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What We Learned From Summer Game Fest Kickoff Live

It is officially video game trailer season! For a long time, this time of year was dominated by E3. Game developers from all over the world would head to Los Angeles so they could show their games, but as time has gone on, many developers have realized they didn’t need to be a part of E3 to showcase their games. Companies like Nintendo, EA, and Sony have started to do events away from E3, choosing to host their own or hold a virtual showcase of trailers.

Geoff Keighley, the host of The Game Awards, decided to start his own event. Summer Game Fest, a competitor to E3, is an event for developers to show off their games. It features interviews with some of those developers, gameplay, and even a concert or two. It all started on Thursday with Summer Game Fest Kickoff Live.

Games were coming at us left and right. Some of the announcements were gigantic, while others were smaller, but all of them were equally important. The best part of this time of year is there’s very little to be negative about. It’s all exciting! Here’s what we learned from the Summer Game Fest Kickoff Live event.

Elden Ring

For some people, this has been a video game years in the making. Elden Ring is a game created by A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin and Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki. The trailer itself looks very similar to Dark Souls, and for some, that might be a turnoff because those games can be intensely difficult. However, that’s not going to be enough to stop people from experiencing a game made by those two. It was a game that some fans were worried was never going to come because it sounded more like rumors than anything else, except it’s real, and now we have a January 2022 release date. This was how Summer Game Fest capped off the event, and what a finale it was.

Death Stranding Director’s Cut

When Death Stranding came out, it wasn’t exactly a beloved title. Many people were frustrated by the gameplay mechanics. It was commonly called a “walking simulator” and the plot was kind of absurd. Well, for anyone that wanted to see if developer Hideo Kojima had more to say about it, he did. A director’s cut is on the way and the teaser trailer for it was legitimately the funniest moment of the entire showcase. Metal Gear Solid fans in particular will love it.

Back 4 Blood

Left 4 Dead spiritual successor Back 4 Blood had a new teaser trailer get shown during the event and that was exciting for a multitude of reasons. Anyone that’s been excited to play some new Left 4 Dead has been eagerly anticipating this title’s release, and this trailer has it all. Gameplay, some scenes showing how powerful the engine can be, and of course, an October release date. Back 4 Blood looks better every time we see it.

Solar Ash

Most of the indie games that were being showcased during Summer Game Fest would be shown during the Day of the Devs portion of the stream that followed the kickoff, but Solar Ash was a part of the main show and we can see why. This beautiful and interesting-looking world has an incredible art style and extremely intriguing gameplay. This is a game that we can’t wait to see more of soon.

Tales of Arise

The Tales of… games are extremely popular and for good reason. These JRPG’s are classics and beloved by fans worldwide. The latest gameplay trailer may be a little too anime for some, but fans of the series are going to love the gameplay teasers that were throughout the trailer. This looks to be one of the more fast-paced games in the series which is going to add some real intensity to combat.

Concerts and non-stop trailers

One aspect of Summer Game Fest that was a little odd was the random concerts thrown in during the event. Weezer played a new song and advertised that it can be played on streaming services like Twitch without being DMCA’d.

In one sense, these random concerts were a little odd, but the speed of the event was incredibly fast. There was little time to breathe during announcements which at times made it all feel very overwhelming. These concerts ended up being nice break to reflect on everything they’ve seen so far.

Crossovers

There were a lot of crossovers shown during the event — Gen: Lock and Paladins, Fall Guys and Nier Automata, Smite and Stranger Things, Fast & Furious and Rocket League. One of the best ways to bring fans of a series into a new one is to have a crossover and Summer Game Fest was proof of how many licenses and companies are getting into this idea.

How is the event compared to E3?

There were A LOT of video games in the opening showcase of Summer Game Fest, so much so that everything above isn’t even a third of all the trailers we’ve seen. This is great, because it means everyone can go back and see even more video games to get excited about.

The big question is how does all of this compare to E3? Honestly, it doesn’t feel that different. It will maybe feel bigger and more different next year when these events are back to being in-person, but as far as a hosted event showing off game trailers, that’s exactly what we expect out of E3. Of course, most people don’t really care if it’s called E3, Summer Game Fest, or a Direct. They just want to see video games and that’s what Summer Game Fest did best. It showed us the video games we wanted to see. So for that reason, it’s a success so far.

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