While much of E3 2021 stirred overwhelming excitement, plenty of stinkers remained.
E3 spent 2021 finding it’s footing. In a post pandemic world, the powers that be took a trending approach by offering separate “directs” or live video feeds to showcase their respective slate of games. The usual suspects such as Nintendo, Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Square Enix all gave their best sales pitch for games coming in the next 6 – 18 months. Geoff Keighley kicked things off with Summer Game Fest and we were off to the races. While I’ve written plenty about some of the more exciting reveals at this year’s E3, the show certainly had some stinkers. Let me preface by saying disappointments, in general, are based upon expectations. While some readers may not agree with a game I have on this list, I place them here because I had higher aspirations for how these games were shown.
#5 – Starfield
I’ve got Starfield lowest on the list because what they showed did look pretty good… I just expected more from a game that was announced 3 years ago. At E3, 2018 when Todd Howard proudly stated that they had been working on the first all-new Bethesda Games IP in 25 years, I thought that perhaps they would have more to show than what they did at this year’s E3. It was a tantalizingly short look at the world, the art design, and setting. It wasn’t unlike past teases for their big titles, but this time it just felt cheap because we’ve known about the game for over 3 years. I expected to see more. There’s still excitement there for Starfield, I just wish I had something more concrete to be excited about.
#4 – Babylon’s Fall
I’m not sure I can quite put my finger on exactly why Babylon’s Fall felt so disappointing. It was a hodgepodge of things. Maybe it was the fact that (again, going back to expectations) I thought the game was going to be a single player offering more akin to NieR: Automata instead of a 4 player co-op game. Maybe it’s the fact that the footage looked a little…. bad?? It didn’t seem to have that patented Platinum Games fluidity and speed when it comes to the combat. Maybe it was the awful voice acting laced throughout the trailer. Either way, everything concocted together to make a foul brew for me personally. I walked away feeling less pumped about this (timed?) PS5 exclusive.
#3 – Guardians of the Galaxy
Don’t get me wrong, Guardians of the Galaxy looks like quite the romp. I’m just like, “Who asked for this?” I’m a fan of Eidos Montreal (last known for Shadow of the Tomb Raider) but Guardians of the Galaxy is so completely fried at this point. The developers are in a bit of a sticky spot. Similar to big brother, Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal was given a franchise that has gained recent prominence almost completely thanks the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Video games, however, take a long time to make – especially AAA ones. So it seems that they’ve perhaps missed the zeitgeist with this one. Combine this with the fact that the gameplay looks like Marvel’s Avengers 1.5 and it’s not an especially compelling prospect. Hopefully Eidos Montreal can deliver despite my concerns, but I’ve got a skeptical eye on this one.
#2 – Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster
Square Enix why do you keep doing this to us!? Japan’s biggest JRPG house has a knack for getting fans extremely excited only to immediately crush them mere seconds later (we remember you PlayStation Experience, 2014). It’s no secret that Final Fantasy fans have long wanted an ultimate collection of all the classic sprite-based FF games. In a move that is completely dumbfounding, they managed to finally deliver exactly that, but instead sidestepped the very fanbase that has made Final Fantasy what it is today, the console owner. Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster was announced for PC and, you guessed it, mobile devices. Perhaps Square Enix has plans to bring the remaster collection to console, but this is just another idiotic move in a long history of idiotic moves. Square, do better.
#1 – Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
To round out my 4-pack of dunking on Square-Enix (hey, I’ve got high expectations for them!) is Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. The rumored Team Ninja developed high-action game set in the Final Fantasy 1 timeline. The trailer shows off Generic McGenericson and his two homeboys on a quest to kill Chaos – and boy they didn’t let you forget it! I think I heard the word “Chaos” badly voice acted no less than 87 times in the trailer. To it’s credit, the combat looked pretty good and in line with the recent Nioh games (which Team Ninja developed). I just can’t get over this premise and the delivery of the story and how badly they botched the character design. Again, like Guardians of the Galaxy, I hope Team Ninja can crank something worthwhile out the door, but from the looks of this trailer, I can’t help but be disappointed.
That’s (almost) all of what’s got me bummed about E3 2021. There were certainly more games to be excited about than to be disappointed with, but I just couldn’t give these games a clean pass without some criticism. How about you, Deer Reader? Was there any game or announcement that just kinda bummed you out? Let us know in the comments below.