So, who won E3?
Well, no one. Or everyone. Depending on how you look at it. Personally I don’t believe in the whole “winning” E3 thing. It’s one of the stupidest behavioral trends of the gaming community. Generating rivalry and confrontation when there’s no need to. I mean, it’s not like there’s a big scoreboard above every conference stage that reads:
or something like that. Gamers will tune in to the conferences to see what they wanna see, hope for what they wanna hope and crap on whatever publisher they wanna crap on. In the end, we’re all winners and losers. Sure, you can just say “well, this many people responded positively to Sony’s conference and this many people reacted negatively to Microsoft’s so CLEARLY Sony won” or “well, this trailer got the most views so clearly this publisher won”. That kind of stuff doesn’t really matter here. Let the companies and professionals deal with the numbers and the business management and you deal with the getting excited or not getting excited about future games. Maybe Cuphead is literally the only thing that excited you about the Microsoft conference or The Inpatient the only thing you cared about at the Sony show or the only thing that made you scream with joy was that Metroid Prime 4 logo. No matter what, not every game will appeal to you and not every company will offer what your gamer heart desires. So why don’t we take a look at each publisher and their respective conference/presentation and see what was cool and what wasn’t? According to me, of course.
First is Electronic Arts. The kings of pissing off everybody with their business models while also keeping everybody coming back because they make Battlefield and still have the license to make Star Wars games.
Their show was… good. Not great, not awful, just good. FIFA, Madden and NBA LIVE were there as expected. No mention of any specific details about FIFA for Switch, which is what I was kind of looking out for. That came later with a press release. I’m sure for sports games fans these games look awesome as they do every year. I will say I am pleased to see them continuing to implement and elaborate on single player story modes for these games. Alex Hunter’s story continues in FIFA 18 and a new story mode is introduced for Madden. Every year these games come out and every year I wonder: how can you make the series move forward? I mean, it’s based on a sport that never changes its fundamentals. Well, there’s my answer: add single player modes with narrative and cinematic elements. I like that. Unfortunately, I don’t plan on picking up FIFA 17 or FIFA 18 anytime soon so I won’t be able to follow Alex Hunter on his epic journey to a cliffhanger.
One of the highlights for me was A Way Out. A co-op only, story driven game that looks like Prison Break and Uncharted had a baby. Two characters, two players and a series of simultaneous cutscenes and basic gameplay sequences (from what I could tell). The game’s director came out on stage and was so freaking excited that it was kind of contagious. Too bad he wouldn’t tell us how long the game is since we need two players the entire time and it’ll probably be helpful to know if we can sit down and play a 2 hr movie or a 15 hr one. But regardless, something fresh, new, interesting and that looks like it’s not made by EA. Sweet.
Need for Speed Payback also showed up. Not being a car game fan myself, I gotta say I started off impressed until the 4th slow-mo car explosion animation happened and then I immediately reverted back to my “oh yeah, I don’t like car games” state of mind. It’s not that the game looks bad. It’s basically Fast and Furious the triple A game, which is not a bad thing. A lot of these car games look absolutely gorgeous but I can never tell them apart. This one, however, seems to be going for more of an action movie approach, which is appreciated. I hope those slow-mo sequences don’t overstay their welcome. If you like action games and car games then buckle up, I guess.
Oh yeah, I forgot: Battlefield 1 DLC. Are you still playing that? Then play a little bit longer!
BioWare’s new IP peeked its head. Anthem. They were like: “Hey guys check out this awesome game that’s obviously going to be better than all of the other stuff we just showed ’cause it’s made by one of the best developers in the world… oh, what’s that? Did you want actual gameplay? Yeah no, that’s tomorrow, NOT at our conference. In the meantime, Star Wars!” Guys, you don’t have to remind us that BioWare games are published by EA. We all kind of wait for some appearance by BioWare at your conference, trust me.
So Star Wars Battlefront II: well shit, this looks fucking good. Excuse my language. It’s Star Wars! I can’t believe they made prequel stuff look actually fun to…witness. And by the looks of it, fun to play as well. Hell, it looks better than the movies. Seeing Rey running around looking for the flippiest Darth Maul ever was kind of awesome, to be honest. I mean, who cares about canon anyway? Well, you better cause the single player campaign is actually canonical. Even in real life! That Empire general came out on stage and threatened us all to play. Graphics are getting really good these days. It was clear that this was the focus of their conference. It makes sense. Battlefront II looks like a dream come true for Star Wars fans and guess what: It actually has free DLC! At least for a limited time. This is still real life, after all.
Something I loved as well was EA constantly reminding us that they listen to us and hear our feedback. I guess it’s our turn to say that we are grateful that this time they actually did something about it. I mean, I still see no Dead Space 4 anywhere but who knows how many people are actually asking for that so I can’t really complain, I suppose. Now I am just motivated to keep asking them for stuff. Since they listen so much maybe we can ask them to make their games free, now that would be a bombshell E3 announcement.
In case you are bummed out that Red Dead Redemption 2 will not come out this fall, don’t care about Mario Odyssey and ever wanted to be a dorky little droid from the prequels and shoot Rey in the butt with a laser blaster then the time has come, my friend!
EA had a mostly predictable show at E3 and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They needed to get people excited about Battlefront II and even I am so they did well.
Alright so, let’s talk about the Xbox Scorpio. Oh sorry, the Xbox One X. Yeah, I didn’t get it either. We now have a triple X console.
