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Trailer Blazer E3 2021 (Part One)

I thought we were done. I thought this was over. But true evil never dies, and so here we are again with another rundown of all the E3 trailers Marino was able to find across many participating social media accounts and Twitch channels (plus Keighley's protest thing). Giant Bomb's own Trailer Duder seriously goes above and beyond most years, let alone the strange times we live in now where every Todd, Dick, and Randy has a fifteen-to-thirty minute spot to talk about all the cosmetics coming soon to their live service games.

Since my main man appears to have filled the trailer section of the site with some several thousand videos - almost breaking the site in the process from what I'm told - I'm going to call rules this year:

  1. No DLC, no skins, no battle passes, no "coming up on the next season of Pogchamps Legends" like it's a damn TV show. No ports. No games that are already out, unless they released earlier this month (June) and the publishers wisely (?) waited until the busy E3 period to start their marketing push.
  2. I will consider standalone expansions if they seem substantial enough. Also allowed: Remakes, games leaving early access, games being localized into English for the first time, and games that were shown off at an earlier E3 (and probably covered in a previous Trailer Blazer) that still aren't out yet.
  3. I will allow one (1) fridge trailer. I am not making this a habit. Bakalar might come at me for copyright infringement. Infridgement. Whichever.

No gimmicks this year either: just game rundowns, trailer impressions, and the likelihood of a future purchase based on what I've seen and heard. Keepin' it simple here in the 2-0-2-1.

Trailer Blazers
E3 2016 E3 2017 E3 2018 (Part One) E3 2018 (Part Two)
E3 2019 (Part One) E3 2019 (Part Two) E3 2019 (Part Three) E3 2019 (Part Four)
E3 2021 (Part One) E3 2021 (Part Two) E3 2021 (Part Three) E3 2021 (Part Four)

(All done! Check all four parts this year for the lukewarmest takes imaginable.)

List items

  • The Game: A massive multiplayer online FPS from DICE (Shrek).

    The Trailer(s): Seeing Battlefield footage, it always strikes me just how chaotic these games are. Like how in a similar real-world scenario (a battle or a natural disaster, since this trailer had both) I'd be dead within the first few minutes as I feebly attempt to get my bearings. I'm not saying a game that has me vividly imagining my own violent death is a disqualifier - hell, that's my go-to thought whenever I'm waiting for laundry to finish its wash cycle - but I get anxiety over playing against diehards in games like this at the best of times without worrying every moment that I'll get flattened by a helicopter I didn't see or that the building I'm hiding in is starting to fall over. I suppose that level of spectacle is why these games are so much fun though, at least to watch. (The movie trailer orchestral Kickstart My Heart cover is very dumb, but I'm a little glad we got at least one stupid remix this E3.)

    The Response: Nah. But only because these games aren't my bag. I'm with Jeff that the future-set ones are more compelling though. Whether that's because the weapons are cooler or there's less of a pervasive feeling that I'm witnessing an actual veteran's war trauma play out in real-time I couldn't say.

  • The Game: A fantasy-themed shlooter from Gearbox (Aliens: Colonial Marines).

    The Trailer(s): Oh here we go with Butt Stallion again. It's not that Borderlands is desperately unfunny, it's how it doubles down on all its worst jokes like it has a personal vendetta against anyone with a working sense of humor. The reception to BL2, BL3, and I'm guessing this game also tends to include justifications of the "well, the gameplay still kicks ass, so maybe turn down the voice volume in the menu and just ride out the writing as best you can" variety. I will say I appreciate the self-deprecating gag about how they're building off a D-n'-D-themed BL2 DLC because "the devs enjoyed it." Some real "well, my mom thinks I'm cool" energy. Honestly, if I wanted a funny D-n'-D video game I'd find a way to convince the new Telltale management to pick up the Adventure Zone license or something; after all, they're talented enough to make a Borderlands story palatable once upon a time.

    The Response: Nah. Irrespective of everything else, I'd already sworn off loot RPGs a while back for their relative mindlessness and how easy it is to overindulge. So this is a me thing, not a them thing. Hope it appeals to the usual crowd.

  • The Game: A military tactical RPG from SNK (Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf).

    The Trailer(s): A typically bombastic Metal Slug trailer for an atypically tactical take on SNK's comedic run-and-gun series with the same fantastic pixel art direction. Cover-based TBS games have been hot for a while thanks to the return of XCOM and it makes way too much sense for Metal Slug to get in on that action. Shame about SNK's current management though, and I could see a few reviewers taking a stand with a boycott despite the game's obvious appeal.

    The Response: Maybe. As long as one of the missions isn't "murder this busybody journalist" I might see myself finally getting into Metal Slug through this slightly less reflex-intensive avenue.

  • The Game: A dinosaur park simulation game from Frontier Developments (Dog's Life).

