For over two decades, E3 has been the biggest gaming event of any given year, with announcements, first-looks, sneak peeks and cringe-inducing stage presentations popping up so often you could set your watch to them. The excitement and anticipation that builds up in the gaming community before E3 is unlike anything else, which made scratching the show from our collective calendars so disappointing last year. No need for red markers this year though, as E3 is back in 2021 and, despite it being a digital-only event, it’s looking like we’re in for a big one.
With that being said, I need to tell you a little known fact about some of us here at WellPlayed. Sure, we’re video game and pop culture fans, but a select few of us also know our way around a crystal ball. This crack team of future forecasters have recently been hit with some outlandish E3 premonitions and we think it’s only fair that you hear them. You should know that our visions aren’t always 100% accurate, so some of these might sound…unlikely. True, false, or somewhere in between, here are the WellPlayed predictions for E3 2021.
Planning on watching E3 as it happens? You can find all of the conference times right HERE.
“Microsoft Studios presents… A GSC game… In engine footage, a work in progress.”
Cut to rain pouring down, blotting our vision as the first-person camera pans to the sky. Deep thunder cracks and a violent cluster of electricity forks down into the earth.
“Hey, stalker, hurry up and finish,” says the hooded figure sitting opposite us, weather-worn guitar in lap and loaded AK-47 against their log.
We quickly finish our canned sausages and toss the rubbish into the small campfire between us.
Suddenly a bright light starts pulsing from behind the nearby dilapidated apartment block. Our vision shimmers and we hear a low static hum.
“Blyat, anomaly, we need to move!”
Our voiceless character gets up, equips his pistol and attempts to cock it. It jams. It is a piece that has been salvaged in the Zone, exposed to the toxic elements.
“Hey, what was that?” The hooded figure signals to stay still.
A chorus of blood-curdling cries let out, like wolves in distress. Suddenly, a clatter of rubble and detritus spill out from another abandoned complex perhaps a few hundred meters away. A pack of mutants, maybe ten or twelve, bound towards your campfire. Still struggling to cock the aged pistol, our helpful stranger tosses us theirs. Weapons aimed and levelled at the encroaching horde.
Fade to black. We hear the static of a Geiger counter.
“S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. Coming 2022.”
I’m feeling optimistic about Nintendo’s E3 presentation this year, and while I like to temper my expectations, I have a feeling they are going to hit a home run, Switch Pro or no Switch Pro (though I’d really like one). I feel like if it’s going to happen it won’t be long into the presentation.
Now would be a great time to show a few teaser trailers for some of the big games that have been likely COVID AWOL for so long, in particular Breath of the Wild 2 and Metroid Prime 4, maybe even the ever-elusive Pikmin 4. If they’re not in the main prezzo, then one of them has to be the ‘one more thing’. Bayonetta 3 will be absent.
Then, of course, there will be appearances from games we already know about that are coming soon as always. Fingers crossed this is quick as usual.
Square Enix has been giving the Switch a lot of love in the past couple of years and I suspect we might get an announcement of at least two titles from them this year, in addition to another look at ‘Triangle Strategy’.
I’ll be very surprised if there’s no sign of Windwaker and Twilight Princess HD ports, being the anniversary of LOZ and all, but you can never know with Nintendo. If they announce an HD remaster of Minish Cap I’ll need new pants.
Things have been fairly quiet from the Animal Crossing: New Horizons team. I’m hoping Tom Nook may be looking for a cup of coffee and thinks of inviting Brewster to the island in a cute cinematic.
Two Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character reveals, one releasing a few days later and a teaser of one coming later this year. They could really be anyone at this point, but I think Amaterasu from Okami would be sick. While a third fighter pack would be amazing, I think poor Sakurai needs a holiday.
Nothing from Pokemon other than a potential Pokemon Direct announcement for the following week.
An appearance from my favourite pink puffball or green dino would round things out nicely.
After sitting through a dozen full loops of a five-minute pre-roll of different cinematic trailers for Halo Infinite, the Xbox E3 2021 livestream presentation begins. Phil Spencer appears, wearing a t-shirt with a graphic that looks familiar, though he’s too distant for you to place it just yet.
“Welcome to the 2021 Xbox briefing”, Spencer says through his trademark boyish smile. “We’ve been expecting you”.
He continues. “Here at Xbox we’re always looking toward the future and to new opportunities, that’s why we’ve continued to acquire the best and most talented publishers and studios in the industry. But that’s no longer enough.”
The video shifts from a montage of Xbox Game Studios titles to sweeping shots of a number of headquarters of well-known, global corporations.
“That’s why we’ve acquired every video game, film and entertainment studio and every tech business in the world – to bring the best of it all to you, with Xbox”, Spencer announces, taking a pause before stepping closer, the footage behind him pulling out to a satellite view of the Earth that seems to be slowly panning toward a continent that you recognise as your own.
“And why stop there? Why stifle the creativity of our limitless new pool of talent by subjecting them to labour laws, copyright laws, hell any laws. That’s why we’ve decided to run the show ourselves by acquiring every country. All of them.”
The satellite view stops panning and begins to focus in. As the land comes into view and details begin to emerge you realise that this isn’t just the country you live in, it’s your city. It’s your street. It’s your house.
