Welcome back, gaming fans! This year's E3 convention was entirely digital on YouTube this year. It showcased major video games that developers will release within the next few years. Keep in mind, PlayStation didn't join E3 this year, so you're not going to see any PS5 exclusives on this post. I'm giving you a list of games that sparked my interest. Maybe they'll sound fun or intriguing to you as well.
1) Atomic Heart
How should I describe this game? Atomic Heart appears to be a post-apocalyptic game where machines have taken over the world and exterminated most of the human race. Think steampunk instead of Terminator. It plays in first person perspective and the game footage includes a lot of melee combat, firearms, and explosives. This game looks very challenging with a blend of sci-fi and horror elements. It might also have some supernatural elements. Atomic Heart doesn't have a release date yet, but the presentation included gameplay footage and it's going to be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch.
2) Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
I always felt like Avatar was more suitable for a video game instead of a movie. The film never impressed me, but the upcoming game might be more entertaining. Let's face it. Avatar looks like a video game anyway with extensive VFX, massive world building, and a fairly rote storyline. The E3 trailer was primarily a cutscene, which means we don't know anything about the gameplay. At the moment, Frontiers of Pandora is coming out in 2022. I'll give it a shot. Maybe it'll bring me into the Avatar franchise.
3) Back 4 Blood
This co-op zombie game is coming out on October 12, 2021. It definitely caters to multiplayer audiences, especially gamers who love the Left 4 Dead series. It includes four protagonists who frantically destroy zombie and monsters in a post-apocalyptic environment. Back 4 Blood has a card system that adds extra benefits and enemies to add replayability. You and three friends can band together and wreak havoc. Lucky for me, the game also includes a single player mode with three AI companions. Back 4 Blood is also coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one.
4) The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes
I'm a big fan of the graphic adventure genre, especially when it involves horror themes. House of Ashes is the third entry in the Dark Pictures franchise. It takes place during the Iraq War through the eyes of an American unit who becomes stranded in a dark and scary cave. Unknown enemies hunt down the soldiers and the player must find clever ways to help them survive. Is the cave infested with real cave demons or is the war taking a psychological toll on the soldiers? Maybe it's some of both. House of Ashes is coming out this year just in time for Halloween.
5) Death's Door
Here's a small, indie game that was featured during the Day of the Devs showcase. Basically, crows operate as grim reapers and they take the souls of the dead to the underworld. The protagonist is a crow who's armed with swords, crossbows, sickles, magic spells, and more. You'll battle various monsters while escorting spirits to the afterlife. It's cute and a little bit creepy at the same time. Death's Door seems like a combination of Gothic, Hades, and The Legend of Zelda. The release date is July 20th of this year and I hope it will get a physical version of the game at some point. A lot of indie games are digital only, but I prefer to collect hard copies.
6) Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
This game was originally released on the Wii U. Now it's getting a remaster later this year on the Nintendo Switch. It's a unique survival horror game where the protagonist must take photos of evil spirits to make them disappear. Your only weapon is a camera and that's a frightening thought. Actually, I haven't played any of the Fatal Frame games, so this seems like an exciting opportunity. I think it will especially appeal to fans of Japanese and Korean ghost movies. Maiden of Black Water definitely catches that vibe.
7) The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles
Apparently, this game is part of a Japanese franchise that was never released in the United States until now. This Nintendo Switch exclusive is fascinating because it’s unlike the majority of video games. Part of the game is an investigative mystery with a detective and the rest of the story takes place in a courtroom. The protagonist is a prosecuting attorney who must identify criminals and convince juries to convict them. I can’t recall other games that allow players to make objections in a court of law. Yeah, some gamers might find this one boring or weird, but I’m willing to give it a shot. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is coming out in late July of this year.
8) Life is Strange: True Colors
This graphic adventure is the fourth entry in the Life is Strange franchise. I find this series interesting because it focuses on storytelling, topical issues, and complex moral choices instead of combat. The protagonist has a supernatural form of empathy that can affect the other characters emotionally. It’s an unusual concept and I’m curious to see this mechanic unfold in the game. I had lukewarm reception to the Life is Strange games in the past, but this one looks quite promising. True Colors is coming to retailers everywhere on September 10, 2021.
9) Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Despite leaks, this game was a big surprise for me. The Avengers game was a disaster, so I’m being cautiously optimistic about Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a single player game through the perspective of Star Lord, but the other Guardians will accompany the protagonist through each mission. You can also call upon them to unleash special attacks on enemies. I’m glad Square Enix is dumping the multiplayer component from the Avengers in favor of a story driven campaign. Will this game be good or bad? I have no idea, but it’s coming out this October.
10) Metroid: Dread
Here is another pleasant surprise. We haven’t seen a new Metroid game for a really long time, but another 2D entry in the series is coming out on October 8, 2021. Nintendo did a splendid job of keeping Metroid: Dread under wraps. It looks like a classic version of the series with some new mechanics to bring a survival horror element to the gameplay. Even though the protagonist is heavily armed with virtually indestructible armor, she’ll have to run away from a number of stalker enemies. This game might be a breath of fresh air in a very crowded year of releases.
11) The Outer Worlds 2
I love The Outer Worlds, so this announcement is exciting. Obsidian didn’t include a lot of information except for a cinematic trailer. It didn’t include a release date or any real gameplay, but that’s fine. I want the the studio to take their time and make the game a success. The Outer Worlds 2 probably isn’t coming for a couple of years, but I don’t mind. News flash! This game is going to be exclusive to the Xbox Series X and it will come to Xbox Game Pass on its day of launch.
This game makes me think of Back 4 Blood because it's a four player co-op game that takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting with masses of enemies. It just has vampires instead of zombies. Redfall looks very entertaining and frantic with supernatural elements among the action. The trailer claims a 2022 release year, buy we'll see. It had an impressive cinematic trailer, but the footage didn't include actual gameplay. That means the developers haven't built the game yet, so it's definitely not coming out soon. But I'll try it out because the game has a single player option with AI companions. You can check out Redfall on Xbox Game Pass at launch.
If you like 2D action games, Replaced might be a good choice. It's a side scrolling game with a post-apocalyptic environment and cyberpunk elements. I'm not sure if the game has RPG elements, but the overall experience looks fun and challenging. It's hard to pin down the exact genre. I suspect it might be somewhat of a metroidvania. The market is oversaturated with expensive AAA games, so it's nice to see smaller titles periodically. At the moment, 2022 is the tentative release year. It might actually happen because the trailer included a lot of gameplay. Replaced will also debut on Xbox Game Pass on day one.
14) Shadow Warrior 3
I've never played the other Shadow Warrior games, but this one looks ridiculously fun. Seriously, it looks like Doom with Japanese demonology and a katana. Who wouldn't want to play this game? The trailer showed a lot of gameplay, which means it might actually reach the 2021 release year. If not, it might come out during the first quarter of 2022. Shadow Warrior 3 is a first person shooter with fast pacing and hoards of enemies. I'm sure it will receive an M rating because the gameplay is a gruesome bloodbath. Check it out if you like the Doom series.
15) S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl
Microsoft is going to have several exclusive games for the Xbox Series X and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is one of them. It seems like a combination of multiple genres with action RPG elements, survival horror, and probably some light building simulator components. I don't enjoy building cities or houses in video games and hopefully, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 won't have those elements in excess. Basically, this game is an alternate version of the Chernobyl disaster. I'm not quite sure if this game will have military shooter elements. It's definitely a first person shooter, but military games like Call of Duty and Battlefield have their own gameplay style. So, this game is still mysterious to me and it's coming out in April of 2022.
I don't know anything about this game except it takes place in space. Microsoft released a cinematic trailer that lacks gameplay, so I can't figure out if this game is like The Outer Worlds, Halo, Mass Effect, or something entirely different. Right now, I'm keeping an eye on it. Gamers have to wait a while because the release date is November 11, 2022. That's a lot better than no release date at all. Starfield is an Xbox exclusive and it will be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch just like the other Xbox originals. This is a very different and pricy generation of game systems. If you want to play every cool video game, an Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will be necessary. Don't forget the Nintendo Switch either.
