The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017 has arrived, or at least, the press briefings from major publishers have. No one really cares about E3 proper, it’s all about the juicy game reveals at the publisher conferences that take place before E3. Said conferences began two days ago with EA’s press briefing and continued into yesterday with Microsoft’s briefing and now, just past midnight, Bethesda’s briefing. I was so excited because E3 is generally the best time of the year for gamers... but now I just want it to be over.
Electronic Arts decided to kickoff E3 this year, and man did that not go over well. Sure, they had Battlefront 2 and Need for Speed: Payback, but their conference was about what you would expect at this point: Sports, sports, sports. Complete with some drummers at the beginning of the show and some kind of comedy group or something later on. Need for Speed seemed to lack hype, Bioware’s new IP, Anthem, was revealed, but barely shown, instead being pushed to Microsoft’s conference, and their only other noteworthy game was by Hazelight and it’s called “A Way Out.” It looks really damn good and the developer was extremely enthusiastic about this project they were working on. But that’s one game out of an entire conference. Battlefront 2 stole the show at the end, but the hype quickly deflated over the last 20 minutes as fans watched a clearly one-sided multiplayer match that wasn’t all that entertaining.
Were you excited for Microsoft’s mid-gen refresh? If not, then you probably didn’t enjoy this conference. And even if you were, you might have walked away feeling a tad underwhelmed. Sure, Microsoft had a flashy opening and they pulled out all the stops to present the new Xbox One X, a more powerful Xbox One, but you need games to sell consoles, and they have virtually none. Microsoft showcased about 42 games during their almost two hour long conference, and yet the vast majority of those games were indie titles with timed exclusivity and probably won’t sell consoles to begin with. But hey, we got to see Crackdown 3 right? Well, yeah, kind of. We got a release date(2017), but the trailer was actually kind of... meh. It felt like they didn’t showcase it right. When I’m more hyped for Sea of Thieves(Which is a 2018 title by the way.), there’s a problem. Even State of Decay 2's showing was lackluster(Which, again, was delayed to early 2018.). So what else does Microsoft have for the launch of the Xbox One X? Super Lucky Tales. Yep. Crackdown 3 and Super Lucky Tales. Not that they’re exclusive to Xbox One X, but as launch titles, you’d think they’d be... more substantial. Forza Motorsport 7 kicked off the conference and showcased the power of the Xbox One X, but it releases before the X so, technically, gamers were treated to a visual treat that they won’t actually get when the game launches, because it was all Xbox One X footage and as we should all know, the power gap between Xbox One S and Xbox One X is massive. They probably also could have used a Halo title to help market this thing and fill out their fall lineup. They opted not to do a Halo 3 Anniversary or anything substantial, and it’s plain to see that everything is now riding on Crackdown 3 and.... well just Crackdown 3's shoulders.
But hey, at least we’re getting backwards compatibility for OG Xbox titles, right? (Note: I actually love this, but if that’s one the biggest highlights of the conference, man Microsoft needs to get their act together.)
The Anthem gameplay demo was pretty cool though. Sadly, I don’t know whether I can believe that what I saw was actual gameplay. There was next to no HUD and the initial animations looked really... curated. On another note: Assassin’s Creed: Origin’s did not impress me.
I never thought I’d be saying this, but Bethesda’s conference was a snoozefest. There was a lot of talk about VR games and then there was some stuff about The Elder Scrolls: Legends and lets not forget about the Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind expansion that just released. And then of course there was a DLC trailer for Dishonored 2, some Quake Champions gameplay, Skyrim for Switch, and then two brand new trailers for The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein 2. Those last two are great, the rest of the conference which amounted to maybe 30 or so minutes? Not very interesting. Even Pete Hines looked like he didn’t want to be there by the end of it. No word on Bethesda Game Studio’s two new IP’s, Starfield is fake, and we all know it’ll be a while until The Elder Scrolls VI materializes in any form. Next year will hopefully be a bit better with Bethesda Game Studios revealing what they’ve been working on(hopefully) and perhaps even some surprises from Take Two or something, ya know, like BioShock.
And those were just the first three conferences. What’s next? PC Gaming Show followed by Ubisoft... yeah, those do not inspire confidence. Ubisoft’s entire hand was practically tipped already and no one really cares about the PC Gaming Show. Maybe Ubisoft will surprise me, but I’m expecting Sony and Nintendo to save E3.
Keep in mind these are just my opinions, though my discussions with many others leads me to believe that this is more of a general consensus than the random musings of a writer.