My favourite week of the year is over, and now it’s time to discuss.
During E3 2016 I posted a recap of every single conference but nobody read those and frankly, they weren’t too interesting. Last year I wrote who I think won E3 2017 but that’s a dumb premise because whoever had the games you want to play won you and whoever’s trailers got the most views won overall. So I thought this year I would highlight the biggest moments, the most important reveals and the most controversial incidents for those who couldn’t watch at home, or just want a refresher! I hope you enjoy 😀
All Battlefield V Post-Release Content will be Free
In a very un-EA like announcement, DICE revealed that Battlefield V will not have any loot boxes, any paid DLC, nothing. Every piece of post-release content will be free for all players. This is such a pro-consumer move and while I’m certain it’s a response to Star Wars Battlefront II‘s infamous fan outrage last Fall, I hope this is indicative of EA’s plans for future titles.
EA CCO Publicly Defends Women in Gaming
Your monthly reminder that gamers are a bunch of manbabies for May was the reveal trailer for Battlefield V, in which women fighting in World War 2 elicited a mob of angry man-children to complain and harass developers online. In an interview with Gamasutra, EA chief creative officer Patrick Soderlund publicly defended DICE’s choice to include female fighters in Battlefield V, stating that:
“The common perception is that there were no women in World War II. There were a ton of women who both fought in World War II and partook in the war… These are people who are uneducated—they don’t understand that this is a plausible scenario, and listen: this is a game… today gaming is gender-diverse, like it hasn’t been before. There are a lot of female people who want to play, and male players who want to play as a badass [woman].”
This is a major step forward in combatting the toxic gaming culture that continues to fight change at every turn, and hopefully a sign that EA is willing to help lead the charge.
Gears of War Trolls me with F*&king POP! Figures
I knew they would invade my life in some obscenely invasive way but I never thought they would tarnish my E3 experience, but there they were, fully animated Gears of War POP! figures on the largest screen in gaming… disgusting.
Microsoft Making Heavy Investment in Xbox Exclusives
Probably the biggest reveal of Microsoft’s press conference was the fact that they have purchased not one, not two, but four studios to join the Microsoft Studios family of developers. This is huge for Xbox, a platform whose biggest fault for decades has been its lack of compelling exclusives. Microsoft announced they have purchased:
- Ninja Theory (Heavenly Sword, DmC, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice)
- Playground Games (Forza Motorsport, Forza Horizon)
- Undead Labs (State of Decay)
- Compulsion Games (Contrast, We Happy Few)
This is massive, and it tells me that Phil Spencer and the team over at Xbox is putting their money where their mouth is in trying to make Xbox the best place to game.
First Cyberpunk 2077 Trailer in 5 years
Microsoft’s conference ended with the first ever E3 trailer for CD Project Red’s eagerly anticipated next project. Based on the tabletop RPG series Cyberpunk 2020, this is the next game after CDPR’s incredibly successful 2015 Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. I don’t know how much money Microsoft had to give for the world reveal trailer, or if this is indicative of the beginning of a partnership between Xbox and CDPR for this title but I’m pretty sure this is the most viewed trailer from the conference at almost 13 million views as of this writing, double that of The Last of Us Part II. Check it out for yourself:
Ubisoft Faces Major Backlash over Crowdsourced Assets
HitRECord’s founder, actor-turned-entrepreneur Joseph Gordon-Levitt, took Ubisoft’s stage to announce that his company would be partnering with Ubisoft to help fans get their artwork and music into Beyond Good and Evil 2. The artist’s whose work is selected would be compensated, but this is still fans doing work for Ubisoft with only the possibility of payment, a gross concept in an industry already plagued by concepts such as “work for exposure” and temporary employment. JGL has since defended the program while Ubisoft has yet to comment, no doubt deciding whether the following years of mixed press will hurt their game.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Features Playable Female Protagonist, Romance and Dialogue Options
The friends I was watching with screamed with glee when Kassandra (one of two playable protagonists in the upcoming, well, Odyssey) openly flirted with another female character in the reveal trailer. We so rarely see LGBT+ representation in video games, especially on a major stage at E3. But this year was a breakout year, with Odyssey featuring not only a playable female protagonist but the option for players to choose whether to romance male or female characters, as either the male or female playable protagonist. The game will launch October 5, 2018.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas Will Star Fox McCloud
Miyamoto made a surprise appearance at Ubisoft’s conference for the second year in a row, this time as part of a reveal that Nintendo’s ace pilot will star in Ubisoft’s peripheral focused action-adventure game. There will also be a Fox and Arwing available for purchase when the game releases this October 16, 2018.
