NIntendo’s Nintendo Direct: E3 2018 Notes

Nintendo’s skipped out on any kind of fancy stage show for a minute, so they’re back with this pre-recorded Nintendo Direct. It’s a hair under 43 minutes long, which is a wonderful thing.

Daemon X Machina
You can start the show off with a bang, or you can start it off with mechs destroying buildings and other mechs in this striking trailer for Daemon X Machina from Kenichiro Tsukuda, Marvelous, and First Studio. Some time in 2019.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country
This sure looks a lot like Xenoblade Chronicles and other modern Japanese action-RPGs. It’ll be out this September.

A Moment With Reggie Fils-Aime to Discuss Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee



Fils-Aime is talking about the Switch, and introduces the already announced Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee. Which are remakes of the original games in the style of Pokemon Yellow, where the title character follows you around. The game’s Pokemon capturing mechanic looks similar to the Pokemon Go mobile game, where circles line up on-screen to tell you how successful your attempt will be.

We’re told that for the first time Pokemon Let’s Go will have the ability to do single-system multiplayer.

It’ll also be possible to transfer Pokemon from the Pokemon Go mobile game.

Files-Aime also discussed the Pokeball Plus, the new peripheral just for these Pokemon games that has a single analog stick and can transport a single Pokemon. It also has an exclusive Pokemon loaded onto it, Mew.

All that is out on November 16th, just for the Switch.

Super Mario Party
The multiplayer mini-game collection on a virtual board game overworld is back on October 5th. There’s something particularly interesting during this trailer when two Switches are linked to form a larger virtual playing field. The battle field for the ensuing tank battle takes on the arrangement of the consoles. It’ll be out on October 5th, it’s an exclusive.

Fire Emblem Three Houses
Where is Advance Wars? Three Houses looks a little like Valkyria Chronicles. This is out in the Spring, 2019.

Fortnite
Epic wants to tell us that their battle royale game with building and cartoony graphics is out on the Switch now. As has been reported widely, you can’t play with an Epic Games account that has ever been used on Sony’s PlayStation 4. That stinks.

An Indie Moment With Reggie Fils-Aime
Fils-Aime introduced the next few independently developed games.

Overcooked 2
The Overcooked 2 trailer embedded above is a bit different from the gameplay that Fils-Aime speaks over. The sequel is coming out for the Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox 1, and Windows, on August 7th.

Killer Queen Black
Previously exclusive to arcades, the home version of Killer Queen is coming out this Winter for the Switch, Windows, and macOS. It looks like a sick version of Joust.

Hollow Knight
It’s the Switch version of the metroidvania that’s been out for some time on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It’s out today for the Switch.

Octopath Traveler
Square-Enix’s tilt-shifted RPG is out on July 13th, there’s a new demo out now. It’s exclusive to the Switch.

Montage Time
No E3 presentation is complete without a montage of games that didn’t make the cut. Here’s everything in this one, with any related trailers I could find:

Montage Time: Starlink: Battle for Atlas is out on October 16th. It looks a lot like Starfox. The in-game ship is adjusted by plugging plastic crap into a special Joy-Con mount.

Montage Time: Arena of Valor is out some time this Fall. It’s a MOBA from mobile platforms.

Montage Time: Minecraft It looks like there’s some new Nintendo stuff coming to Minecraft on June 21st. The game has been out for a year on the Switch and much longer on other platforms.

Montage Time: Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido It’s already out on the Switch. It looks like a quick action puzzle game.

Montage Time: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle: Donkey Kong Adventure It’s an expansion out on June 26th.

Montage Time: Pixark hey I heard those Minecraft folks made out like bandits. Here’s one of those and it’ll be out this Fall for the Switch. It looks like it’s already out on other platforms.

Montage Time: Just Dance 2019 is out on October 23rd.

Montage Time: Dragonball FighterZ will be out some time later this year.

Montage Time: Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion is out now.

Montage Time: Captain Toad Treasure Tracker continues the great migration of under-appreciated Wii-U games getting brought to the Switch on July 13th.

Montage Time: Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy remembers when Crash was kind of the Sony mascot. Mascots never really took off after Sonic and Mario. It’ll be out on June 29th

Montage Time: Ninjala has Baby Metal in their actual trailer and will be out Spring 2019.

Montage Time: Carcassonne the infamous German board game is out late this year.

Montage Time: FIFA 18 World Cup Update it’s been out.

Montage Time: FIFA 19 is out on September 28th.

Montage Time: Ark: Survival Evolved will be out this Fall.

Montage Time: Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut out this Fall.

Montage Time: Paladins: Champions of the Realm is out now and holy shit does this look like they straight-up ripped off some of the character’s actions from Overwatch.

Montage Time: Fallout Shelter is still free-to-play, not worth your time, and out now.

