It’s now been just over a month since E3 2018 came to a close. Now that I have fully rested from late nights (among other activities outside of E3) I believe it would be a good time to reflect on this year Electronic Entertainment Expo.
From EA’s unenthusiastic kickoff, to Nintendo’s extensive Smash Bros. reveal, you can find out what I thought of E3 2018, after the break. Be warned, the following will be in depth
Depending on your views, EA are probably the most prone to critique from the gaming community. Not only have they had a questionable past in regards to microtransactions or whether or not they support Nintendo platforms, but they are also the ones who open up the marathon of gaming conferences at E3, which may feel like a lot of responsibility.
When coming into EA’s conference, there were a few things which I was mainly looking forward to… okay maybe just one, Anthem. By the end of the conference however, it turns out that EA delivered a couple of extra surprises which piqued my interest, they were in the form of two brand new indie titles: Unravel 2 and Sea of Solitude. One thing in particular that struck me wasn’t how good those two games looked (and they looked good), but rather how enthusiastic the presenters came across. You could definitely tell that those projects are close to them; I love that!
One thing which was disheartening, and embarrassing, though was the fact that several Nintendo’ fans’ have been very harsh comments on the fact that Unravel 2 is not coming to Switch (or at least not yet). Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand how some people (myself included) may feel disgruntled that it is not coming to the Switch, the characters both replicate the JoyCon colours, and the co-op gameplay would be perfect for Switch, but I’ve seen some pretty harsh comments. People need to remember that different developers develop games in different ways. They stated how they want to bring it to Switch yet a lot of work needs to be done.
Other than that, not a lot else really interested me with the EA conference. It was sweet to finally see some Anthem gameplay, though the Q&A session didn’t seem necessary. I enjoyed the Q&A session, but it felt it could’ve waited until the aftershow, that way even more questions could’ve been answered. Battlefield V’s Battle Royale kinda looked cool, but I never really got into the series, and FIFA 19 just looked pretty much the same as 18 but with UEFA content. One thing which did seem a bit cheeky however was when EA was talking about streaming games and they used the slogan ‘anytime and anywhere’… was that a shot at the Nintendo Switch?
Every year I set myself up to fail with Microsoft’s conferences. I’m always hoping that Rare will bring back Banjo with a new game. This year was no different I even had a little joke prediction that Phil will present a Smash Bros. character reveal trailer with Banjo and Kazooie! Luckily, Microsoft actually had quite a few games which looked interesting to me, so it was so much salt in the wound after all.
It was definitely nice to see a new Halo game in the form of Halo Infinite, though it is still covered in a veil of mystery. Some fans have voiced some concern that it looks like Halo Infinite could be open world, and even though I wouldn’t mind too much, I can understand why longtime fans would be upset about this. It is worth bearing in mind however, that all we have seen from Infinite is a cinematic teaser… nothing else.
Other than Mario Kart, I’m not much of a racing fan, but I do have to say, Forza Horizon 4 does look absolutely gorgeous. I never really looked too much into the previous Horizon games, but Forza Horizon 4 may just convince me to rev up in an open world Britain.
Back in 2015, when first announced, Sea of Thieves looked very interesting but unfortunately I quickly forgot about it simply because of getting busy with other games and whatnot. The announcement of two new major updates, ‘Cursed Sails’ and ‘Forsaken Shores’ recently brought bak my attention towards the seafaring game. Funnily enough, I just bought a couple months of Xbox’s Game Pass and gave Sea of Thieves a download. So far I’m loving it, so I really cannot wait to tackle undead crews and new islands later this year. By the by, if anyone wishes to join me in my piratey adventures, my Xbox Gamertag is LJFletcher!
I never got into the Gears of War games myself, but I’ve always been meaning to, and what a better time to do so with three new Gears of War announcements. There are two spinoff games coming, one for mobile called Gears POP, and one for Windows 10 which is a top down strategy title called Gears Tactics. The big Gears announcement however, is the continuation of the main story in Gears 5. Though it still seems to prove that some men are intimidated by strong female leads, luckily the people who are all for it seem to have out-vocalised the misogynists! I’ll definitely be looking forward to Gears 5 dropping next year on Xbox Game Pass.
I’ve yet to try out Cuphead, and at the rick of throwing my controller at my monitor, I still want to try it out. It looks like when I do get the chance, the game will have even more content to play as StudioMDHR announced the new DLC coming out next year, The Delicious Last Course. It was also nice to see Cyberpunk 2077 talked about again which was originally announced in 2012. No release date has been announced, but I wouldn’t be surprised it the name alludes to it at all. Oh, and it was also a surprise to see that, after 30 years, Battletoads will be receiving a brand new game next year.
