This is just a quick rundown of some things that stood out to me from the E3 press conferences this year.
I’m gonna skip over a lot; this is specifically what rated for me personally. This also isn’t specifically just about games I care about either though. My interest in these press conferences is actually more in an of themselves almost separate from the games. (In large part because the games I’m super into aren’t even going to appear on one of these things.) I enjoy the weird show these things have become, if only for schadenfreude.
Obviously there’s a lot more hype around the idea of a new Quake because of how good the new DOOM turned out, but there was no gameplay here so it’s actually really unclear what form this new Quake will take. This is an entirely different developer (Saber Interactive, makers of God Mode and R.I.P.D. The Game) in conjunction with id software so I don’t actually have expectations for this thing. Quake Live has been a weird thing; in that it’s now $10 again after being free-to-play for a while. I assume that change happened because this was in the works and that this will also be free-to-play… maybe? It’d be cool if this turns out cool, and I’d love to play a version of Quake that looks as good as DOOM or the new UT but I’m not holding my breath.
I enjoyed the first Titanfall, but basically only for the length of the open beta. Those mechanics were super fun though so I think I might be into playing a campaign using them… again maybe. I do like the part where the story is basically a buddy story about you and your mech. That’s silly and fun. The grappling hook seems like a real solid addition with some cool potential to improve the gameplay.
Battlefield 1 stream
I really don’t care about this new Battlefield, especially since the World War 1 theme seems to just be a skin on core battlefield. This is no Verdun. But EA’s decision to show this game off with an hour long stream of celebrities playing it while esports-style commentators explain the basics of the game over their gameplay is hilarious. Not just because most of the celebrities were clearly high as fuck and mostly talked about how bad they were at video games (Although that was great.) It’s just such a terrible way to show off the game in general and was just emblematic of how little understanding publishers have about the potential appeal for esports in general.
Windows 10 games
Microsoft made a big point of announcing all their first party titles as coming to both the XBone and Windows 10, which I’m happy to hear. Since I have a PC, it means there’s really zero reason for me to get an XBox One moving forward. I also haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 yet, but this kind of games push that Microsoft is doing is the kind of thing that will get me to do that. It’s a weird thing where they’re selling their products better to me specifically because they’re also no longer tying to it to an expensive box that I don’t need or want otherwise. Good on ’em.
And this is the kind of game I can be vaguely interested in because of that. This isn’t something that would ever sell a console to me, but it’s something I might consider playing if I had easy access to it. Could turn out to be shit, but based on limited info it looks like a neat little action platformer.
Basically nothing new here, but Tekken 7 just looks so cool. I am so stoked for this. Also, Harada is the man.
Sea of Thieves
I didn’t know what to make of this weird online pirate game from Rare when they showed it off last year. But, even though this demo was kinda shity with its youtube wannabes talking all the way through it, I got a much better sense of what this game seems to actually be. Which is some kind of exploration, naval version of Guns of Icarus with loot and shit. Interested to see more, seems neat.
Scorpio Pitch: Phil Spencer is good at his job
The Scorpio is Microsoft’s new hardware iteration on the XBox One, which purports to be even more powerful than Sony’s PS4 iteration the Neo. I think these hardware iterations are kind of insane and a weird middle ground I’m not convinced the people who stick to console over PC are interested in. That’s just speculation on my part since I have a PC, so I’m already playing better versions of console games in addition to stuff that’s just not on those platforms, so I’m not the target audience for these things. Again, it’s weird to me how little interest Microsoft seems to have in selling me a console. And for the record I do own a 360. To me, selling new hardware is crazy because neither Sony nor Microsoft has delivered strongly enough on the software end (compared to what I have on PC) to even make me think about buying one yet. (Persona 5 will change that math, but still) Software, not hardware is the problem in my eyes.
