E3 2021: 10 Games We Loved

Now that the dust has settled on E3 2021, we thought we’d round up some of our own personal highlights of new game reveals that appeared during the show. Each and every game featured in this list was showcased in some form during E3, whether that means it’s inclusion in one of the publisher showcases or one of the digital events happening at the same time.
We’ll also be releasing an E3 special of The Lag next week, where Olly, Alex and our new staff writer Daisy will be reflecting on the show and discussing some of their own personal favourite bits of the event.
Developer Turtle Rock Studios
Publisher Warner Bros. Games
Platforms PC, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Release Oct 12, 2021
Left 4 Dead was a timeless co-op experience that still flourishes even 13 years after its original release. Turtle Rock Studios is finally making a spiritual follow-up to that game that features the same familiar co-op action that made the original so compelling. It has all the same stuff you would expect: fluid co-operative mechanics, a diverse cast of enemies and unique characters with their own personalities and fun voice lines. While it will have to do a lot of heavy lifting to stand strong on its own against its predecessors, there’s a lot about Back 4 Blood that’s already telling us it’ll be a great experience.
Developer FromSoftware
Publisher Bandai Namco
Platforms PC, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Release Jan 21, 2022
The next big outing of FromSoftware features a writing collaboration between Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R. R. Martin. Elden Ring was announced years ago but we didn’t really get to see much of it until this E3. While it’s still designed to be challenging, Miyazaki also intends for it to be accessible to more people and therefore won’t be as difficult as previous FromSoftware titles such as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice or Dark Souls. More importantly, it also has a big open world with non-linear exploration, horseback riding and other new gameplay mechanics. It’s exciting to us, as are all new FromSoftware releases, that the series seems to be shaking up the Soulslike formula once again.
Developer Gamious
Publisher Whitethorn Digital
Platforms PC, Xbox Series X|S
Release Sep 01, 2021
Lake is a peaceful game where you play as Meredith, who is taking a break from her busy city job and spending time in her countryside hometown of Providence Oaks. She takes a job as a postwoman, doing daily routes around the town ensuring its residents can get their parcels and letters on time. We’ve played the demo for this and are impressed with what we’ve seen so far. Being able to do this kind of busywork against a zen-like backdrop may just be the right balance for something that can be therapeutic (and NG+’s own Abbi Ruggles may find pleasing).
Developer Two Point Studios
Publisher SEGA
Platforms PC, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Release 2022
2018’s Two Point Hospital was the perfect jumping off point for a whole series of games set in the quirky Two Point County. Not only did it acquaint us with a familiar concept, it being a spiritual successor to the classic Theme Hospital, but it then did a splendid amount of worldbuilding which made the county feel like it could be a real place, allowing management games of different themes to take place here. Two Point Campus is the next title of this type, switching the vibe from medical to educational as you build your own university and manage its many aspects. There are so many possibilities that Two Point Studios could take this series.
Developer Playground Games
Publisher Xbox Game Studios
Platforms PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
Release Nov 09, 2021
Forza Horizon 5 takes the series to Mexico, where you can explore a vibrant, ever-evolving open world with a massive variety in locales as you drive around the country and seek out hotspots to feature in the Horizon Festival. The game was front-and-centre in the Xbox showcase, and while Playground Games didn’t go into too much detail regarding new features, it did say there was a bigger focus on single-player story while they were also expanding the multiplayer features. If it’s half as good as Horizon 4, we’ll be really impressed.
Developer MercurySteam
Publisher Nintendo
Platforms Nintendo Switch
Release Oct 08, 2021
Not many people were counting on there being a new 2D Metroid game in 2021, but lo-and-behold Nintendo has graced us with a return to the popular action-adventure series. This one takes place on the planet ZDR, where series lead Samus has been sent to investigate a mysterious transmission that indicates a lethal parasite thought to be extinct may actually still be a threat to the galaxy. It’s been nearly 20 years since the last 2D Metroid game, and so it’s understandable why Metroid Dread’s announcement shook fans with its sudden appearance during the Nintendo Direct. It may well be one of the most exciting titles Nintendo has announced for the Switch.
Developer Silver Lining Studio
Publisher Akupara Games
Platforms PC, iOS, Android
Release Coming Soon
There’s really no other way to put it but Behind the Frame just looks lovely. It’s a vivid, interactive fiction where you play as an artist on the cusp of finishing her magnum opus. Using the paintbrush, it’s up to you to bring these paintings to life with a very simple point-and-click control scheme. The art style in particular is very moving, with character designs and an overall vibe that matches those of Studio Ghibli films, and a pace that sounds like it’ll be the perfect chill afternoon game.
Developer Okomotive
Publisher Frontier Foundry
Platforms PC, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Release Coming Soon
The first FAR game was an interesting experience that managed to find the right balance between meditative adventure game and intense management sim. FAR: Changing Tides looks to be doubling down on that promise of making the post-apocalypse adventure thrilling, but expands with higher highs, lower lows, and a much bigger scope overall. FAR: Lone Sails was a simple premise but managed to take itself in really unique directions, and it’ll be interesting to see how its sequel can live up to that.
Developer Haunted PS1 Demo Disc
Publisher Haunted PS1 Demo Disc
Platforms PC
Release Out Now
Okay, so technically Walk is already out as it is featured as part of the larger Haunted PS1 Demo Disc 2021 collection, but we really wanted to feature this one here. It’s set in a Japanese town where you play as a little girl being stalked by a strange shadowy creature. The game seems to use real images of a town with the rendered player character and stalker enemy imposed over it, creating this strange found-footage style effect with the distorted audio and electrostatic visual effects. You can download it now as part of the larger Haunted PS1 Demo Disc collection, which is an absolute must for any horror game fan.
Developer Arkane Studios
Publisher Bethesda Softworks
Platforms PC, Xbox Series X|S
Release 2022
Redfall may still be a few years out, but there’s no denying it stole the show at the end of the Xbox E3 conference. Knowing the absolute mastery that Arkane puts behind its worlds, characters and game design, it was pretty obvious you don’t need to show more than a simple CG trailer to get people hyped. While details are still bare, it looks like Redfall will be continuing that same legacy, using the trademark Arkane complex yet flexible level design combined with its interesting combination of systems. The addition of multiplayer, as Arkane is also doing in its other upcoming game Deathloop, is certainly going to make or break the idea of what immersive sims can achieve once they release.

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