One other thing which is pretty exciting, is the fact that Microsoft are already working on their next generation console, not much else was said about it though.
Of course there were other titles such as Devil May Cry 5, which has fans drooling with it’s revival, and Just Cause 4, but they haven’t really caused too much interest with myself, at least not quite yet. Either way, Microsoft definitely had a big showing with a lot of games, and also proves that they may have more exclusives than we thought after all.
Bethesda having their own conference is a new development in recent years, and this years may have been their best yet. They may have not talked about as many games as Microsoft did, but they pretty much made a new announcement (or talked about recent announcements) on nearly every major IP they own, announced a brand new IP, and had a lot of showmanship.
Introducing Rage 2, while rocking the half-skinny white jeans (they’re tight on his thighs which makes them skinny to me), was Andrew W.K. to serenade fans with some hard rock n’ roll… too bad the majority of the audience weren’t too into it, if I were there I would totally be rocking out! I never played the original Rage, but I now understand why Rage 2 is all the rage with fans, it looks like a bloody insane game. Cannot wait to try it out next Spring.
Then came Elder Scrolls Legends, which is actually a highly addictive strategy card game. Not only will it be relaunching with upgraded visuals and content, but the company also announced that the game will be arriving on all current gen consoles, including the Nintendo Switch. My phone’s battery is very thankful for this, though somehow I don’t think the battery for my Switch will be!
Elder Scrolls Online is yet another title which I have yet to experience, and after enjoying Skyrim on the Switch so much, perhaps now is the time to join the ESO community. If anything will convince me to sign up though, it would be the newly announced DLC, Wolfhunter, which involves werewolves. If anyone knows me well, they should know that I love werewolves, not the ones in Twilight though… they suck. Additionally, there is another DLC coming out called Murkmire, which will explore more of the Black Marsh region.
Yet another exciting announcement, Doom is getting a brand new sequel in Doom Eternal. I definitely enjoyed the reboot from 2016, so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for new Doom Eternal details at Quakecon 2018 in August. Which reminds me, I still need to write my reviews for Doom and Skyrim for the Nintendo Switch (the delay was due to personal reasons… some of you already know about it), sorry Bethesda, I’ll get right onto it… please don’t trap me in the world of Doom, those demons will use my bones as toothpicks!
A new trailer for Quake Champions was also revealed, never really played Quake before, but may give it a try when it comes out… I’ll probably be crap at it though! It was also announced that Wolfenstein is getting another sequel/spin off in Wolfenstein Youngblood. Not much was revealed other than a trailer and the fact that it will be a co-op experience revolving around BJ’s twin sisters. Yet another franchise I’ve yet to play, but maybe that will change with Wolfenstein II’s release on Nintendo Switch later this month. Yet another Wolfenstein game was revealed, but this time it will be a VR experience in Wolfenstein Cyberpilot, where you play as a hacker who can hack Nazi robots. As Pete Hines explains, it adds to their “never-ending quest to say ‘Fuck You’ to Nazis on as many platforms as possible”.
What’s with all the games that I’ve never tried but really want to now, either way add Prey to the list. Not only have they announced (and released on the same day) free content including Story Mode, New Game +, and Survival Mode, but they also revealed some new paid DLC. First of all, you need to find a way to escape the moon, but each time you play the environment is different in Prey: Moon Crash. Can’t go wrong when the trailer is accompanied by a bit of Dead or Alive. Additionally, later in the Summer, Prey will also be getting a multiplayer mode too in the form of Typhon Hunter. This mode is essentially an elaborate version of Hide and Seek, one person has the job of finding the other five players who all happen to be mimics. It’s definitely great seeing the amount of post game content being added to the title, and should hopefully get the time to pick it up in the near future! Oh, the multiplayer mode mode, along with a brand new story, will also be playable in VR, but details on this were scarce.
Then the moment I’ve been waiting for, even more so than Fallout 76, and that’s what device will be receiving Skyrim next. One thing I like about Bethesda is the fact that they know what the community says about them, both the good and the bad, and that they can joke about it. Enter Skyrim Very Special Edition. Who’s a better person to introduce it that Key and Peele’s Keegan-Michael Key, for Amazon Alexa! How could Bethesda take the joke even further? By actually releasing a playable version of Skyrim for Amazon Alexa, yes they actually did!
