A product, not the goal.
I enjoyed watching almost every presentation this year; the only outlier being Devolver’s descent into sheer madness. Even so, nearly every presentation had at least a few upcoming games which caught my eye, and I look forward to figuring out how the hell I’m going to find the time to play all of them.
The obvious high moments for E3 overall were the Banjo-Kazooie reveal for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and the realization that Final Fantasy 8 would get the remaster which, until recently, we once thought impossible. More specific to my tastes; I was extremely pleased with the official announcement of No More Heroes III, and its arrival on the Nintendo Switch next year. Phantasy Star Online 2 arrives in North America next year as well, and while there’s no word on whether other regions will get access to this landmark MMORPG, it’s an incredible step for the game to say the least. Finally, because you know I’m all about Final Fantasy XIV, the Shadowbringers launch trailer they revealed at Square Enix’s presentation completely shattered me in ways I can’t describe without spoiling some major details about the game’s story. Suffice to say, we have probable cause to kill god now, and we may just have to in the future.
As far as stinkers go this year, I’m still not convinced that all the streaming services corporations are jumping on will live up to their respective advertising claims, especially when it comes to Google Stadia’s higher-ended projections for optimal play. I may find some use for the Xbox One’s streaming service, since that may enable me to play games my laptop otherwise couldn’t run, but it won’t launch with desktop support, so I’ll have to wait a bit longer. I’m also not terribly thrilled that we’re still making zombie games in 2019: Zombie Army 4: Dead War, Dying Light 2, and State of Decay 2: Heartland all feature zombies as the primary antagonists. While these three games offer different perspectives and goals with their zombie apocalypse setting… it’s still a zombie apocalypse setting. Look, I’ll just stop beating around the bush: throw me a bone and give me a skeleton apocalypse game, E3!
This was a weird year as far as E3 is concerned. It feels like we’re getting closer and closer to the show just no longer existing as more and more companies pull out of showcasing new titles, and with new consoles on the horizon, it doesn’t take a lot of mental exertion to see next year possibly being E3’s last big hurrah. Maybe it’s because of that downsizing, but I struggled to get hyped to even the tiniest degree for the show, and while my expectations were met, low as they may have been, I don’t know that I’d say I’m chomping at the bit for a ton of stuff that got shown off.
One thing that did strike me as interesting though was the hard pivot from major publishers towards releasing at the turn of the fiscal year as opposed to the more traditional “holiday” window we’re used to. With games like Watch Dogs: Legion, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Cyberpunk 2077 and Avengers all set for Q1 and Q2 next year, it looks like we’re gonna have a pretty sparse lineup to close out 2019. Honestly, I’m fine with that, the end of year rush before GOTY is always hell and there’s little doubt that Death Stranding will likely be a discourse juggernaut once it crash-lands in early November.
There is a part of me that wonders if we’re gonna see several games die a death upon release in Q1 (Watch Dogs and Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodline 2 being prime candidates), but if it ultimately helps avoid horrific crunch periods in service of holiday releases, then it’s all good with me.
It feels like every single year I beg and plead for Ubisoft to show me something, ANYTHING, that has some semblance of a soul or creative integrity, and every single year they leave me hanging. This year really wasn’t much different; another slew of the same basic concepts we see every year given a fresh coast of paint and a new quirky presentation, but we already know everything Ubisoft is throwing at us. Sure, their games are pretty much always fine, but Ubi seem incapable of committing to anything to such a degree as to make you wonder just what they might be able to pull off. Ubisoft continued being Ubisoft, risk-averse, safe and completely boring in pretty much every way it could possibly be.
As boring as Ubisoft was though, they couldn’t match the painfully tired comedy of Devolver, whose joke conference gimmick has long worn out its welcome at this point. The thing about jokes is that the more you tell them, the less funny they get, and Devolver, on top of not really having anything particularly interesting on the docket, served up more of the same one-note gags that they have for the past couple years. Please guys, do something different next year, Nina needs to be put out to pasture.
