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While last year’s inaugural Summer Game Fest featured a series of consumer-focused digital events between May and August, organiser Keighley told VGC 2021’s all-digital festival will be “more condensed” in line with fan feedback.
It promises “a memorable month of announcements and updates” that overlap with E3, including events like Ubisoft Forward on June 12, which will be co-streamed by Summer Game Fest and E3 organiser the ESA.
Kick Off Live will take place on Thursday, June 10 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET / 6 pm GMT. Produced and hosted by Keighley, the showcase will feature “more than a dozen” world premieres, while also serving as a preview of the publisher livestream events planned to follow.
The full list of publishers participating in Summer Game Fest includes 2K, Activision, Amazon Games, Annapurna Interactive, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Battlestate Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Capcom, Devolver Digital, Dotemu, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Finji, Frontier, Gearbox Publishing, Hi-Rez Studios, Inner Sloth, Koch Media, Mediatonic, MiHoYo, PlayStation, Psyonix, Raw Fury, Riot Games, Saber Interactive, Sega, Steam, Square Enix, Tribeca Festival, Tencent Games, Warner Bros. Games, Ubisoft, Wizards of the Coast, and Xbox.
Speaking to VGC ahead of Wednesday’s announcement, Keighley said “most” of the publishers listed would debut content during Kick Off Live, but that some will hold content for their own events, which he confirmed would possibly crossover with E3 2021’s own plans.
“We’re excited to be doing Summer Game Fest again and build on last year, where everything was created in the middle of a pandemic,” he said.
“The feedback from fans was that they wanted everything to be more condensed and together. Last summer was lengthy, with a lot of different events, and this summer we’re excited that we’ll have a big Kick Off show that we’re doing on June 10.
“So the big news is that a lot of the big games will be coming together into a big live showcase, similar to The Game Awards or Gamecom: Opening Night Live, with a bunch of games, live music and things like that to really kick off the summer.
“That’s something that’s new, where as last year it was spread out and there were one-off events on singular games, but now you’ll have 20 or 30 games together in this one big show. So hopefully that will answer the request from fans!”
He added: “Most of the companies will be involved in the Kick Off show with some content. Some of them will have their own events and will save some of their big announcements for those.
“We’ll have a Kick Off show, then we’ll have individual events like Ubisoft Forward which is announced for Saturday, June 12 as part of Summer Game Fest and I think it’s also part of E3. But it’s ultimately Ubisoft’s event and E3 and Summer Game Fest are co-streaming the event.”
Keighley said that overall consumers should expect a strong slate of announcements next month, but he also stressed that some caution should be exercised due to the impact of the pandemic on release schedules.
“Covid-19 has definitely impacted the industry and I think even more so this year than last year in terms of content,” he said.
“What I hear from developers increasingly is that the games last year that were almost done were able to be finished from home, but for some of the games that were early-to-mid in production, the productivity has really slowed down.
“Overall, I think it’s going to be a good year for games, but I think we’ve already seen that it’s been a bit of a lighter year for releases. For the back-half of the year we know that there will be Call of Duty, Battlefield, Horizon and Halo, so there will be some big games coming out.
“What I would say is that, overall, I think there are going to be some big announcements and some long-awaited things that will be a part of June. I think there are going to be some good games that we’ll get to see, but I would also manage expectations that things have been delayed.
“I know fans want to go back to the full-on, E3 onslaught of true insanity, and I think there will be good things, but I do think it’s going to take a little while for things to ramp up.”