The Summer Game Fest 2021 Recap


Caroline Henry

The Summer Games Fest is a multi-day show to preview what’s new in the video game industry. This includes developer insights, World Premiere game trailers, exclusive gameplay, and more! Big events will be updated here as the show goes on.


Summer Game Fest Kickoff (June 10)

The Summer Games Fest Kickoff, hosted by Geoff Keighley, started out with two new titles: Tiny Tina’s Wonderland, a standalone, high fantasy shooter spinoff of Borderlands from Gearbox.

As well as Metal Slug Tactics, a tactical strategy of a classic 90s franchise from Leikir Studio. Many developers appeared to showcase their games and talk about what’s in store.

Notable examples are Aaron Keller giving a brief update on the new 5vs5 format of Overwatch 2 as well as showing new skins for Baptiste and Sombra and a surprise appearance of Hideo Kojima, who talked about rethinking his creative process for the future and introduced Death Stranding Director’s Cut.

Johanna Faries gave an update for Call of Duty: Cold War and Call of Duty: Warzone Season 4, which will be live on June 22, 2021. There will be new maps, weapons, operations, and zombie modes. She also announced that they have partnered with Twitch Rivals for the World Series of Warzone, competitive Call of Duty, with captains Swagg, Dandangler, NadeShot, Timthetatman, and Ayden.

Celebrities joined in on the fun too. Jeff Goldblum gave a dramatic introduction for Jurassic Park Evolution 2 in his own fashion. Giancarlo Esposito talked about his role as Antoń Castillo in the upcoming Far Cry 6, saying that he doesn’t see his character as a stereotypical villain and that he took inspiration from Fidel Castro for the role. There were also live performances by Weezer, Japanese Breakfast, and a sample orchestral performance of Sonic music that is planned to be released later in the Summer Game Fest event. 

Elden Ring by FromSoftware ended the event on a high note. This action role-playing game is a collaborative effort between Hidetaka Miyazaki, the president of FromSoftware, and George R. R. Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire series that became HBO’s Game of Thrones series. It will be released on January 21st, 2022 for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.


Summer Game Fest Day 2 (June 11)

New World Deep Dive

Scott Lane, the game director for New World, and co. gave us insight into Amazon Game’s upcoming open-world MMO. Expeditions are a new PvE feature where five players team up to explore an area. At launch, there will be six new areas like Armin Excavation where you must find out what happened to the missing archeologists, Dynasty Shipyard that holds a powerful evil that must be stopped at all costs, and the Garden of Genesis that is infected by a mysterious virus. New PvE opportunities, two new worlds, Ebonscale Reach and Reekwater, and lore overviews were presented, including the ice gauntlet weapon that will be available at launch. The closed beta starts July 20, 2021, and New World will be released on August 31, 2021. You can view the full 18-minute Summer Game Fest event above.


Netflix’s Geeked Week

Netflix brought exciting news about upcoming shows that crossover into gaming. Arcane, an upcoming League of Legends animated series created by Riot Games, presented us with the exclusive clip found below. It is set to release in fall 2021. The Cuphead Show! also made an appearance. It keeps the 1930s animation style as the creators, Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, worked with the game creators, Studio HDMR, to bring this show to life. Wayne Brady is voicing King Dice in The Cuphead Show! that’s coming out later this year.

Three shows from Ubisoft are coming to Netflix. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell animated series debuted with a picture of the main character, Sam Fisher, shrouded in shadows and wearing his iconic three-lens night vision goggles. The creator of the John Wick franchise, Derek Kolstad, is going to be a writer for this series. A Far Cry animated series also had a picture, though it was just its name plastered on an environment. It’s not known which Far Cry game the show is planning on exploring or if it’s a new storyline. Captain Laserhawk A Blood Dragon Remix, based on Far Cry 3’s Blood Dragon DLC and created by Adi Shankar in collaboration with the animation studio Bobbypills, had a mini-feature of its synthwave art style that switched between video game, comics, and movie animation perspectives.

There were also announcements of new seasons for the current video game adaptations. Castlevania’s final season is out now, but the directors and executive producer expressed interest in making more shows in the same universe. A spinoff with Victor Belmont and Maria Renard was teased. The Witcher series had a quick teaser trailer for season 2. It focused a lot on Ciri. 


Tribeca Games Spotlight

Many different, film-like games were shown at the Tribeca Games Spotlight. Sable is an upcoming open-world exploration game developed by Shedworks. It features music from Japanese Breakfast, who performed their song “Glider” at the Summer Game Fest Kickoff yesterday. Kena: Bridge of Spirits, developed by Ember Labs, is an upcoming action-adventure game with stunning graphics and animation. Harold Halibut is a unique, upcoming narrative game by Slow Bros., created using hand-made stop motion visuals. 12 Minutes is an upcoming interactive thriller of a man trapped in a twelve-minute time loop developed by Luis Antonio. James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and William Dafoe all provide voice performances for the game.


