E3 came, E3 went, and as it passed it left us with a slew of trailers and hype that has yet to be swept off the street. But not all E3 presentations are made equal, and just like last year, we’re going to take stock of everything that happened and determined who won – and who lost – this year’s E3.
Just like the report card, let’s take it from the top:
To get out of this E3 with anything less than a big, fat fail, EA would have had to produce a miracle. And brother: they did not produce a miracle.
Battlefield V came out with an impressive trailer that got less impressive the more you thought about it: destructive environments isn’t actually that exciting and it didn’t take a Nostradamus to predict that a Battle Royale mode would be included. Respawn name-dropped a Star Wars game and gave us pretty much nothing else, and we also got a Battlefront 2 expansion just about no one is excited for. Anthem looks like a slightly improved Destiny with a slightly better story… but Bioware assured people there would be no romance (at launch), so what’s the goddamn point? I need my 3D waifus, Bioware. Romance is half the reason I replay any of your games.
Easily the worst part of the entire presentation, though, was the realization that the Command and Conquer: Rivals rumor were more than just true, they were spot-on. It has all the makings of the worst kind of real-time mobile RTS, with a beloved IP slapped on the front to really salt the wound. It’s almost as if EA drank so much in its post Battlefront 2 depression that it forgot it tried that already with Dungeon Keeper – and look how that turned out.
Still, there were highlights: Unravel Two, the follow-up to the rather adorable indie-style platformer was announced out of nowhere, now with a co-op mode and the charming reveal that it’s available now. Another indie-style game, Sea of Solitude, was shown off, which looks both intriguing, artsy, and thoughtful: so I guess you could say I’m ‘excited’ about it, but more in theory than in practice.
Sorry EA. You had one job, an impossible one, granted, but you still friggen blew it.
Microsoft went into this saying it would be one of the biggest E3’s they’ve ever done, and while I’m not sure I agree it was that amazing, it was certainly one of the highlights and an excellent way to wash out the disappointment of EA’s attempt at a show.
We got teased a new Halo, and Ori is getting a sequel called the Will of the Wisps (who would have guessed that?). Dark Souls Creator From Software finally unveiled their ambitious new game, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which brings us to full Soul-ception where the Souls guys rip of the Nioh guys who were ripping off the Soul guys. Fallout 76 was teased (which looks… fine? It’s no Fallout 3 remake), a spin-off for Life is Strange was dropped in our laps, Crackdown 3 showed us what a crackhead Terry Crews can be, a new Metro game was teased… a lot happened. I mean a lot-lot happened. Between Fallout 76 and The Division 2 and Kingdom Hearts 3, they even showed off games from studios that were already presenting at E3.
The worst trailer was probably the Battletoads teaser: not that I’m against the Battletoads or anything, it’s just not a lot to go off and the mere existence of Battletoads fails to excite me in any meaningful way.
The best moment… gosh, there were so many. The confirmation that a new Xbox was on the way? Dying Light 2? Finally getting our first look at Cyberpunk 2077? Gears of War 5 starring a lady character? I guess out of journalistic integrity, though, I found the 5 new studios the most exciting moment, if only because it means the future of the Xbox is looking brighter than ever.
Bethesda would have won by merits of the absolutely baller performance Andrew W.K gave before the Rage 2 gameplay trailer alone, but then they had to up their game to show off some of the most highly anticipated games of this generation.
The next Doom game was teased, called “Eternal”, promising to bring hell on earth in a rad new trailer. Prey gets “endless replayability” with the mooncrash DLC, and a bunch of new stuff that came out immediately after the show. A new Wolfenstein looks rather fantastic, Fallout 76 is still technically happening, and a brand-new IP, Starfield, was proudly announced.
The worst moment was easily The Elder Scrolls Blades, the new mobile game, which looked like a kind of souped-up RTS paired with the Legend of Grimrock. It didn’t look bad, and knowing how fanatical Bethesda fans are it’ll be successful no matter what it is, but it didn’t really moisten my panties or anything.
And sadly, the best moment was easily the reveal that, yes, a new Elder Scrolls game is being worked on. We don’t know anything other than that, all we got was a name and a landscape, but hey, that’s all we really need to make gamers throw up on themselves in undeluded glee.
I said that Bethesda was a real feast-or-famine kind of developer in the report card earlier, and wouldn’t you know it: this year they had a real feast of a presentation. Good job fellas.
You know, you can’t repeat the same joke twice, and while you gotta give credit to Devolver Digital for trying something new, it just wasn’t as good this year. And when you combine that with a lackluster show of games, well… at best, you could call it a “breather episode”. At worst, you could call it a waste of time.
