I did a pre-E3 predictions and wishlist post, so it only felt proper to do a post-E3 post. I’ll basically be summing up my thoughts on the different games revealed and, although I won’t go over everything, I’ll give my thoughts on what I feel I can talk about. I’ll be going conference by conference, starting with Microsoft.
Microsoft opened up with The Outer Worlds, a game that was one of my most-hyped of 2019 until it was revealed to be an Epic exclusive. Although I’ll have to wait a year after its initial release, I did like what they showed. It basically looks like an alternate take on Fallout: New Vegas, one of my all-time favorite games. The graphics don’t look that great, but if it’s anything like New Vegas, then this will definitely be one to look out for.
Ninja Theory then took the stage to show off Bleeding Edge, which basically looked like a hyper-stylized For Honor. The character designs and overall aesthetic kinda look like a blend of Overwatch and Borderlands, which I think is fine, but I have already seen a bunch of criticism for that very aspect on Reddit and such. Can’t say I’m too excited for the game, but I would definitely at least try it out, it looks like something that would be fun to mess around in with friends.
In my predictions video, I discussed the possibility of a new game from Mojang, but had completely forgotten that they were already working on one in the form of Minecraft Dungeons. This ended up making an appearance during the conference and it definitely looks like it could be fun to play. It’s basically a Minecraft take on the action RPG genre, with the added bonus of having co-op. I’m a bit concerned as to how grindy it will be, but given that Minecraft is one of my favorite games, I’ll at least give it a try. Hopefully we’ll see this one on Steam as well, as now that Minecraft: Story Mode is gone, there isn’t much representation there.
This next one was actually a bit surprising, it’s Bloober Team’s take on the Blair Witch project. I just reviewed their last game a couple weeks ago, Layers of Fear 2, and while that game definitely had some issues on the story side of things, it at least looked really good and had some excellent environmental design. If they can apply that here to Blair Witch and actually give it a decent story, then I’ll definitely be playing it. I’m a bit concerned for the gameplay though, as Bloober Team is mostly experienced in walking simulators, but this one looks like it has actual gameplay. Hopefully the gameplay doesn’t drag down the rest of the experience, we’ll have to wait and see.
And as usual, Cyberpunk showed up and still looks great. I had predicted a March or April release date, so at least I got that right. What I didn’t expect was for Keanu Reeves to show up on stage and hype the game up, that was definitely one of the highlights of the show. Regardless, I do wish that they had showed more actual gameplay rather than what looked like a pre-rendered cutscene. This seemed to be a common trend during this conference, with a bunch of games lacking any sort of gameplay footage. I hope that this trend dies down over time, I want to actually see what the game looks like in action rather than a cutscene obviously made to look really good.
Battletoads showed up shortly after and did exactly this, showing a bit of gameplay mixed with some other footage. As someone that has played the original, I am really looking forward to this one. Despite how excruciatingly difficult the original is, I hope that they keep a similar level with this reboot, as that was a large reason why the game had so much appeal. The reactions to this trailer were a bit negative though, with a bunch of people complaining about the game’s art direction. It’s definitely going for a more “modern-day cartoon” look, which I have no problem with, but it is far from how the original looked, so I can at least see why people are upset here. Regardless, this is definitely one I’ll be checking out.
Another surprise was the new Microsoft Flight Simulator. I used to play Flight Sim X a lot back when I got my first computer, I even bought a flight stick for it and messed around with modding. As such, having a new iteration in the series that looks this good is really good news. Not only does it look good, but it was also revealed that it uses two petabytes of map data to realistically depict Earth. Given this, the game will probably require a constant Internet connection in order to run, but that’s just going to be the price to pay for having such a realistic simulator. It’s not something most gamers would be excited about, but given how much I played Flight Sim X back in the day, it was at least exciting for me.
And speaking of exciting for me, I was really hyped when they revealed a new LEGO Star Wars game, especially so because it’s going to adapt all nine movies into one game. LEGO Star Wars 1 and 2 were some of my favorite games back during the Gamecube days and I have fond memories of playing through the two of them (and the subsequent LEGO games) with my brother. Perhaps this will give me a chance to relive those memories, but given the decreasing quality of the LEGO games over time, I’m not going in with the highest of expectations. For example, the fact that voice acting is going to be included is already a bad sign, as I feel that that takes away from some of the charm that the originals had. Regardless, I’ll probably wait for reviews before checking this one out.
Continuing on the LEGO train was the new Forza expansion: Forza Horizon 4: LEGO Speed Champions. I have been interested in the Forza series for a while, but didn’t really want to use Microsoft’s store, so I never ended up playing it. Given that Microsoft is now moving its games over to Steam, if this ends up coming along with it, I’ll definitely give it a shot. If anything, maybe this can scratch that LEGO Racers itch I have had for years.
