E3 2019: The Surprise Twist Ending

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jun 20, 2019

Filed under: Industry Events 93 comments

Here we are at the M. Night Shyamalan style twist ending where I profess admiration for a game I’ve always hated. Except, it’s not really a twist. Lots of people have guessed this choice in the comments so I don’t think it’ll be that surprising. But I’m going to  pretend it’s still a mystery because that makes me feel smug and cleverThats what makes this an M. Night Shyamalan twist..

The one thing I noticed about the show this year is that it felt very light on gameplay. I didn’t do a minute-by-minute comparison to E3 2018 or anything, but I felt like I spent a lot of time waiting for gameplay demos that never materialized. Right at the point where I expected the presenter to show us some gameplay, they moved on to the next title.

I don’t know what brought about this sudden focus on cinematic trailers. Maybe publishers feel like the gameplay is familiar enough that we don’t need to see it every year. Maybe they think they get more bang for their buck by showing us cinematics rather than gameplay. I give a pass to CD Projekt Red for Cyberpunk 2077 because last year they showed off a full 48 minutes of gameplay and we have a very good idea about what it will be like to play that game. But we’re seeing a lot of these other titles for the first time and I’d like a way to judge if the gameplay looks fun and fluid or stiff and repetitive. This is literally the most important thing about a game, so leaving it out is really frustrating for me as both a consumer and a critic.

  • Ideal: The game is played live on stage and a presenter narrates things to help us understand what things are the result of player action and what things are scriptedDid the player choose that finishing move, or does the game just randomly do that sometimes?. They can explain how this will vary from the final productNormally you won’t have access to all these weapons at once, but for this demo we want you to see what your options will be. and what the intended experience isPlayers of any class can revive and heal, because we want to encourage players to work together even when they’re not part of a team..
  • Still Good: The game is played live, but without a guide to help us understand what we’re seeing.
  • Acceptable: We’re shown a recording of the game being played.
  • Acceptable but cringe-y: We’re shown a recording of the game being played, plus some voice actors pretending to be players while reading from a very stilted script. (The Division and Anthem both did this in the past and it drove me crazy.)
  • Bad: We’re told what genre the game occupies but don’t get to see gameplay directly.
  • Pointless waste of the audience’s time: We get a flashy cinematic and nothing else.

A lot of games went for the “pointless” option this year. I really wanted to see gameplay for Marvel’s Avengers, Ghostwire Tokyo, Wolfenstein YoungbloodThey did show a tiny bit of gameplay in the style of a fast-cut sizzle reel, but you can make ANY game look fun with that sort of editing., Deathloop, Crossfire X, Elden Ring, Project Z, and Outriders. I’m probably forgetting a bunch more.

These games told us nothing about the gameplay. In same cases you don’t even know the genre of the game or if it will be single or multi player. There’s no information for the consumer other than “A game with this title might eventually exist some day.” I guess I’ll sort of give a pass to Halo: Infinite. Microsoft gave us a 5-minute cinematic and no gameplay. It was a good cinematic and I guess everyone knows what Halo gameplay looks like. Still, I would have liked to see someone play it anyway.

But my favorite game of the show that isn’t Cyberpunk 2077 was one where they did show us a good chunk of gameplay, and that gameplay is exactly why I’m interested in…

Ubisoft – Watch Dogs: Legion

Suddenly, the team at Ubisoft realizes this series was supposed to be cyberpunk.
Suddenly, the team at Ubisoft realizes this series was supposed to be cyberpunk.

I should point out that I hated the original Watch_Dogs. I thought Aiden Pierce was the most extreme version of the flavorless generic brotagonist: a dull thug with pretensions of heroism who is too awesome for icky things like emotions and personal weakness. The story presented him as a cool aloof badass, and apparently the writer never even realized they’d accidentally created a dimwitted narcissistic asshole thug. I abandoned the game after a few hours, which is probably for the best. As the final narration makes clear, the writer thought they were making some sort of Batman-style protector. Seriously, screw Aiden and his lame-ass “iconic” baseball cap. Screw his family of damsels and victims. Screw his massively hypocritical crusade for fucked-up adolescent justice. Screw the flat graphics, the fake-ass bullshot previews, the boring non-cyberpunk city, the tepid gameplay, and the stupid underscore in the game title. Delete this waste of digital storage and format the hard drives of the machines used to make it.

I wasn’t a fan, is what I’m getting at.


Link (YouTube)

Watch_Dogs 2 was reportedly a lot better. I was put off by its “memes as interpreted by baby boomers” attitude and its constant mugging for laughs. I gave it a miss, but I hear the gameplay was better and the characters were more interesting.

I hated the first game and I was annoyed by the second, so it’s really strange that I’m so excited for Watch Dogs: Legion. In fact, if Cyberpunk 2077 didn’t exist, then Watch Dogs: Legion would be my favorite game of the show. They even got rid of the silly underscore!

The premise is that  London has turned into a dystopian hellhole. I’m sure you’re familiar with the tropes in play here: Martial law, checkpoints, cruelty, etc. It’s an open-world game with driving, combat, and hacking, as you do in Ubi-ish games.

The hook is that every single civilian NPC in the game has a unique model and vocal performance. They all have their own backstory and abilities. You can recruit any of them to join the resistance. It looks like you can switch between resistance members as easily as changing cars in Grand Theft Auto. I don’t know how many there are in the game, but the demo showed dozens.

Oh hey, that face-scan nonsense from the first game is finally relevant and useful in gameplay.
Oh hey, that face-scan nonsense from the first game is finally relevant and useful in gameplay.

Obviously “dozens” is a little low for the population of London. I’m not sure how they’ll sort that out. Will I see Bob on the street corner, then drive six blocks and see him driving a car, then go around the corner and see him on the front steps of his flatBully handled students this way to make the world seem more populated using a roster of fixed students. I think it worked really well.? I don’t know.

Because the roster is so large, the game can feature permadeath. Going by the gameplay demo: If you get taken down, you get one chance to get back up and escape your situation. If you go down a second time, then that character is dead forever, and the game continues with your remaining crew.

You decide who joins, who takes on each mission, and who they recruit. You don’t seem to have a player-created character, and instead you’re playing as the entire resistance. This means you can decide the makeup of your team, which opens the possibility for novelty teams. Recruit only old people! Or only the brawling characters! Only hackers! Only bald guys! I don’t know what’s possible or what the options are, but it looks like the system was designed to be as open as possible. I’ve heard it compared it to Dwarf Fortress for the way it creates emergent stories.