Ultimately, the name is not that big of a deal but I have a problem with names. More specifically: naming conventions. When they get stupid, I get stupidly mad. So let me just ask: why X? Like, I know it sounds “cool”. I know X is, like, the whole deal of your console but, don’t you know any other letters in the alphabet? Or words? Or numbers? Not only does it not even begin to describe what this Xbox does different from the other Xboxes, it sounds too damn similar to your previous version, the Xbox One S. Not to mention its generic nature. Scorpio wouldn’t have been a good name because well… people don’t wanna buy 500 dollars scorpions. But didn’t anything else sound better? Xbox One 4K? Isn’t that the whole selling point of the system? Xbox One Elite? Isn’t it the most powerful console ever? Xbox Two? Isn’t it the next step for Xbox? Oh, no, that’s right, it’s an “upgrade”. The positives though? It’s small. It’s a small, black box. Oh, and it plays games in 4K. That too. I’ll have to take your word for it, Phil. I couldn’t really tell through my non-4K phone screen.
What I don’t quite understand is the purpose of the X right now. Most people don’t own a 4K TV, so the investment necessary to fully experience the magic of all those teraflops immediately becomes ridiculously higher for most of your audience. The ones who do own one most likely also own high-powered PCs. Meanwhile, PS4 brings the quality exclusive software consistently: Spider-Man, Uncharted 4, God of War, The Last of Us Part II, Days Gone, Uncharted, Nioh, Ratchet & Clank, The Last Guardian, etc. If this is an “upgrade” for Xbox One owners, then what would be the next step for Xbox once the PS5 starts showing up? 8K gaming on the Xbox One XXX? I mean, porn in 8K would be sweet but not even PCs are getting there without some kind of compromise. Kudos for making the most powerful console ever and the smallest Xbox ever and good luck in 2 years when you have to re-convince everybody to buy your 500 dollar machine again.
Wow, ok. Sorry there, Xbox fans. I do have a lot of respect for them though. I want all companies to be successful and for the industry to move forward. I just don’t quite understand Microsoft’s move here. I know that you’re behind in power. Most 3rd parties choose to show their games on PS4 because they look slightly shinier but it has been confirmed time and time again that software sells hardware. I mean, look at the Wii: the least powerful console yet the most successful. A hundred million units sold. Sure, it was cheaper and it appealed to a different audience but the games on it are the thing that pushed people to buy the console, plus the gimmick. Your “gimmick” is having a powerful system with the potential for great games to rival Sony’s, yet you decide to crank it up even further with a more expensive box that makes already pretty games look prettier on a device that hasn’t encrusted itself in the market as the standard for TV displays. I’m not a multimillionaire company though so what do I know, right?
Xbox One X: the biggest, baddest console of them all. Native 4K and all of the teraflops. If you ever needed your teras floppin’, this one’s for you.
Let’s get to the games:
Forza Motorsport 7: cars! Fancy, sexy, 4K cars. It wouldn’t be an Xbox reveal if there was no Forza. I really don’t know what to say here. It’s races and cars. Somehow even better looking than before, according to them. What really stood out to me, again, was that they revealed a new car model with the game. Like, an actual race car. The new shiny Porsche 911 GT2 RS. No, really, that’s what it’s called. I know that, at this point, it’s more of a gimmick thing than an actual announcement. However, there’s always a part of me that dares to ask: is this what they think gamers wanna see? To that one guy who happens to have 100 million dollars lying around: enjoy your brand new Porsche and also Forza 7 on your Xbox. The rest of us peasants we’ll just enjoy the virtual cars. Or maybe not even that. For us, 100 million or 15 hundred is pretty much the same thing. Regardless, Xbox fans rejoice! More Forza.
Metro Exodus: respect, man. That was a trailer. No dialogue, no vague exposition words fading into a black background, no CGI cutscene. Just pure, raw, gameplay for your intense first person shooter. I’ve always been interested in the Metro series but never gave it a shot. After that trailer, I might have to. Metro Exodus looks awesome and probably plays awesome.
Assassin’s Creed Origins: so, does this count as a reveal? Technically, it’s the first time we see the game officially. The only form of exposition to this game that was missing was the official trailer or gameplay demo. E3 award for the most anti-climactic reveal of a “new” game. We’ve known about AC Origins for a while. It leaked. A lot. And now, here it is. An assassin does Assassin’s Creed stuff. In Egypt. Not in feudal Japan. It looks cool, I gotta say. I dropped the AC series after Brotherhood and was never able to get back into it. This game most likely won’t be my return to it but I feel like some improvement has been made, some kind of step forward. The year off may have actually had its effect. It’s hard to tell but at least you can do sweet slow-mo Breath of the Wild style air arrow shooting. I’ll be keeping an eye out on you, Assassin’s Creed. Make sure to fumigate first though.
They confirmed PlayerUnkown’s Battleground for Xbox. This is a great get for them. Game’s been blowing up lately and now it’s on a console. Not much to say here. Great announcement.
Deep Rock Galactic: procedurally generated caves. Dwarves that mine them. Weird sci-fi looking Minecraft. Seems kinda neat.
State of Decay 2: a zombie game! I don’t know much about the first one but people seemed to like it. The original was, like, 20 bucks and now this one’s 60. I hope they’re not trying to be sneaky here. From what I understand, it seems to be bigger and better than the original. Cool exclusive for Xbox. Not the most visually impressive but I don’t mind that. Maybe they should since they’re showing the magic of 4K but that’s none of my business.
The Darwin Project: um…this was a thing. A moba-like game, I guess. I didn’t get it at all. It wasn’t the game’s fault. It looked alright. The problem was that they brought the most obnoxiously loud commentator to… commentate a match. I guess you could call it that. Definitely not the way you wanna show a new game. Don’t care about this one, probably never will.
Minecraft! After all, this is an Xbox conference. 4K support. Absolutely needed to see that. Also cross-network play with PC and Switch, which pleasantly surprised me. A Switch made out of Minecraft blocks even appeared in their trailer! Also some more expansions and content stuff, I think. I gotta hand it to Minecraft. It is as fun as it is ugly.
