A few years ago I did a recap of stuff at e3 I thought was cool, and I thought, why not do it again? This time I started taking notes and then realized I was just doing a liveblog, so that’s more or less what this is. Each line is a new trailer, and stuff in quotes is Mr. Act’s comments.
I’m also not including Nintendo’s stuff here, because Nintendo is where I go to fangirl without thinking and my reaction to the Direct can be summed up as OMFG ANIMAL CROSSING AHHHHHHHH. They also had a clip from Silksong which was neat.
Microsft making a game about ~destroying corporations~ is some high-level irony
An Overwatch clone, how boring
Oh, a new Ori game. I never played the first one of those and I should. I legit thought ‘Is this a Hollow Knight knockoff?’ at the beginning though. It seemed like a pretty transparent call to cash in on HK’s bugginess.
NGL a Minecraft RPG seems… kind of fun? It’s like DiabloCraft. I guess how interesting it is depends on how well they integrate the crafting and rpg elements though. If it’s just an RPG with MInecraft graphics that’ll be crappy.
Star Wars, whatever.
Blair Witch is a weird, weird thing to do. A) The whole point of the movie was that you never actually see the monsters B) Who is this for? What was the demand for this? Why now? I mean, it looks fine as a horror game, but why attach that IP to it? I don’t really get it.
CD Projeckt Red, still mad at them, fuck them. I referred to their games as ‘dick-waving nonsense’ out loud and Mr. Act requested I use that phrasing here, so, yes, this does look like dick-waving hypermasculine nonsense. Also, this trailer is really uncanny valley. “It’s just Blade Runner: Grand Theft Auto,” adds Mr. Act. Not a single woman in this trailer even as eye candy, so technically worse than GTA. Wait… is that Keanu Reeves…? Yes it is. Is this a game with… a guest star? “I guess graphics are high quality enough that you can have people star in games now,” Mr. Act muses confusedly. It’s literally called ‘Cyberpunk,’ what even is effort.
Ah, this looks much more my speed. Dark-skinned girl with pets building shit. This game looks pretty adorable and fun. It’s called Spiritfarer, add it to your watch lists!
Is this… Battletoads? No. Yes…? Why…?
This handcrafted thing is weird. Is it like a Mario Party thing…? Guess we don’t get to know. Weird.
A bunch of quick small trailers. Oh, Pathologic 2. The only other thing I caught was a LOTR-themed Hearthstone ripoff. Hard to know what to say about the others, didn’t recognize any of the names and they were tiny short bits.
Hey, a Hollow Knight shoutout. Guess it got an XBox port.
Unclear whether this Pass thing is just another way to pay money for ~access~ and not actually own anything or whether it’s a Steam competitor where you can play offline. Ah, it is a subscription. Why would you pay for this, I don’t understand.
The flight sim is equal parts gorgeous and disconcerting. I didn’t know scenery could be uncanny valley but this kind of is. It’s incredible, though.
Another Age of Empires rerelease? Oh, it’s in 4k. Totally necessary for pixel graphics from 1996. “Better be 100 FPS,” Mr Act shouts from the other room.
Oh, Wasteland 3! I still have not played 2. I should do that.
Microsoft bought DoubleFine. That’s kind of surprising. Huh.
I see the new Psychonauts is just as visually unappealing as the old one.
More Star Wars? “How many Star Wars games can there be…?”
Whoever is doing the camerawork should be slapped. They keep giving us stadium view during the trailers so we can’t see what’s going on.
Huh, a DBZ game on XBox, kind of odd. Is this a game that covers all of DBZ’s plot, or just the Frieza arc? They don’t explain.
‘Interactive Thriller’ is some pretentious-ass shit to call a game. There’s no indication what the gameplay actually is, but it seems like it’s probably just a VN. Ah, this is a ‘play the same scene over and over and try to save someone’ thing. It was a good trailer but not a super original concept. Mr. Act really liked it though.
