The thing gamers look forward to more than upcoming release dates or the Steam summer sales is E3 – the Electronic Entertainment Expo. A showcase of everything to get hyped about and enjoy for the future in the world of gaming. So, without further ado, here’s our evaluation of the main conferences of E3.
EA – Decent
Right off the bat, EA made a course correction in light of the whole loot box fiasco from last year, which saw a wave of international criticism accusing them of encouraging gambling. They acknowledged their mistake, and promised to try and work better on it from now on. At least some people have learnt their lessons. They when on to showcase Unravel 2 and Anthem, which were both really impressive, and talked about their future plans with upcoming Star Wars games: additions to the current Battlefront 2 and a new game in the future. However, they kept mum about Battlefield 5’s economy, which, despite their assurances of saying they understood the problem with loot boxes, seemed a bit disingenuous.
Highlights – Unravel 2, Battlefield 5, Anthem
**Bethesda – Good **
Fallout 76 was front and centre at Bethesda’s conference; they went all out and provided lots of details, which was a blast to hear about. Fallout 76 would be the first online game in the Fallout series, with a map four times as large as that from the previous version, and the ability to launch nuclear missiles to boot. You can also own and wear your own Fallout helmet. Apart from this, they also showcased other games like Wolfenstein, a Doom sequel, and Elder Scrolls VI, all with release dates and ample information.
Highlights – Fallout 76, Elder Scrolls VI, Wolfenstein
**Microsoft – Great **
Ah, now this is where the good stuff was. Microsoft’s conference was a complete change from last year’s more disappointing blowout. Maybe it was due to the Xbox One’s lacklustre performance but the tactic they went for was to focus on a wide variety of games. And boy did they deliver: all games were shown with trailers, release dates, and a fair bit of inside information about the games themselves. A number of Square Enix games were also showcased which was a nice treat. They also talked about their plans for the future, with a cloud gaming service, and about all the studios they’ve bought, and plan to buy. A really well done performance by Microsoft all around, impressing us with their tenacity and honesty.
Highlights – Forza Horizon 4, Devil May Cry 5, Jump Force, Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Square Enix – Poor
Man, talk about so much hype followed by so much disappoint. Many interesting things were expected here, from a new rumoured Avengers game to the next Final Fantasy game fans were eagerly waiting for. Instead, all we got were two short teasers for The Quiet Man and Babylon’s Fall, which barely highlighted any gameplay or release dates. Square Enix basically shot themselves in the foot by giving a good majority of their upcoming stuff to Microsoft, meaning there was very little they could show themselves. It was them at their most complacent, and they really need to bring their A game next time round.
Highlights – Just Cause 4, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Kingdom Hearts 3
Ubisoft – Really Good
Long story short, Ubisoft’s conference was solid and enjoyable – there’s not a whole lot of bad things you can say about it. A number of games were highlighted where ship battles seem to be the new schtick for the future, and Beyond Good and Evil 2 provided breathtaking visuals in just a trailer. Star Fox joining the Switch version of Starlink was a nice surprise and a good payoff of Ubisoft’s relationship with Nintendo.
Highlights – Beyond Good and Evil 2, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Skull and Bones
Nintendo – Really Good
Last year, these were the guys who knocked it out of the park in E3. Whether you think the same is true this year depends on how much you like Smash. The reason being that Nintendo’s main focus was Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Switch. There were a lot of reveals, and much to like, such as all the characters from previous versions, some new ones, and touched up aesthetics. Apart from Smash, more games were highlighted to maintain momentum with the Switch like a new Fire Emblem and Fortnite! Sadly other franchises like Pokémon and Animal Crossing were barely touched upon and it seems the 3DS is all but forgotten now.
Highlights – Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Mario Party
Sony – OK
This is the second year in a row where Sony has failed to make a huge impact at E3. The main focus was on four games which are hugely anticipated by fans, but were known about well in advance. It was essentially a compact hour of trailers and gameplay footage. It was nice, but truthfully only Ghost of Tsushima needed such a boost, as little had been shown of the game beforehand. In a strange move, Sony actually revealed several other games, but only to those watching the live stream of the event. With the last year being incredibly successful for Sony, it’s possible they didn’t feel they needed to give much and were probably saving their energy for (rumour has it) a Playstation 5 down the line.
Highlights – Death Stranding, The Last of Us Part II, Spider-Man, Ghost of Tsushima