Montage Time: Dark Souls Remastered: “Summer 2018”

Montage Time: SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy September 7th.

Montage Time: Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate August 28th

Montage Time: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus hopes you’ve got plenty of storage space on a Micro-SD card because it’ll be out on June 29th.

Montage Time: The World Ends With You: Final Remix is out this Fall. The logo is impressively difficult to read in this montage for this re-release of an ancient-but-popular Nintendo DS game.

Montage Time: Megaman 11 is out on October 2nd.

Montage Time: Mario Tennis: Aces is out on June 22nd.

Shinya Takahashi
Direct from Japan, Takahashi reassures us that there are plenty more games coming as well.

Masahiro Sakuraiis here to talk Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
It’s still just Smash Brothers for the Switch, this time it has every character that has ever been in the game. Here’s the trailer:

The only important part of this is that (Spoiler) Solid Snake is back, and voiced by David Hayter.

I’ve only ever played Smash a few times, and I’ve never enjoyed it, but I appreciate how ridiculous this series is.

Apparently there are new characters and stages as well, like the Splatoon Inklings and the Great Plateau Tower from Breath of the Wild.

The GameCube controller adapter will work with the Switch, and all of the old Smash Amiibos will work as well. Apparently they’re still just bot characters that level-up in-game.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is out on December 7th.

Overall
I didn’t really care that much about any of these games, and that actually made this the weakest presentation I watched from this year’s E3. The Pokémon games were the most interesting to me, and mainly because I never really got past the first games in the series way back when they were just Red and Blue. That Pokéball controller accessory really looks like more plastic crap I don’t need or want.

PlayStation E3 2018 Showcase Notes

We’re onto Sony’s E3 2018 event, it’s the PlayStation Showcase. Somewhere in a parallel universe there’s a bunch of executives watching a video stream of a writer in Honolulu and writing down what he’s talking about.

Shawn Layden’s One-Man Stage Play
“Thank you for making the time tonight to come to Church”

The first portion of their event is indeed in an odd church setting. Layden had a quick spiel before introducing Gustavo Santaolalla, a compser, musician, and producer, who scored The Last of Us. Santaolalla played a banjo for the assembled crowd before the trailer for The Last of Us 2 kicked up:

The Last of Us Part II
The game about choosing to follow your own path breaks a first for trailer history, and then destroys the moment by cutting to one of the most violent scenes I’ve ever seen in a game trailer. Ellie is back, and we don’t see a single Clicker in this trailer. Instead, she’s up against men that hunt through similar ruins to the first game. Some of Ellie’s moves look a little pre-canned, even though this appears to be a pre-recorded gameplay trailer instead of a pre-recorded cinematic trailer.

I’d like to play Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II, but we don’t have any kind of release date yet. It’s an actual exclusive.

Intermission: Sid Shuman & Ryan Clements Interrupt the Showcase Video Feed to Chat With Shawn Layden
Layden says that there’s a new game plus mode coming to God of War (2018).

Intermission: Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII
Also on the video feed is a short pre-recorded video for Blops 4, advertising that four old maps are returning to Black Ops 3 for people who pre-order this year’s Call of Duty. You should probably never pre-order any game, because that concept is ridiculous. Nobody is going to have a difficult time finding copies of Blops 4 at launch.

Intermission: Shuman & Clements Are Joined by Meredith Molinari and Ramone Russell
Watching Shuman dance around the advertisement is not fun. He used to be a journalist. Maybe some day he will be one again.

Russell takes his cue to ask what he should do if he doesn’t have Black Ops 3 and we’re told that this game is now free for people who subscribe to the PlayStation Plus subscription service that removed every shred of player-leaning decency Sony had when they didn’t charge for multiplayer on the PlayStation 3.

Shuman finally introduced a highlight reel of game trailers that came out before E3. They were for Tetris Effect, Days Gone, Twin Mirror, Ghost Giant, and Beat Saber.

Intermission: Destiny 2’s Forsaken DLC
Things don’t look for Cayde. It’s a story trailer.

Intermission: Shuman & Clements Are Still With Meredith Molinari and Ramone Russell
Apparently that DLC is out on September 4th. That’s the last useful piece of information these folks have before they finally cut back to the scene in a new auditorium as an unnamed person plays a bamboo flute to introduce…

Ghost of Tsushima
The new game from Sucker Punch takes place in 1274. It looks like a beautiful open-world samurai game. This must be the combat that infomercial sword guys dream about. There’s the tanto stabbing a dude in the throat after the tachi got him in the stomach. It looks like you might be able to assume different stances to change the way you fight. Ghost of Tsushima looks interesting. There’s no release date yet.

