Hello, and welcome to day one of PC Invasion’s liveblog. (Technically day two, but Summer Game Fest is its own thing, so that’s more day zero.) In this liveblog we’ll be covering all the E3 2021 announcements from the first day of the show as they happen. As ever, our crack news squad will be beavering away to get the stories up, but if you just need some bitesize bits or refreshers on what’s happened — maybe you went to the loo, or to get a drink, or perhaps you’re just looking for a précis after the fact — then we’ve got you covered.
As ever, all times are in Eastern time, and you’ll get to watch my sanity dwindling with every passing minute. Perhaps I’ll start rambling about shoes or fashion again. Who knows where my mind will go? (Other than far, far away from where it should be.) No auto-refresh here so you’ll have to manually refresh the page to see the latest updates, and the newest updates will be at the very bottom. With that said, enjoy the show.
E3 2021 Pre-Show
1:30pm — I’m pretty sure this was meant to start 30 minutes ago, but we’re nearly there now. 15 seconds left on the stream’s countdown timer as I type these words. Stress levels rising.
1:32pm — The splash video at the start showed some Phoenix Wright, which heartens me, and mentioned T-Pain, which confuses me. Greg Miller and Jacki Ling are on stage hosting the pre-show. I’m popping to the oven to get some food, because I’m not expecting anything major just yet. Right now, they’re just explaining that this is a remote show, which you can tell on account of the fact that you’re watching it on the internet.
1:35pm — Alex Mendez is the third host, apparently, along with a bunch of people from sites that aren’t PC Invasion. So yeah, nothing yet. I may slip back into my role as gaming’s fashion commentator shortly. I will possibly hush for a bit while they talk about Things They Are Interested In. Nobody’s asked me what I’m interested in, but that’s probably for the best. That’s a dangerous question.
1:37pm — SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT AND SPECIAL GUEST? I wasn’t expecting that in the pre-show.
Still 1:37pm — Never mind, it’s the mayor of LA, Eric Garcetti, talking about how LA is great. The sighing and disappointment begins!
1:39pm — And now a reel of talking heads talking about how great E3 is, how you make friends there, and how it’s a magical experience. I’d say “I give up”, but I’m saving that for later. This is the pre-show, so 30 minutes of masturbatory self-congratulation and nothing else is to be expected.
1:52pm — I’ve taken to staring out of my window, and will update you on anything that happens there, because it’s infinitely more interesting than this pre-show.
BREAKING NEWS: There’s a family having a picnic on the beach.
1:56pm — Aw, they’re having a paddle in the sea. Which seems insane, because it’s not like I live in a tropical paradise or anything. I know it’s hot, but come on.
Oh, and the pre-show’s still just people laughing and yelling at each other. Which is also probably what’s happening at the picnic, but the picnic is actually kind of sweet.
Ubisoft Forward Pre-Show
2:01pm — From one pre-show to the next! We’re onto Ubisoft, which… is currently a countdown timer and trailers. I’m sure the trailers are just to start with, but if the “pre-show” is literally an hour of trailers and watching a timer tick down, I’m going to lose my mind. And I really don’t have much of it left.
2:04pm — From a For Honor trailer, to… oh, are you serious? Eivor from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla walking forward. Slowly. While the timer ticks down. Is this the entire pre-show? Is it just Eivor walking forward through pretty scenery for an hour? I really hope not. I can’t see it being that. But you never know.
You know what you could’ve done instead? Started the E3 stuff an hour later instead.
2:08pm — I was about to say “Hahaha, holy shit, it really is just Eivor walking for an hour” but after about five minutes of that, they moved on to a vid about accessibility in gaming. Which is a thing that actually matters. Ubi does pretty well on the accessibility front; their games don’t, for example, feature the exact flashing light patterns that trigger seizures. Generally some pretty good accessibility options in there, so for once this doesn’t feel entirely self-congratulatory.
2:12pm — Hahahaha. And we’re back to things-from-games slowly moving forward. This time it’s someone sat on a Watch Dogs Legion drone which is flying through London.
2:15pm — WHY DIDN’T YOU FUCKING START E3 AN HOUR LATER?! I can’t emphasize just how pissed off I am at this. Seriously, this is a complete waste of time, and the only reason I can assume the show started when it did is because they decided it had to start at that time. The E3 pre-show I can understand: they want to do that to introduce the show, and so on. But this Ubi pre-show? No. The E3 pre-show could’ve started one hour later, we could’ve removed everything from the Ubi pre-show so far, and nothing of value would’ve been lost.
