Best Trailers from E3 2021
There were a fair few announcements and reveals at this year’s online E3 event, including some fantastic trailers. Let’s take a look at ten particularly noteworthy trailers from E3 2021.
10. Metroid Dread
Although we didn’t get a trailer for the much anticipated Metroid Prime 4, we did get a look at a new game in the Metroid series coming to the Nintendo Switch this October: Metroid Dread. Dread– a direct sequel to the 2002 Gameboy Advance title Metroid Fusion– was actually an idea that started development in the 2000’s after Fusion with the idea of being a game for the Nintendo DS. Technical restrictions led to its cancellation but it is now coming back and will be the first 2D Metroid instalment since its predecessor Fusion. The trailer shows off some of the side scrolling elements of the game as well as game mechanics, such as protagonist Samus Aran displaying her invisibility and stealth abilities on top of her usual arm blaster and her amazing ability to turn herself into a ball without crushing her bones and internal organs. Samus faces off against robot enemies in Dread and the trailer showed that they are going to be a tough enemy, taking zero damage as she tries to blast them. Metroid Dread looks sure to tide fans over as the wait for Metroid Prime 4 continues, but it also looks amazing in its own right. Metroid Dread is set to be released on October 8th for the Nintendo Switch.
9. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
Rumors of a Guardians of the Galaxy game were confirmed during the Square Enix Presents event at E3 2021 and the trailer shows off some off the well-known characters and their in game designs as well as some of the gameplay. Players take on the role of the one human on the team- Peter Quill/ Star-Lord- as he leads the guardians in battles with various alien bad guys. The trailer is accompanied by Bonnie Tyler’s infamous “Holding out for a Hero”, which is a small glimpse at the importance of music in the game as it acts as a gameplay mechanic in itself. Guardians of the Galaxy is known for its humour and interesting characters and Square Enix’s version looks set to keep these elements whilst establishing a new and unique story for the Guardians. There are glimpses of other characters too such as the empath Mantis, Cosmo the telepathic space dog from the Soviet Space Programme and comic book villainess Lady Hellbender. I also love that Groot is cuddling a giant blue alien llama creature at the end of the trailer for some reason. Bonus points for that. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy will be released for the current and next gen of PlayStation and Xbox and the PC as well as via the Cloud on the Nintendo Switch on October 26th, 2021.
8. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope
The trailer for the next instalment in the Ubisoft and Nintendo crossover series Mario + Rabbids was announced during the Ubisoft Forward at this years E3. The game looks both adorably colourful and cute and also kind of mind boggling as it showed Mario dual wielding a pair of science fiction styled pistols. It’s not something I thought we would see but I am still all for gun toting Mario. Sparks of Hope will be an RPG, turn based game with similar mechanics to that of the 2017 game Mario +Rabbids Kingdom Battle. This time, the game ventures away from the Mushroom Kingdom to focus on all sorts of different worlds. The trailer also introduced a Rabbid version of Rosalina from the Mario games and a super creepy Luma with a Rabbid face. Why did they have to do Luma like that? The trailer makes it onto the list because it could genuinely pass as a snippet from an animated movie. The animation is fantastic and the world and characters are teeming with life because of it. But still, Luma did not deserve this. Mario +Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is due to be released at some point next year, 2022.
7. Planet of Lana
Swedish indie developers Wishfully presented a charming trailer for their cinematic puzzle game Planet of Lana during the Summer Games Fest Kick-off Event. The design of the game is absolutely beautiful- encapsulating the style of a watercolour painting. The character designs that we see- a young girl and her animal companion- are minimalist and work incredibly well with the watercolour art design. Combined with the whimsical music and suggestions at an unknown alien threat- we see various pods of some kind falling from the sky which disrupt the tranquil setting- Planet of Lana looks incredibly promising and fantastical. The trailer definitely stood out to me as it did all the things a trailer should do. It is brief but shows off a bit of the gameplay and doesn’t give away too much of the story, leaving a lot to interpretation. Described as “an off-Earth odyssey”, Planet of Lana is sure to be an indie game to watch when it is released in 2022 for current and next gen Xbox as well as for the PC.
