E3 2021 has come to an end, with all the event's major conferences now officially wrapped up.
It's fair to say that the annual gaming convention looked a little different this year than in previous years. E3 2021 was online-only, running from June 12 to June 15, with publishers and developers hosting their own live streams as part of the event.
- Check out our list of the best games of E3 2021
Following the cancelation of E3 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it remained unclear whether E3 2021 would still go ahead in some form. A digital event was set to take place in 2020 but, due to a lack of support, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) decided to scrap the event altogether – with Geoff Keighley's Summer Games Fest taking center stage for gaming announcements instead.
But this year was different and E3 2021 seen an impressive show of support from publishers, with Nintendo, Microsoft and more holding conferences as part of the event. Want to catch up on everything we saw? Read on for all the key announcements from E3 2021.
- New games 2021: game release dates for console and PC
- New PS5 games: upcoming PS5 game release dates
- New Xbox Series X games: upcoming Xbox Series X/S game release dates
- Elden Ring trailer revealed with a January 2022 release date: FromSoftware's enigmatic action RPG finally shows its face.
- Back 4 Blood open beta announced: we won't have to wait long for the Left 4 Dead successor.
- Far Cry 6 villain is 'a hero' says Giancarlo Esposito: the Breaking Bad actor shines some interesting context on his Far Cry 6 character.
- Overwatch 2's fan-favorite characters have a brand-new look: Baptiste and Sombra are treated to some gorgeous new designs.
- Metal Slug Tactics mixes XCOM gameplay with arcade pixel art shooting: get your heavy machine guns loaded for this turn-based spin on the classic SNK series.
- Call of Duty Season 4 kicks off very soon: Warzone will receive a new injection of high octane content soon.
- Death Stranding Director's Cut is coming to PS5: as announced by a cheeky trailer with some not-so-subtle references to Kojima's past works.
- Borderland's Tiny Tina is finally getting her own game: fans of Borderlands 2's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC will want to keep an eye on this one.
- Battlefield 6 is officially called Battlefield 2042: DICE's anticipated shooter returns to a near-future setting.
- The Sims 4 Cottage Living expansion announced: The Sims goes rural with its first foray in countryside living.
- Xbox Game Pass could soon be built into your smart TV: you may no longer need an Xbox console to access its best feature.
- Xbox Series X game drought could soon be over - here's why: Microsoft wants to keep a steady stream of games releasing soon.
- New Xbox console hardware is in the works, confirms Microsoft: Xbox looks to what the future holds after Series X/S.
- Microsoft wants to turn your old laptop into an Xbox Series X console: Cloud gaming could be coming to PC sooner than we thought.
- Xbox Series X games on PC are a hit, as Microsoft throws shade at PS5: Microsoft and Xbox continue to gain traction with consumer-friendly practices.
- Payday 3 and Painkiller are coming – but from a new publisher you’ve never heard of: a new publishing label, Prime Matter, will be taking the reigns.
- Rainbow Six Extraction gets a September 2021 release date: the monster-filled take on the tactical shooter will release this year!
- Confirmed: Far Cry 6 DLC will bring back fan-favorite villains: Far Cry has some great villains, the Far Cry 6 season pass will let you play as them.
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla's new expansion tackles major Viking history battle: the Creed series is making a return trip to France in the age of the Viking.
- Ubisoft and Nintendo are teaming up for another Mario + Rabbids game: the tactical take on Nintendo's mascot hero is headed to space for this sequel.
- Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is the first real surprise of E3 2021: a big-budget Avatar game, hitting consoles and PC just in time for the new films.
- Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game could repeat Avengers’ biggest mistake: we got an early look at the recently announced Guardians of the Galaxy game
- Halo Infinite’s biggest rumor has finally been put to bed: Halo Infinite is set to launch with both a campaign and a multiplayer mode
- Sea of Thieves is getting a crossover with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Captain Jack Sparrow is coming to Sea of Thieves
- Back 4 Blood is coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one: Back 4 Blood is coming to Game Pass, resulting in a hefty saving for those who subscribe to Microsoft’s service
- Starfield gets a November 2022 release date, and isn't coming to PS5: Microsoft finally revealed the release date for sci-fi RPG Starfield at its E3 show
- Age of Empires 4 release date announced for October 2021: we finally know when we'll get our hands on the new Age of Empires
- The best Final Fantasy game is getting a remaster (no, not that one again): Final Fantasy 6 will finally get the treatment it deserves
- Hitman mobile game coming later this year, Square Enix reveals at E3 2021: assassinations, contracts, and more – all on mobile
- Arkane Austin's new game Redfall brings vampires in 2022: Arkane Austin has revealed its new title, Redfall, an immersive open-world co-op shooter
- First Final Fantasy game to be re-imagined in brand new action title: Stranger of Paradise is the story of how Final Fantasy started
- Xbox Mini Fridge release date announced, as Microsoft keeps its promise: yep, an Xbox Mini Fridge is really happening
- Resident Evil Village DLC confirmed – and multiplayer Re:Verse gets a release date: more Resident Evil Village is on the way
- Move over Intel, the new Razer Blade 14 is finally powered by AMD Ryzen: Razer introduced a totally brand-new Razer Blade at E3
- Advance Wars is coming to Nintendo Switch in 3D GBA remake: the classic turn-based title has been remade for Switch
- Breath of the Wild 2 release date is in 2022 – watch the Zelda teaser trailer now: we finally saw Breath of the Wild 2 in action
- WarioWare: Get It Together! brings wacky microgames to Nintendo Switch: Wario and his bonkers brand of microgames are back
- It’s not Metroid Prime 4, but Metroid Dread is the first new 2D entry in 20 years: there's a new 2D Metroid game coming in October
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 trailer - what you may have missed: we dissect the latest Breath of the Wild trailer
E3 2021 conferences
Below, we've rounded up the biggest showcases that took place as part of E3 2021. Here's what we thought of each one:
Warhammer Skulls Showcase - June 3
Games Workshop's annual event, previously called Skulls for the Skull Throne, has been rebranded to Warhammer Skulls. This week-long Warhammer event was kicked off with a showcase live on June 3.
The showcase included 14 big announcements including the reveal of Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters and updates for Total War: Warhammer 3 and Vermintide 2. You can watch the full showcase above.
Indie Live Expo - June 5
The Indie Live Expo took place on June 5 and is Japan's largest indie game festival. This showcase (obviously) focused on indie titles, with 300 games showcased over the stream's nearly six-hour running time. You can catch up on the full showcase above.
Guerrilla Collective Day One - June 5
The Guerrilla Collective is a digital games festival that primarily focuses on indie titles. This was the first of two Guerrilla Collective events, which seen a myriad of announcements on games including Omno, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and Aeon Drive.
This stream was followed by the Black Voices in Gaming stream, which showcased games created by Black developers and titles featuring a Black protagonist.
Battlefield 6 reveal - June 9
EA DICE revealed the new Battlefield, called Battlefield 2042, with an official reveal trailer on June 9. Battlefield 2042 features huge maps, dynamic weather and three multiplayer modes. You can read all about it right here.
Summer Game Fest Kickoff Live! - June 10
Summer Game Fest kicked off on June 10 with the Summer Game Fest: Kickoff Live showcase. The showcase was packed with announcements, trailers and reveals and, while not all of them were particularly awe-inspiring, there were some standouts.
The biggest 'surprise' of the night was the reveal of a full-length Elden Ring trailer, which gave us our best look yet at the collaboration between George R.R. Martin and FromSoftware and a release date: January 21, 2022. Elden Ring looks to be the natural progression of the Dark Souls series, featuring FromSoftware's iconic melee combat while adding in a giant open world and horseback traversal. It will be available on last-gen consoles as well as PS5 and Xbox Series X/S via a free upgrade.
There was also the official announcement of the Borderland's spin-off, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, which is a standalone title based around (you guessed it) Tiny Tina. This standalone title is releasing in early 2022 and has a star-studded cast that includes Andy Samburg and Will Arnett.
Metal Slug Tactics followed up with a gorgeous anime trailer, taking the revered arcade shooter to a turn-based setting. Elsewhere, the newly announced Planet of Lana looked phenomenal, presenting a gorgeous world contrasted with monstrous creatures. We also got the news that a Death Stranding Director's Cut is coming to PS5, with a full reveal to take place "in just a few weeks".
We also heard more about Call of Duty Warzone: Season 4, got a glimpse of Overwatch 2's redesigned characters and Giancarlo Esposito even popped by to taught about his role in Far Cry 6.
Overall, while there wasn't the breadth of big announcements that we hoped for, the Elden Ring reveal more than made up for.
