The Highs and Lows of E3 2017

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Disclaimer : The following article was written freely based on the author's opinion, and it may not necessarily represent Inven Global's editorial stance.

This year’s E3 has featured high-profile announcements regarding not just upcoming games, but also hardware that could significantly change what those games are able to offer players. It was filled with returns from long-dormant series, novel gameplay concepts, and, of course, plenty of in-demand sequels, but once the smoke cleared, not all publishers fared equally. While a few companies managed to put their best foot forward with exciting new announcements and polished gameplay, others failed to deliver significant surprises and seemed to lack enthusiasm. Here are our highs and lows from E3 2017.


Microsoft: Mid

 

Microsoft has delivered very few Xbox One console exclusives this generation, but 2017 has been especially light thus far – aside from Halo Wars 2, there really hasn’t been much this year that can’t also be played on a PlayStation 4. For the remainder of this year, Crackdown 3 and Forza Motorsport 7 will be the only major first-party games available and they need to impress, but the platform also scored a huge console exclusive in the form of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Its insane rise in popularity on PC could easily be replicated on consoles. Microsoft has another trick up its sleeve: the Xbox One X. When the console launches this November it will be, unequivocally, the best console to play third-party games. With its beefier internals allowing for shorter load times and smoother framerates, it could draw developers looking for more power to the platform. Of course, without a good lineup of games in the future, whether or not it will succeed is still a little bit of a question mark. Rare’s Sea of Thieves looked stunning during its gameplay demonstration, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps is all but guaranteed to impress, but we need more AAA games for next year.

Sony: Low

 

Microsoft was certainly helped this year by Sony, which put on a press conference that was unusually boring. We have come to expect several big-name game announcements from the PlayStation team during E3. Last year we learned about God of War and Days Gone; In 2015, Sony and Guerilla Games unveiled Horizon: Zero Dawn; But this year’s biggest new game announcements were for PlayStation VR exclusives that were shown in what amounted to a sizzle reel, with no time to actually explain or demonstrate their gameplay concepts. The full Shadow of the Colossus remake also looked beautiful, but a game from 2005 should never be the biggest talking point of your presentation. The company has its own PSX event at the end of the year to show off all kinds of extended gameplay. There’s no need to make it the center of E3 in lieu of unannounced titles.

Aside from Detroit: Become Human, which is shaping up to be one of Quantic Dream’s most interesting projects, the gameplay shown for previously-announced PlayStation 4 exclusives failed to impress. God of War still looks great, but we already saw combat from the game last year. The same goes for Days Gone, which actually looked a little more derivative of The Last of Us at this year’s event – if Sony expected people to drop their jaws when there are so many other zombie games on the market, it didn’t happen. Spider-man gameplay was shown off for the first time as well, but what could have been a centerpiece of the presentation was more of a lull. It just doesn’t look that different from the other superhero games already available.

Bethesda: Mid

 

Calling Bethesda a “loser” this year would be a little bit harsh, but the publisher made a pretty glaring error in the way it presented is lineup of games. Every game shown during the conference has a planned 2017 release date, but only one major new announcement, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, had any gameplay to go along with its cinematic trailer. Wolfenstein looks fantastic and it’s in the running for my personal game-of-the-show, but Bethesda had to save it for the end of the conference to try to convince people that it hadn’t wasted their time with the previous hour of “reveals.”

The Evil Within 2, which actually did have gameplay shown off after the press conference, looks like a big step up over the original, the game is out in just four months – we need to see more. Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is out even sooner than that, and it has had no gameplay shown to the public at all, and while Skyrim on Nintendo Switch looks like a well-designed port with features unique to the console, it originally launched in 2011. We heard absolutely nothing about a new Elder Scrolls single-player game, and Bethesda’s Pete Hines revealed after the show that the game isn’t even in development yet.

Ubisoft: High

 

Ubisoft has been the master of E3 dating back to its 2012 presentation, which revealed Watch Dogs to the world, and this year was no different. In addition to an extended look at polished Assassin’s Creed Origins gameplay during Microsoft’s conference earlier in the day, Ubisoft showed off the badass naval combat game Skull & Bones during its own event, as well as the creative toys-to-live space exploration game Starlink: Battle for Atlas. The conference also gave us our first real look at Far Cry 5 in action, as well as the XCOM-like Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. When we first heard rumors about this game, we were a little bewildered, but after seeing it in action, it looks like another hit for the Nintendo Switch.

What Ubisoft chose not to show off at its press conference – a new Splinter Cell game – was just as important, and it disappointed fans, myself included, who have been waiting nearly four years for any information on a new game. Fortunately, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot confirmed a short time later that the company was “not forgetting” Sam Fisher and his team. We guess this means we’ll have to cross our fingers for an announcement next year.

Electronic Arts: Low

 

If Ubisoft is the master of E3, Electronic Arts is the perpetual amateur, and technically, the publisher’s “EA Play” event isn’t even a part of the convention anymore. That being said, the publisher’s presentation this year wasn’t awful.

Star Wars: Battlefront II’s multiplayer appears to be even more polished and significantly deeper than what was offered in 2015’s game, and this was expected – what we haven’t seen is the campaign in action, though it was available to those attending E3 behind closed doors. Both Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars project and Visceral’s Uncharted-like Star Wars adventure were completely absent. Madden, FIFA, and NBA Live all look like they’ll improve on past entries with story modes included in the former two and a “Street” option included in the latter, but these games didn’t come as surprises. Need for Speed Payback’s cinematic crash sequences were impressive, though the game’s driving mechanics will be going up against tough challengers like Forza Motorsport 7 and Gran Turismo Sport.

The only true game reveals from EA were Hazelight’s cooperative prison break game A Way Out, which looks fantastic, and BioWare’s new intellectual property Anthem – we don’t expect to hear again from Anthem for at least another year, and though the action-heavy multiplayer gameplay shown off was intense and thrilling, the developer’s reputation has been sullied by the failure of Mass Effect: Andromeda. If larger studios like BioWare and DICE are tied up with just a few projects, Electronic Arts could struggle to deliver memorable press conferences for the next several years – perhaps a fourth Dragon Age game can save 2018’s show.

Nintendo: High

 

Nintendo has a ton of momentum with the ridiculous early success of the Switch console, and it is showing no sign of stopping. In just a 30-minute Spotlight video on June 14, the company managed to cram in announcements for new Kirby and Yoshi games for the Switch, as well as a teaser for an upcoming Pokémon game and Metroid Prime 4. 2018 is shaping up to be the best year Nintendo has had in years, though we still haven’t seen any gameplay from the planned Fire Emblem game also hitting the Switch next year.

But if you were hoping for great Nintendo games to play in 2017, Nintendo has you covered on both the Switch and the 3DS. Super Mario Odyssey looks absolutely outstanding, and the gameplay shown off both during Nintendo’s event and in its extended Treehouse Live coverage afterward was more inventive than we could have possibly imagined. Smash-hit Rocket League will also be making its way to the Switch this holiday season, and if you were hoping to jump into Samus Aran’s suit before Metroid Prime 4 arrives, you’ll be able to do so in the 3DS-exclusive Metroid: Samus Returns. The Game Boy-exclusive Metroid II has been completely remade, and I'm hoping that Nintendo and developer MercurySteam decide to also port it to the Switch.

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