E3 2017 has come and gone, and some of our most pressing questions have finally been answered. How did things shake out?
Let’s take a look.
1. Who Will Compete With Overwatch?
No one! All the biggest shooters of E3 2017 were either single-player or co-op multiplayer. The only real multiplayer shooters we saw were mainstays like Call of Duty and Star Wars Battlefront.
It looks as if most developers have decided to ease off the arcade shooter genre and let Blizzard have their fun. That being said, Wolfenstein, Destiny 2, the new Metro Exodus, and the major announcement of Metroid Prime 4 all excited shooter fans, but none of them will take a bite out of Overwatch.
2. Who is in Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite’s Roster?
Mostly who we expected. Every character we saw at E3 was a part of the roster leak a few weeks ago, except for one: Zero. However, there was one blank spot on that list that we assumed would be taken up by Frank West. It’s possible Zero fits into that slot. The only real surprise we got was Black Panther as DLC, though we have no idea how he is going to play.
Overall, E3 left us feeling like MVCI is a fantastic game… to play with your friends. Its single-player campaign could use some work.
3. Is Square All Talk?
Yes. We saw no playable demo for Kingdom Hearts 3 or the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. The release of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT on the PS4 is neat, but wasn’t what fans wanted to see. They live streamed from their booth the entire convention, and most of it was filler, from cosplay guides to retrospectives. They simply didn’t have any cool new games to show.
4. Seriously, What Is the Scorpio?
A tiny, powerful, ludicrously poorly named console called the Xbox One X. Look, the PS4 Pro is already struggling. Know why? Because the console crowd isn’t interested in power. The console crowd just wants to be sure that they can play the games they love. They don’t have the money to spend on a 500-dollar console to play games in high resolution on a 3000-dollar TV. If gamers had that sort of money to spend, you know what they would be playing games on? A gaming PC, which can give you the same level (or better) of graphics and performance with the added bonus of upgradability.
I anticipate a lot of disappointed gamers who ask for an Xbox One X for Christmas and get an Xbox One S instead.
5. What AAA Franchises Have Survived the Mid-Console Wars?
Definitely Skryim. E3 just can’t get enough of Skyrim. We can play Skyrim on the Switch, Skyrim in VR. In a few years, I expect to play Skyrim on my toaster.
Unexpected survivors were Metroid with Metroid Prime 4, and Metroid: Return of Samus. Also, Shadow of the Colossus with a brand-new HD remake, Beyond Good and Evil 2 (finally), Monster Hunter World, The Evil Within 2, Metro Exodus, Ni No Kuni II, and Far Cry 5. Suffice it to say, the age of sequels is not over yet.
6. What Is the Future of the Switch?
Nintendo’s surprisingly brief press conference was loaded with killer apps. In 2017, we can expect Mario +Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Fire Emblem Warriors, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and the incredibly fun (and sometimes disturbing) Super Mario Odyssey.
2018 promises even more games, including a new Kirby, a new Yoshi, a new Fire Emblem, and finally Metroid Prime 4. Arguably, Nintendo “won” E3 this year (alongside the PC), showcasing more exclusive titles than any other platform. There’s never been a better time to get a Nintendo Switch.
7. What Is Sony’s Killer App?
It turns out it’s Spider-Man. They closed their press conference with it, and it’s looking pretty good! The combat is smooth, the animation is fantastic, the voice acting is spot-on, and it looks like the best Spider-Man game we have seen in years.
Sony also gave nods to God of War, Days Gone, and Detroit: Become Human, and while all of these games look fun and competently made, that’s about all Sony had to show. Everything else was minor or multi-platform. Overall, it was a weak show compared to previous years, when Sony easily had the strongest showing. With the Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch on the market, Sony needed to give gamers a reason not to jump ship but, unfortunately, they didn’t.
8. Is Konami Really Dead?
Hah! Oh man. The only thing Konami had to show was Metal Gear Survive and PES 2018, and neither game has been received well. Who the heck asked for a zombie-themed Metal Gear co-op game anyway? Better stick to those pachinko machines.
9. What Is the Future of VR?
It looks as if VR is finally coming to the AAA sphere of games, and it’s about time. We will be able to play Skyrim and Fallout 4 in VR in the coming year. Sony had a whole portion of their press conference dedicated to VR titles. Microsoft, not so much, but they did note that the Xbox One X will support VR technology.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see any notable VR exclusives, nor did we see any upcoming AAA titles slated to use the technology like Resident Evil 7 did. Instead we are getting Final Fantasy XV…’s fishing mini game… in VR. Exactly what everyone wanted…
VR didn’t have a particularly strong showing at this year’s E3, but it didn’t have a weak one either. VR won’t die, but for now there won’t be any new games that will elevate VR technology above its current status, though Bethesda’s trio of VR titles might end up being the most significant news out of E3 as a whole.
10. Will the General Public Survive?
It could have gone better.
Opening E3’s doors to the general public was great for the convention’s bottom line. It inflated attendance from 50,000 to 70,000, which is impressive. Unfortunately, it seems as if booths weren’t prepared to handle those numbers. Instead, the convention was set up as it usually was, to the detriment of everyone.
Reports from the convention floor said that lines were longer than ever. Journalists who were able to get appointments had to deal with angry fans jealous of their ability to skip the line. Journalists who weren’t able to get appointments had to wait in line with these fans, sometimes four hours or more just to play a two-minute demo.
The convention did little to separate spaces for private meetings and public events. When the convention was industry only, most of the attendees just knew that there were spaces reserved for business meetings and investor roundtables that you weren’t banned from, but had no reason to be in. The general public, however, used these spaces to just chill, sitting in hallways and generally getting in the way of business. Sitting in hallways and hanging out is perfectly acceptable at conventions like, say, PAX, but that’s why PAX sections off space specifically for business meetings, space where the general convention populace doesn’t go.
According to Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson, there was some hostility in the air at this year’s E3. Industry attendees tend to view E3 very differently from the general public. It’s an exercise in attrition; demo after demo with no rest and no food with only short breaks for interviews and write-ups. It’s an exhausting yearly practice, and even though we all have fun, I can say from personal experience that game journalists are happy to get off their feet when it’s all over.
This year, on average, working journalists got to see fewer games and had to deal with bigger crowds. That makes it difficult for smaller outlets to get game footage or video interviews, which really goes a long way toward helping them compete with bigger outlets like IGN. And GameCrate heard reports again and again from staff working booths both large and small that they were frustrated by the state of the show, the difficulty of conducting meetings, and the negative backlash they were seeing from the public.
And this is a two-way street. Fans were there to have fun, and the gigantic crowds of industry folks made it difficult to do that. At conventions like PAX or Comic Con, fans are able to talk with anyone and everyone, making friends, having hallway dance parties and cosplay competitions, and generally treating the event like a massive friendly gathering. But that isn’t what E3 is, and it has a very long track record as an industry-first event.
Many fans found themselves paying two hundred and fifty dollars for a convention where they did nothing but wait in lines for hours, play two or three games, and go home. That isn’t fun for everyone. Since most of these fans had never been to an E3 before, they found themselves running into “first year traps.” Some found themselves waiting in lines so long the convention center would close before they got to play the game they wanted!
While the influx of excitement brought by the general public was welcome, it may have done more harm than good. Will they come back next year? If they do, the convention will have to change everything from its layout to its operating hours in order to make things work. Most major conventions that also let the general public attend offer “industry hours” a day before the convention starts, to allow journalists to get their jobs done before crowds fill the floor. This also gives fans more liberty to have fun during public convention hours. This is something E3 will absolutely have to implement if the general public is going to be let in in 2018 and beyond.