by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
E3 2019 has basically come to a close. There were hundreds of announcements, and I’m ready to recharge my batteries until the next big event comes around (Pax). I’m normally very positive about these kinds of things, no matter how much of my time they eat up – because, at the end of the day, it means more video games. When is that ever a bad thing? When it’s a terrible video game, aimed at bilking people out of money, or when a company that has lost the trust of millions of people gets another unearned shot at redemption, or when said company just dumps a lot of crap on our doorstep that looks neither inviting or fun. It’s like going to a cookout, and everyone just brings their leftover squash casserole from two weeks ago, instead of fresh potato salad. So without further ado, let’s rant and ramble!
Cinematic Trailers: And it’s not because I likely posted over 100 of them over the course of this week. Cinematic trailers for games we already know are on the way are ridiculous, especially for games that are on the way in the next month or so. Most people at E3 want to see gameplay! We want to know what the game is going to be like – cinematics is almost universally gorgeous in this era of video games. Why not just show us what the gameplay is going to be like? That’s the most important thing. I know most game engines can produce beautiful visuals. But those don’t mean a goddamn thing if the gameplay is a pile of elephant butts. That time could be put to much better use getting people who are already excited for a game further excited, by getting them hands-on, or at the very least talking in-depth about some gameplay. Not just showing 27 trailers and saying “It’s coming”!
Star Wars: Jedi: Wait wait wait, don’t start flaming me just yet! I love Star Wars, and I think Star Wars: Jedi looks awesome. So why am I upset? Because how in the good name of the Lord did EA get another shot at this? Did we all just get hit with the Men in Black neuralyzer? Sure, you can make the argument that it’s a single-player, so they can’t shoehorn in some annoying, frustrating microtransactions – but this is EA we’re talking about. You bet your sweet midichlorians they can. They have not earned my trust, and though I want to play the game, after their last foray into Star Wars, my trust is still shattered like so many younglings.
Ubisoft – Just in General: I don’t like to talk in terms of “winners” and “losers” in this capacity, but come on. Their presentation felt like it was a trailer to join the United States Marine Corps. Not that I don’t love and respect all that the armed forces do for our country, but I felt like it was just one long Tom Clancy preview. We posted six Tom Clancy trailers this week! Just on a personal level, this one didn’t click with me at all. I’m glad the Tom Clancy shooter fans have plenty of games to play though. Nothing they revealed looked remotely interesting to me, if I can be honest.
Lack of SEGA/Yakuza Announcements: This might seem like a joke addition to the list, but it’s not! I was hoping to hear more on the notion of when/if the Yakuza 3/4/5 remasters are on the way to America, but no such luck (at least not yet). I don’t want to have to replay them on my Playstation 3, and I’m fairly certain that 0/1/2 Kiwami did well in America – so why has there been no news yet? I know they’re already out in Japan. I know localization takes a long time, but I just want a hint that “Hey, we’re working on it!”, and that will be enough to make me happy. I don’t need/want a release date, just confirmation that they’re on the way. Seriously, just do this for me please, SEGA/RGG.
Fallout 76: One of the big things we heard from Bethesda during the development of Fallout 76 is that there would never be “Human NPCs” in the game. That’s not what they wanted to do with their world-building. That’s fine, I guess. If you want your world to only be actual people, it’s going to feel pretty damn empty depending on the time of day. But that was their decision, and I imagine there were at least six or seven people happy about it. However, during E3 2019, they announced some major updates to Fallout 76 – like the addition of NPCs! What?! So now they’re just going to come out of nowhere? We’ve explored West Virginia already! How are these people just going to start showing up? That’s terrible narration! Not to mention, part of this massive update is . . . a Battle Royale. Even if it makes sense in the context of the world, Isn’t it a bit late to jump on the Battle Royale bandwagon?
Bethesda’s Presentation – In General: Frankly, I love ESO and everything it’s doing. I was hoping to hear more about what’s coming up in the Year of the Dragons, instead of a teaser and a dungeon name, but that goes into my first statement, “Trailers”. I stand by it, and it bears repeating. However, there was absolutely nothing enjoyable other than that, in the Bethesda presentation. I’m amazed we didn’t get another iteration of Skyrim, or even a “Skyrim 2”. Instead of “We’re working on [Blank]”, we get Elder Scrolls Blades for the Nintendo Switch? Visually speaking, I like Blades. But all I’ve heard is that it is burdened with a massive, terrifying amount of microtransactions. I know people are thinking “But I don’t buy any of them! It’s not a big deal!”, well, yes, it is a big deal! Simply not spending money on them doesn’t mean a thing. That in no way changes their predatory nature. Alongside Ubisoft, this was a very weak presentation, with little in the way of actual substance. Nintendo had a whole second day of Nintendo Treehouse Live, where they showed plenty of gameplay for many of the games they announced. At least a half-hour of in-depth gameplay. So we know what to expect for a lot of them now. But Bethesda was all hype, no substance. Two thumbs down.
A Lack of MMO News/Announcements: Other than Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (if you count that), and Final Fantasy XIV news, we didn’t really receive much in the way of MMO news during E3 2019. MMOs aren’t dead, but if they aren’t featured prominently at one of the biggest Electronics Expos in America, they sure will be heading down that road. I was hoping to see new MMOs come up, or maybe some updates on games like Bless Unleashed, or something new from any number of companies. Hell, I didn’t even see anything from Blizzard, not that I’m excited for World of Warcraft or anything. But in general, if they dropped something new, I sure didn’t see it. The closest thing to MMO news was Final Fantasy XIV, a brief ESO teaser, and a new mobile game from Square-Enix. I don’t have real, specific examples here, but I would like to see more announcements in the MMO genre. Maybe that will come around Pax time. All we can do is hope.