E3 2017 stumbles over the line

Let’s get this out of the way first, Devolver Digital won E3.

If you haven’t seen it yet, their parody of the entire event and the business practices of the bigger publishers around them is terrific. It’s on YouTube and on Twitch, go give it a watch.

Other than that, E3 was very much a mixed bag from a number of places. Some decided to make fans jump on the hype train as early as they could encourage them to, others kept a lot of cards held to their chest as they kindly reminded you of what surprised you last year that you won’t play until 2018.

We kicked off with EA doing EA things, with all the sports but a frankly refreshing lack of mobile games. The focus was quite clearly on Battlefront 2, rightfully so, and a brief glimpse at Anthem that teased what we would be getting from Microsoft the following day, so nothing untoward from the company that stays well within its comfort zone at all times.

Microsoft came out with great expectations, only for the Xbox One X to be a faster, better looking sibling that can do 4K natively but costs $100 more than the PS4 Pro. It’s got the nerdiest of nerds excited but much like with Sony, the regular consumer and even those ready to jump on board aren’t going to be forking the cash over, especially in Europe where 4K has barely got off the ground.

As for games, Xbox were kind of thin on the ground. Forza 7 surprised no-one, Crackdown 3 is out this winter but has barely been shown, Sea of Thieves is plundering 2018 with other pirate games on its tail while anything else was either uninspired or a “Console Launch Exclusive”, the new way of saying timed exclusive so people don’t jump down your throat.

Bethesda was like an Instagram fitness model, keeping it trim and tidy but nothing we didn’t expect to see. The new reveals of Wolfenstein 2 and The Evil Within 2 were even teased by the company’s Bethesdaland map while offering you even more ways to play Skyrim until you can literally shut your eyes and play the thing in your dreams.

Ubisoft ditched the awkwardness of Aisha Tyler for the even more awkwardness of French people and Shigeru Miyamoto. Mario + Rabbids being essentially kids XCOM came out of nowhere but is brilliant, while Skull and Bones is the adult version of Rare’s shanty affair and Beyond Good and Evil 2 showed a cinematic that had so many adults giddy that you’d think they had stumbled into a foreign sex shop.

Sony decided against giving us our dreams for the third year running, instead giving us a remaster of year two. Some games got rough dates, some just updated us with where they are but nothing absolutely mind-boggling game out of them unless you’re desperate to play Shadow of the Colossus for the third time.

Nintendo rounded off the weekend by actually surprising people for once. Super Mario Odyssey looks nuts as you throw your hat on everything and anything, while a new Yoshi game, a new Kirby game and a sequel to Xenoverse Chronicle came a little out of left field.

They then twisted our nipples with the promise of Metroid Prime 4 and a mainline Pokemon RPG to come whenever they are damn ready.  Those were both the big hype moments of the event but they literally showed a single logo between both of them yet sections of Reddit are already throwing money into the screen.

Overall, while it didn’t make our toes curl, it was at least a snappy little weekend. No one overstayed their welcome, keeping the conferences tight and at least setting the road map for the rest of the year and into the next time they all get together in LA to show off their dance moves.

And yes, I now need to buy a Nintendo Switch to play Mario XCOM.


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