E3 2021 is just around the corner and, here at TechRadar, we’re seriously starting to feel the buzz. While E3 will look a bit different this year, taking the form of a digital event rather than an in-person expo, that hasn’t dampened our spirits (too much).
After E3 2020 was canceled, we’re more than ready for a season of big gaming announcements, reveals and teases. It’s like Christmas Day for gamers. And one of the best parts of preparing for E3 is predicting what we’re going to see.
So we’ve rounded up the TechRadar team’s E3 2021 predictions. While some of these predictions are likely, and others possible, there are plenty that are just downright wishful thinking. But it’s all a bit of harmless fun and it’s E3 after all: anything could happen.
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A closer look at Fable
Vic Hood, Gaming Editor
I’m a huge Fable fan and when Fable 4 (officially just called ‘Fable’) was revealed back in 2020, it’s fair to say I was a tad excited. We may have only got a few-second teaser trailer but that was enough to get me hyped.
I’m hoping that this E3, we get a closer look at what we can expect from the new Fable: where it’s set, what creatures we can expect to see, whether it’ll still focus on heroes and whether the rumors about time-traveling are actually true. Even if it’s just a cinematic trailer – please, Microsoft. Give me something.
Skate 4 reveal
Axel Metz, News Writer
Some sort of Skate-related project is in the works over at EA, that much is clear. It’s been 11 years (11!) since the release of Skate 3, and back in June last year the game’s developers sent fans of the franchise into delirium after announcing (opens in new tab) that they were “back” – whatever that means.
Could we see Skate 4 officially (and finally) announced at E3 2021, then? It’s not a game we expect to be able to play any time soon – what’s another few years after a decade-long wait, right? It would, however, be awesome to see EA swap shooters for skateboards for at least a few minutes.
TimeSplitters 2 HD
Daryl Baxter, Software & Downloads Writer
It’s finally happening. Free Radical is coming back with original founders David Doak and Steve Ellis, with the sole aim of creating a new TimeSplitters game.
It’s not looking likely that we’ll see this anytime soon, which is why I'd love to see an HD remaster of the original trilogy, or just the second entry, announced at E3 2021.
Especially with the Switch Pro about to be announced, playing TimeSplitters 2 on this handheld, in online multiplayer, is something that could very well while we wait for the new game to arrive.
More Command & Conquer remasters
Samuel Roberts, Senior Entertainment Editor
My best gaming experience during 2020's pandemic was replaying RTS games from the 1990s. EA resuscitated Command and Conquer and Red Alert for a well-priced, beautiful update in last year's Remastered Collection – and now it's time for two more games in the series to get similar treatment.
I'd love to see EA announce it's going to do the same with Red Alert 2 and Tiberian Sun, two more classics that would benefit from having new sprite art, animations and UI tweaks. Sure, I could predict something like 'Elden Ring appears at the Xbox conference' instead as a more exciting E3 prediction – but isn't everyone else on the internet basically saying that already?
The year of Final Fantasy?
Rhys Wood, Staff Writer
Square Enix has a few big Final Fantasy titles in the works, as we know: Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker, Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade and Final Fantasy 16. It’s been a while since we heard from the next major installment in the Final Fantasy series, so I think E3 would be the perfect opportunity to debut a new trailer for the much-hyped FF16. It would also be great to see rumors of a Dark Souls-inspired Final Fantasy come to fruition, and would certainly make for a bumper year for Square Enix’s flagship series.
Spyro 4 announcement
Hamish Hector, Staff Writer
Activision might have built itself a reputation as the Call of Duty factory, and it hasn’t done itself any favors given the recent Toys for Bob layoff news (opens in new tab), but I’m hoping it’ll use E3 to remind us it has many other IPs under its belt. My favorite of those is Spyro, and I’m convinced we’ll finally see a follow-up to 2018’s Spyro Reignited Trilogy announced this year.
While the publisher hasn’t given any concrete plans for E3 yet, its name has been listed on the official list of companies attending the event so it's sure to have some kind of presence, preferably one involving everyone's favorite purple dragon.
