It just kept getting better and better.
E3 was a wild ride this year. From missing companies to celebrity appearances, I think E3 2019 ended up being better than expected. No one asked for it but here are my grades and opinions for each conference (at least for the ones I watched). Enjoy!
EA: Don’t know, didn’t watch
I haven’t ever watched an EA press conference because I find them boring and there isn’t anything in them that has my interest. I was mildly interested in Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order so I watched the gameplay reveal after the fact. It looks a little rough for a game coming out in November but it’s being developed by Respawn Entertainment so I’ll hold out hope that it will actually be good. Other than that, I couldn’t care less about what EA is up to.
In a way, I feel kind of bad for Microsoft because its conference was letdown by leaks (which was out of its control) and the fact that it was overhyped (which was started by Microsoft itself and then Youtubers pushed the hype out of the boundaries of reason). Not to mention that people still remember their great conference from last year and expected them to knock it out of the park for the second time in a row. I really wanted them to do just that but it seems Microsoft is holding some stuff back for the imminent release of Project Scarlett (the new console) next year.
What really disappointed me was the fact that Microsoft’s new studios (seven were added last year and one more this year) didn’t show many new projects. I know it was unrealistic to expect them to have something to show after only one year but Microsoft badly needs some new exclusives. We did get to see Bleeding Edge, Battletoads, and Halo: Infinite, however. They didn’t show off much gameplay for these games but at least we got to see them. Gears 5 was shown off in the worst possible way, in my opinion. The trailer last year got me interested in a Gears game for the first time in a while but the demonstration this year kind of put me off.
Once again, there was a strong indie game presence onstage during Microsoft’s conference. Titles like Blazing Chrome, Spiritfarer, The Good Life, Afterparty, Way to the Woods, and many, many more received stage time. What makes it even better is the fact that all of these titles will launch into Xbox Game Pass on day one. I appreciate the fact that Microsoft has been highlighting indies more and more each year in its conference. I hope that trend continues next year as well.
The two biggest surprises (for me personally) were Phantasy Star Online 2 and the reveal that Keanu Reeves would be in Cyberpunk 2077. Phantasy Star Online 2 isn’t my cup of tea but I’m glad it’s finally being released here in the West for those fans who have been clamoring for it. It was great seeing people’s reactions to its announcement. Not only were fans taken off guard by the announcement but Phil Spencer (the Head of Xbox) revealed that the team behind Phantasy Star Online 2 were surprised by everyone’s reaction as well. This hopefully means Japanese companies won’t hesitate to bring their products to the West in the future. Now, I’m not usually one for celebrity appearances at E3 but I’ll make an exception for Keanu Reeves because 1) it was such an awesome surprise and 2) his time onstage was brilliant. It’s well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it already. Cyberpunk 2077 just keeps getting better and better. April 16th 2020 can’t come soon enough.
The real disappointment is that it seemed like Microsoft was building up last year to come back swinging this year. From its E3 showcase, it’s clear that Xbox is still under construction and the real fun won’t come until the release of Project Scarlett in late 2020. It’s a real shame for me personally because I remember the 360 days when Xbox was making big waves in the gaming space. I want to see those days come back. It’s clear that Microsoft intends to do just that (with the new studios, crossplay, games coming to PC, Xbox Game Pass, etc.) but it’s going to take a little more time. The problem is that I’ve been telling myself that “it will just be a little more time” every year for the past 6 years. I hope that 2020 is the year that my wish finally comes true. Ok, I didn’t mean to talk about Microsoft this much but it’s too late now, I guess. One last thing though; where the hell was Fable IV?
All I have to say about Bethesda is that its conference was a joke. Between the fake audience cheering obnoxiously for every little thing and the desperate attempts to save Fallout 76, I almost couldn’t bear to watch. The only saving grace for me personally was GhostWire: Tokyo which at least looked interesting. The only bad thing about it was that they didn’t show any gameplay. Oh, and they showed more DOOM: Eternal for the thousandth time for those who care. I feel like I’ve been seeing trailers for this game for six years now. Just release the damn thing already.
Ubisoft is receiving a C from me because of one thing and one thing only; Watch Dogs: Legion. I haven’t played any of the previous games but the footage they showed of Legion really caught my attention. I worry about the whole “play as any NPC” thing because it just seems too ambitious for its own good but I will remain cautiously optimistic. As for the rest of the briefing, it consisted mostly of add-ons and expansions to games that came out years ago which I still don’t care about. The most surprising thing about Ubisoft’s conference, however, was that Just Dance 2020 is coming out on the Wii.
Square Enix: B
I’ve got to give it to Square Enix and say that Final Fantasy VII Remake is looking pretty good. I am cautiously taking back what I said about it a few months back (though it may still end up being bad). I am a little concerned that it will only consist of the Midgar section of the original game. My fear is that Square Enix will drag this remake out for years and years to come.
Square Enix also revealed that many classic games like Crystal Chronicles and Final Fantasy VIII will finally be coming to modern systems. I am very excited for both of these; Crystal Chronicles because I remember playing with friends on GameCube with GameBoy Advances and Final Fantasy VIII because I have never played it. It should be a fun time when they come out. Square Enix also revealed its long-awaited Avenger’s game and I have to say that I was underwhelmed by it. It looks average at best and it’s a live service game and we all know how I feel about those.
Nintendo, once again, knocked it out of the park. Super Mario Maker 2, Luigi’s Mansion 3, Astral Chain, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and Pokémon Sword and Shield are all coming out this year. In addition to these new titles, No More Heroes III was announced and Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be coming early next year. Oh, and all three original Mana games (yes, even the one we never got here in the West) are on the Switch right now as we speak. Not only that but a few of the heroes from the Dragon Quest series and Banjo-motherf*&%ing-Kazooie will be added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The reveal trailer for Banjo-Kazooie was awesome in its own right. And to top it all off, a sequel to Breath of the Wild was announced at the end of the Direct. Nintendo continues to charge full-steam ahead and I couldn’t be happier. The only thing I would ask of Nintendo is maybe, just maybe we could have an entirely new IP somewhere down the line. Other than that, keep doing what you’re doing Nintendo.
In case you’re confused, Sony was not present at E3 this year. A fact that saddened even Phil Spencer over at Xbox. Even though it didn’t have a show, it still felt like Sony was there. Square Enix’s whole conference could basically count as Sony’s show since all of the games shown there are coming to the PS4. In addition, practically all of the third-party games at Microsoft’s conference will be on PS4 as well. I think it was a smart move on Sony’s part not to be there but it did lessen E3 overall, I think. I do hope to see Sony back at E3 next year.
Even though it was lacking in some areas, the E3 2019 events (for the most part) were still fun to watch. There are plenty of games coming in the near future that I have my eye on and I can’t wait to get them in my hands. I do hope Sony comes back to E3 next year so all the heavy-hitters are present once again. Even if you didn’t see anything you liked this year at E3, the show did provide plenty of entertaining content on YouTube. My favorites include Easy Allies, The Happy Console Gamer, Jim Sterling, and Colin Moriarty. In any event, I am looking forward to next year as it’s always nice to see what gaming has to offer. I hope everyone had fun and always remember that you are all breathtaking.
And yes, I’m well-aware that there is a typo in this meme.
Thanks for reading! I won’t be posting again for a while (for real this time) but remember to keep an eye out for the day that The Pretend Gamer returns. Until next time!