Anyway, here’s the fucking drone.
2:17pm — The drone has gone away in favor of some vaguely trippy visuals. We’re currently taking bets in the PCI Slack on what’s next. Lauren’s guessing swimming, and… oh, no, it’s more flying! This time it’s The Crew 2.
Enjoying E3, everyone? Fucking magical, isn’t it, just like those talking heads said earlier?
I’m going to try to stop swearing so much, but good grief, this show is making it difficult.
2:20pm — The plane continues on its lonely journey across America, forever above people, but unable to touch them or their hearts. An analogy for life, clearly, and how we should make our efforts not just to go onward, but to partake. Or I’ve actually lost it already and this is just Ubisoft wasting my fucking time.
I’m going to start a swear jar.
2:22pm — Ubisoft is now explaining what a game “going gold” means. Hilariously, the person explaining this noted that it means “The game is fully playable. It’s stable. It’s got a decent level of performance.” Having played a lot of games that are in gold status, as well as released games, I can only assume they have different definitions of “stable” and “decent” than I do.
2:23pm — AND NOW SAILING THROUGH THE ICY WATERS OF ASSASSIN’S CREED VALHALLA TO FILL MORE TIME
Did anyone have “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla sailing” on their Ubisoft’s Time-Wasting Bullshit Bingo Cards?
Cam is guessing that the next one will be Watch Dogs again, and it’ll be a taxi. If it turns out to be driving in Watch Dogs, I’ll give him that one. We’ve also got a guess of “Sam Fisher following a guard” from Kevin C, and I’ll give high odds on that guess. Ubi actually showing a Splinter Cell game? That hasn’t been done in a while. Bold move.
2:30pm — BREAKING NEWS! There’s a dog walking along the beach. The family remains unperturbed. They’ve stopped eating and are just chilling and enjoying the evening breeze, as it’s 7:30 PM here.
Oh, and Ubisoft has stopped talking about the music in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and gone back to its trippy interstitial again.
2:33pm — It’s… it’s a taxi in Watch Dogs Legion. Cam nailed it. I have no idea how, and he’s promising he did not have insider information, which I actually believe. But the fact that he guessed the vehicle is actually killing me.
2:37pm — I’m actually still mind-blown by Cam getting that right. Oh right, it’s driving in The Crew 2 now, but… Cam? Seriously?
2:44pm — Huh, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are coming to Brawlhalla. That may be the first actual bit of news out of E3 so far. The Brawlhalla team teased that there was a new crossover event being announced today, so I guess that’s it! Coming June 16, apparently. We may find out more during the show itself.
(Oh, and Eivor rode a horse for a few minutes.)
2:48pm — Now it’s someone stomping forward slowly in For Honor. Meanwhile, I’m wondering if the family having a picnic will look at this liveblog. If you were having a picnic on a beach during E3, it might be you.
2:51pm — Affirmations that we’re getting more The Crew 2 content, and a glimpse at the new Motorflix. Not sure if this is new or not. Either way, only nine minutes left until we might actually get something resembling a fucking show.
2:56pm — Trailer for Watch Dogs Legion — Bloodline, with Aiden Pearce and Wrench kinda fighting it out a bit in London. Aiden may have been a boring a charisma void in Watch Dogs, but this seems kinda neat, and it’ll hopefully inject a bit of personality into him. A bit of the Watch Dogs 2 verve wouldn’t go amiss in Legion either, so I’m quite looking forward to that.
2:59pm — That’s enough of that. Let’s move on.
3:00pm — I’m assuming this is called Ubisoft Forward because the pre-show was ass-backward. 30 seconds to go, says the countdown clock.
3:01pm — Rainbow Six: Extraction to kick things off, with Hibana calmly walking along as missiles go off behind her. The trailer’s actually pretty cool, but “One of our own is M.I.A. I need an extraction team, now!” was a very cheesy way to do a title drop.
Looks like Hibana’s been capture by the alien parasite and the team are going in to get her out, by shooting
zombies parasite-infected humanoids that wouldn’t look out of place in Resident Evil 7.
3:05pm — Rainbow Six: Extraction is launching on September 16. Also, Ela is in it so it’s automatically the best thing. Lots more info coming, along with full gameplay footage!
3:06pm — So it’s a co-op shooter, and if an operator is downed they get captured and go MIA. If that happens, you have to rescue them before you can play as them again. And yes, this means you risk losing progress and upgrades every time you go into a containment scenario, so there’s some risk/reward.
The parasite is apparently in New York, San Francisco, and Alaska, so those’ll be our starting locations. I like the look of this game, but this is a seriously weird direction to take Rainbow Six.