Dragon Ball Fighter Z: Oh fuck yes. This is the Dragon Ball game we deserve, man! As a huge DB fan, this was a definite highlight for me. 2.5D, gorgeous animation, and intense action. They seem to be going for a more tournament fighter balance approach and I love it. Personally, I don’t mind the Xenoverse games but I always felt like Dragon Ball games work best when they’re in 2D or 2.5D. It is made by the same studio who made Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. If you know these games and are a fan of Dragon Ball, then get hyped. It’s also interesting that this showed up at Xbox’s conference. They’re not usually associated with something as Japanese as a Dragon Ball game. Good for them. Coming in 2018.
Black Desert: a fantasy MMO game. Looks alright. What I found weird about this announcement is that they kept saying it was a “Xbox One X launch exclusive” and I’m pretty sure the game’s been out on PC for a while and that it will be coming to PS4 as well. They also mention a 2018 release date and the X comes out this October. I don’t know. Cool game though.
The Last Night: now this game looks rad. It mixes non-pixelated visuals with actual pixelated visuals? It looked awesome. A Blade Runner looking thing. Don’t know much about the gameplay. Seems action-y and platform-y. Presentation wise it was stunning. 2018.
The Artful Escape: well, the name suggests it. It’s artsy, trippy and weird. Got some musical stuff going on? The main character’s going around with a guitar jumping on stuff. Looks interesting.
CodeVein: Another Japanese developed game. Seems inspired by Dark Souls but with a more anime feel. Looks great, to be honest. It’s also coming to PS4 so, sorry Microsoft, I won’t be getting your console for this game. Congrats on getting to show it off at your conference though.
Rare is back, guys! The Rare we all know and love! No, they’re not making Banjo, or Conker, or Perfect Dark or anything like that! Sea of Thieves is their next big thing. To be fair, the game does look really cool and people seem to be really into it. I’m glad. I love pirates so this got my attention as soon as I saw it back like 25 E3s ago. Not rushing out to get an Xbox One for this game but I’m happy for Xbox fans that they get to enjoy the Rare magic again. Kinda was hoping for 2017 with this one but nope, 2018 it is.
Tacoma: uhh… I have no idea what this is. Holograms walking around a space station or something. Moving on.
Super Lucky’s Tale: woohoo! A 3D platformer at an Xbox conference. Now that’s something I haven’t seen in a while. It’s a shame it’s not about a bear carrying a backpack with a bird in it but that’s ok, I guess. This game looks good! Not mind-blowing or anything but that’s ok. Lucky, the mascot looks cute and the visuals are colorful and pleasant. Only problem: it comes out around the same time Super Mario Odyssey is out. Sorry, pal. However, please don’t stop pushing for 3D platformers, Microsoft, we need them.
Cuphead: Now this is why I watched this conference. I was waiting for this trailer and this release date. September 27th, 2017. Mark it on your calendars. Cuphead is coming out, guys. It’s not a dream. I cannot freaking wait for this game. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then find out. Another highlight for me.
Crackdown 3: this was the big one. What I think counts as the Halo replacement this year. Michael Bay’s favorite game. Explosions! Mayhem! Chaos! Terry Crews yelling stuff at you! Awesome stuff. Not enough to get me to buy an Xbox One X but nice try, guys. The visuals might need a little bit of work. I don’t know if the 4K magic will save it there. But it does look fun as hell. Great Xbox One X launch game.
Ashen: another Dark Souls looking game. Not in aesthetic but in gameplay. These kinds of games are always nice to see. The Souls gameplay is absolutely excellent and it is great that more developers are getting inspired to try out their own version of it. Will be keeping an eye out on this one.
Life is Strange prequel: well, here’s a game that’s definitely not for me. I’m not huge into the story based, choose your own adventure stuff. I know a lot of people are so get hyped for this one, I suppose.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War: well, as a Lord of the Rings fan this looks awesome. I don’t have anything against this game or its predecessor but I still want this level of production on a game based on the actual movies. The Two Towers and The Return of the King on GameCube were awesome. I’d love to see a current generation version of those adaptations. I don’t know if I’m super into this expanded universe stuff. Regardless, it looks like a fun sequel to an already fun game.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps: man, this made me feel things. I was already on the fence about playing Ori and the Blind Forest but this did it. I gotta play it. They had a musician (I’m guessing the composer of the game) play the theme song on stage while the trailer was shown. It looked absolutely beautiful. I know Blind Forest is regarded as one of the best games of the generation and now it’s getting a sequel. I’m so glad. These games should be appreciated more.
And now, for the big finale: Anthem! BioWare’s new IP. Makes me wonder if they’re even making a Dragon Age 4. But whatever, Anthem looks pretty awesome. Dragon Age meets Mass Effect meets Destiny meets Horizon Zero Dawn or something. Flying around with a jetpack, shooting monsters, getting loot and stuff. It’s probably the most technically impressive game I’ve ever seen, at least for E3 demo standards. My only problem with the showing is that they tried to replicate “gamer speak”; having actors act out as if they’re people playing in their homes voice chatting with other players. It doesn’t feel natural. Not to mention the audio was so clear and high quality it felt like the actual characters in the game were talking and saying things like EXP and stuff, which was weird. Anthem looks amazing. BioWare might not have shattered the Earth with Mass Effect Andromeda but it doesn’t seem like they’ve lost their talent one bit.
