For months, rumours have floated around about E3 2021 but unlike in years past, there hasn’t been any major leaks from the show — yet. Behind closed doors, there’s likely a trove of surprises waiting for video game fans but for now we barely know anything about what’s in store. Really, that’s the way it should be — surprises are a great way to get everyone excited about games.
But as we wait for those surprises, there’s no reason we can’t speculate wildly about what could be landing at E3 in 2021. After a year of relative quiet for the games industry, there are plenty of interesting projects that could be making an appearance at the show.
Let’s start with the leakiest boat of E3 2021: Nintendo. One of gaming’s worst kept secrets is the existence of a Nintendo Switch ‘Pro’ model, rumoured to rock a better screen, greater battery and upgraded graphical prowess. While nothing has been confirmed on this front, reported leaks from manufacturers and industry insiders state the console is set to launch later this year— making E3 2021 the perfect time to unveil the device.
But even if the Nintendo Switch Pro isn’t revealed at this year’s show, Nintendo could still bring plenty of surprises to the table.
A recent survey asked consumers how they felt about WarioWare, so a new mini-game collection could easily make an appearance at the show (and it would be a fantastic fit for the Switch). We could also see more news about the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl remakes, or the upcoming Pokémon MOBA, Unite.
On the Zelda front, there’s rumours of a Wind Waker re-release, or potentially a 3D All-Stars Collection for the franchise — but everything else is a mystery. The time feels right for a Breath of the Wild 2 reveal, but with no news on that front we have little to go off.
Still, expect the E3 2021 Nintendo Direct to be absolutely packed with new content. It’s been a good long while since a solid Direct, and Nintendo’s slate for 2021 and 2022 is looking very bare.
Gearbox / 2K Games
2K Games has two major upcoming titles that are likely candidates for an E3 2021 showing: WWE 2K22 and the mystery BioShock sequel, which has reportedly been in the works since 2019. Of these, WWE 2K22 is most likely to make an appearance, but don’t discount BioShock appearing too. It’s been nearly a decade since the last mainline title release, but there’s plenty left to explore in the franchise.
On the Gearbox front, we could also get a look at brand new Borderlands content. Way back in early 2020, a leaker claimed Tales from the Borderlands 2 was in the works and while it feels like too much to hope for, it could still happen. Also rumoured to be on the way is a Tiny Tina-themed spin-off called Wonderlands, which sounds like it may crimp from the Borderlands 2 expansion pack, Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep.
Either reveal would be very, very welcome.
Xbox / Bethesda
E3 2021 will play host to the first joint Bethesda/Microsoft conference since the buyout in early 2021, so it should be an interesting show. Currently, the only major game we really know about from Bethesda is Deathloop, while Xbox is holding onto reveals for Halo Infinite, Fable, and other major titles. All of them are likely to appear at E3 2021 (although Fable is a bit less certain), but the lack of firm upcoming releases means anything could happen.
Another look at Starfield feels likely, but beyond that there’s not a whole lot we know about, so fingers crossed there’s some surprises in the works. Could they reveal something new for Fallout or Dishonored? Could we see more of Two Point Campus following its early leak? Only time will tell.
Square Enix has a bunch of upcoming games they’re likely to show off at this year’s E3 including NEO: The World Ends With You, Life is Strange: True Colors, and a bunch of new Dragon Quest projects — but we don’t know if there’ll be anything ‘new’ for the show.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 2 seems a likely candidate, as is the future of the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Either could make an appearance at the show, with both being as likely as the other.
We could also hear more about Marvel’s Avengers (and the potential release of Spider-Man), or something completely new.
Ubisoft had a massive 2020 between the releases of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion, so don’t expect anything too spectacular in 2021. Assassin’s Creed has become a less seasonal game since the launch of Odyssey in 2017, Watch Dogs is even rarer and other franchises have already gotten recent sequels.
Expect to hear more about Far Cry 6 instead, and potentially something about new DLC for Valhalla or Legion.
Quietly, we’d also like to hear more about the long-gestating Beyond Good and Evil 2 but given we’ve barely heard anything from this project (beyond allegations of abuse behind the scenes), it’s looking unlikely at this stage.
Could this be the year Rockstar Games finally unveils Grand Theft Auto VI?
Absolutely nothing is certain, but the timing feels right. Red Dead Redemption Online is experiencing steady growth, the hype for Red Dead Redemption II has died down and long-rumoured titles like Bully 2 feel years away (if they’re ever actually released).
Grand Theft Auto VI is one of the most anticipated games of the next decade, and while it would pop off a whole lot more with a live crowd, getting news of this release at E3 2021 would be a nice salve for the past year-and-a-bit we’ve had.
For now, we don’t expect any major news — but a new teaser could be in the cards, just to keep people excited.
E3 2021 takes place from June 12 to June 15, but some events have already begun airing.
Stay tuned to Gizmodo and Kotaku Australia throughout the week as we bring you all the latest and greatest news from the world of video games and beyond.