This past weekend was E3, one of the biggest gaming conventions in the western hemisphere. While many of us were sad that we couldn’t be at the physical convention hall this year there was still plenty to be excited about. It’s easy to see that the one thing Covid hasn’t slowed down in the gaming industry.

We here at GAW wanted to give you run down of a few of our favorite picks from this years convention, so we asked our staff to share their favorites. Here is what they said.

John D.
Chief Operating Officer/Wishes He was actually in CA for E3

E3 this year may have felt a little weird but I still had a lot of fun reporting on/watching it. There were a few surprises that really got me excited. Right off the bat (even though it was ruined by the Washington Post *Cough*), Starfield set the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase on the hype train rails. It may have been only a cinematic but it was something I was very much hoping for.

The other space game that I was actually screaming out loud for was Halo Infinite. This is one of my most anticipated titles right now besides Starfield. They showed a lot off of the new multiplayer and I am pumped!

Square Enix hit us with a new Guardians of the Galaxy game which looks amazing. The single player action is exactly what I wanted for Marvel’s Avengers so I’m very excited for this.

I am kind of a huge Dungeons & Dragons nerd; Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands has very much intrigued my curiosity. If for no other reason then I want to see what a Borderlands D&D campaign would look like. My guess is hilarious and violent.

Then Nintendo came in and gave me a new Smash Bros character that wasn’t sword and sorcery; adding Kazuya from Tekken, which was honestly not someone I was expecting. Also the mention of BotW2 was huge. Many of you who have gotten to know me through the site know I’m a huge fan of 2D Metriodvania games and so Nintendo blew my mind with Metriod: Dread, a return to the 2D and I couldn’t be happier!

Also, real quick shout out to Back 4 Blood. I know zombies are done to (un)death but my friends and I played the absolute crap out of Left 4 Dead and we can not wait for this. I was able to play a lot of the Alpha and I just fell in love all over again. Can’t wait to see what Turtle Rock has in store.

Ok, I promise, I’m done now.

Amanda G.
Community Development Team/Has an E3 Hangover

It had its ups, its downs, but E3 2021 is officially in the books. Honestly, I’m excited for it to return in person next year, but there were still some really great moments to be had this year.

Devolver Digital is ALWAYS a high point with me. The Devolver MaxPass+ was inspired (I even bought the t-shirt), and even though she’s a fictional character GIVE ME MORE NINA STRUTHERS.

I feel like people either really loved or really hated the Gearbox presentation; I for one LOVED hearing and seeing anything I could about Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. Borderlands holds a special place in my gaming history, and I’ve played through the Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep DLC of Borderlands 2 so many times I’ve lost count.

Microsoft really brought it this year – the value they’ve added to GamePass is incredible, and if you have an Xbox, there’s almost no reason NOT to have it. It was just BOOM, here’s a game, and BOOM, here’s another game, BAM, here’s one you haven’t heard of yet, and WAIT, here’s Halo Infinite and it looks baller. And the game they closed the show with? Redfall looks amazing and coming from Arkane, I’m not surprised.

And coming out of nowhere – Guardians of the Galaxy! I’m still singing ‘Holding Out for a Hero’ in my head like there’s no tomorrow. I didn’t think I’d get a lot out of Square’s presentation, but I was so blown away by Guardians I almost didn’t need anything else. But they delivered, giving more Life is Strange content.

In short, video games are cool. Who’s with me?

Allen S.
Editorials and Reviews Manager/Is Sad That He Hasn’t Been To E3

I don’t care what anyone says, games this year diddled me skittles in the best way. Given the circumstances I was surprised with the amount of games we saw showed off in general. Sure a couple of heavy hitters were missing (cries in Hellblade 2 and Boyfriend Dungeon) but Microsoft still came out swinging this year. While Gearbox was like Sheen showing off Ultralord every five minutes with how much they brought up the Borderlands movie, I was pleasantly surprised by Tiny Tina’s Wonderland.

Back 4 Blood continues to be a game that I am looking forward to and thankfully is coming to Xbox One with cross play! At the very least my sister and I can run through the game that way, which is great she hasn’t been excited for a game in so long.

