I will start with a brief but relevant digression. Like many, I’ve been pointing out how silly it is to say who “wins” E3 when at its core it is simply an industry trade show. Companies aren’t necessarily out to please the crowds though increasingly over the years it has certainly become more like this. Further to the absurd idea of “winning” a presentation, I got to thinking how dependent all this is on the interests of the person who considers it.
As an example, I couldn’t care less about the new God of War, Kingdom Hearts 3, the Final Fantasy VII remake, Battlefront II, Forza 7, Minecraft, any EA sports titles and pretty much anything involving zombies of any kind. Yet many people are very interested in these titles and I can fully appreciate why, despite my personal disinterest. If I were working for a major gaming publication, would I be allowed to be so frank before deciding who I thought “won” the show? I don’t know for sure but I am doubtful.
So with this in mind, let me quite frankly and honestly discuss what I found interesting at this years E3. Yes, this is late but it has also allowed me to think and properly digest what has been shown and catch up on all the smaller announcements too.
The biggest and most unexpected surprise for me was the reveal of Metro Exodus. The previous game (Metro: Last Light) was my favourite from 2013 and I’m so interested in the series that I’ve read the first two novels that the games are based on. I don’t know why, but I hadn’t even considered that a sequel was in development so I was very glad to see it announced and impressed by what little we saw. This really was a pleasant surprise but it seems so obvious in hindsight.
I was also pleased to see a number of titles revealed that I have jokingly predicted for the last few years, honestly not expecting them to be announced. So Beyond Good & Evil 2’s second reveal trailer after the one some might remember from 2008 was welcome though I’m not sure about the direction the series is headed. I was also happy to see the Metroid Prime 4 logo and knowing it is in development was more than enough for me. The remake of Metroid II announced later was dessert. The two former titles I had actively joked about for the last few years but they really were announced and I’m now planning to make a joke about Half-Life 3 next year.
Although they were revealed, leaked or heavily rumoured prior to E3, I am also interested in Far Cry 5, Sonic Forces, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and (surprisingly), the Mario and Rabbids crossover title. We saw plenty of gameplay from all of these titles and they all look like games I’ll be wanting to get sooner or later.
Super Mario Odyssey was also well known and despite my heavy interest, I have been avoiding seeing gameplay because I want it to be as fresh as possible when I finally get around to playing it. I did see the trailer which revealed Mario’s new hat abilities (a new hat!) but I still don’t know if it is enough for me to get a Switch this year or not. From my perspective, there seems to be a genuine lack of titles for the Switch this year for anyone that owned a Wii U. I’ll certainly be getting Super Mario Odyssey but I don’t know if it will be this year. This may not make me sound excited about Odyssey, but I certainly am.
I was surprised by a few absenses and on in particular was Shenmue III. I backed this game back in 2015 when it was revealed at E3 and though I fully expected it wouldn’t meet it’s original Q4 2017 release date, I was hoping to see a lot more of the game. The developers did say that it wouldn’t be at E3 but I assumed they just meant on the show floor. I had been hoping for a gameplay trailer at least but it was completely absent. I am going to assume that this is because the developers are putting a lot of effort into the game and don’t want to be distracted.
One final thing that few may mention is the announcement of backwards compatibility for original Xbox titles on Xbox One. This really is a great announcement and I’m especially happy that one of the first games revealed was Crimson Skies and I’m hoping that the multiplayer too is enabled as that was something I missed when I first played it.
Despite my usual cynicism, this was quite a good show overall with plenty of announcements and more importantly, plenty of actual games with release dates shown off. After all the hype leading up, it is important to keep what E3 is in perspective. Nobody wins it and nobody needs to. It’s just a good time to see a whole bunch of games.