That was it. The big Microsoft conference announcing the Scorpio, which is now called the Xbox One X. Comes out in October and it’ll be 499$. If you expected a 250$ 4K machine, then you don’t know much about anything, do you? Still, a little bit confused why the X shows up now in this generation but a lot of games were shown, some looked good, some I didn’t care about and some made me so happy I could squeal (Cuphead). I hate the name and I think I always will but…oh well. Overall, you did pretty good, Microsoft.
This’ll be a short one. Third time in a row for Bethesda at E3 and um, they showed games. Yep, crazy right? They had a fun, entertaining, very Bethesda like presentation and I liked it. Most people didn’t, but I did. What? Did you want to see Elder Scrolls VI or Starfield? Get outta here! That’s not all they make or publish. Still, it would have been cool to see some of that. They had this weird video presentation thing where they showed Bethesda Land. A Bethesda theme park that kinda makes me wish it was real. A very Fallout-like announcer transitioning between games. This kind of stuff is cool. It takes the cold-blooded, marketing heavy, corporate aspect out of E3. I know that’s how E3 started but it’s clearly moving away from that as the years go by and seeing companies embrace it pleases me. Makes these things seem like actual entertainment shows rather than guys in suits trying to show you why their hip products are hip and cool. Let’s get to the games:
Doom VFR: I won’t ask what the F stands for but it’s Doom in VR. It’s cool to see some big IP representation in the world of VR. To me, VR is still more of a baby steps machine. Not quite there yet but not unjustified either. Seeing Doom in VR, however, makes me think that we might be heading into some interesting and healthy growth for the platform. My main concern is that I might not want to play this for more than 15 minutes. Not cause Doom is a bad game but because I just might throw up. It makes sense for first person perspective games to transition into VR in some fashion, but there’s always the risk that your game may be too intense for that kind of playstyle. Hopefully, they’ll find a way to optimize it and make it more accessible for people that may not be able to handle too much Hell for extended periods of time in VR.
Fallout 4 VR: see Doom VFR above.
Morrowind in Elders Scrolls online: yeah, that. I don’t play Elder Scrolls anything so I don’t have much else to say.
Elder Scrolls Legends stuff: more Elder Scrolls! But in card game form. I do like Hearthstone and I thought I’d give this one a try but it takes me so long to get into card games that it was a miracle I was able to get into Hearthstone at all in the first place. I’m sure people are excited about this though.
Skyrim on Switch: now that’s what I’m talking about! Some Nintendo Switch love from 3rd parties. It’s Skyrim on Switch! But not just a port. It’ll have motion controls and amiibo support. Tap that Breath of the Wild Link amiibo and get a sweet Champion’s Tunic for your dude, the Master Sword, and Hylian Shield too. That, my friends, is how you get people to play Skyrim again for the millionth time and also how you get Nintendo fans that have never played Skyrim to play it for the first time. This was awesome to see. I hope more 3rd parties in the future go the extra mile and don’t hold back with Switch exclusive features like these. Also, from what I could tell, the game was running at 60 fps. It’s not the enhanced edition but it’s cool to see the Switch can handle an open world game like Skyrim at such a high frame rate.
Dishonored 2 DLC: Never played Dishonored. Never played Dishonored 2. I hear Dishonored DLC is usually pretty good so people seem to be excited about this one. The games always looked cool but I never felt compelled enough to buy them. I might have to change that soon.
Quake Champions: more of the Quake reboot. As an Overwatch fan, this does look interesting. But I don’t know if interesting enough yet. A big focus on esports with this one. It’s cool to see Quake make a comeback.
The Evil Within 2: hell yeah! Trippy trailer that definitely borrowed some ideas from Kojima. Sequel to an already pretty great horror game by the dude who made Resident Evil. Can’t wait to try this one out.
Wolfenstein II The New Colossus: this has gotta be the weirdest trailer I have ever seen in my life. Well, maybe Death Stranding’s was a bit weirder. Wolfenstein II looks bizarre as fuck, man. First person shooter, of course, emphasis on narrative. You shoot Nazis. It looks pretty darn cool. Gotta play the original first though.
And that was it. Bethesda kept it short and sweet and I appreciate it. Great stuff. Next year let’s bring out the big guns huh? Shatter E3 with Elder Scrolls VI, please? Love you.
Yo, maybe change the logo a bit more frequently, Ubisoft. Very nice conference by our friends over at the big U. No Aisha Tyler this time but that’s ok, Miyamoto is better. I don’t know if this was a good presentation just because it showed great games or because the others have been kind of hit or miss and this was mostly hit. Sure, they needed the most influential game developer in the history of video games and a sequel to a 15-year-old game that nobody played but still, nice job, guys. Games:
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle: well, this was a surprise. No, not the actual game. We knew about this one since, like, January. Maybe it was leaked on purpose so we could start digesting the existence of it in advance. I can just imagine the look on people’s faces if we didn’t know this was real and then we saw it for the first time here. This was a surprise because they opened with it. It is cool to see Ubisoft actually put into action their support for Nintendo. They seem to be really proud of this project and you could tell. The game director got teary eyed and it was heartwarming. The game actually looks cool! Mario and the Minions, uh, I mean, the Rabbids do weird Xcom stuff. It comes out in August which is great for Switch owners that are itching for something to play after Splatoon 2. Or while they play Splatoon 2, whichever. They brought in Miyamoto with a blaster gun and he posed with the Ubisoft guy making weird noises. Ah, the magic of E3. Seeing Miyamoto is always cool so that was an awesome way to start your conference.
