Best and Worst of E3

After months of waiting and anticipation, gamers rejoiced this week as the leading industry developers showcased their upcoming titles for the fall season and beyond. There were leaks, new consoles, long awaited sequels, and new franchises galore. Let’s breakdown the best and worst of E3 2016.BestSony E3 Press Conference
All Sunday and Monday, press conferences from various companies had been leaked all over internet. Microsoft was the biggest victim, having their whole entire show leaked on twitter two hours prior to show time. So by the time Sony took the stage at 9PM Monday evening, folks wondered if all the joy and wonder from this year’s E3 was gone. It wasn’t. Even though the rumors of a Nordic setting for God of War proved to be correct, the five minute demo completely captured the crowd’s attention in a way most thought was no longer possible for the franchise. Horizon Zero Dawn’s gameplay demo seemed like the beginning of a new instant classic. Additionally there were surprises, such as the reveal of a Days Gone, a new post-apocalyptic game that feels like Sons of Anarchy meets The Walking Dead. Even legendary developer Hideo Kojimi showed up to party to reveal the first glimpse of his first project since leaving Konami. Despite only showing three games coming this fall, Sony’s press conference managed to reinforce the narrative that PlayStation is a place for great games.Xbox Scorpio
Phil Spencer and Microsoft have come to a tough conclusion; no matter how hard they try, the Xbox One in it’s current state has absolutely zero chance at beating the PlayStation 4 in America or abroad. In a return to form, Spencer has done what often lead to the best success for the Xbox platform: commit to an idea fully and put out the best product possible. The Xbox Scorpio will be coming next fall and its reveal completes the change in narrative the company has over gone the past three years. Gone are the days of Kinect and a focus of entertainment. They have been replaced by the idea that Xbox will produce a system that you want, that will lead the industry in terms of ability and raw power, and that will reward Xbox patrons for their loyalty. While any new iteration of a home console is a significant risk, this feels like a wise one for Microsoft. I can’t wait to see Scorpio’s full reveal next year.South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Ubisoft’s press conferences often feel like a thing from the past. It’s hosted by celebrities, and often features developers who’s biggest concern seems to be communicating the idea that their game is something completely new and revolutionary. So when South Park began it’s segment by introducing a fake 90 second trailer to setup a single punchline, it felt like Ubisoft for a fleeting moment had caught up to the rest of the industry. Matt Stone and Trey Parker took to the stage to show how their focus has shifted from fantasy role playing games to instead the world super hero films. The reason for the shift: Cartman wants to make a billion dollars by setting up his own three phase super hero cinematic universe for Coon and Friends. Listening to him pitch the idea to his fellow “friends” feel like the perfect satirical response to the current industry. It goes to a whole new level though when some of the boys disagree with Cartman’s outline.Prey
I’m probably one of the few people I know that played the original Prey when it came out back in 2006. While the game didn’t sell great, the original Prey felt like something that was truly revolutionary and ahead of its time. When the sequel was cancelled a few years back, I figured that was the end of series. Every now and then though, the games industry surprises you, and things that were unappreciated during their time are given new wings. Prey’s reveal at Bethesda’s press conference immediately grabbed my attention. The fact that Arkane Studios, makers of Dishonored, are making the game only heightened my excitement. The glimpse of what may be a new version of the Sphere and the idea of it running experiments on humans brought my focus to fanboy levels. Let’s hope the game lives up to its predecessor.WorstEA’s Fake Trailers
Not everything about EA’s press conference was terrible (Fe is worth a look if you haven’t seen the trailer) but there was a common tone when it came time to talk about future projects for the company. Instead of demoing anticipated titles like Mass Effect Andromeda or producing genuine teasers for its upcoming Star Wars games, EA instead decided to produce two minute videos featuring about a minute and fifty seconds of developers talking about their game and around ten seconds of actual game footage. I understand that producing demos and videos for E3 is a taxing task for developers. I also understand that games are not always in a state where it’s in the best interest of the company to show them to the general public. That said, there is a simple answer for that: DON’T SHOW THE GAME. I would rather EA had instead broadcast the a match of Battlefield 1 they showed on their YouTube page after their press conference than watch another clip of some random artist drawing a Tie Fighter.Minecraft Stage Demo
I understand the necessity for Microsoft to show Minecraft at E3 each year. Regardless of how tired you may be of the game, Minecraft is the cash cow that keeps on giving. Announcing skin packs like the cities one shown on stage, will likely produce more cash than many of the games demoed at any of the conferences. That said, Minecraft’s demo will be long remembered not for the content shown off, but for the terrible stage banter between the various presenters on stage. The two main presenters seemed so enthusiastic about the DLC for the game that you began to wonder if their continued employment with the company was dependent on the sales for the content reaching a certain threshold. About the time I began to wonder if this could get any worse, legendary game designer and creator of Doom, John Carmack showed up in full VR gear, demonstrating the same level of enthusiasm as his two main stage counterparts as he traversed their digital world. Let’s hope Microsoft drops moments like these from its future shows and instead focuses on producing informative trailers.Dishonored 2
Geek Versus Games co-host Jonathan Barron probably wants to hit me right now, but hear me out first. I can’t wait for Dishonored 2 to be released this fall. That said, Bethesda built both its press conference and its fall lineup around the release of Dishonored 2. For a game that sold around 3 million copies in it’s initial installment, Bethesda has placed a lot of hope in the franchise and as such needed a good showing if it planned to move the title in to the realm of major franchise. While there was nothing alarming during Bethesda’s 12 minute showing for the game, the demonstration felt longwinded. By the time we actually reached the actual combat demo, my attention had begun to wane. If my attention was waning and I was a fan of the series, I have to wonder if Bethesda had already lost the attention of potential newcomers. Additionally I saw no moment that was truly memorable from the experience. Bethesda plans to release the game in November, when the market is flooded with content. Part of me fears that Dishonored 2 will get lost among the Watch Dogs, Battlefields and Call of Duties of the season, which is a shame because the game may end up being better than any of those titles.Nintendo
There was nothing disappointing or bad about Nintendo’s demo of The Legend of Zelda. I can’t wait to give it a try if I decide to pick up the Nintendo NX. That said, for a company that is struggling in the eyes of gamers, Nintendo did itself no favors this year by basically skipping this E3 and delaying any talk about its new console. Given that Sony didn’t show the PlayStation Neo and that Microsoft only announced its Scorpio project, Nintendo wasted a perfect opportunity to take center stage and remind gamers why they care about the company with its NX console. Additionally, while there are no new Wii U games of note to show for the fall, Nintendo could of used E3 to demonstrate its upcoming mobile titles and reveal new games for the 3DS. Instead they completed conceded their mindshare for the biggest week in gaming to Microsoft and Sony.What did you like and dislike about E3? Leave a comment below. For more news and reaction to E3, check out this week’s episode of Geek Versus Games. Game On!

What Are Your Thoughts?