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.

Classic Mario Party returns this October to Nintendo Switch with Superstars

Sure, Super Mario Party is an instant hit with Nintendo Switch owners, but there are some players who prefer the classic style of how the series played, instead of requiring touch-screen controls and local players to go up against. Fear not, party goers, for Nintendo has heard your cries!

Today, during Nintendo’s E3 direct, the company revealed Mario Party Superstars, which will debut on the platform on October 29th. Rather than focusing on high-tech features like the previous game, this caters back to the Nintendo 64 era.

As the trailer below details, the game will feature five classic game boards from previous Mario Party titles, as well as over 100 minigames to choose from. Additionally, fans can choose between motion and push-button controls.

It’s also an excellent game when it comes to multiplayer. You can still take on friends locally, or you can hop online and take part in match-ups with people you don’t even know. So even if you’re going at it solo, you’re not stuck playing with just the AI (though that’s still an option in case you prefer it).

This looks like a fun throwback to the Mario Party days of old, so don’t miss out. Besides, it beats paying top-dollar for that copy of Mario Party 7 on the GameCube, doesn’t it…?

Three classic Cave shooters coming to Nintendo Switch

We know there are a lot of you out there that are fans of the bullet hell shoot-em-ups (or shmups, as some refer to them), so there are three legendary Cave games that are sure to strike your fancy this year. You can even enjoy one of them right now.

As part of today’s E3 Nintendo Direct in Japan, Cave confirmed that Mushihimesama, Espgaluda II and Dodonpachi Resurrection will hit the Nintendo Switch. While we’ll have to wait a bit for the latter two to show up, Mushihimesama is already available, going for $19.99.

The games became cult favorites for years on the PC and Xbox 360 front, and were also on mobile for a while. Now that they’re making their way to the Nintendo Switch, a new generation of gamers can enjoy them all over again.

They join the previously announced DeathSmiles games, with both part one and two of that series scheduled to arrive on December 16th. There’s no word on pricing for those two.

So if you enjoy shooters, snatch up Mushihimesama and leave some room for the others!

Cruis’n returns on Nintendo Switch this fall with Blast

The last time we saw anything resembling the Cruis’n franchise on a Nintendo platform was in 2007, when Midway released an absolutely dreadful self-titled effort that was best left forgotten. However, the series will soon make its triumphant return, with 29 tracks to boot.

Cruis’n Blast is based on the 2017 arcade game of the same name, and made by the same team at Raw Thrills. As noted above, it will have five times the tracks of the original release, as well as the ability to race against others in multiplayer. Oh, and you get to race as a unicorn, so there’s that as well.

The game is slated as a “console” exclusive for Switch, which means a PC port could happen in the future. For now, though, Nintendo fans will get to race. The game will feature four-player split-screen multiplayer, as well as the ability to link up to other consoles. No word on online play just yet.

Check out the gameplay footage below and get ready to hit the road this fall!

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 footage revealed, coming in 2022

It’s been roughly two years since Nintendo provided a glimpse of what was to come from the sequel to its best-selling The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Today, however, it revealed some new footage from the upcoming sequel, as well as confirming that it’ll be coming to the console in 2022.

Zelda head Eiji Aonuma introduced the new footage, talking about how the sequel won’t just let you battle through Hyrule, but also in the skies above it. It also introduced glimpses of some new gameplay features for Link, including the ability to recall an enemy’s attack back on them – in this case, rolling a rather large mine back on them. He can also use some teleport-style ability to work his way through platforms, in case he can’t climb his way up to them.

Check out the stunning footage below and get ready, the game is finally coming. (Even if it doesn’t quite have an official name yet…)

Metroid returns to its 2D roots with Dread on Nintendo Switch

With Metroid Prime 4 still very deep in development, it almost felt as if it would be forever before we’d see Samus on the Nintendo Switch. However Nintendo changed that tune with the announcement of Metroid Dread, which will arrive on October 8th.

Initially intended to release back in 2006 as a sequel to Metroid Fusion, the game will finally debut on Switch with a few new gameplay tactics in store, including the ability to turn invisible to robot enemies, who will hunt you over the course of this adventure. Of course, Samus also packs a lot of ammunition, just in case she feels the need for it.

The game will also get a special two-pack of Amiibo, featuring Samus and the E.M.M.I. robot hunter, as well as a special edition, pictured below. We can’t wait to dig into this one.

