It’s been a fascinating E3 this year, with buckets of potential for all of the manufacturers and a number of major publishers to surprise and delight, whether it’s with ecent and upcoming hardware or with a ton of games. There have been surprises, there have also been disappointments, but the question that always seems inevitable at E3 is who the overall winner is?
So we held an internal poll with our writers – don’t worry, you’ll have your chance below – and after the round of voting ended, we with a dead heat. Let’s take a look at why.
Microsoft had by far the most to gain from their press conference, but as impressive as the Xbox One X hardware is, as fast as the announcements and trailers flowed, it was just missing that certain je ne sais quoi. Actually, I do know what it was missing, it was exclusives.
They really needed just one or two major first or second party game announcements to show that there’s more to their game line up than there was announced in 2016, 2015, and even further back.
With that criteria, it’s unsurprising that Sony was well received within our midsts. They have exclusive games coming out of their ears.
“Games, as always. While they are still a way off, Sony’s packing some serious heat for its 2018 lineup.” – Jim
“They had the best games lineup” – Dom
The next 18 months will include God of War, Detroit Become Human, a Shadow of the Colossus remake, Spider-Man, Days Gone, GT Sport, Knack 2, Everybody’s Golf, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and more. In fact, with Sony going for a ceaseless barrage of trailers through they’re compact, hour-long presentation, a number of these games actually spilled over into the pre-show, leading to a show that was too heavily focussed on 2018 and missed the fact that there’s still half of 2017 yet to go.
“Monster Hunter: World, Shadow of the Colossus Once Mo’ Again Edition and Spider-Man!” – Miguel
Outside of a couple of surprise announcements – most notably Monster Hunter: World and the Shadow of the Colossus remake – this felt almost like a re-run of last year’s press conference. People come to watch E3 press conferences to be surprised and delighted by new games, and Sony didn’t do that, they reaffirmed and expanded upon what we already knew.
While not a front runner in our poll, Ubisoft was a third party publisher that managed to do that better than Sony and Microsoft did.
“Pirates. Miyamoto. Assassin’s Creed.” – Kris
Between leaks and early announcements, we already knew a lot of what to expect from Ubisoft’s press conference. Far Cry 5 looked good, Assassin’s Creed Origins is a welcome return for the series, and The Crew 2 is almost worryingly broad in its scope now. We knew about those, but what we didn’t expect was that the oft leaked Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle would actually be… good?
Blending these two game series together sounds like a recipe for disaster, and yet the gameplay actually looks fun and interesting, like a blend of a Mario RPG open world with the dynamic turn-based battling of XCOM. Colour many of us intrigued.
Beyond that, Skull & Bones takes the best thing about Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag – you may disagree on that point – and spins it off into its own thing. This is now a multiplayer tactical ship combat game, and if not an entirely new concept for the company, it could easily take a bite out of the banana that Sea of Thieves is going for, even if they will play very differently.
Then there was the tearful return of Michel Ancel, with the cinematic trailer for Beyond Good & Evil 2. Frustratingly, it’s still nowhere near completion after all this time – The Last Guardian has been announced and released in the time BG&E2’s been in development – but it sports a new and intriguing concept and finally answers the incessant cries from fans for it to be completed.
“A nice array of games that has me seriously considering buying the console. I’m intrigued to see Pokémon Switch and I want to play Mario + Rabbids. Didn’t think I’d ever say that.” – Aran
Tying with Sony in our poll, the newfound buzz surrounding Mario + Rabbids carried over to Nintendo’s main event, a short and snappy 25 minute E3 Spotlight. If other companies were lacking in surprises, Nintendo had them by the bucket load.
A core Pokémon game for Nintendo Switch has been widely rumoured, but a confirmation of this was more than welcome, even if the game is a year away. For its other main announcements, Nintendo leant on a number of familiar characters and franchises in the form of Yoshi (working title) and Kirby (working title), as well as two Metroid games. The expected gameplay reveal for Super Mario Odyssey also managed to meet or exceed our high expectations of Nintendo’s creativity.
The second half of 2017 is looking strong for the company, really backing up and validating the console for those who have bought in early. Following ARMS’s release at the end of this week, there’s Splatoon 2 in July, Mario + Rabbids in August, Pokken Tournament DX in September, Super Mario Odyssey in October, and Fire Emblem Warriors, Skyrim and Rocket League also coming around the end of this year. You might not have as many third party games as other consoles, but it’s still got a very strong line up that will carry through to 2018.
“They announced two Metroid games, Super Mario Odyssey looked strong, and that Mario + Rabbids game is surprisingly not crap.” – Dave
“They just had more pleasant surprises, and I like surprises.” – Jake
In fact, the only one of us who couldn’t find much of anything to like at E3 was Tuffcub. I can see where he’s coming from, as well. Though EA had big announcements – A Way Out and Anthem – and Bethesda’s showing was strong – Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus and VR games – the focus is always on the manufacturers to deliver.
Nintendo were the only ones able to bring more than one or two meaningful announcements, but they’re an acquired taste and for the core gamers on PlayStation and Xbox, it could easily be seen as a boring E3.
“Worst E3 in memory. Barely anything new and generally very dull.” – Tuffcub
So he lodged his equivalent of a vote for the Monster Raving Looney Party or Lord Buckethead. That meant that Devolver Digital managed to get two votes – I voted for them to annoy Kris – despite their “press conference” being more of a bizarre fever dream or acid trip of a show, a piece of performance art that put a lot of the fervour surrounding E3 press conferences into perspective. I actually really enjoyed it, but I’m well aware of how very weird it was…
“Ignore whatever I wrote about Ubisoft, just put ‘Tef’s a villain.'” – Kris
But there has to be a winner, as is the unwritten rule of ‘Who Won E3?’ opinion pieces. Over Tuffcub’s most vehement objections, and in a show of sovereign power that can overrule the misguided opinions of others, I changed my vote to Nintendo. I wasn’t the only one, as Dom was retrospectively swayed by Nintendo’s showcase of games, saying “I’ve rewatched both since and I like their stuff more.”
So while Sony arguably have the strongest line up of games overall, including both first and third party releases, it has to be said that Nintendo had the strongest, most consistently surprising and exciting show at E3.
Do you agree or disagree with our opinions? Feel free to hurl abuse at us in the comments below, but also lodge a vote in our not-so-massive poll as you scroll down.