Gears of War 5 also showed up during the conference and was given a significant chunk of time to show off its trippy trailer and new mode. I can’t really speak much for the series, as I have only played the second one, but what was really interesting was the Gears Pop! game that they’re developing alongside it. I say interesting, but I don’t mean that in a good way. This is a game known for its gore and violence and they’re marketing it like a game for kids. There may be an audience for this, but it just felt odd to me. What was even worse is the fact that it’s a mobile game that is currently accepting pre-orders. I don’t know about you, but the concept of pre-ordering a mobile game just feels weird to me.
Anyways, let’s move on from that and onto Phantasy Star Online 2. It’s arriving nearly seven years late, but the West is finally going to be able to play PSO2 without having to jump through hoops in setting in up. My only exposure to the series is through its abysmal anime adaptation that aired a few years ago, but I’ve always liked the style it went for. Given how grindy the game is, I can’t say that I’ll play it, but I’m at least happy for those that have been waiting all this time.
Another Japanese game worth mentioning is Tales of Arise. This was one of the games leaked before the conference, so I already knew it was coming, but it was nice to see a trailer with actual gameplay. Although I have little experience with past Tales games, this looks like quite the departure for the series, both in visuals and in gameplay. In fact, it kinda reminds me of Monster Hunter. If anything, this got me excited to try out past Tales games to prepare for this one, so hopefully it turns out good. It’s about time that I got into the series anyways.
Perhaps the biggest announcement during the conference was the new game being developed by From Software in collaboration with George R. R. Martin. This is a titan of a Japanese studio working with a world-renowned writer to deliver a Souls-like dark fantasy game, so I can definitely see why there’s so much hype for it. It makes me wonder how different the reaction would have been at E3 if the game hadn’t gotten leaked just a few days prior. I may not be the biggest fan of the Souls series, but I’m interested in seeing how this one shapes up.
And towards the end of the conference, Microsoft finally started talking about their new console. I had expected them to not reveal anything about it until next year, but given that Sony is already dropping specs for their new console, I can see why they felt compelled to at least give us a few hints. Granted, most of the specs they discussed are already something PC players have been enjoying for quite some time, so I can’t say I’m personally excited for the console, but I am at least happy that console gamers will finally get SSD speeds after all of these years. They also mentioned that the console would be able to support 8K output, but I wonder what kind of framerate we could expect with that. Given our current tech, I imagine it would be something like 10-20 fps, as running games in 4K is already a struggle even with the best components.
We’ll definitely be seeing a full reveal of the console this time next year along with its full launch lineup. They already revealed that Halo Infinite would be one of them, so I’m interested to see what they could possibly add to match that. Perhaps this is where we’ll see that heavily rumored Fable game that I had expected to show up at this conference. Regardless, given Microsoft’s new approach to PC gaming, I’m excited to see what will be available.
If I had to pick the worst conference this year, it would easily be Bethesda. Not only was it full of disappointing reveals and mobile games, but it really felt like they were just trying to milk their franchises for more money. Of course, this comes at the expense of delivering actually good games.
For example, the fact that people are excited about NPCs being added to Fallout 76 speaks volumes about how much of a mess that game was. For having “Fallout” in the title, it hardly looks like one. What’s even worse is that they followed this up with a battle royale mode, as if that is supposed to be any better. If anything, it just feels like they’re haphazardly adding and changing stuff in the game in an attempt to save it from total destruction, but it’s just so out of touch with what the series represents that it feels like they’re just milking it.
Fortunately, the new Doom and Wolfenstein at least looked okay. I’m not really into either series, so I can’t really speak for how they compare against the older ones, but they definitely looked like something I would at least try. The new game from Arkane also looked decent, but I really need to see some gameplay before deciding if I want to check it out or not.
The highlight of the conference though was easily the new game from Tango Gameworks, the same studio that brought us the two Evil Within games. Although no gameplay was shown (again, a continuing trend), I really liked the idea and presentation. It also definitely helped that the studio had their enthusiastic creative director deliver part of the presentation. Regardless, this is definitely the one shining light during Bethesda’s conference and one that I will be looking forward to playing.
PC Gaming Show
Following up Bethesda’s conference the next day was PC Gamer’s equally disappointing show. Granted, I half-expected this given that the show was being sponsored by the Epic Games Store and a lot of the games shown would be Epic Store exclusives. I had predicted that about half of the games shown would be exclusive and that prediction was pretty much right. Even then though, most of the games shown were already revealed, so we mostly just got some additional information and a few release dates. If I had to pick a highlight, it would be the final update video for Terraria, but the video was cut short during the conference for unknown reasons (probably technical).
