E3 2019: My Thoughts and Biggest Takeaways

The big reveals of E3 2019 has come and gone and I suppose we’re a little behind but here’s our take on all the twists and turns that this most anticipated event has shown us. We decided to let the marketing hype settle\ and collect our thoughts a little better, this way we can give you a more level-headed (and sometimes cynical) take on what was shown to us. Let’s begin with going with how we feel about each press conference we reviewed, then move on to more specific revelations later.

Generally all the conferences are more on making promises for next year and cinematic trailers, while I’m genuinely hyped by some of the announcements, I don’t think any of them would change the outlook on the gaming market like how they would a few years ago. But hey, it looks like everyone’s on board with making good deals for their market, and that’s a win either way.

Microsoft – looks like they’ve been getting all these companies under them for the purpose of making their own NetFlix-like service but for games. The very tempting low barrier of entry for access to a rather attractive lineup of games is really something. But it also seems like an inevitable addition to the backlog pile. I was wrong about Microsoft possibly backing out of battle for hardware, but it does certainly seem like they’re making it as easy as possible for you to use XBOX services one way or the other. Also the pro controller is pretty cool.

AMD – Somehow, I feel like I should be buying shares with AMD asap, it almost feels like their move to showcase at E3 has blindsided Intel and are showing off some seriously solid products for the market.

Bethesda (WOO!) – Who would’ve anticipated that the hype guys for their own E3 conference would also be buggy? I’m actually quite baffled they’re not done talking about Fall Out 76. Promises about adding things that should have been there in the first place, such as NPCs with proper questlines, is certainly welcome news. Their sudden decision to apply a battle-royale mode tells me they’re willing to throw anything out to keep the game alive. And well, more cinematic trailers.

Ubisoft – Generally updates to their current games (honestly their spy class is pretty hype in Rainbow 6 Siege), a brutal butchering of Splinter Cell into a mobile format, and a pretty ambitious presentation for Watch Dogs Legion. I liked Watch Dogs 2, so I’m looking forward to this one.

Square Enix – Probably one of the more solid presentations, honestly. I’m wondering if I’ve jumped timelines because it’s like Square-Enix is listening to its fans and have so far, presented the most gameplay of all the press conferences.

Nintendo – If you think about it, most of what they had shown us are ports of great games coming to Switch, which is fine if you don’t own them yet. IPs in development like Astral Chain and Daemon X Machina are giving us release dates and more details, but their biggest 1-2 punch would be their revelation of Animal Crossing 2 and Breath of the Wild 2 now being in development. Two things their fans really want, and I’m happy for them.

 

Sony – If you guys were paying attention, they were quietly holding their own press conference the entire time, I can’t believe they didn’t need to be there but still be a presence.

Devolver – Hands down, the best presentation, 3 years in a row. They officially have a cinematic universe, there should be an award for things like these. It’s also quite amazing how they try to come across as a cringey B-movie but at the same time come off as genuine as they call out shady practices of the industry against their consumers. It’s doubly touching that they put their money where their mouth is, and make selling and marketing games simple, honest, and about the gamers and their games.

They straight up convinced me to buy My Friend Pedro with this show.

 

Takes on Particular Games

Final Fantasy 7 Remake – Their demonstration of the battle system honestly leaves me impressed, it’s a mix of turn-based and action which seems to be a refinement of FF15’s system. However you’ll have to balance between making the action engaging enough so that there’s a point to dodging and blocking while not making the tactical actions from the ATB system irrelevant. It’s really tricky and I can see that they’re likely to reduce the amount of eventful boss battles with this.

I’ve also never heard of a multi-disc game on the BD format, so I’m concerned on how they plan to back up those claims when they’ve set the first part for Midgar’s story, which is maybe 8 to 12 hours if I’m generous (and about 10% of the story). Sure, they can add a lot of side quests and make new stories, but it won’t take long before people will get fed up with filler content.

Also, I liked the Tifa design.

Breath of the Wild 2 – Maybe I’m still hyped by it being the last announcement I saw. But all we know is it’s in the works, it’ll probably take a year for more details, and maybe another year for a release date.

WatchDogs Legion – The concept of procedurally generated characters you can recruit is pretty ambitious, but it sounds like a pretty fun gimmick, especially with their army of grandmas joke. It think this has a potentially strong tie-in for online and multiplayer play. Think what could happen if you can borrow some super-operatives from friends, or play in coop entirely? I really enjoyed their WatchDogs 2, so I’ll put a vote of confidence that they’ll be able to pull off a good experience on this one.

Shenmue III – Talk about top 10 anime betrayals. Announcing its Epic Games Store exclusivity is a serious blow to the expectations and trust of those who funded it in the first place. Having another high profile game suddenly betray its backers’ expectations will definitely not sit well with the audience. With nothing notably good about its progress, this looks like it’s going to slowly reveal itself as a train wreck. It leaves a particularly bitter taste in my mouth because of all the good will it has squandered through the years.

Avengers – Won’t mince words, the models look bad. They look accurate enough to be called stunt doubles but otherwise somebody needs to be told off for approving these. The presentation showed so much variance with play, that I’m not sure how it actually plays. It looks like it’s in-engine, but I’m not sure if they’re just recorded cut-scenes.

I appreciate the idea that it’ll run its own original story so we won’t be doing a movie re-run, really. And people who got to try the games in the convention claim that the presentation does not do it justice. So perhaps it’s better to reserve judgement for a bit longer. It’s also good news that they don’t plan to use the usual scummy practices of monetizing live service games, but there’ll be something there, I just hope it’s not exploitative.

Cyberpunk 2077 – I’m not sure what else to say after the Keanu reveal, we already have a good idea of how it’ll play some time ago. The presented scenario is pretty great, the release date was all we needed, and that’s exactly what we got. Sold.

Jedi Fallen Order – Janky walk/run cycle aside. A proper campaign built around being a Jedi is a pretty fun idea for me. This honestly reminds me of Jedi Knight Academy, my favorite Star Wars game. So while everyone is ready to dogpile on the EA announcements, I’m actually looking at this one rather favorably.

 

Other Games I’m Already Hyped For but Hasn’t Shown Much

     Elden Ring, No More Heroes 3, Tales of Arise

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