It is that time of the year again, that time where the P2 team bash their heads into a crystal ball and come up with some bad guesses as to what will appear at E3. Join us as we check out their hopes and wishes for gaming’s biggest event.
E3 2021 Predictions – Microsoft
Safe Bet – Halo Infinite
It’s the safest bet of all in this PrE3 predictions round-up but Halo Infinite, despite being the clear tentpole, it’s also still a concerning topic for the hardened Xbox fans. Infinite did not at all show well during its 2020 gameplay premiere. At that point, it was destined to be a console launch title, but the reception to it was that poor that Xbox wisely pulled it. With 12 months to straighten itself back up, the E3 2021 showing will be pivotal for the game. Here’s hoping that with Infinite, the franchise gets back on track
Fairly Likely – Avowed
With newly bought Bethesda now a part of the family, but with the next entry in the Elder Scrolls franchise still many years off given their current work on Starfield (more on that in my Bethesda predictions), it gives Obsidian a healthy chunk of time to get their seemingly similar franchise out the door without it being caught up in the TES shadow. Obsidian more broadly, but especially Avowed could have a massive showing at E3 2021, and we’ve got every reason to be excited about the potential.
Wishful Thinking – Gears 6
I know it’s been a few years now since Gears 5 launched, but the Hivebusters DLC expansion is only 6 months old, and itself took 12 months to launch, presumably due to COVID. If there was some hope that the next entry of Gears was ready for the spotlight at E3 2021, those hopes were dashed when the pandemic swept through. That’s fine though, Xbox has heaps to work with these days, so it takes all the heat off The Coalition to get the next entry out the door in a prompt fashion. Take your time, kick back, enjoy the show, and get hyped for Gears 6 in 12 months from now.
Safe Bet – Halo Infinite
One of Microsoft’s flagship titles, Halo: Infinite is a sure bet to be shown off at E3. After the critical reception to the initial trailer and the release delay caused by Covid, expect Microsoft to be showing an insanely polished version of the game and finally letting people know just when they can take control of the Master Chief once again.
Fairly Likely – New Forza
I am not a major racing sim fan, but a hell of a lot of other people do, and the Forza franchise has some of the best racing games available. With this in mind, it is fairly likely that we will see something from the next instalment in the Forza franchise. Whether this new instalment is in the Motorsport or the Horizon series remains to be seen, but I am sure we will see one of them.
Wishful Thinking – Brutal Legend 2
Picture it now, Tim Schaffer from Double Fine on stage talking about the impending Psychonauts 2 when he calls out a special friend. Cue the insane guitar solo and copious pyro as Jack Black, decked out in costume as Eddie Riggs, rises through a trapdoor on the stage. After a three-minute guitar solo and more pyro than you see at a WWE event, the stage goes dark and the big screens are lit up with Brütal Legend 2.
Safe Bet – Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga
Everyone is going to say Halo so I am being different just to keep some variety in this thing. Hellblade 2 is without a doubt going to be featured E3 this year. It was the first Series X title shown and since then we have been getting little teases from Ninja Theory about what the final product is going to look like. Senua’s Sacrifice is one hell of a game, arguably the tightest 5-hour adventure of the last generation, so I am excited to continue her story in Unreal 5 on Microsoft’s newest beast of a console. When it is coming out, no one really knows, but I am confident we will see it in some form at E3.
Fairly Likely – Forza Horizon 5
I realise this strays from the established convention of Forza Motorsport followed by Forza Horizon, but stay with me here. Forza Motorsport is being built from the ground up for the new systems, brand new engine to make the most out of the Series X. That means next year at the earliest. That is a long time without a new Forza game for Microsoft. Enter Playground and Horizon 5. Built on the same, super scalable (and gorgeous) engine as Horizon 4, it heads off to Asia or Africa, brings back the weather systems, adds some more cool features and instantly becomes the best racing game available, taking the trophy from its predecessor. It’s going to happen I tell you.
Wishful Thinking – InXile’s Fallout Game
InXile has stated that they are working on an FPS RPG using Unreal 5. Microsoft now owns Fallout. Put the two together and you get one of the original franchise leads in Brian Fargo once again doing Fallout. This thought makes me a happy happy man. Wasteland 3 was the Fallout 2 sequel that many fans have been wanting for years and the thought of him doing a modern Fallout spin-off is just too damn exciting. Make it happen Microsoft, Fallout fans need a win.
Stephen del Prado
Safe Bet – Halo Infinite
With The Medium now jumping ship to the PS5, the Series X has very little to crow about in terms of current-gen exclusives – Halo Infinite is the big one given the series hasn’t been firing on all cylinders since the closing days of the 360. Infinite needs to come out swinging in a big bad way after the tepid reception it received last year and I firmly believe Microsoft have as much desire to see a new Halo blow the audience away as diehard fans themselves – not to mention how much a ‘multiplayer killer app’ will see those Game Pass subscriber numbers stay strong.
Fairly Likely – Forza Something?
Look, it’s a terrible thing to watch two new consoles launch without a flagship driving series hit either of them – and for my money, Forza Horizon is the best of them. While Motorsport would appear to be the frontrunner given the alternating releases up to this point, the Forza Horizon 4 engine seems primed to run like a dream on the Series X. An almost 3-year gap since the release of Horizon 4 is also the longest in the series’ history to date – it seems a no brainer to strike while the iron is hot to get one bite of the cherry before a Series S/X exclusive Horizon title in 2023 can really show what the newer hardware is capable of at a point when it will be a bit easier to swallow One/One S support being inevitably dropped.
Wishful Thinking – Viva Piñata 3
Sure it’s been 13 years since the last game, but I’m not letting go that easy – where’s my damn Viva Piñata 3! The languishing of this franchise feels like a huge miss given how Game Pass is usually an easy sell to families looking for value for money in a new console-setup – I have no doubt a new Viva Piñata would prove exceedingly popular now it’s far removed from the ‘brown environment, dude-bro’ shooter machine the 360 was often panned as. With elements that made Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing a huge success, it’s time Microsoft finally gave me what I want.
Safe Bet – Halo Infinite
There are very few things that are certain in this world, but surely Halo’s appearance at E3 is one of them. It didn’t go so well during its last appearance, so fingers crossed they’ve pulled it together, but even if they haven’t, I feel like people are gonna be excited. Stakes and expectations are high, but I also think people are gonna make a lot of excuses for this one, especially given Xbox doesn’t have a whole lot else going on by way of console exclusives yet. That’s all set to change, but I’m guessing a lot of hopes are pinned on Halo.
Fairly Likely – Psychonauts 2
I was foolishly convinced this game would come out last year, but surely it can’t be far off now. We got a taste of the gameplay for the sequel to Double Fine’s classic back in 2019, and given the devs are absolutely promising that the game is going to release this year, it would be weird for them not to give something more during this E3. Keeping up with Double Fine on Twitter has shown that there have been a bunch of cool new powers teased recently, so they shouldn’t be short of content. And is it too much to hope for a release date?
Wishful Thinking – Fable
We know it’s coming… eventually. Okay, so we’ve heard very little about what looks to be Fable 4 since its original announcement, and it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the Fable series over the past few years, with the cancellation of Fable Legends, but Playground Studios could yet surprise us with some new info. There were rumours circulating that a Fable presentation was on the cards, and while those specific rumours were quashed, that doesn’t mean the series should be counted out.