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Special Report: E3 2019

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If you’ve heard or read any stories about E3 this week, you’ve probably seen at least a few largely tepid reactions to the annual gaming conference. A core part of E3 are the presentations from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo which showcase their upcoming release schedules. We’re nearing the end of a console generation and Sony chose not to attend E3 or host their own presentation this year. Coupled with the expectation that Microsoft would not be revealing any relevant information about their own upcoming console, this E3 had the deck stacked against it before it even began. Still, the annual conference has come and gone, and we’ve have some great games to look forward to this coming year, so let’s dive in!

Microsoft
There were a lot of people, myself included, who felt that Microsoft had a chance to really make an amazing impression at E3 this year given that Sony would be absent. Over the course of their presentation, Microsoft featured sixty games, many which will be out later this year and early next year. Microsoft opened with a trailer for The Outer Worlds, a sci-fi role-playing game where players must battle an evil corporation. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, this game seemed to blend a Fallout/Elder Scrolls game with Borderlands. Next up, Ninja Theory unveiled Bleeding Edge. Bleeding Edge is a 4v4 online third-person hero melee game which essentially sounds a lot like Overwatch in third-person. After that, Microsoft showcased a new trailer for Ori and the Will of the Wisps which, apart from the creepy giant spider, continues to look gorgeous. This was followed by a trailer for Minecraft Dungeons, a top-down hack-and-slash adventure game akin to games like Diablo. I’ve never actually played Minecraft, but I imagine this aesthetic is a good way to get kids into different genres (if you wanted to start pushing that looter addiction early..). Next up, Microsoft showed footage of Jedi Fallen Order. EA had prominently featured this game in their own press conference the day before, but more footage was definitely not a bad thing as I cannot wait to get my hands on this game in November. Microsoft then moved on to a trailer for Blair Witch (the game) before presenting a trailer for one of the most anticipated upcoming games, Cyberpunk 2077. Developed by CD Projekt Red, there are not enough words to describe how excited I am for this game. The new footage was great and we finally got a release date for this game, April, 2020. After that, Microsoft shared a trailer for a cute side-scroller called Spiritfarer, a new trailer for the upcoming Battletoads game, and then a strange story-book game titled The Legend of Wright. Microsoft then featured a quick [email protected] segment and briefly discussed Xbox Game Pass before announcing its plans to bring the program to PCs. Microsoft then premiered trailers for a new Flight Simulator, a remastered version of Age of Empires II, an odd post-apocalyptic winter game called Wasteland 3, and Psychonauts 2. Microsoft also announced that Double Fine Productions would be joining Xbox game studios which had me concerned that Psychonauts 2 would become an Xbox exclusive, but those fears have since been squashed. Microsoft returned to the Star Wars universe with a trailer for Lego Star Wars: the Skywalker Saga which will presumably follow all nine movies. After that, we got a trailer for Dragon Ball: Kakarot, an action RPG which looks like it will follow the story of Dragon Ball Z from Goku’s perspective. Next up were trailers for the ‘interactive thriller’ 12 Minutes and a cute game featuring deer called Way of the Woods. Microsoft's next trailer was for Gears 5 which continues the story of Gears of War 4’s Kait and will be out this September. They also announced a new game-mode, Escape, and an upcoming multiplayer tech test this summer. Afterwards, Microsoft featured Dying Light 2, a Lego-infused expansion for Forza Horizon 4, and an expansion for State of Decay 2. Microsoft then announced that Phantasy Star Online 2 (a game I wish I had time for) and CrossFire X (a PC game I’ve never head of?) are coming to Xbox. Microsoft then showed a trailer for the upcoming Tales game, Tales of Arise, and a new trailer for Borderlands 3 which mostly felt over-shadowed by the game's reveal a couple months back. Next up, Microsoft announced a game that had been leaked for some time, Elden Ring, which is a project between FromSoftware and George RR Martin. At this point, Microsoft’s press conference was nearly over, but before concluding they discussed their streaming plans with Project xCloud and briefly teased their new console, Project Scarlett. While I’m sure there are some people who were excited by this, Microsoft didn’t really reveal anything apart from a few buzz-words, so I personally felt this was a waste of time and actually hurt their press conference. However, before concluding, Microsoft unveiled a new trailer for Halo Infinite. Although this was a great trailer and got me incredibly excited for the next entry in the Halo franchise, they announced Halo Infinite will be a release title on the next Xbox which put a significant cloud over my excitement as I had a faint hope the game would be out this year. As I said at the start, with Sony absent Microsoft had the potential to really shine this year. Although their press conference wasn’t bad, and there are definitely a number of exciting games on the horizon, it feels as if Microsoft didn’t truly seize on the opportunity. Then again, maybe that’s just to be expected as this console generation enters its final stretch.

Pros
There are a ton of exciting games across a wide variety of genres coming out this year
Cyberpunk has a release date!
Fallen Order continues to impress
New Halo trailer!

Cons
Cyberpunk is almost a year away..
Project Scarlett was a waste of time
Halo Infinite is over a year away..

