• Nate Hermanson

E3 2021: Nintendo saves E3 — but the week of gaming surprises didn't really need it

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

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. E3 may be over, but we've got a few surprises in store in the days to come. Stick around for analysis, awards, and more.


That's a wrap on E3 2021. We made it! VGG had a swell time providing daily coverage on all things E3 this year and we can't believe it's actually done and gone now.


On the final day of E3, we not only bore witness to the latest in Nintendo's masterful Direct presentations, but we got to spend one last quiet evening with a few of our favorite indies. Like the intro says. Six days, hundreds of games, 32 events. And honestly, we came away pretty satisfied with everything that E3 had in store for us this year.


Why is it, then, that the internet seems keen to tear it to shreds as one of the most disappointing in years?

Tekken character Kazuya holds a scared Kirby in one hand, about to drop him over a cliff.
It's me. Trying really hard not to drop the collective Internet Gamer after the amount of frustrating takes I saw online.

We close as we opened, bringing back to memory the haunting year we all just endured in the midst of COVID-19. This virus not only halted our personal lives, locking us indoors and away from family and friends. It also drastically altered the way all businesses operated, especially the creative teams making games.


Almost overnight, the industry was tasked with learning how to craft these intricately designed experiences from home, over the internet, rather than in meeting rooms and tight cubby spaces. They had to shift release schedules, push back promises, and work harder than ever to ensure communities were able to enjoy games when we needed them most.


Keeping that in mind... did y'all not just see Nintendo reveal new titles in the following franchises:

  • Mario Party

  • Advance Wars

  • WarioWare

  • 2D Metroid

Or notice Nintendo blow all of us out of the water with the latest trailer of Breath of the Wild 2? Or view Microsoft serve up a platter of over 30 titles, most of which were brand new and are releasing by the end of the year? Or witness the indie game development scene showcase hundreds of diverse indie titles all coming our way within the next few years?


Sure, there wasn't megaton after megaton like in E3 events of yore — but this was never going to be the same experience as those days past.


And still the game development community found a way, coming together to showcase games of all sizes, across every genre and platform.

A tier list with ranks S through F and the names of E3 presentations scattered throughout each ranking.

Look, I'm not saying no one has a right to be upset. I'm not saying anyone's disappointment in the games we saw (or didn't) is invalid. What I'm saying is: If there were ever a time for us to cut this industry a break, it's now. We're all enduring a year unlike any other, and it requires a mutual compassion for fellow humans who are going through it just the same as we are.


If there was something, anything, that got you excited this week, channel your energy into supporting that and do what you can to uplift the developers behind those releases.


For me, I'm lining up at Nintendo's door and waiting for the new titles in the franchises I listed above. I'm trying indie demos, wishlisting up a storm, and writing about all the games I wish more people knew about and loved.


There's never been a better time to be a fan of games than right now and I will die on this hill.


In an effort to celebrate the best on display during this year's E3, we want everyone who reads this article to shoutout their most hype moment of this year's offerings in the comments. Tell us what left you with mouth agape, reaching for your wallet, scrambling to glimpse a release date.


I'll start:


METAL. SLUG. TACTICS. Who would have thought a franchise dedicated to run n' gun arcade action would translate so naturally to a turn-based tactics game? Go back and watch that trailer. Did you notice that the animated bits were actually reflecting the in-game moments that happened right after? SO NEAT. And in my tiny bit of research afterward, I found out that the game is actually a roguelike with randomized encounters — so, no two playthroughs will be exactly the same? I can play Metal Slug Tactics until I die? NEAT.


No matter what you were wishing for out of E3, we hope there was something that surprised you and, like me, left you rabid for more.

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