Initially, the plan was to give each conference its own article, critique the segments of each press event and give it a final grade. The reality is that E3 this year was overall a meh experience, we got the same tired yearly releases, more trailers for games that have been announced years ago with no release date in sight and a lot of things that could be bookmarked 2019. Instead, I will go down the remaining conferences trying to be an information-packed yet short as possible while also giving each conference a grade.
Ubisoft opened the show with a marching band led by a panda for Just Dance 2018, alongside the return of Assassin’s Creed, this marked the trotting out of the Ubisoft yearly franchises. Immediately following Just Dance was Beyond Good and Evil 2, though there is still little information on offer other than a sponsorship deal with Hit Record on TV for BG&E2 content on that platform. There was a bit on Rainbow Six Siege e-sports, Mario + Rabbids DLC and a For Honor DLC that adds a faction based on the three kingdoms period of China. A new trials game was announced coming out in February 2019, and Starfox content was announced for Starlink a game that was announced last year but still has yet to release. There was also more information on Skull and Bones, sadly though this game which last year was slated for a 2018 release was pushed to 2019. They also announced The Crew 2 will receive an open beta on June 21st exactly one week before it releases on June 29th. Overall Ubisoft didn’t bring anything new to the table, all sequels or IPs that were previously announced. Which is why Ubisoft gets a D rating, due to no wow factor or big reveals.
Next up is the PC Gaming Show, there were a ton of announcements or new releases here, more than enough to probably fill out its own article. Instead, I’ll list a few highlights and discuss the overall tone of the show. First, there were two battle royale games announced as 2018 is the year of the battle royale (shameless plug). Those being Maverick Proving Grounds which is trying to carve its niche as the largest battle royale game with the announced 400 players per map. There was also Rapture Rejects an isometric top-down battle royale based on the Cyanide and Happiness IP. Which brings us to three battle royale games or modes announced at E3. The Forgotten City is a new adventure game being made as a standalone version of the Forgotten City Skyrim mod. Finally, Tripwire is publishing an action RPG where you play as a shark called Maneater. As for the PC Gaming show itself, it was just awful, the jokes failed the land, the hosts went full cringe and instead of just product placement they brought on the Drakes Duck mascot for a segment. Times like this make me wish E3 pretended PC gaming wasn’t a thing, the PC Gaming Show gets an F-.
Sony wrapped up the final full night of press conferences and rather than cringe, they chose to bring technical difficulties. The decision to hold the conference outside led to there being noise issues caused by the amount of wind during said event. During this event Sony trotted out Last of Us Part 2, Days Gone and Death Stranding, the latter two of which have made their third E3 appearance, with Last of Us Part 2 having been announced initially at PlayStation Experience 2016. Sony had two new IPs for us though, the samurai game Ghosts of Tsushima and what will hopefully be more than Quantum Break on PlayStation, the game Control. Sony also had CoD Black Ops 4, Nioh 2, Destiny 2 Forsaken on their stage and a much-anticipated announcement of a Resident Evil 2 remake using the same engine as RE7. They wrapped up the night with an in-depth look at the gameplay for Spiderman. Sony brought more new IPs, but they also had more downtime due to intermissions and a panel of talking heads that added little. Though Sony did have the most promising new releases which is why Sony gets a B.
Nintendo could have honestly just had their treehouse this year and not bothered to have a conference or showcase. The only new announcements that hadn’t been leaked or to my knowledge shown at any previous Nintendo showcases were DaemonXMachina a new mecha game and Fire Emblem Three House. Both of which are slated to hit the Switch in 2019. Beyond that, there were trailers for upcoming releases, indie games, and some games we knew about already like Mega Man 11, Pokemon Lets Go and the new Mario Tennis. They closed the show with Super Smash Bros Ultimate, which is bringing back every character from every previous Super Smash Bros title alongside Ridley as a new character. Super Smash Bros Ultimate will be released December 7th, 2018. That was it from Nintendo, no news on the core Pokemon title they have stated was in development for the Switch, nothing Metroid Prime 4 which was announced last year and once again nothing F-Zero the franchise that Nintendo seemingly wants to pretend doesn’t exist. Which is why Nintendo gets a C+, the Smash announcement was a surprise, I didn’t expect every character from all previous Super Smash Bros titles, but don’t feel that was enough to carry their showcase.
With this E3 is wrapped up once again for another year, I find myself kind of exhausted with the whole thing. It felt like it was a slog to get through this year, there wasn’t the excitement I remember when we got big announcements from previous years. There was also little here for new IPs from the triple-A side of things to the point that I am fairly certain I can count the new IPs on one hand. The core problem here that holiday 2018 looks like a holding pattern year unless you’re excited for CoD, Battlefield or the sports franchises. 2019 looks like the year we will be getting most of what was shown at E3 this year. Overall I would grade E3 itself as a C-.