Its convention season! Every year, summertime is the time fans, companies and marketing teams come together to give the latest news in our beloved properties and celebrate the geeky niches we love so much. I adore convention season, from Comic Con to D23 I always try my best to keep up to date with all the latest new that comes out; while attempting to attend as many smaller and more local events as I can!
This love of conventions all comes from one in particular, E3. Full name the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the LA convention was once the highlight of every gamers year. Although for the first time this year being opened to members of the public to attend, millions all over the world tune in to the major company press conferences to check out what hardware, projects and games are in the pipeline from their favourite developers.
E3 used to be a staple of my year once upon a time, an unmissable event that was as important as a cup final or a Disney holiday. The last few years however I have been more distant from the famous convention, with disappointing announcements, real life and my personal fatigue of gaming getting in the way.
This year however, I was ready to come back. I’ve been slowly getting myself back into the world of gaming and have fallen back in love with series like Assassin’s Creed, Fifa and of course, Mass Effect. E3 came around at just the right time for me where my interest in gaming is the highest it has been in years.
I was in Spain during most of the live press conferences so I had to rely on replays and catch up to find out the latest in each event. Having watched all I’ve wanted to now these are my thoughts on each event and how they represented my interests in gaming.
The first press conference of E3, this is one I had the most trouble finding a full replay stream of, but I managed to catch all the trailers that interested me. The big hitters for me were definitely Star Wars: Battlefront II which is looking exactly like the Battlefront sequel I want and Fifa 18. Sport games may not be for everyone – especially sports games with a storyline – but I loved Fifa 17’s The Journey mode so I’m delighted to see a continuation to it is coming. A really fun announcement trailer too using real life pundits and fan YouTube channels showcasing their “opinions” on boy wonder Alex Hunter and his rumoured transfer to a major club.
EA closed their conference with at last the announcement of BioWare’s elusive and secretive new IP project. Very little was shown about Anthem other than a vague teaser trailer so there wasn’t a lot to take from this. Thankfully we did get some gameplay at another press event but more on that later.
Hyping itself up with a 42 case showcase – 22 being “exclusive” – and a new console reveal, Microsoft had built themselves a very high expectation and probably one that couldn’t have been reached especially to the ridiculous demands of gamers. The Xbox One X, the latest model of the console and MS’ answer to the PS4 Pro, does look interesting but without a 4K TV there is next to no reason for me to go out and pick one up on launch. This is only added upon when you see that $499 price tag which will no doubt come scarily close to £500 when convented for the UK market.
The games shown however, that is what really interested me in this press conference. Multi platform titles like Assassin’s Creed: Origins was always going to peak my interest but I was also very impressed with the forthcoming exclusive games like Crackdown 3, Forza 7, Cuphead and Sea of Thieves. I may not be interested in picking up an Xbox One X, but as the original version of the system continues to fall in price I am creeping further towards investing in one for 2018.
Ubisoft’s press conference was one I would have been able to watch live, scheduled for the evening I returned home from my trip. I did end up missing the event however through a sheer lack of interest in Ubisoft games. Although the company will always be one of the big boys in video games, I have no interest in the dance and singing games they seemingly make a fortune on and the burn I felt on The Crew and Watch Dogs 2 keeps me from being excited to most future titles by the publishers.
Like many things however, there’s always an exception. As I mentioned previous I have recent fallen back in love with Assassin’s Creed and this year’s latest entry looks like it could be the best yet. Taking place in ancient Egypt (one of my favourite historical settings) and focusing heavily on RPG and open world elements, Assassin’s Creed: Origins is already carrying a lot of potential for me. If Ubi pull this one off well then there’s a solid chance it will can knock Black Flag off as my favourite game in the series.
I’ll be honest, I still haven’t watched or even checked out what was announced at this press conference. I simply have no interest in Bethesda games. Even though I am constantly told how mind blowing and wonderful Skyrim and the Fallout series are, I am notoriously picky on fantasy games and struggled to get into Fallout 3 – many fans’ favourite of the series.
I’m sure there were some interesting announcements here, maybe DLC or expansions, but it just isn’t for me. If you’re a Bethesda fan let me know what I missed. Are you happy or disappointed with their E3 presence this year?
This is where the hype happens. PlayStation’s E3 events are always a big deal for me, doubly so being as a PS4 is the only one of the current generation consoles I own. While I wasn’t able to stay awake for the 2am UK time event, I did manage to catch some of it the next morning… before switching it off in total boredom.
Sony’s event this year was probably my biggest disappointment, with all energy and excitement usually overflowing in these press conferences sucked out in favourite of, nothing. From the segments I saw the show lacked severely in host interaction, with new trailers abruptly jumping from one to another while the rest of the stage was filled with blackness. A shame really especially given Microsoft, PS4’s main competition these days, went all out to make their press conference a party filled with energy. Sony’s just wasn’t fun.
As for the games, I was 50/50 on it all. A brand new trailer on the upcoming Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and confirmation the Spider-Man game still exists was great, but that was really it for my interest. I would have loved to have seen something about The Last of Us: Part 2. A level showcase similar to the one shown for the original game way back when would have been the show stopper for me, maybe next year.
Nintendo is a strange beast. For several years now, the company has ditched the live press conference format and instead broadcasted their announcements through a pre-recorded video that is live streamed to the masses online. While I was opposed to this at the start I’ve learned to just accept that Ninty always like to do things differently, so it’s better to just let them.
Different is a word very few can associate with the Japanese developers however, with many calling out dependency on older genres in recent years. While it’s true the majority of first party games are just sequels to Mario, Pokemon, Kirby and the like, there’s no denying these are the games that push consoles and the fans want to play. It’s the Frozen sequel debate all over again. Nintendo has tried to address this in recent years creating new IPs like Splatoon and Arms, but they have very little appeal to me. I’ve always been more of a single player gamer so titles with such a heavy focus on duking out with friends rarely takes my fancy.
The big story from Nintendo for me however was the Pokemon announcement. No, not Pokken Tournament, the news that a core Pokemon RPG will be coming to the Switch. It may be a few years away yet, but I am delighted by this. Ever since Nintendo announced their latest console, I always said I would pick it up if a full fleged game based on the pocket monster phenomenon were to happen.
The 1+ year wait is actually pretty beneficial for me. Not only does this give the Switch a chance to fall down in price, big titles like Mario Odyssey will be released and fully patched by the time I hop into the world of portable console gaming. Zelda: Breath of the Wild should have some sort of definitive edition by then too, giving me a pretty strong library when I do decide to invest my money on the console.
Honourable Mention: Anthem
After 5 years of being merely known as “BioWare’s new IP game”, we finally have a name, basic setting and gameplay! Seemingly taking inspiration from the mechsuit battling Titanfall and multiplayer heavy Destiny, Anthem sounds to be multiplayer heavy RPG and EA’s take on to the console MMO scene; hoping to hop on the bandwagon created from the likes of Destiny and The Elder Scrolls Online.
This genre isn’t my cup of tea. I don’t like the idea of having to rely on other players in order for me to progress in a video game, especially when so few of my friends are interested in the same games as me. I will check this game out if anything out of my love for BioWare. The gameplay shown at the Xbox event however did impress me, a lot. While I’m not huge in the multiplayer format this does look like a massive, interesting world that would be great to explore with a friend who is as invested into the lore as I no doubt will be. Also jet packs. Who doesn’t love jet packs?