I have a very complicated relationship with Final Fantasy VII. It’s a game that at various points in my life has blown my mind, been the subject of my own ridicule, and been both a sincere and ironic source of joy. It’s a game that I can’t help but love, warts and all, and up until this year’s E3 I didn’t think it’d be anywhere close to possible for a remake to do justice to the original. Yet, now that it’s all over, I gotta say, I think I might be a believer. The success of the remake in satisfying fans is about as fragile as it gets, but Square Enix look like they’ve nailed it completely thus far; Midgar looks incredible, they’ve done justice to the characters (shout out to Tifa), and hearing the redone score made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. There are, of course, tons of ways that FF7 could turn into a total disaster, but at this point, Square Enix have earned my trust.
Also holy hell did Blair Witch look cool. Please don’t let it be just another generic corridor horror title. Please, Microsoft. Please.
To be perfectly honest, this E3 didn’t have a lot for me. Gamepass on PC looks like actually something I might pick up. I don’t care about George RR Martin, but seeing some Dark Souls ass fantasy bullshit up on screen made me excited.
What I’m most excited for out of all the games that were shown at E3 is Deathloop. I’m the Arkane Game Liker, and it seems like they’re all the way on their bullshit for this new game. Seeing that team work on a totally new IP, and with a wild premise and vibe, not to mention two black leads, is really exciting.
Fuck Cyberpunk 2077. They tried to have Keanu Fucking Reaves come out and sell me on their game and it wasn’t 24 hours before the next glaring issue came up. This game isn’t for me. This game isn’t for anyone who isn’t a cis white dude. It looks trite, racist, and transmisogynistic. Not gonna say that’s that different from some of the cyberpunk I read when I was younger, but god it still sucks.
No different from other years, this year’s E3 was both exciting but still stressful with a bundle of both good things, bad things, and the overwhelming wave of Way Too Many Games At Once.
There honestly weren’t a lot of surprises. From the fan predictions to memes that have been building up for so long, it feels like many people got what they wanted across the different IPs and more. (I guess I’m gonna have to get a Switch come 2020….)
Despite being someone who doesn’t consider themselves a strong Final Fantasy enthusiast, I found the Square Enix presentation to have been the most charming parts of E3 to be able to hear and occasionally see the crowd’s positive reactions to things they clearly were passionate about. But although it wasn’t entirely Final Fantasy-focused, it might as well have been, especially with the lackluster presentation of Square’s less iconic titles like Life Is Strange 2. (Like what the hell was that? Surely they didn’t think presenting the trailer with a bunch of influencers cropped in and screaming over it was effective when this would already be in the shadow of other titles?)
In spite of that, what surprisingly pulled me in the most was the promise of the Final Fantasy VII remake. I never personally grew up playing the original game and do not share the same level of nostalgia as others do, but I have absorbed all sorts of media that involved Final Fantasy VII, from the Advent Children film to being just as weirded out as everyone else to Lance Bass being cast as Sephiroth in the original Kingdom Hearts, but it was all from a very detached perspective.
I may already know what happens in the game, but I’m excited to experience what seems to be an entirely new game with older fans. Here’s hoping Square Enix will commit to what they have shown compared to how Final Fantasy XIII and XV ended up comparing to their final versions when they were first teased.
On the less savory parts of E3, I can’t emphasize enough how all of us here had to reinforce our seatbelts for Ubisoft. From the orchestra to the dog, it was tonal whiplash across the board for a whole lotta things that just ended up looking the same and not that interesting. Watch Dogs: Legion was undeniably the thing that stood out for all the worst reasons in both its presentation and overall premise. The first Watch Dogs was divisive and I can’t imagine Legion going out into the world free of criticism. You can’t just hashtag-resistance up a speech about coming together, blatantly produce a whole game that capitalizes on Brexit, and all while your company is staunchly ‘apolitical’. But at least there will be a funny old lady who kills and curses. Just Dance 2020 will honestly be a breath of fresh air.
— SunhiLegend (@SunhiLegend) June 10, 2019
Microsoft may have copped all of Keanu Reeves’ face, but at least Ubi can say they had the dog.