I expect the WD:L message on Brexit will be just as insightful and nuanced as Deus Ex’s message about racism. I’m not really informed enough to understand all the implications of BrexitIt’s not that I don’t care about you lovely people in the UK. It’s just that we’re having a bit of a tiff ourselves on this side of the pond and my anxiety only has so much bandwidth., so if the game is uninformed or heavy-handed about the topic, I probably won’t notice or care. For me, the WD:L Brexit will probably be some abstract cartoon thing, like the Sokovia Accords. (And no, I’m not asking you to explain Brexit to me, thanks.)

Disclosure: You might remember last year I covered E3 with co-host Ross Zevenhuizen. He works at Ubisoft. As it turns out, he worked on this specific game, and even contributed to the scenario depicted in the E3 demo. I’m worried people will look at my sudden heel / face turn in light of this relationship and wonder if I was blinded by bias. Just to be clear: I went nuts for the game while watching the show, and I had no idea Ross was working on it until days later.

So there you have it. One of my most hated games has turned into a hotly anticipated title. I suppose this means I’ll have to allow stupid Uplay on my machine. Or maybe I’ll get the PS4 version. Whatever. I’ve got 9 months to make that decision.

Ubisoft – Beyond Good and Evil 2

This was one of the darlings of the show back in 2017. Last I heard, it was supposed to come out this year. But here we are in 2019 with no preview, no show presence, and no release date. The game is still being worked on, so I can’t imagine why it didn’t get a few seconds at the show. Even if it was just a few renders and a general announcement of “We’re shooting for a Q2 release in 20XD”, it would at least be something to keep the game in the public’s mind.

I’m not mad that they left it out, I just think it was a strange choice.

EA Play

When things are going well, it's because you're an industry genius and a natural leader. When things go badly, it's because of market forces beyond your control. Don't worry. It's never your fault.
When things are going well, it's because you're an industry genius and a natural leader. When things go badly, it's because of market forces beyond your control. Don't worry. It's never your fault.

EA did something a little different this year. Instead of holding the standard press event where the executives get up and draw a smiley face on the horrifying corporate meatgrinder they’ve been building, the executives decided to stay home. The company said, “We’re skipping the press conference this year and are replacing it with multiple live streams that will air during the first two days of the event, bringing you more of what you’ve told us you want – more gameplay and insights from the teams making the games.”

I love how good they are at putting a nice spin on things. They could be shoving you into a woodchipper legs-first, and the whole time Andrew Wilson would be talking enthusiastically about how much weight you’re about to lose without the need for dieting or exercise.

What I imagine is really going on is that the executives didn’t want to face the crowd this year. Anthem was a disaster and an embarrassment. EA repeatedly said they were proud of the game and stood by the developers, then cut the team down to a skeleton crew. The shareholders are probably worried about this whole lootbox controversy and the fans are pissed off about canceled games, studio closures, and Anthem.

I’m surprised that CEO Andrew Wilson still has a job, but I’m not surprised he’d rather spend this week at home instead of trying to draw another smiley face on the noxious trash fire he’s supposed to be managing.

So EA Play wasn’t so much a single event as a string of smaller events with a common parent company. Without the constraint of a fixed press conference, everyone was free to eat as much time as they wanted. The other publishers wanted to showcase a large number of diverse titles with a lot of mid-tier / indie stuff in the mix, but EA embraced their “Go big or go home” mentality with a grueling three hour event that covered just six games: STAER WAERZ, Apex Legends, Battlefield V, FIFA 20, Madden NFL 20, The Sims 4.

I don’t have anything to say about any of these games, so let’s wrap this up…

E3 Wanes

I see images like this and all I can think of is just how painfully loud it is. Ugh.
I see images like this and all I can think of is just how painfully loud it is. Ugh.

This is an interesting trend. EA decided to phone it in this year. Sony didn’t show up at all. I don’t know when Nintendo last showed up for real. For the last several years they’ve just released pre-recorded videos. Is E3 becoming irrelevant? Two years ago I asked if E3 was worth the time, expense, and risk on the part of the publishers. I wonder if the publishers started asking themselves the same question, and this falling participation is the answer.

Keep in mind that there’s a critical mass / tipping point effect going on here. The more companies show up, the more valuable the event is to the press. That feedback loop works both ways, so if enough of the giants skip the event then press coverage might fall, which would make the event less valuable to the remaining companies, and so on.

E3 began back in 1995, and was originally supposed to be an event for industry professionals and the press. It was a trade show first and foremost.

But the world needed a way for fans to congregate and celebrate the hobby, so the general public began attending the show. This made the show marginally more useful to the publishers but much less beneficial to the press. When a journalist covered E3, they were no longer giving exclusive access to privileged information, they were just YouTubers with good production values instead of intense personalities. Sure, they had press passes and access to some areas not open to the general public, but the gap between personality-driven YouTube channels and the more professional angle of journalists was closing, and lots of people were discovering they liked the intense personalities better.

The Tokyo Game Show, and Germany’s Gamescom are both bigger shows in terms of attendance. Attendance varies from year to year, but the numbers seem to hover around 250,000 for both events. PAX doesn’t always share attendance numbersOr at least, I can’t find an organized source for them. but the last numbers given were in 2011, when attendance was 70,000 for PAX PrimePAX has multiple events a year, including PAX Prime, PAX East, PAX SOuth, and PAX Australia.. For contrast, the average E3 attendance over the last 10 years has been ~52,000. I want to stress that attendance numbers are spotty and it’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison because some “shows” are held multiple times a year in different locations, but this should give us a basic ballpark figure for how these shows are doing. According to these rough estimates, E3 is the smallest of the bunch yet it gets a majority of the press coverage here the Anglosphere.

Which makes me wonder: Why don’t we get better coverage of Gamescom and Tokyo Game Show here in the west? Do those shows not do a lot of newsworthy announcements, or is the language barrier keeping us from hearing about them?

So that’s E3 for the year.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Thats what makes this an M. Night Shyamalan twist.

[2] Did the player choose that finishing move, or does the game just randomly do that sometimes?

[3] Normally you won’t have access to all these weapons at once, but for this demo we want you to see what your options will be.

[4] Players of any class can revive and heal, because we want to encourage players to work together even when they’re not part of a team.

[5] They did show a tiny bit of gameplay in the style of a fast-cut sizzle reel, but you can make ANY game look fun with that sort of editing.

[6] Bully handled students this way to make the world seem more populated using a roster of fixed students. I think it worked really well.

[7] It’s not that I don’t care about you lovely people in the UK. It’s just that we’re having a bit of a tiff ourselves on this side of the pond and my anxiety only has so much bandwidth.

[8] Or at least, I can’t find an organized source for them.

[9] PAX has multiple events a year, including PAX Prime, PAX East, PAX SOuth, and PAX Australia.



