A Not-So In-Depth Look at Summer Games Fest 2021

It used to be a simple task to write about the year’s E3 videos, especially for a small team of writers like we have in this site. There were just three programs to concentrate on, namely the Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. They were really lengthy programs so it was easy to put together a post on each of them. There were the odd miscellaneous programs, like the Ubisoft, EA, Bethesda and Devolver Digital keynotes. But those were short so you could just bunch them all up into one article.

Things are much different nowadays. Nintendo still has a Treehouse show but that’s been something they’ve been doing even without the annual even that is E3. Sony appears to have followed suit with their State of Play vids. The company has even made it a point to state they’re not attending the annual gaming trade show for the past several years already. The only holdout now is Microsoft who is still holding yearly E3 shows. But, in Sony and Nintendo’s place, many more new trade shows have popped into the picture. There’s actually too much for a couple of writers who work on this site as a hobby to keep track off and write about.

So, we’re keeping things really simple here at 3rd World Geeks. What we’re going to do is just write about the “big” shows like the aforementioned Microsoft Xbox (with Bethesda) show and the Ubisoft program this week and then, maybe, give our impressions of what we liked and disliked throughout E3 next week. But for now, I do have to talk about the only show that isn’t officially part of E3: the Summer Games Fest. Now, I don’t know why it isn’t but Geoff Keighley’s program is close enough to the timeline and it is about video games. So why not talk about what was good and bad about Summer Games Fest?

Summer Games Fest 2021 was hosted by, Geoff Keighley, of course. And, boy, did he have a lot to do at that time! Not only did he host Summer Games Fest, he also participated in the Netflix Geeked Week programs and did several interviews and recaps of the other shows. Hats off to the guy for being as dedicated as he is to gaming! It was still rather sad that he had to go up on stage and play to no one but the home viewers. It’s always much nicer to see and hear other gamers’ reactions to what’s actually happening on stage in real time instead of trying to read through a fast scrolling chat on Twitch. Guess it couldn’t be helped, though. Thankfully, Geoff did mention this year’s Game Awards will be held in a venue that’ll allow a live crowd. That’s something to look forward to, at least.

Even so, there was quite a bit of filler in the program as Summer Games Fest included a few live musical performances. It’s not that I dislike them nor do I say there’s no place for musical performances in Summer Games Fest but, in my opinion, the focus of a show like this is to promote the video game, not the music that’s going to appear in the video game. So, when a band like Japanese Breakfast sings a song that’s going to appear in Sable or when the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra plays the various stage themes in Sonic Unleashed, I just wish they show more gameplay than the people singing and dancing. Still, that one Weezer song was kinda good so I’m not going to front and say it’s a total waste of time.

There were also more than a couple of interviews, which came off as kind of mixed. Some of them, like Geoff’s interview with Metal Gear Solid mastermind Hideo Kojima to announce Death Stranding: Director’s Cut, were neat in their own way but came off as just a way to hype the upcoming game while only showing a teaser clip. Having Ashly Burch, the voice of Tiny Tina talk about Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands needed a much better teaser. The best interview for me was the one with Giancarlo Esposito for Far Cry 6. Maybe I’m just biased because I do like his work, even the comedic bits he did in Community. But I do love how he explained that, while he plays a villain in the game, the character himself doesn’t think of himself as a bad guy. It actually made me want to play a Far Cry game, something I have never done. On a side note, teasing that Kojima was making another Metal Gear Solid game based from the trailer, that’s just cruel!

Geoff also managed to get a couple of big named celebrities, like Jeff Goldblum and Ryan Reynolds. Then again, they were obviously there to plug their latest project. And one project wasn’t even a video game but at least it was video game adjacent. Jeff Goldblum plugged Jurassic World: Evolution 2 in his own Jeff Goldblum-ish way. Ryan Reynolds promoted Free Guy, his video game inspired film that was delayed. Weirdly enough, I’m much more intrigued by the upcoming Free Guy as it does look like it captures the truly weird world of games like Grand Theft Auto online and the kind of hapless lives the NPCs must live.

Summer Games Fest did announce something I’ve never seen in a video game keynote: the creation of a new developer studio in Deviation Games as well as a new publisher in Prime Matter. Now, a new publisher isn’t all that hype to me. After all, publishers are just the guys who put out the games that are created by developers. Besides, Prime Matter already scooped up some big names like Payday. But a new developer will always have an uphill battle as they have to still prove themselves as competent before a publisher will touch them. Since I don’t know the guys who created Deviation Games, I can’t really attest to how well they’re going to do. But I do hope they treat their employees much better than the horror stories I’ve heard from the likes of EA.

When it did come to big announcements, Summer Game Fest was kind of lacking. We got the obligatory crossover events, like the Fast and the Furious cars coming to Rocket League, Fall Guys getting Nier: Automata costumes and Stranger Things themes scenarios for Smite. That’s cool and all but nothing really earth shattering. There were a lot of trailers, like Monster Hunter Stories 2, the new Vampire: The Masquerate and Back 4 Blood, as well but, sadly, most of them did not show a whole lot of gameplay. To be fair, some games, like Overwatch 2, are still in the early stages so they don’t really have that much to show.

There were, in all honesty, only two games that piqued my interest. The first would be Metal Slug Tactics. It looks like they did a phenomenal job of capturing the style of the Metal Slug franchise even while transferring to a strategy title. No word what platform besides PC it’s going to turn up on but I hope it comes out on something like the Nintendo Switch. To no one’s surprise, the biggest announcement of Summer Games Fest was saved for last and it was, of course, the full-blown trailer for Elden Ring.

The gameplay obviously borrows a lot from the Souls series. It’s being made by From Software so that was to be expected. What I didn’t expect was how good it looked! The story is being penned by George R. R. Martin so I expect there to be some really messed up lore to Elden Ring. I wasn’t all that excited for it before but, after seeing the trailer, I’m a little more than just hyped for it. Thankfully, it’s coming out on the PlayStation 4 so I should be able to play it when it drops in January of next year.

All-in-all, besides the Elden Ring trailer, the Summer Games Fest was just an okay preview to what E3 has in store. There wasn’t really anything awe inspiring but I will give props to Geoff Keighley for holding the fort with something that’s could be classified as E3’s pre-show. Hope this happens again next year… with an actual live audience.

What did you think of this year’s Summer Game Fest show? Let me know in the comments section below!

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