Ooh, and cross-play. You can play with friends across any platform, and there’ll be exclusive rewards in this if you’ve played Siege, and vice-versa. Gameplay footage time, with a full mission walkthrough.
3:10pm — So this is a three-player co-op mission, with the team (Ela, Alibi, and Sledge) placing trackers on dormant nests, and stealthily trying to make their way through the area. Black goo called Sprawl slows you down but speeds up the Archæns (yes, spelled like that).
I rather like that this has the environmental destruction of Siege. Shooting through walls is very much a thing, with you having bioluminescent lights that can spot enemies through walls. Looks sort of like a semi-stealthy Left 4 Dead, with a max of three players, specific objectives (meleeing enemies to get samples), and Siege‘s environmental destruction, gadgets, and general prep. I’m really liking the look of this, though I still think it’s very, very odd for Rainbow Six, and I’m not keen on the enemies themselves. The Left 4 Dead comparisons only increase as I see more of these enemies: Smashers are basically Tanks, Breachers are the Boomer, etc.
Nonetheless, I’m pretty keen to get my hands on this. Good start so far.
3:17pm — We’re onto Rocksmith now, and considering my love for both games in that series, I’m hopeful this is a new game and not just them reminding us it exists. Let’s see.
3:19pm — Rocksmith+, with a PC closed beta that you can register for now on the official site. It’s a subscription service which will also work through your phone, as you can use that as your microphone, which… doesn’t seem super precise to me, but this does mean that acoustic players and electric guitar players with amps won’t need a cable.
“Huge amount of songs”, with chord charts for every song to help out, plus the note-for-note arrangements. Every week there’ll be new songs, too.
Then there’s the Rocksmith Workshop, that lets users make their own arrangements for any songs that have been licensed. Your subscription nets you access to all of that. Pop, hip-hop, country, Latin, R&B, rock, metal… so yeah. Lots of music, plus the usual practice features. There’s apparently a focus on helping beginning and intermediate players, with the game keeping track of your skill at individual things.
Also, Rocksmith tablature view, so you can learn to read tabs through it. “Let’s jam together with Rocksmith+ for another ten [years]” makes me think we won’t be seeing another.
Not sure if this’ll just cost the subscription, or if you’ll have to pay for the program itself, but I guess we’ll find that out later. Or whenever the press release arrives.
And now, back to The Crew 2, and probably more on the forthcoming season. Nope, sorry, it’s Riders Republic and I’m an idiot.
3:28pm — I basically completely blanked on that, but we’ll have news on it up shortly, I’m sure. There was an interesting technical glitch, which may have been a glitch or may have been hinting at Watch Dogs characters hacking the stream later.
For now, it’s Rainbow Six Siege. Nothing super huge; sounds like they’re focusing on quality-of-life stuff. June 30 will bring PC and cloud-based platforms together with cross-play and cross-platform progression, and… huh, wow. Cross-play available between Xbox and PlayStation in early 2022, and cross-progression across all platforms. Doesn’t mean much for us on PC, but cross-play between consoles is still a touch unexpected.
3:31pm — And now an animated Rainbow Six: Siege trailer showing off Thunderbird. Certainly pretty, but nothing we didn’t already know. She’s joining via North Star next week.
3:32pm — Quick reel showing the updates coming to Ubi’s live service games in 2021. For Honor, Brawlhalla, Trackmania (which looks weirdly like Fall Guys in this trailer), The Crew 2, Watch Dogs. Wondering if this’ll end with details on a new Assassin’s Creed Valhalla DLC.
3:34pm — Never mind, it’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. 20th anniversary of the Ghost Recon franchise, so they’re announcing “many more surprises to come”, which isn’t an announcement.
3:35pm — Oh good, Just Dance! I can completely ignore this and tune out for a few minutes.
3:37pm — A very short few minutes, where I was alerted to a Tweet that I’d like to post here but I’ll refrain. It’ll probably go viral, though. Now, though, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla stuff… but starting with a retrospective on the game.
3:39pm — Ubisoft has discovered one-handed swords existed, so they’ll be coming to Valhalla. Well done, Ubi.
Siege of Paris is the new DLC, with black box infiltration missions where you’re given a goal and decide how to achieve it, which… wait, isn’t that fairly standard? Anyway: new weapons, locations, enemies, etc. Looks like we’ll be invading West Francia.
Discovery Tour is coming back for the Viking age, too, so you can wander around the world as a regular person and learn more about it.
