E3 2018 Wrap-Up
Oh E3, you never disappoint. E3 is probably the only time when hardcore gamers actually stop playing games to hear about all the new ones coming in the near future. For this article I won’t being going into great detail about every announcement made over the weekend. This is more of a summary of the conferences and what I felt were the biggest announcements and let-downs.
So, let’s start with the not-so-good conferences.
The first one also came from the very first conference of the show, EA. They gave their usual old school, boring conference, spending too much time in between games talking about them rather than showing them. The best looking game shown by EA was obviously Anthem. This was revealed last year and continues to look like a version of Destiny where you’re using Iron Man suits. It looks awesome, but EA had to screw up the showing with a long Q and A session that kept showing the same B-roll throughout.
No doubt, this being an EA game, there will be microtransactions involved, but the creators were sure to point out that it will only be cosmetics available for purchase. The also showed up some more sports games but those come out every year. There didn't seem to be any hype around those games.
I will give credit to EA with Battle Field, though. Although it seems like a mixture of PUBG, Fortnite and previous Battle Field games, I am extremely excited for it. Especially because there will not be loot boxes or premium passes. I feel like with all of the added dynamics of game play, it's going to be one of those games where I'll play for hours.
Square Enix was another show that turned out to be a dud. For a company that hasn’t done a solo E3 conference for a couple years, this was a conference that didn’t need to happen. Taking place after Microsoft’s, the two big Square games, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Kingdom Hearts 3, had the same trailers that were already played. They had some extra footage from both games, but it makes me wonder why they didn’t just show that instead of repeat trailers. I was also very disappointed by the lack of any mention of their Marvel Avengers game that was announced last year. There was also no mention of the Final Fantasy 7 remake. Missing these two big games put a big hole in the whole conference.
Now to the good stuff.
Ubisoft continued to do things their way, with a crazy opening dance number for Just Dance 3, and some physical comedy bringing Trials Rising’s tagline, “Crash with Style,” to life. For me, the big game from Ubisoft wasn’t the great looking Assassin Creed Odyssey, but Beyond Good and Evil 2, the game that seems to finally be getting somewhere after almost a decade of teases and trailers. There was an awesome trailer that seemed to reveal that the first game’s protagonist, Jade, is now the villain, even though this was supposed to be a prequel to the first game (?).
The big announcement surrounding the game, however, was a partnership with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HitRecord website. Creators on his site will be able to show off their talents with music and art that could make it into the actual game. The best part of it wasn’t even mentioned during the conference: Artists are paid for their art.
Bethesda’s third year at E3 had kind of a rough start but ended on a pretty high note. There were extensive looks at Rage 2 and, of course, the very recently announced Fallout 76. As rumored, this will be the first Fallout with online multiplayer. It very much looks like the survival base building games that are all over the PC.
New announcements included the next Doom game, and a new sci-fi IP called Starfield. The show ended on the announcement that everyone hoped for, Elder Scrolls 6. Starfield and Elder Scrolls were only given title cards with no game play or real trailers, but Todd Howard stated that these games are years away. Also, shoutout to Skyrim: Very Special Edition, which is a very real game that you can play right now with Amazon’s Alexa devices.
Moving on the the Big Three.
Microsoft came in with a much needed message that they are, in fact, making games and investing a lot more resources to them. They announced the creation of a new development studio, The Initiative, along with the acquisition of four other studios, now all working under Microsoft Studios.
The biggest get would have to be Ninja Theory, the developers of the once Playstation exclusive, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. An awesome video from that team was released after the conference explaining why they decided to become a Microsoft studio (basically, creative freedom). But that all points to games that are years away...
So, what’s coming out this year? Well, still not that much. There will of course be another Forza game and it’s Horizon’s turn this year, coming out in October. Other exclusives shown were Crackdown 3, which was delayed to Feb. 2019, a new Halo game called, Halo Infinite, three new Gears of War games with gameplay shown of Gears 5. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a new game from the developers of Dark Souls.
