E3 2021 couldn't live up to the hype, but people tuned in anyway

E3 2021 couldn't live up to the hype, but people tuned in anyway
The next chapter in the "Halo" video-game franchise, "Halo: Infinite."343 Industries
  • E3 2021 is finally over and fans are still processing the week.
  • Major titles for Microsoft, Nintendo, Bethesda, and more debuted at the conference.
  • But gamers expect more than can be delivered from the video game convention.

When I was in middle school, I looked forward to E3 more than any other holiday or birthday combined. The weeklong video-game industry convention featuring reveals and press conferences from gaming's top studios offered a constant source of whimsy and potential in my adolescent mind.

Ahead of the annual conference, I'd prepare lists of the games expected to debut and scream gleefully at my standard definition television when executives or G4TV hosts confirmed my predictions with actual release dates.

In 2018 and 2019, I got to attend the convention for the first time, attending those same press conferences that used to be the highlight of my summers as a kid.
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So when it was announced that the convention would return after a year-long pandemic hiatus, I was thrilled.

This year, while attending the virtual conference, I believed that one good, solid game announcement could return the light from my childhood to the dark apartment inhabited by my now nearly-30-year-old self.

While I was watching the return of "Master Chief," "Wario," and so many other games, the hype did feel real, but it didn't necessarily live up to my expectations.
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E3 2021 came with a lot of anticipation

Fan expectations for E3 2021 had to be tempered due to it being remote. Some new games were announced before the convention, like "Hollow Knight: Silk Song" and the latest "Call of Duty," meaning those titles wouldn't make an appearance. Still, gamers were left with a near-infinite amount of possibilities. Naturally, many were let down.

"Everyone is looking towards one big date in the gaming calendar, but we already know E3 can't possibly provide everything we're hoping to see," gaming writer Melindy Hetfeld said in PC Gamer.Still, there is no hype like gamer hype, and the week started off strong with the Summer Games Fest on June 10. There, fans got a better look at the "Left 4 Dead" successor "Back 4 Blood," as well as "Elden Ring," the highly anticipated fantasy role-playing game (RPG) written by George R. R. Martin.
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Over the next week, at their own official E3 conferences, game studios showed off their best content coming in the next few years.

Xbox and Bethesda aired cinematics for the space explorer game "Star Citizen" and the legacies shooter game "Halo Infinite."

Ubisoft introduced us to shooter "Rainbow Six: Extraction" and the second installment of the plumber's RPG "Mario + Rabids: Sparks of Hope."
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Gearbox had cheeky reveals for the shooter games "Tiny Tina's Wonderlands" and "The Outer Worlds 2."

Square Enix gave us a confusing string of new games, like "Strangers of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin" and an in-depth gameplay trailer for a "Guardians of the Galaxy" game.

Not all studios lived up to the convention's hype

While those studios brought just enough hype, others fell short.
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"I expected it to look and feel kinda messy, and that's what we got," VentureBeat video games reporter Jeff Grub told Insider. "Gaming fans always expect the moon, but if you talk to them long enough, they'll admit that they really just want an exciting presentation from big companies."

Studios Capcom and Bandai barely had enough content to fill their conference slots, and even Nintendo fell victim to the hype when rumors about a reveal of a pro version of its Switch failed to materialize. Though the company showed off the minigame collection "Warioware: Get It Together," the latest character from "Tekken" coming to "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate," and the first gameplay footage of "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2," it just wasn't enough to keep their stock from falling five percent.

Despite the existence of social media, which gives companies the capability of talking directly to their fans, E3 still has mystical clout in the gaming world.
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"It's a single event that gets a massive audience to willingly tune in to watch a series of commercials," Grubb said. "People take time off work to watch. Hundreds of content creators that normally do one video a week are creating multiple videos per day. Mainstream media outlets watch and listen. And everyone buys into that because of the E3 branding."

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