Prime Matter

Prime Matter is a new premium publishing label for games by Koch Media. It features games like Payday 3, Dolman, King’s Bounty, and more! They strive to bring players diverse games from all over the world. Some of the developers that are featured in Prime Matter made appearances to talk about their games. A new Painkiller game is coming soon from Prime Matter and Saber Interactive though there’s not much else to be said. Kingdom Come: Deliverance, developed by Warhorse Studios, is an open-world role-playing game in the Holy Roman Empire. What started out as a mistake is finally coming true as the game is officially coming to the Nintendo Switch, with the partnership from Saber Interactive. Encased, developed by Dark Crystal Games, is an isometric, sci-fi, tactical role-playing game with five different classes to choose from. Though it has a long time before it’s complete, Final Form, developed by Reikon Games, presented clips of gameplay from its sci-fi first-person shooter roots. 


Summer Game Fest Day 3 (June 12)

Ubisoft Forward

Ubisoft gave us updates on new games they’re developing as well as plans for their live games. Rainbow Six Extraction presented its three-player co-op mode against the new enemy race, Archean. On September 16, 2021, you’ll be able to play as familiar operators with new arsenals and more. Far Cry 6’s Season Pass trailer shows that you will be able to play as Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3, Pagan Min from Far Cry 4, and Joseph Seed from Far Cry 5 as new content when it releases on October 7, 2021. It also comes with a copy of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope is shooting for the stars as this Switch exclusive allows you to explore the galaxy in 2022. There are new allies and enemies like the new villain, Cursa, Rabbid Rosalina, and Sparks, which are Rabbid Lumas.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is getting ready for its second expansion, Siege of Paris, which will be released later this summer. The game’s Discovery Tour will also be available sometime in 2021, which will let you explore Viking culture as citizens big and small without the fear of threats. Odin is set to return though it’s not known how. Ghost Recon was teased to release new content this year to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Watch Dogs: Legion: Bloodlines, Watch Dogs: Legion’s first expansion, will star Aiden Pearce and Wrench and is set to be released in July 2021.

To end the show, Yves Guillemot, the CEO of Ubisoft, gave us a first look at Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, releasing sometime in 2022.


Devolver Digital

Through another entertaining sketch, Devolver Digital introduced us to their new video game monthly subscription service, Devolver MAXPass+. The only this is that this is 100% fake. Their sketch is a critique of subscription services. With this, they showcased some of their new titles.

Trek to Yomi is a 2D, side-scrolling samurai game inspired by Kurosawa. It is developed by Leonard Menchiari and Flying Wild Hog and will release in 2022. Phantom Abyss, developed by Team WIBY, is a massively multiplayer game where you learn from your failures asynchronously with other players as you obtain relics from temples. Early access is available on June 22, 2021. Death’s Door is an action-adventure, role-playing game developed by Acid Nerve. You play as Crow, a reaper, and must track down a missing soul. It releases July 20, 2021. Inscryption, by Daniel Mullins Games, is a card-based, psychological horror game that mixes puzzles with roguelike deckbuilding.


Summer Game Fest Day 4 (June 13)

Xbox + Bethesda Games Showcase

Xbox and Bethesda have joined together to bring a bunch of exclusives to the next console generation, Xbox Series X|S. After 25 years of similar franchises, Todd Howard presented a trailer for their brand new franchise, Starfield. It’s a space, role-playing game and Xbox launch exclusive that will release on November 11, 2022. Halo Infinite was introduced by Joseph Staten, a veteran of the Halo series. The trailer hinted at the disappearance of Cortana and a new AI taking her place for now. Halo Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer and campaign will both be released at launch. Redfall, developed by Arkane Austin, is an upcoming co-op open-world first-person shooter that is arriving as an Xbox launch exclusive in Summer 2022.

Replaced, developed by Sad Cat Studios, is a sci-fi platformer and Xbox launch exclusive. It will be released in 2022. Microsoft Flight Simulator is coming exclusively to Xbox on July 27th with a free expansion. The Outer Worlds 2 was announced to be coming soon. Its ambiguous, self-aware trailer showed a large landscape. Forza Horizon 5 will be set in Mexico with new modes like the Events Lab where you can make your own races and game modes. It’s said to be Playground Games’ largest open world to date and will be released on November 9th. Diablo 2 and its expansion, Lord of Destruction, are being remastered as Diablo 2: Resurrected and will release on September 23rd.