Final grade: B


Nintendo
As has been the norm for the past few years, Nintendo used a Nintendo Direct rather than a traditional press conference. Nintendo opened with a reveal of the next DLC character(s) for Smash Ultimate, the heroes from the Dragon Quest franchise. I’ve never really invested a lot of time in Dragon Quest games, so I’m not especially connected to these characters, but whether they excite me or not will depend on their kit. Nintendo followed this with a trailer for the Dragon Quest 11: Definitive Edition which will be released this September. After this, Nintendo showed a new trailer for Luigi’s Mansion 3 which will feature both co-op and what looks to be a multi-player horde mode. The next trailer was for a tactical RPG set in Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal which ties to the recent Netflix series. Nintendo then reminded players of the upcoming Link’s Awakening remake which I’m sure will be great, but still looks a little strange. Nintendo announced a 3D remake of Trials of Mana, which is coming out next year, and a collection of the previous Mana games which is available now. Nintendo's next trailer was for a port of The Witcher 3 for Switch, and while I don’t know anyone who does not love The Witcher 3, this port didn’t look great, and it is hard to get excited with Cyberpunk less than a year away. After that, Nintendo showed a new trailer for the upcoming Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Nintendo went into more detail about the story and some of the choices that players will face which made me even more excited for this game’s release next month. Next up, Nintendo announced Resident Evil 1, 5, and 6 will be coming to the Switch, revealed a trailer for No More Heroes 3, unveiled Contra Rouge Corps, and announced the release of a collection of previous Contra games. A brief trailer for Daemon X Machina took the stage next. I would have liked a longer trailer as this game will be out in September, but I imagine we’ll get more information before then. Nintendo then unveiled a trailer for a remake of the classic Panzer Dragoon before briefly touching on some news for Pokemon Sword and Shield. Nintendo had a Pokemon Direct last week, so this was not especially informative, although some of the news that has come out over the week was not what fans wanted to hear. Afterwards, Nintendo featured a trailer for Astral Chain which will be out in a few months and looks to continue Platinum Games’ legacy of great action games. Next, Nintendo showed trailers for a top-down gangster game called Empire of Sin, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, Cadence of Hyrule, and the latest Mario and Sonic at the Olympics. Animal Crossing fans were in for a disappointment as Nintendo showed a trailer for New Horizons and announced that the game had been delayed till next March. Returning to Smash, Nintendo shocked fans with the reveal that Banjo-Kazooie would be joining Ultimate’s roster. Nintendo’s E3 Direct was nearly over, but before concluding, Nintendo announced a full sequel to Breath of the Wild is currently in development. Although they didn’t offer much beyond a stunning reveal trailer, the fact they unveiled this game and the fact it is going to be a sequel to Breath of the Wild makes me hopeful the game will be out before the end of 2020.

Pros
Two exciting new Smash characters
New info on Fire Emblem: Three Houses sounds great
There are a ton of exciting Switch releases before the end of 2019
Breath of the Wild sequel in the works!!

Cons
No news on new Switch models
Nothing on Metroid Prime 4
New Zelda is at least a year away

Final grade: B


Game of E3: Cyberpunk 2077
I know a lot of people have said this E3 was disappointing, but there were some great reveals throughout the week. Games like Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Jedi Fallen Order, Daemon X Machina, Final Fantasy VII remake and a remaster of Final Fantasy VIII are all coming out this year. And we got trailers for Halo Infinite and a new Zelda. But, for the second year in a row, my game of E3 is Cyberpunk 2077. While many of the games I listed have me excited, if you told me I had to pick only one game from E3 to play next year, it would be, without a doubt, Cyberpunk 2077. The game just looks breathtaking.

Comments

  1. Cantih -
    Cantih's Avatar
    Gonna piggyback with my impressions.
    Nintendo: A - Solid games, variety, Breath of the Wild: Second Quest, SEIKEN DENSETSU 3 x2! TWO Tactics games (both out of left field.)
    Microsoft: B - No real fuckups, stuff you want to see, stuff you didn't know you wanted to see, all around solid.
    Sony: F - Show up, motherfucker.
    AMD: B - Hardware looks good, shame there's no navi GPU's for the sub-$300 market
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    Square Enix: A - Remake looks good, it's happening!! No huge fuckups, didn't see some things people wanted. Why was everyone hyped over Avengers? I expected nothing and was still disappointed.
    PC Gaming Show: B - Not as bad as feared, good games, annoying but not quite too bad hosts. Good games, just shame about Epic shit and association.
    Electronic Arts (EA Play): C - Didn't watch it. But by not having a presser with yearly churn sprots games you need to sit through, no mobile franchise rape of IPs, it's an improvement!
    To reiterate, that's how bad last years was, I didn't watch this years, and it was better than last year.
    Ubisoft: C - Is Tom Clancy like Jerry Lewis in france or something? Also, besides what I assume is an Ubi studio doing the videogame bits, why the fuck was Mythic Quest there? Bring back Aisha. Or have Helen host. Helen is fucking awesome.
    Bethesda Softworks: C - They got good stuff, but while they paid lip service to fucking up, I didn't really feel they took it to heart.
    Devolver Digital: B - Funny, good industry fuck yous, but not that much in the way of games.
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    Limited Run Games: C+ - Devolver with no budget or writers, but they genuinely know it and lean into it. Props to them for trying to keep physical a thing.
    Kinda Funny Games Showcase: C- -Games were fine, better production than UploadVR, but hosts were annoying. And they were also asses in the post Square Enix thing on Twitch, so fuck-em.
    UploadVR: D - Poor production values, aparently a journalist trying to be a presenter. VR needs a hype man, shame this wasn't it. Feel bad for the devs, it's not their fault.
    Konami: Ω - Rogue Corps is brand new, it looks like a swamp ass late PS1 game. 6souls found that Konami wants $40 for it. GET FUCKED. Alternately: DON'T SHOW UP, MOTHERFUCKER.