Ewan: Growing up playing the like of Need for Speed: Carbon and Burnout Paradise, I’ve developed a great fondness for the open-world, arcade racing genre. The Forza Horizon franchise has been leading the pack in that space in recent years, and Forza Horizon 5 is no exception. It looks like the most diverse open-world environment Playground Games have produced, with the EventLab adding potentially Grand Theft Auto-esque stunt races. Sign me up!
Shannon: Forza Horizon is one of the only racing games that I really like to sink my teeth into and I’m so excited about Forza Horizon 5. The location is exactly what I envision when I think of a Forza Horizon game and if I’m being honest I didn’t get as heavily invested in Horizon 4 as other entries into the series. I’m really excited to put my Series X to good use later this year when it hits.
Ewan: Much as Deathloop marks a different direction for the counterparts in Lyon, Arkane Austin’s Redfall grabs me in a way their previous games haven’t. The schlocky, B-grade horror aesthetic, characterised by a gun that shoots literal wooden stakes, has this Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan itching to face off against Arkane’s bloodsucking undead. The cast of characters and seemingly specialised magical abilities has me intrigued too, I just hope the shift to a cooperative, open-world experience doesn’t negatively impact Arkane’s storytelling experience.
Harry: I’ll admit that I’m a complete sucker for Arkane Studios, and despite not seeing any actual gameplay for their latest title, Redfall, it has my full attention. A 1-4 player open-world vampire-slaying game set on an island cut-off from the outside world, where the creatures run free as they permanently block out the sun during the day. Much like Deathloop, Redfall’s first showcase oozes style and promises Arkane’s quintessential gameplay loop that can be played with friends or solo. There’s so much potential in the ideas both from a gameplay and world perspective, and if anyone can pull it off, it’s definitely Arkane Studios.
Brodie: I’m someone who hasn’t spent one meaningful second with an online Halo since the so-called golden era of 2007 when Bungie, being the juggernaut it was at the time, had a full head of steam.
Although Infinite does appear to harken back to the glory days of what made the series special, it looks as though 343i has iterated and evolved the universe more than enough to call it both theirs and improved. I’m particularly so excited to sink my teeth into the almost overwhelming customisation, from my Spartan to his weapons.
Toby: It was short and sweet, but Infinite’s showing at E3 confirmed where I’d hoped 343 would be taking the series. I’m intrigued with the story, for sure, but wow(!) does the multiplayer look absolutely brilliant. I’ve been in love with this universe since I played through Combat Evolved on my original Xbox, and while it’s had its struggles in the hands of 343 I can’t help but feel excited by the direction Infinite is going. The game’s showing at E3 completely floored me.
Ewan: I’ve recently fallen back down the Battlefield V rabbit hole and reminded myself how much I love the franchise. Peak Battlefield for me was the Battlefield 3/4 era, so to see the next instalment venturing past the present and into the near future hits all the right notes. The ‘only in Battlefield’ moments have been dialled up to eleven; I can only imagine the chaos that must unfold in 128-players matches on next-gen.
Camilla: I can’t believe it has been over a decade and a half since Psychonauts came out on the original Xbox. I remember my first playthrough so clearly since it quickly replaced Voodoo Vince as my favourite Xbox title, rivaled only by Rare’s Grabbed by the Ghoulies. I’m so glad that Psychonauts 2 looks absolutely stunning and with Tim Schafer still at the helm, I know I’ve got a hell of a lot to look forward to in August.
Camilla: I had to watch the trailer for this one a couple of times in order to properly process everything that’s going on here and it’s a lot. From the 80s Eurobeat soundtrack to the seeming psychokinetic powers of the protagonist, not to mention the insane-looking weapon and enemy models, I’m obsessed with this title and I can’t wait for it to launch. It’s everything I never knew I needed in one, absolutely hectic package.
WarioWare: Get It Together
Kieron: Aside from maybe some word on Nintendo’s next major 3D platformer, all I could have asked of their E3 Direct was some more of Wario’s wacky microgame antics – and it happened! WarioWare: Get it Together’s gameslook suitably ridiculous, and I’m chuffed at the idea of being able to play them with friends using the same console. The Mushroom Kingdom’s very own Elon Musk is back, baby.
Shannon: WarioWare is another one of those games that are just pure and simple fun. I could lose hours upon hours playing the same microgames in WarioWare, just because it’s a great way to de-stress and forget about all of life’s worries without having to put too much thought into it. The addition of co-op is perfect for this game too as it’s such a great multiplayer co-op game.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
Kieron: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was a huge surprise when it dropped way back in 2017, bringing two unlikely franchises together in an accessible take on XCOM-style strategy. The new one may have leaked a little ahead of Ubisoft’s intended reveal but none of the shine was taken off when that gorgeous cinematic trailer played, and we discovered that it takes place in Super Mario Galaxy’s universe. Rabbid Lumas? Sure, I’ll take it.
Kieron: Look, admittedly I’ve been a little sour on Bethesda’s big RPGs of late. Skyrim didn’t grab me as Oblivion did, Fallout lost me at the fourth one. Starfield though, boy does this tick every box. A hard sci-fi epic built in a new version of the rickety ol’ Creation Engine? A return to the role-playing depth of Bethesda’s older games? Mysterious alienz races to meet? I wasn’t sure we’d see this at E3 2021, and I wasn’t sure I’d care, but I’m absolutely there come November 2022.