    The Trailer(s): Jeff Goldblum's hesitant dulcet tones as Dr. Ian Malcolm, the Jurassic Park universe's best former chaos mathematician and present professional "I told you so"er, scolds you all for wanting to build dinosaur parks like it's not going to go catastrophically wrong on you. Life finds a way, and so do difficulty curves. Nothing to show here gameplay-wise, but fortunately a Jurassic World Evolution 1 already exists to give us a pretty good idea.

    The Response: Maybe. I've always seen the creators of these parks as the true villains of their respective movies, with the hungry dinosaurs and terrified human survivors alike doing the best they can, so it's odd that a game where you get to be one of those architects does well enough to lead to sequels. Then again, zoo builders are popular and dinosaurs are cool, so I'm very much overthinking things. I don't play many games like this, but there's no reason I couldn't.

  • The Game: A 2D "Soulslike" action-RPG sequel from Ska Studios (I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES!!!1).

    The Trailer(s): When making a Souls-inspired game, it's important to make the world as brutal and bleak as possible. Ska Studios happens to be an expert, having made several edgy, monochromatic platformers long before they were inspired to create their own take on Miyazaki's dark universe of corpse runs and scraping spears. Salt and Sacrifice looks to continue where Salt and Sanctuary left off, quaffing magebane and devouring the hearts of fallen foes like they were groceries.

    The Response: Heck Yeah. 2D Soulslikes have the added benefit of being built like explormers, effectively combining two of my favorite genres. I'll take any I can get regardless, but the Salt games are near the top of their class.

  • The Game: A Korean MMORPG from Smilegate (Rogan: The Thief in the Castle).

    The Trailer(s): The trailer certainly makes the game look cool without focusing too much on what makes it an MMO: there are big crowds in the battle scenes, but they look like interchangeable NPC mooks rather than a gaggle of flamboyantly armored player characters. Maybe it's an instance thing. Either way, South Korea have more than done their part in keeping this social genre alive so given the competitiveness over there I can believe that any MMO deemed good enough for a localization won't disappoint fans of going on raids with 49 of their closest friends.

    The Response: Nah. Not an MMO guy. I'd love to play more RPGs from non-Japanese Asian countries though, for the change of pace if nothing else. There's some pretty well-regarded Chinese single-player RPGs popping up on Steam I could get into.

  • The Game: A cautious action-RPG from FromSoftware (The Adventures of Cookie and Cream).

    The Trailer(s): There would've been riots this E3 without some Elden Ring news, and Keighley's pre-E3 spite-stravaganza delivered not only some delicious George R. R. Martin lore and gnarly boss designs but an actual* January 2022 release date. (*May not be actual.) Presently I'm curious if Elden Ring will play more like classic Souls where you plant yourself in 90 lb armor and tank everything or will have Bloodborne/Sekiro's more acrobatic leanings; we've still got stalwart knights and shit, but the horse traversal and leaping around makes me wonder.

    The Response: Heck Yeah. A Souls game where every food item has eight paragraphs of description? I'm very much down for all of that.

  • The Game: A Vampire: The Masquerade licensed battle royale game from Sharkmob (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): I can't tell if it's from Vampire: The Masquerade's sudden prominence or everyone's just a big fan of What We Do in the Shadows or what, but it feels like there are a huge number of vampire games dotting the new release horizon like bats across a crepuscular sky. Having a hundred vampires going at it with guns and magic powers in the middle of a city doesn't seem very Masquerade-y, so maybe there'll be incentives to stay stealthy. If that's the case, I hope there's some aspect of those Assassin's Creed multiplayer modes where you have to pick out your fellow bloodgulpers in a crowd of NPC mortals. Weird to think this will probably be yet another V:tM game that'll see the light of day (or the dark of night, I guess) before Bloodlines 2.

    The Response: Nah. I like games set in the Vampire: The Masquerade universe, but I've not played any of this recent spate of them and I'm far more likely to bite into an adventure game or RPG before an online shooter.

  • The Game: A surreal high-speed action-platformer from Heart Machine (Hyper Light Drifter).

    The Trailer(s): Less a trailer and more of a brief gameplay snippet from this soon-to-be-out game. Honestly, this feels more like a reminder that this 3D spiritual successor to Hyper Light Drifter exists rather than anything designed to tell you more than what you already know if you've been following previous trailers and news. It does make me curious if the whole game will be a Shadow of the Colossus style boss rush or if fighting this big ol' manta ray is just a special happenstance.

    The Response: Sure. I didn't care too much for Hyper Light Drifter, though I suspect most of the blame lies with its weaker console ports. If Solar Ash feels as good to play as it looks like it does I don't think I'll stay away for long.