Oh, right! This is Ubisoft. Here’s some more Assassin’s Creed, guys. We don’t wanna trick our audience and make them think we’re gonna follow up with a Rayman announcement. So, a couple of things here. The game director came out on stage and told everybody that he directs Assassin’s Creed Origins and that he waited “so long” to say that. Like, an extra year. Damn. How did you manage to keep it in, man? That’s impressive. Speaking of impressive, the game does look good. It was a cinematic trailer which I am not a fan of but they also showed us more gameplay! On… a… off-screen feed. The game was running on “the most powerful console ever” and we saw a dude filming a monitor displaying the game… I don’t get it. Maybe they did it on purpose so that people would watch till the end cause they had a little card pop up saying “more gameplay later, this is not how the game actually looks, we promise”. Anyway, if you just couldn’t stand a year without Assassin’s Creed, rest assured, this one seems to be slightly better than the others.
The Crew 2: cars, motorcycles, airplanes, vehicles. The trailer looked cool, visually. We saw gameplay after. It looked… like a vehicle game. I guess what is cool about this one is that it’s not just cars. There’s other stuff as well. Alright, moving on.
Wait, I thought this year’s Assassin’s Creed was Origins, not IV. Oh no, never mind. It’s the most awesome feature of Black Flag made into an actual game and it’s called Skull and Bones. Dammit Ubisoft, how did you know I have a weakness for pirates? People keep complaining about how many zombie games there are and I just keep rejoicing because pirates keep popping up. This one basically answers the question: what if Ubisoft were the ones to make Sea of Thieves? It looks rad. Something I genuinely like about Ubisoft is that they go all out with the new IPs. Even if those IPs end up being Watchdogs. This time, though, it’s a cool looking pirate game.
So, an expansion for Steep. Looks neat for people who are into this game I’m sure. No gameplay but man, that song was cool.
Just Dance 2018: things… dancing. I’m not gonna even try to explain it, look it up. The game that comes out on every freaking console ever. Even on Wii, Wii U, Android, and iOS. Damn. I wonder if the people who play Just Dance actually watch E3. Hmm…
Far Cry 5: see, this game looks awesome. Far Cry 3 is one of my favorite Ubisoft games ever. Didn’t bother with 4 or Primal but 5 might be my return to the series. You know what would have made this reveal way more awesome? Actually having it be revealed at E3 for the first time. We knew about Far Cry 5 because A) it was leaked and B) It was actually officially shown before E3. Maybe they were like “well, fuck it, let’s just show it now, that dude on 4chan got us again”. The potential quality of the game speaks for itself here but most people watch E3 for announcements like these, they crave these surprises. This time, however, it wasn’t a surprise. I know why companies show games before E3. They don’t want their game to be drowned in the E3 avalanche of announcements and news. This is Far Cry though! People will pay attention. Red Dead Redemption 2’s delay had already sunk in. Don’t worry about it. Especially if you make it look that good. You do Far Cry stuff in Hope County, Montana. Shoot dudes and make religious cultists explode. Awesome.
Beyond Good & Evil 2: well, that’s one way to end a conference. Throw everybody off saying it won’t be there. Make people believe we’ll have to wait another 4 years to even see a logo and then bam, CGI trailer. I’ll forgive you for the CGI this time. For this kind of game, anything is welcome. I haven’t played the original but I was pretty sure it was more of a kid friendly game? They sure do say “fuck” a lot in this prequel with a “2” at the end of the name. Regardless, bombshell announcement. Great stuff, Ubi.
That’s it. Good year for Ubisoft. I won’t say they won because even though they showed some awesome stuff and impressed me… we saw no Rayman. Yes, I’m still salty about Rayman. Fight me.
Ah yes, the almighty Sony. PlayStation’s hour of greatness. Here, I don’t expect them to try to convince us why PlayStation is awesome. People already know. We played Uncharted, Ratchet, Bloodborne, Nioh, Horizon and much more. This is their shot at reminding us why we still have many more reasons to turn it on besides Netflix and Hulu. Let’s see what they had to show:
Uncharted The Lost Legacy: seems like 4 was A Thief’s End but not a franchise’s end. That’s cool. We knew about this one but it’s always nice to see Uncharted. Nate takes a little break while hot chicks like Chloe and Nadine go around being badass and doing Uncharted stuff. People are unsure if this is an expansion for 4 or its own game or whatever. Guys, it’s its own thing. A Thief’s End remember? Nate is done. I’ll be playing this one. I don’t care too much about Chloe but Nadine is awesome. A good way to start.
Horizon Zero Dawn DLC: when the Guerilla logo popped up on screen I was like “what?! They’re already making a new game?” then I remembered this is not the 90s where DLC wasn’t a thing yet. More Horizon Zero Dawn. Looks good. I might have to get it. You can never get enough of a hot redhead shooting robot-dinos in the face with elemental arrows.
Days Gone: in case you can’t wait for The Last of Us part II to get your zombie fix and don’t wanna get an Xbox for State of Decay 2, Days Gone is for you! Another open world game by the looks of it. This time with a little bit of a The Walking Dead feel sprinkled on it. I thought they had run out of ways to call zombies besides zombies but I was wrong: freakers. Good one. I like how this game is basically PlayStation’s way of saying look at how many zombies we can have on screen without actually saying the words “look at how many zombies we have on screen”. This looks cool. Nathan Drake must not have any starring roles in the near future but his long lost spiritual cousin’s got some intense stuff to deal with in this game. Looked way better than last year’s demo. Will be keeping an eye out on it.
Monster Hunter World: the moment the Japanese gaming community erupted with joy and the Western audiences were like “huh, neat.” Monster Hunter on steroids, man. Open-world, gorgeous looking Monster Hunter for PS4. First new game of the show. Well, I say new but we learned about this one’s existence from a trademark filing leak thing…*sigh*. Looks awesome, though.
Shadow of the Colossus remake: yes. Please keep remaking this game. I don’t care if it already showed up on the PS3. People need to play it. It looks way better than both of its previous versions. This would be a system seller for me. I wish I could say it was a surprise but there was also a trademark leak for this one. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take 9 years to come out.
