E3 2019 Highlights

It’s that time again for every gamer around the world: E3 2019 has arrived! With every studio and developer finally finished revealing all they have to offer us hungry consumers (for now), I thought it would be fun to recap some memorable moments from this year’s E3.

Disclaimer: this is not a comprehensive list of everything that was announced. I will just be going into a small handful of moments that stuck out to me personally from the terrible to the fantastic. Also, everything featured here will be listed in order of them being announced, so let’s get right to it!

EA

Jedi: Fallen Order is one game I’m very excited about and was the first title featured right out the gate. While Jedi: Fallen Order had already been officially revealed, this is the first time we’re being blessed with gameplay. Featuring the combat of God of War 2018 with a dash of Force Unleashed, and an Uncharted style character-driven single-player narrative, it’s easy to see why people are excited for this one. The game is shaping up to be the Star Wars game fans have been waiting for. This ALMOST makes up for the canceled Star Wars: 1313 project… Or maybe this is what Star Wars: 1313 turned into… Much like wondering how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know!

And… that’s about it from EA beyond them going on about the same things about Battlefield, Sports, and the Sims. So, moving on!

Microsoft

Minecraft: Dungeons is a new dungeon crawler set in the… Minecraft universe? Is that a thing? I mean Minecraft does have Story Mode with its own lore, I guess… Anyways, I’d imagine this game exists because someone out there was like “Minecraft’s great and is one of the best selling video games of all time, but you know what would make it even better? Turning it into a generic RPG!” Hard pass from me.

Before the show, it was rumored that Shigeru Miyamoto would be attending the Microsoft E3 press conference. However, it turned out the “breathtaking” Keanu Reeves was the one to promote Cyberpunk 2077. Because I know that I’m constantly getting John Wick and the father of Donkey Kong mixed up all the time; it’s an honest mistake. Keanu coming on stage was more interesting to me than what I saw from this highly anticipated title. However, another hard pass for me.

Microsoft also announced their Game Pass service is coming to PC. This is particularly exciting to someone like myself who would like to play some games on the XBOX but can’t justify spending $300-400 on another console just to play 1 or 2 games they’re interested in. At $15 for their Ultimate plan, you can get access to the service on both PC and “console” (interesting wording there Microsoft), as well as XBOX live, it’s honestly a really great deal. Look out, Google Stadia. Looks like you’ve got some stiff competition. I know that if Game Pass ever comes to the Switch, it’s a done deal for many, including myself.

Double Fine was announced to be joining XBOX Game Studios. While I never grew up with any of their games, it’s one of those things where I’m more excited for the fans than I am about the announcement. Psychonauts 2 looks neat, though.

And now the announcement I was more excited to see than anybody should rightly be… LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga! For context, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is still my favorite LEGO game that Travellers Tales has made to date. So, in a way, this is like them remaking one of my favorite games by not only fixing some disappointments I’ve had with previous titles cough LEGO Star Wars: Episode 7 cough, but by also bringing one of my favorite games to modern consoles. Again, I’m more excited about this than anyone should for a LEGO game, but that’s why I’m excited.

Then Microsoft begins to show off another Forza trailer like they always do… except it wasn’t just a Forza trailer, it was a trailer for a LEGO racing expansion! This part of the conference completely took me by surprise. Honestly, I almost want to get this game now just to play with the LEGO content, and maybe I will with Game Pass. We’ll have to see.

And that’s about it for Microsoft, which honestly they had a really good conference, all things considered. I was super impressed with Microsoft this year, something I’ve never been able to say about them as far as XBOX goes, and I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on what they’re up to next.

Bethesda

I’m not much of a Fallout fan, so for the first quarter of this conference, I was half asleep. That was until they put on Ghostwire: Tokyo. I’ve gotta say, based on the teaser they showed, it’s looking like it’s got a lot of elements that just resonate with me. It’s an action-adventure, creepy in all the right paranormal ways, and has the most beautifully rendered ramen I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing in a video game. It’s got it all! This is one title I’m definitely keeping my eye on for now.

The rest of their conference basically focused on Elder Scrolls, more Fallout, and Doom. Their Orion service seems kind of neat, but, besides a quick demo of the service working, they spent the rest of the time putting so much emphasis on the fact that it runs games in native 4k at 60 frames. Because that’s the main thing we need to know as consumers. Nothing else like information on pricing, a release window, or anything a regular consumer would need to know if they’re even slightly intrigued to use the service. But sure, it’ll run your 11th freaking copy of Doom 2016 just fine.

Devolver Digital

Well, their presentation was… a thing that happened. They begin their conference with a pre-recorded sketch which is them totally not attempting a Nintendo Direct. Nope, not at all.

