are you most looking forward to?
Thank you for your time. Have a great day.