This indie game looks very strange, but cool. Somerville chronicles the journey of a family who's trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The apocalyptic event might be an alien invasion, but it wasn't totally clear in the trailer. Maybe it's like a video game version of A Quiet Place. I don't think the game features a lot of combat, but it seems to emphasize exploration, hiding from enemies, survival elements, and walking simulation. At the moment, it's supposed to come out in 2022 for the Xbox Series X. It might be a nice change of pace from hyperactive first person shooters.
Did any of you guys play GreedFall? Steelrising is in production from the same studio and it's an action RPG that's probably more comparable to The Witcher III and God of War instead of Dark Souls. I'm pretty sure it will be available on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox Series X, but I don't recall a release date yet. Most likely, it won't come out for a year or two. I'm curious because the setting looks entirely different than most RPGs. A clockwork army of steampunk robots are taking over France. It might take place during the Napoleonic era, but I'm still figuring that part out. The game could even be a metaphor for past events. Regardless, I'm hoping it will be entertaining and less frustrating than the soulsborne games.
19) Tiny Tina's Wonderlands
I don't know what genre fits with this game either. So many games are ambiguous right now. Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is a spinoff from the Borderlands series, which means it has first person shooting elements, comedy, and a similar animation style. It also seems to have elements from the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop games. Does that mean the player has to roll dice? I have no clue. It's a fantasy adventure that supports multiplayer and single player campaigns. I really enjoy the original Borderlands and then it all went downhill afterwards. Hopefully, Wonderlands will bring fresh ideas to the Borderlands series and first person shooters in general. Supposedly, the game is launching in early 2022.
Here's a cute, little indie game that's going to be exclusive to the Xbox Series X. I would say it looks similar to The Legend of Zelda with hack and slash gameplay, an overhead perspective, dungeon crawling, and whatnot. The protagonist is a fox who's equipped with a sword, shield, and other weapons. It's hard to get much cuter than a cartoon fox who's capable of sword fighting. The game also looks surprisingly challenging. It's supposed to come out some time this year, but I feel skeptical. I won't be surprised if it gets pushed back to 2022. But the game has legitimate gameplay, so that's a good sign.
Truthfully, E3 2021 was downright lousy. Xbox and Nintendo had really good presentations, but everyone else was a waste of a time. Hardly any of the studios announced new games, trailers, or interesting content. We're getting Guardians of the Galaxy and House of Ashes this year. That's about it. Outside of Xbox or Nintendo, everything else is much further away. The pandemic is probably turning the gaming industry upside down like the rest of the world, so that might account for a disappointing show. Despite some issues, I still found twenty games to include on this post and that means it wasn't a total loss. What upcoming games are you excited to play? Are you still hunting down a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X? Leave a comment. Thanks for visiting my blog. Be safe and get vaccinated if you're willing to make the leap. The vaccine is really helping our progress with the pandemic. Have a good weekend and game on!
Greetings! The streaming wars continue and it seems like we’re seeing more changes. Warner Bros. and Discovery merged into one company, but what does it mean? Why did this merger happen and what are the repercussions? I’ll give you some theories to chew on.
Let’s start at the beginning. WarnerMedia was an affiliate of AT&T. I assume AT&T is still in control, but we’ll see. Recently, WarnerMedia and Discovery merged together and their new title is Warner Bros. Discovery. The merger won’t finalize until next year and I doubt the government will interfere. Last year, AT&T and WarnerMedia launched a streaming service called HBO Max for $14.99 a month. It was supposed to compete with large scale streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and others. HBO Max includes everything under the WarnerMedia umbrella, such as the DC film universe, the Wizarding World, Godzilla, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Loony Toons, HBO, The Matrix, The Conjuring, Hanna-Barbera animation, etc. That’s a lot of content! Unfortunately, HBO Max is one of the least popular streaming services. It has a minimal number of subscribers compared to similar services, including unpopular ones like Apple TV+ and Peacock. I don’t understand what happened because HBO Max has excellent quality with a wealth of movies and television shows. Also, Netflix and the Disney+ bundle are virtually the same price as HBO Max. But it lacks a substantial number of subscribers and that’s the problem.
