So no Sopa box this week I wanted to take a look at E3 2018 with a bit more nuance and look at some of the good and bad things in my opinion that I saw from E3 2018. Yes I get E3 has long past but with so much in one go and so much coverage it's nice to look back on it and go over things to remind myself and you the reader about them.
Now in previous years the tradition has been to open by laughing at some of the more absurd stuff put out by Anita Sarkeesian but I already did one and Anita's only input this year was to get upset at Twitch chat offending her.
Must be a strange world to live in where instead of playing with the Ps4 button for a few minutes (I've not used twitch on PS4 and it took me under 2 minutes) to find that pressing up and X closes chat you instead yell at the company who owns the platform for chat offending you.
So now that's the obligatory dig at Anita out of the way as is tradition. It's time to look at E3 and I'll try to go conference by conference and then have a general trends thing that I picked up on at the end.
EA seems to be expanding its "Indies" line up which gives me hope AAA companies are learning the value of a range of games again as a way to make money instead of throwing all their eggs in one giant basked. Sea of Solitude looks like a game I really want to play and Unravel 2 looks fun as well.
EA have seemingly learned their lesson about lootboxes and seemed very much to be the dog looking up with sad eyes at the audience having been shouted for doing bad. Heck EA might and I say might be doing something nice for people with Battlefield V apparently having no season pass or lootboxes.
I think I actually spotted in the Battlefield V trailer some women in roles that did seem to actually be ones that existed in history. The trailer seemed to show a "Night Witch" having crash landed at one point. You know stories based on actual women not a one armed cockney women with a cricket bat full of nails put in just to tick off a checklist.
Command and Conquer mobile, ok EA dragged the corpse of C & C out on stage and made it dance and made it into mobile game because what the investors love is hearing mobile game + vaguely recognisable franchise name on it because those are seen as fairly safe bets that could potentially make lots of money and won't cost tons.
No word on Fifa 2019 not having the pay to win Ultimate Team mode, not that I'm into the sportsball. However for those who are seems EA is still planning to milk you guys. I mean I didn't expect EA to give up one of its biggest earning pieces of nasty stuff.
Anthem - oh boy what a bad showing for this supposed figurehead title. It looked like a fairly generic looter shooter with pretty environments and little else. Why is Bioware the ones making this? It just feels like the most generic live service game and with comments about an expectation of it going for 10 years?!?! I worry it won't last 10 months based on the showing I saw. I got worse vibes from it than Destiny 1. or 2
More games added to game pass, more value for consumers is always good.
Crackdown 3 finally coming has to be a plus for them, it may not look super high end but half the fun is about the mad stuff you can do in the game. You also have to remember this was a game that to sell it the first entry they packed the Halo 3 beta codes with copies of the game. I also think it looks fairly fun, at least fun than Crackdown 2 anyway.
Cuphead expansion getting stage time. Look it was a game that's not some giant AAA title getting decent stage time at E3 this is good to see.
Battle Toads. I'm interest to see what they do.
Indie games like Tunic etc getting nice featured spots and nicely shown off along with the other [email protected] stuff.
Gears Mobile, because mobile makes money and also Gears Poptart, sorry FunkoPop Gears of War too because um........ they once marketed adult franchises to kids as cartoons? I really don't know who the Pop Vinyl gears of War game is aimed at really.
Microsoft buying up more studios. I'm sorry but this really isn't something worthy of celebration. Microsoft buying up big studios to produce games exclusive for their consoles and systems (presumably) isn't a think I think is that worth of celebration especially when it seems they've only bought up successful studios that were doing fine as 3rd party game makers. The best we can hope for is that Microsoft don't do the same to these studios as they did to Rare.
Fastfart .........oh fast start is it? Oh dear. While the idea of a console preloading games it deems I might want to play sounds like a recipe for disaster as the console pumps resources into loading games in the background rather than being able to dedicate those resources to the game you are presently playing. The idea of it being controlled by some algorithm and not player controlled where you can select 1 title and tell the system to always preload that if it's not running. Well I can see it being a complete shitshow and easily exploited by companies willing to pay MS to have their game be given priority pre-loading or something.
Rage 2 looks good and has me interested.
