Thoughts on E3 2019

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Man, what happened at this year’s E3? I don’t think I have been this disappointed with an E3 since, well, forever. Sure, it’s a giant expensive way for studios to show off products that they want you to buy, but it’s a lot of fun to see what studios and publishers are working on, and I still get excited for games that are coming out. It felt like this year had no real energy or life to it. I’m probably not counting the incredible amount of indie games that were there, but for the major conferences, it was a lot of just shrugging and disappointment. I’m going to grade the major conferences, and I’m going to leave out PC Gamer Conference, because I honestly had no time to check it out. Sorry. Let’s get started!

EA’s Conference Grade: F

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Big shock! EA is still pretty lousy with their conferences. There was simply no life to this one, and the lack of any real surprises made it a slog to get through. The new Star Wars game looks solid, and it’s by a developer that people love, but they got screwed over by EA, but it’s the fact that the alpha gameplay didn’t really wow anyone. It looks fine, but in this period of gaming, fine is not good enough, especially because EA is the publisher. They might have a few indie games they are helping publish and distribute, but that won’t matter if they can’t regain their core gaming audience after so many greedy shenanigans.

Favorite Games Shown or announced: Jedi Fallen Order, RustHeart, and Lost in Random.

 

Microsoft’s Conference Grade: A

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Overall, I really liked the huge line-up of games they showed off. I wish there were more first-party exclusives that were not just Halo and Gears, but the line-up of big-budget and indie titles was a delight. Still wish I wasn’t getting slightly punished for now just buying their Xbox One X console, while they are going to make a new one for 2020. Still, I won’t get it day one, and I’ll just get it for the sake of multiplayer gaming with my buddy in Seattle.

Favorite Games Shown Off: The Outer Worlds, Bleeding Edge, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Minecraft Dungeons, Jedi Fallen Order, Cyberpunk 2077, Spiritfarer, Battletoads, The Legend of Wright, Dead State Drive, After Party, Unto the End, Psychonauts 2, 12 Minutes, Way to the Woods, Gears of War 5: Bound by Blood, Phantasy Star Online 2, Tales of Arise, Borderlands 3, Elden Ring, and Halo Infinite.

 

Bethesda’s Conference Grade: F

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Talk about a conference that didn’t read the room, tried to deflect any recent controversy and criticism with “we love the fans”, and show off nothing that got people back in their good graces. I have no idea who was clapping loudly at Bethesda doing the bare minimum with the announcements for content like Fallout 76. Bethesda doesn’t deserve any love or support for finally adding content into the a game that no one likes, no one is really playing anymore, and should have been there in the first place! They then went on to show mostly downloadable content, and tried to hype people on that Elder Scrolls mobile game coming to Switch, when everyone has already called out Todd Howard for basically lying about that game. The best games that were shown off were the ones that Bethesda was publishing, not creating. Sure, we got one of the best stage individuals of all time, but that doesn’t cover up how utterly terrible this conference was. Go home, actually fix the bugs in your game, stop releasing unfinished games, and actually apologize with no coat of self-deprecation while doing so. 

Favorite Games Shown: Ghostwire Tokyo, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Deathloop, and Doom Eternal.

 

Devolver Digital’s Conference Grade: B+

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It’s another E3, and that means that Devolver Digital is going to take another giant backed-up dump on the game industry with another conference. Well, at least part of it is. Oddly enough, this was probably their most straight forward conference that they have had. They actually showed off a couple of different games and add-ons for their already-released content, but also had the same snark and deprecating humor that they are known for from past E3 conferences. It’s a weird tonal mix, but I shouldn’t be surprised that this was one of the best conferences in a year full of disappointment.

Favorite Games Shown: Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, Devolver Bootleg, Carrion, Enter the Gungeon: House of the Gundead, and The Messenger: Picnic Panic.

Ubisoft’s Conference Grade: D

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Man, another underwhelming E3 Conference? What is up with this year? Anyway, Ubisoft had mostly Tom Clancy on the mind, because a lot of what we saw was either relating to Wildlands or The Division 2. The only two announcements that were worth some kind of hype were Watch Dogs: Legion, where you control a mass group of rebellious rebel-rousers, and Gods and Monsters, but no real gameplay footage was shown for that one.  It’s a bit weird to see Ubisoft keep making these politically charged games, while constantly saying “our games are not political.” Remember people, politics are in everything, and you can’t escape that.

Favorite Game Shown: Watch Dogs Legion and Gods and Monsters.

 

Square Enix’s Conference Grade: B

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While I have a few things I want to talk about with how Square Enix handles certain IPs, I did enjoy their conference. A lot of it was “here is a bunch of pretty footage and no real gameplay”, but at least there was variety and it wasn’t just a bunch of DLC, sequels, and mobile gaming. It had a bit of everything. I think how they are handling the release of Final Fantasy 7 Remake is awful, but it looks promising. I just think they are really going out of their way to make the game too big when they don’t need to. It was solid, but I think there were better E3s that they have done in the past.

Favorite Games Shown: Outriders, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Dragon Quest XI S, Dragon Quest Builders 2, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Oninaki, and Marvel’s Avengers: A-Day.

Nintendo’s Conference Grade: A+

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Big shock, Nintendo just pimped into E3 and won it all. They are always a highlight, and while you could argue they focused too much on Smash Bros. last year, I mean, why wouldn’t they? Anyway, Nintendo just had games, games, games and more games. Ports, sequels, exclusives, big games, small games, action games, shooters, RPGs, horror games, and some very nice surprises like the Panzer Dragoon remake, Dragon Quest’s Hero and Banjo Kazooie being in Smash Bros., and so on. It was easily the best conference, and they put their all into it. I was almost ready to cry half of the time with this one, and next year, every company needs to be like Nintendo in terms of scale and excitement.

Favorite Games Shown: Dragon Quest XI S, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Trials of Mana, Mana Collection, No More Heroes 3, Animal Crossing: New Horizon, Witcher 3: Complete Edition, Panzer Dragoon Remake, Daemon X Machina, Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Pokemon Sword and Shield, Astral Chain, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Dragon Quest Builders 2, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics, and Super Mario Maker 2.