Oh, and there’s another expansion coming, which looks to be a bit more supernatural themed. The rumored Muspelheim stuff, presumably.
3:43pm — Now for TV and movies. Mythic Quest and Werewolves Within. I’ll resist the urge to say anything here, but I will note I’ve fixed all the timestamps I horribly mucked up because I started looking at local time instead.
3:46pm — Far Cry 6 time!
Trailer showing people — including Antón Castillo’s 13-year-old son, Diego — trying to flee the country on a fishing boat, and then the villain himself turns up. His entrance is pretty great, which isn’t remotely surprising as it’s Giancarlo Esposito, but it doesn’t match up to Pagan Min’s fantastic entrance in Far Cry 4‘s trailer. Diego begs his father to let the people live, but the dictator is having none of it. Gunfire ensues.
I suspect this is all in-game footage, if only because it looks… slightly off.
Far Cry usually does a good job of creating villains with their own motivations that you can kind of understand, but I’m wary that this is going to be bleak and nihilistic. Again.
Ooh, a brand new experience teased for post-launch content. The season pass will let you play as Vaas, Pagan Min, and Joseph Seed, seemingly within the mind of the player character. I’m hoping it won’t just be super trippy, but it’ll be fun to face off with the heroes of those games.
Oh my, and there’s more. Blood Dragon! Not sure if that’s a new Blood Dragon game, or if it’ll be part of the Far Cry 6 DLC, but hey.
3:54pm — And now, Mario and Rabbids are joining forces again. I think I can safely ignore this, being that we’re a PC site.
3:58pm — The picnicking family is still on the beach. I’m very envious. I’d love to be sat outside in the evening breeze right about now.
(Yes, they’re still talking about Rabbids.)
4:01pm — Yves Guillemot is talking about something or other. Probably about how great Ubisoft is and how games are very affirming and important. I’m kinda hoping this is the end, but I’m waiting for the “and one more thing” that’ll make this last longer…
4:03pm — I think he literally said “one more thing”. Let’s see what it is. Powered by Snowdrop, anyway.
4:04pm — Oh good grief, it’s Avatar. And not the good Avatar, where there is no war in Ba Sing Se, but the flashy James Cameron vehicle where there is war on Pandora. Funnily enough, I actually reviewed the first Avatar game! It was not good!
So yeah, okay, new Avatar game coming. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, coming 2022, probably along with the movie.
Hopefully that’s it for this conference. If so, I think I might be able to take a 25-minute break before Devolver absolutely destroys my sanity — but in a much more amusing way than the Ubisoft pre-show.
4:07pm — Yep, we’ve got a recap of the entire show. So basically, if you missed the show, you can just watch this bit here and you’ll… oh fuck off. “There’s still more to come in the post-show!”
HOW ABOUT YOU JUST HAVE A SHOW? AND NOT WASTE AN HOUR OF MY LIFE WITH A POINTLESS PRE-SHOW, FOR STARTERS?
If nothing much happens with this, I’m taking a break until Devolver. Hopefully, I’ll see you all again in 20 minutes.
Devolver Digital Showcase
4:35pm — Aaaand I’m back, just in time for the continued tale of Nina Struthers and probably some Devolver Digital game info. Let’s see where this goes. It’s already opened with a huge amount of swearing (and Shadow Warrior 3), so that makes me feel a lot better about the amount of fucks I’ve thrown out in this piece already.
4:39pm — Basically all I have to say, so far, is that this is brilliant and you should be watching it. Devolver MaxPass+, everyone!
4:41pm — “Creepily funny and uncomfortably prescient”, says Nina Struthers, with Devolver announcing monetization as a service. Yep, all of this sounds disturbingly plausible. I can’t wait to see how this turns out to be real, and I mean “before EA actually does it without irony.”
4:43pm – Trek to Yomi announced, coming in 2022. Looks like a side-on Japan-themed hack-and-slasher, but it’s really hard to say.
4:45pm — And now, Phantom Abyss, where all phantoms are players that fucked up before you. This has been announced before, but it still looks neat. Go through a temple in a first-person platforming/parkour way, dodging traps and death, and seeing the phantoms of other players and their attempts. Asynchronous multiplayer, sort of.
That’s coming to Steam Early Access on June 22.
4:47pm — Devolver is currently shilling a clothing brand. The inevitable problem with Devolver is that it’s really, really hard to tell if this is a joke, or if it’s a joke that they’ve made real and you can buy this stuff. We’ll find out before long, I suspect.