From The Archives:
 

93 thoughts on “E3 2019: The Surprise Twist Ending

  1. Tizzy says:

    I expect the WD:L message on Brexit will be just as insightful and nuanced as Deus Ex’s message about racism.

    To keep the comparison in-house, I expect WD:L’s message to be as meaningful and fueled by magic-juice as
    Far Cry 5

    1. TLN says:

      The premise is that London has turned into a dystopian hellhole.

      And here I thought games were meant to be a form of escapism from the real world..!!!

      1. Asdasd says:

        If you can find a pub that will serve you any beer other than an IPA, it’s not a true London dystopia.

        1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

          All pubs have now been replaced by corporate offices and executive penthouses.

    2. kunedog says:

      This description makes it sound like they’re going full-bore nonsense clownworld:

      https://www.joyfreak.com/articles/how-brexit-has-inspired-a-new-ubisoft-game.71/

      “Everything’s gone completely off the rails,” says Clint Hocking, the game’s creative director. “Authoritarians are taking over, the economy has collapsed, private military corporations have sort of rolled in to fill the gap after the defunding of the Met and defunding of the military. “The surveillance apparatus that has protected us for 75 years is being turned against the population, undesirables are being filtered out, people are being pressed out of the country.”

      Emphasis mine.

      “There’s a massive immigration crisis,” says Hocking. “People are being pushed out of the country, they’re trying to leave, the EU has put in a pre-processing centre to sort of stem the flow of people flooding back into the European Union, so that they can understand what’s going on and track everyone.”

      That’s rich.

      1. tmtvl says:

        That sounds political. I trust people will think twice before they make Shamus lock the thread.

        1. kunedog says:

          Not sure what you mean. In response to speculation about the politcal take, I provided authoritative quotes about the game world. And like Campster does with FC5 in the linked vid, I find this game world unrealistic.

        2. Syal says:

          Not entirely sure, but I think the first one is pointing out “The government has had a massive, easily-weaponized surveillance system in place for seventy-five years” contradicts “Authoritarians are just now starting to take over”.

          1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

            Also, literally every part of that first paragraph is already pretty applicable. I guess they just pull those trends further into their extreme conclusions.

            Also, if they have people leaving the country, then that’s an “emigration” problem.
            Considering all the political BS against immigrants, that’s a pretty important distinction.

    3. Ninety-Three says:

      Seconded. Rather than beating the player over the head with a hamfisted metaphor like DX:MD, I’d bet on it playing out more like Far Cry where the developer awkwardly tiptoes around the prospect of actually saying anything, because a message more specific than “we all hate government murder robots” risks alienating customers.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        You might be right. Buuut, I think ‘faceless goons shooting old ladies is bad, but old ladies shooting faceless goons is funny’ might be a good message in and of itself.

        1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

          You’re never too old to shoot a Nazi standin!

        2. Kyle Haight says:

          Cue the old Monty Python “Hell’s Grannies” sketch, featuring gangs of old ladies attacking defenseless fit young men.

  2. Henson says:

    Personally, I’m expecting Watch Dogs: Legion to be a bunch of cool ideas that never really materialize. Are they really prepared to record ten different versions of voice-overs for each possible character in each possible mission? Are the ‘dozens’ of recruitable characters really going to compare to the sheer number of filler characters you’ll see in London? The demo showed that you specifically needed to recruit an drone expert, so I fully expect your choices on who to recruit to be very much guided and not much open at all. Neat idea, but I just don’t see it going much beyond its leash.

    (By the way, nice detail in including those British-isms in your writeup. )

    1. Lino says:

      I absolutely agree with you not only because of the reasons you stated, but also because this is developed by Ubisoft – I expect the final product to be a huge downgrade compared to the E3 demo in terms of both visuals and scope.

      1. Geebs says:

        Yeah, judging from the modern Ubisoft playbook (narrows eyes in the direction of AC: Odyssey), it’s all going to be an insipid puddle of repetitive blandness and half-hearted sloganeering. I’m half expecting to find that there are, like, twenty Telecom Towers pasted all over the map so that we have something identical to climb in each borough.

        One thing I will say though; they’ve got the design of the rubbish bins bloody well spot on. Whoever modelled them should probably get promoted to head of the entire project.

        1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

          I would be very suprised if there aren’t any “surveillance towers” to climb.

          And i’m pretty sure their rubbish bin designers are already in charge of most of Ubisofts projects (heyo!).

          1. Agammamon says:

            No nononononono! No towers to climb in this one. We’ve heard our fans. This time you take an elevator.

    2. Ander says:

      I see “permadeath” and I just don’t believe Ubisoft would leave open the possibility that a player could ruin a save file by letting a player drive each of the characters into the Thames until they are out of custom-built characters. If there is permadeath, I wonder how they will mitigate that possibility.

      1. Ivan says:

        I see ‘permadeath’ and I wonder how the story and missions will be affected by it. Will each mission be utterly bland and generic so it doesn’t feel like a huge jarring walk over your dead characters grave, when you redo the same events in the same locations? Will the deaths in the missions be included in the scripting, as was shown in the demo?

        Or will permadeath be included withing the missions possible outcomes, and the story reacts and adapts to a mission failed by shunting you into new mission and story paths? Probably not feasible for every mission, but maybe they might do so for some key story missions.

      2. shoeboxjeddy says:

        I think if you kill your last character, the game would either go to a fail state and reload with your last remaining person OR have a random person join the movement as your last character dies. That’s actually not a concerning situation at all and is very easy to mitigate.

        1. Tizzy says:

          But that’s the problem right there: What does permadeath even mean? If the solution is to give us an infinite army of interchangeable characters, that seems pointless.

          1. shoeboxjeddy says:

            That is literally always what permadeath means. In Rogue, when you die, you start the game again with a new character. The game does not explode and become unplayable because you are now permanently dead. If you mean “it should delete your game progress”, that’s a bad suggestion and you should feel bad about it.

          2. Ninety-Three says:

            Note the screenshot that says “Edwin Darby: +50% Non-Lethal damage, 40% Longer Arrest Times”. It looks like characters will have some kind of randomly-generated passives that prevent them being totally interchangeable. Presumably the point is to make you decide whether it’s worth jumping through hoops to recruit another guy with +50% melee so you can keep brawling, or to vary up your playstyle by sticking with whatever rando the game dealt you.

            1. Algeh says:

              Yeah, I’m assuming it will be somewhat like how Pokemon has an unlimited number of Pokemon you can battle and catch and their stats vary within each species, but they come in distinct species, but in this case with the “kinds” part not being named as different species and all kinds having the same appearance variations. So, sort of like having the “random sim” button in the create-a-sim setup from one of the Sims games create the appearance and name arbitrarily, and then some sort of Pokemon-like assigning of “type” and stats that vary appropriately for that type to round out stats/skills/abilities.

