The ten biggest surprises of E3 2021


E3 2021 has come to a close, and while it’s not quite the show that it’s been in the years that have passed, there’s still a lot that we were able to appreciate this year.

Granted, some of the showcases – like Capcom’s – were rather dull. Nonetheless there were other shows that more than made up for it, including Microsoft and Nintendo.

What really surprised us this year? What caught us out of left field? Well, it’s time for a recap. In no particular order, here are the ten things that surprised us at this year’s show!

Xbox Game Pass’ immensely growing value

The Xbox Game Pass program – going for about $15 a month with Xbox Live included – was already a phenomenal value before E3. However now, with all the games Microsoft announced, it’s even better. Hits like Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Back 4 Blood and Redfall are day one with releases on the pass, and others, like the near-complete Yakuza saga (no Dead Souls, yet) and Hades are tremendously boosting its value. It’s awesome stuff, and makes Sony’s PlayStation Now look like an also-ran.

Wait, Cruis’n is back?!

It’s been well over a couple of good decades since we’ve seen the Cruis’n series make a comeback. Yet this fall, Raw Thrills will have Cruis’n Blast rip its way to the Nintendo Switch, complete with more tracks, more cars, multiplayer fun and unicorns. What more could you want? Besides a hip theme song, of course.

Kazuya can’t kill Kirby

Tekken’s Kazuya is the latest brawler coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, debuting in a new gameplay trailer later this month. However for now, his teaser has him tossing all sorts of Nintendo characters off a cliff. That said, Kirby manages to survive, because, well, he’s Kirby. So why doesn’t he just eat him?!

The Guardians of the Galaxy have stolen the Avengers’ thunder

Come and get your love! Square Enix and Marvel have teamed up again for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, set to release this October. Despite the fact you only play as Star-Lord, it looks like a lot of fun – and not nearly as complicated as Marvel’s Avengers was. Plus Peter apparently has a thing for tentacles? I guess that’s good news. I think?

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood is getting a U.S. release on TurboDuo

It took about 30 years to happen, but Limited Run Games will finally bring the U.S. version of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood to TurboDuo later this year. This announcement got a lot of fans excited – and for good reason. For those that prefer a more modern release, don’t fret – the game will also be included in Castlevania Requiem for PS4 and PS5 when it goes physical later in 2021.

Holy heck, Elden Ring

Right when fans were asking where the hell Elden Ring was, Bandai Namco delivered with an awesome new trailer, along with tons of details and a January 2022 release date. That’ll give them more than enough time to train for survival, because, boy, are they going to need it.

Metroid returns!

We’re getting a brand new 2D Metroid game for the first time in 19 freakin’ years – and it’s amazing. Mercurysteam is once again behind the game, and it promises a fine mixture of intensity and action, as we’ve come to expect from the series. It drops this October.

The Outer Worlds 2trailer – and it’s specific

A new trailer for The Outer Worlds 2 debuted, confirming that Microsoft and Obsidian Entertainment will continue the saga with a new game. However rather than provide gameplay, it created a cinematic trailer that was incredibly specific. And a lot of fun.

What’s Jack Sparrow doing in Sea of Thieves?

Rare’s pirating adventure Sea of Thieves just got one of the biggest crossovers in history – Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean! With a new adventure set to kick off this month, Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, amongst other crew members, will be ready to set sail. Avast me hearties, yo ho!

Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties is…back?

As part of its huge presentation at E3 this year, Limited Run Games confirmed that it would bring back one of its “most highly requested” games for new platforms – the tremendously awful and hilarious Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties. There’s no word on a release date, but it can’t come out soon enough. Yes, we just damn well said that.

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