Guardians of The Galaxy blew me away and while I may not be able to stream it because of the sheer amount of copyrighted music in it I am looking forward to playing. I am really glad they made the bold choice to not go with the original actors. I can actually enjoy them with out constantly being reminded about Batista trying to shoehorn his way into the Gears universe, or Pratt being problematic to say the least.

To wrap it up I am very excited to see what happens with Redfall and Atomic Heart. I have been saying for years how bad I want Fatal Frame remasters and the announcement of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Blackwater was a huge win for me.

Nic S.
Senior Staff Writer/Is Not a Hero Like Batman

I’ve re-watched the different showcases a few times since their airing, mostly the Bethesda/Xbox showcase, because there was just so much in it. I haven’t called it yet, but I think this was the best E3 showcase Xbox has produced since joining the industry. There were no lulls, everything was evenly paced, and from it I draw my best in show. To be clear, I am in no way discounting anything else shown. I am excited for all vidya games and the industry as a whole, these are simply most most hyped moments/things I didn’t see coming.

Sea of Thieves had a rocky start all the way back in 2017. I was there for most of it, and it is such a pleasure seeing how far Rare has come with their pirate simulator. That said, while I haven’t played as much as I’d hoped to to this point, I am always intrigued and ready to sail again every time a new trailer or announcement is made. But nothing could have prepared me for the cannonball Rare dropped on Sunday. I had just started a re-watch of the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, so my jaw was on the floor, and shouts were made throughout my apartment when Captain Jack Sparrow graced the screen. It makes so much sense. This collaboration is so perfect the only other one would be if they somehow were able to tie The Goonies in. I can’t wait for June 22nd, it’s going to be a blast.

The Replaced trailer showed me something I knew I must get my hands on from the second it’s eerie, cyberpunk, pixel art graced the screen. I don’t know anything else about it, but the atmosphere and setting alone have me all sorts of intrigued. I absolutely adore pixel art, and pairing it along with high def art in the background/foreground too? Unf, just put it in my veins.

I got the original Slime Rancher as part of Games with Gold on Xbox years ago now, I can’t remember exactly when. I don’t quite remember why I decided to play it, maybe I was in the mood for a farming sim or the like. But what I got was so much more. Slime Rancher is one of those games you get into because of how it looks and plays, but I didn’t expect the tears. Not in a sad way. More like, in a bittersweet, stuff’s-kinda-over, way. Maybe it was nostalgia hitting me full force in the feels, but it came rushing back as soon as I saw Monomi Park’s logo on the screen. Slime Rancher 2, I hope matches and exceeds the standards set by the original. And if you haven’t, Slime Rancher 1 is available in Game Pass, and is cheap elsewhere. Please play it. It is a remarkable game, and I can’t wait to see what the sequel holds.

There’s so many others I wanted to shout out, but these are the standouts, at least for me, and I didn’t even bring up HALO, Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft Flight Simulator, HADES (finally coming to Xbox WOO!), and etc. What a great weekend.

Christopher T.
Staff Writer/E3 needs more Tacos

Honestly coming off of the worldwide pandemic last year, I was not expecting a whole lot from this year’s E3. Fortunately for me, I was quite surprised by several announcements and rumor confirmations that took place over the course of the event.

The first game that had me very interested was Replaced. Replaced is a sidescrolling action game that harkens back to when games were more about being interesting and fun without needing to push photo realism to the max. The fantastic pixel art exudes nostalgia for those like me who began their gaming career on the NES. I am super excited and can’t wait to play Replaced.

Another game I found intriguing was The Ascent. I am a huge fan of isometric role-playing and action games and The Ascent takes the action and dials it to eleven. Being able to player The Ascent solo or cooperatively with friends is a huge draw for me. Though not unique, a story revolving around dystopian corporate overlords hits closer to home after the global events of last year.

Metroid: Dread was by far the biggest surprise of E3. A new 2D sidescrolling Metroid game, sign me up! We’ve had a huge influx of Metroidvania games over the last few generations, but it looks like the game that started the genre is finally improving the formula. Metroid: Dread adds tension with a little bit of horror as they are constantly chased by robots that can immediately destroy the player, somewhat like Mister X from Resident Evil 2 Remake. I just need to finally get my hands on a Switch as Metroid Dread is a game that I will definitely not miss out on.