Despite that, I think Phil Spencer and his team did a good job messaging this new hardware; and they did it by focusing on developers talking about being excited for the specifics of better hardware. I’m still not interested, but it was just refreshing to see Microsoft effectively and honestly making the case for a decision they made. They weren’t selling bullshit, they were selling their product. If only they had had their shit together and this vision forward when they launched the XBone in the first place.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
I feel like Ubisoft has played a lot of Arma. There were parts of the Division reminiscent of Arma and Day Z, (although ultimately that game had more in common with Diablo or Destiny) but Wildlands feels like it has even more Arma DNA in it. The Demo is such a canned presentation that it’s hard to tell, but the focus on team based objectives and vehicles in an open world sure was reminding me of that. Ubisoft’s shown a real knack for making cool online Tom Clancy games and then undermining them with the plague that is Uplay and their inability to prevent hacking. This should be fun with friends during an open beta at least though.
South Park looks Bad
Man… I really enjoyed The Stick of Truth, and I was looking forward to this when they announced it last year but man… they did a terrible job presenting it this year. They effectively unsold me on it. Trey and Matt were onstage for way too long and did a terrible job at making a case for their game. The joke of Cartman being “The Coon” became less and less funny the more it was presented straight faced on such a big stage.
And that’s the problem, nothing I saw from this game this year was funny. Too much straight repeating jokes from last time. Jokes based on super heroes that just didn’t hit and were really tired. I can’t say that’s true for the whole game, but they showed an extended bit of story and I dunno… I just fucking hated it. South Park is hit and miss for me and this was a miss. This went from something I was looking forward to, to something I have an active distaste for. What a shit show.
Ever since I played Just Cause 3 I’ve been wanting and open world extreme sports game and in comes Ubisoft to deliver. If this game had a grappling hook (Like every other goddam game) I’d be SUPER excited. But even just an open world wingsuit game with a sports angle and without the distraction of mass murder has my attention.
So I already know I’m going to get a PS4 eventually for Persona 5, but I’d feel a lot better about it if Sony could put out one other game on their platform that really interested me… With even that meager wish, this was a disappointment. Basically nothing shown here interested me.
Sony undersells VR
Sony dedicated a lot of time this press conference to VR, as they should with their headset coming out this fall, but I think they did a really bad job of selling it. They had a live orchestra this year, and they even performed the music for trailers live, part of a presentation that was very buttoned up and minimalistic when it came to people talking onstage. As a result they had a lot of videos and trailers of games, but without someone to come out and explain or help sell them. They had no one really sell the idea of VR and no one onstage using VR to help give an idea of what playing these VR “experiences” is actually like.
And I emphasize “experiences” because a lot of what they presented weren’t games, but limited experiences tied to big name properties using the assets from real video games. Apparently they have more interesting games from indie developers that are actually larger in scale, but all that got onstage were big name properties pushing out half-assed filler. I get the idea of letting the games do the talking, it’s something basally everyone complains about every year with these press conferences, but the VR stuff Sony showed looked like shit or it was just unclear what it even was.
This was a terrible showing for a company trying to sell a $400 peripheral this fall and so much of the conference was taken up by it that it kind of poisoned the whole thing.
Speaking of things that needed to be explained, Resident Evil 7 was announced, but it’s super unclear what this game is going to be. It was announced to be playable with and without VR and it’s in first person and looks nothing like any other Resident Evil game. There’s a playable teaser/demo thing available on the Japanese PSN already, which is basically what was shown off and it seems to be Capcom’s own PT. No idea what relation this has to RE7 in the end and it seems kind of insane that a whole Resident Evil game would be like that. It’s especially weird as a numbered sequel and not a reboot or something. I honestly don’t know what to make of this.
Except that I know that the logo is fucking amazing.
This was the year of grumpy dads, crabs, grappling hooks and being high as fuck. Indie games got a lot less attention onstage compared to years past (With Sony ignoring them basically entirely). VR was taken as a given, no one was really trying to convince people to buy the hardware; came across to me like an inessential side thing (like the Vita back when Sony would even mention that thing.) Microsoft even brought out John Carmack wearing a Gear VR for like two seconds during a Minecraft demo focused mainly on tablet versions of the game.
Persona 5 got like 1 second of screen time. I think that’s a good indicator about about how high the ceiling was for my excitement level during these press conferences, but again I enjoy these things for what they are so I had a good time watching them despite that.
Thank You For Your Time.