It’s E3 again, that magical time of year when hype takes over and we’re all kids on Christmas morning. The entire gaming industry gathers in Los Angeles to wow us, amaze us and work us into a frothing fervor as we throw money at our computers, desperate to buy video games that don’t exist yet.
It’s a yearly tradition of mine to take time off from work so I can enjoy all the press conferences and let myself really get lost ~in the moment~ and this year was no exception! With pizza rolls and Code Red in hand I waited with the giddiness of Homer Simpson finding an overturned Duff truck to see what I’m gonna be playing over the next couple of years.
I’m not going to run down every single announcement at every single conference because that would be boring, and unlike a lot of other internet people I don’t feel the need to have an opinion about everything. So I’ll just be talking about things I thought were cool, interesting or otherwise worth commenting on. So grab your pizza rolls and Code Red and get ready for my thoughts on things you already know about!
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EA, in a strange buck of tradition, held their conference on Saturday, which was really weird and makes me think E3 is going to wind up starting in like April someday. I was hoping for a nice appetizer for the rest of the conferences, but the only game they showed that really interested me was Star Wars Battlefront II. Their presentation of the game was MAXIMUM ESPORTS though and it just felt really really weird. I’m not against esports – I really enjoy watching professional Overwatch and I look forward to the fighting game tournament EVO all year long. Having shoutcasters yelling over a Star Wars battle though… I dunno. It wasn’t for me. The game looks good though!
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Microsoft’s big push on Sunday was for the Xbox One X, a beefed up version of their console that they claim will be able to play games in native 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, which is a VERY impressive achievement if it all turns out to be true. I don’t have a 4K TV though and Microsoft doesn’t have ton of exclusives that are up my alley, so the $500 asking price is a bit much. I’m much more interested in the $200 Xbox One S, which does not at all sound similar to the Xbox One X and will surely not cause any poor grandmothers any confusion this Christmas.
Microsoft has a long way to go to make up ground on Sony (and Nintendo is already nipping at their ankles with Switch sales) and I don’t think a $500 console that’s built for a TV that not a lot of people have yet is the way to do it. They need GAMES more than anything, and their conference didn’t offer much in the way of exclusives I can’t play on my PC or PS4. I loved the first Crackdown, so Crackdown 3 seems cool and I was pleasantly surprised to see a colorful mascot platformer in Super Lucky’s Tale as part of their show but outside of those it was stuff I already plan on playing elsewhere. I’m going to get Cuphead and Life is Strange: Before the Storm on Steam and play Dragon Ball FighterZ on my PS4.
Backwards compatibility extending to original Xbox games is really cool though! They’re the only company that really seems to care about that kind of stuff, which is ironic considering they have the weakest legacy catalog out of the three console makers.
I dunno. I’ll get an Xbox One when I get a 4K TV, but it most likely won’t be the Xbox One X – it’ll be the Xbox One S because it’ll probably be the cheapest 4K Blu-Ray player and I still like physical media because I’m insane. Also I still really want to play Gears of War 4 and it looks like butt on my PC.
Dragon Ball FighterZ looks amazing though! I’m not a Guilty Gear fan but I’ve been blown away by how Arc System Works has made 3D models look and move like 2D animation and seeing that applied to Dragon Ball is just nuts. I’m not really a big fan of most Dragon Ball games; yeah, it’s impressive to have over 100 characters in a game, but if they all play the same who cares? Having a smaller, focused roster of unique characters with THAT art style and an established 2D fighting game studio behind it? SIGN ME UP.
Bethesda was up later that night and there was a lot of Skyrim. I’m pretty proud of this tweet I made.