Marvel vs Capcom Infinite: story trailer. Basically a response to Injustice 2’s story stuff. A demo was made available right after the conference. I love it when companies do this. Usually with E3, everybody gets super excited but after everything is said and done we just immediately go back to our meaningless lives of waiting for all of the cool games that were shown to be released. However, sometimes like with this demo, we can play a tiny bit of what was shown. Mega Man X throwing Captain America’s shield like it’s a Frisbee. Dante handing over his guns to Rocket Raccoon. All of the yes. I’m not a fan of tournament fighters but I am all about Marvel mixing it up with Capcom. Good stuff.
Call of Duty WWII: It’s Call of Duty. It takes place during World War II. No jetpacks.
Skyrim in VR: respect to Bethesda for supporting VR with their biggest games. Also, an honorable mention to the fact that PlayStation released a peripheral last year, saw it wasn’t selling 40 million units and actually stuck with it through another year. Lots of VR games. It’s hard to be excited about these games when I’m not a VR enthusiast and I don’t own a VR device. Still, it’s cool to see more VR representation at E3. It’s Skyrim in VR. Same concerns as with Doom and Fallout. Yo, Sony, you got some cool IPs as well. How about a Spyro or Crash game in VR? Nah? Ok.
Star Child: neat looking sci-fi 2D game. Don’t know much about this one.
The Inpatient: weird, psychological, doctor-says-stuff-is-good-for-you game. Looks weird. I’m sure some Youtubers are gonna have a field day with this one.
FINAL FANTASY VR????? Yeah, fishing…with Noctis. I’m not kidding. You fish with Final Fantasy XV characters. Made by the same people who make Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy VII remake. Quick reminder: those games exist and will come out this lifetime. Meanwhile, be sure to catch those sneaky little trouts with anime dudes.
Bravo Team: I guess Call of Duty, Battlefield and Counter-Strike are still not good enough for VR so here, take Bravo Team instead. I’m sure it’s not bad. It just… looks like a generic shooter for VR.
Moss: cute little mouse goes around fantasy places platforming, puzzle solving and stuff. He also has a sword and kills spiders and other bugs. The trailer was kind of dull but the game looks fun.
End of VR stuff. It’s hard to get super excited about these games because the magic of VR is difficult to convey through a Youtube video or even on a huge conference stage. The whole 4K stuff suffers from the same problem. Demoing or showcasing these games is not easy because the consumer can’t really experience the product the way it’s meant to be experienced. You need to actually wear the futuristic Tron helmet thing or actually stand in front of a 4K TV displaying a 4K image or video to truly understand why this technology is worth keeping an eye out on. I think that in order to sell people on the whole VR thing, besides the novelty factor, is the big IP representation. The Inpatient, Moss, Starchild, these are all cool projects but these games won’t be the reason people buy VR headsets. However, if they see that the next Crash Bandicoot or the next Uncharted game or whatever is coming to VR then we might be onto something. It almost feels like Sony put out this fancy piece of hardware that’s really cool looking, saw how it did in the marketplace and waited for its sales to be carried by enthusiastic developers that believe VR is the future of video games as they keep making games for the platform without Sony themselves actually doing any of the heavy lifting.
Now, regular PlayStation fans: turn up the volume again. Time for God of War.
Kratos is back and it looks like a game with actual…character development? A fatherhood theme? Oh wait, there he is, slashing everything in his path and destroying horrifying abominations with his bare fists. Looks incredible. I dropped the God of War series after 2 but this is what the series needed. A reinvention. I dig it. When that giant world serpent thing showed up I was expecting Kratos to fuck him up real bad but he actually just made friends with him. If that’s not a reinvention for God of War, I don’t know what is. Only negative: not a 2017 game.
Detroit Become Human: what can I say about this one? The spiritual successor to Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls. Pretentious, gorgeous, unexciting and boring. Sorry, David Cage fans. These games don’t do anything for me. At all. I’m sure it’ll make your top 10 list for game of the year. Game on.
Destiny 2: Remember when they said the original Destiny would be supported for 10 years? Man, time flies. A sequel already. We knew about Destiny 2 before going into the conference so this isn’t really a bombshell announcement or anything. Still, it looks great. I’m sure Destiny fans will be able to tell the difference because I sure can’t. Just please don’t bring back Peter Dinklage. I love him but let him stick to the witty fantasy dwarf stuff. Sci-fi floating robots are just not his thing.
Spider-Man: my game of the show from Sony. This is the Spider-Man game I’ve been wanting. Not a new reveal but it doesn’t have to be. Great stuff shown here. It borrows from the Arkham games which is not a bad thing. It’s nice to see some DC — Marvel collaboration here. My only concern is that its most impressive aspect of the game is based on mostly quick-time events and set pieces that reduce the skill factor to a single well-timed button press. The devs said that the sequence shown was a story focused mission and that the game would be open world. That’s good. I wanna be able to feel like Spider-Man while playing a game, not by watching a Universal Studios ride in game form. Looks amazing. Again, only downside: 2018.
So, there you have it. I know Sony likes to remaster old games and put them on newer hardware but wow, remastering E3 conferences now? This looked very similar to their conference from last year but I wanna make it clear: that is not a bad thing necessarily. E3 is all about getting people excited about playing your games. New announcements and mic-drop moments should be there and definitely help in this regard but they’re not necessary to convince gamers that your console is worth looking out for. I am excited about most of the games shown here, primarily the PS4 exclusives. I’m not gonna pretend I’m not disappointed that Bloodborne 2 wasn’t there but hey, there’s always PSX. Speaking of PSX, something that I think would have helped them is that maybe they should have held off on The Last Of Us Part II announcement and focus primarily on The Lost Legacy at PSX last year. That way, if they had ended this conference with a Last of Us bombshell people would actually start the discussion saying “dat The Last of Us II trailer tho! Oh and Spider-Man looks great.” Regardless, good job, Sony. Greatness does indeed await.