Prey's Mooncrash DLC looks like the industry is realising the potential of procedural generation to create cool experiences.
Wolfenstein: Young Blood sounds cool in concept, the time line advancing gives them a good reason to bring in new lead characters and having twin sisters is a good way to bring in co-op without ending up with one person and BJ and one as his sidekick. Some people might see this as a cynical move to put women leads to try and attract a certain mostly non video game buying crowd who keep yelling about how every male lead should be made a women. But depending on how it's done I've got my money on this being a cynical move to try and get free advertising by getting a load of rule 34 art suddenly appear online because twin sister leads. WHAT? You know it's going to happen.
Skyrim on Amazon Echo. No really I get this is a joke taken to an extreme level, but stop and think for a moment. Bethesda have just done something pretty impressive and somewhat innovative for the AAA industry here and created a game for a non traditional gaming device. Not only that this idea has huge potential for the future of gaming. It's really does ask the question why aren't there more audio games for things like Amazon Echo and Google Home? For an industry and those who cover it who tend to love talking about the idea of accessibility I've seen very little talk about how this really does constitute a super accessible version of Skyrim. No controller to have to handle and hell you don't even have to look at a screen all you need is the ability to speak and to hear and you can now play Skyrim.
Elder Scrolls Mobile. Look it's not Command and Conquer rivals and it looks like maybe it's going to be a phone game with some depth.
Fallout 76 - Sorry I know people are pumped for this but I have a horrible feeling this is going to disappoint people. It's not a Fallout RPG, it's not a carefully crafted story it's Bethesda's entry into the multiplayer Looter Shooter genre and live service world. I'm putting this as bad because I really see people being let down by it.
The quiet man looks interesting.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - ok how many times can we have the "No this time this is the title where we see how Lara became the Tomb Raider we knew of old" before it becomes almost a joke in its own right? It's starting to feel more and more like the series is treading water narrative wise (and yes I'm aware older Tomb Raider games weren't the biggest for ongoing plot either but still). It feels like Tomb Raider has lost some of its identity and is now just trying to find a new one especially with the seeming emphasis on stealth. It's tried it's hand at being Uncharted now it seems to want to try it's had at being Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater.
The length of the show. Seriously Square you had 1 actual game to show that others weren't showing, maybe 2. All that money to rent the hall and set up the show just for about 30 minutes. I get this is more for shareholders and investors a lot of the times other than customers but you'd have done better with a closed doors investor meeting in a board room somewhere out back rather than this, it would have been cheaper at least. And you could have got Microsoft or Sony to pay to be the ones to exclusively reveal the titles .
Genuine passion on display - seriously the lady developer not realising her mic was on leaving the stage and excitedly saying "We nailed it" was an amazing human moment in a sea of corporate nonsense.
Free DLC for The Division 2 - I mean I don't play it and have no interest in the series but for those who do this is good stuff hopefully.
More Mario & Rabbids - good to see this is enough of a hit to continue.
Skull & Bones - A cool looking multiplayer pirate game, sure it's not single player which is a little disappointing but it looks pretty good for what it is.
The death of Starfox - I'm sorry but Starlink having Starfox part of this game feels like Nintendo admitting they're done trying to do anything with Starfox. After the less than positive reception of Zero and are just leasing Ubisoft the rights for their IP in a game that looks like it's trying to cash in on Toys to Life games craze years after its collapsed. This feels like a game designed to be filled with Microtransactions and lots of locked off content all to get customers to spend more.
Beyond Good and Evil 2's community art project thing - Oh man knowing Beyond Good and Evil 2 is coming should be a good thing but then the announcement of getting community art and music is the game sent a shiver down my spine. It feels very exploitative and while artists whose work is included will be paid so it's not merely exposure it also means lots of artist and musicians making stuff for no real payment as such. It makes it not worth submitting anything new really because it's not paid and so unless you're a fan artist or making stuff already for the joy of it and submit it just to see if you get anywhere. This really does feel like a fairly scummy move from Ubisoft to avoid having to hire and contract artists and Musicians and really feels a bit scummy. I'm kind of shocked this hasn't made it onto the Jimquisition really because it is ethically dubious.
Neocab - looks interesting, cool and a new take on a game in the Cyberpunk aesthetic.