In any case, back to games, and something brand new. It’s called Wizard with a Gun, and it’s stylish as hell and looks beautiful. It’s a multiplayer survival sandbox adventure (which would normally fill me with dread), with an isometric perspective, weapon crafting, and shooting to do basically anything — including building stuff. That’s being developed by Galvanic and coming in 2022.
4:50pm — Death’s Door now, which looks like an isometric slasher. Seems somewhat similar to Hades, though without the rogue-lite nature, from what I can gather. There’s a Steam page up if you want to check a look at that, after checking a look at our news story.
4:53pm — If you say “from the developer of Pony Island and The Hex” then I am immediately intrigued, because they are both bloody excellent and should be played. It’s Inscryption, it’s coming this year, and it looks like a surreal horror card game. I’m in love already.
4:56pm — “Turn real money into pretend money, and spend it! Collect your favorite characters that you’ve never heard of!” Devolver Tumble Time is a mobile game but that trailer was glorious enough that I’m mentioning it anyway. It’s a pretty good example of Devolver doing stuff that looks like a joke and then it isn’t.
It’s free! Except for the ads. And monetization.
4:59pm — And now I’m going to talk about a Switch game, because it’s Devolver and fuck my life. Demon Throttle. And it’s just a physical release. It’s a step up from Nintendo going “we’re only selling these Mario games for like a month haha.” And quite possibly a veiled stab at them, too.
5:00pm — And now they’re mocking NFTs with Non Fuckwithable Tapes, where a VHS of the presentation is available for purchase… but only one of them, ever. And this is also probably not a joke, somehow. Have I mentioned I love these showcases? Anyway, we’re done now, but we’ve got the credits and they’re probably going to be pretty great too.
Gearbox E3 Showcase
5:04pm — Opening with stuff on the Borderlands movie, from the looks of it, but no actual specifics just yet. Lots of blood, lots of guts, and very Borderlands. They’re on the soundstage, but blurring out… y’know, things like “the actors.” So nothing much yet, except a look at the props and people going “Wow it’s exciting and great.”
5:10pm — This isn’t Devolver, but it’s actually nice to see the energy and people who appear legitimately excited and happy about what they’re doing. And also very, very unscripted levels of insanity.
5:11pm — Homeworld 3 is now in production, which is not even remotely surprising because it was announced in 2019 and you could back it on Fig. Which is probably why they didn’t show any footage of it, and just talked about it for maybe 20 seconds.
5:13pm — Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands now, and it is indeed a looter-shooter, though meant to be a bit different and a solid new entry point to the Borderlands sort of thing. We talked about this a bit yesterday when it was announced, and as predicted, it’s pretty heavily based on the Borderlands 2 Tiny Tina DLC. And… oh. That’s it? Okay, then.
5:15pm — … Did they just show the same Homeworld 3 thing again?
5:17pm — And then Tribes of Midgard. Which we also saw yesterday. They’re actually talking about it a bit, but this mostly just seems like a minor expansion on what was shown yesterday: explore the world, fight enemies, craft your village, and then fortify it to fend off the creatures from hell at night. Eight classes with their own playstyles and abilities, levelling, and more.
Making things trickier is that a giant will attack your village every few days, and if it destroys your village then it’s game over and you’ll need to start again. Seems like a fun rogue-lite RPG/survival thingy.
If I heard correctly, it’s also 10-player co-op. This was probably all announced yesterday, because so far everything we’ve seen is either “saw that yesterday” or “isn’t actually news.”
5:20pm — Next up, Godfall arrives on PS4, with “all footage captured on PS5” as a disclaimer at the bottom. Again, nothing of relevance here. Andrew thought it was a pretty good game, though.
5:23pm — Oh, actually some relevance. Fire and Darkness DLC was officially announced, as I think that was only leaked before, and the Lightbringer update is apparently also new.
5:25pm — And the Homeworld 3 thing again. Are they building this up as a big reveal at the end?
5:29pm — Back on the Borderlands movie set, Kevin Hart is very happy to see Randy Pitchford.
5:30pm — So that was… apparently the entire Gearbox show. Well. That was a thing. Lots of information. So many reveals. I laughed, I cried; I came out of this a changed person. I’m still wondering what the hell the point of the Homeworld 3 bits were except to remind us it exists.
With that, then, day one of E3 comes to a close, and so does this liveblog. That doesn’t mean our job is done for the night, though: there’s plenty of news still coming out, just not via the conferences.
We’ll be back tomorrow to cover the huge slew of conferences then, including the rather relevant PC Gaming Show. Have a good night, thanks for sticking with us, and keep your eyes glued to our homepage for all the E3 news.