E3 2018

Everything you need to know about E3 2018 in a nutshell


Normally I’d wax poetic about E3 2018 in an article like this. Either that or I’d reference the time when I got hyped every week as an excuse to share news. But folks, we got an important issue to address.

Battletoads!? As in one of the ten games I said needed a remake? Looks like I’m finally making my mark in the industry! Ooh, what’s that, Metal Wolf Chaos is getting a remake and English localization, just like I asked in my article about Japan only games that should have come west? This is just like Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, which was also confirmed coming west after I wrote that article.

I don’t care if my requests were only 15% answered. I don’t care if none of this is how the industry works. I don’t care if I’m just echoing fan requests that people have spent years begging for. I’m using this as evidence that I am, indeed, the true winner of E3 2018 on behalf of gamers everywhere.

Anyway, let’s talk about all the big E3 2018 announcements, complete with my personal assessment of each conference.

NOTE: An A+ conference in my mind should contain a diverse array of game showcases that can get most fans excited, trailers that convey how a game plays over how a game looks, and a couple of surprises that has at least one person on Twitch jumping out of their chair screaming. I don’t dock points for a boring conference, but I do award bonus points for fun conferences. This becomes important in one particular case.



EA


Command and Conquer Rivals

  • Battlefield V will include a new Battle Royale mode, clearly riding the coattails of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground and Fornite.
  • EA announced Origin Access Premier, an extension of their existing Origin Access subscription service. A new streaming service was also teased.
  • Respawn is developing a new Star Wars action adventure game called Jedi: Fallen Order. Few details were given.
  • Star Wars Battlefront 2 will get Clone Wars DLC.
  • Unravel Two is announced and released at the same time!
  • Mysterious indie title Sea of Solitude is given a new trailer, coming early 2019.
  • Command and Conquer returns with Command and Conquer Rivals… a free-to-play mobile game.
  • Madden is coming to PC for the first time.
  • Bioware’s Anthem is coming February 2019. Will feature cosmetic DLC but no lootboxes.

Verdict: As I’ve said before, it isn’t exactly brave to bash EA these days, so I’ll try to keep a level head. Gamers generally found the conference underwhelming, but most of it didn’t warrant outrage either.

Indie titles Unravel Two and Sea of Solitude are definite highlights, which is funny since they’re the least “EA” titles shown. Anthem remains no more or less exciting than it was before. Cosmetic DLC is billed as a feature compared to lootboxes, but really any micro transactions in $60 games aren’t cause for celebration. Meanwhile, Command and Conquer: Rivals is absolutely ridiculous. Even if it turns out to be a good game, no gamer wants to see their favorite franchise revived as a free-to-play mobile game.

At worst, it was a boring conference. At best, it was a mostly predictable showcase with a couple surprises but generally inoffensive content. Except Command and Conquer: Rivals. Way to remind us that you killed Westwood.

Rating: D+



Microsoft (Xbox)


Halo Infinite Master Chief

  • Halo: Infinite is teased, few details are given.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is announced, the newest game from Dark Souls creators From Software.
  • Footage of Fallout 76 is shown off, said to be 4 times bigger than Fallout 4.
  • The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is revealed, a spinoff of Life is Strange.
  • Crackdown 3 is revealed.
  • Metro: Exodus will be released in February.
  • NieR: Automata is coming to Xbox One with all DLC included, includes Xbox One X enhancements.
  • Sea of Thieves is receiving two content updates, Cursed Sails and The Forsaken Souls.
  • Microsoft has acquired 5 indie studios, notably Compulsion Games (We Happy Few) and Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice).
  • Frozen is confirmed in Kingdom Hearts 3.
  • Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is coming this winter.
  • Forza Horizon 4 is announced.
  • The Division 2 is revealed.
  • Devil May Cry 5 is finally happening!
  • Crazy anime crossover fighting game Jump Force is revealed, features characters from Naruto, One Piece, Dragon Ball, and even Death Note!
  • Cuphead is getting DLC, titled Delicious Last Course (get it?)
  • As if directly answering our video game remakes that need to happen, Battletoads is coming back! Maybe it’s not a remake, but it’s a new game called Battletoads, so I’m saying it counts.
  • Dying Light 2 is announced.
  • Just Cause 4 is revealed.
  • Tons of Gears of War material:
    • Gears of War 5 is coming in 2019
    • Gears Tactics is shown, a strategy game in the Gears universe
    • Gears Pop! is a mobile game based on the Gears of War Funko Pop! figures. This is for real.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 is shown, the newest game from Witcher 3 developers CD Projekt RED

Verdict: Microsoft was all over the place at this year’s E3 – in a good way.

There was a huge variety of games shown here, including Japanese games that aren’t normally showcased for Xbox. Sure, all the Xbox staples were there with plenty of hype behind them, like Halo, Gears of War, and Forza. But the wide mix of console exclusives and multi-platform reveals helped sell the Xbox as a machine with something for everyone.