INDIE GAMES - quite a lot of the show had indie or smaller games on and shown off on the big stage.
Yakuza coming to PC - Yes Sega didn't bother to apparently send people to come up on stage but it really does show that more companies are considering PC gaming a viable platform for titles and a growth in the section
Killing Floor 2 is still getting updates - support for a game after release and free support at that is good.
Maneater - It's nice to see a quite silly game on stage that wasn't trying to be super serious .
It still feels a bit unrefined as a show overall it feels like the format felt a little bit off.
Last of Us 2 looks good. It looks very cool even if I was getting a bit of a YA novel vibes from it with the whole bow and arrow thing.
Black Ops 3 for free- I'll celebrate free stuff even if it was a not too subtle attempt to sell other stuff but still free stuff.
Control looks interesting, I mean I've wanted another game like Second Sight or Psi Ops for a while and this may well be it.
Death Stranding - it looks very weird but also cool and great for Sony to give Kojima the funding to do this when Konami were such jackasses.
Single player games - man was it nice to see so many single player experiences not pushing multiplayer or live service models or DLC all in one show.
The Musicians were good - Sony seemed to have hired professionals and experts for the job and while strange it was quite nice.
Dreams isn't dead - It was shown post show technically but it's not dead and still looks cool, hopefully it'll get a release date at some point.
The show as a whole - Ok 2016 felt like a revolution for Sony. That wasn't the corporate cynical show piece of many others, it felt like video games truly were being treated as art with a quite classy displays and stage show elements that fitted with the themes and style of the games. 2017 felt like it was following on from 2016, maybe not capturing the magic of it really but it still felt classy and artistic rather than corporate. This year's though, this year's didn't feel like classy art but fart sniffing pompous pretentiousness. This year felt like Sony taking off its pants running round the room peeing shouting "WE WON THIS GENERATION, WE WON, WE WON, WE WON". I mean they have won and sure they get to celebrate a bit but this year felt very much like a giant mess with music acts not really being blended with the game footage and a lot of money spent making stages and environments for the people there in person. This felt like Sony trying to show off because they won and getting egg on the face because they were showing off but also seemingly not trying to maintain the previous classy artistic image of previous years.
SSSSSSSMMMMMMMMMAAAAAASSSSHHHHHHHHHHHH with all the characters back o I can play as Roy again because Roy > Marth
Pokemon Go Pikachu and Eevee looks cool and like something that might get me to play a somewhat core Pokemon game again.
Switch continues being an indie machine which well more indies are good.
So um that Meteroid Prime 4, where is it?
Seemingly more of a focus on games and less on showing off (Sony excluded)
Indie games rising back up with many shows featuring them
No pushing lootboxes which considering the industry has been trying tooth and nail to defend them it suggests they're giving up at last on this piece of industry bullshit.
Indie games - Indie games in so many of the shows it really shows show indie games are on the rise.
Live services really are seemingly pushing more and more into the industry with Ubisoft really showing how much it wants it's titles to be service platforms and EA pretty much announcing Anthem is anticipated to be a live service for 10 years or so. This really is going to harm the industry in the long run because people don't have time for all this so it'll mean less game sales in the end.
Cloud gaming rains again - Microsoft and EA both trying to create cloud gaming platforms to stream games to more devices might sound cool until you realise it's a cynical ploy to lock people into more subscription services each controlled by the company in question and probably locking away content and games to their service only which in the end is anti consumer because to get everything they may want to play they have to pay more to more companies.
Subscription services - EA and Microsoft both coming pushing their subscription services to play all their games really does further make it seem like companies are very determinedly trying to lock people into their services and architecture than ever before.
Self congratulatory companies shouting about how they're giving to charity. Seriously giving to charity should be a thing for its own sake because people want to help charities. Companies bringing it up on a big stage felt like the company bragging about how good they are. I mean according to Stephanie McMahon (and I'm assuming others).
But with EA and Microsoft bragging about donating to charity they managed to come off so tacky and cynical in their actions that even WWE's management would have to look at it and ask if it wasn't going a little far into poor taste bragging.
So that's my take on E3 2018, hope some people have enjoyed my take and make seen things maybe in a wider fielder of view.