              That sounds very achievable (given that I just described it as a mash-up of two things that are both over a decade old), so if that’s what they’re doing a lot of the good or bad of it will be in how well it “filters the randoms” and how nonsensical the resultant NPCs feel. (It’s…an elderly lady…wearing a chicken suit…with a mohawk…and a good bonus to the computer hacking skill who … lives in a treehouse? Ok, I really want a backstory to go with that. I’m not saying no, I’m just needing a backstory. And not to run into any more unrelated NPCs with that constellation of traits, since that seems like a thing that if two people were both into it they’d know each other.)

    3. BlueHorus says:

      At a guess, the ‘dozens’ of characters will turn out to be dozens of character traits placed onto proceedurally-generated characters similar to Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis system. Probably there’ll be a few pre-generated plot-relevant characters thrown in as well.
      Which does sound pretty sweet, mostly because of the weird combinations you could get with random generation/assignment. Kung-fu grandpa? Enormously fat firearms specialist? Pre-pubescent getaway driver? There’s all sort of potential here.

      1. Ander says:

        Ooo, yeah, the Nemesis system is a reasonable comparison

        1. trevalyan says:

          I am perhaps one of the few Shadow fanboys on this site, so I would obviously get hyped for Legion, even if the NPCs have less personality and ability than the Captain orcs. But it could be a hard pass for me, if the politics are mindless -and- the gameplay is gimmicky. As it is, Legion has amazing potential to marry gameplay and messaging. Why is diversity a strength? Because you need to have a team that is at home at an upper class salon or an impoverished district. Why are we hacking the government? Because you live in an omnipresent surveillance Puritan state that even demands restrictive licenses on accessing porn on the Internet.

          Definitely going to follow this product, either way.

          1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

            If your character’s identity had an actual in-game effect on the world, that would be amazing.

            1. trevalyan says:

              Such as: white preppy at high-society gala, cool. Entering the wild zone, you bet a drone is tasked on him.

              Old lady at the park? Continue on, ma’am. At a rave? “Uh, could we please see your ticket and handbag?”

              Heck, even have black characters stopped frequently at Albion rallies, just to drive the point home.

    4. Naota says:

      Even Bigger Disclaimer: it’s me. I am that Ross. Literally my day job.

      Since I’m not completely clear yet on what is or isn’t something I can officially talk about, probably best I just link some press coverage like this to explain how the recruitment works.

      The long and short of it though: you’ve basically guessed it – you can play any NPC provided you win them over, meaning your roster is effectively never-ending so long as you keep recruiting new members. So long as you put in enough time and effort, you actually can recruit any rando character you see passing by, at any time.

      This isn’t free, of course. There are all sorts of implications, complications, and unavoidable design limitations to support such a broad system. I really wish I could do a deep dive on them, since it’s inherently pretty interesting stuff, but I’m sure that’ll have to wait until at least the launch date, if it’s ever possible. If nothing else though, I can confirm that part of the pitch is legit (and a lot of work!).

      1. trevalyan says:

        I can imagine how much work it is. But if Ubisoft focuses on the gameplay over graphics, the result could be an easy GOTY pickup.

        Picture it: on Easy difficulty, Albion mercenaries are mindless thugs who will hose down a crowd with bullets on the off chance one hits you. Massive public approval drops means less likelihood of Dedsec agents being informed on, greater chances of informers granting high reward missions.

        On Hard difficulty, Albion is more popular than Rihanna. A single lethality caused by Dedsec leads to a spike of public disapproval, making recruitment nearly impossible as the citizens enthusiastically inform on you to local Albion troopers, who use high skills and less lethal weapons to capture your agents before you can get started.

        1. DHW says:

          Take that far enough and it starts to become plausible that Albion are the good guys and Dedsec are the bad guys. For someone who sincerely wants politics in video games, that, I’d think, would be really interesting, right? One man’s freedom fighter really is another man’s terrorist, after all, and here’s a game that lets you measure that balance for yourself.

      2. Henson says:

        If I think about how it could work, I can imagine a scenario where there are 3-6 main unkillable characters who are used for the main story missions, and then the remaining recruits are procedurally-generated residents who all share about 10-20 different voice files. You’d have to make dialogue minimal in order to support that many recording sessions. The question is, would this sort of XCOM approach work in a setting where characterization seems to be much more important? I’m just not convinced, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

        1. Thomas says:

          Previews said they’ve used some voice modulation to increase the number of people who seem uniquely voiced.

        2. shoeboxjeddy says:

          There is NO main character. There are very likely helper characters and enemy characters who you cannot recruit and who you interact with to create the story. So your character can be anybody, but the character who tells you to rob the bank will be the same for everybody, that kind of thing.

      3. Paul Spooner says:

        I was just going to comment that I went back and listened to the co-streams from last year, and they were really fun! You guys should consider doing that again.

        1. Naota says:

          I’d be game for that. It was a lot of fun, even including the bit where during the Ubi segment I was recording on break, over the wi-fi, from a laptop, hidden in an abandoned meeting room under the bleachers.

          And somehow nothing went wrong.

    5. Jabberwok says:

      It sounds to me like it’s essentially what they did in MGS 5. You could kidnap and play as NPCs. That did sound cool, but I didn’t get the sense that it was game changing in any way. I dunno, I haven’t actually played that.

      I mean, just having the chance to pick your own characters instead of being generic dudebro again is nice, but I’m extremely skeptical once it starts getting compared to Dwarf Fortress.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Yeah, that’s a high bar to clear.

  3. Lars says:

    I thought Aiden Pierce was the most extreme version of the flavorless generic brotagonist.

    Okay. I found Aiden refreshing. Not that Errand Boy any other game forced me to be. Pierce tried to maintain control of the things around him. Kind of Max Law-ish. That doesn’t make him a sympathetic character, but a different one. One with a goal of his own. I liked that.
    That’s why I couldn’t stand the presentations of the Watch Dogs 2 drug addicted script kiddies. Especially that dude with the mask who stabled a screw driver into a toaster.

    1. DerJungerLudendorff says:

      He was just another angry middle-aged white dude out for revenge for his dead wife/female relative with excessive violence and a complete lack of other emotions or character though.
      We’re constantly drowning in them, and Pierce wasn’t any interesting variety of that.

      1. Lars says:

        Which game did you play? Or did you quit the game right after the intro in the stadium? “Revenge for female relative” (niece) yes. “Excessive violence”, not really unless the player makes him do so.
        “Complete lack of other emotions”, kind of. That is addressed by the mother of this niece to him. That Aiden is alone, And it is admitted by him, that this is one of his flaws. (Scene: Birthday party for his nephew) The story tension is, if he can overcome this closed in behavior, while shit is happening.

