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E3 Event Brought Gamers Some Big News — And A Glimpse Of That 'Zelda' Sequel

<em>Tiny Tina's Wonderlands</em> was one of the games players caught a first glimse of at this year's E3.
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands was one of the games players caught a first glimse of at this year's E3.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, finished its last day of presentations yesterday. For the first time in its 26 year history, E3 was an all-virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn't stop the major game companies from delivering some (mostly) electrifying news.

Starting with the Summer Games Fest's Kickoff Live event, audiences caught the first glimpse of developer Gearbox Software's Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, a genial sounding game that appears to anything but; the trailer opens with a dreadlocked warrior blasting a machine gun at a dragon shooting electricity. Starring the voices of Andy Samberg, Wanda Sykes, and Will Arnett, Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is a spin-off of the beloved first-person shooter series Borderlands.

George R.R. Martin is involved with the worldbuilding in <em data-stringify-type="italic">Elden Ring.</em>
/ FromSoftware
George R.R. Martin is involved with the worldbuilding in Elden Ring.

Thursday's pre-E3 show also included a trailer for the highly anticipated Elden Ring, a title that was originally announced at E3 2019. This new fantasy game developed by FromSoftware is particularly unique because it's directed by the legendary Hidetaka Miyazaki, notorious for extremely difficult titles like the Souls series and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Not only is Miyazaki taking the directorial reins, but Geoge R.R. Martin, creator of the Game of Thrones universe, is responsible for the worldbuilding. Needless to say, fans are ecstatic for this new dynamic duo to create something special.

Major Reveals From Ubisoft, Microsoft And Bethesda

E3 proper kicked off with Ubisoft's major reveals with games like Rainbow Six Extraction and Far Cry 6 attracting attention from gamers across multiple consoles. The latter's 2020 trailer showcased a first look at the bone-chilling performance by Giancarlo Esposito (he's really got a knack for playing the villain) while the E3 trailers introduced more characters.

More surprising, however, was a first look at Ubisoft's new game Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, based on James Cameron's 2009 blockbuster Avatar. Long-awaited sequels are set for 2022 and 2024; the new game, also arriving in 2022, will be an intriguing addition to the Avatar dynasty — but will it attract the same attention as the $2.8 billion box office hit?

It wasn't just Ubisoft that made substantial broadcasts. Microsoft and Bethesda burst into E3 much like the ghastly vampires in their upcoming game Redfall, a new shooter developed by Arkane Studios. Up to four people can play cooperatively in the game's open world. It looks violent, spooky, and fun as hell — and it's been getting praise on social media for its diverse group of heroes.

<em></em>Up to four people can play cooperatively in the zombie shooter <em>Redfall.</em>
/ Bethesda
Up to four people can play cooperatively in the zombie shooter Redfall.

The two companies also revealed a game that is allegedly "25 years in the making," according to the trailer. Starfield, slated for a 2022 release, appears to be a beautiful concoction of Star Wars and Skyrim, a space RPG with vast worlds, characters, and mystery. Unfortunately, if you're a PlayStation stalwart, you won't be able to check it out; Microsoft's purchase of Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax Media last year means most Bethesda games going forward (including the aforementioned Redfall) will be Xbox and PC only.

So along with titles like Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Replaced, and Twelve Minutes, Xbox and PC players have a lot to look forward to. And while not exclusive to Xbox, comic and movie fans can look forward to the new Guardians of the Galaxy game coming to all major consoles in fall 2021.

Monday's E3 was rather muted compared to the previous days. It included updates surrounding Resident Evil Village's new DLC, a 45-minute Verizon 5G ad, and a rather uneventful Indie Showcase. And while impatient indie fans already knew that developers Team Cherry wouldn't be making announcements about their upcoming game Hollow Knight: Silksong, it was still tough to see the Indie Showcase come and go without a shred of new information from the Australian developers.

Nintendo Confirms Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel

The show ended with far more excitement: Tuesday's showcase featured news that fans have been waiting for since June 2019 as Nintendo unveiled a new trailer for the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It featured everything a player might want from a Breath of the Wild trailer — exciting new weapons and abilities, new enemies and incredibly beautiful views of Hyrule. Perhaps Nintendo is planning to reveal the heavily-rumored Nintendo Switch Pro, which would do a better job running Breath of the Wild than the current Switch.

Nintendo often gets flack for ignoring its more popular series (hello, Animal Crossing), but with the new Metroid Dread broadcast, and confirmation that they're making progress on Metroid Prime 4, fans of the series can finally see a glimmer of hope. The new 2-D Metroid game looks just as challenging and tense as the ones released almost 20 years earlier. Recently, I've been thinking about the 2-D Metroid games that were released for Game Boy Advance, like Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission. I played them growing up, and seeing Nintendo announce a brand new one felt fated. When I think of those games, I think about what an incredible blueprint they are for 2-D games, and how I hope this new game (with an exciting new trailer) will continue paving the way for platformers to come.

Nintendo also announced the arrival of a new WarioWare, Super Monkey Ball, and Mario Party.

E3 is still considered a vital trade show for the industry, but its support has been dwindling over the past couple years. Even Sony, one of the largest AAA studios, doesn't make an appearance at E3, instead opting for their own gaming showcase, State of Play.

Even so, this year's show came with a torrent of information, some major, some not. Xbox and PlayStation both have noteworthy exclusives coming within the next year or so, and Nintendo piled on new details regarding some of its beloved series. Despite the waning attendance, fans will be looking ahead to the next round of development announcements, itching for more content from their favorite creators.

Keller Gordon is a columnist for Join The Game. Find him on Twitter: @kelbot_

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Keller Gordon