Well, that’s another year done and dusted. E3 2021 has officially drawn its curtain, and the stage has once again been swept of all its appeal. New trailers have surfaced over the globe, and pockets are surely getting lighter with the waves of pre-orders sweeping the market. Of course, it comes as no surprise that the likes of Far Cry 6 and Battlefield 2042 will most definitely hoard the lions share by year’s end. And in ways, that’s a real shame, considering E3 also posted a collection of underdog hits that won’t even reach the same spectrum.
We’ve been hawking over the expo for the last six days, scribbling titles into notebooks as they struggle to make any form of concrete connection with us. And as expected, many of the passing trailers did go on to pique our interest. Only, it wasn’t the likes of Far Cry 6, or even Battlefield 2042 and Microsoft’s mouth-watering portfolio. No, it was all down to a few hidden gems that happened to creep up on us when we least expected it. It’s those that we were eager to jot down and pin on our calendars for the forthcoming year. Having said all that, it’s probably best we just run it from the top.
5. Twelve Minutes
The moment we clocked Willem Dafoe bolted to the game roster, we suddenly felt an alluring sense of intrigue wallowing in the back of our minds. Puzzled, we pondered over the top-down title, Twelve Minutes, half expecting it to be just another desperate attempt at pioneering an original story. But it wasn’t anything like that. It wasn’t anything bad, nor was it something we drew away from as it continued to unravel its events. It was, strangely enough — a genuinely compelling preview that had us hooked for the long haul.
Using mystery and rash decision making to bolster the plotline, Twelve Minutes works around the player and the choices one makes to set the stage for the climax. By using various dialogue options, actions and patterns, the story ultimately draws to one of the many outcomes that the game has to share. Of course, there’s plenty more to it than that — but we’ll have to wait until the needle drops.
Twelve Minutes comes to Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC on August 19th.
From the minds that forged Limbo and Inside comes Somerville, the next entry to the dark and daunting volley of worlds. Of course, going off of reputation from the previous two titles alone, this one needs no form of introduction to set the hype into maximum overdrive. In fact, we’re pretty confident the upcoming Somerville will be just as spectacular as the earlier works. That being said, with the similarities pushed aside, this will actually be indie studio Jumpship’s first official release.
Although stemming from the dismal environments that housed both Limbo and Inside, Somerville will be a brand new adventure with a whole lot more to boot than references and rehashed content. But as far as a story goes, well — we haven’t been given a whole lot just yet. However, from what we’ve seen so far, Somerville will revolve around a family during a post-apocalyptic scenario, with the player assuming the roles of father, mother and son on a desperate quest to find safety outside the tattered remains of civilization.
Somerville will release on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC in 2022.
3. A Plague Tale: Requiem
Well, this was a nice surprise. In fact, Asobo Studio kept this one under wraps so remarkably well, that even the producers didn’t know what to expect when the announcement hit the E3 floor. But while it was quite a shocker of a reveal — it was still a welcoming one that we were eager to embrace like an old friend. At long last, A Plague Tale is back, and it is looking rather beautiful, if we do say so ourselves, of course.
Raising the bar for the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase, Asobo Studio presented A Plague Tale: Requiem with one of the heck of a premiere. Although shedding little to no light on the storyline, fans were able to get the gist of the structure, with Amicia and Hugo de Rune reprising their roles as sibling heroes in the 14th-century rat-infested French countryside. And, to be fair, that’s sort of all we needed to have our interests piqued. Well played, Asobo.
A Plague Tale: Requiem comes to Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5 and PC in 2022.
2. Psychonauts 2
It’s been fifteen years since we’ve seen a major Psychonauts entry on Xbox. Since then, we might’ve badgered Double Fine Productions a few times over a sequel or two, as well as a potential spin-off to bolster them. However, left in the dark and without a bone to gnaw at, Double Fine refused to play ball and allowed for the franchise to dwindle through to the backburner. Until 2015, of course. That’s when the light was finally shed on a sequel at The Game Awards showcase. Did we expect it? No. Were we glad? Absolutely.
Prior to Psychonauts 2 coming to E3 this year, Double Fine did resurrect the series for the standalone VR adventure, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin, which was generally well-received by the community. Following on from that, Double Fine ramped up the production on the long-awaited sequel, with a pinned launch date littered within 2021. Finally.
Psychonauts 2 comes to Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC on August 25th 2021.
1. Atomic Heart
Of all the games Xbox teased at the E3 showcase, one title definitely garnered a few extra eyes across the board than others — and that was Atomic Heart, the Russain-based FPS from Mundfish. Sure, the announcement came in the form of a trimmed sixty-second trailer and nothing more — but that was enough to paint the picture and keep us invested in the project as a whole.
Taking influences from the cancelled VR title Soviet Lunapark, Atomic Heart will look to compile the ingredients from the early access experiment and shovel them into an exciting new journey for next-gen hardware. Admittedly, we don’t know a great deal about the game and its storyline or characters — but we’re actually fine with that. We all love a surprise, and Mudfish’s Atomic Heart looks to be crammed full of them.
Atomic Heart comes to Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5 and PC in 2022.