  • The Game: A four-player co-op shooter from Stray Bombay (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): Huh that sure looks like a single enemy type throughout the whole game, plus a single "brute" for flavor. In all fairness, I think this game is going to have a hell of a time competing with every other Left 4 Dead successor shown off this E3, largely because it appears to have the least going for it beyond its '70s cruise spaceship aesthetic (which Prey already beat them to, sorta). But since Spite Club's own Will Smith is behind it to some extent I'll wish it every success. That guy definitely knows his way around online shooters at least.

    The Response: Nah. I don't have a friend to play a game like this with, let alone three. The idea of playing one of these with randos is almost scarier than the zomb- uh, aliens themselves.

  • The Game: A horror narrative adventure from Supermassive Games (Start the Party).

    The Trailer(s): In addition to the two minute spot shown early in E3, there's also a long-form deep dive on the game that encompassed Bandai Namco's entire E3 show. Therefore I naturally have a grudge against this game, since it took focus away from my precious Bamco anime bullshit. However, it looks like Supermassive is continuing to master this little interactive horror movie niche they've found themselves in, so I've no doubt it'll deliver on its spooks and chills.

    The Response: Nah. I don't think these games are for me; I'd be too eager to min-max and keep everyone alive than enjoy rolling with whatever failures (and corpses) I make along the way. These tense decision-heavy types of adventure game give me stomachaches anyway.

  • The Game: An anime action-RPG from Bandai Namco Entertainment (Mappy).

    The Trailer(s): Well, speaking of precious Bamco anime bullshit, here's one of my most anticipated games for 2021 showing off more of its party dynamic. For Tales neophytes not in the know, the strength of the ensemble cast is almost as important as the strength of the LMB System variant, and it looks like we have a decent if slightly self-serious batch this time around. Hopefully the franchise's goofy levity will be forthcoming in the final product.

    The Response: Heck Yeah. I'm fresh off a Tales of Graces F playthrough and hoping to see another Tales game "arise" to its level of mechanical complexity and ingenuity. Here's hoping 17th time's the charm.

  • The Game: An online squad-based hero FPS from Blizzard Entertainment (Blackthorne).

    The Trailer(s): All this "trailer" has are a couple of new costumes for some pre-existing Overwatch 1 characters. I said I wasn't going to bother with skins, but this is the only coverage Overwatch 2 is getting from this event and I felt a little sorry for it. Anyone fretting over whether or not the sequel will be more than just a cosmetic facelift probably has their answer.

    The Response: Nah. I've already said my piece on online shooters, though Overwatch's lootbox economy and the upper management at Blizzard makes it more odious than most.

  • The Game: A side-scrolling adventure game from Wishfully (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): Chat was quick to make a dozen "Danger Zone" gags about the upcoming Planet of Lana, so instead I'll focus on what I liked about this vaguely Delphine-esque 2D action-adventure. The Bob Ross artstyle for one, and its use of background objects for another. Not the most comprehensive look at the game but one to leave us with enough to chew on.

    The Response: Maybe. Picturesque Indies with relatively little going on gameplay-wise are a dime a dozen, but I'm sufficiently intrigued by the world they've built here.

  • The Game: A squad-based third-person shooter tower defense roguelite from Amplitude Studios (Dungeon of the Endless).

    The Trailer(s): A smartass "how to play" trailer that teaches you the basics of working as a team to take down the alien hordes, presumably building on previous trailers that have already shown off everything of note. I don't mind trailers as forthcoming with info as this, give or take the attitude, but I have to care about the type of game it is first.

    The Response: Nah. No to "rogue-anythings"; I simply don't have the patience for them any more, for as much as the Indie circuit seems to love the things. Give me a bespoke world that I can see in its entirety in a single playthrough and I'll be a happy camper. (For the record, I'm not going to want anything to do with tower defense either. They're just escort quests where the escortee doesn't move.)

  • The Game: A turn-based RPG from Capcom (Goof Troop).

    The Trailer(s): There were a couple of trailers for the second Monster Hunter Stories, which seem to be more traditional turn-based RPGs set in the MonHun universe with a more lighthearted presentation and art style. The 2-minute trailer (and its more in-depth companion) is full of incidentally funny moments, like "monsties" as the name of your monster besties that follow you into battle or "so you're going to be born, huh?" as if that's any question any living thing is going to be able to respond to. Maybe this unseen great cataclysm that the story hinges on was the fallout of a gender reveal party gone awry? "Congrats! It's a Rathalos. And now our forests are burning."

    The Response: Nah. I mean, if I was going to start on Monster Hunter, a Stories game would be preferable to the usual grindy action-RPGs but I'm still largely apathetic towards this whole franchise. Wake me when Capcom decides to make another Breath of Fire instead (that isn't a mobile game).

  • The Game: A four-player co-op shooter from Turtle Rock Studios (Evolve).