        What I liked about the character is that he didn’t do what the bad guys wanted him to do.
        Example:
        Bad guy calls Pierce: “We have your sister and your nephew hostage. If you want to see them again you better …”
        Pierce: Hangs up and goes straight for the rescue by locating the phone of the caller.
        He doesn’t wait for the opportunity, he creates it. Nico Bellic, Cutter Slade, even Kazuma Kiryu would have listened to the caller/messenger and done what he wanted until that opportunity to disobey magically happens.

  4. Hector says:

    AS far as Cyberpunk 2077, I believe the team did the same thing as last year: they provided gameplay to the press and only later released it to the public. They’ve already announced it will be made public at Gamescom. So I guess they’re technically following the actual purpose of the event? Love that Mike Pondsmith finally had a chance to get some public attention he deserves, and he looks like the cool geek I wish I could be! (Had no idea he was voicing a character, too.)

    1. Joe says:

      Pondsmith isn’t voicing Dexter DeShawn. But he might pop up as another character. If it was me, I’d have the character KOed and hallucinate God at some point, and that would be Pondsmith.

  5. Darren says:

    Watchdogs’ new emphasis on a huge roster of recruitable NPCs puts me in mind of Square’s underrated Chrono Trigger sequel, Chrono Cross, which (in)famously had over 40 recruitable party members. And like Chrono Cross, I’m going to assume that this army of NPCs will be both one of Watchdogs: Legion’s greatest strengths and greatest flaws.

  6. Crimson Dragoon says:

    I’m glad you mentioned, if briefly, the Wolfenstein Youngblood trailer, because I think outside of the Commander Keen trailer (which was Blizzard levels of not understanding its audience), this one bothered me the most. At this point I pretty much expect teaser trailers that tell us nothing about the gameplay, but here we have a trailer that does show plenty of (badly edited) gameplay that pretty much ignores the “hook” of the game. Overall, the game looks to be another standard FPS like the other games in the series, but with the big focus being co-op. And yet if you look at the trailer, which often is showing split-screen, it looks like the two players are mostly in two completely different areas, and they almost never appear on the same screen at the same time. So what was the point of stressing co-op if you’re not going to bother showing it?

  7. Geebs says:

    (And no, I’m not asking you to explain Brexit to me, thanks.)

    Don’t worry, we’ve completely given up on trying to understand it ourselves. Nobody’s going to try to explain anything.

    It’s hilarious how much less enthusiastic the British (and, specifically, the English) are about this Watch_Dogs than the rest of the world. The trailers just make absolutely no sense to us – partly because the closest we really get to politically motivated violence is stabbing each other outside pubs over our preferred football team, partly because the accents make Dick Van Dyke sound like an authentic Cockney, but mostly because the overall sense of hope, enthusiasm and (worst of all) optimism expressed in the voiceover is so far removed from our actual national attitudes that it’s borderline offensive.

    1. Hector says:

      Only three people gave understood Brexit. A German professor, who has gone mad. A Brussels bureaucratic, who is now dead. And Theresa May, who has forgotten all about it.

      (This is a parody of a British quote about another weird European political crisis, the Schleswig-Holstein question.)

      1. Rack says:

        Saying you don’t understand Brexit is tantamount to announcing your intention to be Prime Minister.

        1. Hector says:

          If nominated I shall not run; if elected I shall not serve.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      partly because the closest we really get to politically motivated violence is stabbing each other outside pubs over our preferred football team, partly because the accents make Dick Van Dyke sound like an authentic Cockney, but mostly because the overall sense of hope, enthusiasm and (worst of all) optimism expressed in the voiceover is so far removed from our actual national attitudes that it’s borderline offensive.

      Wait, stabbing? That’s some dedicated activism right there. Where I come from, it’s more like drunken-lean-back-windmill-fu, or this with closed fists and more incoherent swearing.

      And that accent clearly sets this game in ‘Englishland’, the fictional country made of nonsense stereotypes dreamed up by someone who’s never been to the UK.*

      I mean, it’s not raining at any point in that trailer!

      *Other such countries: ‘Mother Russia’, where communism still exists and the national anthem is constantly playing in the background, everywhere; and ‘Murica, the country of fat people in tank tops who hold a burger in one hand and a pistol in the other.

      1. Hector says:

        Well, its made by French Canadians so I wouldn’t rule out Revenge as a motivation for the setting.

        1. Geebs says:

          The really bizarre thing about it is that I think Clint Hocking might actually be the only South African who hasn’t ever lived in London.

    3. Hal says:

      Isn’t “milkshaking” a thing there these days?

      1. BlueHorus says:

        It was, though I’m not sure if it’ll stay that way. Someone got convicted of Common Assault (…which it was) after throwing a milkshake over a controversial politician.

        Sooooo, I’m guessing that will die a death.

      2. psychicprogrammer says:

        More of an evolution of the old pie in the face for people you don’t like.

    4. Cowl says:

      partly because the closest we really get to politically motivated violence is stabbing each other outside pubs over our preferred football team,

      A British MP was murdered just over three years ago during the EU referendum campaign, in what was definitely a politically motivated attack

  8. John says:

    I listened to a lot of E3 coverage this year (in podcast form) and now I’m left wondering why I did that to myself. It turns out that I don’t care about, oh, 95% of the games at E3. The one game I heard about that sounded like something I might plausibly end up playing is Empire of Sin, the Prohibition gangster strategy-tactics game from Romero Games. All the other stuff, the Cyberpunks, the Outer Worlds, the Watch Dogs, the Ghost Recons, the Fallen Orders, and all the rest just left me cold. (Which is a bit odd, because there was a time in my life when Outer Worlds would have really excited me, and the systems-driven nature of the new Watch Dogs should be right up my alley.) I think the lesson here is that I care about specific video games rather than video game conventions. E3 isn’t relevant to me, though information revealed at E3 about specific video games might be.

  9. Droid says:

    Gamescom has a lot more information about the games presented and is in general way more informative than E3 (which is just about the hype). I usually only check the press coverage about GC instead of the event itself, so I don’t even know whether the booths etc. are German or English, though I would assume that at least most announcements are not going to be German-only.

  10. Crokus Younghand says:

    Publishers might not be showing the gameplay to make sure that no comparison videos get uploaded to youtube after the release of the game, comparing trailer gameplay with actual gameplay. Instead of learning to be honest and stop lying by deception, they have learnt to lie by omission. Progress?

    1. Thomas says:

      This is my guess. There were a bunch of backstage gameplay demos to the press and YouTubers, so I think they just want to keep it off record so they can’t get caught out for touching them up. Kotaku mentioned at least one backstage demo looked touched up.

      They also did a bunch of twitch streams. In that case, Twitch is probably just more of an interesting platform for that kind of thing.