I get that they’re trying to do a parody of Nintendo’s famous directs, and parodies are right up my alley, but the whole thing just oozes cringe and mixed signals. The messaging in this introduction is quite confusing, and I honestly couldn’t tell you what the point of it was. The only thing I can tell you is how much I wanted to smack everyone in that stupid sketch and tell them to knock it off and just get to what they came here to do. Sure, Nintendo’s directs can be kind of cheesy at times, but there’s a certain endearing quality to them that almost gives their sketches a childlike innocence.

The whole thing just feels like Devolver Digital didn’t have enough to say so they decided to fill their time slot with as many obscene boob jokes (among many other choice female anatomy name drops) and random acts of gore. Because boob and poop jokes totally didn’t stop being funny since I was in the second grade. Devolver Digital’s sketch just comes off as them trying too hard and it’s incredibly tacky. Especially when they’re constantly switching from family-friendly swears to dropping F-bombs. It makes me wonder who they’re making this for… and what’s the point of all this… for the lols, I guess? I’ve seen worse at E3, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen something as tone deaf as this thing they’re trying to pass off as a tribute to Nintendo… and honestly, I didn’t even bother to watch the rest of their conference. Single-handedly they’ve gone from being a developer I knew very little about, to being one on my “do not play” list in like 3 minutes. That’s not even a real list I have; I made that up just now. But after seeing this garbage, you can bet I’m gonna be making that list now, and you can bet they will be on that list.

Ubisoft

Ubisoft starts off by getting right into the game announcements. They begin their show by showing off Watch Dogs Legion, a game with the ambitious gimmick of having the largest number of playable characters in a game possible. The main hook for the game is that all 9 million randomly generated people who live in this world are potentially playable. Now Watch Dogs is a series that had a rocky start and I don’t think most people have entirely gotten over that fact. I am curious enough to follow this game, but the first trailer I saw was their Watch Dogs Legion 101 trailer, which I found almost as tacky as Devolver’s presentation. It wasn’t a good first impression for me, but I’ll still keep my eyes on this one.

A new Ghost Recon was announced, but I didn’t find that game announcement nearly as interesting as Bam Bam the dog, who was brought on stage when one of the developers came out to talk about the title. I’d rather them just focus on the dog for 4 or 5 minutes while John, the developer talking about the game, talks about whatever shooter he’s trying to promote.

Ubisoft announced their UPLAY+ streaming service because we don’t have enough of those coming already. Their gimmick is that you can play their library of games plus all the add-ons and classic titles. So… it’s for people who only want to play Ubisoft and not actually own the games. Hard pass. I’ll swipe left.

Gods & Monsters was announced which looks like it has a lot of potential, but it’s hard to tell from the pre-rendered teaser they showed. I’m intrigued, but not amused. Unless I get a good sense of what the game will be like based on the teaser (which is rare for games to pull off), I find it difficult to get invested in a new IP like this. But I’m curious enough to keep my eye on this one.

And next we have… wait that’s it? Well alright then, moving on!

Square Enix

Oh, Square Enix… My Square Enix… What have you got for us now… How about an in-depth look at Final Fantasy 7’s battle system, the first reveal of Tifa, and a release date… Oh lordy, my nerdy heart can only handle so much awesomeness in such a short amount of time! It’s because of what they showed during this segment that the remake instantly became a day 1 purchase for me.

Too bad the rest of their conference couldn’t maintain the same level of intrigue and energy. Judging by the reactions, there were maybe one or two titles that fans went crazy for, but for the most part they kind of quickly went through release dates for their other franchises, ports of older titles, and then Avengers.

Real quick, though. I’m a huge Kingdom Hearts fan, but honestly, I don’t think they should have given us a trailer for the Remind DLC at E3. It’s mostly because they didn’t really show us anything we need to know, or even would want to know except for a release window. In the teaser, they show us some story bits out of context. We also see gameplay of other playable characters, but again it’s out of context as to what we’re seeing, and we don’t even know to what extent we’ll be able to play as these characters. I get that these moments are out of context to avoid any potential spoilers, but the lack of voice acting in the cut scenes as well as not getting any real concrete information on the gameplay really makes it feel like Square Enix just wasn’t ready to show anything official from the game, but rather felt obligated to because it’s E3. This, of course, is the same teaser they already showed at the Kingdom Hearts orchestra that happened just a few days prior, so there wasn’t anything new to discover with this trailer when they showed it here. Just have a lot of mixed feelings about the DLC. I’m excited that more KH3 is coming, but I’d be lying if I said the trailer made it a little underwhelming.