I’ll be honest, gang, E3 Isn’t really my scene. Most established series and studios that would make me squeal are more likely to announce things at TGS or —being more realistic— on a random weekday in mid-january. I try not to take more snark into these things than what I already hold for marketing apparatus, but sometimes that proves too venomous to overcome. Here are my takeaways from it nonetheless:
The Sweet Stuff: Spiritfarer looks like the most adorable little thing in the universe! I wanna smoosh those 1s and 0s! Circuit Superstars being another step for Mexico in the gaming scene made me extremely happy. You can bet your tushie that if those devs are near my neck of the woods I’m buying them a cebadina to celebrate. I’m a sucker for what I call “sports-but-deadly” games like Rocket League so I’m already cheering for Roller Champions. Carrion was old news, but it continues to be the Thing game you never knew you wanted. Another thing I never knew I wanted was the FFVII remake. I’m not one for remakes myself, but had the trailer gone on just a bit longer it would have been too much for my frail little heart. And of course No More Heroes 3! The sequel to my favourite game of all time! Who said there are no more heroes? Oh, right… the game. Well, I’m still happy for it!
The Bitter Stuff: At some point during Ubisoft’s endless list of games about people with guns in cities, and the announcement of an all-star crossover featuring characters barely distinguished from each other by which gun they use and on whom, I felt a certain kind of anhedonia I thought exclusive to 90s alt-metal. And the hows or whys of how Gears continues to exist are beyond me when Nioh and every third person shooter have already stolen and refined its two notable mechanics. But I think it was at the very start of E3, during the FIFA and Madden segments, that I was most disgusted. Whatever the mechanical merits or lack thereof of these titles, I can’t help but feel dread at how carefully crafted they are for squeezing money out of the young, the naive, and the compulsive. These games previously pioneered and now continue to thrive on exploitative and predatory business practices and don’t show any signs of letting up in that regard.
It’s legitimately hard for me to get excited about E3 every year. The spectacle and sheer drive of it is infectious in a way, and I can’t deny that watching it with others is a good way to spend the time. And yet, it’s a challenge to get into the hype, with the vast amounts of non-gameplay trailers and buzzwords from company execs doing little for me besides putting a game on my radar. This year particularly felt more like a desert in terms of content I could get excited (or disgusted) over. There were still some particular highlights and lowlights however, ones I’ll at least remember this year’s E3 for.
The Positives: While I never played the original Final Fantasy VII, seeing how detailed and lovingly crafted the remake appeared to be left me very intrigued. The way the real-time combat was explained to work in harmony with its RPG battle system left me hopeful that this remake would prove to be what fans want, especially since each part of the remake is going to be as big as a regular-ass Final Fantasy game.
Meanwhile, Spiritfarer has an adorable style to it, and though it was hard to get a grasp on what kind of game it’ll be, it seems to be right up my alley with what was presented and promised. (Its Steam page describes it as “a cozy management game about dying.” Very fascinating!) And while I haven’t been able to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, seeing Banjo-Kazooie introduced as a new character warmed my heart, as I’ve always been a fan of that series, no matter how dated the games might be. That, plus announcements for Pokemon Sword & Shield and Animal Crossing: New Horizons make me wish I hopped aboard the Switch train sooner.
The Negatives: Amidst the spectacle and hype, Devolver Digital proved with their conference that you can look flashy, unique, stylish and still be boring as fuck. Their first surprise conference was jarring but effective in what it did even if I wasn’t too into it. Last year’s felt like a retread with lamer humor (anyone else remember Mech America Great Again? I sure do) and less enticing games. With this year, despite a twist on their ongoing Devolver E3 Conference lore, it felt even more one-note and had less games that appealed to me, to the point where I actively can’t remember the games they showed off from memory. I may be the odd one out, but I really just want these guys to do a boring normal-ass conference for once. Third time wasn’t the charm.
But the biggest negative for me didn’t come from the games, but the realization of what our game culture is like now. You’d think that announcements like Bethesda promising actual NPCs and storylines in Fallout 76, and Avengers promising no microtransactions or pay-to-win elements would be a normal part of a game’s announcement. But not only did such announcements get presented as something major, but you could feel the palpable excitement and energy people had for it, seemingly going wild for those announcements. Obviously a game including basic stuff missing from previous installments of its series, or a game not trying to monetize every aspect of itself is undeniably a good thing. But passing those off as big announcements almost seems sneaky of the companies behind them, and it feels super telling of how accustomed we are to it that people will cheer for it. If this is what we’re cheering for now, how many E3s will pass before we root for microtransactions again when an even more intrusive system starts making its way into games?