But anyway. We’re getting an English version of a classic, Metal Wolf Chaos XD, My Friend Pedro was shown off, SCUM was… revealed, and… that was it. So I guess the worst part was the apathetic shrug and the following “well, that’s it from us”. You kind of expect more from an E3 show, you know?
The highlight, of course, was the per-reveal jokes. I might not have been sold on the presentation this time but hell, I got a few chuckles out of it.
Man, what the hell?
Look, to their credit, a lot of what Square Enix had to share – Captain Spirit, Tomb Raider, Kingodm Hearts 3, Just Cause 4 – we had already seen in some form or fashion in the Microsoft presentation. But even if you strip all that junk away, you’re left with a pretty underwhelming show that made EA look good.
The worst moment was easily Babylon’s Fall: and not because I’m not excited for the game, I sure as hell am! It’s the next game from the legendary minds over at Platinum games, how could I NOT be pumped? The problem was that the trailer was really, really bad. Like… super bad. I couldn’t make sense of it and I couldn’t bring myself to care about what was going on. Cool name though.
The highlight – in that it was the only other new game showed off – was The Quiet Man, a brawler with the unique hook (get it?) of the protagonist being deaf. It’s apparently heavy on story and action, so maybe if nothing else it’ll teach David Cage how to make an actually interesting story. But we’ll have to see when it finally comes out.
Oh, and Monster Hunter World is getting a Final Fantasy crossover. That’s cool.
There was just a lot to like here, and very little to dislike.
The opening dance was rather charming, as was the little musical they performed to hype up the Donkey Kong DLC coming to Mario + Rabbids. Speaking of Nintendo crossovers, Star Fox will be making a guest appearance in the Switch version of Starlink: Battle for Atlas. A horror game called Transference was enough to cause chills, Skull and Bones looks like an upgraded version of Sea of Thieves, Trials mades a grand return, and of course we got a brand-new, pretty exciting update to For Honor to look forward to later this year.
Ah, and Assassin’s Creed. Can’t forget Assassin’s Creed.
I wouldn’t say there was really a “worst” moment, but the part that was least exciting was that second look at The Division 2. Just wasn’t quite as special the second go around, although I will say it still looks like a nice update from The Division. If only Ubisoft would just admit that the game is politically charged instead of trying to skirt around it.
And do I even have to say the best moment? Beyond Good and Evil 2, duh. Next!
Sony couldn’t quite keep up with Microsoft when it came to the number of cool releases, but it still had a high-profile portfolio of exciting games on hand to make me happy to be a PS4 owner.
We saw a lot more of The Last of Us Part 2, complete with brutal violence against your fellow men and, gasp, lesbian kissing. Ghost of Tesushima, a samurai game from Infamous studio Sucker Punch, looked absolutely breathtaking – and absolutely a reason to consider updating to a PS4 Pro. Control looked pretty rad, Kingdom Hears 3 was shown off AGAIN, Death Stranding reminded us that Kojima is taking mushrooms and refuses to share, Nioh 2 was announced (hype!), and a PSVR game authored by From Software that looks very, very different from what they usually put out.
The low point of the presentation was probably the Resident Evil 2 remaster (although it’s a close tie with Kingdom Hearts 3, again), just in that I, as well as others, are probably a little sick of Capcom beating this particular zombie horse. We get it, you used to make really good zombie games. But man, you just proved you can do it again if you really try – so maybe try that again?
High point was easily the Spider Man game. If it plays even remotely as good as it looked, it will be a console mover and possibly a game-changer for the entire industry. Fast, frantic, fun… it looks like the exact kind of joyful action that our overly-serious industry needs right now.
Look, I’m not saying Nintendo’s presentation was bad – far from it, I loved every goddamn second. But there were eight presenters and there has to be four winners and four losers, and Nintendo didn’t actually show off that much, so… consider Nintendo the cream of the loser crop. The obligatory loser. The honorary 5th place.
Nintendo’s show was dominated – and rightly so – by Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, which is sort of a remake, sort of a remaster, and definitely a reason to buy a Switch. Every fighter in the game’s long history will be there, with a small smattering of new fighters (including goddamn RIDLY) to spice things up. We also got a look at a neat new Mario Party, the immediate release of Fortnite and Hollow Knight, and some sweet new hardware.
The low point of the presentation was the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 DLC. Cool.
And for me, personally, the highlight was the Fire Emblem Three Houses trailer. And while I can acknowledge that Super Smash Brothers Ultimate is technically a bigger deal… man, I really love Fire Emblem. So ya’ll can suck it.
And yep! That’s the long and short of it. Now let’s hope all these cool new games live up to their own hype!