Control
About as far away from historical depictions of Japan we have this trailer for Control, from Remedy. Remedy is one of my favorite developers for making Alan Wake and Max Payne, and this game looks like another completely bonkers third-person adventure from them. It’ll be out some time in 2019.

Resident Evil 2 Remake
Leon S. Kennedy is back to shoot the crap out of some zombies and I’ve never been less sure if I can take this kind of violence anymore. It’ll be out on January 25th, 2019.

Trover Saves the Universe
Justin Roiland of RIck & Morty is apparently doing a bunch of voices and is involved in this. The small text tells us that Trover is debuting exclusively on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR… which means it’s a timed exclusive.

Kingdom Hearts 3
It’s still Kingdom Hearts, but this time they’re in the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. There’s naval combat and Jack Sparrow is there. I’ve never seen those movies. KH 3 is available for Disney action RPG fans on January 29th, 2019. Apparently they’ll have a special PlayStation 4 Pro console with custom artwork and a special controller, and a KH 3 bundle with Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 Remix and 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. Otherwise, this game isn’t an exclusive.

Death Stranding
Hideo Kojima and his team of unnamed souls working at Kojima Productions still have a weird baby thing going on with Norman Reedus. Sometimes Reedus’ character, Sam Bridges, is carrying an adult on his back, sometimes he’s got a baby. He looks like he delivers a lot. It also appears there is some kind of mechanic around covering your mouth so that whatever monsters there are can’t hear Bridges. Weird as hell. No release date yet, as far as we know it’s an exclusive.

Nioh 2
Koei Tecmo has a sequel to Nioh on the way, this trailer has a samurai dude fighting for his life. No release date, yet.

Bryan Intihar’s Spider-Man
The Treyarch Spider-Man games looked like a generational leap ahead of Neversoft’s games. Insomniac’s Spider-Man game looks like another huge leap ahead of Treyarch’s. The thing that worries me about these games, as they do with any game that is so much about a power fantasy in being a super hero, is that they can’t really ever translate the cinematic action into sequences you can control without turning them into quicktime events. Spider-Man is still out on September 7th.

Epilogue: Shuman & Clements Are Still With Meredith Molinari and Ramone Russell
They’ve got a trailer from a new From Software PS VR game, here’s that:

Epilogue: Déraciné
No release date, or really much information at all, about this PlayStation VR game from From Software. It’s amusing that the video description identifies From Software as the Bloodborne developer, which I have to assume is second in popularity to Dark Souls. Of course Dark Souls wasn’t a PlayStation exclusive like Bloodborne was.

Epilogue: Shuman & Clements Joined by The Fragile Eagle, Bryan Intihar, and Adam Coriglione from Insomniac for a Spider-Man Demo
There are all kinds of weird audio issues over this segment, and it doesn’t appear to have been excerpted from the stream, so I have another clip of Spider-Man gameplay embedded above. There’s a neat upgrade to swinging in Spider-Man that you can now see exactly what your web will grab onto if you pull Spider-Man directly onto a surface. The combat otherwise looks very similar to what we had in past web-slinging adventures. This game looks fun, and as far as we know it’s a real exclusive.

Overall:
Sony’s press conference is a sharp turn from any other, but very similar to last year’s presentation. Outside of the epilogue, which was only on the video stream, there weren’t any live gameplay demonstrations. I know that Sony has had problems with demos in the past, so it isn’t incredibly surprisingly that they would like to avoid them, but their style was so different from Microsoft’s presentation. Microsoft’s Halo announcer rumbling about each “Exclusive” even when the truth was something else entirely felt like watching a commercial for a truck that had so much to convince you of. Sony went a different way, and either had a live musical performance or a small musical interlude made in Media Molecule’s upcoming game and art platform, Dreams. Despite the quieter interlude, the PlayStation show took the award for gruesome violence during the Last of Us 2 trailer.

I’d also like to note here that there’s something ridiculous about watching Sony and Microsoft duke it out in 2018 with console exclusives when a computer could run all of these games perfectly well. That seems to be what Microsoft is gearing towards, and both them and EA want to skip to an entirely streaming future where the processing and graphics rendering isn’t happening locally. I’m sure EA would love to skip out of giving up any cut in revenue from game sales to platform holders like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. They’ve already gotten there on Windows by refusing to ship their games on Steam or on other platforms like Itch. None of this will be good for us as each megagame corp will want us to subscribe to each of their individual streaming services, and we will be entirely giving up on the ability to share our games with future generations, or even play at all after a few years when licensing situations change and companies go out of business or change their business models.

If the situation with music getting pulled from games or GDPR shutting down games entirely scares you, our games will just evaporate from any streaming game libraries on a monthly basis. Sony already has their hands in that pie with their PlayStation Now service, and it is expensive as hell and as far as I know doesn’t work well, but at least Shawn Layden didn’t spend 30 minutes waving his dick around on-stage about how streaming is the future like EA’s Andrew Wilson.

