Thursday, 15 June 2017

Who "Won" E3 This Year?

Hey guys. This is the first E3 in four years that I'm not working the show. It was nice to be actually able to sit back, relax, and simply enjoy the announcements as a consumer, rather than have to feverishly write everything up as a journalist, scouring the internet for even the tiniest morsels of new news. Now that all of the major companies have had their say, I've decided to do a little wrap-up. I hope you enjoy it!
Every year, there is this big debate over who "won" E3. It generally refers to the company that had the biggest showing of games people want to play, with the press conference that really ups the wow factor, and with the most down-to-earth attitude towards their fanbase. It's traditionally been a contest between the "big three" (Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft) but these days Bethesda, EA and Ubisoft also throw their hats in the ring. To understand who won, lets first have a look at who lost.

Loser #1 (the worst loser): Sony

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Sony was unquestionably the "winner" of last year's E3, with a very strong showing of powerhouse games like the Final Fantasy VII remake, and a very consumer friendly approach that seemed to rebuff Microsoft's anti-consumer tenancies at every turn. This year, as well as having an incredibly lackluster assortment of games to show, with the Shadow of The Colossus remake being the only really new thing shown, they also took the "dick move of the show" award by refusing to do cross-play with Microsoft and Nintendo. Here is what Sony's Jim Ryan literarlly said when confronted about Sony's lack of cross-play with Minecraft and Rocket League:
"Yeah. We've got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base. Minecraft - the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it's all ages but it's also very young. We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe. Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it's something we have to think about very carefully."
Yes, you heard that right, they don't want to do cross-play because "think of the children!" Even Nintendo, who have refused to do stuff like region-free gaming or online voice chat for the longest time due to "the children!" excuse are doing cross-play, while Sony isn't. Dick move Sony.

Loser #2: Bethesda

Hey guys, do you remember when Bethesda made a game called Skyrim? Bethesda sure does! Skyrim is coming to the Switch! I also hope you like VR because there's a fucktone of VR shit coming, even if you don't want it. There's a sequel to a game that no-one really cared about. Oh and remember paid mods, that clusterfuck of a dumb idea that turned Bethesda and Valve's reputation to shit? Well they are back, but we've disguised them as the "Creation Club". The only saving grace from Bethesda was Wolfenstein 2, which looks pretty fucking cool.

Loser #3: EA Games

"Hey lets just pump out a billion sequels to all of our successful franchises." EA's conference was so boring and uneventful that the only thing I can actually remember off the top of my head was that Battlefront 2 looked pretty alright, but at this point you could slap a Star Wars logo on a turd sandwich and it would still sell gangbusters.

Loser #4: Microsoft

The biggest thing to come out of Microsoft's conference was of course the Xbox One X: the final version of "Project Scorpio". For $499 US, it claims to bring 4k 60FPS gaming to the lowly console peasants. Most of the games they showed off with it were pretty meh, a bunch of sequels to games like Forza, Crackdown, and Metro. However, Microsoft revealed two pretty big showstoppers during their conference. The first was Dragon Ball Fighter Z, which looks fucking amazing in 4K 60FPS and was the best game to show off the Xbox One X's tech. It is also being made by Arc System Works as a proper fighting game, and has a lot of FG fans super pumped up. This game is likely to become the new Street Fighter or Marvel Vs. Capcom as a competitive gaming staple, and as a Dragonball Z fan, that makes me super happy.
The second amazing game that Microsoft revealed was an indie game called The Last Night. This is the game I have been dreaming about ever since I first saw Bladerunner. It's a 2.5D pixelated cyberpunk platformer, set in a world where automation has replaced pretty much all labor and humans live for pleasure alone. The creator of the game fell into some bullshit controversy hole with manufactured outrage from social justice warriors, but it hasn't really done anything to mar the game's reputation or anticipation.

Loser #5: Ubisoft

Ubisoft is not so much of a loser as it is "not a winner". It actually had a pretty decent showing. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle came waaaaay out of left field, but looks super fun. They also finally, finally revealed the long-in-development Beyond Good and Evil 2, a game that fans have been waiting for for way too long. It's seriously the Half-Life 3 of the company. The rest was fairly predictable but inoffensive: a Far Cry sequel, an Assassin's Creed sequel, and some other little stuff. Ubisoft would have totally won E3 this year if it wasn't for the next company on this list...

Winner: Nintendo

The Switch, despite having a grand total of... zero worthwhile exclusive games (both Zelda and Mario Kart are available on Wii U), has a lot of ground to cover if it wants people to take it seriously. The Wii U suffered greatly from the problem of game drought - there simply weren't enough regular releases of new, worthwhile games to justify the console. My Wii U sat for months without being played while I patiently awaited the next big game. Nintendo took to E3 swinging this year, showing us a lot of games to get excited for.

Super Mario Odyssey looks freaking amazing, and is out in October. You can become a dinosaur. You can become a goomba. You can become a taxi. New Yoshi and Kirby assure us that there will be a steady flow of new Nintendo content through 2018. Exciting third-party partnerships, like the aforementioned Mario + Rabbids and a Rocket League port shows that Nintendo is finally opening the door to third-parties, which will help with the game drought problem.
But the biggest announcements from the company were ones that didn't even have trailers. Metroid Prime 4 was revealed with simply a logo, but absolutely stole the show. This is a game fans have waited ten years for. Alongside the news of another traditional Metroid game for 3DS, it was certainly a good year to be a Samus fan.

The other huge news was a confirmation that a "core series" Pokemon game was coming to the Switch. You heard that right, Nintendo finally broke the glass. We got literally no other information on it, but that was more than enough to drive fans into a fervor. The idea of a Pokemon RPG, or even a Pokemon MMO in glorious console HD seems incredible. It also adds fuel to the fire that Nintendo plans to abandon the 3DS line, and simply push the Switch as both its home console and handheld focus.
So that's why I think Nintendo won E3 this year. If you disagree, be sure to let me know in the comments.

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