It’s time to face the music, and admit it:
E3 is fun! It’s thrilling! It can bring gamers together!
It’s true that, despite all the commercial motives in play (or maybe more because of them), E3 has become video-gaming’s Christmas. Our favorite multi-national mega-corporations still know how to get fans enthused over the next big this or that, with trailers, cool demos or even just characters that we want to learn about.
However, E3 is primarily about selling a product, and when we aren’t convinced it’s a product worth buying, we can feel a little disappointed. So without further ado, here are some of our biggest disappointments of E3 2016.
5. New Console No-Shows
Early in 2016, it seemed like gamers were headed for the mother of all E3s: the big three would have new consoles to show off. Every company is going in their own direction.
Microsoft Scorpio: those specs look like the most powerful system on the market. How would Microsoft sell both Scorpio and the Xbox One?
PlayStation Neo: all but confirmed, a “PS4.5” if you will. Is it somehow connected to the launch of PlayStation VR in the Fall?
And not least of the bunch, the mysterious Nintendo NX: a new idea, so good Nintendo says, that they aren’t talking about it, just in case their competitors try to steal it.
What transpired was nothing like the paradigm-shift that industry analysts predicted. E3 was months away when Nintendo said the NX wasn’t going to be there. Shortly after the Neo was leaked, we were told that it wasn’t coming to E3 either. Microsoft was the one company that actually showed up with a new box: not the Scorpio, but the Xbox One Slim.
What little was said about the Scorpio console at E3 made even less sense: was all the extra power just so that games could run native resolution on 4K televisions? What about higher framerates? What about Xbox VR?
Even a month later, the future of this console generation seems to be on the back burner. Business as usual, then?
4. The Future of VR is … Still Far Away, Apparently
What certainly isn’t business as usual in 2016 is the latest virtual reality technology. Headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have been gaining traction, offering unprecedented immersive experiences, many of the video game variety.
They both have their strengths and ardent supporters, but a console under the TV is still the best way to deliver the virtual reality experience into the face of ordinary consumers. PlayStation is ready to take that market by storm with their proprietary headset in October, but you wouldn’t be so sure if all you had to go by was E3.
Yes, even though E3 is the biggest show in North America, the demos, trailers, promises, and twinkles in developers’ eyes were underwhelming as presented.
The first big series in VR is Resident Evil VII, coming next year. The other big developers who are actually making VR content for PlayStation? It mostly amounts to mini-games and side-content for their non-VR games (Batman, Final Fantasy). Interesting games and experiences for virtual reality are out there, but for the biggest gaming event of the year, VR needed to be front and center — it wasn’t.
If you expected to gauge the success of VR by E3 alone, truly exciting content seems farther away then before.
3. The Leaks Weren’t The Worst Of It
It’s nothing new to have leaks, leaks, and more leaks coming out of E3 in the lead up to the big week, but this year it felt particularly damaging because, robbed of the surprise, many of the announcements weren’t that interesting to begin with.
Prey had a cool reveal, right? A pre-rendered trailer, no release date.
Mass Effect Andromeda, a game coming in less than a year? A behind-the-scenes short, no release date.
EA’s new Star Wars games? Another behind-the-scenes short, no release dates.
What about Sony’s God of War? Days Gone? Quantic Dream’s Detroit? They might look good, but without release dates they might as well be years away (some even have been, in the past…looking at your Last Guardian).
Even Microsoft’s announcements, which were quite comprehensive for the short term, were almost entirely sequels to their franchise staples: Halo. Gears. Forza. Their new IPs, Sea of Thieves and ReCore, were quickly buried.
The pre-E3 leaks were substantial, to be sure, but so many of the announcements of E3 2016 weren’t great enough to stand on their own, leaky or not.
2. No New Elder Scrolls Anytime Soon
This is two disappointments for the price of one. First, the Skyrim Special Edition itself is no more than a graphical upgrade – something PC players have been able to get free for years – with no additional Bethesda game content. It includes mod support for the current-gen consoles, but do you really want to play Skyrim again, anyway?
Second, the more painful of the two disappointments, Skyrim Special Edition came with the news that the next Elder Scrolls game (less any spin-offs such as Legends) will be a long way off, and is not in active development. With the Special Edition as the latest in a line of remasters used as stopgaps in long running franchises, we might as well reset our clocks for how many years we have to wait until The Elder Scrolls VI.
At least, like with Bethesda’s Dishonored remaster, they aren’t trying to pass off a re-release of an old game as their main holiday event. Last year, the real deal was Fallout 4, and this year their headlining title is Dishonored 2 which looks a lot more exciting.
1. The Last of The Last Guardian
Okay, so this last isn’t the most disappointing, but hear me out.
With the game being such a familiar fixture of the last eight years, whether appearing at E3 or simply as a subject of rumor and speculation, The Last Guardian finally receiving a release date for October 25th means that this is the end of an era.
Hopefully the game is good, and hopefully the Sony Japan team will bring us even better games in the future. Right now, though, a little bit of the excitement of E3 has disappeared forever.
Seriously, though, it’s a good thing that the game is finally coming out.
Kingdom Hearts III, you’re next.
The opinions in this editorial are the author’s and do not represent OnlySP as an organization.
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