For those that don’t know Cavern Blogs are pretty much my end of/start of the week post (depending how you look at it) that wraps up the previous weeks news highlighting a selection of the posts. There is also a final thoughts section on the bottom where I’ll briefly discuss my own thoughts about select stories from the week or my own gaming experiences.
My E3 Thoughts
EA – I didn’t come in with huge expectations for EA outside of me kind of hoping the SKATE 4 rumor was real and in the end I came out quite disappointed with their 2018 showing. It should be noted that I am not a sports game fan, so they yearly expected showing of those games have no chance of impressing me in any way. Outside of that we saw a couple of new indies, a laughable Command & Conquer mobile game presentation, a Star Wars game with no trailer or footage, and updates on games we already knew existed.
Unravel two looked neat with the return of those beautiful rendered realistic environments and the new inclusion of co-op and it was also a nice surprise to see it launch today. Its local co-op limitations however discourage me from wanting to purchase as online would be a big selling point for me personally.
We also got an update on Battlefield V, the big announcement this time around being a Battle Royale mode. This doesn’t really get me excited and I feel like most people will share that opinion as well with how ridiculous this genre is becoming.
The star of their show was easily Anthem and the new update didn’t really drop any big surprises outside of sharing the release date which won’t be happening until February 2019. Not a whole lot to say other than it certainly has potential to be a lot of fun as a co-op action RPG. It sounds like they won’t be planning sequels for the game any time soon as they mentioned they are building it in a way where they can continue adding new content and story for years to come. So it seems like it will be adapting a game as a service type model, monetized through cosmetic microtransactions and probably future paid expansion content. I am personally not getting myself too excited for the game right now as I can see it being highly capable of disappointing everyone like we saw with Destiny and its recent sequel.
Overall EA was perhaps the most lackluster presentation this year due to its as usual underwhelming sports games coverage, lack of actual new game reveals, and the bizarre decision to reveal a new Star Wars game and say or show little to nothing about it.
Microsoft – There was a solid line-up of nearly non-stop big hitter games this year for Microsoft, however many of them were not exclusives so while it may have been an impressive presentation, it isn’t strengthening the Xbox brand as much as you’d think. Despite that, Microsoft did show their commitment to their brand and exclusives through them forming a new development studio and acquiring a few others to start churning out future exclusives for them. A new Halo, Gears of War, Forza Horizon, and Battletoads game were all confirmed as well, so that should help Xbox fans feel confident with their preferred platform.
Gears 5 was the big exclusive they had to show off this year. While Halo: Infinite could have been this, it seems apparent that the game must be far off considering how little they showed and detailed. The multi-plat reveals were far more impressive with the likes of From Software’s new game SEKIRO: Shadows Die Twice, Bandai Namco’s JUMP FORCE, and many more including the long-awaited re-unveiling of Cyberpunk 2077.
Overall this was strong presentation that had a solid line-up of Xbox branded titles and a plethora of multi-plats that are worth being excited about. However, there was a major lack of 2018 exclusives for Xbox in the presentation which is no good for any fans of the platform. I loved the amount of games we saw, but nearly all of the exclusives they showed were 2019 releases that also lacked any actual gameplay.
Bethesda – Bethesda covered pretty much all of their major IPs in this presentation and even introduced a new one. Fallout was covered with Fallout 76 and the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 versions of Fallout Shelter. Elder Scrolls was covered with several games including Elder Scrolls Online, Elder Scrolls Legends, a new mobile game called Elder Scrolls Blades, and even a new main entry in the series, The Elder Scrolls VI. Outside of that we also saw RAGE 2, DOOM game, PREY dlc, a co-op Wolfenstein title, and a reminder that Quake Champions still exists.
The only game that really had me intrigued to the point of already considering a purchase was Fallout 76. I’m not even a huge Fallout fan, but the multiplayer focus, base building, and free-form gameplay fun looked potentially great to me. A lot of the other major reveals unfortauntely were basically teasers so I can’t say I’m hype for DOOM Eternal, the new Elder Scrolls game, or new IP Starfield just yet.
Bethesda was just okay this year for me, however they’ve paved the way to have an even better presentation next year with some of the titles we know are in the pipeline now.
Square Enix – While not a total failure, Square Enix’ E3 showcase was a huge letdown in terms of content they showed. It was mostly filled previously revealed titles and games we just saw at Microsoft’s press conference the previous day. New surprises included the reveal of a new Platinum Games title Babylon’s Fall and another mysterious title called THE QUIET MAN. I couldn’t bring myself to get excited for either of these considering how little the trailers showed, it’s still nice to see Square Enix’ showing some commitment to introduce new IP though. There was also a fun surprise for fans of Final Fantasy and Monster Hunter with a crossover event trailer.
Overall this was a disappointing showcase and one of the weakest this year by far due to it lacking anything that fans were hoping to see more of. A lot of this unfortunately is due to them deciding to feature their products in other major press conference events so its more-so a bash towards the presentation rather than the company and its E3 roster.