So over the last few years, I’ve gotten really jaded and skeptical of pre-release footage and hype cycles in general, so it’s getting harder for me to see a trailer and go “hell yeah” even for things that I know I will enjoy. That said, there was still a lot shown that was pretty promising to me. While very little was shown short of a cinematic trailer, I am, predictably, excited about Elden Ring. I don’t have particularly strong feelings for George R. R. Martin or his involvement, but I eat up Souls shit. I am a fucking fiend. I want to destroy it and for it to destroy me.
The talk around it is that it’s an open world game this time around, and a ton of people who enjoy the linear-but-obtuse nature of souls games have mentioned that they find the prospect of an open world title less appealing. While I certainly have a lot of open world burnout, I don’t want to be too pessimistic just yet. The level designers at From Software are some of the most talented in the business, and I have faith in their ability to craft a fleshed out open world that’s engaging to explore. There are a lot of big, open areas in souls games that always feel really fresh and like the possibility space can be near endless, and I’d be lying if I said there was part of me that wasn’t excited to see what they could do with a huge open world.
I was also happy with how well Final Fantasy 7 was shown off. After years of uncertainty, we finally get a solid foundation of what that game is and what to expect. Square Enix did a good job highlighting how the combat is a mix of real time action, but with slowed down decision making. It was a pleasantly nostalgic reminder of any time combat would just stop on a dime in older FF games whenever an ATB gauge was filled. You could turn that off but then you’d be playing in fucking nightmare mode. Also the ATB gauge is back!!! The ATB gauge!!! It’s only an ATB gauge in name because what good is an Active Time Battle meter in a real time action game but it shows a real dedication towards delivering genuine nostalgia instead of just rebuilding everything from scratch in a fresh engine. The know what people want, and it’s meters.
I’m glad they’ve found a new use for the ATB gauge as well, acting as the primary source of energy for Magic, Limit Breaks, you name it. I’m a little disappointed that there’s no dedicated Limit Break gauge because I want to see those colors flashing, but I do appreciate the attempt at trying to keep the combat active while also streamlining the weird idiosyncrasies that made playing FF7 enjoyable. I know there won’t be a weird slot machine minigame for Tifa, and it’s probably way better that there isn’t, but I’m hoping there’s still space for something just as weird.
Fuck Game Streaming.
OK I was thinking of just ending this section here as a joke but no let me get into this really. As someone who has a giant collection of consoles and weird physical titles, I think you can probably guess what my stance on game preservation is. Game Streaming seeks to undercut the rights of individual consumers by making games entirely not owned by players. Even digital media is a bit of a gray area as far as rights are concerned, but there are certainly cases where you as a consumer are still entitled to digital goods you have purchased. It’s why Steam can’t suddenly pull games from your libraries once they go off the store. Not only would it be a dick thing to do but it’s borderline illegal. Game streaming gives full control to distributors and leaves consumers with nothing, paying full price for AAA titles they don’t even own. A good compromise would maybe be offering a downloaded version of a game you purchase from a streaming platform on your primary machine of choice, like a good gaming PC, and then also allowing you to stream it to other devices. I don’t see this happening and none of the upcoming game streaming platforms have offered anything similar. It’s bland, buggy, expensive wet fart that I have trouble even thinking of a target market for that replaces the last bastion of actual consumer protection we have left. As I see it, it is entirely unacceptable.
I absolutely loved E3 this year, everyone leaned in to their peak form and it made for a diverse showcase overall. Microsoft was corporate and strategic, Bethesda was down-to-earth and homely, Square Enix told a story, and EA was outside. Other folks on the site can talk about the games, but Solon comes here every year for one thing, and that is the conference presentations. I’m going to go over whose presentation ‘wowed’ and whose presentation ‘woofed’.
They’ve been doing it all year, but at E3 it’s more egregious than ever, Nintendo is the substitute teacher of presentations. Doug Bowser shows up, the wheely-cart is already in front of the class, he pops in the VHS, and the class just watches for forty-five minutes waiting for the lunch bell to ring. I want a live show! I want all the fame and foibles that come with it, and as much as I love Bowser in a Red Tie (the only “person” who wore a tie all E3) I could care less about hearing the fake Switch ‘snap’ sound behind some really basic ad copy that’s been severely watered down because it is being translated into a bazillion languages. Take a risk! No easy shortcuts!