The Curious Case of Bethesda and the Game that Won’t Stop Coming Out
— Joe Walker 🍖 (@SpaceKappa) June 13, 2017
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Monday had Ubisoft up first, and I was not expecting to enjoy their conference as much as I did! For one thing, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle looks really good! It’s a strategy RPG and from what they’ve shown it’s clear that there’s an immense amount of love and care that’s gone into it. Mr. Miyamoto came out to join Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot on stage to talk about the game, and he mentioned how much he enjoyed working with the game’s creative director Davide Soliani, who was shown in the audience, tears in his eyes. You could tell just how much it meant to him to have Mr. Miyamoto on that stage, telling the world how much he enjoyed working with him on his game. It was a fantastic moment, and while it probably won’t go down as an all-time great E3 moment it’s definitely high on my list.
It showed that the game isn’t just mashing two franchises together for profit – there are passionate people working on it who really care about making something special. I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be one of the most impressive games to come out of E3, but I honestly can’t wait to play it. The graphics look gorgeous, the strategy gameplay is right up my alley and the humor is actually really good from what they showed!
Also Far Cry 5 looks neat and hey, Beyond Good & Evil 2! People are excited, and I should really play the first one sometime.
Sony basically decided that since everyone liked their 2016 conference so much they’d just do it again. Aside from the Shadow of the Colossus remake, just about every game they showed was something they announced last year. That’s all fine – it was cool to see those games further along than the tiny tastes we got last year – but it certainly took some of the wind out of the sails when there wasn’t anything new to be surprised by. It’s a stupid complaint to have and I feel like Dudley Dursley when I say it out loud (“Thirty-six? Last year I had thirty-seven!”) but the fun of E3 is being all “whooooaaaaahhh whaaaaat” when they show something unexpected.
There was some neat stuff though – The Inpatient is apparently a prequel to Until Dawn, which was amaaaaaazing, so I’m into that. I want to play whatever Moss is, because I really like that mouse character. I hope it’s not VR only.
I downloaded the story demo for Marvel vs Capcom Infinite that they said was AVAILABLE NOW, which was absolutely not AVAILABLE NOW but instead AVAILABLE THE NEXT MORNING. The story wasn’t very good, the graphics are ugly and I really don’t care for the roster (no X-Men? Get out of my face) so that’s gonna be a hard pass for me.
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Tuesday had Nintendo! Hooray Nintendo! My biggest hope was for a new Animal Crossing so I was a bit bummed there, but the Switch has so much cool stuff coming between now and next spring that I can’t wait to get one. Super Mario Odyssey looks spectacular – it’s the Super Mario 64 sequel I always wanted! Huge, open worlds with multiple goals? Yes please!
It has a vocal theme song too, and it’s really catchy! It’s got a fun, jazzy vibe to it and it’s been stuck in my head all day. It’s apparently sung by Pauline, who is now the mayor of New Donk City. I loved typing that sentence so much. I can’t say or type New Donk City without smiling. It’s impossible. Try it yourself. Donk.
The hat-throwing mechanic seemed to be more of a weird gimmick when they showed the game off earlier this year, but when they revealed you can use your hat to have Mario possess things like Goombas and Bullet Bills and REGULAR HUMANS AND A GODDANG T-REX it’s like, who’s idea was this? Give them a raise. I need this game and I need it yesterday.
New Kirby? New Yoshi? Sounds good to me. TWO new Metroid games? Nintendo’s not messing around. When you think about how we really only know about the games that are gonna be out in the first year of the Switch’s life and the lineup is already this impressive it becomes very easy to put aside any worries of the Switch being another Wii U. The gloves are off. I can’t wait to get a Switch so I can play all this stuff.
Oh yeah, new amiibo too! I already preordered the Zelda ones because Breath of the Wild is amazing and I adore the Champions so much. I’d have preordered all the rest too if I was a rich man and could drop hundreds of dollars on toys in one sitting. That would certainly be nice.
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All in all it certainly felt like a quieter E3 than usual, but they can’t all be pee-your-pants spectacular. We’re in the middle of a console generation (well, except for Nintendo) so it’s natural for things to be a bit more subdued as everyone settles into their development grooves. Regardless of the overall lack of “wow” factor this year, we’re all gonna have tons of great stuff to play very soon.
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