E3 2016 | Looking Ahead
So this year is a turbulent one. Conflict, terror, sadness, and Donald Trump. We face a scary world every day on what at least feels like a wider scale than usual lately. It’s with this in mind that I view and take in the visuals and information emanating from my Macbook, Tab 3, and Nexus 6P screens. I look to E3 to tell me, “Hey man, life is hard, but here are some things that will help ease the stress of the ride.” These things tell me, “Hey man, sorry for your loss, be safe on your deployment, we know you’ll miss your girl, but here are some things to be excited about.” Am I reading too much into E3 2016? Am I projecting my own experiences onto these press conferences? Sure, but who isn’t? When you get upset because Microsoft wants to push forward and evolve their business, aren’t you doing the same? When you roll your eyes at what felt like an hour of FIFA, aren’t you doing the same? Of course. That’s fine. This is you looking at what’s to offer in your own way. The way I look at this year’s announcements is with a looming year of hardship that will hopefully bear a rewarding career on the horizon. I’m looking ahead. I won’t be able to enjoy most of these games until well after they’re in the news and in your gamer feeds. So I look past the release dates and pre-order bonuses. I look past the promotional Betas and “Available NOW!” taglines. I look at what really gets me psyched for the future of being a gamer. So with all that said, here’s my thoughts on E3 2016. Hope you enjoy it.
EA | Grade: D
Winners: Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1
Losers: Mass Effect fans, Skate fans, NHL fans, Star Wars fans, take your pick
Lucky me, I get to write this for the fun of it. So I don’t have to make sure I cover every painfully awkward or abysmally disappointing moment in this presentation. I’m going to simply state off the top that this was one of the most tone-deaf and irritating press conferences I’ve seen in years. Topped only by their E3 2014 Press Conference that had EVEN LESS content in it, Electronic Arts was in rare for this year at their “Not really at E3” EA Play Event.
So let’s get right to it, Titanfall 2 looks like the Titanfall game Respawn has wanted to make since they landed on the decision to stick the tried and tested formula of Call of Duty gameplay inside an awesome far flung sci fi future setting chalk full of mechs. Now with a full fledged single player (or coop?) campaign with your very own (totally not Optimus Prime) Titan named BT. I’ve really enjoyed the Titanfall thing so far and look forward to seeing more of TF2 (can we call it that in these circles?) over the course of the next few months before it releases in December.
This space is reserved for that alternate reality where I saw awesome new stuff on Mass Effect Andromeda and whatever cool new Star Wars titles EA has in store for the future... since we got jack, here’s a snarky looking Asari doing cosplay of Furiosa from Mad Max Fury Road.
Sadly that leaves me with the only other cool thing to come out of EA’s hour and a half show. Battlefield 1 is on a hype train roaring with so much fury it looks a lot like the train depicted above. That said, I think a lot of the hype can be warranted at just how unbelievable the game looks. I’m sure it plays well, it’s DICE, but I’m not sure if it will be the success people are building it up to be. Only time will tell.
And that’s it... EA really wasted an opportunity with this year’s E3 showing, but I don’t really think they care. Madden, Fifa, Star Wars, Battlefield, Titanfall, and eventually Mass Effect will all sell in the millions and they’ll keep making more of them. It’s endearing to see things like Fe but in a way that it’s nice that the 1% of this country ever even try to pay taxes at ALL... not very much.
Bethesda | Grade: B
Winners: Dishonored 2, Fallout fans, Skyrim!!
Losers: Dishonored 2, Wolfenstein fans, anybody sitting in near screaming lady
Now for the fun part! I’m a massive Bethesda fan, a memory I’ll forever cherish is sharing the wonders of exploring the beautiful and imposing world of The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind with my mother when I was a teenager. She loved the music especially. Bethesda holds a special place in my heart and to see them grow to the point of commanding their own independent press conference is pretty cool. That said, I’ll fully admit that I was a little skeptical of the idea of them having enough to talk about for a full E3 Press Conference this year. Needless to say, I’m extremely relieved that my concerns were completely washed away right off the bat.
Wow. Damn. Just gonna kick things off like that huh Bethesda? Quake Champions is a new Quake game for the PC. Beyond that we know very little, but the promise here is to bring back the twitchy arena-based old school hyper fast shooter Quake was known for being. Which is the right call. I think a Quake 5 or some sort of reboot a la Doom could be a disaster. Here’s hoping this game is handled properly and we see the id of yore finally finish their climb back to the top of the FPS developer mountain and regain their seat at the table. Either way, a very exciting way to kick things off.
I remember playing Prey on the Xbox 360. It was a weird little shooter with some notable elements to set it apart from the pack. Never in a million years would I have thought there would be a sequel, or that the sequel would blow people’s minds only to never release. And never would I have thought this game would still be around over ten years later as one of the big mysteries of a BETHESDA press conference. This is all pretty weird from that perspective. But I think that might be the point here with Arkane taking the reigns and rebooting Prey into what can only be described as a psychological sci fi thriller set in space. With it’s groundhog day nightmare trailer, Prey has made an impression on me and is one that I want to see more of soon.
The original Dishonored never clicked with me. I plan on remedying that with another go at it when I pre-order Dishonored 2 and get Dishonored Definitive Edition for free with my pre-order. A neat trend this generation, I won’t let that opportunity pass me by. D2 has a very cool setting, an amazing and unique art style, and aims to give players an intimidating amount of freedom when it comes to how you approach playing through the campaign. With two protagonists to choose from, Dishonored has tons of tactical options to choose from when deciding how to get from a to b. The thing that stuck out to me from the few too many presentations Bethesda made for the title was the final demonstration of this ability to jump back and forth in time in a space. You’ll have to take a look to see what I mean, but color me intrigued by this sequel from Arkane.
Welp, they did it. We can all go home now. E3 is over. Skyrim is back. No use in trying to get anybody to pay attention to your four-years-too-late Zelda sequel. Forget about trying to talk about your robot dinosaur action adventure game. And good luck trying to steal more time from people with your new playing card game. Skyrim. Is. Back. I don’t have anything to say about Skyrim that hasn’t already been said. The game is a behemoth. If this type of game is even remotely appealing to you and you somehow missed Skyrim. Stop what you’re doing and go buy this game right now. Do it. Unless you already have on the PC....then you get it for free. Which is just cool. Fus Roh Dahmazing!
And that sums up Pre-E3... or PrE3...or whatever. I’ve got to hand it to Bethesda, they’ve truly grown into a full fledged powerhouse in the past decade. With Doom on everybody’s Game Of The Year lists, Wolfenstein having a hit, and Quake exciting twitchy old men, id seems to be paying off finally. This press conference somehow managed to do what last year’s didn’t for me, and that’s make me look forward to seeing Bethesda at E3 2017 and beyond! No mention of Machine Games, Tango Games, and Todd Howard teasing “big projects” coming between now and The Elder Scrolls VI!? Bring it on!