Speaking of taking risks, the riskiest show: Devolver Digital, actually didn’t take one. Their performance was really samey to last year. The jokes were predictable and the parody felt uninspired. It felt like they were going by the numbers, and even though it was visually well-crafted, it just felt overall half-baked, like things weren’t left cooking in the writing room for long enough. It’s especially frustrating how comfortable they seem in their own formula, as much as I should be the person to appreciate that formula. It just always feels alienating and I probably won’t tune in next year.
The Geoff Keighley Award for mediocrity given to the E3 presentation or presenter who sets the bare minimum bar for vague non-hype this year goes to: EA, for their multiple confusedly bored celebrity guest appearances.
There were wild highs and lows of Ubisoft’s performance. Between dogs, live band ensembles, and dance parties couched between subscription platform announcements and Apple TV Sitcom announcements. We saw Square Enix weave a tale through a mural of paintings that not only looked cool, but helped me keep track of how much more would be announced during the show. (Practical!) Bethesda did something truly radical by announcing multiple (plural) new IPs. Even the Geoff Keighley hosted PC Gaming Show did a great job managing a sky-high tower of incredible lesser known games in a way I respect a lot. But my top award for E3 2019 goes to Microsoft who proved that sticking to the fundamentals is what lets us all have the most fun.
Microsoft balanced their content reveals, paced out the show, let surprising guests fill the stage with their own life, and most importantly, every part felt methodically and intentionally crafted. They never looked like they were winging it and their performers/content felt well rehearsed and comfortable. Their lowest point was trying to talk about Project Scarlett by flinging tech buzzwords through an incredibly canned video, but even that cold presentation seemed specifically designed to set the groundwork of expectations around the console as well as to be a lull point in order to immediately follow it up with the announcement of new Halo.
Overall, great E3 and I would do it again!!
So, you are probably here for a different reason though. As you may know, I spent all E3 methodically cataloguing every presenters outfit they wore on stage to E3 for a bingo card I designed to highlight how casual E3 can be, in spite of the high stakes of putting on a live show. It was a blast and I really do love a lot of the styles of E3. I love that we can have flower-print shirts and both arms covered in tattoos on stage! I also wish we were more professional too. That said, now I am ready to reveal who was the best and worst dressed for E3 2019.
You somehow have to be entertaining, fun, relatable to the common viewer in order to present at E3, and still be professional and not overbearing. It’s an impossible standard that I have dubiously set, but E3 is an industry standard-bearer that positions itself in a way to demand these impossible goals.
Ikumi Nakamura the director of Ghostwire Tokyo
Bio Jade Adam Granger, lead designer of Rainbow Six Quarantine
Ify Nwadiwe, comedian, tv writer, and twitch E3 pre-pre-show survivor
Frankie Ward, PC Gaming Show Host And Costume Change Enthusiast
Worst Dressed – (Keanu Reeves in a blazer and t-shirt is a precedence YOU set, E3!)
Almost everyone on stage at E3 was wearing something foolish and embarrassing that I know for a fact they would not have worn into an interview and they should not have worn on stage in front of hundreds of thousands of people in person and online. You people run entire companies and are on stage to represent the tens of thousands of man-hours worked on this one moment… Look like it! Button your top fucking button you bourgeois, biz-caz, no furniture in your bachelor-pad looking bastard!
I had originally put down the tattoo’d white dude who came onto the Ubisoft stage wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but then Goddamn Tetsuya Nomura came out after the awe inspiring tech-demo of Square’s life looking like they found him outside a 7/11 that Monday Morning recuperating from last night’s weed binge! Respect yourself, Nomura!
Here is my final Bingo Card for E3 2019:
For the first time in a long time, the big shows of Electronic Three have wrapped up and I just feel… Drained. It’s not even an exhaustion of having covered the event, I just can’t bring myself to give a shit about E3 this year. There were plenty of games that had me saying “wow, that looks pretty cool,” but nothing really popped. Most of it, to be frank, was eye-rollable. It’s something that’s forced me to take a step back and really think critically: Is it E3? Or is it me? Is the industry as a whole so irreparably fucked that it’s forced me to feel this way about the big ol’ Triple E? Or am I simply falling out of love with (and here comes the accursed word) gaming?
