People talk every year about which company “wins E3” by showing off the best games or the games that everyone wants to see during their press conferences, and in a year without Sony showcasing titles like The Last of Us II or Ghost of Tsushima, it was anybody’s show for the taking.
Now with only Nintendo left to go, it really looks like the Big N is ready to clean house by showing off even just a few of the titles that fans are expecting at the E3 Direct presentation.
EA is still EA
EA showed off some pretty cool stuff for Jedi: Fallen Order, letting players get the first look at what a post-Star Wars Episode III world means for a Jedi and any faction who stands against the growing Empire. That gameplay got fans hyped, but after that EA Play turned into the same old thing, we get every year, rehashing some yearly titles with a few updates sprinkled in.
The Apex Legends news was awesome, but then it was just a slog to get through the dull sections revolving around Battlefield V, Fifa 20, and Madden 2020. Not to mention the Sims 4 blowout that I know did something for fans but did nothing for anyone else.
Xbox missed the big hit
With that done, we rolled into Xbox the next day.
If there was anyone that needed to make a statement, it was Microsoft and they failed to hit the home-run they had set up. They showed 60 games, announced Game Pass for PC opening the beta that day, and showcasing some of what Project xCloud and Xbox Scarlett will be.
Games like Halo Infinite, Elden Ring, and Cyberpunk 2077 highlighted the show – shout out to Keanu Reeves stealing the show and the internet’s heart. But with most of these games and the Scarlett console not coming out until 2020, it is hard to give them any extra credit despite the awesome service that is Game Pass.
Bethesda insults but provides
With the potential biggest hitter out of the way and leaving fans hungry for more, Bethesda came out and almost slapped fans in the face before giving them what they wanted.
No direct apology for the mess that was the Fallout 76 launch, an unnecessary amount of time spent on mobile games that felt stilted, and an atmosphere that made the whole conference feel like there were 20 Bethesda plants in the audience to cheer brought everything else down a lot. Doom Eternal looks every bit as good everyone expects it to be, the content coming to Fallout 76 is going to make players happy again, and new projects like “Deathloop” and the Orion software collective all look awesome.
Can Devolver get crazier?
The last bits brought it back up for an overall solid show, but Devolver Digital absolutely killed it in the wee hours of the night.
A 20-minute show that somehow kept the story going from the previous two years while parodying Nintendo and themselves made for some quality entertainment. They didn’t announce many games, only really showcasing four titles, including the Devolver Bootleg collection and Carrion, but it was enough to satisfy those who watched.
We need companies like Devolver to keep being quirky and weird, bringing the indie titles to the masses by hosting more conferences within the mind of their technically dead CEO – yes, that was a serious sentence. Without them calling out the corporate ploys and generic statements, things would stagnate and get boring.
PC Gamer shines
Monday kicked off with PC Gamer talking about all sorts of smaller games that needed some time to shine, including one outstanding title that looks like Prop Hunt but based on the Ghostbusters.
Midnight Ghost Hunt looks like an absolute blast, and other titles like Shenmue III, Starmancer, and Chivalry II highlighted a fantastic showing of titles that wouldn’t have made much of a splash elsewhere. It was a great warmup for the day and brought a lot of light to titles that truly deserved to shine in front of a large crowd.
Ubisoft sure likes services
Games as services is nothing new and Ubisoft can be considered the kings of that field, they showed off a handful of titles that are already out and will be getting new content in the coming months.
I can’t fault them for sticking to the titles that are making them money, and the new Ghost Recon Breakpoint stuff looked awesome, but the Division 2 stuff looked off, there was nothing about Beyond Good and Evil 2, and the only game that got me excited actually to play them were Gods & Monsters and Roller Champions. Everything else was either not for me or poorly presented – and why is there never any Rayman?!
Kinda Funny kinda kills it
I love indies. The Kinda Funny Games Showcase showed me some cool indies that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
I am picking up a handful of smaller titles like Freedom Finger, Police Stories, and Warborne because of the showcase and I am sure it helped a lot of games with no budget for marketing get out in front of thousands of people. So many unique games were shown that I couldn’t help but call what Greg Miller and the team at Kinda Funny did a success – but take it worth a grain of salt since I am a KFBF myself.
Regardless of my allegiances, cool games are cool and they had them to show in a short 45-minute presentation.
Square was almost there
I was so excited to see what Square Enix was going to show for Final Fantasy VI, and I was still blown away by the sheer amount of content, fan service, and just utterly awesome gameplay we saw from the remake.
My goosebumps from that opening 15 minutes held for the next 10, letting Square get by with some pretty boring and unnecessary stuff in that time, but if you are going to fill Sony’s spot, you need to come with more than that. Final Fantasy VIII finally getting a remaster is awesome, other games getting remasters and content drops is amazing, but showing what boils down to commercials for already released games with no new info isn’t going to fly.
Sorry Dragon Quest Builders 2, Octopath Traveler, and most egregiously, Dragon Quest XI – I mean we didn’t even get a Switch release date! That along with the somewhat mixed reception to Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers game and a lack of proper gameplay shown muddled the last bit of the show.
Nintendo hoists the trophy
All of that build up and recapping was leading to the simple idea that all Nintendo has to do at their Direct is show one or two titles that fans expect to see and they will win the week.
Forget Animal Crossing, Bayonetta 3, and whatever Metroid related bits they might have ready. All they need is a bit more from Pokémon Sword and Shield and a deep dive on Luigi’s Mansion 3 to really pull away from the pack. But they always have more to show, which is why this is a guaranteed win for them.
Show off some weird new indie games, give people a look at all of the stuff mentioned above, give some info for Astral Chain and a release date for Daemon X Machina. There isn’t a limit to what else could be shown, but the point still stands. Nintendo is walking away as the winner this year – and it won’t even be close.
Just imagine if they do Pokémon, Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing, and then announce another huge title. This isn’t even taking into account the fact we were guaranteed an announcement for the next Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC fighter by Masahiro Sakurai on Saturday. Some companies put on a good show, but the Big N isn’t here to take second place.
The Nintendo E3 Direct is going to be wild, and you can watch it at 11 am CT.