Winners and Losers from E3 2019 Weekend

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E3 2019 is off and running after a stellar weekend showing from EA, Xbox, and Bethesda.  With every press conference and news release, there are good parts that make us giddy with excitement and bad parts that induce the hardest of face palms.  Here are our Winners and Losers from E3 2019 Weekend.

Winners

Keanu Reeves/Cyberpunk 2077

It’s been well-documented how much pressure CD Projekt RED put on themselves to generate enough buzz for their latest game, Cyberpunk 2077.  Despite generating a ton of excitement at E3 2018, CD Projekt RED still considered E3 2019, “the most important E3 in recent memory”. Everything pointed to CD Projekt RED pulling out the big guns for the Xbox E3 Briefing.  Little did we know that what they had in store would shake the gaming community to its core.

After an already brilliant cinematic trailer, which say V getting into some gnarly altercations, a mysterious figure stood before V to compel him to his feet.  When that man was revealed to be Keanu Reeves, there was a shared gasped from millions around the world. KEANU F’ING REEVES IS IN CYBERPUNK 2077. It only got better when the excited John Wick star walked on stage to reveal even more content.  

Reeves is an incredible actor and one of the most universally beloved people of our generation.  By adding him to Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED united gamers and non-gamers to all agree that Cyberpunk 2077 is the must-play game of 2020.  Coincidentally, the reveal also broke the internet, with fans pleading for Reeves to join their favorite game. Definitely one of the best moments in E3 history and a massive win for everyone.

Bethesda

The E3 2019 weekend presentations were overall good this year.  EA Play 2019 showed us excellent content from Jedi: Fallen Order, Apex Legends, The Sims 4, and their myriad of sports titles.  Although, the live presentation of more talking, less showing left a lot to be desired. Xbox E3 Briefing showed 60 incredible games and left us with some E3 memories (see: KEANU F’ING REEVES), but missed the mark with the main event.  The only presentation that was fantastic from top to bottom came from Bethesda.

For Bethesda, E3 2019 was all about redemption and making good on sins of the past.  Throughout the presentation, Bethesda openly discussed the blunders of Fallout 76 and even aired confessionals of fans giving their two cents on what would make Bethesda’s catalog better.  The best part, they made good on everything.

Starting with the infamous Fallout 76, Bethesda Game Studios announced two new expansions coming to their Fallout MMO later this year, Wastelanders and Nuclear Winter.  Wastelanders was a full-on apology from Bethesda, as it finally brings Human NPCs, NPC-focused questlines, and decision-based conversations that will alter relationships to the game.  That was one of the biggest criticisms and they definitely showed that they were listening. On the flip side, Nuclear Winter is Bethesda’s answer to the Battle Royale genre, as it pits 52 players against each other, Fallout monsters, and Nukes in an all-out brawl until there is only 1 player left.  That player becomes the one true Overseer. It wasn’t something Bethesda fans were asking for, but damn did it look awesome.

The rest of the conference gave us epic previews of DOOM Eternal, Wolfenstein Youngblood, Commander Keen, the latest game from Arkane Lyon, Deathloop, and the most incredible cinematic trailer I’ve ever seen, with The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr.  They also gave us a first-look at the game-changing streaming device Orion. Even if you weren’t a huge fan of most of these games, there’s no denying you weren’t, at least, entertained. Bethesda was definitely the winner of the E3 2019 weekend, in my book, but the best part wasn’t from the games mentioned above.  It came from…

courtesy of 1MoreGame

Ikumi Nakamura/Ghostwire Tokyo

If you didn’t know who Ikumi Nakamura was before the Bethesda E3 presentation, it’s highly likely you know who she is now.  The Concept Artist for Okami, Bayonetta, and The Evil Within series took to the stage to introduce Tango Gameworks’ new game, Ghostwire Tokyo.  Little did we know that she would ultimately steal the arts of the entire gaming community.

The Japanese artist walked on stage, admitted that she would do her best to speak English, and then proceeded to do the most delightful gestures, as she talked about the terrifying horror game, Ghostwire Tokyo.  If that wasn’t enough, she ended her presentation by doing the most adorable celebration dance.

The gaming community instantly became enamored with Nakamura, as fan art & memes depicted her as a Worldwide Treasure.  In one 5-minute presentation Ikumi Nakamura stole an entire presentation, and perhaps even the entire expo.