I’ll choose to believe the former because, while it may be more of a bummer to you, it’s less of a bummer to me. Anyways. Let’s try and figure out what didn’t suck about E3:
While nothing really popped for me, a good number of games have landed on my radar. I’ll definitely be picking up Starmancer from the PC Gamer show – the description of “a Dwarf Fortress-inspired game in space” feels like Ominux composed an algorithm built around creating Games Zack Will Play For A Hundred Hours and ran with the first result they got. It’s exactly what I’m into. Alongside that, Carrion and Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, which are, evidently, the only two new games Devolver had to show, both look like a blast to play. Bethesda – while constantly disappointing me – had probably the highest concentration of games I give a shit about (probably just because they own Id, though). Doom Eternal, Wolfenstein Youngblood, Deathloop, and Ghostwire Tokyo all look to be extremely solid. Especially Doom Eternal. Holy shit, I cannot wait for Doom Eternal. Forget all my prior negativity, it’s all replaced by Doom hype.
While everyone on Twitter clamors that Nintendo “won E3” (What a ridiculous concept. Frankly, I’m sick of it. Gamers, behave yourselves.) I really only found myself genuinely excited for two things. Daemon x Machina looks better every time I see it – and that music is just *chef kiss* – and of course, Animal Crossing New Horizons looks like the perfect Animal Crossing title. I always love the concept of those games, but I can never find it in myself to play them past the first, like, 10 hours. Nothing ever draws me back in. But I love me a good crafty-buildy game, unfortunately. It is my weakness – my guilty pleasure – and throwing it into Animal Crossing ensures that I have to give a shit. And I will. And I’ll probably play it for at least 11 hours. Maybe the next one will drop you on an even more deserted island, and it’ll be a hard survival game. That’s my real dream.
Oh, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order looks pretty cool. Dumb name, though.
Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan. Fuck you, Bethesda. I know I said they had the highest concentration of game I care about, but seriously, fuck Fallout 76. Watching those two men stand on stage with their tail between their legs as they introduced NPCs and Quests People Will Surely Give A Shit About back into their terrible multiplayer disaster was pathetic. Watching Todd goddamn Howard act like their community was so friendly when there were just oodles of stories detailing the rampant homophobia of the Gamers™ waltzing around the wastes, riddling other players with bullets while referring to them as all sorts of hateful slurs was pathetic. Watching them introduce a fucking battle royale to their awful, dying game, in TWENTY GOD DAMN NINETEEN was borderline infuriating. And they murdered Commander Keen in cold blood. Despicable.
Speaking of Fallout, if you know my relationship with the series, you know I adore New Vegas. So, realistically, I should be all sorts of excited for Outer Worlds, right? In theory, sure. But something about it just… Refuses to click. I’ve watched that trailer half a dozen times by now, trying desperately to love it and I just… Can’t. I don’t know what it is. I thought Obsidian could do me no harm, but the writing feels almost as flat as the gameplay looks. It’s depressing. I am genuinely distressed at how uninterested I am in this game. I am hoping – praying – that it’s simply a case of bad advertising. I’ve been wrong in the past. I thought Doom (2016) looked like dogshit after the first gameplay reveal, and I stand by my opinion that the initial reveal did look like dogshit (I know, they purposefully demonstrated everything slowly to give the audience time to digest. But c’mon. It looked bad.) My hope is that Outer Worlds is experiencing the same issue. I sincerely hope that it’s nothing more than some boring trailers failing to do the game justice, but until I’m proven otherwise, it’ll have to remain on the Fartz end of this list.
Meanwhile, Cyberpunk 2077 suffers the opposite fate. The cinematic trailer was solid enough, and the surprise reveal of Keanu Reeves was enough for me to – briefly – forget my qualms with CD Projekt Red’s recent behavior. But with the plethora of issues surrounding the game (Enough to warrant its own article – I really don’t have room on this post to go into it) left a foul taste in my mouth, and everything I’ve heard of the gameplay demo has doubled that foul taste. The writing already seems like it’ll be spineless and have nothing to say, and the gameplay sounds to be boring, so like… I’ve already pretty much decided I will be passing on this game, unless CDPR can prove they’ve made a game genuinely worth playing.