Xbox E3 2018 Briefing Press Event Notes

We’re onto the second day of E3 press events, and here’s everything that was announced at Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2018 Briefing.

Halo Infinite
The show opened with a trailer for Halo Infinite depicting the wide-open spaces of an open-world version of Halo. It looks great. No combat was depicted, which is a pretty strong statement from the 343 development team, or their marketing overlords.

Phil Spencer’s Soapbox
Spencer quickly transitioned from Halo to talking about creativity for some reason. I can’t wait to upload my skateboard design with the Kinect. Spencer talked about how the game playing fanfest attendees in the audience had their ticket proceeds going to charity. Who knows how much money that is, it can’t be that much because no number was mentioned, but the chanting support Spencer received from this section of the audience was certainly something that Microsoft had no trouble with accepting.

Spencer at least sounds like a human instead of the robot dropped in from c-space that assumed Andrew Wilson’s form at EA’s press event.

Ori And The Will of The Wisps
A new Ori sidescrolling naturevania game is on the way. The trailer showed off a cute new owl character and new challenges. It looks good and it’s an Xbox exclusive. It was given a 2019 release window.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
The first “world premier” of this event, which means that this is not at all exclusive, was a From Software made and Activision published third-person cyber augmented-samurai in feudal times action game. Lots of swords and a 2019 release window for multiple platforms.

Fallout 4
Bethesda’s Todd Howard showed up at the Xbox event to receive the fanfest cheers as he announced that Fallout 4 would be on the Xbox Game Pass video game subscription.

Fallout 76
Howard also talked about the upcoming Fallout prequel, Fallout 76 was rumored to be an online game and it is. According to Howard, 76 has four times the land to explore as Fallout 4 and it’s in the hills of West Virginia. A trailer played showing a power-armored figure watching nukes land. The trailer looks a lot like Fallout 4, but with a country song playing over it. The trailer is heavy on rebuilding and the power-armor from the start of the trailer is depicted under-foot and rusting in the ground until the vault 76 dweller puts on that armor again. It’ll be out on November 14th, 2018 for multiple platforms.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
Another “world premier” with a Sufjan Stevens-scored trailer from Dontnod and Square-Enix. It’s the Life is Strange spin-off about a young man with super powers. It’ll be out for free on multiple platforms on June 26th. Dontnod infamously broke picket lines and hired scabs to replace their union voice actors during a strike, so I won’t be downloading this.

Crackdown 3
Terry Crews’ voice over opens the sci-fi open-world game’s Sumo Digital trailer. It looks like Crews is playing himself, or the version of himself he acted out in the Old Spice commercials. There’s a rocket launcher that shoots an array of rubber ducks as Crews’ character exclaims “Quack Quack, Mother F-” but the expletive is beeped. As rumored, the game has been delayed again until February of 2019. It is still an exclusive to the Xbox One and Windows 10.

Nier: Automata: Become as Gods Edition
It’s a repackaged version of Nier: Automata with the DLC that came out for it. This version of the game will be out on June 26th, 2018. The Windows version on Steam is miserably broken without using some hacks to fix issues, hopefully this port will be better. I’m glad that people without a PS4 or Windows gaming computer will finally get a crack at this game, it is an extremely odd third-person action game with a style that is typically exclusive to Sony’s consoles.

Metro Exodus
Boiling seas, people turning into shadows, why it’s a Metro game trailer. You’re still Artyom in an FPS from 4A games, and it’s still going to be a very post-apocalyptic world with gas masks and other tools of the trade. It’ll be out on February 22nd, 2019 for Windows, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Phil Spencer is Talking Again
He’s standing in the audience and there’s a guy with a jersey that says “Lord Hot Monkey” seated in the aisle seat next to him. He’s introducing a trailer for…

Kingdom Hearts 3
Sora’s on the Xbox One for the first time in Square Enix’s action RPG. He’s joined by Goofy and Donald Duck. A character from Frozen runs across the water. A ton of other Disney characters show up. There’s shield surfing, gummi spaceships, and battles that look like they take too long. Some parts of this trailer have voice acting, and music, but a lack of any kind of foley so they’re really odd. It’s out on January 29th, 2019, if you’re into this kind of thing.

Sea of Thieves Cursed Sails & Forsaken Shores
A trailer boasts about the 4 million people who’ve played this Xbox exclusive pirating game game that’s been out for a bit, and some other numbers. A pirate visits a fortune teller who tells him about some evil nonsense that’ll be in the game later on. An update called Cursed Sails will be out in July, the Forsaken Shores update will be out in September. It isn’t clear if these are paid DLC or not from the trailer.