If anything, I’ll remember this show for being the place where Shenmue III was revealed to be an epic exclusive. This is a game that was funded over $7 million through Kickstarter years ago and is just now making its way to release later this year, only to just now reveal that it’s going to be distributed through the Epic Games Store rather than Steam. Backers were previously given the option to choose between PS4 and Steam, so this sudden bait-and-switch has caused a lot of controversy, with many, many backers requesting refunds, and rightfully so. The following day it was revealed that no refunds were going to be given, so this is pretty much just a bad situation for everyone. I personally wasn’t that interested in the game, but I can definitely understand the controversy here.
I had also expected Age of Empires IV to show up here, especially given that the definitive versions of 1 and 2 were just announced. Unfortunately, it was a no-show, so I’m starting to wonder if something happened to the development or if we’ll just have to wait another year for news. Regardless, I am looking forward to the game, if it ever releases.
Ubisoft’s conference can easily be summed up as “a whole lotta Tom Clancy”. There was the new Ghost Recon, the new Rainbow Six stuff, and the new Division stuff. Sam Fisher, the protagonist from the Splinter Cell series, also made an appearance, in a mobile game featuring a bunch of different Tom Clancy series. So Ubisoft not only managed to completely destroy my hope for a new Splinter Cell reveal, but they took what little remained and ripped it into little pieces by revealing this mobile game instead.
Fortunately, the conference was not a total waste, as the new Watch_Dogs looked pretty cool and that new Gods & Monsters game from the Assassin’s Creed studio also looked interesting. We also got another Just Dance performance, and, while not as good as the parade they had last year, it was definitely a nice change of pace in a Clancy-heavy conference. It was also pretty surprising to see that this new Just Dance game would also be available on the Wii, a console that is now 13 years old. Seems like Ubisoft wants the Wii to take over the Atari 2600’s record for longest-lived console at 15 years. Whatever the case, it’s nice to see a console like this supported for so long.
Squre Enix had a pretty good conference this year, full of JRPGs and even more JRPGs. As a big JRPG fan, this was all very exciting to see, but throughout the livestream, it appeared that much of the Twitch chat forgot that Square Enix is mostly a JRPG company, as every new reveal was met with a mountain of bored emotes.
Regardless, they opened up strong with an extended look at the Final Fantasy VII remake. I never played the original, but I have seen enough to know that this remake looks like a completely different game. They’ve taken a more action-oriented route with regards to the combat, but also added this whole tactical side to it in an attempt to appeal to those that like the more traditional turn-based combat. It looked like a pretty good solution, a way to appeal to both sides. I’m a fan of both styles, so if I end up playing the game, I’ll definitely be making use of both. It is worth noting however, that this is only the first in a series of games meant to remake Final Fantasy VII, we still don’t know anything about the second or third, or anything beyond that.
They moved on from that to show off a variety of cool-looking JRPGs and a bunch of remasters. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles showed up, Last Remnant Remastered was announced and released, Dragon Quest Builders 2 was shown off, and there was even a remaster announced for Final Fantasy VIII. I was particularly excited for the announcements made with regards to the SaGa series. With the announcement of a Western release of both Romancing SaGa 3 and SaGa: Scarlet Grace, we will now have the entire SaGa series officially localized, with the exception of the mobile and browser game. As someone that has been wanting to get into the series (and has been listening to their soundtracks for years), this was excellent news.
The conference wrapped up with a look at Crystal Dynamics’ new Avengers game. Given that they really didn’t show any gameplay, I can’t say that I’m too excited for this one. Sure, the Avengers branding will definitely help market the game, but from what they showed, it really didn’t look all that interesting. It’s coming out in just under a year, so hopefully we can get a better look at the gameplay sometime soon.
One game I had expected to show up here was Babylon’s Fall, a new game from Platinum Games that was announced at this very conference last year. Given that it was also announced with a 2019 release date and that it didn’t show up here, it was probably delayed until sometime in 2020. Platinum is hard at work at several other projects (including both Astral Chain and Bayonetta 3), so this is at least understandable, but is disappointing regardless.
The last big event for this E3 was, as usual, the Nintendo E3 Direct and, as usual, Nintendo did a really good job with it. They opened by showing off the newest addition to Smash Bros. Ultimate, The Hero from the Dragon Quest series. I was half-expecting a Dragon Quest addition to Smash, but thought they would stick with the latest iteration of The Hero, the one from Dragon Quest XI. Instead, they gave us multiple versions, which is definitely a nice way to satisfy more DQ fans.