Now they’ve gone over to Fallout 76! Thanks to Todd Howards guest appearance at the XBOX conference, we already found out that the game is set in West Virginia, before all the other Fallout games, and we also had a first look at the tailer. That, however, only scratches the surface. The biggest announcement is probably the fact that Fallout 76 will be completely online, and all of the other vault dwellers you encounter on your adventure will be real people. Luckily there won’t be too much overcrowding, as Mr Howard mentioned how each server will have dozens, not hundreds; ‘it’s the wasteland, not an amusement park’. It was also announced that there will still be a story with lots of quests that you can tackle solo, but it may become less difficult if you group up with friends.
Some people may have not liked settlement building, but I’m really happy to see the return of the mechanic in Fallout 76, hopefully it’s gotten an upgrade too. Oh, watch out though, if you piss someone enough, they may be inclined to take on the difficult task of stealing nuclear launch codes and cause a localised fallout on your homestead. You can, of course, choose to do the same if you so wish, and then see if there’s anything valuable to loot.
I’m so excited for Fallout 76, I’ve already planned to put myself into more crippling debt by pre-ordering the Power Armour Edition. Not only does it come with the Break-it Early Test Application (B.E.T.A) as with every preorder, but it also comes with a map of the world, ‘that glows in the fucking dark’, figurines to put onto the map, a carrying bag, and a steelbook. Oh, did I also mention it comes with a wearable Power Armour helmet complete with voice modulation, LED head-lamp, and V.A.T sound effects… I’m basically not planning on eating for about two months, it’ll be worth it though. Additionally, I can reconstitute any lost weight with Christmas dinner, as Fallout 76 comes release a month and a half before then on the 14th November 2018.
Back to Elder Scrolls, Bethesda went on to announce a new title in the series, and it wasn’t Elder Scrolls 6. They announced Elder Scrolls: Blades, an ES game built primarily for mobile devices, with promises that it will also release for other consoles as well as a range of VR devices too. As a free-to-play game, it looks pretty sick, so I’m looking forward to trying it out in the Autumn, perhaps even earlier if I am successful in the early access promo.
For the first time in 25 years, Bethesda went on to announce a brand new IP, Starfield, which will be a new single-player experience. What was pretty exciting in particular, was the fact that Todd Howard mentioned that the game is built for the next generation. This means that the ninth generation is nearly upon us. If that wasn’t enough, Bethesda announced yet another game, however this time it is a game that has been asked about for a very long time… Elder Scrolls 6! The crowd went wild, and I can understand their excitement. Obviously, it looks like the games probably will not release until about 2020 at the earliest, but it’s fantastic to see the reveals anyway.
Bethesda really had a bit of everything for everyone just about, and is probably the first time in a hile where I have been really excited about everything that has been talked about in a conference. I also loved how Bethesda’s conference was presented too, from Andrew W.K rocking out to Rage 2 all the way to how Pete and Todd knowing how to speak to us gamers, I’m pretty sure Bethesda won E3 for me.
I’m going to be completely honest here, the Square Enix presentation was one of two presentations that I didn’t really pay much attention to, so I won’t have a lot to say about the presentation. It was a bit exciting to see some new gameplay of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, as well as to finally get a release date for Kingdom Hearts 3, but other than that very little interested me personally from the presentation. This is probably for the best however, as so far I’m probably going to spend about £800 or so on everything mentioned in E3!
Ubisoft can be a bit hit or miss with me, but either way I usually look forward to their conferences. They started with a right ol’ bang with a dance troop to promote Just Dance 2019. Now, not everyone likes Just Dance, but I’m not one of those people, so I really enjoyed Ubi’s opening. That choreography looked brilliant!
Beyond Good and Evil is yet another title which I never got into, but that cinematic trailer and gameplay for Beyond Good and Evil 2 looked really good, so it may be something I need to try out. Good thing that it is technically a prequel too, so there is likely no story continuation from the previous game… which was released 15 years ago. Still no word on a release date though. What was interesting is the fact that Ubi are really pushing user generated content. They invited fans to submit their own content to use in BGE2, such as art and music, through the Hit Record service. I seem how some view this as just a way for Ubi to use content with paying for the creation, but it’s still pretty cool to get fans involved on this scale anyway.
Trials Rising looks pretty ridiculous but in a good way, and might be the game to get me into the series… yup, it’s another one of those games I never got around to playing. I may have been less informed, but at least my wallet didn’t hate me as much! Anywho, it was also nice to see the game is coming to Switch too… that scripted fall was still awkward though.
Skull and Bones actually looks really interesting, I cannot believe that I missed out on its announcement last year in 2017. It essentially looks a bit like Sea of Thieves, but a lot more realistic and with a lot more depth it seems. I especially love the fact that you can disguise your ship to look like another fleet. In a way it also looks like a bit of a spiritual successor to Assassin’s Creed Black Flag… sorta. Either way, I signed up for the closed beta!