    2. Ninety-Three says:

      Or maybe they think that games journalists are more favourably disposed to their games than the public at large, so they’d rather show demos to journalists who tell the public “It’s great!” than to the public who say “That Fallen Order demo was alright I guess.”

      1. John says:

        Maybe. But I think that games journalists are more likely to be critical than the general public not less, as long as we mean “people who play video games” when we say general public and not “gamers”. (By “gamers” we of course mean “people who obsess over puddles”.) Your average games journalist has seen, oh, about a million modern military shooters by this point and is going to be a lot more jaded and a lot less impressed with a new one, no matter how pretty it is, than some guy who just likes to play Battlefield in his spare time.

        1. Thomas says:

          You do get to pick and choose though. Perhaps Jim Sterling gets less backstage invites.

          The other thing is journalists are more likely to understand demos aren’t the finished product. If your game crashes at a private screening you can remind them you’re a year away from release. If it crashes at a press conference you get to do the tour of ‘worst of E3’ videos.

          Then again, we’ve speculated all these reasons, but Shamus pointed out the only games with any hype showed gameplay footage. They’re avoiding failure at the cost, but they’re not gaining anything either.

          Then again, again the Star Wars game showed gameplay footage and only damaged its brand with it.

          Honestly, the fact they used edited gameplay footage for Watch dogs was probably the smartest bit of all. Ubisoft seem willing to experiment with their trailers and it paid off here. If Star Wars had done similar they could have focused on only showing the ‘best’ bits – and then done the actual full gameplay demo behind screens.

  11. Crokus Younghand says:

    Regarding Watch_Dogs, it was the first time I was truly hyped for a game and felt despair after its release. It was right after the Snowden Revelations, and as someone in their last teen years and someone who grew up with Internet and social media, that had made a huge impact on me. And all around me, everyone seemed to be completely ambivalent to this issue.

    Suddenly, I hear that a massive publisher is going to make a game tackling the problems of mass surveillance and surveillance state, and I put my hopes on it being the cultural phenomena that finally gets people talking about it. I don’t think I need to detail what happened to those expectations once the game actually got released. Let’s just say that I have never ever gotten hyped for a game ever again.

    Though I would be lying if I said that I don’t wish I could get hyped again for games like Cyberpunk 2077. But I am almost certain it’s not going to be the Blade Runner of this generation either, just like Watch_Dogs wasn’t Full Metal Jacket.

  12. Ninety-Three says:

    I’m surprised that the hook alone was enough to make Watch Dogs your favorite (non-CD Projekt) game of E3. It’s not a bad hook by any means, but “Open world Ubi collectathon, with a hook!” seems kind of insubstantial. You don’t make any mention of gameplay except as it relates to the hook.

    I’m not accusing you of being soft on the game, rather I’m thinking “If that’s all it takes to win Shamus’ best in show, there must be a real dearth of worthwhile gameplay demos at E3.”

    1. Nessus says:

      Well, he does spend the first half of the post framing this as a case of “most exciting by default”. Everyone just else had cinematic trailers with no gameplay, or mere announcement trailers with no description of gameplay.

      So WD3 “wins” by virtue of being the only person at this Halloween party who actually wore a costume… even if that costume consisted of just a clown wig.

  13. Lino says:

    This may be a bit off-topic, but once in a blue moon, Yotube’s algorithm happens to suggest a decent video. That’s how I stumbled upon this masterpiece – a song that perfectly summarizes Bethesda’s business model – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPN0qhSyWy8

  14. rabs says:

    I like the E3 for the American show: crazy presenters, over enthusiastic crowd, fireworks on stage and epic cinematic trailers. Though the “we are working on a thing” teasers are a bit frustrating, that’s fine. I like having that instead of nothing.

    Usually we get more in-depth information from regular speech, interviews and hands-on. That’s what I mostly see at other games expo. Some get big announcements too, but no crazy shows.
    BTW, there is also the Paris Games Week, a bit smaller than Gamescom but over 300k people.

  15. Christopher says:

    There’s a part of the Watch Dogs Legion trailer where an old lady stealth knock-outs guards and does parkour over some rails, all set to Lair of the Mountain King.

    Watch Dogs isn’t really my thing. I like more gamey and focused stuff, and Ubisoft open world games don’t really excel at that.

    But that sequence was some 10/10 best part of E3 shit, really fantastic. Thank you, whoever’s responsible for the old ladies.

  16. EmmEnnEff says:

    > I don’t know what brought about this sudden focus on cinematic trailers.

    The reason that developers stopped showing gameplay footage at E3 is because turning a one-year-from-shipping game into a playable demo is an expensive distraction for developers, while at the same time having a large chance of backfiring on you (Because eight months later, some nerd is going to start an uprising on Reddit because you LIED about how the game looks/plays/etc in the E3 demo. Regardless of whether or not you had good reasons for making the changes that you did between June, and ship date…)

  17. Decius says:

    If WD:L fulfills the promise to make every character unique and interesting, that will redeem Ubisoft from Assassins Creed:Buggy unplayable mess.

    1. Tuck says:

      I’ve played both AC:Origins and AC:Odyssey each for over 140 hours, and only encountered a handful of crashes. Very few bugs at all, one that made it unplayable but only required a restart…so what are you talking about?

    2. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Are you talking about Unity? That was… a really long time ago. They’ve made three cricially acclaimed games in that series since, AND fixed Unity with numerous updates. It’s like you’re suddenly going after EA… for Dead Space 3, NOW.

  18. MechaCrash says:

    I think a big chunk of E3 being a little light this year is because we’re at the tail end of the console generation, and the heavy hitters are spinning up for that instead of throwing down all the super cool stuff for something that’s on its way out. The major console swan songs are going to be the things announced last year. I’m not sure how Nintendo’s going to fit in with the console generational stuff, though, since the Nintendo contemporary to the XB1 and PS4 was the Wii U, which failed, so they got the Switch out instead.

    I think next year is going to be either “Sony returns, they and Microsoft show off their new consoles and everyone shows the new stuff for them, E3 roars back to life” or “everybody copies Sony in copying Nintendo Directs, 2020 is E3’s final gasp.” There won’t be an in between.

  19. Agammamon says:

    Recruit only old people! Or only the brawling characters! Only hackers! Only bald guys!

    Imagine if the gameworld responded to those choices and you start seeing bald men getting hassled on the streets by the authorities.

  20. Agammamon says:

    Why don’t we get better coverage of Gamescom and Tokyo Game Show here in the west? Do those shows not do a lot of newsworthy announcements, or is the language barrier keeping us from hearing about them?

    I would expect its a combination of language barrier and that those games are either major international title – covered in the major western events already – or, *ahem*, ‘niche titles only Japanophiles out in the West would be interested in’.