This is like post-apocalyptic Might and Delight, interesting. ‘Way to the Woods’ looks like it’s about a deer family trying to get home, kind of cool.
Gears of War 5, don’t care. “Even I recognize how cliche this dialogue is.” What a bizzaro arrangement of this music. “I never get these trailers that don’t tell you anything about what it’s actually like to play the game.” Me neither. I will say this is a very egalitarian cast. Good for GoW.
They went out of their way to dress all the presenters like gamerbros.
In case you wanted to pay a bajillion dollars for a controller.
Dying Light is something else I know nothing about. Oh, it’s more zombies. Whatever.
I’m not sure I care about any series less than I care about Forza. Okay, the Lego cars are pretty funny. OH man the 1/1 Lego car on the stage is pretty legit.
Oh jesus fuck POP is making games now. Why. Just why. Oh god it’s mobile too. Whyyyy
“Is this more zombies? There’s so many zombies!” Yup, more zombies. Looks like a black woman PC though, which is pretty cool. Oh, but she shares being PC with Generic White Dude. Of course.
Japan’s Greatest MMO…? Oh, Phantasy Star.
This next one has 650 million players but no global release? How is that possible? “Must be Chinese.” Oh, good point. ‘Crossfire.’ Never heard of it.
This is pretty. Bandai…? Hmm. This looks pretty cool. Oh, it’s a new Tales game. Whelp, so much for that.
Borderlands! Lilith!! Oh, sweet, is the plot of this one going to revolve around the sirens? God these games are always so much fun. Borderlands always has such great character design. I need to catch up on the DLC for 2 so I’m ready for 3.
Oh, this is the Miyazaki Hide/GRRM game. Seems too grimdark for me, idk. It is nice to see a new fantasy RPG IP though.
“Project X-Cloud” is the most nonsensical congloeration of 2010s buzzwords, I s2g.
I don’t care about the nextgen Xbox stuff so I’m skipping it.
Did he just say this is Halo? Mr. Act rolls his eyes at the lost-in-space dude with a motivational wife and child: “This is every sci-fi story ever.” Master Chief swooping in to save the cowardly latino was pretty squicky, ngl.
.And then it’s just over. The only new thing that stuck out to me here was Spiritfarer, I’m definitely going to look into that one more.
I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about Nintendo, but… the Nintendo Direct is really worth watching because, I think, of what it says about Nintendo’s approach as a company as opposed to Microsoft’s. It’s lighthearted gags about Doug Bowser, it’s nonstop gameplay footage of games coming out very soon, its lack of weird moneygrabs and over-the-top gimmicks like a lego McClaron, of all things… I think holding Nintendo up to other devs highlights both an earnest love of games on the part of Nintendo as well as a genuine respect for their audience. I mean, again, Nintendo actually showed gameplay. They then spent three days following the trailers by just showing people playing the games in real time and having the devs there to talk about their games directly and honestly. There was a very sincere lack of self-aggradizement in the way Nintendo presents itself to fans that makes this exhausting by comparison.
I assume if there had been any TES6 announcements I would have heard; I’m not sure I care about anything else they do. But we’ll see.
Oh right they’re Fallout 76. Reddit claims it was terrible but Reddit is angry about everything so who knows. I don’t know anything about it myself. Lol, this whole intro video is them going ‘we love our fans’ through gritted teeth. At least they can be self-deprecating about it. Maybe it was all dudes on the dev team so no one had dudebros sending death threats to their house, who knows.
Did not know there was a TES mobile game. Not here for microtransactions, though, which I assume it is. Huh, it’s going to be on Switch. Does Switch do microtransactions? If there’s a pay-up-front version I’m into it.
More 76. Have any of our Fallout fans bothered to check it out? Apparently they’re introducing NPCs… how were there not NPCs before…? They’re apparently adding a battle royale mode, lol. Gotta cash in on those trends. Well, at least it’s all free DLC.
