E3 2021: The Definitive Tier List for Day 1 of E3 Weekend
32+ events, six days, hundreds of games, all the hype. E3 week means gaming announcements of all sizes and we're here to help you catch all the news at a glance.
We're in Day 3 of our ongoing E3 coverage, but officially, the events branded as part of the E3 digital experience only just began today.
Pre-E3 events such as Summer Game Fest, Day of the Devs and Tribeca Games Spotlight brought the heat. Others, like Koch Primetime, were... tepid. So, how did Day 1 of official E3 events fare in the lineup of gaming showcases?
Featuring the first major publisher showcase with the Ubisoft Forward event, Devolver Digital's annual acid trip, plus a whole bunch more indies, the day's announcements provided a diverse — and massive — collection to admire.
We here at VGG are trying to mix up the ways we cover the nutty amount of games shown at these events, so instead of giving you a breakdown of every single piece of news revealed at each event, we're breaking out the internet's favorite mode of communication... tier lists.
It's mostly a matter of saving our editor's brain matter — between the Guerrilla Collective and Wholesome Direct we're looking at almost 100+ different games showcased — but it also serves as a testament to the day's wildly different takes on the "livestream gaming news event." So check a look and read on below to get mini-reviews about the day's individual showcases, ranking both the significance of announcements and the personality on display.
F Tier - Gearbox E3 Showcase 2021
Gearbox really doesn't know how to put on a show. There were a ton of expectations when Gearbox Entertainment officially entered the ring as a publisher with their own full-fledged show. With a Borderlands movie in the works and a brand-new title, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, revealed just days prior, the gaming world was excited to see what kinds of surprises could be hidden in an all-out E3 showcase. What we got instead was some incredibly cursed Randy Pitchford content and rebroadcasts of trailers we'd seen all week already. Oof. Shoutouts: Randy Pitchford for harassing movie producers and actors while they're just trying to do their damn jobs.
C Tier - Ubisoft Forward
Ubisoft offers a pretty middle-of-the-road event every year at E3. While they consistently raise their street cred with their patented "one last thing" surprises — this year was no different with the reveal of their long-awaited Avatar game — there seems to be too large a focus on titles getting fairly minor updates. That being said, Ubisoft's dedication to their existing library is admirable and their presentations usually feature one of the most diverse sets of hosts, which is great to see in a weeklong white-guys-in-blazers fest.
Shoutouts: The awe-inspiring natural environments of Riders Republic are tempting for sure. Exploring the motivations of the series' iconic villains in Far Cry 6 "Become the Villains" post-launch DLC will be a fun twist. Also that Avatar game is damn pretty.
B Tier - Future of Play
Future of Play delivered on its promise of a "Toonami-esque 90s anime inspired" showcase in spades. With the help of virtual host, Melios, we were treated to a trip through space that featured over 19 games and updates. It was all incredibly stylized and the games on display fit in perfectly with one another. We'd love to see the show's eventual return be a little longer, with even more of a spotlight on Melios, but this was a brief and polished debut for a hopefully long-running indie showcase.
Shoutouts: Melios and the wildly cool games from Virtuoso Neomedia. After seeing it on stream, I haven't been able to stop thinking about the stylish anime sci-fi badminton game Raddminton. GIMME!
A Tier - Devolver MaxPass+ Showcase
You either hate 'em or love 'em. And it's safe to say we love 'em. Devolver Digital has been taking the piss out of the industry for over four years and they've really refined their style in that time. Things are a little more restrained this time out — which is saying something considering this showcase featured an uninterrupted 20 seconds of chili dog eating — but the industry parody is pitch-perfect all the same. And I mean... video games are good too. All eight of the games shown were their own brand of offbeat-cool.
Shoutout: Out of all the fantastic games we have to highlight: Inscryption, an unsettling roguelite deckbuilder laced with escape room puzzles, and Wizard with a Gun, which looks like a scientific experiment that fuses Enter the Gungeon's DNA with Don't Starve's.
S Tier - Guerrilla Collective 2 and Wholesome Direct
Indies keep winning out this year and it's no competition. Guerrilla Collective 2 and Wholesome Direct featured over 100+ different games between them, and I can say with confidence that 90% of their games piqued my interest. Both events moved at a breakneck pace, but I'm amazed at how well curated the shows were regardless. If there's anything from today that you should just sit down and watch in full, it's these two shows combined (which I've handily linked above).
Shoutout: It's impossible to pick anything out of these to elevate over the others, so this is a shoutout to the folks running both the Guerrilla Collective and Wholesome Games. Thank you for stepping up to make sure indies are properly represented these last few years. It's made a difference and more folks than ever are playing these games. Keep going.
And that's it! Day 3 (or 1) was enjoyable from start to finish, and after just a few days I can definitively say that it's good to have E3 back. The whole of the gaming community is gathered around some amazing games right now and it feels so heartwarming. No matter what happens with E3 next year and despite the chaos it inevitably creates, there's nothing quite like this fantastic and frenzied week. Video games are good, y'all.
Don't forget to visit us on Twitch for live reactions to this week's events. Share the excitement with us at our next stream on June 13th, starting at 10 a.m. PST with the monumental Microsoft/Bethesda E3 Showcase!