The E3 Conferences are over and we’ve had some time to reflect. Who won E3? What did each presenter accomplish with their presentation? These are the questions we’ll look at today.
EA – Corporate Seminar
Oh EA, when will you learn? This was the most obnoxious Conference by far. Instead of simply seeing the game footage and making up our own mind, we were told how great the games were from suits and YouTubers appearing in corporate videos.
The focus on ‘community’ and influencers was overkill here but popped up in every other conference as well.
Janina Gavankar’s authentic excitement about presenting Battlefront II saved the show from being a disaster, ending on a high note.
Grade – 1/5 As fun as a corporate training session
Microsoft – We got games!
For exclusives, 2017 has been kind to Sony (Nioh, Nier, Horizon: Zero Dawn) and rough on Microsoft (Scalebound cancelled). Microsoft needed to show they had a ton of games coming, and most importantly, great exclusives. Tacoma and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds were important gets, Cuphead looks better than ever, and Ori 2 should be a critical darling.
Backwards compatibility for the original Xbox is another gamer-friendly initiative that will cost Microsoft money to develop while making zero direct profit. This was their big surprise and feel-good moment of the show.
Finally, the Scorpio got a (bad) name (Xbox One X), a price ($499), and a release date (Nov 7th, 2017). It looked impressive and not too expensive.
Grade – 4/5 A strong step forward, but lacking a standout
Bethesda – Eveything old is now VR
Bethesda didn’t have a new Elder Scrolls or Fallout to shock the world, but they kept the show snappy and respected the viewer. Putting their biggest franchises (DOOM, Skyrim, Fallout 4) into VR seems to be their main priority at the moment.
The continued resurrection of old ID franchises is trucking along with more footage on Quake and a buttload more plot concerning Wolfenstein II. BJ’s new adventure takes place in a Half-Life 2-esque world where the baddies are in control and he’s obviously the only man who can lead the charge for freedom.
Grade – 3/5 Solid, but not spectacular
Devolver – Hotline E3
People might have expected a bunch of indie games. Instead, Devolver took the independent attitude as far as legally possible. In between actual game trailers, they used the stage moments to parody the corporate, hype=money trends of E3.
Their ‘earliest access’ allowing gamers to buy a game as soon as the developer thinks about it was particularly sharp. Gunshots, blood, amputation, and an exploding head filled their 15 minute slot.
With the element of surprise gone, it’ll be tough to top this next year.
Grade – 4/5 All style, little substance
PC Gaming – A/V club meeting
I’m sure the PC Gaming conference was meant to be the irreverent and alternative show of E3, but Devolver stole their thunder in that regard. Also, Intel’s sponsored moments were a tough sell and a bit cringey.
The conference was a little long, a tad dry, and not very suited for a big stage. They chose to interview most of the developer’s post-video which was informative, but should have been uploaded to their Youtube channel, rather than performed to a large audience.
The remake of Age of Empires was a fun announcement and certainly gave me a dopamine rush of nostalgia, but it hardly set the world on fire.
Grade – 3/5 Too much substance, not enough style
Ubisoft – Mastering spectacle
Ubisoft is figuring out E3, loading up on spectacle and wow factor. Starting with Shigeru Miyamoto wielding a gun was a smart move, blowing the crowd away (figuratively, it was a toy gun). They managed to convert many skeptics of Mario Rabbids as we found out it was a cute-as-buttons XCOM.
The regular franchises were interesting enough and Just Dance a fun diversion, rather than a cringe-fest.
They saved their most Sony moment for the end. Showing off a gorgeous CGI trailer of an unknown franchise, only to shock the world with the reveal of Beyond Good and Evil 2. Sure there was no gameplay and the tone seems completely different, but E3 is about moments, not explanations.
Grade – 4/5 Learning how to drop the mic
It was unlikely Sony could drop another FFVII Remake or God of War 4 sized bombshell, and they didn’t (Shadow of Colossus remake was close). Instead, they expanded upon what we already knew existed, with a thrilling Spiderman gameplay trailer to close the show.
The best part of Sony’s show was the ratio of game footage to presenters. They opened the show with live music aided by neat stage visuals, and then kicked into a straight 60 minutes of uninterrupted game trailers. Shawn Layden had a few words and then we went straight back to a ton more games until the end of the show.
Sony knows why we watch E3 and delivered a fantastic show. Their stage and lighting also changed dynamically for each trailer, even dangling humans from ropes to act alongside on-creen wriggling bodies.
Grade – 5/5 Lacked an OMG, but still a flawless victory
Nintendo – Oh you guys like Metroid?
No Animal Crossing was a big letdown for many still playing the 2012 game, and a lack of Smash was a puzzling absence considering Mario Kart and Splatoon were quickly brought to the Switch.
A new Kirby (with 4p co-op) and Yoshi are solid additions to the family but a simple logo of Metroid Prime 4 and the knowledge a core Pokemon RPG was coming to the Switch stole the show. Another lesson that E3 goers are more interested in fun ideas than concrete games coming out soon.
After the main presentation, the Treehouse gang casually mentioned Nintendo was remaking the Gameboy title Metroid II. They showed off gameplay with two Treehouse members playing and talking while the creator of the damn franchise was sitting there politely watching in silence. It was tone-deaf presentation.
Grade – 3/5 Clumsy excellence
That’s it for now. We’ll be posting the best things to come from the E3 floor and other thoughts from the show. Let us know who you thought won, or don’t, it’s a free world.