Of all the big conferences, Microsoft had the most to prove. Many fans have been left disappointed over the last two years, eager for new exclusive Microsoft content. So, how did they do? Let’s recap:
Winner: John Fucking Wick
My jaw dropped to the center of the earth. This was the biggest surprise of the entire weekend. I never expected any type of movie star to be in Cyberpunk 2077, much less Keanu Reeves. I mean we knew Cyberpunk was going to be at E3, we knew we’d probably see a bunch of new gameplay or campaign details. But in no way was I expecting to see such a giant announcement like this. Other developers take note: That’s how you make an even bigger splash for a title that’s been at E3 for the last 3 years. And what better time to make such and announcement than right on the heels of John Wick 3. Bravo CD Project Red, and bravo Microsoft for delivering the biggest moment at E3 so far.
This isn’t a knock on the game whatsoever. This is about having to be the title that went immediately after Cyberpunk 2077. How unfair is that to the team at ThunderLotus? I mean you just dropped no only one of the biggest moments in all of E3 2019, but in all of E3’s history, and you’re gonna follow it up with a trailer about a cute little houseboat indie game? They should have followed it up with Ori and the Will of the Wisps or the Game Pass presentation to be fair to the other developers. Not a huge problem, but I’d be livid if I was a member of the Spiritfarer team.
Winner: The Outer Worlds
First, how confusing is it for there two space exploration games titled The Outer Worlds and The Outer Wilds? I’m constantly having to double check that I’m talking about the right title. This was a great way to open the press conference. It’s literally Fallout in space, made by the creators of Fallout. I love how cool the guns look, and I’m extremely excited about that shrinking gun. And did you see the “dragon dog”?? All the alien creatures and mechs and space ships and ughhhhhh I want it now. The Fallout universe has gotten kinda stale to me since Fallout 4 and Fallout 76, but with Obsidian taking the same gameplay and putting it in a brand new space universe with new creatures and characters, I am ready to grind my way through 40+ hours of this open world.
Winner: Ninja Theory, despite the leaks of Bleeding Edge
I’d hate to the be the developer who’s gotten their big surprise game leaked only days before the big reveal. I mean I know that I’m always begging for leaks, but when you think about all the time and effort by the teams making these trailers just to have their big moment spoiled, it really does suck. But for Ninja Theory, it didn’t matter. This game looks fucking awesome. I have been playing Overwatch nonstop all weekend; I need a new arena game and this trailer had me foaming at the mouth. Can’t wait for more details at the end of this month.
Winner: Ori and the Will of the Wisps
If you’re a fan of platformers and have never touched Ori and the Blind Forest, I highly suggest you buy it today. It’s a beautiful Metroidvania game with a touching soundtrack soundtrack and emotional story. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I’m a sucker for a good indie style game, and you can imagine how hyped up I am for Ori and the Will of the Wisps. It looks even crazier with all the monsters that were showcased in that trailer. There’s gonna be triple the amount of bosses to fight, almost like a Shadow of the Colossus or Link to the Past style game. This is my dark horse title this year. Hell, even if you don’t like platformers, try this game out when it’s released. You won’t be disappointed.
Winner: Minecraft Dungeons…for now
Like I said last week when I talked about Darksiders Genesis, there hasn’t been any dungeon looter games released in a while. So fans of that genre have to be happy that two triple A franchises are releasing games in the next year or so. I’m not really sure how the Minecraft world will translate to a dungeon crawler, but I think the trailer looked really cool. The biggest question though is when will Diablo 4 be released? We know it’s in the works, and if it releases very shortly after these two titles, the majority of the fan base is going to flip to Diablo. We’ll know more at BlizzCon in November.
Winner: PC Gamers
I have never cared less about anything in gaming than the Xbox Game Pass. Pay a monthly fee to play old and random ass games for a limited time until they are removed from the library? I’ll pass. But this actually caught my eye. First, huge win for PC gamers to finally have access to Halo and many of the other titles on the Xbox Game Pass. There’s a ton of titles that have been exclusive to Xbox for a while and anyone that’s been strictly a PC gamer for the last decade finally can play through those titles. Second, what a damn bargain for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Both passes and Xbox Live for $15 a month is a steal, and a great marketing approach by Microsoft. Maybe they really don’t want all of our mone-(…stop stop don’t get suckered in again. All that’s down this road is pain and suffering. Hate. Remember to haaaaate.)
Loser: Metro Exodus
I haven’t been so wrong about anything in the history of this blog than Metro: Exodus. I remember writing in January that it would be a contender for Game of the Year. I remember writing that it was “the game to play the first half of 2019”. Oof. It’s already on the Game Pass. And with only 5 hours played myself before I put it down, I understand why. By all means, if it interests you, don’t hesitate to try it out. It probably is a pretty good game. But I couldn’t help but feel so bored playing through the early portions of the game and hearing Artyom over and over again until I hated everything Russian.
