Update (9/19/2017): Simplified the post’s title. Original title was “E3 2017 Press Conferences: My Thoughts”
E3 2017 has come and gone and I can’t help but feel that it might have been the most lackluster E3 in years. This is arguably the biggest event for the video game industry; a time in the year to get all gamers excited for the future. Unfortunately, save for two companies, most of the companies that presented a press conference this year had hardly anything surprising or exciting to show this year. Every E3 has its fair share of predictable press conferences but this year especially felt so pedestrian.
With that said, here are my thoughts on each of the press conferences from worst to best.
I generally find EA’s E3 press conference to be one of the weakest ones every year and this year was no different. Do I have any distaste for franchises like Battlefield and FIFA? Not really but EA largely talks about the same old brands so very rarely do they impress, let alone surprise. The only game that really caught my attention was A Way Out. I’m really interested in how that game mandates cooperate play at all times. Other than that, EA did admittedly change their presentation a bit by inviting Youtubers over to present their games. It’s an interesting attempt to connect more with gamers though some of the people they had on stage didn’t seem fully prepared to give a speech.
I did admittedly like how Bethesda presented their press conference as a commercial to a theme park but the gimmick largely serves to hide how little Bethesda really had to show. For the most part, Bethesda just announced new features and modes for their pre-existing titles such as Doom, Fallout 4, and Elder Scrolls Online. It all looks neat but this is hardly the best use of an annual press conference watched by thousands to millions of people. The only exciting thing I got out of the conference was the reveal of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. I like what I played of The New Order and this new installment looks like it’ll deliver the same, frantic and twisted gameplay of its predecessor. Was that 8-minute reveal worth 30 minutes of Bethesda talking about the same old games? Not really.
Also, Bethesda announced Creation Club, a service that has you pay for mods. I have no idea why they think that is a good idea.
You’d think the official reveal of the Xbox One X, the most powerful console ever, would be the talk of the convention but only diehard Xbox fans seem sold on the machine. Microsoft just didn’t make a compelling case for it. First, $499.99 is a reasonable price for the console but it is also in addition to the cost of a 4K TV. Second, who exactly is this console for? There is no way parents will buy this over the S model for their kids and gamers who are obsessed with specs are more likely to invest in a high-end PC. And third, Microsoft revealed no exclusives for the X. All the games presented at the conference are multiplatform; even the titles published by Microsoft themselves is coming to the PC. I can’t deny that a game such as Anthem looks really pretty on the Xbox One X. I also can’t deny that the game is coming to the PS4 Pro and PC which also has 4K support.
Honestly, I was more impressed with OG Xbox backwards compatibility for the Xbox One family. LAN play across three different generations of Xbox consoles? I won’t lie, that is pretty cool.
There were admittedly high expectations for Sony this year. They’ve been really good these past couple of years and after duds like EA and Bethesda, we all hoped that Sony would blow our minds. Sony…didn’t exactly do that but they still showed some good titles.
I like what I saw of the new God of War and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. The announcement of a Shadow of the Colossus remake was pretty surprising. I was hoping that we’d get to see The Last of Us Part II at the end of the conference but it seems like that game is still very early in development. Spider-Man surprisingly made a good substitute however. Does it look a lot like the Batman: Arkham series? Yes but that gameplay formula seriously looked like it will work extremely well with Spidey.
Who would’ve thought Ubisoft would deliver one of the best press conferences this year. They’re generally as pedestrian as EA. And while Ubisoft did show the brands you’d expect every year like Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance, they surprisingly had a lot of surprises this year. Skull & Bones looks fun. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle looks way more interesting than it should be. And Beyond Good & Evil 2 is finally a thing that’s on the way after 15 years of speculation! I’m generally unimpressed with Ubisoft at E3 but this year, I have to admit: they did real good this time.
Also, I’m glad they didn’t invite Aisha Tyler to their press conference this year. I like Tyler in other things such as Archer but she was never a good host for the Ubisoft press conferences. Letting the devs do more of the talking was a good change.
I will wholeheartedly admit that Nintendo climbed to #1 for me simply because Super Mario Odyssey looks that amazing. Quantitatively, I think Ubisoft had more surprises up their sleeves but in terms of sheer excitement, Nintendo just won me over with that latest Mario trailer. I thought open-world level design and hat throwing was the main points of interest with Odyssey. And to the surprise of me and everyone else, Nintendo proves us wrong the second they showed Mario possessing a frog with his hat. Taking control of enemies, NPCs, and objects is such a weird idea but it’s one that could effectively reinvent the Mario franchise in a fun and refreshing direction.
Besides Mario, Nintendo did announce a lot of other cool stuff. As a huge Xenoblade fan, I am personally looking forward to Xenoblade Chronicles 2. There is also the reveal of Metroid Prime 4. The trailer only showed the logo but just knowing that a new Metroid Prime is in development is bound to excite a lot of Metroid fans.