E3 2021: highlights from day one include new 'Avatar' open-world game and Nintendo crossover

The annual event, known for being the world's biggest for video games, has returned after being cancelled last year because of the pandemic

This undated screengrab released by Ubisoft shows an image from the trailer of the company's new game "Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora," to be featured on the opening day of video game trade show E3 2021 in Los Angeles. The world's premier video game trade show, E3, kicked off online June 12, 2021, celebrating play that "kept us sane" during the pandemic, celebrating fantasy worlds with Ubisoft's new offering "Avatar," and promising a real-world gathering next year. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO /Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora ™ & © 20th Century Studios. Game Software © Ubisoft Entertainment. " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
 / AFP / Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora ™ & © 20th Century Studios. Game Software © Ubisoft Entertainment / - / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO /Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora ™ & © 20th Century Studios. Game Software © Ubisoft Entertainment. " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

The Electronic Entertainment Exhibition, better known as E3, is now under way. First held in 1995, the event is highly anticipated by the gaming industry. Last year's trade show was cancelled owing to the pandemic.

E3 only opened to the public in 2017 after being an industry-only occasion for years, and now hosts some of the world’s biggest video game and console creators who use the platform to unveil new titles and offer other gaming updates.

This year’s E3 will be held virtually via livestream and runs from Saturday, June 12 to Tuesday, June 15. Here, we take a look at the highlights from day one.

'Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora'

French video game company Ubisoft unveiled a slew of new titles, including a Mario crossover with Nintendo, and premiered the trailer for a game based on James Cameron's hit film Avatar.

Although news of a video game collaboration with the blockbuster was first announced in 2017, little has been revealed since. However, fans have now been given a look at what to expect from Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.

The trailer offers a glimpse of the first-person open-world action-adventure game that takes place in the world of Pandora. It’s set to be released in 2022, with the game currently in development.

“In this new, standalone story, play as a Na’vi and embark on a journey across the Western Frontier, a never-before-seen part of Pandora. Explore a living and reactive world inhabited by unique creatures and new characters, and push back the formidable RDA forces that threaten it,” Ubisoft said in a press release after the event.

'Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope'

It was also announced at E3 that a sequel to 2017's surprise hit Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle would be coming. Titled Sparks of Hope, the game will be a Nintendo Switch exclusive, like its predecessor.

The game departs Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom in favour of space, with Mario and his crew (a total of nine playable characters, not all of which have been announced) moving from planet to planet to battle a new villain named Cursa. It will be released in 2022.

'Rocksmith+'

A new Rocksmith title has been announced by Ubisoft. The original video game was released in October 2011 on the Xbox360 and PlayStation 3, and helped teach people how to play guitar.

While the original was viewed as innovative at the time, it also required gamers to be able to connect a cable to the computer, which many felt was not a viable option.

The new version, Rocksmith+, will be a subscription model that will continue to teach people how to play guitar and bass. It offers a large selection of songs, which can be set to different speeds, to allow players to go at their own pace. It will be released this summer.

The second day of E3 will include presentations from Xbox and Bethesda, with Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda one of the biggest stories in the gaming industry this year.

Japanese developers Square Enix and Capcom will also host their conferences, as will American company Take-Two, the parent company of Rockstar Games.

To watch a livestream of the broadcast, viewers can tune into through the E3 2021 channels on YouTube and Twitch. Broadcasts start at 1pm EST (9pm GST).