Another upcoming indie game that was one of the best on display at this year’s E3, Replaced is a science fiction game with an 80’s retro vibe thanks to the pixelated art style. This art design gripped me so much when I first watched this. I have seen tons of pixel art based videos, games and art before but I have never seen pixel art combined so naturally with a cinematic style as is shown in the trailer for Replaced. Indie developers Sad Cat Studios are debuting Replaced as their first game and they are off to an impressive start from what we see in the trailer. The various settings all work incredibly with the pixel art, from the trees swaying in the breeze in a desolate forest to the blazing neon lights of a futuristic yet dystopian themed cityscape. Even the gruesome fight scenes and the violent actions of the player character- an AI trapped in the body of a human- look amazing in this art style. It reminded me of Hotline Miami’s violent pixelated action. The visuals of Replaced are what the trailer highlights the most and I’m sure the gameplay and narrative will be equally captivating. Replaced is set to be released in 2022 for current and next gen Xbox and the PC.
Bethesda’s deep dive into the space opera genre finally got a release date with a trailer at E3 2021 which featured some Alpha in-game footage. The trailer promises an adventure that has been “25 years in the making” and whilst Bethesda has had its share of difficulties as of late, (Fallout: 76 was just a disaster on every level), Starfield could be the Bethesda redemption arc that we are all waiting for. Having created two of the largest role playing games in gaming based on a post-apocalyptic world and a high fantasy universe,- the Fallout and Elder Scrolls franchises respectively- travelling to beyond the stars seems like the right course of action for the gaming giant. The trailer is brief but the graphics are pretty damn impressive for in game footage, though it is to be expected from a title coming only to the PC and the next generation of console. We get interior shots of a space ship of some kind as well as a glimpse at a futuristic looking robot and the surface of the planet the ship is on as the pilot of the ship prepares to launch. The launch date of the game appears on the ships console- November 11th 2022- which is actually not that far away when you think about it. It is also a nice throwback to the release dates of the most recent games in their other two massive franchises as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim released on November 11th 2011 whereas Fallout 4 released only a day before hand- November 10th– in 2015. No, I am not counting Fallout: 76 as the most recent Fallout game. Don’t care. Not happening. Seeing as both Fallout and The Elder Scrolls are some of the most immersive RPG’s out there- that continue to be modded by the community to this day- Starfield has potential and a hell of a lot of it. Just, please don’t drop the ball on this one, Bethesda. I am begging you. We are all begging you. Starfield is set for release November 11th, 2022 for the next generation of Xbox console and the PC.
4. The Outer Worlds 2
As much as the video game community can be incredible, there are plenty of reused tropes that can become a bit tedious when it comes to video game announcements and trailers. The trailer for the 2019 sci-fi epic Obsidian- developers of theThe Outer Worlds -takes all of these tropes and completely rips them apart, mocking them in a completely on point and hilarious trailer for their sequel game The Outer Worlds 2. From the constant use of lens flares, pointless slow-mo shots of people running, narration from an old and wise voice and even that WOMP noise that is overused in every single trailer for everything ever, Obsidian do not hold back in their mockery of all the things that game trailers usually take pride in. Obsidian are brutally honest in the trailer, admitting that they have nothing to show- hence why we only see the characters silhouette as they haven’t even been designed yet. However, the narrator does state that there is one thing that is definitely finished: the title of the game. Take your victories where you can. This is the funniest trailer I have seen in a while and it is so on point with every game trailer trope. My favourite moment has to be at the beginning when see some beautiful scenery ruined by a giant monster-because of course. The narrator then says “Will this creature be in the game? No. Say goodbye to it forever.” I could not stop laughing because it is just painfully true. The amount of times we get so many promises of all sorts of cool creatures and things to do in their games only to get literally nothing of what we saw in that first trailer in the actual game. I’m glad that Obsidian were honest about this .That monster did look pretty cool but now I know to manage my expectations. There is no release date for The Outer Worlds 2 but more on the sequel when it is announced (which could be a while as it seems like they have a rather long way to go).