    The Trailer(s): I've heard it theorized that these co-op shooters are back in vogue due to the lockdown and people wanting a way to stay in contact with friends, doing something mindless like zombie horde management while shooting the breeze. Might explain why there's five or six of them currently in production. The trailers make it clear that this is the same Left 4 Dead action you've been craving, with a familiar (if expanded) gaggle of survivors and PvP modes as a little extra.

    The Response: Nah. See above with The Anacrusis. If I want to avoid crowds of "infecteds" I'll continue to stay in lockdown, thanks.

  • The Game: A co-operative crafting survival action game from Norsfell (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): This looks like a version of Valheim that strictly focuses on the aspect of building up a settlement with your friends and defending it from rowdy giants when the time comes. Valheim was a word of mouth success no-one saw coming, so I can understand studios expecting Thor to strike the same place twice with his lightning hammer or whatever the lore is; chasing trends is a practice as old as the industry itself after all. Narrowing in on what made Valheim compelling is a smart if uninspired plan.

    The Response: Nah. In fact, just a blanket "nah" for all these multiplayer games. Us social recluses need love too.

  • The Game: A four-player co-op shooter from Saber Interactive (R.I.P.D. The Game).

    The Trailer(s): A more proactive Friday the 13th is the angle I'm getting from this Evil Dead reboot, which seems at least to appreciate its source material given the Army of Darkness references. With original star of the movies Bruce Campbell providing the voiceover this trailer is more entertaining than most, even if it was 80% finishers, but I can't help but feel like we're seeing the same shit over and over this E3.

    The Response: Nah. I admire the Evil Dead movies, if not going so far to call myself a fan, but this isn't what I'm looking for from this license. The last game wasn't it either, but I think someone could pull off a decent, jokey Resident Evil with this IP no problem.

  • The Game: An artistically-inclined top-down action-adventure game from Greg Lobanov (Wandersong).

    The Trailer(s): We have our first E3 trailer for a game that already came out earlier this month, but I won't hold that against Chicory. When in Rome, and all that. The trailer is cute, with a little nonsense-noise song about giving it your best shot, letting you know that Chicory and all the wet noises you could want are available today.

    The Response: Heck Yeah. It helps that I've already been sold on the game by Jan and others who have tried it, but it sounds like it has a good head on its shoulders and some compelling Zelda/Okami paintbrush puzzles if I'm not feeling the twee art requests from your fellow animal-people.

  • The Game: A college builder sim from Two Point Studios (Two Point Hospital).

    The Trailer(s): I'll give Two Point some kudos for taking its Theme Hospital homage in a direction Bullfrog never explored: the potential comedy goldmine that is making your own screwball college. Patients become students, doctors become lecturers, specialist centers become vocational schools, and pools of vomit become pools of vomit (but caused by underaged drinking this time). The trailer makes higher education seem like a joyous, silly time but I wonder how granular it gets with regards to its administrative settings. Like can you set the frequency with which the academy sends email to alumni begging them for donations? Is there a minimum price for textbooks, and if so how many $100s is it? Will be there pictographs that figuratively depict a teenager getting crushed by their own student loans in a funny manner, like a steamroller with "debts" written on the side? I'm excited to find out either way.

    The Response: Maybe. I'm hoping the original Two Point Hospital goes on sale to drum up hype for this spiritual sequel and I can then get a taste for how well they pull off this genre.

  • The Game: A sci-fi narrative adventure game from Variable State (Virginia).

    The Trailer(s): It's a little strange to see the Virginia devs make a game with dialogue and that appears to depict events in sequential order, but this trailer raises a lot of intriguing questions and, like how Twin Peaks influenced Virginia, there's some Quatermass and the Pit weirdness going on in their version of London that I'm into. It also establishes that there are several narratives going on simultaneously with distinct viewpoint characters, but a possible connective thread throughout.

    The Response: Maybe. I only sorta liked Virginia as I found it a little too offputting with how it delivered its fractured narrative, but those concerns don't seem to apply to this game. Maybe it'll be a little less fascinating as a result, but I'm willing to give it a shot. I have more tolerance for British accents than the Giant Bomb team at least (helps that I have one of my own).

  • The Game: A Pro Skater-inspired motorboat stunt game from Funktronic Labs (Starbear: Taxi).

    The Trailer(s): Can't say I'm a huge fan of the Weezer song that was used to introduce this game at Keighley's event, but as Jeff G demonstrated on "UPF" there's something to this Miami Vice/Tony Hawk bear-in-a-boat game. How many Pro Skater clones give you a gun? The trailer is some neon-washed chaotic if janky fun, so I think they have their flavor on lock even if other parts could use some extra polish.

    The Response: Maybe. I can't help but shake the feeling it might not be ready for prime time just yet, but I can definitely say I'm intrigued. Perhaps if I find it in an eShop sale I'll be more amenable.