A dev from a company called Tango Gameworks. Never heard of them. The game is Ghostwire Tokyo. Oh my this woman is so bubbly. What a happy human being. Good for her. This actually sounds pretty cool, like an urban fantasy mystery. Mr. Act and I are both into it. She explicitly says it’s not survival horror. Looks like it’s based on Shinto mythos, which is neat; Shinto is weirdly underrepresented in AAA games. Yeah I’ll def keep an eye on this.
TES Online is next. I’m always tempted to violate my no-MMO rule for this but alas. The trailer is very pretty. Not much else to say about it though. It went on for way too long.
Holy shit this is weird. Commander Keen. Apparently this is an update of an old PC game from the early 90s, repurposed as a money-grubbing pay-to-win mobile game.
On to their Fallout mobile game and TES Hearthstone mobile game. Christ, is subscription and P2W shit all they do now?
Rage 2. Never heard of it. Looks like a Borderlands knockoff.
On to Wolfenstein. I’m glad we’re still functioning on the premise that Nazis are bad, at least for the purposes of E3. Two women killing Nazis. This is a good premise for a game. Daughters rescuing father is also pretty cool just as a general premise. Actual gameplay footage for this one too.
Two very French guys come onstage for the next game. Wow, it looks like the coprotags of this game are a black man and woman. That’s pretty cool. ‘Deathloop’. No idea what it’s about or what the gameplay is, but it looks neat and it’s from some of the same people as Dishonored.
They’re also doing cloud gaming. Neither of us understand the appeal of this.
Finally, the new DOOM game. Not my thing, but Mr. Act enjoyed the last one. Also, there’s actual gameplay footage. “This is making me want to play DOOM again.” He has lots of praise for the tempo and level/puzzle design.
So the winners here don’t seem to be Besthesda Softworks’ IPs, but the smaller devs they work with. Bethesda proper just talked about stupid sub and p2w games, while the small devs brought out Ghostline, Wolfenstein Youngblood, DOOM, and Deathloop, all of which look innovative and engaging. Ghostline is the definite winnder to both of us, though, it looked fascinating.
Ubisoft will always mean Rayman 2 for me, and apparently it’s that game’s 20th anniversary, which is pretty neat. That’s a series that did one great game and never really was able to match it again. But man what a great game.
LONDON. This isn’t fiction, extremists are grabbing power. “Beating up cops seems like a bad idea in a police state.” What is fiction without incompetent dystopias? Oh, this is pretty cool, an old lady PC. The gameplay here is interesting, but the setting doesn’t really catch me. Nice to see a gameplay trailer, actually. Ah, this is the new Watchdogs game. Yeah the gameplay here is super neat. I just wish the premise seemed more original.
This is… the Always Sunny theme? Lol it’s Mac? Lol, he made a comedy that takes place in a game studio. That’s pretty funny. I support this endeavor.
Rainbow 6 esports promo. Whatever.
Now.. Adventure Time? Looks like one of their games is getting AT DLC.
Well this looks stupid. ~the only real test of a man is battle~ sure bro you do you. Oh it’s a Tom Clancy game, no wonder. Lol a doggo on stage. What a good boy. I don’t give a fuck about this game I’m just here for this dog.
Ugh another mobile game. Nothing has ever appealed to me less than the phrase “Tom Clancy mobile game.”
Is this a gritty trailer for Just Dance, that’s pretty funny.
For Honor. I don’t know anything about it and don’t particularly care about a content update for it.
MORE Tom Clancy. Jesus. “Half of their catalogue is Tom Clancy??”
And even MORE Tom Clancy.
Also a Tom Clancy movie.
Jesus Christ they’re ALSO doing a subscription service?? This is why I play Nintendo and indie games. You will be paying forever and never own anything indeed.
Is this like, roller derby rocket league? Roller Champions. Could be fun, depends on the gameplay. We don’t get to see gameplay.
OOh, this is pretty. Gods & Monsters. Just a teaser trailer. Shame, it seemed like the most interesting thing here.
So this was a not-my-thing-but-maybe-interesting cyberpunk game, a roller derby game, an itty bitty teaser trailer and a shitfuckton of Tom Clancy.