Battlefield V
Hey it’s still the same FPS coming out later this year for Windows, PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One. They played a short trailer for the single player mode and somehow didn’t include the release date, which is still October 16th. How odd that they don’t mention the “Airlifts” or the deluxe version or the early access if you pay EA $100 a year or the other nonsense that EA is doing with this game. It’s almost like they don’t want to boast about that when they’ve promised no more lootboxes.

Forza Horizon 4
Walmart Canada got one thing wrong, it’s not time for a Forza Horizon 5 but a 4 instead. This time the open-world racing is in the United Kingdom.

Ralph Fulton from Playground appeared on stage to talk about the game. Fulton introduces some folks playing the game on-stage, what cars they chose, and what part of Britain they’re in. All of the players are in the same shared world and we’re told that the game supports 60 frames-per-second on the Xbox One X in a certain mode. Apparently the game supports dynamic seasons. A lake can freeze and be available for driving.

I am very much hoping for unintelligble (to me) accents from the announcers but I doubt that Playground Games will do that. Otherwise, the game looks great. I just wish it were a little bit more arcadey in the damage profile. Burnout still isn’t really back yet, maybe next year. Forza Horizon 4 is out on October 2nd, 2018 for Xbox One and Windows.

Phil Spencer Won’t Stop Talking
He’s promised to buy more game development studios to make more exclusive games, as well as making more internal teams and studios. He announces one called The Initiative in Santa Monica, California led by Darrell Gallagher. He’s been all over working at Activision, Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics, THQ, Rockstar, and Sony. We aren’t told what specifically they’re working on.

Spencer tells us that they’ve also bought Undead Labs, the developers of State of Decay 1 & 2.

Spencer then says they’ve bought Playground Games, who you may recall from Forza Horizon 4.

Ninja Theory has also been bought by Microsoft. They once made Heavenly Sword for the PlayStation 3 as well as Kung Fu Chaos for the original Xbox. Most recently they shipped Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice for Windows, the PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One.

Microsoft’s wallet opened once again for Compulsion Games, the developers of We Happy Few which appeared to be in a bit of a nightmare of a development cycle. I didn’t care for their odd survival game when I saw it last, hopefully the finished product is better.

We Happy Few
The dystopian first-person game about “robots made out of meat” now has a release date, August 10th 2018. In 2018 I’m not sure how much interest I have in playing another dystopian game but the theme is interesting.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
A very hectic trailer plays for PUBG. It’s still PUBG as all hell. The smaller tropical map is said to be due this summer. A new war mode is mentioned, as well as a very short teaser clip of a winter map, but all you see is snow and boots. That winter map or mode is supposed to be out this winter.

Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition
A “world premier” of this remastered anime RPG that’ll be out on the Xbox One as well as the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Windows, late this year. Apparently some of the content and characters in this version were never in the older versions of the game released a decade ago.

The Division 2
Another “world premier.” This time, it’s set in a toppled Washington D.C. Ubisoft made a very graphically impressive version of New York City with the first Division game, but it had some oddly fascist choices to the plot. This looks like more of the same. The trailer features some of the most unrealistic online voice chat I’ve ever heard as the players fight around a downed Air Force One. Ubisoft promises it’ll be out on March 15th, 2019. No doubt the platforms are Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows.

Ashley Speicher Speaks About Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Subscription
Apparently games are going to boot quicker on the Xbox One, somehow using machine learning. I’m not sure what that has to do with their game pass subscription. Speicher mentioned some more games being added to the subscription. I’m not excited about the hit to game preservation, but I understand why this option is a good choice for some people.

Indie Montage Break
Lots of games with differing levels of exclusivity, or none at all. Sable has a very unique look that I’ve never seen in a game before. Below is apparently still in development. Harold Halibut looks like a very interesting polygonal adventure game. I’m not the first to say that Generation Zero looks very familiar.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider
I’m already one game behind on playing the modern Tomb Raider series. Apparently I have until September 14th to catch up before this one is out. They’re good games, Lara.

Session
It’s awesome to see a full-on 3D skateboarding simulation game again. This is yet another “console launch exclusive” which doesn’t mean much. The developer is Creature, and Session was originally a crowdfunded project that targetted Steam’s Early Access program as well as the Xbox One’s Game Preview program. There’s an old prototype demo on the Kickstarter page. No release date yet.

Black Desert Online
Hey it’s an MMORPG. In 2018. Somebody’s gotta do it. Might as well be another console launch exclusive. They’ve got a beta late this year, and it’s headed to the PlayStation 4 as well. Or you can play this game on Windows today. I have a special fondness in my heart for Korean-made video games after working there a decade ago.