Oh, and Ghostwire Tokyo looked badass.

Star Wars Fans

It’s hard to imagine that any E3 has been more important to Electronic Arts than this year’s.  After some rough game releases, severely lacking press conferences, and communal criticism, EA needed a win.  Thankfully, it came from their hottest studio, Respawn, and their next premiere Star Wars game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

Excitement had already been built up for this game with its Star Wars Celebration debut.  That reveal gave us our first look at Jedi: Fallen Order, via cinematic trailer. All EA needed to do was show gameplay to really drive the hype home.  They definitely delivered.

In the gameplay trailer, we saw brilliant lightsaber combat, wicked force powers (reminiscent of Kylo Ren), and the inclusion of Forrest Whitaker as Saw Guerrera.  This is the game every Star Wars fan has yearned for since EA claimed the exclusive rights. Double dipping with more content in the Xbox E3 Briefing was a neat treat too.

Xbox/SEGA

It can’t be stated enough how solid Xbox’s showing was at E3 2019.  They presented 60 games (SIXTY) and gave the fans in attendance and around the world a show to get excited about.  Of those 60 titles, there was really only one game that was a major coup, Phantasy Star Online 2.

After spending 7 years locked away in Japan, Xbox managed to convince SEGA to bring their illustrious MMO to the U.S. in the Spring of 2020.  

Previous games in the Phantasy series have never been able to find much success in the West, but after a successful run of 7 years with PSO2, Xbox was determined to be the console to give it another shot.  The best part about this news is that PSO2 will be completely free, as well. It’s a monumental announcement from top-to-bottom and major win for Xbox, and hopefully SEGA in the long run.

Bandai Namco

Oh boy, Bandai Namco did not have a smooth road to E3 2019.  Just days before the Xbox E3 Briefing, they suffered a massive leak that revealed their entire games lineup, including FromSoftware’s Elden Ring, a title made in collaboration with George R. R. Martin

Despite that inconvenience, no leaks could’ve prepared ourselves for their excellent showings.  First, they showed off Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, a DBZ anthology game, where you play through Goku’s greatest hits.  Then, they gave us Tales of Arise, a fascinating JRPG title that continues the Tales Of series. Finally, they ended it off with the aforementioned Elden Ring.  I couldn’t tell you what this game is about if I tried, but the epic music mixed with grimey-wartorn images gave me all the indication in the world that what Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R. R. Martin had created is going to be something special.

It may not have started out smooth, but the end result were three games fans are no doubt excited for.  I call that a win.

Square Enix/Final Fantasy VII Remake

Square Enix has done it again.  On the Sunday before E3 2018, Square Enix hosted a concert to celebrate the incredible music of Kingdom Hearts III.  Toward the end of the concert, when the orchestra was putting the finishing touches on their gorgeous rendition of the iconic score, the long-awaited release date for Kingdom Hearts III was revealed.

In similar fashion, Square Enix once again hosted a concert on the Sunday before E3 2019, this time for the music of Final Fantasy VII.  At the end of the concert, long after the Bethesda conference had ended and gamers were about lay in bed to dream sweet dreams of Master Chief and slaughtering demons, a trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake premiered, including a release date.  Thus, causing an adrenaline rush for every gamer, making sleep near impossible.

This reveal is amazing for 3 reasons.  First, it adds another element into going to a concert for a Square Enix IP.  The music will no doubt be amazing, but if you can be there to witness a monumental announcement like this, it makes it even better.  Second, Square Enix outshined the competition a day before they host their own press conference. While Bethesda’s conference was great, at the end of the night, Final Fantasy VII Remake’s release date was the top item trending.  Last, it’s incredible to think that just a few months after admitting that all of their gameplay was unusable, the developers have done a 180 and will release this remake next March. Major props go out to every member of that team for getting this done.  What a win!

Losers

Anthem

EA Play 2019 delivered a ton of fantastic content for gamers to get behind in the coming year, but there were two games that were suspiciously left out, both from BioWare.  The last two years, Electronic Arts has spent a lot of time trying to convince that Anthem would be worth our time and money. However, when it finally released, it was a shell of what was promised.  Then came the reports of all the internal turmoil within BioWare to release a game they all knew was flawed and incomplete.

EA Play 2019 would’ve been the perfect moment to show solidarity behind BioWare and reveal new content to bring gamers back to Anthem.  Instead, they decided to ignore the title altogether. Anthem did have a booth inside EA Play 2019, but it was nothing more than a place for players to demo the game.  

