E3 may be officially over, but there is still plenty to talk about. I already highlighted what I liked coming out of the expo, so now let’s turn to the fun part. Here were some of the worst parts of the conferences:
“We Have Games! All The Games!”
Microsoft spent a great deal of time (and money) to make sure they had games to showcase these last two conferences by picking up a number of studios and getting a few third parties to do their world premieres on their stage (the lack of Sony probably helped this year).
Although it is clear Xbox went back to the drawing board this year to avoid some of their usual marketing stuff (even Phil Spencer didn’t spend as much time on stage this year in favor of highlighting games), I can’t help but feel there was a lack of cohesion as we jumped from one announcement to another in an an effort to shove as much content as possible within the span of a little under two hours, including some questionable highlights:
Don’t get me wrong, this is a minor nitpick in what was one of Microsoft’s better conferences in recent years. It’s just that in for every cool announcement or world premiere, there were a few questionable choices that probably could have been passed over and no one would have noticed.
Fallout 76 Had Some Technicial Issues, But Here’s a Battle Royale Mode
Bethesda had a lot to make up for regarding Fallout 76, and while it came up briefly at the start of the show, it is becoming abundantly clear the direction the company is taking the IP: away from its nuclear roots into something more generic.
Fallout 76 continues to be an exercise in frustration as the game is experiencing some heavy growing pains along with some baffling decisions made from the top, but hey, they are finally adding NPCs. Better late than never, I suppose.
Hold on, I haven’t even gotten to the “good stuff” yet....
Wait a minute. Are you telling me they had an almost hour and a half press conference and devoted a portion of it on something that should have been reserved to a weekday post on social media?
Congratulations Bethesda! You’ve officially joined the ranks of worst E3 press conference previously held by EA.
I can only speak for myself, but I don’t need another subscription package/service. I don’t play enough Ubi games now, this certainly won’t convince me to change that.
There’s a TV show, or something, about games
Look, I know some of you might actually be looking forward to this, so I’ll skip the usual shit posting. My real gripe with this was “why here” of all places. E3 is becoming more and more of a marketing ad fest that I can see why companies are either moving away from it or just going the digital route.
Oh yeah, it’s also on Apple TV+ (and I’m gone now).
Not A Whole Lot For Me Personally
This is another “it’s not you, it’s me” moment, but there wasn’t a whole lot that appealed to me beyond Watch Dogs Legion and possibly Gods & Monsters, and even that is a mystery. I’m surprised they used it to end their conference or Ubi is extremely confident about it.
Beyond those games, most of their announcements were for their ongoing games including AC Odyssey, Rainbow Six, and Division 2, followed by the new Ghost Recon; none of which really spark my personal interests, which reminds me....
Nobody Has Killed Just Dance Yet
I think I speak for everyone who has ever watched a Ubi conference, but fuck this segment.
Depending on who you ask, Square Enix’s press conference was either the “best damn thing since sliced bread” or one of the dullest conferences this year. I’m of the latter opinion.
Now before you start lighting your torches, let’s break this down:
Final Fantasy VII Remake: Is It Fun?
I’ll just repost what I wrote in my last piece:
Recent FF games have drawn a weird line between trying to be an action game and an RPG, but never fully succeeding at either when balancing both. Sometimes I wish they would just stick to one or let another developer do an action title (*looking at Platinum Games*).
This is a problem that has plagued FF since transitioning from turn based combat. Square Enix badly wants to have its cake and eat it by appealing to its hardcore fans and introducing new ones with this hybrid gameplay of action and menu based combat.
That’s partly why we are seeing other games take up the classic turned based mantle (i.e. Octopath Traveler, Bravery Default) because Square is not interested in giving us this kind of game in FF for the sake of a more global audience. That would be fine if they would commit to trying something completely new as opposed to trying to be all things to everyone.
Look, I get it. FF VII is “sacred ground” to many players where even the slightest bit of change will garner a vocal response. I’m certainly in the minority on this based on the audience reaction, but with the confirmation that FF VII Remake will be episodic, I’m concerned they may be putting all of their eggs in the Cloud basket as this will span years before we get a new FF game (this game alone is already two Blu-Ray discs!).
Ports, Remasters, and .... Shooters?
Then there was the actual conference. Beyond FF VII Remake, it was just a barrage of ports, remasters, and whatever the hell this is. Not all of it was bad, but beyond the most passionate of the Square Enix fanbase, there was not a whole lot of new content from an outsider’s perspective (pun not intended).
If we take FFVII out of the equation, I can’t understand why so many people are so eager to give Square a pass, going so far as to call it the best show. Unless of course you want to talk about....
That New Avengers Game And Presentation
Let’s get this out of the way, the new Avengers game feels off. I don’t just mean the look. Aside from some cinematics, there was very little to show in terms of gameplay (most of the demo was shown behind closed doors to the press), which is a bit concerning given the game launches next year. It probably didn’t help that another Marvel game was also present at the show.
The actual presentation on Square’s stage didn’t sell me on it either, but the biggest red flag came when one of the announcers mentioned there “will be no microtransactions or loot boxes,” which is alarming because that heavily implies a live service game. In fact, that’s exactly what it sounds like.
As Crystal Dynamics worked on some of my favorite games in recent years (the two new Deus Ex games), I still have some faith they can put out a competent game. I just hope that the corporate shills at Marvel and Square don’t crush the developer under the weight of their own greed for the sake of feeding their own egos (and pockets).
Whatever your personal take on their presentation was, you cannot deny Nintendo has perfected the E3 direct to a science: a 40 minute presentation with news, a few jokes, and very little to no corporate bullshit padding out the conference.
Nintendo Highlights A Netflix Show..... That’s Not Zelda
I think I speak for everyone who was watching this direct that we were all disappointed this was not a live action Zelda series being announced.
In all seriousness, this goes back to Ubisoft’s conference, “why here?” Just find a Tuesday, post it to twitter, and call it a day. Also, you might want to work on getting that Netflix app running on the Switch before you start making these kinds of ads.
You Had One Mario Game And This Was It...
So..... this is still a thing, huh? I’m not counting Luigi’s Mansion as that’s its own thing at this point.
No Metroid :(
Okay, this one was a given since production on Prime 4 was rebooted and we were told ahead of time it would not be highlighted. A man can dream though....
New IP and Revisiting Forgotten Series
This is another nitpick in an otherwise excellent presentation, but I would love to see Nintendo pull some of its older or obscure titles out of the closet. Besides the obvious ones (F-Zero, Kid Icarus, Star Fox, Mother 3), I would love to see someone take a crack at The Mysterious Murasame Castle or Mach Rider, as two examples. It’s a longshot, I know, but I feel there are some interesting ideas that can be pulled and reimagined with the right developer at the helm.
As a side note, if Nintendo does introduce another new IP, I’d personally like a single player game as opposed to another multiplayer centric one (i.e. Splatoon and ARMS).
And with that, another E3 has drawn to a close. This will probably be my last E3 related article unless something else comes to mind (aside from some very expensive collector’s editions). What was your biggest letdown? Best conference overall?