“Oh, and to ensure that you’re enjoying our content, and our content only, we’ve decided it’s not enough just to own the media you consume. We needed to own you”.
Eerily, that last word rings louder than the broadcast you’ve had your attention on this entire time. Almost as if it’s in your very vicinity. You turn, slowly, unsure of what to expect. Phil stands in the corner of the room, watching you.
He’s finally close enough for you to make out his t-shirt. It’s a photo of a father and child enjoying a day at the beach. You recognise the moment instantly as one from your own childhood. Sure enough, the child in the photo is you. The father? Well, I think you know where this is going.
Perfect Dark looks fucking sick, though.
The Ubisoft Forward event is wrapping up. It’s early in the morning, you haven’t had your first coffee yet and maybe the announcement that Riders Republic launching this August (bonus prediction) didn’t tickle you. Your eyes are heavy and you’re longing to go back to bed, so as the livestream fades to black you make movements to exit your chair and return to your sheet-covered comfort. Before you can remove your headset though, a faintly familiar orchestral score begins to swell.
You look back at the black screen, waiting for something to accompany this tune when a light, sweeping from the left to right of the screen, briefly illuminates a metallic object lowering from the top of the frame. The glint from the metal widens your eyes as you easily recognise the pommel of Kyloe Ren’s lightsaber. Darkness falls again.
The light returns, sweeping in the same motion, giving you another glimpse at…a different weapon. This time, the middle portion of Luke Skywalker’s iconic hilt is taking visible for a few short seconds. Once more you’re left in darkness.
The now anticipated flash of light returns in the same manner as before, allowing you to see the emitter of Ahsoka Tano’s original hilt that she wielded during the time of the Clone Wars. Another black screen greats you.
That consistent illumination returns one last time, but far slower than before. Instead of uncovering another weapon belonging to a fan-favourite character, it presents a white saber hilt adorned with intricate golden features, unlike any that you’ve seen before. Without warning the weapon ignites, flaunting an amber blade that’s accompanied by a deep hum. A few seconds later, two small arms extend from either side of the hilt, igniting a crossguard of the same amber hue.
The music reaches its crescendo and the screen goes black one final time before a title appears in the middle of the screen:
Star Wars: Age of the High Republic.
Another year, another E3 and another opportunity for some wild predictions. This time, however, the expo will be slightly different, especially following its COVID-induced hiatus last year. But that’s all irrelevant now as it is time for me to use my clairvoyance to predict exactly what will happen at E3.
We’ll start with the Summer Games Fest. My future seeing abilities can’t really get a grasp here. All I can really see is oldmate Keighley going on about how he really wants to make sure everyone knows his intention to make The Game Awards the equivalent of The Oscars for the gaming industry, and an exasperated sigh can be heard across the world.
For Ubisoft, it must be made abundantly clear that all the games that are shown are strictly not political. Yves Guillemot walks on stage and the lights dim. He spends 10 minutes going on about how Ubisoft has been treating every game they create with extra care, and the boggling down politics within their games is reductive and ignores what games are truly about, ignoring the political messages within them! He slowly walks off stage. The screen on stage goes black and you see riots out the front of Parliament House in Australia. Arguments are raging on and on, with rich people being completely safe from an unknown virus and choosing to willingly gun down the middle and lower class citizens. The words “not political btw” are placed in the bottom right corner of the screen. It’s a prequel to The Division (and unrelated to the free-to-play game, The Division: Heartland), set in Australia. No release date given, but the trailer looks really good so who cares? Oh, and I guess Rainbow Six Extraction was shown off again which was sick.
As for Microsoft, who am I to refute the clearly 100% accurate prediction that Kieron has so wonderfully provided, so I’m not even gonna bother outside of I’m keen for Halo Infinite and another look at that sword they showed in the reveal trailer for Avowed in 2020.
Square Enix will show off a new trailer for Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker and will also announce that positionals have been removed from the game. Final Fantasy VII Remake Part II will be there too as well as FFXVI (that’s a lot of Final Fantasy). Okay cool, I’m happy with that.
Oh, Bandai Namco will show off Elden Ring too and it will make me die with excitement, Nintendo will show off more Pokémon and Capcom will show off lots of Monster Hunter Stories 2. It’s a shame Sony isn’t around this year because this was the year WipEout was going to make a comeback.
This year my predictions are fairly straightforward. First off, I think it’s highly like that we see Asobo Studio announce a sequel to A Plague Tale: Innocence, possibly even at the Xbox showcase, where Phil could even reveal that Xbox has acquired the French studio. After many long years, Ubisoft will finally tease a new Splinter Cell game. Starfield will be revealed as a timed Xbox exclusive (12 months). Dustborn will get a September release date during the Future Games Show. And lastly, Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong will get a new trailer and a new date.
Three quick-fire hopeful predictions: Witchfire gets a fully-fledged gameplay trailer, TimeSplitters is getting a remastered trilogy, and work on In the Valley of the Gods has been resurrected.
And there you have it, WellPlayed’s crystal ball predictions for E3 2021. Would you be keen to see any of these come to fruition? What are your predictions for the event? Let us know.