Koch Primetime Gaming Stream - June 11
The Koch Media conference was a bit dull but we knew that would potentially be the case when the company told fans not to expect Metro, Dead Island or Saints Row at its showcase.
Instead, Koch announced a new publishing label: Prime Matter. One of the first games announced for Prime Matter is Payday 3, which will be developed in partnership with Starbreeze Studios.
There aren't any further details for the game at this time except that Payday 3 is being aimed for a 2023 release window on consoles and PC.
IGN Expo - June 11
The IGN Expo featured further details on Gearbox's Tiny Tina's Wonderlands plus exclusive reveals of Doki Doki Literature Club Plus, World War Z: Aftermath, AudioClash: Battle of the Bands, Core Keeper, Bramble: The Mountain King and more.
Guerrilla Collective Day Two - June 12
The second day of Guerrilla Collective featured games including Among Us, Akatori, Aragami 2, BPM: Bullets Per Minute, Demon Turf, Ghostrunner and more.
Wholesome Direct - June 12
As expected, this year's Wholesome Direct was undeniably...well...wholesome. The hour-long showcase featured an update on Ooblets, the release date for Lakes and the announcement of a bunch of new games including Bird Problems, Recolit, Snacko, A Little to the Left and much more.
Ubisoft Forward - June 12
Ubisoft's pre-show event featured updates on live games such as For Honor, Trackmania, The Crew 2, Brawlhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion. But the main event from the publisher offered world premiere gameplay and trailers for Rainbow Six Extraction as well as further details on Far Cry 6. In addition, there was news on Riders Republic and a new Assassin's Creed Valhalla DLC pack.
But the big news was left for the end: Ubisoft showed off a trailer for a gorgeous new Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora game, set in the world of James Cameron's Avatar movies.
Gearbox Entertainment - June 12
It was a relatively quiet showing from Gearbox, letting us see a little bit more from Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, revealing Homeworlds 3 is in the works and showcasing some Godfall DLC.
But the most exciting part of the brief event was a behind the scenes look at the Borderlands movie during the conference - with director Eli Roth and star Kevin Hart talking to Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford about how production on the still-shooting film is going.
Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase - June 13
The Xbox and Bethesda games showcase was packed to the brim with announcements, featured 30 new games (27 of which are coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one).
The showcase brought us the news that Just Cause creators, Avalanche Studios, is working on a new open-world game called Contraband, and that Obsidian is developing Outer Worlds 2 - which will be an Xbox exclusive. In addition, Forza Horizon 5 was revealed, which will see us speeding our way around Mexico when it releases later this year. While Age of Empires 4 finally got an October release date.
But that's not all, we also got the announcement of a new game from Arkane Austin, called Redfall. It’s an open-world co-op shooter coming in "Summer 2022" (so sometime between June and August)
But the biggest news of the showcase was a release date for Starfield. We'll finally get our hands on the sprawling sci-fi RPG on on November 11, 2022 and we even got a look at it in action - spoiler: it looks pretty awesome.
- Xbox and Bethesda at E3 2021: five huge announcements you need to see
Square Enix Presents - June 13
The Square Enix showcase was a bit disappointing, but we did get the announcement of a new Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy game, being developed by Eidos Montreal. In addition, it was announced that a new Hitman game is coming to mobile devices and that Final Fantasy 6 is finally getting the treatment it deserves.
We also got a September release date for Life is Strange Remastered Collection and a closer look at Babylon's Fall.
Warner Bros Games - June 13
The Warner Bros. E3 2021 conference was pretty short and solely focused on Back 4 Blood, specifically Back 4 Blood's PVP Swarm mode. Back 4 Blood's Swarm mode will see teams of four taking turns playing as the Ridden and Cleaners. These are "best of three" matches, with points being gained for how long a team stays alive as the Cleaners - with the playable space shrinking as the match progressing and making survival even harder.
There are a variety of Ridden to choose from, each with their own abilities, including the Retch,who spews acidic vomit, and the Tallboy, who can smash Cleaners like bugs.
PC Gaming Show - June 13
Our friends at PCGamer - once again - put on a fantastic PC Gaming Show, packed to the brim with 39 new trailers, game announcements, and interviews. The show featured some of the best upcoming PC games around including Lemnis Gate, Icarus, Silt and Dying Light 2. Make sure to check out our roundup of the best games of PC Gaming Show 2021.