Bethesda gave us a look at some of their games. Fallout 76 Steel Reign is the newest major update for the game that will finish the Brotherhood of Steel storyline. It will be released in July 2021. Elder Scrolls: Console Enhanced on June 15th will improve graphics as well as allow the game to be played in 4K or 60FPS on the Xbox Series X|S and Playstation 5.

Xbox’s new Game Pass will have 28 games at launch, with monthly additions in the future. Ten Bethesda titles will be available like Skyrim and Fallout 76.


Square Enix Presents

Matthew Mercer returns as the host of Square Enix Presents to show new console and mobile titles. Guardians of the Galaxy, developed by Eidos Montreal, took the spotlight with developer commentary, a look into the game’s start screen, and gameplay and cutscene footage. It will be released on October 26th. Life is Strange: True Colors, developed by Deck Nine, is a new game in the franchise where you use the power of empathy to solve a loved one’s death. It will be released on September 10th. Its Ultimate Edition comes with the Life Is Strange Remastered Collection, which can also be bought separately. A trailer for Babylon’s Fall, a co-op action game from PlatinumGames, was also shown real quick. Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin, developed by Team Ninja and Koei Tecmo, is a new, action-heavy title in the Final Fantasy universe. A Playstation 5 demo is available now until June 24th.

Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster is a bundle of Final Fantasy 1 to Final Fantasy 6 that’s coming soon to Steam and mobile devices. Legend of Mana is also getting a remastered version that releases on June 24, 2021. Marvel’s Avengers: War for Wakanda is a new expansion that will allow you to play as the Black Panther himself.

For Android and iOS Square Enix fans, Hitman Sniper: The Shadows is a Hitman spin-off that puts you in the shoes of a group of assassins. It is releasing later in 2021. Nier Re[in]carnation is a role-playing game that’s available for pre-order now. November 6, 2021 is its expected release date.


Back 4 Blood Showcase

Warner Bros. dedicated this showcase to showing what’s in store for Turtle Rock Studios’ Back 4 Blood, an upcoming multiplayer first-person shooter. With a PvP competitive style, you will be able to choose whether to be a Cleaner or a Ridden swarm from a variety of characters. Whoever survives the longest wins the match. You will be able to choose characters like Mom, a Cleaner that supports and heals her teammates, or Retch, a Ridden that vomits a toxic substance. Power-ups and enhancing your abilities will help you make it through each round. It will be released on October 8th, with early access on August 5th and open beta on August 12th.


Summer Game Fest Day 5-11 (June 16-22)

Steam Next Fest: June Edition

The Steam Next Fest features a showcase of new upcoming titles on Steam. You can watch first- and long-time developers play through their games, ask questions in chat, and listen to commentary. Search through 10 individual categories to find games in your favorite category or search through Home for all the games. Categories are Action, Adventure, Strategy, Simulation, RPG, Puzzle, Platformer, Horror, Sports + Racing, and VR. Multiple streams will be available to watch at the same time so feel free to cycle through them if you are interested in more than one. Make sure you check what time certain games are streaming as this 6-day event is jam-packed with a variety of titles. Here are some of the games that will be featured:

Road 96 is a narrative game that takes you on a road trip in the summer of 1996, meeting new people and seeing exciting places. It is developed by Digixart and will be released in Summer 2021. The puzzle action game, Crisp Cube, developed by Crisp Cube Entertainment Inc., challenges you to clear all of the cubes before the platform beneath you collapses. It arrives in 2021 with a demo available now. Song of Iron is an action-adventure side-scroller developed by Resting Relic that’s set to release in Mid-2021. You play as an axe-wielder as they journey through treacherous land to save their people. Wishlisting is available today. Spirit of the Island is a simulation role-playing game where you build and take care of a vibrant tropical island. Developed by 1M Bits Horde, you can add this game to your Steam wishlist to get notified when it releases. Glimmer in Mirror, a 2D narrative shooter developed by MapleDorm Games, has you explore a mysterious collapsed world full of distinct NPCs and monsters as a girl named Shiro. Add the game to your wishlist to be notified of release. Coming soon is Faerie Afterlight developed by Clay Game Studio, a beautiful 2D Metroidvania platformer where you help Kimo and Wispy find the missing light.

All these games and many more are featured in the June 2021 Steam Next Fest. Click here to tune in and see all upcoming games coming to Steam!


Summer Game Fest Day 12 (June 23)

Sonic Symphony Orchestra

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Sonic franchise, SEGA streamed a live symphony performance of music featured in the games, spanning the three decades since the first release in 1991. Medleys included songs from the classic games such as Sonic the Hedgehog 1-3 & Knuckles, Sonic Mania, the critically panned Sonic 2006, and even the lesser-known Sonic Game Gear titles.  This is a nostalgic performance that every Sonic fan should see. Gameplay and cutscene footage plays alongside the orchestra so you know where in the games these songs are.

