I remember when E3 was just starting out. The conferences were really rinky-dink affairs and without the pomp and circumstance we see today. We also only had shows from the big named companies like Sony and Nintendo before and having an entire show dedicated to a developer or publisher was unheard of. Things are now different as there are now more publishers that are coming out of the woodwork with their own E3 shows.
EA, Square Enix, Bethesda, Ubisoft and even Devolver Digital produced their own shows this year, each with varying quality. Some were entertaining and delivered the hype while others were just dull and boring. So, let’s go rank their E3 shows from the worst to the best. We have a lot to go through so let’s not waste any time!
Starting with the worst of the rest of E3…
Square-Enix hasn’t had a recent show in E3 until this year. This was not the way to make a dramatic return.
A lot of fans have gripes about what was not shown during the Square Enix show and I get that. They didn’t give us any update about what’s happening with the Final Fantasy VII remake nor any news about the upcoming Avengers project. But that’s not what bothered me about the show. What bothered me was how little they actually had to show. The only game that actually showed a gameplay demonstration was Shadows of the Tomb Raider and that looked unfinished. Even some of the trailers, such as the Kingdom Hearts III trailer were rehashed from the Microsoft show!
There were a few highlights, though. Just Cause 4’s showing off extreme weather effects and all the crazy things Rick can do with his grappling hook this time around looked cool. The upcoming Dragon Quest Xi looked like a good old fashion JRPG. Those weren’t enough to make it good. It felt like a waste of 30 minutes and even Keith David doing the show narration wasn’t enough to save it.
4. Electronic Arts/EA
Did you ever go to a friend’s house and his or her dad was trying to act all cool and hip in front of you and the rest of the kids? This is how I felt with EA’s show: it felt so fake.
One of the things I don’t like about EA press conferences is how sterile everything is. It’s hard to put into words but you can just tell that everything is just so corporate and tailor fit to be “cool” and “hip” for the young generation without capturing why those things are “cool” and “hip” in the first place. An example would be the focus on this year’s Madden 18 champion Young Kiv. They gave him a mini-documentary showing that he kept on losing prior to winning this year. And what does he do when he gets on stage? He gets all cocky! What a jerk! And no one even cares about his story! Oh, and what about all the time they devoted to the mobile Command and Conquer game? What a waste!
The real big highlights miniscule as they were more quick announcements than anything. One is EA promising not to mess up Star Wars Battlefront or any other game in the future with lootboxes. It’s good news but, if you really think of it, EA were the guys who tried to exploit it and are only changing their policy on lootboxes because of the negative publicity they got from it. The second biggest piece of hype was that quick interview the the guy from Respawn who talked a little bit about their upcoming game, Star Wars: Fallen Order. No clips were shown but just an announcement.
Besides that, I felt nothing after watching EA’s E3 show this year. It was an overly long mess that could’ve been trimmed down easily by focusing more on the games than anything else.
Remember that example I gave about EA being like the dad that wants to be cool with the kids? Well, imagine that but he has the coolest toys and the best video games for you to play with. That’s Ubisoft’s E3 show.
Oh, Ubisoft’s E3 show was cringy as all hell. They opened up the show with a dancing panda and a cavalcade of crazies to promote the upcoming Just Dance 2019 and it made me facepalm so hard. The bearded guy from Trials Rising riding a dirtbike into the studio only to trip into a pile of debris was dumb and obviously staged. But it was a good kind of cringe that came from doing something they wanted to do. It’s like that old Star Wars Kid meme. It’s looks childish and immature but it came from the purest of intentions.
There were some excellent reveals, such as Star Fox and crew coming to the Nintendo Switch version of StarLink. Having Shigeru Miyamoto there to receive a replica Arwing was a good PR move. They’re also finally giving us the option to play as a female character in the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. I actually stopped playing the Assassin’s Creed series after the third installment because it was starting to feel so repetitive but the simple addition of giving me the choice to be a female assassin did spark my interest in the series again.
With that being said, there were still a lot wrong with Ubisoft’s show. The Skull and Bones footage literally put me to sleep when it was on. Most of the people on stage all looked like they were spouting out prepared scripts with the emotional range of a rock and they sometimes forgot to cut off their mics when they went off stage. I was able to hear some of them squealing that they “nailed it” or how they changed the closing of the segment at the last minute. Very unprofessional of you, Ubisoft!
2. Devolver Digital
Yes, the parody E3 show gets second best show this year!
With all E3 shows trying their best to put their best foot forward, leave it to Devolver Digital to pull down their pants and crap all over their feet. Devolver Digital isn’t shy about making fun about everything about E3 itself and the gaming trends. From lootboxes and cyrpto currency to overly excited CEOs and whiny fanboys, they poked fun at it and it was mostly hilarious. It was both a mean spirited look at how we take the business of video games too seriously as well as a wake up call for us to remember that games are supposed to be fun.
The comedy was on point but, when it came to the gaming side of things, Devolver Digital is still a relatively small publisher so they only had three games to show for. There was SCUM, an open world survival game, and My Friend Pedro, a stylish 2D shooter. However, the game to talk about is Metal Wolf Chaos, a decades old mech shooter that’s being redistributed by them. It’s a cult classic thanks to it’s hilarious English dub and plain over-the-top and ’80s movie inspired action. I was still impressed with the games and it’s easy to forgive them for the lack of content as they are a small company.
Yes, there was so much win with Devolver Digital’s E3 show. The biggest knock I would have on it was the fact that the show ended in a cliffhanger and I can’t buy any Lootboxcoins since they’re all sold out! They really should’ve made more of those suckers!
Despite Devolver Digital’s stellar showing, Bethesda still had the best show this year. Why? One word and two numbers: Fallout 76.
Oh, the rest of the show was still good. We got a good glimpse of some of their other games like Rage 2, which looks like a good way to tide the time while waiting for the next Borderlands. The trailers for games like Doom Eternal and the next Wolfenstein looked fantastic. Quake returning is always good news as well. There were some cringy stuff like that rock performance from Andrew WK to open the show but they were cringy in a good way. I loved the tongue-in-cheek jokes they had, like Walmart spilling the beans on Rage 2’s release date and Skyrim for Alexa and your Samsung refrigerators. The liberal sprinkling of profanity throughout the show also was great.
But the star was definitely Fallout 76 as they devoted around a third of their E3 show to just discussing what the game will be like. Honestly, I’m not too excited at the prospect of playing a Fallout game with other players and I have a feeling it’s not going to appeal to me. But Todd Howard presented the game with so much promise and positivity, he almost sold it to me. They even had little cartoons and demo videos demonstrating the game, which totally felt like Fallout!
Of course, Bethesda’s E3 show wasn’t flawless. I could’ve done without the cheesy “family friendly” atmosphere Bethesda claims to have in their offices. I also hated the teasers for Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI since they didn’t show a lick of gameplay footage. But since the buckled down and focused a lot of the spotlight on Fallout 76, which was the primary reason why everyone was watching in the first place, I have to commend Bethesda for giving the fans what they wanted. Sure, they didn’t answer any of the important questions like if mods will be possible or what’s going to stop people from nuking my ass once I start playing for the first time. But what we got was enough.
What was your favorite show during E3? Let me know in the comments section below!