I remember when Starlink was revealed last year and thinking it looked fairly interesting, and thought it was a good idea to make customisation through physical figures optional a good idea. That way you don’t have to spend much money to unlock all the content, from what I understand that is. One aspect of the new trailer that was really exciting however is through a brand new collaboration with Nintendo by introducing Fox McCloud of Star Fox into Star Link. It was really cute seeing Miyamoto’s reaction when called up on-stage to receive a prototype Arwing figure for Starlink, I love those sort of moments!
Of course, the original Ubisoft and Nintendo crossover was Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, which released last Summer. It was an absolutely fantastic title which combined the best of two worlds and some really solid tactical gameplay. The title also has a piece of DLC that only released this week, so of course they wanted to talk about that. Well, they didn’t really talk about it, instead they got one of my favourite composers on-stage to conduct the music to accompany a new trailer for the DLC pack. I really cannot wait to play through this adventure, which I have heard is pretty big, about the size of two thirds of the base game!
Finally, the new Assassin’s Creed game was announced… you know, the one which got leaked from a keyring: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. This new adventure takes place in Ancient Greese. The new title promises that you will be able to ‘shape your odyssey’ depending on the choices you make. One of the first choices you make, which is the first for the series, is whether your character is male or female. The game really does look beautiful, so it will be another title I’ll be looking forward to play.
Ubisoft’s conference obviously wasn’t as spectacular as Bethesda’s, but it still felt like a very good conference with several interesting games being talked about and a smashing intro. Only thing missing from the conference however, and that was Aisha Tyler. I loved her hosting the previous conferences at E3, and this has been the second year she has been absent from the show. I understand she probably has other commitments, but still, the show isn’t the same to me without her. Other than that, it was a generally good show!
Surprise surprise that the PC Gaming Show was the other presentation I didn’t really pay much attention to, but that’s simply down to the fact that, other than Starcraft, Planet Coaster, and Civilisation, I don’t really do PC gaming all that much. Saying that however, there were a couple titles which interested me in this conference.
The first being Satisfactory. I just love simulation games with crafting, it’s so easy to get caught up in those. I also love games which are set in beautiful SciFi environments, so Satisfactory is essentially the best of both worlds in my eyes. Maybe with a bit of luck it will be able to run on my computer, or at the very least may have a console release… if I’m lucky. Additionally, the game is also being made by Coffee Stain Studios, you know the guys who made the oddly hilarious Goat Simulator, and that futuristic shooter/tower defence game called Sanctum. They’re good guys!
At first, Maneater seemed okay, but not that interesting for me. It simply just looked like it was just another arcade game where you play as a shark eating people, however once it was revealed that it is an open world RPG (or SharkPG), then things started to get interesting. We have been promised a shark skill tree, a massive open world, and even a fully overarching story, so I may just have to keep my eyes peeled for Maneater.
Sable looks like a completely beautiful and unique indie game. I’m in love with that art style, and the aim of the game definitely seems like a nice change. The game is an open world exploration game. There’s no combat and no danger, instead you can just focus exploring the lush environment at a relaxing pace on your hoverbike. Definitely going to be on the lookout for this one!
Just because not many games interested me doesn’t mean that it was bad. Overall the PC Gaming Show was pretty good, there were plenty of games shown off in their 90 minute conference. It had a good format and the presenters were great. It just felt a bit like something was missing or that it could benefitted by something a little special rather than just interviews and trailers.
It’s time for Sony, which is another one I generally get excited about. This year’s setup is rather interesting as there are two locations for the conference. Everyone starts off in a large makeshift church to set the scene for a specific game, and then everyone is taken to the main hall. I just hope that the seats attendees are sitting on are more comfy than church pews. Additionally, nice Kingsman reference there Mr. Layden. That introductory banjo performance by Gustavo Santaolalla was pretty nice, and the sombre sound leads well into the first game at Sony’s E3 conference.
The first game was of course The Last of Us: Part II. I’ll admit something right now, I own the game myself, but I’ve yet to actually play it, not that I don’t want to, I really do, but other things have gotten in the way. Anywho, not only does the gameplay look wonderfully bleak, but it looks like there is LGBT+ representation, which is always nice to have in video games… or just in general! The gameplay itself looks very smooth and somewhat realistic. Want to get back that arrow you shot at someone? You’ll have to take a bit of time to rip it from their corpse. I’ll definitely be looking forward to The Last of Us: Part II.
There were a few others games which we only saw a small glimpse of, but still looked interesting to me, such as Control. We also finally got an announcement that Resident Evil 2 HD is coming, and it’s coming in January 2019. I’ll likely be getting that, assuming I can actually get through the first hour of the original Resident Evil remake!
