8 Biggest Surprises of E3 2021

Biggest Surprises from E3 2021

Though E3 2021 may have been a mixed bag in some regards, it wasn’t without its surprise reveals or unexpected appearances. Some were tied to long-dormant franchises, while others were fresh debuts by newly created IPs. Regardless, they all earned their place on our list of the 8 biggest surprises from E3 2021’s showcases.`

Elden Ring Elevates Summer Game Fest to a New Level

Biggest Surprises From E3 2021

Elden Ring’s absences from gaming events has been a meme ever since it was first announced back in 2019. As such, it’s appearance at any of E3 2021’s events was sure to help them rocket to any ranking of the week’s best showcases.

That’s why its appearance at Summer Game Fest came as such a happy surprise. One of the newer showcases in E3’s stables, it was low on the list of potential purveyors of Elden Ring footage and teasers. And yet, it managed to be the event that finally offered a glimpse at Elden Ring’s gameplay.

With it having obtained such a big name – even for only one show – the Summer Game Fest brand has gained a huge boost in visibility and viability, and will likely be host to even bigger and better announcements moving forward.

Mario + Rabbids Returns With Sparks of Hope

Biggest Surprises From E3 2021

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was a crossover IP that came out of left field when it was first released, but it quickly proved to be a match made in heaven. Fans loved the tactical strategy gameplay, and the zany combo of Mario and Rabbids proved more natural than most would have expected.

With that said though, the thought of a sequel didn’t seem like a sure thing until Sparks of Hope was revealed. Not only that, but it looks to have the same unique appeal that the first installment held, spelling good tidings for a long-lasting series.

It’s a big step forward for the series, and fans can now be a little more hopeful that tyhey’ll see plenty more sequels in years to come.

Ubisoft’s Avatar Game Gets an Official Teaser

Biggest Surprises From E3 2021

The Avatar franchise has had a fairly limited impact on gaming, but that looks to be changing with Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.

Set to be an open-world title that takes place on the planet of Pandora, the game received a cinematic trailer during the Ubisoft Forward showcase. It’s still anyone’s guess how the game will look in motion, but if it’s anything close to the teaser then it’ll be a sight to behold.

It’s also worth noting that if it manages to launch, Frontiers of Pandora would be a welcome new IP in Ubisoft’s catalog. That alone is cause for excitement and a welcome break from what people have come to expect from Ubisoft.

Final Fantasy Descends Into Chaos

Biggest Surprises From E3 2021

Admittedly, there were rumors swirling about a Souls-like Final Fantasy title before Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin made its debut. The chances of people knowing exactly how it would land, though, it pretty unlikely.

On one hand, it made a decent enough showing on the gameplay front. Through a teaser trailer, it was made clear that the title would feature fast and frantic combat, dynamic boss fights, and different weapons to experiment with; go figure, seeing as how Team Ninja of Nioh fame will be developing the game alongside Square Enix.

At the same time though, fans were treated to the incredibly bad – and incredibly meme-able – writing that dripped from every scene. Several characters in the game can’t help but talk about Chaos non-stop, providing deliveries so edgy that even Shadow the Hedgehog might cut himself on them.

It was truly a delight, and will likely stick with the game for months to come.

A Plague Tale: Requiem Brings More Rat-Based Horror

Biggest Surprises From E3 2021

A Plague Tale: Innocence was one of the sleeper hits of 2019, offering up a new IP with interesting game mechanics and an engaging story of family. Whether or not it’d ever see a sequel, however, was always up in the air, given that it wasn’t an established series with hordes of people ready to support it.

As luck would have it though, the sequel was revealed at Xbox’s E3 2021 showcase. Not only that, but it looks to be diving head-long into the darker elements of its universe, with plenty more rat-based horror and gritty fights for survival in a war-torn world.

It’s still anyone’s guess how long the series will last for, but seeing this little upstart of a series keep going was a welcome sight among the glut of long-running video game series.

Microsoft Has a New IP in Redfall

Biggest Surprises From E3 2021

In a AAA sector lousy with long-running series and established franchises, new ideas and IPs are always welcome. Enter Redfall, easily one of the most promising new IPs shown at E3 2021.

Set in a world filled with vampires and those who hunt them using special powers, the game drips with personality and cheek. Each character introduced through its first trailer feels like they have their own personality, and the world itself looks like a place which players can have a blast exploring.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about Redfall – namely, how it’ll play – but as of right now, there are few titles better situated to take the gaming world by storm.

Her Story Creator Has a New Title in the Works

Biggest Surprises From E3 2021

There were a slew of indie reveals during this year’s E3, but one which probably caught most people off guard was Immortality.

Created by the same person behind Her Story, the game didn’t have much shown of it. All we got was a cinematic teaser trailer explaining that an actress who appeared in three unreleased movies went missing without a trace. Where she went, why her movies were never released, and what you’ll be tasked with discovering are all shrouded in darkness, and players will no doubt need to sleuth out answers to all these mysteries.

Given how long it has been since Her Story released, a new offering from the game’s creator was a welcome change of pace in the usual E3 grind. Time will tell if Immortality will make good on this good press, but for now, fans couldn’t be happier to know it’s in the works.

Metroid Dread Rises From the Dead

Biggest Surprises From E3 2021

If you’d asked someone what games were destined to be eternally stuck in the vaporware phase, Metroid Dread would likely have come up with ease.

Tossed around by Nintendo as a prototype for the next Metroid since 2005, the game was long thought to have been dead in the water. It had been years since it was even rumored to be worked on, and Metroid had long since moved away from making 2D entries or sequels to the mainline of games.

That’s why no one saw Metroid Dread coming when it was shown at the E3 2021 Nintendo Direct. The fact that it exists – and that it’ll release later this year – blindsided even the most grizzled and tuned-in E3 viewer. It was a reveal no one dared expect and landed all the better as a result.

About the author

Keenan McCall

Keenan has been a nerd from an early age, watching anime and playing games for as long as I can remember. Since obtaining a bachelor's degree in journalism back in 2017, he has written thousands of articles covering gaming, animation, and entertainment topics galore.