  21. EOW says:

    i’m a bit worried about watch dogs 3.
    I doubt changing characters will be that seamless in-game, with survivors talking about the dead guy.
    Also, what happens if you run out of citizens?

    It definetely was the only ubisoft game this year that didn’t mush together with the ghost rainbow division soup of grey soldiers doing grey soldiers things, but i also know that ubisoft lies a lot in their *ahem* “gameplay” trailers.

    1. Christopher says:

      If you run out of citizens in London I think that’s on you, mate

      Edit: Ah, If you just run out of dudes on your team. That’s gotta be why the CO is a machine, yeah? So he’ll pull in some new recruit to help you out if all else fails.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Nah, just make losing your last member the ‘GAME OVER’ state. Let the player decide how and when they attempt missions, when they take time off from missions to recruit – that way, if they manage to lose ALL their resistance members, it’s their fault.

        Having a contingency/fallback in case everything goes tits-up is then part of the planning.

    2. shoeboxjeddy says:

      There are MILLIONS of people in London. The idea of “running out” is ludicrous. A player testing the limits of what can be done might kill HUNDREDS of PCs and that would take forever.

  22. Misamoto says:

    OOOOHHHH
    Can’t believe I nearly missed that Watch Dogs. With first game being mediocre and second kinda never appearing in my infospace (I was aware it existed, just never heard anything else about it), I didn’t bother to see what Legion was all about. I think it’s going to be really fun! Even if the dialog from randomly generated characters is going to be a bit repetitive, I bet, I bet the generator will throw some characters that I will absolutely LOVE.

  23. Taxi says:

    I really liked the first Watch Dogs. Honestly, when people played the game, the only real criticism from people was about the visual downgrade. Well now and then someone mentioned the protag, but other than that, nothing seemed to be worth the discussion.

    For the record, I loved the game. It was something finally fresh in the GTA formula and the devs packed the game with a lot of great stuff. And Chicago was wonderful. (I don’t disagree that Aiden wasn’t very interesting but I’ve seen way worse.)

    And while I can appreciate your personal opinion, I’m honestly rather annoyed how every hipster critic keeps shouting that the only games worth making are flashy, funky, wacky and bleedingly colorful, while anything that contains grey color should be burned down.

    I have no particular opinion on WDL but I already anticipate the hate once it comes out and everyone will bitch how the game isn’t the 2nd coming. It’s already obvious that people don’t get that the game will certainly have limits. Even Ubisoft won be able to voice thousands of protags for example. WD1 was pretty good with having an unbelievable amount of life tidbits one could spy on, but I doubt they can increase the amount of work a hundredfold.

    BTW re EA, I wonder what would happen if they lost their FIFA, NHL and Madden licences?

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I don’t think the problem, at least not the problem Shamus addresses was that the game wasn’t Saints Row wacky style. In fact I really liked a lot of the elements of gameplay, for one I was shocked how smooth and enjoyable the car sequences were.

      The issue, and this is very clearly a case of varying mileage in how much this matters to a given player, was that Aiden was a self-righteous entitled asshole who acted as if the entire world owed him and refused to ever consider the consequences of his actions and the game played it entirely straight portraying him as a vigilante hero while never taking issues such as invasion of privacy beyond “if they do it it’s bad, if we do it it’s good”. To give an example that left a particularly bad aftertaste in my mouth there are these side activities during which you hack into various webcams and get to peek inside apartments, some of them are played for laughs but we also see things like a mother abusing children, one very clear attempted suicide and possibly another one that’s happening slightly offscreen or an old man lying on the ground not moving (is he dead, did he just have a heat attack or stroke? who knows!) does Aiden, the hero vigilante intervene or at least tip the authorities anonymously? Nope, he just steals money from those people, which is justified because he’s doing God’s own work. This is made all the worse because these mini-scenes are actually well written and acted out.

      And this is actually my worry about WD:L. I’m not saying it needs to be SR hijinks, I’m also not saying it needs to be a political manifesto against corporate power or a philosophical treatise on the tradeoff between privacy and safety. I’m just very afraid that Ubisoft is going to make another game that acts like it’s sharing some deep truths while in reality it’ll give us some smug and unlikeable assholes who think they’re better than everyone because of how woke they are and how that justifies all of their actions.

      1. Taxi says:

        Well, true. I’m not denying Pierce was a dick, but, well, I didn’t mind. I certainly liked him better than any character in GTA V for example.

        When it comes to characters and overall story presentation, that’s a general issue in open world games, where you can do anything, steal cars, murder thousands of people etc., and at the same time have some sort of a reasonable story. I’ve been saying for a long time that you just can’t make that gel together well. You can either ‘solve’ it by having crazy or psychopatic characters like in SR or Trevor form GTA 5, or well, just take the genre for what it is.

        Since I generally prefer serious stories, I’ll rather take games like Mafia, GTA 4 and WD despite the dissonance than have nothing else than maniacs and psychopaths as my characters. (Not that I mind comedy, but just because it has purple dildos, it won’t make me laugh. It has to be done well.)

        Actually AFAIK (didn’t play it), WD2 supposedly went in the opposite direction and that’s why I’m not exactly interested in it. If I ever get a current gen console, I’ll just get WD1 again.

        As for the privacy invasion issues, in hindsight the way I see is like in the TV Series Continuum which deals with similar stuff. Some people complained that the show wasn’t portraying outrage over these issues. For me, it just showed them for what they are and I’m fine with that. Also spying on people was fun.

        Of course, I’m a self-absorbed prick like Aiden so there’s that.

  24. ccesarano says:

    I don’t know when Nintendo last showed up for real.

    I’m assuming you’re strictly talking press conferences here. For the past several years Nintendo has followed-up their Nintendo Direct presentation with Nintendo Treehouse, which is them physically in their massive floorspace at E3 demonstrating a variety of upcoming video games in greater detail. It’s basically why I take the week of E3 off, and I cannot say I regret it this year at all. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were filled with 20-40 minute gameplay demonstrations of all the titles they showcased and more, and the majority of what they showed I’m interested in purchasing.

    No one else does E3 coverage like they do. Everyone else is just pre-recorded footage running on a screen while the developers answer pre-approved PR questions. See: the PC Games Show this year. Which, now that I think about it, is why my eyes glazed over so much during it. Square Enix and SEGA were starting to imitate the Treehouse last year, but I don’t recall seeing them do any such streams this year. Maybe it wasn’t worth the hassle to them last year, or maybe they didn’t have enough games to showcase to fill up the time.

    Since Nintendo is mid-generation, they have plenty of titles baked and ready to go. While there’s only a handful of big Western AAA games for the rest of 2019 in preparation for next year’s holiday launch of next-gen consoles (with March 2020 being the true last hurrah), Nintendo is just releasing games as they are ready.