One game which I’ve definitely been looking forward to, and one that is cloaked in mystery, even after it’s lengthly trailer at E3 this year, is Death Stranding. The new trailer was definitely bizarre, and doesn’t shed a lot about the game, yet still increases the anticipation further. What kind of game is it even, a horror/scifi delivery boy simulator? Who knows, either way I’ll be looking forward to the game… if it comes out in my lifetime.
Not much else was of interest to me in the Sony conference, even though there were some hotly anticipated titles such as Spiderman. To be honest, though there were a few games that I’m looking forward to, I didn’t find Sony’s conference to exciting. I almost think that it shouldn’t even have been a stage show, as there was very little in terms of people actually talking about the game, it would have been better off as a video presentation instead. The slow pacing at the beginning didn’t help either.
Last, but not least, we come to Nintendo’s E3 Direct presentation. Similar to the previous years, the Kyoto based company opted for a video presentation rather than a stage show, focusing on games releasing over the next six to eight months. They started with the announcement of Daemon X Machina, which probably has the furthest away release date in the entire presentation. Though it doesn’t quite look like my cup of tea (this may change when we hear more about it), it still looks like a cool fast faced title.
One title which gave me a big surprise, and was even a wildcard in my E3 2018 Bingo, was Super Mario Party. After I was very disappointed with Mario Party The Top 100, Super Mario Party really looks like it will revitalise my faith in the series with the return of the traditional board game gameplay… none of that vehicle nonsense. The game also looks like it will find new ways for multiplayer on the Nintendo Switch, like being able to place two consoles together with different orientations to create a battlefield. Not long to wait either as the game launches at the beginning of October, a mere three months away!
The new Fire Emblem, Three Houses, also looks really good. It definitely will be a nice change to be able to freely roam around towns rather than be limited to just point and click. What also looks neat is the fact that you can have squads of guards aid you in battle. I really cannot wait to play Fire Emblem: Three Houses next Spring!
Though it’s reveal for the Nintendo Switch wasn’t so much a surprise thanks to everyone who leaked it, but Fortnite was definitely a welcome addition to the Switch library. So was the Octo Expansion, when it got a surprise launch a couple days later. There were lots of titles which were featured in the sizzle reel, but some of the games felt as if they could’ve gotten their own little trailer or segment, rather than three to ten seconds of footage in the reel.
More than half of the presentation was centred around Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch. Super Smash Bros. news is always welcome, especially when it is filled with new announcements, but the segment felt like it could’ve been cut down by about five to ten minutes, or maybe they could’ve left some of the announcements for a Smash Bros. centric direct later in the year like they did for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Either way though, the segment had lots of exciting announcements.
Probably the best announcement is the fact that Ultimate will include every single playable character from each and every entry in the series, that includes the Ice Climbers and Snake, which did not make the cut in the previous game. Oh, also Ridley has joined the roster too, along with Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl! The game will also come with a lot of the older stages, but not all. Those which are included have been fully remastered to look absolutely gorgeous on the Nintendo Switch; no corners cut in this iteration.
Though it may not have been the E3 from Nintendo I was expecting, it wasn’t too bad to be completely honest. A lot of the time, we forget that Nintendo has a habit of making announcements throughout the entire year through Nintendo Directs, and sometimes even at other non-E3 events, heck, Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo Switch was first announced and revealed during the March Nintendo Direct earlier this year.
Ultimately, Nintendo delivered what they promised, a Nintendo Direct which would focus on Super Smash Bros. and other Switch games which are coming out over the next few months. Only improvement I would’ve made would be to cut the Smash Bros. segment by about ten minutes to allow segments for some of the games from the sizzle reel.
E3 2018 was pretty good, but I felt that it wasn’t really as exciting as it could have been. There were a lot of great announcements, reveals, and coverage, but it just felt like that special spark was missing this year from most of the stage shows.
If I had to pick the three best events of E3 2018, I would probably pick, Bethesda, Nintendo, and Microsoft, with Bethesda being the best of E3 this year. Not only did Bethesda talk about just about every franchise they own, but their stage show was probably the most exciting, and I really got a sense that they know how to talk to their fans!
There is a possibility that this years E3 could potentially allude to next year’s E3 being quite a big year. Both Microsoft and Bethesda have mentioned that the next generation of gaming is coming. Microsoft briefly revealed that they are already working on their next generation console, and Bethesda mentioned that The Elder Scrolls 6 and Starfield are being developed for the ‘next generation’. Fingers crossed we get our first glimpse of the next generation in 2019!
What were your thoughts of E3 this year? Looking forward to next year? Tell us in the comments below!