It's the event that gamers love to hate but hate to love: the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or, more commonly, E3. E3 is an annual convention held in Los Angeles, California where a bunch of game executives with very little public speaking ability get on stage and say gaming buzzwords like "immersion" or "experience" or "choice" for a few minutes before queuing up a series of game trailers (ones that rarely feature any actual gameplay), advertising games that may not even be out for another three years. This event is a bit more geared towards these gaming companies' investors than their fans, but, still, it's gaming's biggest event of the year, so we gotta try to have a little fun with it. There's a lot of press conferences at E3, and a lot of weird stuff goes down, so it can be easy to miss some of the information. Luckily for you, I watched every single press conference, so you don't have to. No need to thank me, I did it out of the goodness of my heart.
Here are some of the highlights I took away from E3 2018:
EA has to apologize and backpedal from its loot box disaster last year
EA has always been a controversial company, but last year they actually caught the attention of government authorities with their loot box-based progression system in "Star Wars Battlefront," which legislators from Belgium and Hawaii wished to investigate on the grounds of selling gambling to minors. Also, the game just kind of sucked. In between game trailers and all that wonderfully exciting corporate talk EA is known for, CEO Andrew Wilson basically had to take a moment of the conference to apologize for the game, and (sort-of) promise that this whole loot box debacle won't happen again. We'll have to see about that one.
"Star Wars" games apparently aren’t good enough for the main stage anymore
In a weird move, considering how popular (and profitable) "Star Wars" video games are, EA chose to announce their next "Star Wars" game, titled "Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order" by having a developer in the audience tell the name of the game to a host. If the game isn't even far enough along to have a trailer yet, why even bother announcing it?
The "Unravel 2" presentation was so genuine and pure
As much as I love to hate on EA, I do admire the attention and support they give to their indie game developers. Back when the first "Unravel" game was announced at E3 2015, it was presented by a shy, shaking developer who brought a little yarn doll on stage to introduce an adorable little platforming game. The guy was probably the most pure and genuine presenter to ever take the E3 stage. This year, the developer returned, still nervous but a little less so, to announce "Unravel 2," which looks just as adorable. And, to make the announcement better, the game was presented in the way games were meant to be: actually being played on the screen before our eyes. Such a nice breath of non-cinematic fresh air.
So many games
Whatever you think of the quality of the games in Microsoft's press conference, you can't deny the sheer quantity. Microsoft presented a whopping 50 games in 100 minutes, including 18 exclusives and 15 world premieres. Some noteworthies included "Halo Infinite," "Ori and the Will of the Wisps," "Crackdown 3," "Forza Horizon 4," "The Division 2," "Shadow of the Tomb Raider," "Devil May Cry 5"," Battletoads," "Jump Force" and "Gears of War 5."
FromSoftware reveals their mystery project
Developers of the "Dark Souls" series and "Bloodborne," FromSoftware, hinted at their next project at last year's Game Awards and at the Microsoft conference; it was revealed to be a new IP called "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice," featuring a samurai with a prosthetic arm.
Todd Howard drops by to reveal "Fallout 76"
Microsoft got to dip in a little on Bethesda's action, having Bethesda director and the gaming industry's very own Willy Wonka, Todd Howard, present the new Fallout prequel, "Fallout 76."
CD Projekt Red hacks the conferenceGiphy
Just when it seemed like Microsoft was out of game trailers, the press conference was seemingly hacked. This turned out to be a lead-in to a trailer for CD Projekt Red's enormously anticipated upcoming game "Cyberpunk 2077." We still didn't get to see any gameplay in this trailer, but the world on display in this trailer looked fascinating.
The next Xbox is in development
Apparently not satisfied with just announcing games, Xbox's Executive President Phil Spencer confirmed that the next Xbox is currently in development. Start saving up.
Todd Howard continues to be a powerhouse at E3
Todd Howard doesn't always show up for E3, but, when he does, he brings the good stuff. This year, Todd got to do the two things he does best: be more charming than every other presenter at E3 combined and get people hyped for a new "Fallout" game.
Lots of gameplay for "Rage 2"
Bethesda's new first-person shooter game had a pretty bland intro from Andrew W.K., but the game itself looks pretty insane.
A new Co-op "Wolfenstein" game with two female leads
The next "Wolfenstein" game is called "Wolfenstein: Youngblood" and is centered around BJ Blazkowicz' twin daughters fighting Nazis in the '80s. Sweet.
Bethesda showcases their self-awareness with Keegan-Michael Key
Gamers like to poke fun at Bethesda's tendency to re-release "Skyrim" every opportunity they get, and Bethesda took a moment out of their conference to prove that they're in on the joke. A short fake commercial featured comedian Keegan-Michael Key "playing" Skyrim by giving commands to an Amazon Echo. The commercial also announced that the new "Skyrim: Very Special Edition" would also be released on Etch-A-Sketch, Motorola Pager and Samsung Refrigerator. Frankly, I'm disappointed; where's my TI-84 port?