Future Games Show - June 13
Once again, our friends at GamesRadar+ knocked it out of the park with the Future Games Show, which was packed with over 40 games across all major console and PC platforms, from publishers including SEGA, Private Division, Team17 and more.
The show featured a world premiere trailer for dino-slaying action-adventure Instinction, a closer look at Jurassic World Evolution 2's species, a story trailer for Eldest Souls and gameplay footage of Sonic Colors Ultimate - plus much more.
Take-Two Interactive - June 14
Take-Two Interactive isn't holding a conference or showcase this E3. Instead, the publisher instead held an interactive panel on "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" featuring Jim Huntley, Interactive Media & Games’ Professor and Head of Marketing for USC Games.
The panel followed USC Games and Take-Two’s announcement of the Gerald A. Lawson Endowment Fund, which aims to support Black and Indigenous students in game design and engineering. The panel featured showcase speakers from USC Games, Gay Gaming Professionals, Games For Change, and Girls Make Games and
Capcom - June 14
Capcom's E3 2021 showcase was a bit disappointing but it did give us confirmation that Resident Evil Village DLC is in the way - though what this extra content will involve, or when we'll get our hands on it, remains a mystery. In addition, the showcase revealed that Resident Evil Re:Verse, Capcom's online multiplayer title, will officially release in July (with a solid date TBC), with those who own Resident Evil Village getting the game for free.
We also got a closer look at The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles and Monster Hunter Stories 2 - as well as an update on Street Fighter 5 esports.
Razer - June 14
Razer's E3 2021 conference was pretty impressive, with the company announcing the new Razer Predator 27 monitor, the return of the Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop and the new Razer USB-C 130W GaN Charger.
Nintendo Direct - June 15
Nintendo's 40 minute showing didn't contain as many blockbuster announcements as we may have liked, but we did finally get to see Breath of the Wild 2 in action, and got a vague release date of 2022. Nintendo also announced a new 2D Metroid game, Metroid Dread, which is the first title to be made for a Nintendo home console in 20 years.
Wario is also returning with his brand of bonkers microgames in WarioWare: Get It Together!, and we're also getting a remake of Advance Wars, which originally released on the Game Boy Advance.
Bandai Namco - June 15
The most disappointing of all E3 2021 showcases? While we were hoping that Bandai Namco's E3 showcase would delve into further details on Elden Ring, the event instead focused on The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes.
In fairness, Bandai Namco’s biggest reveal came earlier in the E3 season with Elden Ring at the Summer Game Fest event. But, although horror title House of Ashes (part of the Dark Pictures Anthology) looks like another solid entry in the cinematic horror franchise, we were hoping for more. Where was the live Elden Ring gameplay? An update on the regular publishing partner CD Projekt Red, home of The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077? It was very much the ‘conference’ that Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm warned us about - Bandai Namco was so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should pencil in an E3 event.
E3 2021 Awards Show - June 15/16
The E3 2021 Awards show wrapped up E3 202 and saw editors from IGN, GameSpot, PC Gamer, GamesRadar, IGN China and GameBonfire determining the most anticipated games from the event.
Xbox and Bethesda took home the award for best presentation while Forza Horizon 5 was deemed the most anticipated game from the show overall.
June 16 - 23
Steam Next fest June 16 - June 23
This year's Steam Next Fest featured over 700 free PC demos including Little Witch in the Woods, Death Trash, Bear and Breakfast, Knockout City, My Time at Sandrock and many more.
Xbox Games Showcase Extended - June 17
Microsoft's Extended Xbox Showcase gave us new details on Forza Horizon 5, an update on Hellblade 2 and Psychonauts 2, as well as a deep dive into The Anacrusis and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl. We also got a closer look at Battlefield 2042 and a gameplay reveal for Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life.
What is E3 2021?
The E3 name stands for ‘Electronic Entertainment Expo’, and it’s been running in some form since 1995. Hosted by the Entertainment Software Association, E3 is a three-day convention to celebrate and showcase all things gaming, usually to publicize upcoming games and consoles – with a smattering of panel discussions and keynotes alongside the excitement of the show floor.
E3 2021 was the 26th time the event has been held, with the ESA canceling E3 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But this year, rather than being held as an in-person event at the Los Angeles Convention Center (its home since 2009), E3 2021 was an entirely digital event.
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