The E3 2018 pre-show conferences are over and the actual show has officially kicked off, so that can only mean one thing. As Inverse’s most opinionated video game reporter, it’s now my solemn duty to critique each company’s presentation according to my completely subjective judgment. I’m not taking this too seriously and neither should you.
Let the first annual Jon’s E3 showdown begin!
Sony’s brand is built on two pillars: gore and drama. Days Gone and God of War are two completely different games by unaffiliated studios, but they are both built with the same Sony formula. Both these games are designed around graphic scenes of extreme violence mixed in with moments of sentimental vulnerability.
Hence, The Last of Us 2.
That’s not to say Sony lacked variety. It also announced lighter content such as Spider-Man, but let’s be real, the gritty stuff was what we really came for.
Best Game: Ghost of Tsushima. The game purports to be authentic and it shows. Sucker Punch really did its homework. Jin uses iaido, a ko gasumi guard stance, and all the other techniques a samurai of his time would’ve actually used. He even wipes blood off his sword using the crease of his elbow so it won’t get sticky inside his scabbard.
Marketing the product with a white guy pretending to be a Japanese guy was a little weird though.
WTF Moment: Death Stranding. Norman Reedus appears to be some sort of near-future surveyor or courier who uses a ghost detecting flashlight powered by a baby fetus. No, really.
Also, he was hiking a lot and his feet got all messed up and then he had to YANK OFF A BLOODY TOENAIL. WHY, KOJIMA? WHY?
Overall Verdict: Great with a sprinkling of mild racism and a horrifying image of impromptu foot care that will haunt me for weeks.
Microsoft presented an absurd amount of games and the message was clear: We have something for everyone.
If nostalgic sci-fi military shooters are your bag, Halo Infinite was announced. If you like racing, there’s Forza Horizon 4. When nina action adventure title Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was revealed, I thought I’d found my favorite game of the conference.
Then the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer dropped.
Winner: Cyberpunk 2077. Cyberpunk 2077. By the way, I’m not sure you heard me, but Cyberpunk 2077. Maybe if I say it three times it will magically appear in front of me like Bloody Mary.
WTF Moment: I mean, Funko Pop Gears looks fun, I just don’t know if E3 was the best place to announce it.
Overall Verdict: If Microsoft’s keynote was one hour and 28 minutes of a static logo with two minutes of the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer, then it would’ve still been an awesome conference.
Nintendo held a conference with some big news but none of it was intended for me. I’ve never played Fire Emblem and I’ll only play Super Smash Bros. if I’m over at someone else’s place. I’ve been informed that the absence of Waluigi in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate comes as bitter news to fans. Please send some Fs to my colleague James.
However, I’m glad that Super Mario Party was announced. If you haven’t destroyed friendships playing Mario Party, then you haven’t really played Mario Party.
WTF Moment: No new info on Metroid Prime 4 and no word on the next Legend of Zelda. Coincidentally, these are the only two Nintendo franchises I’m passionate about. Unless they bring back Mother, in which case all is forgiven.
Overall Verdict: Dud. Needed more Samus and Link.
Seeing Anthem was a little painful because I can’t help comparing it to Mass Effect: Andromeda. I know Anthem has nothing to do with Andromeda’s failure, but it still stings knowing that EA halted my beloved Mass Effect series for the foreseeable future in favor of BioWare’s new original IP.
Unfortunately, EA also holds the longest running title for cringiest presentations, and this year was no different. It was awkward, so very, very awkward.
Winner: Battlefield V. Yeah, you heard me. I actually think the battle royale mode will be pretty awesome. Honestly, I’m surprised that it took the Battlefield series this long to implement it. It’s a perfect fit considering that the battle royale genre as a whole owes a lot to Battlefield.
WTF Moment: Command & Conquer: Rivals. Announcing a mobile title to a cherished but long dormant franchise was an incredibly tone-deaf move. This is not at all what fans wanted. For the record, it’s also a jerk move to harass the developers of this game for simply doing their jobs. So cut that shit out.
Overall Verdict: Mixed, like bumping into your ex on the street after a mutually amicable break-up.
There’s not much to write about the Square Enix conference because there was virtually no fresh information. We saw trailers for titles we already knew about like Kingdom Hearts 3 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
However, we did see two new games, Babylon’s Fall and The Quiet Man. Unfortunately, both the trailers were cryptic, with the latter channeling the silly trope of a white man walking into a dark alley inhabited by two stereotypical ghetto gangsters.
Winner: Shadow of the Tomb Raider I guess? Ever since Hitman moved to WB Games, Tomb Raider has been the only Square Enix franchise I follow.
WTF Moment: Not a single mention of the Final Fantasy 7 remake? Seriously? Game journalists literally cried tears of joy when it was first announced.
Overall Verdict: Dud in terms of content, but it was relieving to see a straightforward presentation without any gimmicks. Also another convention that could’ve done without the embarrassing casual racism.
Ubisoft came out with some big guns, including Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and The Division 2, but nothing else came close to the hype for Beyond Good and Evil 2.
Beyond Good & Evil is a beloved title has been described as the “best game nobody ever played”. With the upcoming prequel, the franchise is getting a second chance to be noticed.
Winner: Beyond Good and Evil 2, of course. You can even contribute art and music to the game yourself. Ubisoft has partnered with Joseph Gordon-Levitt to crowdsource content for the game through Gordon-Levitt’s production company HitRecord.
WTF Moment: The Trials Rising guy who came in on a dirt bike and “accidentally” collapsed onto a destructible podium. Game journalists don’t care for gimmicks, and I’m no exception.
Overall Verdict: Solid. We got to see more of Beyond Good & Evil in action and For Honor is getting a Chinese faction.
Bethesda won. Hands down. It came out of these preshows as the undisputed heavyweight champion of hype.
Oh, do you like Wolfenstein? Bam, Wolfenstein Youngblood is coming with co-op. Are you an Elders Scrolls or Fallout fan? Yeah, we’re making sequels to both those franchises. You want to know about the clandestine dream project we’ve been working on for the past decade? Sure, we’ll just go ahead and announce Starfield.
Winner: DOOM Eternal. I grew up on the old games and the 2016 reboot (or maybe not a reboot (there’s a cool story about that) was my favorite game of that year. Rip and tear.
WTF Moment: Just the whole conference. Bethesda announced new titles for all its blockbuster franchises and confirmed a top secret project, which will be its first original IP in 25 years. Also, Andrew WK.
Overall Verdict: Your 2018 champion. Hail to the king, baby.