E3 2017: Strangely the Same
By Richard Lynch
Once a year gamers around the world come together to see the latest gaming news that comes out of E3. Over the years, the Expo has gained a reputation for showing off gameplay reveals, trailers, and most importantly, surprise announcements. This year felt restrained as if it was missing some of that essential E3 magic. Many of the games show, were repeats of last year with Sony’s entire press conference being made up of demos for games that were shown as trailers last year.
That’s not to say there weren’t surprises, Ubisoft had an impressive showing with the surprisingly interesting looking tactical Mario spinoff, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which seems to bring an X-Com style twist to the world of Nintendo’s Mario games. They also introduced a Pirate themed multiplayer game called Skull and Bones that’s inspired by the excellent naval combat of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. And of course, Ubisoft finally re-revealed Beyond Good and Evil 2, it may still be a while out, but this is absolutely one to keep an eye on. On other fronts, Sony has an upgraded remake of Shadow of the Colossus in the works, Nintendo Announced not one but two new Metroid game and a release date for Super Mario Odyssey (10/27), and Microsoft gave us the release dates for a number of hotly anticipated titles, most importantly Cuphead (9/29.)
The Xbox Scorpio is officially called the Xbox One X; it will cost $500 and launch November 7th although preorders are not yet available. If reports are to true, it is the most powerful console ever made and will be the best machine for gamers looking to play on 4k TVs, although there isn’t much reason for others gamers to upgrade.
The whole show seems to have taken a strange shift as publishers tried to squeeze as many trailers as possible into their presentations. The resulting shows were packed with trailers but little context. This particularly bad during Microsoft’s Conference which sorely missed having developers present to explain their games. Bethesda was in a similar position with a video that ran the length of the conference showing trailer after trailer (although Wolfenstein II looks amazing and I’m happy to see The Evil Within 2.)
Fortunately, hours of live streams filled in the gaps that the conference couldn’t. Nintendo did a fantastic job showing off almost all their announced games with lengthy demonstrations throughout the week. Super Mario Odyssey looks like another marquee title for the Switch, and it’s going to be absolutely wild.
Overall, this year’s E3 was predictable. It was especially strange not to see even a hint of hotly anticipated games like Red Dead Redemption 2 (although I think Rockstar may hold it’s on special event when it’s ready.) While it was disappointing seeing so few major announcements, the next year is going to be fantastic for gamers.
Notable Release Dates
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle 8/29
Metroid: Samus Returns 9/15
The Evil Within 2 10/13
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus 10/27
Assassin’s Creed: Origins 10/27
Super Mario Odyssey 10/27
Crackdown 3 11/7
Xbox One X 11/7