Skyrim: Very Special Edition Announced for Amazon Alexa
In a video everyone thought was a joke, Keegan-Michael Key played the hit RPG on his Amazon Alexa, taking the internet meme about Skyrim ports getting out of hand to its logical conclusion. And it’s a real thing, playing like a classic text adventure with your voice instead of your keyboard. You can play it right now, too!
The Elder Scrolls VI Finally Announced
It’s been rumoured, teased, memed, joked about and now finally revealed. Bethesda Softworks showed the briefest of teasers for The Elder Scrolls VI, now entering pre-production which means it’s still a good three or four years away or more. But it’s announced, it’s coming, and Elder Scrolls fans will someday get to play the incredibly hyped up game that will never live up to the ridiculous expectations fans have for it.
Devolver Strikes Again and Actually Announces Some Games
Devolver Digital, publisher of some of my favourite indie titles like Hotline Miami, Downwell, Enter the Gungeon and most recently Minit, had their second annual E3 press conference. While it was wacky, gory and hilarious as last year’s, they actually announced some games this time most notably My Friend Pedro: Blood Bullets Bananas is coming to Nintendo Switch in 2019, a game I’m very excited about. Check out my interview with the one man developer and my preview where I got an exclusive hands-on demo at Gamescom 2017.
Limited Run Games Holds First E3 Press Conference
In what was supposed to be a horrible high school media arts project joke, Limited Run Games announced they would be making physical releases for some notable PS4, Vita and Switch games this year and beyond, as well as revealing they would be getting into localisation and publishing. I’m most excited for physical releases for Golf Story and Iconoclasts, but you can watch the whole conference if you want to cringe and see if there are any games you’d want to play!
PlayStation Reveals Sweet/Disgusting Gameplay Trailer for The Last of Us Part II
One of the most talked about trailers of the whole week was PlayStation’s debut gameplay trailer for their eagerly anticipated sequel The Last of Us Part II. In it, we see the rather tone-deaf juxtaposition of Ellie’s romantic embrace and kiss with almost a dozen brutal and gory murders. It took me a couple days after watching and reflecting to truly realize the grossness of cheering along to every machete swing and eye gouge, and the more I think about it the less excited I am to give Naughty Dog my money. But I think the team at Gamasutra put it more eloquently in their post E3 Twitch discussion:
“You could just see that there must be somebody [at Naughty Dog] who is the gameplay person (the combat person) and then the person who wants to tell the soulfull narrative. It’s classic ludonarrative dissonance.” – Kris Graft, Editor-In-Chief of Gamasutra
“It’s just the most disgusting way of using marketing I’ve ever seen at E3.” – Alex Wawro, Editor
PlayStation has Zero Indie Games in Their Press Conference 😥
Ever since PlayStation’s Global Marketing Boss stated that “Indies are less relevant now” in an interview with gameindustry.biz I knew it meant a waning of indie support. But it still hurt to see no mention of indie titles at PlayStation’s biggest show of the year. Further indication that the platform I once adored for its indie presence with gems like Resogun, Undertale, Hotline Miami, and other console exclusive indie titles is shifting its focus entirely onto AAA.
Nintendo Spends Over Half of their E3 Presentation on Smash Bros.
This was a bad move for Nintendo. I was watching the conference with a room of 15 people, representing a broad range of game tastes and preferences. About 15 minutes into talking about Nintendo’s new fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate everyone was losing interest, except the one Smash fan of course.
If Nintendo was serious about wanting to make the Switch a mass appeal console, spending 25 minutes detailing Roy’s minor voice changes between skins and tiny details in Wii Fit Trainer’s face is absolutely the wrong way to make that happen. I’m sure Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will sell and review amazingly, but Nintendo did very little to assure the broadest range of players that there’s something for them to play on the Switch soon.
So those were all my highlights from the week that was E3 2018 or our lord and saviour Todd Howard. I’d love to know what you think about my highlights and hear some of yours! Not in the form of a violent threat sent to me in an email, but rather in the form of a constructive comment? Maybe? If we can still do that online? I don’t know, videogames are stupid. Gamers are stupider. I don’t think anyone actually reads this far anyway.