The final game that I was wanting to hear about was Forza Horizon 5. I was super hyped to finally be able to confirm or dispel the various rumors that had been circulating the internet. The main rumor that players wanted to be confirmed as the location of Forza Horizon 5. Japan was in the running of the rumor mill however the developers revealed the racing scene to be Mexico, which was a huge sigh of relief for players tired of driving on the wrong side of the road. I also get to now reveal my graphical hypocrisy as the developers were using a new rendering technique to achieve almost life-like results. Seriously, Forza Horizon 5 is gorgeous and looks near photo-realistic. For players who may be on the fence when it comes to the Forza series, Forza Horizon 5 will be available on day one on Game Pass, one of the best services to be available on PC and Xbox.

Robin G.
Sr. Staff & Editorial Staff/You out there, Sam Fisher?

This year’s E3 was definitely not your typical Electronic Entertainment Expo that we’ve been used to over the years. Instead of droves of people walking down convention halls and unnecessarily long lineups for street food, the pandemic brought about a  more cautious, isolated event where millions of fans/developers/industry members gathered together online to see what companies had to bring. Considering the pandemic, the exposure of crunch culture and so many other factors, it’s not surprising this wasn’t the most bombastic event ever, but it was still impressive what we saw this year, especially, from Microsoft.

If you know me, you know how insanely excited I am for Starfield, Bethesda Software’s first original IP in 25 years since The Elder Scrolls and the modern iteration of FalloutStarfield leaves the irradiated wastelands and rolling mountains of a fantasy world right into the atmosphere, and into the unknowns of space. The Microsoft/Bethesda show officially revealed the game in what appears to be an in-game trailer and what I’m hoping is a first look at the company’s new engine, Creation Engine 2. Bethesda is one of my favourite developers: they craft worlds I wish I could live in and that’s exactly what I’m hoping for in Starfield. Fun fact: I’ve watched the trailer 20 times since their showcase. We also got an official launch date, November 11th 2022.

Another game I am very excited about is Redfall, Arkane Studios next immersive sim experience ow with a splash of co-op. Arkane Studios are masters of the immersive sim and building sinister, multi-layered worlds that make a regular open-world feel childish and pandering. I have never experienced a world so reactive and dense in detail like Dishnounred, Dishonoured 2 or PREY. Now the team is bringing their trusted formula into Redfall, a co-op open-world immersive sim where players will be fighting hordes of zombies after an unknown experiment that, predictable, went terribly wrong. This game is coming out next year, and we’re also getting Deathloop in September: that’s a lot of Arkane goodness within a year.

Also shout out to Xbox Game Pass: every single game they revealed including Starfield, Redfall, and more are coming to game pass day one!

Other games that caught my eye were ReplacedPlanet of LanaSable and other unique indie games from both the Microsoft show as well as the indie showcase and wholesome games show. We’re entering a world where we’re getting an influx of unique, smaller projects that go beyond the norms of what we expect in a video-game: smaller experiences that more than justify the price of admission. I know I’m very excited for games like Starfield and Redfall, but these smaller games have found a way into my heart as well.

Finally, we have the return of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. next year which looks gorgeous and horrifying in the best ways possible, Battlefield 2042 which is a day 1 buy for me and Breath of the Wild 2 next year, which reminds me to once again actually finish the game.

It’s been 3 years for god’s sake, I really do need to finish Zelda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With these staff’s favorites we can finally take a breath knowing we have some very exciting things headed our way as gamers. E3 is always a blast and hopefully next year we can see some of you there in person.

What are you most excited for? Was there something in our lists that really excited you too or something we left out from E3? Tell us in the comment section below!

About The Author

John D
Chief Operating Officer

John Donadio a.k.a. SomeBeardy2Love is the COO here at GAW. He once had a show that he produced, wrote, and co-hosted called the Wide World of Games, you can probably find it on youtube. He is also a co-host on a podcast called Party Up! John is an Action-Adventurer, platformer, RPGer, and FPS kind of gamer. Quick to play any game that has magic, swordplay, and/or stealthy elements. If you can customize a character he is in it for the long haul or just give me your 2D platform and he's a happy camper. What else do you expect from a gamer with a beard and a bow tie tattoo? Seriously.