Devil May Cry 5
This looks very silly, somehow. There’s a ridiculous cyborg arm and a fun sidekick. It’ll be out next Spring. This is just a “world premier,” so there’s no exclusivity expressed but it sure is wrongly implied. The game will actually be on the Xbox One as well as the PlayStation 4 and Windows. Weird as hell to hear the voice actor for Jet from Cowboy Bebop at the start of this trailer. I hear that Ninja Theory’s DmC was super, involving fighting the idea of dubstep and other goofy stuff.

Hideaki Itsuno and Matt Walker from Capcom showed up to talk about the series. They’re very excited to bring DmC back.

Cuphead DLC
Cuphead is getting “The Delicious Last Course” with a new character, Ms. Chalice, a new island, and more. 2019.

Tunic
Finji’s got a fox in a Zelda-y action-RPG by Dicey. It’s so not exclusive it already has a Steam page. Tunic will be out in 2019 on the Xbox One as well as Steam for Windows and macOS.

Phil Spencer’s Still Talking
Really. They just bring up the stage lights and he keeps talking. He’s promised that the rest of the games in this show are all “…world premier games nobody has seen before.”

Jump Force
Bandai Namco has a bunch of anime characters from Dragon Ball, One Piece, and Naruto fighting. It’ll be on Windows, PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One in 2019. Somebody is going to get really into this, but it isn’t me. Spike Chunsoft is developing it.

Dying Light 2
This trailer made me wish for an open-world Condemned, which was excellent. Dying Light  was good, but I never got far in it. Chris Avellone is apparently working with Techland on this one, and he showed up on stage to talk about it. “Dying Light 2 will be the first in it’s genre where your choices have genuine consequences in the game itself.” Avellone sets up for this gameplay trailer:

Avellone says that there are hundreds of decisions that change the game world and the characters in it, but promises like that have been made so many times before. No release date is given, but it will be on the Xbox One as well as Windows and the PlayStation 4.

Battletoads
Well heck, it’s a world premier. The original game was a crap ripoff of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Battletoads is back because of a joke about calling Gamestop to ask for it and this trailer is full of bad jokes like “4K Hand-Drawn 2.5D Graphics.” Yikes. It’ll be out in 2019 from DLaLa Studios on the Xbox One and Windows 10. Hopefully there’s a good game that comes out of this.

Just Cause 4
Steam managed to leak this one with an ill-timed popup advertisement. Rico’s still fighting a ridiculous open-world fight. It’ll be out on December 4th, 2018. Surprisingly few games are targeting a 2018 release in this event.

Gears Pop
Who the hell decided to make a Gears Funkopop game? It’s apparently a mobile game for iOS and Android next year. Why couldn’t we just let Funkopop toys fade away?

Rod Fergusson is Geared up for Gears Gears Gears Gears Gears
He’s attempting to justify this Funkopop garbage game for terrible people, and redeem himself by announcing a Gears Tactics game in the style of XCom for Windows. It really looks like XCom. Gears 5 is also announced.

Gears of War 5
I’m so out of touch with the Gears games I don’t recognize many of these characters. Apparently the protagonist is someone named Kait. The armor sets still looks very ridiculous. Like Batman Forever ridiculous. This trailer is big on haunting music spoiled by sudden action scenes. Gears 5 will be out some time in 2019.

Phil Spencer Wants to Talk More
This conference has to be over soon, right?! He’s talking like it’s closing out. He’s mentioning all the buzzwords. AI research, streaming game video. He’s even talking about building more consoles.

Cyberpunk 2077
Okay I’m onboard for more Cyberpunk 2077. It’s been too long and CD Projekt Red has purple mohawks for us.

Overall
Please condense your press events. It’s nice that people who bought an Xbox One get some exclusives. That Battletoads trailer was embarrassing, but closing the show with a non-exclusive game is an odd choice. The audience near the stage was full of fans, which is not a bad decision on Microsoft’s part to get the reaction they want, but it is still odd to me to hear clapping and wild hollering reactions during what was once exclusively a press event. Press don’t clap. They’re there to work and focus on their job. The fan reactions are a distraction from that job. I learned this lesson during a NASCAR post-race interview event, of all things.

Electronic Arts’ EA Play E3 2018 Press Event Notes

The Electronic Entertainment Expo media conferences for 2018 have started off. Electronic Arts is up first with their EA Play conference hosted by the internet’s Andrea Rene. Here’s everything that EA announced:

Battlefield V Updates & The Least Surprising Addition to Any Multiplayer FPS Shipping in 2018:
Oskar Gabrielson and Lars Gustavsson showed up from DICE to tell us about Battlefield V’s World War 2 multiplayer. They talked about how “…you’ll be able to dive and smash through Windows to surprise your enemies” which really just sounds like slightly improved vaulting. That previously stationary defenses can be moved by attaching them to vehicles. A video clip showed a tank pulling an anti-aircraft gun around. Gabrielson and Gustavsson also promised better destruction. This time the video clip demonstrated a tank driving through a building without much trouble. Customization is supposed to be improved, for both aesthetics and functionally for gameplay.