The last noteworthy thing they showed off was Marvel’s Avengers, and fans were not impressed, including the one typing the words you’re reading. Currently, I’m still jazzed about Insomniac’s Spider-Man, pretty sure I made that clear with my review. So when I heard that Square Enix is making an Avengers game with Eidos Interactive, it had me hyped. After seeing the teaser, I’ve got one thing to say… Ever heard of the Uncanny X-Men? Well, get ready to meet the Uncanny Avengers! I honestly don’t know what to make of their designs, there’s just something off about them. Not to mention, they’re all looking a little bit on the chunky side. But the most hilarious thing about this part of the presentation is the fact that they spent the entire time introducing and selling us on the characters we’ll be playing as. I may not have a degree in marketing, but what I do know is when you have a bankable cast of high caliber characters from the Marvel Universe, the last thing you need to do (if at all) is sell us on those characters. You have a demo there on the show floor Square, why did you not show us a sample of the gameplay? I take that back, you probably did in the trailer, but what was shown was so heavily stylized, I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between gameplay and cutscenes. But that’s cool. Nolan North and Troy Baker are gonna be in it. Can we see gameplay now? I’m really hoping this is a case where the game ends up being great, but has a terrible introduction. I’m still staying hopeful for now.

Nintendo

Oh boy… a few short words can not do this presentation justice. There’s just something about a Nintendo Direct that just gets the blood pumping and the hype intense.

Right off the bat, they start us off with the next smash reveal being The Hero from Dragon Quest. This is another one of those announcements where I’m excited for the fans and what it means for the community the games apart of, but it didn’t do much for me. The CGI trailer was great looking though and makes me wish they’d make a Smash Bros movie or TV show with this style.

This isn’t a game announcement, but I loved how they introduced the new President of Nintendo America, Doug Bowser. Nintendo has always been great with being aware of inside jokes about their company as if that wasn’t obvious already. E3 2014 is a good example of this when they poked fun at themselves for not localizing Mother 3 for the west (man that was a good E3 presentation).

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is another game that’s on my highly anticipated list. The only thing that makes me sad about the game is the fact that the first two aren’t seemingly coming to the Switch. I wish Nintendo would port them so we can have the whole franchise on one console. While I’m not someone super invested in the series, nor did I ever have the chance to play Dark Moon, I did always have a fondness of the GameCube original. It’s nice to see the franchise continue to get the love it deserves.

So Netflix is getting a real video game on their platform… Don’t think anyone saw this coming. While the game itself looks kind of whatever, the idea that a fully playable game is going to be available on Netflix is super intriguing to me. And you know this is just the beginning for what Netflix will eventually do. If they’re willing to do something like this on their streaming service, and with more and more game companies doing their own streaming services, it’s a matter of time before Netflix comes out with their own service for video games. I’m keeping a close watch on how this develops.

We got a release date for Link’s Awakening HD which is super exciting to me. Link’s Awakening was a game that I enjoyed a great deal when I was a kid. Being able to revisit this classic will definitely be a treat for me. Of course, the big take away from this is the fact that it’ll be getting a pseudo Zelda maker in the form of it’s custom dungeon creator. I, like many fans out there, hope this leads to an official Zelda Maker. Heck, I hope this leads to Nintendo making this type of game it’s own franchise, which I will dub the “Maker” series of games. It could have the potential of breathing new life to stale or dormant franchises, much like what Mario Maker did for the New Super Mario Bros. series.

As always, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is shaping up to be a system seller. People go nuts for this adorable game series. I’m someone that got into the game later in the series with New Leaf on the 3DS. The most exciting thing I saw from the reveal, however, was seeing all those villagers on screen at the end. Does this mean fans will finally be able to play online with more than just one person at a time? Here’s hoping! Otherwise, I’ve got nothing to add to this one, it’s Animal Crossing, you know it, you love it, you’re gonna get it.

And then… there’s Banjo-Kazooie coming to Smash, as if one Smash announcement wasn’t big enough. There’s nothing more I can add to this one, the internet has kind of taken care of that part pretty in depth.

But if you thought Nintendo was done, they had one more surprise up their sleeves… They officially announced that the sequel to the critically acclaimed and beloved Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is now in development. I don’t see getting any more information for this title until next E3, and we won’t see a release until holiday 2021 easily, but that’s just speculation on my part so who really knows. Just glad the series is finally getting an entry fully developed for the Switch. Honestly, this announcement came way sooner than I was personally expecting. While most people played Breath of the Wild on the Switch, it’s easy to forget that the Switch version is technically a Wii U port. As far as what we’ve seen from the teaser however, it feels like a much darker direction than what we’ve seen in the first game. Personally, I love the direction this game is headed, it kind of reminds me of Majora’s Mask with it’s dark setting.

And that’s about everything that was shown from E3, or at least that I care to talk about anyways.

As always, keep it right here on Galaxy of Geek, and don’t forget to check out Cade’s Arcade for more reviews and videos on all things video game related. Take care, and I will see you next time!

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