"Starfield" will be a next-gen game, meaning the Xbox One/PS4 generation is almost over
While not a direct announcement of a new PlayStation, Bethesda announcing that their upcoming space RPG, "Starfield," would be a game for a next-gen console, along with Microsoft's announcement, seems to hint at the end of the PS4 and Xbox One console generation very soon.
Bethesda basically acknowledges that, yes, there will be an "Elder Scrolls VI"
This one might kind of be our fault. After years of re-releasing Skyrim over and over again, fans have been begging Bethesda for a look at the next "Elder Scrolls" game. Well, we finally got it...squeezed into the last minute of the conference, without even a real name: just a 36-second teaser with the words "The Elder Scrolls 6" floating over a fantasy world. Basically, it was an acknowledgment that Bethesda is naturally going to make a sequel to one of the most beloved video games of all time. I guess Bethesda didn't really have a choice here; another year's wait and fans probably would've been sending them death threats.
Devolver continues to create beautiful madness
Honestly, you don't have to care about E3 in the slightest to enjoy Devolver Digital press conferences. They are simply art in their own right; do yourself a favor and watch them on YouTube.
Square Enix is putting out a game centered on a deaf man
Not much information was revealed about the new action game "The Quiet Man," but playing as a deaf man is not something I've seen in a video game before.
The "Final Fantasy VII" remake is still missing in action
I don't care how fun it was to see a trailer for the "FF7" Remake back in 2015. It's been 3 years since that announcement, and there's still no release date. This game still seems like more of a hope than a certainty.
"Kingdom Hearts 3" is finally almost here, even if the trailers are a bit shoddy
Some weird editing and audio aside, "Kingdom Hearts" fans are finally getting a real third game in January 2019. Breathe a sigh of relief….unless you don't like "Frozen." 'Cause uh, there's a lot of "Frozen"...
Ubisoft uses a fake marching band and a dancing panda to advertise "Just Dance 2019"
Ubisoft understands that sitting through an E3 conference is a slog, so they try to do things to liven up the event. Unfortunately, what this means is that, every year, a bunch of oddly-dressed dancers put on an off-putting performance of songs from whatever "Just Dance" game Ubisoft is about to release. This year included a dancing panda and also a marching band on stage, which got me excited for a second, until I realized that the music was not coming from the instruments, but from what sounded like a cheap marching band-simulating computer program. Ubisoft, how could you...
Ubisoft's conference randomly featured Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Elijah Wood announcing their involvement with several of Ubisoft's games. I guess having Robin and Frodo in your press conference can never be a bad thing.
Ubisoft uses their conference to unveil a documentary film about "Rainbow 6 Siege"
Uh, Ubisoft? You know this is a gaming convention, right? Could you save the films for a different time?
The “Prime Minister of Finland” rides a motorcycle into the conference, trips onto the stage, then announces "Trials Rising"
So yeah, that happened I guess.
Shigeru Miyamoto shows up for Fox McCloud’s appearance in "Starlink"
The Godfather of Gaming, Shigeru Miyamoto, stopped by for the announcement that Fox McCloud will be a playable character in the space combat game "Starlink." Ubisoft's relationship with Nintendo is clearly paying off.
Hope you like "Battle Royale" games
Cause there's a ton of 'em coming. PlayerUnknown's "Battleground" and "Fortnite" have created a genre that has spread like wildfire.
Sony grinds its press conference to a halt
For some reason, Sony made the decision to start its conference in a small church-like environment, then go to intermission after its first full trailer and move everyone back to the actual conference room. I guess this was done to provide a sense of atmosphere for the "The Last of Us II" trailer, but what a tedious way to drag out a conference. This, in addition to not one but two musical performances...yikes.
Sony’s 4 big games this year looked pretty great
To be fair, once Sony got to the actual trailers, they were pretty great. Gameplay trailers (fake gameplay, but still better than just cinematics) for "The Last of Us II," "Ghost of Tsushima," "Death Stranding" and "Spiderman" were the focus of the press conference, and the games look fantastic.
Almost no support for VR
Hope you're not too invested in the current generation of VR gaming tech because Sony announced only one VR game during their conference. Does this mean Playstation VR was just another doomed phase in the history of VR gaming? I hope not.
No word from "Metroid Prime 4"
As with the 2015 "Final Fantasy VII Remake" trailer and this year's "Elder Scrolls 6," Nintendo's showing of Metroid Prime 4 last year may have been more to just show the game's existence than to prepare for a release. Not a single mention of the game this year.
"Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" has the potential to be the best "Smash Bros." yet
The obvious centerpiece of Nintendo's press conference, besides their new "Fire Emblem" game, was the upcoming "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" for the Switch. The game is aiming to be an absolute crowd-pleaser, appealing to competitive players and newcomers alike and will include every character that's ever been playable in a "Smash Bros." game before. Get hyped.
There you have it. All the important things that happened at E3 this year. Overall, this was a pretty decent year. Not really any huge surprises or attention-catchers, but lots of pretty strong lineups from almost everyone. And I've seen much, MUCH worse.
Here's hoping all your biggest E3 wishes came true. See you next year.