The BF V single player war stories are supposed to have “…real and relatable people facing the brutality of war” for that mode’s characters. The wacky gameplay of Battlefield has never translated to anything real or relatable in the past, so I’m not sure why anyone would believe that.

For their least surprising surprise, to which the audience emitted a tremendous sound as if they were shocked, Battlefield V will have a battle royale mode. They promise it’ll be a unique take on the mode with Battlefield’s destruction, teams, and vehicles.

BF V is out on October 16th and the developers once again promised “…no lootboxes, no premium pass.” The premium pass has split previous DICE multiplayer games by those with access to it who can join any server running any map and go literally to the front of the line to join any full server with a premium queue, and those who don’t have it who are forced to the back of the line if they can join at all.

The premium pass was always a bad idea, and somehow DICE made it worse by separating friends who couldn’t play together when they didn’t all have access to the same maps, and leaving some servers as ghost towns if they were rotating old maps. Of all the Battlefield games I’ve played Battlefield 1 the least because of the way it regressed in basic multiplayer functionality when I previously put hundreds of hours into 2, 3, 4, and the various spinoff games.

I don’t particularly care for going back to World War 2, it was tiresome and played out after Call of Duty: World at War a decade ago. Looking up the November 11th, 2008 release date for that game has now made me feel incredibly old. Despite the setting and all of EA’s missteps with Battlefield I’m still looking forward to BF V.


FIFA 19

A soccer videogame trailer plays. Soccer balls whoosh by the camera in slow motion, in medium motion, in real-time motion. Video artifacts are interrupting the trailer as if it were a trailer from a decade ago. Is 2018 the return of sweaty closeups of sportsmen? “Yes!” chants the crowd of EA’s biggest fans and developers from the multitude of EA’s studios. Their chants grow louder. A man is frozen in FIFA’s phantom zone behind the game’s executive producer, Aaron Mchardy, and senior producer, Lina Ingvarsdotitr. This version will have the UEFA Champions League. It’ll be out on September 28th. Last year’s FIFA 18 game has been updated with a World Cup experience of some kind. There’s also a free demo version of FIFA 18 up on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Origin, temporarily.

Screaming as loud as you possibly can but nobody can hear you

EA’s OnLive Garbage & Origin Access Premier in Andrew Wilson’s Soapbox
EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson shows up to bore us to death by talking about consumer consumption and how he regards the sole value of people as the things they buy and the method in which they buy them. Cloud gaming is mentioned. He wants people to subscribe to an online service to stream game video from a server to whatever device they have, having even less ownership of a game product than people do now and more latency between your controller or mouse and keyboard input and the output video and audio than ever before.

Also, remember DICE’s promise that lootboxes and premium passes are gone for Battlefield V? Forget all of that. It didn’t happen. Origin Access Premier subscribers get Battlefield V five days early and get 20 weekly “airlifts” remember, they’re not called lootboxes so they can’t be the same thing.

Origin Access Premier is an eye-watering $100 per year, or $15 a month. If you had subscribed to Origin Access, their previous subscription service on the Xbox One and Windows, you’re now on Origin Access Basic and it was $5 or $30 a year but apparently that wasn’t enough money. They’ll be prompting you to upgrade to the Premier service.

While both subscription service offered access to a collection of games, the original Origin Access only let you play brand new games for something like ten hours before you had to pony-up and buy the game (at a 10% discount) if you wanted to keep playing, this service will give you access to the game without a time limitation as long as you’re subscribed to the service. As before it also lets you play games a few days before anyone else, making it critical for game reviewers.

Can you imagine all of the services you can now subscribe to on an Xbox One? Xbox Live Gold to access multiplayer, Xbox Games Pass to get temporary access to Microsoft published games, and now Origin Access Premier to get temporary access to Electronic Arts’ games.

Why would you ever buy a game again when you can own nothing but have temporary access to everything. Your life is now entirely leased. Good luck sharing any games with future generations, they’re gone the minute that Microsoft needs to move on to a future platform and mark this version of their Xbox Live service as obsolete. Origin Access Premier will be a long-forgotten memory at that point.

The good news is that Madden 19 will be on Windows on August 9th, they haven’t had it on Windows in over a decade.

Jedi: Fallen Order
Respawn’s Vince Zampella vaguely discussed a new Star Wars game with Andrea Rene from the audience seats. He said the game would be out late in 2019

Battlefront II
Dennis Brännvall, a developer from DICE, appears on stage to not-quite-apologize for the situation with the lootboxes in Battlefront II. Brännvall spoke about all the additions they’ve been making to the game and promised that they would add a Geonosis level, General Grievous, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Count Dooku, Anakin, and other stuff from the clone wars.