During the intermission, Masato Nakamura, the composer for Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2, made an announcement of a new rendition of the classic Green Hill Zone music with his band Dreams Come True.

Two well-known bands for the Sonic franchise make appearances to perform their best hits. The Tomoya Ohtani Band performed “Reach For the Stars” and “Speak With Your Heart” from Sonic Colors, both amazing songs that deserve their own spot during the anniversary. Crash 40, a long-time and iconic band for the Sonic franchise, closed out the 30th anniversary with eight songs, including “Sonic Heroes,” “All of Me” from Shadow the Hedgehog, “Knight of the Wind” from Sonic and the Black Knight, and “Live and Learn” from Sonic Adventure 2. Nathan Sharp, aka NateWantsToBattle, joined in as a guest singer, singing “Endless Possibility” from Sonic Unleashed with the Tomoya Ohtani Band and “Escape From the City” from Sonic Adventure 2 with Crash 40.

You can watch the full performance here.


Summer Game Fest Day 13 (July 22)

EA Play Live

Electronic Arts featured upcoming titles and additions in their EA Play Live showcase, hosted by Austin Creed, aka WWE star Xavier Woods. Battlefield 2042, releasing on October 22nd, was the star of the show. It introduced a new custom mode called Battlefield Portal. You can mix and match content from Battlefield 2042 and some of the past games in the franchise to create brand new game modes to play in. Beloved maps like El Alamein and Battlefield 1942’s Battle of the Bulge.

Codemasters’ Grid Legends presented the World Premiere footage of its story mode. It featured an underdog tale as well as multiple new cars. Mixed racing will be available, which means you’ll be able to race electric cars, big rigs, drift cars, and more on the same track. It will be released in 2022. Lost In Random, developed by Zoink Games, gave us a look into its dice combat as you make your way through the six realms of random. Collectible cards contain attacks, abilities, and more gameplay options. It releases on September 20th with preorders available now. Dead Space ended the show with an ominous teaser trailer.

Apex Legends: Emergence, the upcoming season from Respawn Entertainment, introduced a new hero, the Seer. He was shown as a stealth character that focuses on tracking characters and gathering precise information. The new season starts on August 3rd. Knockout City also has season 2 coming up, called Fight at the Movies. It will have new skins and maps available. Plus, you can play the free demo until you reach rank 25. Season 2 will start on July 27th.


Summer Game Fest Day 14 (July 29)

Annapurna Interactive Showcase

Annapurna Interactive showcased new partnerships they’ve made, video games coming soon, and updates to their live games. Outerloop Games, who released Falcon Age, Jessica Mak, who released Sound Shapes, Ivy Road, a new studio by Stanley Parable creator Davey Wrenden and Gone Home co-creator Karla Zimonja, and No Code, who released Observation, are all the new partnerships they’ve made with video games in production.

Stray, developed by BlueTwelve Studio, showed gameplay footage of what players can expect. Explore a forgotten city as a cat with a drone companion named B-12 in this puzzle, simulation game, releasing early 2022. Gameplay footage of Neon White, a speedrunning, first-person shooter developed by Ben Esposito and Angel Matrix, was also presented. Try to be the first Neon to purge heaven within ten days when it releases in December 2021. The Artful Escape, developed by Beethoven & Dinosaur and releasing September 9th, is a beautiful platformer involving music that features celebrity voice actors like Micheal Johnston, Lena Headey, Jason Shwartzman, and Carl Weathers.

A Memoir Blue takes you on a journey through memories in this narrative adventure that’s coming soon. Storyteller, by Daniel Benmergui, lets you build stories how you want to fit the setting given. Wishlisting and a demo are available. Skin Deep is a first-person shooter developed by Blendo Games and Annapurna Interactive where you must protect your spaceship against invasive space pirates. Interact with the surroundings in this sandbox to find interesting ways to take care of them. It is available for wishlisting. Solar Ash, developed by Heart Machine and releasing in 2021, is a surreal platformer where you journey across stylized worlds and battle gigantic creatures.

What Remains of Edith Finch, The Pathless, I Am Dead, Telling Lies, and Gorogoa showed brief clips of updates that are coming. Outer Wilds was the only game update that had commentary with it, revealing its first and only expansion, Echoes of the Eye, as well as announcing it’s being ported to the Nintendo Switch.


That’s it from Summer Game Fest 2021. Many titles and insights on future games and updates from a wide range of genres were presented throughout the 14-day showcase. Now, we have a good idea of what to be prepared for until next year’s Summer Game Fest.