Summer Game Fest 2021 recap: Elden Ring, Overwatch 2, Far Cry 6 and more

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(Image credit: Summer Game Fest)

Summer Game Fest isn’t a big in-person extravaganza like a traditional E3. But since we don’t have a traditional E3 this year, the Summer Game Fest 2021 was an excellent way to learn about what’s coming up in the world of gaming. While we’ll still get some major announcements as this year’s all-digital E3 gets underway, the Summer Game Fest left us with some pretty big news about games like Overwatch 2, Far Cry 6, Tales of Arise, and Death Stranding: Director’s Cut. But the biggest news to come out of the show was a full gameplay trailer and a release date for the highly anticipated Elden Ring from Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R.R. Martin.

The Summer Game Fest aired on June 10 at 2 PM ET, and ran for a little more than an hour and a half. You can catch the full rebroadcast here, if you have some time on your hands:

Otherwise, the livestream covered more than 40 games — some just announced, some already available and some that we simply haven’t heard about in a while. It would take too long to discuss every entry in detail, but here are the highlights from the show, as well as brief notes about everything else we saw:

Elden Ring

summer game fest

(Image credit: Summer Game Fest)

Let’s get the big news out of the way first: Elden Ring, the dark action/RPG from the creators of Dark Souls and Game of Thrones, finally has a gameplay trailer and a release date. We first saw a teaser trailer for this game at E3 2019, but haven’t heard anything about it since. Some players (including this writer) assumed that Bandai Namco had quietly canceled the title. But it’s very much in development, and it will come out on January 21, 2022. Here’s the full trailer:

Overwatch 2

summer game fest

(Image credit: Summer Game Fest)

We didn’t see any new gameplay from Blizzard’s upcoming hero shooter Overwatch 2 today. However, we did see some new character skins, including outfits for Baptiste and Sombra. The dev team took some time to show off its enhanced shaders and more detailed clothing design. They also hinted that they were rebalancing characters to fit the new 5-versus-5 match format. Expect to hear more about this game soon.

Far Cry 6

summer game fest

(Image credit: Summer Game Fest)

One of the best moments in the Summer Game Fest had very little to show about the game in question. To discuss Far Cry 6, host Geoff Keighley had an unscripted conversation with Giancarlo Esposito: the popular actor who plays Anton, the game’s villain. Esposito looked to historical dictators, from Fidel Castro to Adolf Hitler, to inspire his performance. (He was also pleased that he got a chance to put his political science education to good use.) Anton himself wants to be a hero to his people, even though he’s a cold-blooded killer — something that he has in common with some real-world historical figures.

Tales of Arise

summer game fest

(Image credit: Summer Game Fest)

The next entry in Bandai Namco’s long-running Tales series of Japanese RPGs will come out on September 10. In a new trailer that debuted at Summer Game Fest, we learned about two new party members, and got a glimpse at a few of the villains you’ll face along the way. Like previous Tales games, it looks like Arise will feature a colorful cast of characters, a real-time battle system and a huge, varied world to explore. Tales is one of those series that’s been happily chugging along for more than 20 years with no major shakeups to its formula, but that’s arguably why fans love it.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands

summer game fest

(Image credit: Summer Game Fest)

The very first game that got a trailer at Summer Game Fest was Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands: a high-fantasy Borderlands spinoff. Based on the offbeat Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep DLC from Borderlands 2, this game stars Andy Samberg, Wanda Sykes, Will Arnett and Ashly Burch, as well as characters that you can customize to wield fantastical spells. It’s not an official part of the Borderlands canon, but if you like that style of humor, it could be fun to see it in a very different genre.

Summer Game Fest: Announcements

summer game fest

(Image credit: Summer Game Fest)

Here are the other titles we saw at Summer Game Fest 2021:

  • Metal Slug Tactics brings the classic '90s franchise into a whole new genre
  • Hideo Kojima introduced the Death Stranding: Director's Cut for PS5
  • Jeff Goldblum showed off Jurassic World Evolution 2
  • Japanese Breakfast performed a moving song for exploration game Sable
  • Call of Duty: Warzone Season 4 will debut on June 17
  • Ryan Reynolds advertised his upcoming movie Free Guy, inspired by games like Grand Theft Auto
  • Among Us will soon get new classes, cosmetics, modes and maps
  • Shuhei Yoshida introduced a variety of PlayStation Indies
  • Simulation game Two Point Campus will be out next year
  • Smite will get a special Stranger Things-inspired map
  • New publisher Prime Matter is working on a Painkiller sequel
  • The Anacrusis is a stylish sci-fi shooter
  • Amazon Games will release its MMO New World later this summer
  • Rocket League will have a Fast & Furious crossover on June 17
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodhunt will come out later in 2021
  • Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes is an Iraq War horror/adventure that will debut on October 22
  • A Nintendo Switch adaptation of The Little Prince debuts on June 29
  • House of Lana, which looks like a watercolor painting, will be out for Steam and Xbox
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance, which has attracted some celebrity players, will be out on June 22
  • Paladins: Champions of the Realm will have a Gen:Lock crossover in July
  • Weezer performed a new song to promote the indie game Wave Break
  • Endless Dungeon is still in the works from Sega
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will have a developer stream at 5 PM today
  • Nier: Automata content will soon be available in Fall Guys
  • Deviation Games and PlayStation are teaming up to create new games
  • Back 4 Blood has a new trailer, but we'll hear more about the game soon
  • Tunic, the charming Zelda-like indie game, is still in the works
  • Tribes of Midgard is a Viking survival adventure with a colorful art style
  • Bruce Campbell narrated a trailer for Evil Dead: The Game

That's it for the Summer Games Fest, but stay tuned to Tom's Guide over the course of the next week. There's still plenty of news to come from E3 2021.

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