  • The Game: A turn-based tactical RPG from Dark Crystal Games (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): Encased has already been a known quantity for a while - the devs put the first "Act" out on Early Access a couple years back - so this trailer feels like it's more about what they hope to include in the final product. Chiefly, a number of possible campaign variations based on your career/role in the not-at-all-dubious CRONUS organization researching some weird shit someone found under a dome somewhere. I don't know what kind of variance to expect from these different "wings," but I suspect it might sparingly play into an overall narrative like the various prologues of Dragon Age Origins. I suppose we'll find out soon (though I could just play that first Act if I wanted some immediate answers).

    The Response: Maybe. I'm down for most isometric throwback RPGs, especially those with semi-novel settings. Its currently reviewing as "mostly positive" however, so I'll wait and see what folks think of the finished product. I have many RPGs like this waiting in the wings, so to speak, and few are on the short side; I could do with being a little more choosy.

  • The Game: Some kind of sci-fi action game from Massive Work Studio (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): Dolmen's clearly early on in development if it's touting a 2022 release date, but the trailer doesn't really give anything away except that it has a nightmare setting of flexing alien buttholes and mutated astronauts running around. I looked up the word dolmen: it's an ancient rocky tomb that looks like Stonehenge, and the devs probably went for that because "tomb" and "crypt" and all their variants were already taken. Sure doesn't fit the game's aesthetic though. "Dolmen." Sounds like a margarine.

    The Response: Maybe. I know next to nothing about the game and the trailer didn't help. If it turns out to be a The Surge type of affair though I might be into that; its Steam page calls itself a "Soulslike" so there's a likelihood. Maybe less so if Brazil's looking to break into the Eurojank RPG market - I think ELEX 2 has them beat this year.

  • The Game: An alternative historical action RPG from Spiders (Mars: War Logs).

    The Trailer(s): Why, why, why would you make a game about 18th century French royalty using robots to keep the peasants in check and not call it "Basteel Day"? This is the next joint from Spiders, the current king of the aforementioned Eurojank RPG, and it's not clear if they're going full Bloodborne with this steampunk setting or something a bit more traditional like their previous RPGs. Looks to be very early in development so far; even its Steam page lacks any gameplay stuff yet.

    The Response: Maybe. I think betting on Spiders to deliver a solid RPG is like hoping for a good 3D Sonic game. It's theoretically possible, but how many times do you need to be burned before you stop reaching for the stove?

  • The Game: A co-operative party game from 2BIGo (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): Two things I gleaned from this trailer - 1) Lumberhill looks to do to lumberjacking what Overcooked did to the harried food service industry, making their already stressful jobs more so by throwing in enemies and hazards to overcome. 2) Whomever was doing the voiceover was almost certainly three sheets to the wind.

    The Response: Nah. But as with any party game, I'd like to see Giant Bomb or its peers get a group together to give it a shot. Some of the site's most riotous content is created from these "co-operative" multiplayer games.

  • The Game: A third-person stealth action game from Lince Works (Aragami).

    The Trailer(s): A pleasant Spanish voice talks us through ninja death and dismemberment in this slightly culturally confused look at the next Aragami game. Apparently this studio just went ahead and made themselves a Tenchu back in 2016 and since no-one objected too strongly they're making another one for release later this year.

    The Response: Maybe. I'm not normally a stealth action guy but I did enjoy Dishonored for its use of powers, and Aragami seems more of that persuasion than the balls-hard realistic ninja difficulty of the Tenchu games (or Sekiro for that matter). I feel like I see the first Aragami heavily discounted a lot, so maybe I'll give that a try first.

  • The Game: A platformer-action "hack n' splash" from Dejima (Illumine).

    The Trailer(s): About a minute of gameplay that lays out everything the game has in store - fighting fires, using water jets to hover, building up your firefighter HQ, etc. - in a nice simple package. The game has this neat 2D plane stuck in a 3D world look; it seems Octopath's visuals inspired quite a few to go that route, and I'm all for it if it can make a (presumably) low-budget Indie like this look rad.

    The Response: Sure. I'm not fully convinced it'll be great, but I dig platformers with cool styles and I think there's much that can be done with firefighting mechanics in an action game like this (The Firemen for SNES was very underrated).

  • The Game: A twin-stick shooter RPG from Stormind (Remothered).

    The Trailer(s): A taut two minutes of gameplay for the most part, showing off the game's balance of combat and puzzles. It has a polarity switching mechanic and it's maybe hinting like you can go harder on one side of that combat/puzzle equation by sticking to one mode. The speed of the combat gives me Furi/Ys vibes and those Zelda puzzles might help to keep things varied. Something about the color scheme and narrative glimpses reminds me of Sundered, which I should probably get back to at some point.

    The Response: Sure. The play's the thing in a game like this, however, so I'll have to keep my ear to the ground - something about that floaty run cycle is bugging me.

