I’ve known about the existence of E3 for quite some years. Prior to this year, it had always been just background gaming noise, a festival for important journalists and true connoisseurs of gaming. Until this year, I wasn’t aware that normal people like me could get in on the action. So, this time, I decided to dip my toes in.
Unlike some, I watched only the conferences that interested me, namely the PC Gaming Show, Nintendo Direct, the Bethesda conference and a little bit of the XBOX conference. I must say, many of the games didn’t interest me at all, but those that did left me thoroughly impressed.
The first show I watched was the BE3 conference. Having put almost 100 hours into Skyrim and 260 hours into Fallout 4 (completing the game twice), I would consider myself a big Bethesda fan. I may not be revelling in thousands of hours in any of Bethesda’s games, but the worlds of Fallout and The Elder Scrolls are some of my favourites in gaming. Weeks before E3, fans were met with streams of rumours and leaks about the next game in the Fallout series. After hearing rumours that the next Fallout game would be multiplayer, many fans, including myself, were dreading the official announcement at E3. Having played ESO, I was terrified this new Fallout game would be just like that, an entertaining but blatant money-grab of an MMO. Thankfully, Todd Howard, and his perfect Charisma (hehe) quickly put my fears to rest on the stage and in interviews after E3. And, of course, we couldn’t talk about BE3 2018 without mentioning “Skyrim Very Special Edition”, could we? For those unaware, Bethesda premiered a hilarious trailer featuring Keegan Michael Key showing Skyrim being played on an Amazon Echo. And the best part? The app is functional and can be added to your Alexa’s skills right now, with a US Amazon account.
Also announced at the BE3 conference were new games in the DOOM and RAGE IPs, as well as a spin-off from the Wolfenstein franchise, and a teaser for The Elder Scrolls VI, among other announcements.
Next up on my hitlist was the Nintendo Direct. Perhaps compared to other gamers, I have a limited range of games I’m interested in. JRPG’s, anime-based games and other such Japanese titles don’t particularly interest me. I, like seemingly many of the people in the YouTube Live chat, had come mainly for one thing. With over 5 million copies sold globally, Super Smash Bros was among the most popular games of 1999. Despite being born in 2001, I had my first experience with Smash when I was about 7 years old, entirely thanks to an afterschool club that didn’t want to upgrade from their old N64 (I kinda want that thing now, I wonder if they still have it). The N64 had two games; Mario Kart 64 and Smash, so Smash was generally the game of choice. Now, over a decade later, Super Smash Bros is coming to the Nintendo Switch, including every character included in previous Smash titles (with the exception of Waluigi, much to the disappointment of his fans) and I couldn’t be more excited for the release. Super Smash Bros Ultimate will be released for the Switch on December 7th this year. For those looking for a great local party game, this will be the one.
Finally, the last show I was interested in was the PC Gaming Show. I wasn’t actually going to watch this show, because I assumed it would just be a talk show, but it soon dawned on me that this was really the only chance for a PC exclusive show. All the consoles had their own shows, it was right the PC had a show of its’ own. The PC Gaming Show was by far my favourite show of them all. While not all of the announcements excited me, the ones that did totally blew me out the water. The most breath-taking title for me was Stormland, an open-world VR game where you play as an Android exploring a vast and ever-changing landscape. Insomniac Games, the developers behind Spyro, Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive, are the people responsible for this tremendous task. In the trailer, an Android was shown removing its arm and replacing it with another found on the ground, a mechanic further explain by Chad Dezern, Insomniac’s Chief Creative Officer, in which he describes a player finding a new technology and immediately attaching it to their own arm using the VR motion controllers.
One of the other titles which got me particularly excited was a new game called Two Point Hospital, the so-called “spiritual successor” to EA’s 1997 “Theme Hospital”, another game released before I was born. I played only a few hours of Theme Hospital from an old ROM, but I’m thrilled to hear a modern successor will soon be available for players to relive. One of the flaws of Theme Hospital, at least in the modern era, was the lack of support for modern operating systems and resolutions. With this successor, I can’t wait to get back into it and experience the younger brother to Theme Hospital.
I would have been stupid to expect every announcement at E3 to excite me, but despite the many games and announcements that didn’t interest me, I’m glad I experienced E3 this year. E3 has given me a firsthand look at new and exciting games I would otherwise only hear about via word of mouth. I can’t wait for these games to be released, and I will definitely be tuning in next year.