Games that got world premieres on Microsoft’s stage were Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a new game from the developers of Dark Souls, Dying Light 2, The Division 2, Just Cause 4, and the big show ender, CD Projekt RED’s Cyberpunk 2077. Of course, being a game made by the developers of the Witcher series, this game looks amazing.
Playstation was next with a rather small show. This was actually the weakest of the big shows this year. Everyone knew that they were gonna show four big titles, The Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and Spider-Man, but I didn’t think those were going to be the only games to be shown.
The only significant new games announced was Resident Evil 2, which isn’t really new since it’s a remake, and then there was Control, from Remedy. I love Remedy’s games and this looks like Quantum Break but with a woman who has telekinetic powers. Of course, the big four titles that were shown look amazing, but we have seen them all for the past three years at E3. And yes, Death Stranding is still a total fucking mystery as to what the hell is going on in that game.
This show was also put on very poorly. They started strong as hell with a very long reveal of gameplay from The Last of Us 2, but then decided to change locations after that and went to something that was like a pre-show talking segment for almost 15 minutes. 15 minutes of talking heads with some lame Call of Duty map stuff and a recap of the announcements from earlier in the week.
I mean, this is Playstation, they’re killing it with games right now and they barely showed any of interest.
Ok, enough of that. Nintendo was last in the schedule of big showcases. They stayed with their tried and true Nintendo Direct format, which has worked really well for them since they started doing these.
Of course, they showed off Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee some more. However, there wasn’t really any new information about the games except that the new Pokeball controller comes with Mew and it sounds like that’s the only way to get the legendary monster. Definitely sounds like a bit of a play-to-win situation since Mew is known to be one of the most powerful and hard to get Pokemon. After that they revealed Fire Emblem Three Houses and a bunch of other games in a quick montage.
They also unexpectedly dropped Fortnite for Switch and a Switch port of Hollow Knight.
Last but certainly not least, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, releasing December 7 of this year. The biggest news is definitely the fact that every single character that has ever been in a Smash game is coming back. That means that not only are Cloud and Ryu coming back, but Solid Snake as well. This was also a very deep dive into the mechanics of the game and what moves are being changed and added. I have never been a big player of Smash since I haven’t owned a Nintendo console since N64, but I do have a Switch now and will definitely be getting my ass kicked in this game.
There's one last thing I have to mention. Soon after the conference, many people logged in with their Epic Games accounts which are cross platform and allow your progress to be carried over to any console… Except Playstation. In another "F you" to gamers trying to play on other consoles, PS4 users cannot connect using an account linked to Playstation. Those who tried were given this message:
It seems Playstation is still adamant on not letting people play together. This closed-minded policy isn’t good for anyone, especially Playstation’s own players.
So, who had the best show?
Well, some people may call me an Xbox fanboy. That’s really only because I don’t own a PS4. Even without a PS4, I am super excited for all those games. But, with that said, I still think that Xbox had the stronger presentation this year. Sony usually wins handily at E3, but they keep showing the same games every year. Microsoft is still lacking in exclusives but this year was all about looking ahead and it seems pretty bright for Xbox with 5 new studios under their belt.
Speaking of the Future, it looks like consoles may not be necessary soon.
So, one thing that has been swirling around recently is cloud gaming. Ubisoft’s CEO, Yves Guillemot, made the comment that cloud gaming will take over after the next console generation. I had hoped that this was just his outlook on the industry but it looks like he’s not alone. Both EA and Microsoft mentioned that they are looking into expanding cloud gaming. This is kind of a nightmare to me personally. Mostly because cloud gaming requires a constant internet connection and for some reason the internet and I do not get along. Even when I was living by myself I had shitty internet with lag all over the place. Of course, stronger internet connections are available, but they’re not exactly affordable just yet. So, while it would be awesome to be able to play console games on anything from a phone to a tablet, I don’t think it’s going to work very well for a long time to come.
And there’s my E3 wrap-up. I know, I missed a lot but all this was what stood out to me and my personal taste.