  • The Game: A 2D explormer from Clover Bite (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): When your trailer starts with a minute of eldritch terrors getting busy, you know you're in for a wild time. This monster sex is then followed by a crystal imploding into a dude with a black hole head. So far so normal, but sadly this trailer gives you no idea of what the gameplay is like; that's where its Steam page comes in. It's an explormer with tough combat and some Aria-style monster power absorption! Color me pleasantly surprised.

    The Response: Sure. If it's an explormer it's on the list. Even if it's weird as hell.

  • The Game: A 2D explormer from TeamNora (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): Oh hey, another one. Akatori instantly gave me Momodora vibes, so that's not a bad first impression. The stick combat seems pretty involved and there's a lot of aerial movement, so this might be on the trickier combat-heavy side but potentially quite rewarding. I also dig what appears to be a dimension switching mechanic where the heroine jumps between a forested land and near-future Tokyo like it's The Longest Journey, so I'm curious to discover what that's all about.

    The Response: Heck Yeah. This is extremely my shit. Explormers all day, just keep throwing whatever you got at me.

  • The Game: A top-down shooter from idoz & phops (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): I figured Archvale for a roguelite because it has that whole top-down thing and random stuff happening (and more than one playable character) but I think it's on the level. That is, the unchanging level, not the procgen level that's different every time. Actually, kinda reminds me of Hammerwatch a lil' bit. That's a good sign.

    The Response: Sure. I might give this a shot further down the line if I remember it exists. Wish it had a name that didn't remind me of the worst parts of Doom 2 though.

  • The Game: A melancholy narrative adventure from Humble Grove (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): Its two creators talk you through the themes of the game, if not the moment-to-moment progression, and boy howdy does it sound like a laff riot. Twentysomething disaffectedness isn't really a theme I'm psyched about much these days, though most adults still share much of the same existential anxiety as those hitherto children forced to make choices about their future that should be impossible given their age. Might I recommend against being a wiseacre about video games on the internet? Not much cash in it.

    The Response: Nah. I'm keeping away from the more depressing stuff for the sake of my own disintegrating psyche. Games with heavy themes though? Industry's gonna need more of those if it's going to keep growing.

  • The Game: A top-down action-adventure from Moonlight Games (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): Here we go, back to the spooky top-down action games. Hunt the Night has some striking horror visuals, even if the cutesy pixel look defangs them somewhat, and I'm always here for a Zelda-like with strong combat as long as it plenty of everything else to buoy it. The trailer is courteous enough to give us a few flashes of UI, including what looks like a quest system and some skill tree business, and dang if that dude getting eaten by the wolf wasn't just raw as hell.

    The Response: Sure. I'll add it to the same mental list as Archvale and Batora as some twitch-action games to look into further. Or I could add it to the non-mental, actual list of stuff I'm meaning to check out, otherwise known as my Steam wishlist.

  • The Game: A card-based RPG from Morteshka (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): Oh hey, I used to love Black Books. I'm glad they're making a game about it, though a sitcom about a bookshop strikes me as a w- oh right, it's not that. It's some deckbuilding thing about Slavic monsters, like a picturebook Witcher(book). I'm glad this minute-long trailer eventually shows you how it plays in its second half after setting up the tone and presentation in the first half; kind of a best of both worlds cinematic and gameplay trailer.

    The Response: Nah. I've played a few Slavic myth games of late so I'm glad CDPR's inspiring more than just hackers and internet arguments about crunch and racial inclusivity, but I'm really not a deckbuilding guy. Cards or verandas.

  • The Game: A roguelike deckbuilding matching-puzzle game from Be-Rad Entertainment (Lame Castle).

    The Trailer(s): Well, case in point. You start your trailer with "roguelike deckbuilding game" and I start my walk home, provided I am not already at my house and I almost always am. Combining cards and match-3 is a bold choice, though I wonder if that doesn't spoil the broth with too many cooks. Feels like I would Buridan's Ass that situation real quick if I had something large and fierce bearing down on me, my eyes darting across various parts of the screen looking for succor where there's none to be found. Like completing a Sudoku every time you drop a Tetris piece, my brain would just give up after a while.

    The Response: Nah. Like an artisanal sandwich that has eight different toppings that I don't like, I'm sure this exists for somebody out there of discerning taste but that somebody sure ain't me.

  • The Game: A top-down action-RPG from Straka Studio (Euclidean Lands).

    The Trailer(s): Ah, it's another one of these "developer talks you through it" type of trailers. Very informative, if not as showy. The voiceover dev has this thick Slovakian accent that can be a little tough to parse, but the game looks cool: it has something like Hyper Light Drifter's evasion and attack variations except you have an extra edge in that you can manipulate the platform you're on in real time, whizzing it into and away from an enemy's reach. I'm not sold on the visuals quite yet, but I think that floor-moving idea's novel enough to hook a game onto.