The big N’s time to shine. Their moment has come. They had to:
A) Convince people the Switch is awesome
B) Please hardcore Nintendo fans. The day 1 Switch owners
C) Attract fans of other publishers
D) Prove the 1st party games are quality stuff (this is the easy one)
E) Communicate that the 3rd party support is strong
F) Reassure people that the Switch will carry its momentum forward to 2018
Doing this in 25 minutes is certainly challenging. People already left them for dead or doomed once they heard the news about the length of their showcase. Nintendoomed to be more precise. Well, did they deliver? Let’s find out:
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: this one was first revealed back in January. As a big fan of the first one, I gotta say this looks pretty darn good. The trailer was more story focused than anything else but it got me pretty hyped. The gameplay segments on Treehouse live convinced me for a day 1 purchase. A huge open world JRPG sequel to one of the best games on Wii? And also portable? Sign me up. Oh yeah and no delay. Still a 2017 release date. In your face, internet.
Kirby for Switch: first 2018 game. It’s Kirby! 2D side-scroller Kirby action. Co-op, of course. Gotta get that multiplayer value in there. Looks awesome. Kirby games are always fun and this one looks beautiful to boot. Technically, it’s the first actual HD traditional Kirby game. Rainbow Curse doesn’t really count. Great announcement.
Afterwards, they had a little segment where Shinya Takahashi talked about how relieved everyone at Nintendo was when they found out everybody thinks the Switch is awesome. That got a good chuckle out of me. I bet you were, guys, I bet you were. He briefly mentioned 3rd party multiplayer support for the Switch but showed no actual games. I’ll take your word for it, Takahashi-san.
We are transitioned into Tsunekazu Ishihara’s office and he’s sitting right there. CEO of The Pokemon Company. Hearts stopped. Eyes widened. Pokemon on Switch? Well, he talked about how Pokken Tournament DX will be awesome and all of that and…what’s that? One more announcement? That’s right. Pokemon on Switch is happening. Not Pokken, not Mystery Dungeon, but a “core” RPG Pokemon game for the Nintendo Switch has begun development. And that was it, no gameplay footage, no logo, just a grown-ass man doodling Pokemon on his notepad who said: “yeah, we’re making it”. That’s all they need. Say what you will about how much they showed of these new games but I told a couple of friends of mine who are Pokémon fans that this had happened and they were already looking for Switches online. Pokémon’s brand power, man. It’s incredible. Needless to say: bombshell announcement. This is the first time that a mainline series Pokémon game is confirmed on an E3 showcase. Can’t wait to see more.
Metroid Prime 4: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! *pant* *pant*. Let me catch my breath here. WHAT?! I was certain, absolutely sure Metroid would not show up at E3 this year. I am so fucking glad I was wrong. The screen went black, stars showed up, smoke and haze crept into the image and slowly molded into an “S”, a 4 showed up right in front of it and we all lost it. A follow-up to one of the most acclaimed trilogies in gaming and the return of our favorite bounty hunter. Just a logo, yes, but again: Nintendo’s brand power. See, Metroid is a legacy franchise for them. It turned 30 years old alongside Zelda last year. Super Metroid and the original Metroid Prime are considered to be some of the best games of all time. Unfortunately, Metroid is not the most profitable series for Nintendo. It does ok but definitely not as good as something like Mario or Pokémon. So, when Other M flopped and Federation Force was crucified from day 1 we all sort of lost hope. At least I did. But now we are freaking out over this logo because it means that Nintendo is communicating that Metroid is most certainly not dead, it’s super back. A logo is all they need to make people say they won E3. From the new game announcements across all conferences, this was the most exciting one for me. I am itching for anything Metroid Prime 4 related now. Concept art or a screenshot, even the name of the composer’s pet goldfish. I cannot wait to see what this game looks like. Well played Nintendo. Dare I say: we all saw stars.
Yoshi! Yay! A cute, little Yoshi game for Switch. I’ll be honest with you, I was still trying to recover from the Prime 4 announcement. This new Yoshi game came right after it and I wasn’t able to process the trailer correctly. It seems to be a follow-up to Woolly World but ditching the wool aesthetic. Instead, it’s going for a more cardboard and paper craft style. It’s adorable. Some people may complain that these games are not as ambitious as they could be. 2D platformers with cute art styles. I, however, am all for it. 2D platformers can still be extremely high-quality games and Nintendo are the masters of the genre. Keep ’em coming.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Like Fire Emblem? Like Dynasty Warriors? Then, boy, does Nintendo have a treat for you. I didn’t play Hyrule Warriors so I can’t really say much about the gameplay and how well the series is represented here. It does look cool though. A lot of people are excited about this one and that’s just great. Another worthy addition to the library of games coming in 2017.
Breath of the Wild DLC: Aonuma showed up and talked about Zelda! What more do you need? Well, in just a few days you’ll be able to play the first DLC pack for Breath of the Wild. A bunch of new features, armor, items and a cave of trials type of dungeon. Looks challenging and intense. The second DLC pack, however, we didn’t really get much information on. They just basically showed a cute little cutscene with the four champions and told us it’s called The Champion’s Ballad. Ok…great. We’ll know more of that later. Also, amiibo! The four champions will be getting amiibo and they look sweet.
Reggie on a beach talking about E3 and how awesome Nintendo’s booth will be and reminding us that they do have a focus on esports with their tournament events and stuff. Alright.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle: obligatory reminder that this game exists and is coming to the Switch in just a couple of months.