3. Elden Ring
This was the one that so many people were waiting for and it certainly did not disappoint. FromSoftware and Bandai Namco’s Elden Ring has been in the works for a long time but we hadn’t had much of an update since its reveal until the Summer Games Fest that kicked off E3. It concluded with a gameplay trailer for Elden Ring, a game from the developers behind the Dark Souls series and created by Game of Thrones author George R. R Martin and game director Hidetaka Miyazaki. The high fantasy nature of Elden Ring is the highlight of the trailer, showing off a new world of creepy creatures and amazing set pieces. The gameplay exudes a Dark Souls feeling, in that it looks as though you are going to die over and over again in some painfully tough boss battles. But at least you get a noble steed this time to get around a little bit faster. From dragons to glowing swords, monsters to beautiful cathedrals, Elden Ring looks set to bring an all new fantasy world to the action RPG genre and hopefully create a unique and memorable gaming experience. Elden Ring will be released on January 21st, 2022 for PC and the current and next generation of the PlayStation and the Xbox.
I found myself completely engaged and enraptured with this next trailer from indie game developers Jumpship. The game- called Somerville– will be an adventure game as well as a platforming puzzler. Jumpship was co-founded by Dino Patti, who is an established and critically acclaimed game developer. Patti is known for previously co-founding Playdead, the indie studio behind 2016’s Inside and 2010’s Limbo. Patti worked alongside fellow co-founder of Jumpship Chris Olsen, who is the writer and director of this indie game. Somerville has a basic premise: a family- consisting of a mother, father, infant son and the family dog- find themselves in the middle of an apocalyptic alien invasion and must get to safety. Just like Inside and Limbo, dialogue is not used. Instead, the game will rely on the animation and environment to tell the story. Right from the start, the game shows the family dynamics and instantly gives you a sense of the connection between the four characters as the parents and son curl up together on the couch asleep whilst their dog sleeps at their feet as peaceful piano music plays. We then see abandoned cars on a highway followed by the father character traversing various settings- such as an ominous forest with odd, alien like creatures patrolling the background as he sneaks under a log and an underwater area where he swims through dark and dingy crevices. There is also a look at the whole family running as the alien like creatures destroy everything around them. I was riveted from start to finish and I couldn’t help but feel invested in these characters and their safety despite only being briefly introduced to them. That is how you know you have got an incredible trailer. Please do not kill the dog, guys. Please. Somerville will be released in 2022 for the PC and the current and next generation of Xbox.
1. Breath of the Wild 2
Much like Elden Ring, this trailer was one that the gaming community was waiting for with bated breath and following the release of the Breath of the Wild 2 trailer at the end of the Nintendo direct, fans of the series went into the overdrive with fan theories. Most of these revolve around Link and his arm, which- when we compare the new footage with the first teaser we got back in 2019- seems to get badly corrupted by a dark force of some kind. Link looks to have a new arm infused with some kind of Sheikah technology (the tribe who have appeared several times in the Legend of Zelda series) that gives him tons of new abilities such as teleporting through rocks via portals, freezing objects and sending them backwards in time and maybe even flight as we see him falling from a great height at the beginning with his arms outstretched with his new arm clearly on display. There is also a theory that the player will be able to take on the role of Zelda in Breath of the Wild 2– which has never been done before. Link is seen in his original Breath of the Wild outfit in the trailer whilst on the ground and using his glider, but he is also seen with a brand new, rugged and shaggy haired look. This has led some to believe that the Breath of the Wild Link character model is being used as placeholder for Zelda’s character model. This would be awesome if so, seeing as the whole series is named after her but we have only been able to play her in the Super Smash Brothers fighting games. Give my girl some proper playtime, Nintendo. What’s great about this trailer is that it offers questions and gives us a lot to think about and speculate over without giving away too much. On the other hand, it doesn’t give us absolutely nothing. The teaser back in 2019 was great for the same reasons and now- two years later- we are still invested and excited. It is hard to keep up that momentum but when it comes to The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo have once again gotten it right. Breath of the Wild 2 does not have a release date yet- nor does it have an official title- but it is set to be released in 2022 for the Nintendo Switch.