    The Response: Sure. I might give this a try further down the road; I'd like to know how challenging it gets and what the responsiveness is like, which is going to take some on-field reporting from the GB crew or... other parties... but let's say I'm optimistic for this one. It might be the first time ever that a game has used sliding blocks in a positive way.

  • The Game: A side-scrolling platformer from Quarto Mundo (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): Ahh you're like a... a dengel, or maybe an angvil. A half-and-half. Other than that we get some ominous Portuguese demon talk and a decent look at the gameplay. The character models have a certain robotic slickness I don't care for (it was in Bloodstained also) but I like the visual design of the setting. Oh and kudos to the game dialogue for using "extirpated," that's a good word. Next coolest thing? What looks like a radial menu from a vendor where every option is a sword sticking outwards; it's both visually striking and practical.

    The Response: Sure. Between its moxie and the fact that Steam says it's an explormer, I'll pencil this one in as a distinct purchase possibility. Yes, I will be your devil and your angel.

  • The Game: A top-down action game from Pancake Games (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): Slime Heroes, I've played Rocket Slime. I beat Rocket Slime. Rocket Slime was a favorite DS game of mine. Slime Heroes, you are no Rocket Slime. Though, you know, I can't be mad that anyone's looking to riff on that game in particular given how memory-holed I thought it might've become. Slime Heroes is looking a bit threadbare from this trailer, but its Steam page does say a 2023 release so it's a long way from being done yet. I guess this also means it'll be here for next year's E3 Trailer Blazer.

    The Response: Maybe. I'll hold off until it's much closer to release before I pass down any early judgments. With many of these slimes, you have to wait for them to set first.

  • The Game: A three-player co-operative shooter from Ubisoft Montreal (Tonic Trouble).

    The Trailer(s): Here we are with the Ubisoft block. It's going to be hard going through every one of these games without addressing all the company's many recent improprieties, but I guess Ubisoft itself had no problem ignoring them. Yves was all smiles as usual. Anyway, here's the erstwhile R6 Quarantine, which takes all the R6 Siege operators and puts them up against generic looking virus aliens for all those who don't care for PvP.

    The Response: Nah. We're getting back to the AAA quotient of E3 which means almost all of the following will be online multiplayer games as a service of some sort that I don't really care about. Thumbs up for social interactions during quarantine! Even if it's in a game that was once about quarantines, and still has people in hazmat suits yelling about infections.

  • The Game: A massively multiplayer extreme sports simulator from Ubisoft Annecy (Steep).

    The Trailer(s): I have to believe that this is a world where no-one gets seriously injured, because people are laughing and having fun on their mountain bikes or whatever as people literally fall from the sky, hit the ground hard in front of them, and stop moving. Maybe they've all embraced survival of the fittest as a religious doctrine and anyone who dies trying to pull off ridiculous shit probably deserved it for being too weak, the mountain gods culling them from the herd as is their wont. Cults, man. Never a good scene. Anyway, thanks for explaining how Graffiti mode works, trailer.

    The Response: Nah. Steep didn't light the world on fire and snowboarding games peaked with Amped 3 regardless, so I'm not sure what Riders Republic hopes to accomplish. At least you won't have to climb any towers as you ski and bike downhill?

  • The Game: An open-world FPS from Ubisoft Toronto (Starlink: Battle for Atlas).

    The Trailer(s): We've got three trailers for a game that casts an Italian-African-American as a vaguely Cuban Hispanic El Presidente type because who can even tell what minorities are which, am I right? The first has us learn more of this character, basically that he's a murderous asshole so that's a new twist for a Far Cry villain, and then the next has some Not-Just-Cause gameplay stuff to assure folks it's not all Giancarlo chewing the scenery. The third trailer looks to demonstrate a multiplayer thing that brings back Vas and Pagan Min and Redneck Cult Guy From Far Cry 5 to let them fight it out for Bestest Baddie. Let the games begin indeed. (For the record, Esposito is a great actor and fun presence and should be in more things. I'm just a little apprehensive about this particular role.)

    The Response: Maybe. I skipped Far Cry 5 because I heard a lot of mixed things, but the most prevalent feedback was that Far Cry - or the Far Cry revival begun by Far Cry 3 - was losing steam. Like how many more endangered animals do I need to turn into bigger wallets? Perhaps FC6 will reinvent itself in some surprising ways, but there's no evidence of that from these trailers.

  • The Game: A tactical RPG crossover from Ubisoft Milan (MotionSports).

    The Trailer(s): Mario + Rabbids are back, and this time they're going into space to work in the Super Mario Galaxy canon. That means Luma Rabbids, Rabbid Rosalina, and potentially some trippy combat arenas that wrap around planetoids. Looks like they've switched grids for radial movement, like Phantom Brave, so maybe that's a balancing issue (you could pull off some nuts movement ranges with the right modifiers, and that meant a free hit on anyone in the vicinity).