Rocket League: awesome stuff! Rocket League is perfect for the Switch. It’ll have cross-network play and exclusive Nintendo-themed cosmetics. Nice! Great get for them.
Super Mario Odyssey: oh man. What a trailer. This, I think, is the perfect way to describe the Nintendo magic to someone. This E3 in general, I’d say. I enjoyed all of the conferences but this trailer was the one that made me smile the most. They don’t need 4K, guns, women, cars, violence or explosions, or big stage conferences with tons of filler. They just need Mario throwing his hat at things and possessing them. T-Rex, real humans, Bullet Bills, Goombas, tanks, you name it. Pair it up with a catchy as fuck jazz song and you’ve got a winner. Super Mario Odyssey looks absolutely wonderful. You thought November would be the release date since every big Nintendo game for the holidays sees a November date? Nope, October. What a way to end your presentation. My most anticipated game of the year now looks three times as good as it did in January. I am one happy Mario fan right now.
The Treehouse saw its fair share of announcements as well. For those of you who don’t know: Nintendo Treehouse Live is where they demo the games they showed at their presentation as well as a bunch of other 3DS games and stuff. You thought Metroid Prime 4 was enough? Well, Nintendo clearly wants you to have more cause Metroid Samus Returns was announced after the conference. Yeah, yeah, it was after the presentation but the Spotlight was Switch focused and we knew that. Does it really matter? Metroid is back. Full force and it looks great. A remake of Metroid II Return of Samus but with reworked assets and additional gameplay elements. Classic 2D Metroid action and exploration and it comes out in September which is super soon! Now that AM2R takedown makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Also, a remake of Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga for 3DS cause why not? That’s coming in October.
The Wii U years were rough. Lots of great games but something was off. Being a Nintendo fan felt weird during the Wii U era. Didn’t feel right. Now, however, it’s a completely different story. Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Metroid, Kirby, Yoshi, Fire Emblem and Xenoblade all made appearances and all look great. There’s no play like it.
So, let’s see:
Proving that the Switch is awesome? Well, most of us would agree that the Switch, as a game console, offers a variety of ways to play multiplayer games as well as single player games. It is not the most powerful home console but it is the most powerful handheld console. Ultimately, a system is defined by its games and we clearly saw a bunch of those. I’m gonna say “yes”.
Please hardcore Nintendo fans? So, Zelda already came out and everybody loves it. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the ultimate Mario Kart package. Splatoon 2 is right around the corner. Mario Odyssey is a return to form for 3D Mario, inspired by 64 and Sunshine which people have been clamoring for a while now. Two new Metroid games. Pleasing the Prime fans and the 2D Metroid fans. Confirming mainline Pokemon is coming? Check. Yeah, I’d say this mission is accomplished.
Attract fans from other communities? I’ve already been seeing some comments from Sony and Microsoft fans congratulating Nintendo on their Spotlight and admitting the Switch might be a worthwhile console after all. Obviously, I can’t speak for every single non-Nintendo fan out there but I’d say that’s a step in the right direction at the very least.
Prove the 1st party quality is there? Like I said before, this one’s not hard to pull off. Super Mario Odyssey, Yoshi, Kirby, Metroid Samus Returns, Xenoblade, Fire Emblem Warriors all look extremely promising. Zelda and Mario Kart are already available and ARMS just came out last week. No problems here.
3rd party? This one’s tricky. On the one hand, they’ve got Capcom remaking Street Fighter II, Rocket League, FIFA, freaking Skyrim on the Switch, Sonic Mania, and Forces, plus all of the indie stuff which is not going away. On the other hand…that’s pretty much it. It’s understandable since Nintendo’s last console was not where you wanna port your game over to. Nintendo needed to prove that the Switch’s initial library would be filled somehow with games that are worth playing. After the whole Wii U fiasco, 3rd parties were not going to be there from day 1 so what do you do? You fill it up with the Marios, the Zeldas, the Fire Emblems, etc, which is what they did. The quality of these 1st party games will speak for themselves and 3rd parties will listen. I feel confident that when the install base grows and the Switch proves 100% that it won’t be a Wii U 2, the more aggressive 3rd party support will arrive. In the meantime, Rocket League on the go, baby!
2018 and onward? Well, Nintendo does have a tendency to focus a lot on what’s coming sooner rather than later. However, we got a little taste of what to expect once the Mario Odyssey craze is over. Kirby, Yoshi, mainline Fire Emblem, Metroid Prime 4 and core Pokemon on Switch are all coming after 2017. We also know Pikmin 4 exists, that a mainline Fire Emblem is on the way and that Animal Crossing and Smash Bros. Switch are heavily rumored. I’d say that while it would be nice to know more about certain titles, we have plenty to hold us over until more Nintendo Directs show us what those games are all about and when we can expect them.
Well then! This seemed to be Nintendo’s resurgence. Most of us seem pretty positive about the Switch. All we need is for people to actually be able to find one in stores.
E3 2017 came and went. It gave us tons of great games and announcements which is really what E3 is all about. Maybe that one game that you wanted to see didn’t show up (RIP Bloodborne 2) or maybe they did (Metroid ❤) but that’s what’s cool about E3. Even though you know already what to expect, for the most part, something happens that ends up blowing your mind or surprising you so much that you’re like “wow, I’m so glad I saw this reveal live”. It may seem like I only want to ridicule companies a lot of the times but it’s all in good fun. I have a lot of respect for game developers and publishers all over the world and I hope they keep making great games and that people keep playing them. This is an awesome industry and E3 is the perfect event to showcase why.
So, who won E3 then? You decide. There are no wrong answers here. Have a good one and see ya next year.