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You want to watch the events of E3 2021 (and, y'know, those around it)? We do too! So here's a handy guide to what's happening, when, and the games we're hoping to see. Not everything is locked in, but we'll update this article as we learn more. Please note that all times are in BST, so convert for your local time zone, thanks.
These two showcases are set to reveal a host of indie games, and titles from smaller studios around the world. On June 5, some 28 games are set to be shown, with more following in the second stream a week later. Amongst the anticipated titles are sequels for Ghostrunner and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and a number of other games are already locked in for an appearance, including Hello Neighbor 2, Sable (release date, please?), Chernobylite and many more.
Watch the Guerrilla Collective showcases on their official Twitch channel.
This special showcase is part of the Guerilla Collective line-up for E3 2021, and will focus exclusively on games made by Black developers and featuring Black protagonists. There will be interviews and insights, and first-hand contributions by the profiled talent.
Once again, you can watch this one on the official Guerrilla Collective Twitch channel.
Summer Games Fest doesn't begin and end with one single event - rather, it's a sort of umbrella that covers a range of different showcases, amongst them a TV-focused Netflix stream on June 11. It will kick off with a "spectacular showcase event", though, featuring live music from Weezer and a host of world premiere trailers.
You can watch Summer Games Fest events on The Game Awards YouTube channel.
Bit of rumour control, this one, but we are expecting something from PlayStation around the E3 period, and a State of Play broadcast of some kind could run as soon as June 10 - potentially after the Summer Games Fest kick-off event. It might be that Sony is a no-show until much later in June - but it could also be that we see what's up their sleeves for both PS4 and PS5 before E3 'proper' begins, as they've already stated they won't be active between June 12 and 15. Our prediction is that Sony will have a showcase of some kind, ostensibly as part of Summer Games Fest, and that it will run before June 12. Again, this is completely unconfirmed, so don't set your watch or anything.
Assuming there is a big show at some point, be it a State of Play or an Experience, we should see the first gameplay of the God of War sequel, further details on Horizon Forbidden West and potentially a release date, and an update on Gran Turismo 7. With Deathloop releasing in September 2021 as a timed PlayStation exclusive, it's more likely to show up here than in Bethesda's joint showcase with Xbox (maybe GhostWire: Tokyo, too). While Square Enix has its own show, we could see Final Fantasy 16 in a PlayStation presentation, and the second chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake if it's ready for any sort of reveal. There will be more besides, of course, possibly encompassing titles revealed in February 2021's State of Play, including the PS5-exclusive Forspoken and Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade.
This stream is somewhat shrouded in mystery, with the attached Twitch account called "weknowsomethingudontknow". I like that. No games are guaranteed for a spotlight, but we're hoping for a new Saints Row, a new TimeSplitters, and perhaps even an update on Dead Island 2. Basically, anything that's new and Deep Silver related, this is where it'll be. And naturally, as soon as I write this, Deep Silver has tweeted that Saints Row, TimeSplitters and Dead Island won't feature... But we've been playfully fibbed to before by games publishers.
You can watch Koch Primetime on its official Twitch channel.
Over 75 indie games are expected to feature in this one, which is another showcase falling under the Guerrilla Collective banner. Relaxed experiences are the focus, with Glumberland's life-sim Ooblets one of the best-known and most eagerly-anticipated titles on show - it should finally get a release date, having entered early access in July 2020. The fishing RPG Moonglow Bay is another to look for, and feel exceptionally chilled with.
The Wholesome Games Direct will be watchable at its official YouTube channel.
One of the biggest showcases of this year's E3 season (right, it is more of a season, this year, isn't it?) Ubisoft Forward will present a healthy selection of AAA titles. We're sure to see more from October's Far Cry 6 and the Rainbow Six Siege spin-off game that has been called Parasite and Quarantine in the past, but those are both holding titles and the real name is yet to be made public. The extreme-sports Steep semi-sequel Riders Republic is confirmed for an appearance, too - and Ubisoft tells us there are "some surprises that you won't want to miss".
We're not holding our breath for anything more on Beyond Good & Evil 2 - but could Skull & Bones resurface? In terms of games already out, there will be updates on For Honor, Watch Dogs: Legion, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, The Crew 2 and Trackmania.