Winner: Time Loop thrillers
I could have sworn this was Outlast 3 and I about shit my britches (question: can only British people have “britches”? Are we just resorted to “jeans” and “pants”? And are “britches” different from that? Don’t care enough to Google, just curious.) But I am perfectly satisfied with a Blair Witch game. Granted I have never seen the movies, the premise alone is interesting to me. But the time loop aspect alone is interesting enough to have me fully sold on this title. Then later in the presentation, we see this indie title called 12 Hours, which looks even better to me. With both games being announced so close to the recent success of The Outer Wilds, I’m starting to wonder where this new boom in the genre came from. Did a bunch of developers from different companies get drunk together and thrown time loop game ideas at each other? Cause even Bethesda is entering the time loop genre (more on that later). Either way, both titles are on my radar and I’m interested to hear more.
Loser: Deer everywhere
HAHAHAHAHA I mean what is this game?? This guy Anthony Tan dripped his fucking balls off and saw a vision of a deer with glowing antlers pushing a rail car in the middle of no where. Then he started seeing eyes all over his walls staring at him, and his cat grew like 10x it’s size. Then he work up in a subway. That’s how this game was made. It’s really the most random thing in this conference and all I did was laugh my ass off for the entire 3 minutes. One of my friends actually sent this in the group chat:
Everyone: I bet all games will be in VR by 2020
2020: Yea so we made an RPG where it’s just you but like you’re a deer
It may actually end up being a fun game but I can’t get past this moment yet.
Winner: Billie Eilish
This was pretty bad ass. I love this song, and while this moment was very simple, it was effective in hyping up the rest of the presentation. Which…
Loser: Gears 5
Ok hear me out. Yes, it’s Gears. It’s Lancers, it’s Boltoks, it’s the Locust vs the Gears. I get it, but so much of that didn’t actually feel like Gears. And before you say “oh is it because it’s a female lead and not badass super overpowered macho male like Marcus Fenix??”…actually yes that’s the exact reason JKJKJKJK I’m kidding. It just seems like they’re drifting away from what made Gears so great in the first place. It’s got the gore yes, but there’s something about the grittiness of living in that world that seems to be missing. I remember the pain of seeing Dom find his wife in Gears 2, and the tears of seeing Dom’s sacrifice in Gears 3. I know it’s just a trailer, and we had the same issues with Gears 4, but I’m missing that aspect of the series and I want it back. Also, why in the shit is this new mode only 3 player co-op? Do you really think I can’t find a 4th friend to join me? I mean that’s absolutely 100% true, but I don’t care stop making it fucking weird.
Loser: Project xCloud
Is it just me or did they not spend nearly enough time on this for me to understand what the hell xCloud is going to do for me? Like give me a demonstration like Stadia has done in their conferences. Almost every application I’ve seen has been about playing my Xbox on my smart phone and I can tell you right now, I have zero desire to do so. I fear this no where near ready and we’re gonna get a really shitty launch later this year. We’ll hear more soon, but this was a pretty big gloss-over for me.
Winner: Next Gen Consoles
“It eats monsters for breakfast.” That’s the most unnecessary line of the conference. Who was editing that trailer and thought “yes we should end with this statement”? Anyway, it was a pretty impressive tech spec rundown. Being able to run natively at 60fps with the potential for 120 fps is a huge jump from the original Xbox One. And you’ve made a pretty big promise to reduce load times like what was demonstrated on the PS5 so I think you’re on par with them at the moment. 4x as powerful as Xbox One X and a 40x performance increase. This is probably all we’ll hear until next year’s E3 debut, but it’s a promising start.
Loser: Halo fans desperate to know what “spiritual reboot” means
This trailer gave me flashbacks of the Halo 4 announcement trailer where Master Chief wore a raggy cloak over a full suit of Spartan armor. I mean there were moments that made me excited for sure like when the original music hit, the FPS look of the shields rebooting, and the destroyed Halo ring. But I wanted more. I didn’t need, as one of my friends said, “2 and a half minutes of Walmart brand Tony Stark” trying to keep it together. None of that is Halo. I would have watched a ball of space dust float to the tune of the Halo theme until it finally hit Master Chief and been happier.
WINNER: ELDEN RING
Just take all my money FromSoftware. Take it all. I consent to all the pain and suffering you have for me. I want this game so badly its giving me AIDS.
The Rest of the Show
Overall, this was a great showcase for Microsoft. Many of the indie games announced for the Game Pass looked interesting to me. We saw some new Battletoads content, which better not just be couch co-op; it better fucking have online co-op as well. Wasteland 3 was announced, which is a series I’ve never touched but I know many love. I was so hyped about that super realistic game trailer until I realized it was a fucking Flight Simulator. I thought the Double Fine acquisition was funny and flew under the radar, along with the Psyconauts 2 announcement. I was completely uninterested in the Forza presentation until BAM they threw LEGO Racers into it and I started cracking up. Microsoft showed up big at this conference, and they needed to. I think this was a pretty big win for them, even though most of the games announced are cross platform. But based on Phil Spencer’s opening comments, it seems like they’re trying to move away from exclusivity and toward cross play, which we all know Sony is against right now because, well, they’re winning.
I didn’t really make any predictions for this conference, but I was very satisfied by what I saw and it gave me *gasp* optimism. Time will tell if that optimism was deserved or not.