Also, I just don’t give a shit about Breath of the Wild. I’m sorry.
It’s another E3, and even if this year felt smaller than ever before, it was still full of that classic slew of treasures and trash that we’ve come to expect and fear. This year was probably the most hard divide of hot or cold I’ve ever felt about games being shown, and unfortunately most of those feelings were honestly pretty cold. I’ll get all my harsh criticisms out of the way first, and leave you on a good note because I still like things sometimes!!!!
The entire Ubisoft press conference (except for Just Dance) was legitimately sooooo bad. I don’t like to outright say that a whole press conference was bad, and I often feel bad about even being rude about these demonstrations but legit I cannot believe Ubisoft has become as dry as they have. For a company that even just a few years ago was still making a slew of unique and different games, they’ve fallen into pretty much releasing either an Ubisoft Original open-world game or a Tom Clancy Imperialism simulator. Same goes for EA too! I’m sorry to say that I really have no interest in the Star War, and Battlefield has just never clicked with me the way Halo or even CoD have. Both of those pressers also go hand in hand with my most hated gaming trend of 2019: streaming. I will never do the streaming, I don’t know anyone who would, I hate everything about it, it sucks.
I would also be remiss not to mention the absolutely awful Avengers portion of Square Enix’s otherwise pretty good conference. That entire bit grinded everything to a terrible halt for what honestly looks like a generic license game you would’ve picked up back in ‘05.
FINAL FANTASY 7 REMAKE IS REAL!? They finally showed real ass gameplay for this one and I fell in love all over again with nostalgia in my heart. Taking FF7 and turning it into a combination of FFXV and Lightning Returns is a match made in heaven for my gay little heart. I have doubts as to whether the entire game will be remade but I’ll honestly just be satisfied with ultra HD Cloud walking around a way deeper Midgar. I also am super psyched for Doom Eternal because I am the Doom 2 fucker who will play it a million times and I am all for beating the shit out of god in an FPS for once. Animal Crossing also looked like a good evolution over the strides New Leaf made, especially with path building being an actual feature instead of what felt like an exploit. My only concern is that well, Nintendo makes some pretty bad decisions, but hey, it’ll probably be good despite those right? Astral Chain also looked sweet as hell, with exactly the right kind of dumb that I like and a cool take on character action combat that feels like a halfway step back from playing as V in DMC 5.
I’ll end by saying that I’m also very glad to see Microsoft take steps towards backwards compatibility so early on in this new console cycle. Everything they did with the Xbox One’s support was fantastic, and I’m hoping that this means we’ll be able to keep some older games in an easier and more accessible state than the recent generations of consoles have degraded to.
Best: *Space Ghost voice* Banjooooooo! Of course, the Smash reveal for Banjo and Kazooie is up there for me. Pretty much everything Nintendo showed off wowed me to no end, from Astral Chain, Luigi’s Mansion, and heck, that Breath of the Wild sequel looks like it’ll maybe, JUST MAYBE treat Zelda with respect. And NO MORE FRIGGIN HEROES 3!!!! SUDA DID IT, IT’S HAPPENING.
Besides Nintendo, Square Enix also had a solid showing when they revealed actually new games. Final Fantasy VII is not something I have any nostalgia for, but the Remake is hyping me up to no end. Avengers also doesn’t sound as skuzzy as I thought it would, so maybe I’ll be able to shoot fools as Iron Man without worrying about battle passes.
EA, surprisingly, wasn’t that bad either? While I hated more than I liked, they actually made the sports games sound interesting this year. Plus, my god, Star Wars. I love Uncharted a ton, so Uncharted with Force powers and a lightsaber is exactly my stuff. Greg Miller please leave, though.
Worst: The streaming/subscription service talk was just dreadful. Both making playing games more difficult for the vast majority of players who don’t have super-fast Internet, and taking the ability to play those games away if services shut down is just frustrating and stupid. I hope people don’t buy into these things and good-old discs n’ downloads are still the way to go for the future.
Ubisoft was also a nightmare. Watch_Dogs Legion has such a dreadful amount of suffering as epic gamer background dressing. Brexit is a real thing affecting millions of people right this second, but Ubisoft seemingly just wants to use it as a backdrop to let you do sick gunfights and hacking minigames instead of trying to say something about it. Yuck.