Now, while I thought this was a great addition to the game, the majority of the western Smash community thought otherwise. Immediately after its announcement, Reddit, Twitter, and other social media sites exploded with criticism, mostly in the form of “who cares about Dragon Quest” and “oh boy, another sword character”. Given how prolific Dragon Quest is in Japan, this was an obvious addition. I mean, Dragon Quest XI sold 2 million copies in its first two days, a number that took Persona 5 (the last DLC character) an entire year to reach. In the West though, Dragon Quest is simply not a popular series, hence this backlash.
However, Nintendo bounced right back at the end of their Direct with a Banjo-Kazooie announcement for smash, satisfying both the East and the West. In fact, Banjo-Kazooie is the first character from a western-created series to appear in the game, so this not only opens the door for other such characters, but shows that Nintendo considers both crowds in their game-making process. If anything, this just fuels the Steve meme further, as now it wouldn’t be that far-fetched to see him added.
Outside of Smash news, Nintendo did show off the new Animal Crossing, with a delay to 2020 as I had predicted. I’m constantly amazed by how Nintendo can keep such a simple concept fresh with this series. Now, instead of being a mayor, you’re stranded on a deserted island and tasked with building it up, all while paying off your debt to Tom Nook. As a fan of the series since its first entry, I’m definitely looking forward to playing this one.
And speaking of series I’m a fan of, they also showed off Luigi’s Mansion 3, the second sequel to one of my all-time favorite GameCube games. It looks like they are developing it more in the style of the first one rather than the second, which is definitely a plus in my book. While the second one was good, the first one was easily the best of the two. Perhaps it was because it was designed with one area in mind. This forces devs to really get creative with that one area, rather than spreading it out like they did in the second game. If it’s anywhere near as polished as the first, then this will definitely be one to keep a look out for.
They went on to reveal not only an English localization of the Mana Collection, but an English Localization of the Trials of Mana remake. I was only expecting the Mana Collection, but having the remake announced alongside it makes it that much better. As someone that was really looking forward to playing the Mana Collection when the Switch first came out, it’s about time we got it over here in the West. Having it release the same day it was announced was also a massive plus.
I had also expected Nintendo to reveal the new Switch models, but those did not make an appearance during this Direct. Given that the Wall Street Journal report had stated that two models would be coming this year, those are either going to be announced sometime soon or not at all. Perhaps their source fed them some bad information, we’ll have to wait and see. I was really looking forward to that console-only Switch model though.
Oh yeah, and they also revealed some Breath of the Wild sequel. I still got to get around to playing that one.
On top of the announcements made at the various conferences was a number of other games showed around the same time. For example, I had expected THQ Nordic to show up during Microsoft’s conference, but they were a no-show the entire event, instead revealing a few of their games the week leading up to it. Among these was one I have been waiting for: news regarding their Nickelodeon license and specifically what they would be doing with Battle for Bikini Bottom. I had expected a simple remaster, but they went above and beyond and announced a complete remake of the game. Being one of my all-time favorite games, this is easily one of my top E3 highlights. They haven’t announced a release date yet, but I at least hope its sometime within the next year.
EA also had its own event during E3. It wasn’t the conference that they usually do, but rather a series of smaller events to showcase specific games. The only one I honestly cared about was Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and, after watching the gameplay reveal, I cannot say I’m all that excited. It basically looks like a less fun The Force Unleashed. The combat looks kinda clunky, the puzzles look rather basic, and the fact that there’s no dismemberment just feels odd. If you strike a guy’s waist with a light saber, I would expect something more than a simple orange cut. I can only hope that it was turned down specifically for this livestream, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Given all of the JRPG stuff being revealed during the different press conferences, I had expected the Ni no Kuni Remaster to show up during one of them, as it was leaked a few days prior. Instead, Bandai Namco released a simple trailer to show it off and announced that it would be coming to PS4 and Steam. They also announced that it would be coming to Switch, but not in its remastered form. Instead, the Switch gets a straight PS3 port of the game. That’s pretty unfortunate for Switch owners, but I’m personally going to be picking it up on Steam. I had been wanting to play the second, but didn’t want to skip out on the first.
Also, that Dragon Quest news that I discussed in my predictions video ended up being a Dragon Quest version of Pokémon Go, titled Dragon Quest Walk. As someone that’s not really into mobile games, this was a bit disappointing, but at least the numerous other Dragon Quest announcements made during E3 kinda make up for it.
That pretty much wraps it up. We got a lot of cool reveals, a lot of which I’ll definitely be looking to cover once they release!