Time for some good ol’ JRPGs! I need this after all that Tom Clancy nonsense.
Ah, the FFVII remake. I still have not played the original. I actually bought it for the Switch a few weeks ago. The trailer is v v pretty. Geez, it’ll be on two blu-rays. Huh, they’re going in a Tales-style hack-and-slash direction. Kind of weird. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Have the newer FF games also had a more Tales battle system? Maybe this isn’t as big a departure as it feels to me.
Oh, another game from the Life Is Strange people. This looks like LIS reskinned. Oh it’s the sequel. Looks equally as overwrought and irritating.
Oh, is this a new Crystal Chronicles? How cute. The VA just pronounce ‘miasma’ as ‘my asthma.’ Oh, it’s a remake for mobile. I actually like this, I’ll probs grab it. SEs mobile ports have been pretty good.
A PC release for Octopath Traveller. I decided against this one when everyone was raving about it but I don’t remember why. Mr. Act thinks is was by a dev of a game I hated. That sounds familiar.
The Last Remnant remake… I know that title but I can’t remember why.
DQ Builders 2. The first one has been on my wishlist for a while, it was actually supposed to be pretty good.
DQXI for the Switch. I’m still emotionally dealing with the ending of this game.
Ah, the indie showcase! Something about cars. A fun-looking racing game. It’s very cute. Circuit Superstars. A war game. Coop FPS. Battalion 1944 Eastern Front.
SqEnix’s music is now on streaming services. That’s cool.
Looks like Kingdom Hearts next. Never got into it, not a Disney person. A DLC announcement.
FFXIV announcements. The director guy is very animated. This is a really cool trailer. The no MMO rule strikes again.
Oh, hey, Metric. A good band. Dyling Light 2. Very much Not My Thing.
Looks like some late official localizations of classic jRPGs. Missed the title of the first one. The second is a SaGa game.
A FF Brave Exvius announcement. Looks like a sequel to the original. Not here for microtransactions, as always.
A very pretty cinematic trailer. Looks like a scifi shooter. Outriders. Interesting. I’m all about lady warriors with buzz cuts.
Reincarnation is the cornerstone of our way of life is a fascinating way to start a trailer. This seems really cool. You play as grim reapers who help souls move on it seems like. Very neat. I’ll def keep an eye on this one. Oninaki.
A FFVIII remaster for this-gen consoles.
A Marvel game. Looks like Avengers. Don’t care. They promise no gatcha and no P2W. Good for them.
Well, that was fun!
Just because it continues to blow my mind, why were there so many announcements of games without telling us WTF kind of game they are? How am I even supposed to know to be excited for something if I don’t know what in the world it is? Are there really that many people out there who buy games solely on how pretty the cinematic trailer is as opposed to, you know, the actual game? I am so baffled by this.
Also, the amount of pay-us-for-nothing from Western devs was mindblowing. Gaming has become so stuffed to the brim with this anticonsumer nonsense. Mr. Act pointed out that if sub services are the only way to play the games you want you’re left with no choice but to pay for them, but I’m not sure I agree with that. Yeah, you may not have access to Tom Clancy #3290, but if you actually like games there’s so much indie content out there that gives the same experience that I don’t think you can argue you really have no other option. But until people care enough about how they’re treated to stop tolerating it there’s not much that can be done.
But there was some really cool stuff here. Ghostline, Deathloop, Spiritfarer, Oninaki. Even the smidge of Gods & Monsters we saw looked pretty neat. I don’t think any of this beat Nintendo, though. A short, lighthearted, no-frills presentation packed with stuff fans wanted and no sub service bullshit… it’s not hard to see why people are so affectionate toward them and barely tolerate everyone else.
I will also say I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of women and POC across all devs. This seemed to be an especially good year for nonwhite characters. The gamer community may be complete and utter shit, but it looks like they’re going to have progress imposed on them from the top down, which is heartening.
I don’t have an outro.