E3 2021 was one of the worst in years (Opinion)
(I don’t generally like to be a negative person, and when I do point out complaints in the gaming world in my articles, I try to come armed with solutions or recommendations, so this article may come across a little bit more negative than normal. That being said, I’m not saying it was all bad; there were definitely some nice announcements. But overall, I was really disappointed and I’ll explain why.)
So what the hell was up with E3 this year? Look, I get it. There was and in many parts of the world still may be a pandemic. COVID delayed countless games, affected development on countless projects, and is still the reason this year E3 was an entirely digital event.
A small part of why I think E3 this year was so bad, is that I dont think E3 works as a purely online event. Without big conferences with fun presentors and audience reactions, E3 loses some of it’s magic. There’s no funny “you’re breathtaking” moments. There’s no breakout personalities. There’s no intoxicating audience cheers at that one big reveal. It’s just kind of hollow without all that.
I get it, that’s not the type of event we could have. That’s not why I think this year was awful. If it must be digital only and if it must lack those aspects, so be it.
This year was bad because it just lacked GAMES. They could have made up for it by delivering the game news we came for. Xbox/Bethesda was the only one that I felt came with a “normal E3’s amount of games” and even theirs was a little “meh”.
Here’s just a short list of heavy hitter titles that were a complete no-show at E3 that really should have had something. Plus, many of these titles are only 1-2 years away so they should have at least made an appearance. I mean, just LOOK at what was missing?
Final Fantasy 16
Final Fantasy 7R Part 2
Metroid Prime 4
Ubisoft’s Star Wars Project
Next Assassin’s Creed
Elder Scrolls 6
Bright Memory Infinite
Beyond Good and Evil 2
Skull and Bones
Ghost Wire Tokyo
Dying Light 2
And let’s not even talk about the fact that despite massive leaks and rumors the Nintendo Switch Pro and as a no show.
If the new Switch, and even half of these games showed up for at least some small update, this entire conference would have been drastically better.
The fact that both Square Enix and Ubisoft showed up with so little to show just shocks me. Not even cinematic trailers to keep up hype and remind people about in-devlopment games. It is unlike Ubisoft to show up with seriously only TWO mainstream AAA games. Ubisoft missed an opportunity to at least give us a title for their Star Wars game. And the lack of a new Splinter Cell game has become a meme at this point for Ubisoft. Square Enix didn’t even bring their biggest franchises with no mention of Final Fantasy 16 7 7R2, Nier Automata 2, or Tomb Raider? Really? They also showed up with AAA 1 anticipated title, and two new AAA announcements. Bringing three AAA games to a E3 event? What's worse, is that the games that were present, often were cinematic or short, there was a real lack in deep dives.
The amount of heavy hitters on this not at all definitive list of missing games almost makes me feel like maybe even the developers and publishers weren’t confident in the validity and popularity of a digital only E3. What really made this stand out to me was I am also working on a Most Anticipated Games 2021 and beyond article update for Mid-2021 update to the one I posted at the beginning of the year, and I was waiting to drop it after E3. It was looking at my most anticipated list, and looking at E3 and just seeing how much missing overlap there was. There are so many hotly anticipated games that were just absent from E3, and there seemed much more of the lesser known titles. This felt more like a one off event than the MAIN summer game news cycle event of the year.
Now missing games alone isn’t the only thing, if what we did get had a lot of meat and hype to it which it didnt. Halo Infinite’s showcase was short and small. Starfield was a short non-gameplay teaser. What we did get seemed to have a focus on smaller titles or cinematic trailers. Overall, the publishers needed to look at their E3 lineup and work to fill in the more spartan showcases.