    Even with the closing of this generation, I’m pretty sure you can look at E3 last year and trace a progression of marketing from E3, to Paris Games Week, to Gamescom (or swap those based on which comes first), to Tokyo Games Show, where more information was given from each game over time. I guarantee you that, over the next several months, EA will be releasing more gameplay demonstrations and trailers for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order that go over all the mechanics this show didn’t, because E3 2019 was just an introduction to combat basics.

    Not that I’m necessarily defending E3. I’m… not sure what I think of it anymore. It’s basically Nintendo Week for me at this stage. But I think it’s best to look at E3 as the beginning of a tour, and it doesn’t end until TGS.

    1. Nicole says:

      To be honest, the idea that Nintendo isn’t “really” at E3 because they do Directs now has never really made sense to me.

      I totally get if you’re not into the games that Nintendo consoles have to offer. If you’re not into their first-party titles, and especially if you’re into western titles, they aren’t gonna have much for you in the way of exclusives, and a lot of the games you’d want to play portably might not be available. I get that.

      Still, it bothers me when people treat them as if they somehow “don’t count” because they didn’t do a live press conference. They showed trailers. They streamed several hours of live, commentated gameplay footage. They had games available for people to play first-hand on the show floor.

      So, what’s missing? Is, say, Bethesda’s press conference “more real” than Nintendo’s showing at E3? Yes, Nintendo Directs are “pre-recorded”… but if the bulk of a press conference is going to be trailers either way, what are we losing exactly? Someone droning on about how great video games are for five minutes? Does Nintendo really need to drag a life-sized LEGO car on-stage or bring out Keanu Reeves to get some recognition?

      I can’t help but feel like people are valuing style over substance here. What are we here for, if not information and announcements for upcoming games? If that is what we’re here for, where did Nintendo fall short of that?

      1. Nicole says:

        Maybe I got a bit soapboxy there, though. I don’t mean to imply that Shamus or anyone here thinks like that.

        It’s just… man, these E3 conferences. I just don’t have the attention span to sit through this stuff anymore, honestly. Half the time, I just don’t bother with the conferences, so that later I can go back and sift through everything on my own terms.

        Frankly, the way Nintendo does things is pretty close to ideal for me. There’s the Nintendo Direct, where they get through all the new announcements and trailers in a reasonable amount of time, so I can watch it with friends and get a good feel for the major stuff coming out. After that, there’s Treehouse Live, where they stream live gameplay with commentary, so I can get more in-depth information on the stuff I’m interested in.

        That system just works well for me. I watch the Direct live, then I check out the Treehouse stuff, usually after the fact. Directs don’t make me feel like they’re actively wasting my time (though occasionally they’ll spend like 10 minutes on Mario Tennis for some reason), and Nintendo’s trailers tend to at least have some actual gameplay footage, so I don’t feel like I’m being lied to on top of that.

        Because of that, when people treat Nintendo as a bit of a second-class citizen for not holding a live press conference, it does tend to bother me. I just don’t feel like having an actual stage or live audience really adds anything meaningful to the equation. That’s just my perspective as a consumer watching at home, though. Maybe it’s different from a journalist’s perspective.

        1. Shamus says:

          I don’t really look down on Nintendo for not showing up and holding a live show. I don’t think of Nintendo as a second-class citizen or whatever. If a live show doesn’t make financial sense for them, then I don’t blame them for skipping it.

          What I find strange is that they go to the show, but then only release videos. Going to the show is EXPENSIVE. Now, they do have a presence on the show floor where journalists can play some of the games. So going to the show isn’t pointless for them. But to those of us at home, it sort of feels like they fly their team halfway around the world just to show us a YouTube video. It’s not wrong, but it does seem odd.

          Maybe this would make more sense to me if I attended E3 personally and I got to see the Nintendo booth. But from where I sit, it seems like they travel around the world to tell us to watch the video they posted to YouTube.

          1. Nicole says:

            Right, I guess I see where you’re coming from here. The Nintendo Direct is supposed to be Nintendo’s main attraction at E3, so it feels weird that it’s just a pre-recorded video.

            My main problem with that is that they did a lot more than show a Direct at E3. I don’t just mean the Nintendo booth. After the Direct, they spent the rest of E3 streaming live, commentated gameplay footage. Not only that, they hosted three live tournaments. They got an auditorium, got a live audience, the whole shebang… it’s just that they did it for something other than a trailer reel.

            1. ccesarano says:

              Gah, I’m so behind. I’m used to not getting much response unless I said something particularly stupid, so I missed all of this.

              Maybe, Shamus, the problem is that Nintendo hasn’t effectively communicated what their Nintendo Treehouse is. They mention “stay tuned for Treehouse Live” after every E3 Direct, but if you don’t already know what it is then you might just assume it’s some other irrelevant talk-show stuff. Instead, it’s their E3 showfloor effectively brought to you. They have a YouTube playlist dedicated to their streams, so if you wanted to wait and check out the details on a specific game you could. Unfortunately, based on what you discuss playing here on the blog, I’m not certain which game or video I would choose in order to best convey to you what the experience is like without also boring you with a game that doesn’t appeal to you anymore. Hollow Knight: Silksong, maybe? Regardless, this is what I was talking about, and what I think Nicole was discussing as well. The Nintendo Direct is sort of what kicks things off, but the Nintendo Treehouse streams running Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday have completely recontextualized E3 for me.

              I know this is weeks late at this point and it may even just sound like die hard Nintendo fans doing what they do best: defending Nintendo regardless of all the facts. But the whole reason Nintendo dominates my E3 is two-fold: the first is that they are presenting the games that capture my interest and tastes best, and the second is that no one else is presenting this way. Even EA came out and presented a pre-recorded demo rather than talking about it while playing it.

              That, I think, makes a big difference. But, if you’ve still been unaware of what, precisely, Treehouse is and how Nintendo is extending their presence at E3 from the showfloor to your YouTube account, then perhaps they need to better communicate it.

              As an aside, is there some kind of setting for e-mail notifications when someone has responded to a comment? That would make it a lot easier for me to track these discussions.

  25. Zak McKracken says:

    That Watchdogs screenshot: I recognize the bridge. One of my favourite places around London.
    …unfortunately, the houses on the right are already gone and replaced by something … different:
    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5416645,-0.1456232,3a,75y,331.02h,89.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sdS_vOn-VAXlHh2DkA3IxRw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    The day I went there to find 1/3 of Camden market bulldozed … not a good day. The rest of the vicinity is also moving from edgy cultural hub to sanitized expensive upscale neighbourhood fast. Now I’m sad …

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