AT&T and WarnerMedia made a controversial decision during the pandemic. All of the movies from Warner Bros. are debuting on HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously during the entire year of 2021. I thought it was great, but this choice caused a huge uproar in the film industry and movie theaters. Seriously, theaters were closed until recently and we’re still living in a pandemic, but our safety doesn’t matter to the film industry. They just want our money. The creative teams who worked on these movies were also upset. So, AT&T and WarnerMedia coughed up extra money to directors, actors, and other creative talents. Their bold move to stream every movie on day one probably generated some subscribers, but it wasn’t enough. In the end, HBO Max is becoming a failure and WarnerMedia is probably losing money.
What about Discovery? Cable in general isn’t thriving very well and Discovery recently launched their own streaming service called Discovery+. It seems to be a reasonably popular streaming service, but Discovery+ has a niche audience and it can’t compete with super giants like Netflix. Discovery+ includes several original shows and syndicated programming from their affiliate networks like the ID Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, and more. It’s very cheap at only $4.99 per month. Due to the overall situation, it makes sense for Warner Bros. and Discovery to combine their assets. This merger brings even more variety to the equation and it might help them become more competitive.
I have a theory. Perhaps, AT&T will sell Warner Bros. Discovery to someone else. Maybe they’ll sell the new affiliate to NBCUniversal, Apple, ViacomCBS, or even Netflix. You never know. Think about Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox. Now we have a reasonably priced bundle with Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. I could picture something very similar happening to Warner Bros. Discovery. For example, NBCUniversal could purchase Warner Bros. Discovery and create a bundle with HBO Max, Discovery+, and Peacock. If ViacomCBS buys them, it might be a bundle with HBO Max, Discovery+, and Paramount+. It’s also possible that something entirely different will happen. Keep in mind, Amazon recently bought MGM. Streaming services are consolidating their content across the board. That’s why it’s called the streaming wars. Casualties are inevitable.
Eventually, more film studios will purchase their competitors and we’re going to have a limited number of companies. At this point, the world isn’t big enough for a bunch of major film studios. Long before the pandemic, studios released a ton of movies each year and many of them were not profitable. That catches up to the film industry after a while. Anything could happen, but I genuinely believe we’re going have fewer studios and more consolidation. Somebody will probably buy Lionsgate in the near future. I assume Warner Bros. Discovery will get scooped up. Even Sony might sell their film studio and just focus on the PlayStation along with other types of electronics. It’s a volatile market and the results will be gradual during the next several years.
So, what happens when companies like Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and Apple rule the world? What happens to streaming services and movie theaters? I’m one of the few people who sees a positive outcome. The current business model for movie theaters and the film industry isn’t working in my opinion. They’re releasing tons of movies and it just feels like everything is mass produced. The majority of movies aren’t going to boast a billion dollars in the box office and the pandemic isn’t making the situation any easier. A lot of movies are coming out in 2021 and I’m not impressed. Honestly, it’s really hard for me to recommend outings in movie theaters because we’re still fighting COVID-19 and the quality of modern films are quite low. I think the best movies of the year include a little action flick called Nobody, Tom & Jerry, a weird sci-fi thriller called Voyagers, and a Hulu original called Boss Level. That’s a pretty low bar. Most of the 2021 movie slate was filmed in 2019 or even earlier, so we can’t blame the pandemic for bad products. I wouldn’t mind if the film industry consolidated their resources and made fewer movies per year with better quality. Also, it wouldn’t kill Hollywood to release more of their titles on streaming services anyway. They should save the big releases for theaters and put everything else on their streaming services. But what do I know? I’m just a blogger, movie buff, and gamer.
Overall, the next handful of years will determine the direction of streaming services, movie theaters, and the film industry. I think it’s going to be a big mess for a while because Hollywood will want everything to go back the way it was before and that’s not possible. Let’s see what happens. We’re going to see a lot of drama. What do you think of the streaming wars?Do you have any predictions for the film industry? Are you heading back to movie theaters yet? Leave a comment and maybe we can have a discussion. Thanks a lot for visiting my blog. Take care of yourselves, be strong, and make the best of our current situation. Enjoy your movie nights and I’ll see you guys again next week.
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