GTA 6 official teaser
John McCann, Global Managing Editor
Okay, this one is a stretch – I know. And it’s certainly a case of my heart over my head.
It’s been eight long years since the launch of GTA 5, marking the longest stint we’ve ever had between major installations of the hugely popular, open-world game. GTA 6 rumors are worming their way onto the web, and while some are being debunked, it feels like things are slowly building to a head.
Rockstar doesn’t have an E3 press conference and tends to steer clear of the event altogether, but imagine if it dropped a teaser image or even a short trailer for GTA 6 during the gaming expo? It would be the biggest story of the week. Yes, please.
More Legend of Zelda remakes (but no BOTW 2)
Henry St Leger, Home Cinema Editor
2021 is the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda franchise. While the game we’re all keenest to hear about is Breath of the Wild 2, I expect that Nintendo is going to save that game to close off the year’s celebrations, and that we’ll have a few more remake and remaster announcements to get through before we get a good look at it.
We’re close enough to Skyward Sword HD, releasing on the Switch in July, that Nintendo should start pointing towards what’s next on the horizon. Remasters of the GameCube/Wii classic Twilight Princess, or the cel-shaded Wind Waker – possibly as a two-game collection – seem likely, while a renewed trademark for Phantom Hourglass suggests the beloved DS game could get a makeover in the vein of 2019’s Link’s Awakening. With a back catalog like Zelda’s, there’s a lot Nintendo could be planning.
We may well get a BOTW 2 release date to close off Nintendo’s E3 presentation, but likely not too many details or in-depth gameplay – and I do think Nintendo will try to stoke nostalgia with a few more remakes before we really know what we’re getting in the next mainline Zelda game.
Elder Scrolls 6 teaser and confirmation of setting
John Loeffler, Computing Writer
It’s been nearly 10 years since Skyrim was released and, with Fallout 76 getting some legs under it, there’s every reason to expect Bethesda to pivot to Elder Scrolls 6. And now with Microsoft’s merger with Bethesda, E3 could give us our first real details about the highly-anticipated RPG.
We got a very lame teaser a couple of years ago with a brief video showing what looked like highlands, leading many to guess at the province of High Rock as the game’s setting.
On New Year’s Eve last year, The Elder Scrolls official account tweeted out a photo (opens in new tab) of a map of Skyrim with some candles and other items on a table, with one of the candles placed right underneath the word Hammerfell to Skyrim’s southwest. Pretty much the entire internet takes this as confirmation that Hammerfell will be the setting for Elder Scrolls 6, and since High Rock is to the north of Hammerfell (and the border region between these two provinces was the setting for Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall), there’s no reason why both Provinces couldn’t be wrapped up into Elder Scrolls 6.
Personally, I don’t see how you do a proper Elder Scrolls game set after Skyrim in the series' timeline. If you support Jarl Ulfric and cast off the Imperials in ES5, then Nords would theoretically be out of the Empire for ES6, which wouldn’t feel right. It’d also be sad for Bethesda to decide which side wins the Stormcloak Rebellion for canonical purposes. The easy way to get around this is to set it further back in the Empire’s past, and Hammerfell has a lot of lore opportunities that they could explore.
Show me Mario Kart 9
Adam Vjestica, Senior Gaming Writer
It’s easy to forget that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was basically a spruced-up re-release of Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U, a game that was released in 2014. That means it’s been seven long years since we got a brand new entry in the series, and I can’t wait any longer.
It’s time, then, for Nintendo to wow us at E3 2021 with a Mario Kart 9 announcement.
Even though I’m sure Nintendo will figure out a way to make the next Mario Kart feel suitably fresh, I’d like to see even more faces from the company’s classic franchises this time around. Let me race around as Samus Aran, inhale rivals as Kirby, or skid around the track as Captain Olimar. There are so many characters that deserve to cross the finish line, so Nintendo should stuff Mario Kart 9’s roster full of fan favorites, just like it did for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Sadly, as much as I want Mario Kart 9 to be announced, I still don’t think it will happen. If Nintendo released some more DLC for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, though, that would at least keep me, and many others, content for a little while longer.
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