So this one is part of IGN's own Summer of Gaming series and, IDK guys, it's a struggle to keep up, isn't it? Anyway, all-new footage of known titles and reveals of completely fresh projects is what's on the cards for the 2021 IGN Expo. We've no confirmed names yet, but with last year's event showing off new gameplay from Borderlands 3 and Yakuza: Like A Dragon, chances are there will be some big guns at this one.
You can watch the IGN Expo on its official YouTube channel.
If you love Borderlands, this is the one for you, as there will be a new game shown off. We already have a pretty good idea of what, but if spoilers aren't your thing, do not click this link. Gearbox is a publisher, too, so expect there to be a few all-new titles revealed at this one. And maybe some Homeworld 3? Is that too much to ask?
Watch this showcase on the studio's official YouTube channel.
Expect the unexpected, is all we can be sure of whenever Devolver Digital (virtually) rolls into town. "The future begins again," they say, teasing a new Hotline Miami game. We say: there will be blood, again.
Watch whatever the hell Devolver delivers this year via the publisher's YouTube channel.
This one might be the biggest of all the events happening over the E3 period. This union of two of the biggest names in modern video gaming - Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax Media was bought by Microsoft in March 2021 - should deliver some properly huge AAA action, with a look at the overhauled Halo Infinite likely to be central to Xbox's own first-party plans. With Bethesda now making games exclusively for Xbox, outside of previous arrangements with other platforms (see: Deathloop, GhostWire: Tokyo), we should expect a very strong slate of titles to encourage on-the-fence gamers to opt for the Xbox Series X over the PlayStation 5.
A focus on what's on its way to Game Pass is sure to be a part of this showcase - but when it comes to specific titles, Bethesda's sci-fi RPG Starfield has to be right up there when it comes to games we desperately want to see. Anything more of The Elder Scrolls VI would be amazing, too. A new game in the Forza series is strongly rumoured to show up, with Mexico suggested as the next Horizon location. Everwild from Rare will no doubt get some more time to shine, and Dishonored makers Arkane are supposedly debuting a vampire-themed title which may or may not be named Omen.
Less likely is anything more on Machines Games' in-development Indiana Jones title - but hey, never say never. That was teased in January, but it might be E3 2022 when we actually see anything of it in motion. Almost certain to feature is Double Fine's Psychonauts 2, the console version(s) of Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Age of Empires 4 could get a release date. Surprises? Yep, there will be some of those, too.
Square Enix's Eidos Montreal studio has confirmed that it'll be showing off something brand new at this one, but exactly what, we're not certain. The studio worked on 2018's Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and collaborated with Crystal Dynamics on last year's Marvel's Avengers. One strong rumour is that Square Enix will reveal a Guardians of the Galaxy game this E3 - so could that be this title? Or perhaps a new Tomb Raider? A Deus Ex reboot? Any of those would be pretty exciting.
Beyond that, Square Enix's showcase remains mostly a mystery outside of what's already been shown before. Final Fantasy? Oh you bet there will be some of that, covering solo games and MMO hits, but exactly what, we don't know yet - and it could be that there's a staggered reveal of a title or two between this showcase and PlayStation's, if PlayStation has one at all. If Forspoken isn't in a Sony show, it'll be here, if it's anywhere.
Some more known quantities to look out for: PlatinumGames' Babylon's Fall; Dontnod's next entry in the Life is Strange series, True Colors; and there will be expansion details for Marvel's Avengers. We might also get confirmation that Nier Replicant is coming to Nintendo Switch here, unless that's being held over for Nintendo's own Direct.
Sure you're spotting a theme here, but you'll be able to watch the reveals from this one on the official Square Enix YouTube channel.
Another from the TBC deck, timing wise (these publishers really are leaving things late, this year - doing our nerves and scheduling confidence no favours whatsoever), here's where we're going to get a good, long, hard look at October's zombie-fest, Back 4 Blood. And we could also see more of the next LEGO Star Wars game, The Skywalker Saga; the Harry Potter-themed RPG Hogwarts Legacy; and maybe, just maybe, a little something from Gotham Knights. None of these three have set release dates, and only the LEGO one could realistically creep into 2021, so it could be that we see none of them. We just don't know for sure. From Chinese studio 24 Entertainment, Naraka: Bladepoint will get some time in the spotlight - and that is set to run earlier than the Warner-specific event, at 5.30pm BST.