    The Response: Sure. I felt pretty burned out towards the end of Mario + Rabbids - that game had a lot of content - but I'm up for trying a sequel with new characters and some new ideas. I really hope they lean more into the Rabbids reprising various Mario characters past and present for open mockery; I'd love to see a Rabbid Booster or a Rabbid E. Gadd. I suspect they won't get too meta this time around though.

  • The Game: An FPS from Flying Wild Hog (Devolverland Expo).

    The Trailer(s): I haven't played any of the Shadow Warrior revival games (or the original, come to think of it) but I'm cognizant enough to know that there's been some major changes to this one. The first was like the original with its linear stages, the second went for more of an open-world loot angle, and it looks like the third is going for arena encounters with a lot more TItanfall/Doom hookshot and wall-running traversal. I don't think Lo Wang is making quite as many jokes about his penis either, but I suppose they have time to patch that in. Maybe for some kind of Dickfinitive Edition.

    The Response: Maybe. The rapid-speed mayhem in the trailer looks like a tremendous amount of fun, but I imagine it'd be hard to beat id Software at their own game (and at their own genre too). Who knows though? This might be the FPS experience Jeff G wanted from Doom Eternal all along.

  • The Game: A monochrome side-scrolling action game from Flying Wild Hog (Juju).

    The Trailer(s): I sometimes wonder if a video game development project can start off as small as seeing Ghost of Tsushima's "Kurosawa Mode" and thinking "pfft, you call that a Kurosawa Mode? I can do a better Kurosawa Mode. Just watch me." Trek to Yomi is much more deliberate with its cinematic inspiration, though I'm wondering how those sword duels work. Bushido Blade rules? Or Sekiro perhaps? It's coming in 2022, so maybe we'll get a more thorough look at Trek to Yomi by this time next year.

    The Response: Sure. It's an attractive game and I'm curious what that duelling tech is like. I imagine it'll also be a lot cheaper than trying to hunt down a copy of Ghost of Tsushima.

  • The Game: Asynchronous first-person action-adventure game from Team WIBY (new studio).

    The Trailer(s): This is inspired. The Dark Souls ghost system but for competitive asynchronous tomb plundering? What I love most about this idea is how quickly you'd get used to following a promising looking ghost as they breeze past the first few rooms, forgetting that this person is going to make a fatal mistake eventually and you'll probably fall for it right along with them. I'm not sure how much fun endless procgen traps will be in the long run, but it seems like it'd make for a fun "Spelunky Daily Run" beat your friends type of affair.

    The Response: Nah. This is something I'm going to enjoy vicariously, as the GB team makes poor old Jan stream all their perspectives simultaneously as they eat shit on Legends of the Hidden Temple over and over.

  • The Game: Sandbox survival action-adventure from Galvanic Games (Gurgamoth).

    The Trailer(s): The idea of giving a wizard a gun reminds me of that classic MBMBaM "Wizard Swears" bit (go look it up), so I'm already in a good mood when starting this trailer. Then, after a stylish animated western presentation, we get down to brass tacks with the chyron "multiplayer survival sandbox adventure" and now I'm wishing I had a gun to put against my own temple. My precious adorable cowboy Vivis! Why'd you have to be in a Don't Starve knock-off?

    The Response: Nah. I like wizards, I like guns (in video games), but I don't like survival anything. If my plane is about to crash in the Andes, I'm bending myself into a position most likely to snap my neck like a twig upon impact. Bon appetit, assholes.

  • The Game: An isometric action game from Acid Nerve (Titan Souls).

    The Trailer(s): Well look at this stylish little fellow. I cottoned onto the Titan Souls connection pretty fast once the bosses started showing up, but it looks like the devs also took some lessons from Hyper Light Drifter (that game's popping up a lot this E3) and put some evade-y slice-y fun into this macabre hack n' slasher. I think the most prominent carry-over from Titan Souls is the use of that bow: it looks powerful but you need to make sure you've aimed it perfectly before releasing, and that won't always be easy if you're getting chased around.

    The Response: Heck Yeah. This is one of the Indies I'm most interested in from this year's show, even if there's a lot of competition for these zoomed-out Hyper Light types. Great aesthetic (what's with the Ghibli witch boss?) and looks to be the right level of challenging. We'll find out next month.

  • The Game: A meta horror adventure game from Daniel Mullins (Pony Island).

    The Trailer(s): I've played enough of Mullins's games now not to trust my eyes when it comes to that weirdo, and if I thought for a moment that this game was entirely the card-based tactical RPG it presents itself as at the start of the trailer I give my future self permission to bop myself on the head. If you've played The Hex, you know there are no boundaries between what's real and what isn't that this man won't break.

    The Response: Heck Yeah. Daniel Mullins is one of the most exciting designers working right now. I'm always going to be curious about what meta nightmare he's cooking up next.