BioWare has come out recently to announce new updates and content that are coming to Anthem in the coming months, but by ignoring it from the lineup, Electronic Arts all but put the nail in the coffin of a severely flawed, disappointing game.

Dragon Age 4

I suggested previously that there two BioWare titles that EA neglected to show at EA Play 2019.  One was Anthem, the other was Dragon Age 4. While it’s not a massive disappointment that Electronic Arts didn’t give us any update on this game, it would’ve been a good time to have someone from BioWare come out to at least talk about it.

There was enough excitement behind it after its reveal at The Game Awards 2018.  I’m not saying that we needed a trailer of some sort, but showing off concept art or even a direction of this title would’ve pushed Electronic Arts closer to the top of the E3 showcases.  I mean, that’s exactly what they did with Apex Legends Season 2, and we were all better for it. If they are indeed changing their development practices to allow studios to breath and develop games then that’s a major win, but if not then it was a missed opportunity.

AJ Styles, Xavier Woods, and Tyler Breeze

This one is just because I’m a big wrestling fan.  During the Xbox E3 Briefing, Xbox showed off about 3 trailers for Gears 5 (I am including the Funko one).  One of the trailers, included, was for their new multiplayer mode, Escape. At the end of the premiere, Xbox developers took us backstage to reveal that The Phenomenal AJ Styles, The Leader of Up Up Down Down and One-third of the greatest tag team of all time (The New Day) Xavier Woods, and Prince Pretty Tyler Breeze were hanging out in the back ready to play Escape.

How are you going to have these premiere talents just sit back and do nothing?!  These are some of professional wrestling’s best Promo Cutters and you’re just going to have them in a dark room, under the stage?  Bad move.

Fable 4 Rumors

Leading up to E3 2019, there were plenty of rumors and expectations about games we’d see.  One of the more popular ones was Fable 4. It became so popular, in fact, that it was almost an absolute certainty from fans that highly-missed title would debut at the Xbox E3 Briefing.  Unfortunately, 60 games came and went and Fable 4 wasn’t among them.

In Microsoft’s defense, it’s hard to do a sequel to an iconic title like Fable when the original studio, Lionhead, is no longer around.  There’s no doubt that one of their many Xbox Game Studios partners could develop Fable 4, at a later date, but it doesn’t seem likely for the immediate future.  Maybe next year…or the year after that. Stay strong Fable fans.

Project Scarlett Reveal

I really didn’t have a lot of issues with any of the E3 2019 weekend press conference.  They were all solid, really. Were they able to achieve Sony greatness? No, but that’s a tall task to ask someone to do.  Through it all, there was really one thing that irked me more than anything and that was Project Scarlett.

At the end of the Xbox E3 Briefing, Phil Spencer took the stage to reveal a developer confessional video of people who are working on the next-gen Xbox.  Once that was finished, Spencer announced that the console would dubbed Project Scarlett and that it would release Holiday 2020. He added that Halo: Infinite would be a launch title with the new system.

The problems I have with this announcement are that Xbox literally said and showed nothing.  It was the same spiel they gave us two years ago when they introduced the Xbox One X. “It’s going to be most powerful system ever.”  “It’s amazing what this thing can do.” “It’ll knock your socks off”. Blah blah blah. Developer confessionals do nothing for the average consumer. They’re biased because they’re making it, so of course it’s going to be the next big thing.  (Sweet beard, though) I’m a bigger proponent in seeing is believing. I believe in the PS5 because I’ve seen what’s capable of in videos and reports.  Why should we get excited for a new Xbox when we have nothing to show for it.

Furthermore, why announce a code name for it this year?  Last year, you told us this console was being developed.  Why not give us the code name Project Scarlett at E3 2018 and this year announce the actual name of the console?  It would’ve been a much better marketing strategy and it would’ve given fans something to cling to more than the empty words that were spoken in that finale.  

I have no doubt that the next Xbox will be amazing, but Xbox needs to do a better job with its console reveals.  If they weren’t going to tell us more than a name and a release date, it would’ve been better to just not say anything at all.  Sony hasn’t officially said anything about the PS5 and they’re neither better or worse for it. Sometimes, less is more.

E3 2019 continues with Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Nintendo press conferences.  Stay tuned to our reactions to these presentations and all news from E3 2019!