Unravel Two
It’s like Unravel 1 but with optional co-op. Both characters are on screen either way. Kind of like the Lost Vikings game on the SNES. The developers from Coldwood played a short co-op section where their blue and red Yarny characters were being chased by a turkey. It looks like slightly difficult platforming. It’s out today and it looks like fun.

A Way Out
Patrick Söderlund showed up to talk about how successful A Way Out was and then segued into discussing their next independent partner…

Sea of Solitude
Jo-Mei Games’ Connie Geppert spoke about the game her team from Berlin is making, Sea of Solitude, she says “…when humans get too lonely they turn into monsters, this is at the core of everything you will see, hear, and hopefully feel while playing S.O.S.” Very interesting. Geppert says that it is about a person suffering from loneliness who turns into a monster and the trailer that plays is very reminiscent of Limbo and Inside. S.O.S. looks like a very interesting third-person adventure game, the trailer tells us it’ll be out early in 2019.

NBA Live 19
A basketball game trailer plays that seems to combine indoor, street, and professional basketball gameplay with lots of customization. It’ll be out on September 7th.

Madden NFL Challenge E-Sports Nonsense
A trailer plays telling us about a player, Young Kiv, who was competing in a football e-sports tournament that happened in April. This is June. He shows up on stage with Juju Smith-Schuster from the Steelers. They have some banter about Kiv skipping his graduation to go to a gaming tournament. Yikes.

Madden 19
A trailer plays for the game. It’s football and it’s so uninteresting they have nobody on stage to talk about it.

Command and Conquer: Rivals
The general manager from EA Redwood Shores, Michael Martinez, and the professional “shoutcaster” known simply as Nathanias show up to tell us about the mobile real-time strategy game and oh no there is an onstage competition between players called “iNcontrol” and “nickatnight.” The player known as “iNcontrol” wins. It’ll be on iOS and Android at some indeterminate point in the future. The game looks like a response to Clash Royale and other mobile strategy games, look forward to it shutting down if it doesn’t hit whatever internal target and the Command and Conquer name being dragged through the mud again the next time EA decides they want to compete with a strategy game. Of course this game could be good, but remember that they’ve laid off the team that made the game that people once cared about and this team probably features none of the original developers. A trailer that is about 2% actual gameplay footage plays.

Andrew Wilson’s Soapbox Part 2
Andrew Wilson returns to the stage to keep earning that boat money. He decides to insult the people watching the press conference by talking about how EA has reformed and the “grind” to earn things in games is gone. Wilson tells us that “We are always trying to learn and listen and strive to be better.” and then he proceeds to tell us how we should think and feel about games, EA’s games. Wilson tells us about the 1 million dollars that EA donated to three charities. Andrew Wilson received a salary of almost 20 million dollars last year according to Salary.com. Andrew Wilson could have personally tripled that donation and still bought several boats. The audience claps for Wilson when he talks about the 1 million donation as if it were a meaningful portion of EA’s profits.

Anthem
A trailer plays for Destiny of Duty. There are jetpacks and robot suits with no meaningful story or reason. A giant boss monster appears before a late title.
BioWare’s Casey Hudson, Mark Darrah, and Cathleen Rootsaert appear onstage with Andrea Rene to talk about the game. It’s a worthless interview because it’s just an opportunity for the company to talk to itself with prepared questions and answers. It’s another insult to anyone watching it, but a fine example of why journalism and game criticism still have a real place in 2018. A company has nothing interesting to say when it’s this prepared. The people manage to sneak in a few thoughts about the game they’re talking about, but nobody cares about Anthem until they play it. Anthem is out on February 22nd, 2019.

Overall
Ultimately, I feel like this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of a press event. It attempts to reach press as well as players, but only truly succeeds at insulting press and players with faux-sincerity that Andrew Wilson can’t even maintain during his soapbox speeches as he delivers messaging that is just so completely out of tune with the game-playing audience. As much as Apple has fucked up lately, they still generally understand the purpose of their press events, to introduce products for use and criticism. The pinnacle of the ridiculousness at this year’s EA event was the e-sport play for the mobile Command and Conquer game that nobody knows or has had a chance to build enthusiasm for.

The on-stage Anthem interview was awful. The people participating on-stage at this event who don’t typically work for EA have no credibility because they have been co-opted by Andrew Wilson’s company to present a corporate message instead of legitimate critical thought and discussion that can’t really have a place on-stage during a press event.

Hopefully next year EA will show their products and keep Andrew Wilson off the stage because he cannot open his mouth without insulting everyone in the room who isn’t in the investor class of self-important assholes that don’t know why they’ve experienced success and can’t relate with any kind of real sincerity.