E3 Day 1 (Saturday) • Top 5

Yesterday, we got three big E3 presentations. This was the first day of official E3 events. First, we had Ubisoft Forward — an hour of new games and updates from Ubisoft. Next, the Gearbox Presentation — from the makers of Borderlands. We basically saw a few games we’ve seen this week (Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, Tribes of Midgard) and a movie set visit with Randy Pitchford (CEO) to the Borderlands movie set.

The final showcase I watched last night was the Devolver MaxPass+ Showcase. This is usually the strangest and one of the better E3 showcases. Devolver has published some great games over the past few years (Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, Enter the Gungeon, The Messenger). Any time I see the Devolver Digital logo pop up before a new game trailer I’m instantly paying attention.

Let’s check out my Top Five moments from yesterday’s presentations:

1. Rainbow Six: Extraction

Although I haven’t really played any Rainbow Six games in a couple of years, I still know that these games always feel and play great. Ubisoft has built some great stories in both worlds — Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon. Rainbow Six: Extraction is going to be a little different from the Rainbow Six games of the past. This one will pit its humans in a war with an alien race. Although I haven’t played every Tom Clancy Ubisoft game I would guess that this is the first time they’ve ever gone Sci-Fi with any of the franchises.

Rainbow Six: Extraction sort of sounds like the video game version of the board game Pandemic — where you play as soldiers trying to stop a global alien uprising. This being the first Sci-Fi game in the Tom Clancy universe gives the Ubisoft team a chance to do something special and fresh with the genre.

Rainbow Six: Extraction will be released on September 16, 2021 for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

2. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope

I’m currently working on my second play through of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. Not because I already beat it and wanted to replay it, but instead because I got about halfway through, took a break and when I jumped back in I couldn’t figure it out so I started over.

There are a few things that have me excited for the new Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. It’s nice to see that the team said that they were trying new things with this one. It’s always nice to see a new game evolve and not just go after reproducing the same formula. Sure, the tactical turn-based battles will be the same, but I’m excited to see some new additions.

The world itself seems to be much larger since they are including space and multiple planets. We will be seeing many familiar faces from the first game (both Mario and Rabbid versions of Mario characters), but we’ll also see some new ones on both sides, good and evil.

In Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope the main villain is a gigantic space octopus, Cursa. There are also some new characters, Sparks, a creature created by combining Lumas and Rabbids. The game will also bring in some more accessibility features so players can adjust the difficulty to their liking. In the first game, I almost always use “Easy Mode” in battles. This started because I was replaying through most of the battles. I continued to use “Easy Mode” throughout since I’ve never been great at these type of games.

The trailer for this game was one of the best-looking Mario cutscenes I’ve ever seen. Mario looked great in Odyssey, but Ubisoft is doing an amazing job with these characters. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was the first time we’ve seen a Mario game not developed by Nintendo. I guess it worked out because now Nintendo has given Ubisoft another Mario + Rabbids game. Let’s see who else Nintendo loans their IP to? Cadence of Hyrule was a great non-Nintendo Zelda game. 

Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope will arrive on the Nintendo Switch in 2022.

3. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will be powered by the Snowdrop engine used for Tom Clancy’s The Division I & II. We all know that the world of Pandora was very aesthetically pleasing on film, but how will that translate to the world of video games. Will we see interactive landscapes?

The trailer shows off the world of Pandora, all of its beautiful creatures and the Na’vi before jumping over to the humans preparing for battle. Will the game allow you to choose sides? Human or Na’vi? This game seems to be based on the first movie and the war between the humans vs the Na’vi. Will Sam Worthington reprise his role in the game?

I’m ready to see more of this game and the next movie, Avatar 2. This trailer comes at a time where the world has forgotten about Pandora and the world of Avatar. I think Ubisoft will have to release this game some time near the release of the new movie if they want people to play it.

When the world of Pandora came to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom I thought, why Avatar? It was too late after the first film and the second film was nowhere to be heard of. We know that James Cameron has been hard at work on both Avatar 2 and 3, and I hope we will see something before this year is over — next year at the latest.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will arrive on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S|X, PC, Stadia and Luna some time in 2022.

4. Shadow Warrior 3

Shadow Warrior 3 looks like the type of First-person Shooter I wanted Rage 2 to be. I had no idea there were any Shadow Warrior games already. This game looks like the mindless, fun shooter I always want. Something where I can run around and shoot a bunch of monsters.

Since I’ve first heard of this game a few months ago I can’t wait to give it a try. It’s full of wild weapons, disgusting bad guys, tons of blood and dual weapons. The combination of fast gunplay, quick movement and melee combat is something that I love in FPS games. If Bethesda does decide to take their Doom games off of PlayStation platforms, I’m happy I’ll at least have Shadow Warrior 3.

Shadow Warrior 3 drops on Xbox One, PS4 and PC later this year.

5. Trek to Yomi

This game brings back Ghost of Tsushima vibes, but in a side-scrolling adventure Samurai game. The game has a Kurosawa-inspired black-and-white presentation, which Ghost also had as a filter you can turn on and off in the menu.

Even though it seems like a simple side-scroller, I feel that this game is going to bring some stunning visuals — mainly because it’s exclusive to next-gen consoles. The combat looks like it’s going to feel great, but even in the trailer there are so many great cinematic shots (both in combat and cutscenes).

Trek to Yomi will arrive on PC and Next-Gen consoles (PS5, Xbox Series X|S) in 2022.


Full Ubisoft Forward

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Every year Ubisoft puts together a pretty solid event. The only thing is we usually know half of the announcements coming since Ubisoft turns many of it’s games into yearly or bi-yearly franchises.

We always know that we’re about to get a new Just Dance game update, a Tom Clancy game or two and some Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs or Far Cry. It’s always those unexpected announcements that are the most exciting — Mario + Rabbids, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.

Full Gearbox Softworks Presentation

Although I’m very excited to learn more about Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands in the coming months, they didn’t really share any new information at the Gearbox event. The Game Awards showed the same trailer, and Geoff Keighley had a small exchange with Ashly Burch after the trailer.

I’m guessing Godfall didn’t do so great on PlayStation 5, because this is one of the first games I’ve seen get a backwards upgrade (or downgrade) to the last-gen after being a next-gen launch title.

If all Gearbox wanted to do was share Randy Pitchford’s visit to the Borderlands movie set they could have just edited that into a short YouTube video. I found myself waiting for the “big announcement” but there was none. I guess they announced that they are working on Homeworld 3 with some small stats about the Homeworld franchise.

I don’t know if this presentation was necessary, or if they should have just kept Tiny Tina to themselves as a World Premiere. Tribes of Midgard was another one that could have been premiered there, but instead was re-revealed.

Full Devolver MaxPass+ Showcase

Devolver was definitely my favorite of the E3 presentations yesterday. They always make fun of the games industry, this time with their MaxPass+ (fake subscription service), which allows you to pay full price for your games.

Maybe it’s because Devolver is a publisher that brings so many different types of games to different platforms. I never really know what to expect, but I know there’s going to be some weird stuff in there.


I’m excited for the rest of the E3 presentations, especially today’s Xbox+Bethesda event.
Come back tomorrow for my Top Fives of Sunday, there may be two if the Xbox event needs it’s own Top Five.

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