Ubisoft – Ubisoft came in packing just about everything we expected, offering updates and new trailers for many of their games we already knew about. New surprises came in the form of a new Trials game and a cameo by Starfox in the Nintendo Switch version of that Starlink toys-to-life title.
I enjoyed pretty much all the new trailers they showed for big titles like Skull & Bones, The Division 2, and Beyond Good and Evil 2, however the presentation did lack an element of surprise. I was waiting for that big surprise reveal that seems to happen at Ubisioft’s press conference each year with a new IP or a new entry in a beloved series. I suppose Assassin’s Creed Odyssey could have been meant to fill that void, but we already knew about it. I was personally surprised that there was no Splinter Cell reboot reveal, something many expected to see and steal the show.
In the end this was just a very safe, solid presentation that I’ll give some extra credit to for that Miyamoto appearance and Ubisoft’s typical fantastical stage show performance that happened this year with Just Dance.
PC Gaming Show: This event has always had the benefit of not really representing a brand, so they can come through charging with loads of games and we won’t care about who its from since we know they are all on PC. In total over 30 games made appearances in some form or another, making it the bulkiest show by far this year. Only a very small amount of these were actually new reveals though unfortunately, and the ones which were were mostly smaller indie projects outside of the initial reveal of Satisfactory which looks pretty awesome. There were some triple AAA appearances however with updates on games like Overkill’s The Walking Dead, HITMAN 2, Just Cause 4, and Star Citizen. I personally was excited and surprised to learn that Sega will finally be bringing the Yakuza series to PC.
It was a decent show overall that covered more games than I expected even if I wasn’t that excited for many of them. I can’t say I came in with any expectations for particular games based on rumors so I suppose they didn’t disappoint.
Sony – Sony’s game line-up was considerably smaller than Microsoft for their presentation, but they arguably made up for it with their exclusivity power which further strengthened their brand unlike their competitor. We got to see a considerable amount of footage for their big 4 (The Last of Us Part II, Spider-Man, Ghost of Tsushima, Death Stranding) in addition to some new reveals like the Resident Evil 2 remake, NIOH 2, and a new Remedy IP called CONTROL.
Overall it was a solid performance that maybe was lacking any big surprises like we’ve seen from them in previous years. I’m sure a lot of us out there are wondering where the heck is that Final Fantasy VII remake which has been MIA for a long while now. I should also note that similar to Microsoft, we didn’t really see a lot of exclusives that will be launching this year outside of Spider-Man. We walked away from this presentation with no release dates for the other big three besides that title which was a bit disappointing, however I have to give them extra credit over Microsoft for at least showing off their exclusives more extensively.
Nintendo – Nintendo’s presentation ended up feeling more like a Super Smash Bros. Direct as they spent around half the presentation showing off and discussing it. Thankfully the game itself at least looks great in my opinion. As the name suggests, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is indeed the ultimate version of the series including every character from the roster’s history plus a few more. I’m hoping we’ll see some more character reveals, but it was pretty awesome that they finally gave into fans and the internet and added Ridley. There is still a debate whether this is a new game or enhanced port and I’m personally sitting somewhere in between that. It looks similar to the Wii U game in some ways, but at the same time we are seeing the addition of several veterans and a few new characters, numerous gameplay changes, character adjustments, and more. Visual changes on many characters also hint that this is an entirely new version too. The final nail of confirmation comes from the proof that it is indeed running on a new engine, Unreal Engine 4.
Outside of Smash Bros there really wasn’t much to be excited for. We saw a new Mario Party game, an update on Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee, a new Mech game IP from Marvelous and Nintendo, and a handful of other smaller ports and projects.
Everything I was hoping for outside of Smash, such as Metroid Prime 4, Animal Crossing, and Super Mario Odyssey DLC didn’t make an appearance. Hopefully we’ll see those later this year in another Nintendo Direct event.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised with how this presentation ended up as Nintendo did say it would focus on Smash Bros.. Regardless, Nintendo didn’t leave me terribly excited for Nintendo Switch in 2018 and 2019 after what I saw which is no good for fans and the company itself.
E3 2018 overall was kind of a let down to be honest. There was a severe lack of shocking or hype reveals, something I had confidence we’d see at least some of. The only thing that really surprised me was the fact that somehow Microsoft managed to come out on top as the best presentation of the entire event. Microsoft knew they needed to have a strong presence this year and they definitely delivered. Sony and Nintendo were a bit overconfident in their recent success and decided to just throw a few tasty treats our way and hoped it was enough.
Especially for Nintendo, I think E3 2019 will have to be a major improvement and I expect it to be a much more interesting and exciting show. Metroid Prime 4 is a title a lot of us were hoping to see and I honestly don’t expect we’ll have to wait until E3 2019 to get our first look. There are numerous events in between now and next year’s show such as Gamescom, Paris Games Week, Tokyo Game Show, and The Game Awards. The Game Awards was where we saw our first look at The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild too, so perhaps Nintendo plans for Metroid Prime 4 there. For those events we can expect plenty of content from other publishers and developers too so don’t feel too bummed out just yet thanks to this lackluster E3.