Check out the trailer and prepare for some holiday…Dread? Yep.

Resident Evil 8 Village DLC is in the works

Capcom’s E3 showcase was lackluster to say the least, mainly because the company didn’t have too much new stuff to show. Not even a Mega Man announcement, man! However at least Resident Evil 8 Village got a little bit of spotlight.

At the start of the showcase, the company confirmed that downloadable content is in the works for the game. When Village was first made, it was a single player experience with a story that had an opening and a close. However, with the game selling millions of copies, it appears that Capcom has changed its tune, and will tell even more of its story. No word yet as to who the DLC will feature, but it’s on the way.

In other news, the company also confirmed that the star-studded multiplayer mode of the game, ReVerse, will finally make its debut next month. Again, a date wasn’t given, but it’s not too far off. Check out the trailer below to get an idea of what you’re in for.

Resident Evil 8 Village is available now for PlayStation consoles, Xbox consoles and PC.

Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties is Returning and We’re Not Sure Why

Limited Run Games had some fairly impressive announcements today – probably the most entertaining for today’s E3 action. However there’s one game that dares to beg the question “Why?!” – and it’s the return of an unlikely cult favorite.

The company announced at the close of its Limited Run Games broadcast that one of “the most requested and anticipated game(s) of ALL TIME” is coming, and it’s…Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties.

For those unfamiliar, this truly awful (and hilarious) 3DO game first released back in 1993, and became the stuff of cult classics with its terrible production value and adult content. Still, it attracted enough of an audience to get interest with modern gamers, and, well, now it’s coming your way.

The game will make its way to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch in physical form, as well as digitally alongside PC. As for when it’ll be released, we’re not sure. Although it probably won’t be long.

Anyway, check out the tweet below, and when you’re done scratching your head, endure everything that is Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties. We…really have no idea. Still, coupled with Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, it is keeping E3 interesting.

Bloodrayne Betrayal getting HD remake for its 10th Anniversary

It appears that WayForward is hard at work on another remake, just in time for the game’s Tenth Anniversary.

Bloodrayne Betrayal, which originally made its debut on consoles and PC back in 2011, is getting the remaster treatment, complete with hand-drawn visuals and awesome, bloody side-scrolling gameplay. For good measure, it’ll also feature new voice acting, including Laura Bailey as the femme fatale and Troy Baker as Kagan.

The game will make its way to Xbox consoles, PlayStation consoles, Nintendo Switch and PC later this year, while a physical version is also in the works for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation systems. You can check out the trailer from Limited Run Games’ Twitter feed below. There’s no word on the game’s physical release date, but it shouldn’t be too far behind the digital version. It’ll be published by Ziggurat, in conjunction with Limited Run.

River City Girls returns with two new games

Limited Run Games’ stream was mostly aimed at talking about physical games coming to the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. However, they did have a couple of surprises in store for fans of Wayforward’s brawlathon, River City Girls.

The company announced that both River City Girls 2 and River City Girls Zero, a retro-themed prequel, will arrive on Xbox platforms, PlayStation platforms, Nintendo Switch. Zero will come first in late 2021, while the sequel won’t debut until 2022.

Here’s a description for each game, straight from the developers:

River City Girls 2

Picking up shortly after the original, River City Girls 2 once again put players in control of Misako and Kyoko — as well as Kunio, Riki, and other characters — as they set out on an all-new beat-’em-up adventure across the mean streets of River City. New moves, new enemies, new recruits, new environments, and the return of an old foe await, along with the same over-the-top sense of humor and adrenaline-pumping combat of its predecessor. The game will also feature two-player co-op action both locally and online.

River City Girls Zero

River City Girls Zero, meanwhile, lets players experience the first time that Misako and Kyoko teamed up with Kunio and Riki to take to the streets in hard-hitting, curb-stomping action. While the graphics, music, and gameplay all remain true to the classic 16-bit Super Famicom release, this version marks the first time the 1994 game will be localized for the West. A new opening cinematic, new manga cutscenes, and new theme song by River City Girls composer Megan McDuffee have been added as well. Set out solo or team up with a friend in local co-op and discover how the River City Girls story began!

Look for more details and gameplay footage soon. In the meantime, if you haven’t checked out the first River City Girls, it’s a must-play. We’ve included the trailer below.