Toby: As someone who absolutely adores games like Trials and Descenders (while truly missing the days of Amped and SSX), Riders Republic looks right up my alley. There’s so much potential with what’s seemingly on offer in the game, too. From taking on tracks with a wide variety of different vehicles and machines to hanging out with friends doing batshit crazy stunts, count me bloody in.
Death Stranding: The Director’s Cut
Brodie: You see the name Hideo Kojima sharing a sentence with the phrase “director’s cut” and you just know you’re in for some shit. Having simultaneously loved and endured Death Stranding once, I can only imagine the stuff that crazy bastard left on the cutting room floor.
But any excuse I’ve got to revisit the unparalleled beauty of Iceland with Low Roar singing sweet touches of melancholy in my ear, all the while drinking up a further expanded vision of what can only be described as a bonkers game, I’m going to take it.
I do secretly hope we just get Mads chewing up an extra ten hours of runtime because that guy rocks.
Mario Party Superstars
Shannon: Mario Party is one of my favourite franchises of all time. It’s one of those games that just feel like they’re at the heart of what makes games so great. Playing mini-games with friends and family, and no matter how good you are you’re going to have a good time. I was even more excited by this announcement as it takes it all the way back to the Nintendo 64 version, which is still one of the better iterations of the game for sure.
James: It’s such an obvious choice for me but Metroid Dread seems to be ticking all the right boxes for me as a fan of the series. It’s the first time in almost two decades that the story will be pushing forward, where twelve year old James pondered where the Metroid story will go. It’s also looking to lean more heavily into the horror elements (hence the name) and hopefully will deliver an experience as fraught and frenetic as those memorable SA-X moments from Metroid Fusion.
Harry: After almost 19 years, a brand new 2D entry into the Metroid franchise was announced at Nintendo’s E3 Direct as a direct sequel to Metroid Fusion that promises to finish the story arc that started with the original Metroid in 1986. Dread looks to be unlike any other Metroid title that’s come before it, taking place on an all-new planet as Samus is stalked by unrelenting robotic enemies known as E.M.M.I, tapping into the horror that Metroid Fusion ever so slightly dabbled in. I’m interested to see how Nintendo and MercurySteam can push the franchise forward while also wrapping up the saga in a satisfying and fulfilling way. Metroid Dread is undoubtedly my most anticipated game for the rest of the year and I’m eagerly awaiting its full release in October.
Toby: It’s finally coming. Oh my word am I excited to finally venture back into the world of 2D Metroid! Considering Dread’s concept has been around for some time, I’m very intrigued to see how developer MercurySteam handle it. That said, I’m bloody keen. It’s been a hot minute since we’ve had a Metroid game. With Prime 4 still a ways off and a Prime Trilogy remaster seemingly further away than I’d like to hope, Dread will most certainly satiate my appetite for what is one of the best sci-fi game franchises out there.
Harry: Elden Ring is a title that has been anticipated by many for years since its original reveal back in 2019, which at the time was a rumored collaboration between George RR Martin and From Software. Two years later, the curtain has finally lifted for everyone to see the game in action, with Miyazaki promising that Elden Ring is From’s biggest and most ambitious title to date. It’s easy to see why, it looks to be an amalgamation of all the Souls games that came before, with a unique open-world flavor and narrative that can only be described as mysterious at this stage. I always get excited for new From Software games, but something about Elden Ring is different, and that makes me even keener for its release in January.
James: While I’m very up and down on FromSoftware’s games, it’s when they deviate from their Souls formula that I enjoy them most. Sekiro was a gem of a game, and Elden Ring looks to be continuing that tradition. As always, the atmosphere and tone of the world looks to be top notch, and the enemy designs as unusually peculiar as usual. But what has me most excited is that Elden Ring looks to be evolving the Souls formula, not just iterating on it, and I can’t help but find that incredibly enticing.
A Plague’s Tale: Requiem
James: I can’t help but not be intrigued by Requiem. Two years ago when the credits rolled on Innocence I couldn’t help but feel that the team at Asobo weren’t done with the world of A Plague’s Tale. It felt too ripe, too rich to just throw away after one game. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and Requiem looks to be taking a more mature Amicia in a different direction. I’m very excited to see just how weird things get and how Hugo plays into everything when Requiem releases next year.
Brodie: Out of all of the games Devolver Digital showed off, Inscryption might be most worthy of their name. The trailer turned on a dime, from what looked like a pretty run-of-the-mill card game to the most batshit insane, meta-horror show I’ve seen in a while.
I don’t know what it is and I can’t even begin to imagine the Eldritch horrors that await, but Inscryption looks like a must-play for anyone with a moderate interest in losing sleep and the macabre.
Diablo II: Resurrected
Camilla: I absolutely loved playing through the closed beta earlier this year and I’m genuinely itching to get back into it. This is easily one of the best remasters I’ve seen in recent years and it really isn’t any surprise since it’s coming from the team over at Vicarious Visions. I haven’t decided whether to get it on PC or console yet and I may just succumb to getting it on both because I already know I’m going to sink a ridiculous amount of hours into this one when it comes out in September.
Brodie: To borrow a few lines from Savage Garden: “I knew I loved you before I met you, I think I dreamed you into life.”
It’s time to Xbox and chill. Name your price, you bastards.