E3 was rad.
I'm not gonna do my usual full-recap because i've been co-starring in multiple Youtube videos over at SquareXO and putting my thoughts on the site. What I am going to do is go over a few highlights, and a few disappointments.
1) "Next-Gen" is now a thing.
Microsoft mentioned it by name at the end of their conference, and Bethesda announced two games in development for it - these consoles won't be around much longer than 2020. I expect we'll start to see some titles straddling both the current generation and the next as we did before, so we'll soon see games way too pretty for our current consoles to handle!
2) Cross-Platform Play is now mainstream.
With the release of Fortnite on Nintendo Switch, the current most popular game in the world has reached critical mass. Its everywhere, from all consoles, to PC and Mac and your mobile phone or tablet. Even more impressively, you can play it with friends on ANY console... except Playstation 4. In fact, if you've linked your Epic account to Playstation 4 (a must for those wishing to make in-game purchases) then you're unable to link that account to any other service. Thankfully, I linked mine to my Xbox One and now my Switch - so all of my progress, purchases and challenges are synced between the two. The novelty still hasn't worn off on this one!
3) Microsoft and Sony switched roles.
In the last few years, Sony's conferences have been exemplary - a tour de force of exclusives, multi-platform games and surprises. Their competitor, Microsoft, have often elected to jump deeper into the a few games per conference, while never having the wealth of exclusives Sony has had. This year was different however - Sony confirmed a heavy focus on four upcoming titles a few weeks ago, while Microsoft revealed game after game after game. TLOU2 and Spiderman stole the show of Sony's conference for me, but by the time it was over I felt a bit disappointed with the only real surprisesbeing Resident Evil 2: Remake and Remedy's new title.
Microsoft on the other hand showcased fewer exclusives (a tease of Halo: Infinite, Forza Horizon 4 gameplay and Gears 5), but also revealed Devil May Cry 5, Jump Force and the first gameplay from The Division 2.
The good news is that both conferences were strong - theres never been a better time to play video games regardless of console.
4) 2019 is stacked.
With Red Dead Redemption 2 leaving a distinct mark on the rest of the year (outside of Battlefield, Call of Duty and Assassins Creed), 2019 seems to be set to be one of gaming's biggest.
Between January and March alone, 2019 features Resident Evil 2: Remake, Anthem, Days Gone, The Division 2. Crackdown 3, Rage 2, Ori 2, Metro Exodus and so many more.
5) My biggest upcoming games of 2018.
Sticking with this year, I get asked this question a fair amount. In no particular order: Pokemon Lets Go, Hitman 2, Super Mario Party, Forza Horizon 4, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.
6) Nintendo wins two years in a row.
At E3 2017, Nintendo announced Pokemon, Metroid and Yoshi would be coming to the Switch - a tough act to follow.
At E3 2018 and the few weeks beforehand, we found out when Super Smash Brothers is coming (December), Pokemon Lets Go is coming (November), a new Mario Party was announced for October, Fortnite appeared on the store and plenty of other announcements - 2017 was a stellar year for Nintendo, but with these heavy hitters I think 2018 could be just as huge.
7) A timely reminder of Microsoft's services.
Watching Xbox's conference I fell in love with Forza Horizon 4 - it is set in the UK after all. But with a busy few months of gaming, would I really be able to afford it? And then it hit me - Xbox Game Pass means it'll be included in my membership.
On a similar note, Need for Speed: Payback was added to the EA Access vault during E3!
8) Games missing from E3.
For all the excitement, you can't have everything you want. No news on Rocksteady's new project (please be Batman: Beyond), no new Deus Ex or Dishonored (both long shots), and most disappointingly of all - no Splinter Cell. Despite Michael Ironside voicing the character in Ghost Recon DLC this year, despite supposed retailer leaks, there is no new Sam Fisher adventure yet. Heres hoping for next year... and the year after that...
9) EA's conference was poor, Square's was unnecessary.
With EA, you expect Star Wars and Sports. And we got those. Anthem also looks just as incredible as last year. But did we need a conference for this stuff? FIFA got the Champions League licence but no real gameplay improvements to speak about, some guy who won a Madden tournament was there, and Battlefront II is getting (admittedly awesome) DLC. Other than that, Unravel 2 was released and Sea of Solitude looks great, but getting Vince Zampella to give the title of the game Respawn are working on but without showing ANYTHING just felt pointless.
Speaking of pointless, Square Enix is sitting on two of gaming's most exciting projects - an Avengers game, and Final Fantasy 7 Remake. By announcing a conference, they raised expectations that we would see something from either one of these properties and we saw nothing - in fact, Square's conference was so Tomb Raider heavy that the rest flew by without doing anything to impress.