Watch this showcase on the official Warner Bros. Games YouTube channel.
This mouthful of a showcase, officially the PC Gamer Presents PC Gaming Show Powered by Intel with MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries (so, let's stick to the PC Gaming Show, yeah?), will feature as many as 39 games and be hosted by Frankie Ward, Mica Burton and Sean 'Day9' Plott. In terms of publishers featured, we've heard that Valve is confirmed for the 90-minute event, and there's stuff scheduled for Orcs Must Die!, Dying Light, the EVE universe, and GeForce Now, among many other PC-centric franchises and brands.
This show will be streamed at the official PC Gamer YouTube channel.
Hosted by The Last of Us series actors Laura Bailey and Troy Baker, the Future Games Show is keeping its reveals under wraps right now, but is promising "some of the most exciting, quirky and anticipated games of 2021 and beyond". While we don't know exact games, yet, there are some publishers confirmed to appear at this one, including SEGA, Team17, Private Division and XSEED Games - and in total, around 40 titles should be featured.
You can watch the Future Games Show on the GamesRadar+ YouTube channel.
One for fans of the more niche games out there, and old-school classics, Limited Run's showcase will feature more than 25 titles that the publisher has picked up for a fresh physical release. The double-pack of Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Ghoul Patrol should be one of these picks, but beyond that? We don't know, but this is always a fun one with some neat surprises - last year, Limited Run's E3 show featured the likes of Castlevania, Star Wars, Shantae and The Secret of Monkey Island.
Watch the Limited Run Showcase on the publisher's official Twitch channel.
Both Take-Two and Capcom are meant to have E3 2021 showcases on June 14, but we're not sure when, so for the sake of saving on word count, we've stuck them together, here. Whatever Capcom presents, it'll be on their official YouTube channel, and will almost certainly involve Street Fighter. We might also see a sequel to Dragon's Dogma, if we're lucky. Dino Crisis? Come on, now...
Okay so a quick update: Capcom will run at 10.30pm, and Take-Two beforehand at 6.15pm.
While there's a lot of talk right now about the so-called Switch Pro, the next iteration of Nintendo's hit home-handheld hybrid console, the company has said that this particular Direct will focus on software only, and that featured titles will mostly be released in 2021. We could see a good portion of its 40-minute run time dedicated to the 2019-teased follow-up to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and there's sure to be something more on July's Skyward Sword remaster.
With 2021 the focus, anything about the next, new Metroid game might miss the cut, but the long-rumoured Metroid Prime: Trilogy release on Switch could become a reality. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is another game not out until next year, but the remakes of Diamond and Pearl are locked in to come out this year, so, surely they'll get some time to shine (ahaha, ha). A total curveball could be PlatinumGames updating us on the state of Bayonetta 3 - though if that makes 2021, I will be amazed.
Splatoon 3 could get another spotlight, after it was the star of the show in February's Direct. Mario Golf: Super Rush is imminent, releasing ten days after this E3 Direct, but it'd be weird if it was missed out. With 2021 marking the 25th anniversary of the Nintendo 64, could there be some activity to celebrate that - perhaps N64 games added to Switch Online? It's also the 35th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda series, so, how about a compilation like the one we got for 3D Mario games? Wind Waker, Ocarina of Time and... Twilight Princess? In a single pack? Yes please.
Watch the Nintendo Direct on the company's official YouTube channel.
Could this be when we get to see something, anything, of the feverishly anticipated Elden Ring? All fans of FromSoftware will be hoping so, as the Bandai Namco-published, George R. R. Martin-written dark-and-gloomy role-player has been silent since its reveal at E3 2019. There will be new things to see from Tales of Arise and Scarlett Nexus, and you can never rule out more anime-based games when it comes to this publisher.
Watch Bandai Namco Next on the publisher's official YouTube channel.
Is that it? Not quite, as there's the E3 Awards Show on June 15 which is said to include a few surprises, and then EA Play happens on July 22. But it's enough - and we'll update this list with specific start times and further details of games to be featured as and when we get it. Happy E3-ing!
Featured Image Credit: Entertainment Software Association
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