Non-Xbox gamers watching the conference might have been disappointed to learn about the five indie studios purchased by Microsoft. Though console exclusivity always makes me sad, I’ll be happy if these teams are given the resources to thrive and make spectacular games. Either way, Microsoft’s conference had a ton of energy and was well worth watching.

Rating: A-



Bethesda


Fallout 76 Multiplayer

  • Online card battler The Elder Scrolls: Legends is coming to all major consoles.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Online is getting two new expansions.
  • Doom Eternal is announced.
  • Wolfenstein: Young Blood is announced.
  • Fallout 76 is finally detailed.
    • It’s an online Fallout game with PvP elements that can be played cooperatively.
    • People who pre-order the game can beta test it before release.
    • The “Power Armor Edition” of the game comes with a slew of collectibles., This includes a glow-in-the-dark map and a wearable power armor helmet.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Blade is announced for moblie devices.
    • It’s a free-to-play Elder Scrolls game is set to launch during Fall 2018.
    • It’s planned to come to PCs and consoles at a later date.
    • No word on how the game will be monetized (there was clearly a premium currency in the footage shown).
  • Starfield is announced, but few details are given. It’s a new IP, so who knows what to expect here (Elder Scrolls in space, maybe?)
  • The Elder Scrolls VI is finally teased. However, this one is a long, long ways away.

Verdict: Credit where credit’s due, Bethesda had a really fun E3 conference this year.

It wasn’t without its faults, of course. A lot of games were given bare-minimum teasers with no gameplay footage, and most of the presentation focused on Fallout 76. Still, Bethesda had a lot of stuff to talk about, and they perfectly balanced the showcase for stuff like the free-to-play Elder Scrolls Blades by also teasing big projects like Elder Scrolls VI. Most gamers were able to leave the conference with at least something to get excited about.

Some complained that the initial presenters were awkward, personally I thought it was just awkward enough to still be charming. Also, the fact that Bethesda showed some stunning self-awareness about their milking of Skyrim was just a cherry on top. The Skyrim: Very Special Edition trailer is a total gem that everyone should watch.

Rating: B



Devolver Digital


Metal Wolf Chaos XD

  • Survival game SCUM is shown off.
  • 2D sidescrolling shooter My Friend Pedro gets a trailer.
  • Metal Wolf Chaos is getting a remake and is coming west. I know I asked for this, but I still can’t believe it’s real.
  • The highly collectible Lootboxcoin is shown off.
  • This conference wasn’t really about the video games.

Verdict: Devolver Digital at E3 isn’t just a conference, it’s an art. I could listen to Nina Struthers shout unethical business ideas at me for hours.

Seriously, if you want to see a total fever dream parody of cynical business practices, watch Devolver Digital’s very not-safe-for-work E3 2018 conference. Make sure to watch the 2017 conference first though, because apparently E3 is now a bizarre alternate reality drama with ongoing character arcs.

Rating: A



Square Enix


Final Fantasy XIV Monster Hunter World Event

  • Detailed footage of Shadow of the Tomb Raider is shown.
  • Final Fantasy XIV is getting a Monster Hunter World crossover event.
  • Babylon’s Fall, a new game by Platinum Games, is teased.
  • Beat-em-up (?) game The Quiet Man is teased.
  • Almost everything else was revealed in other conferences.

Verdict: Why did this conference even exist.

The few teasers that were actually new here could have easily been in any other conference. In fact, by failing to show any big new reveal, Square might have actually deflated the hype for their games by association.

What’s infuriating is that Square Enix has a ton of games that we’re dying to see more info about. Where’s that big Avengers project that was teased? What’s the update on The World Ends With You: Final Remix? Heck, even just a clip of new Final Fantasy XV DLC would have been nice. Instead we get a paltry couple of announcements with a few new trailers for games we already know exist.

When Devolver Digital’s press conference is a total joke and still has more exciting reveals than you, that’s when you know you messed up.

Rating: D



Ubisoft


Starlink Star Fox

  • OG protagonist Jade returns in Beyond Good and Evil 2.
  • The Division 2 will get free DLC.
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle DLC Donkey Kong Adventure gets its own trailer.
  • Swashbuckling open ended battlefield Skull and Bones is arriving in 2019.
  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is coming October 5th.
  • Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a new toys-to-life game with customizable toys. That said, the toys aren’t necessary to play the game.
    • Star Fox will guest star in Starlink.
  • VR mystery game Transference is coming this fall.

Verdict: I’m probably a bit bias here, since I’m not that into Ubisoft’s catalogue apart from Rayman. That said, there was some decent stuff to chew on here.

The reveal of og protagonist Jade in Beyond Good and Evil 2 was probably the biggest fanservice moment. It would have been nice to see some gameplay, but a solid way to break the audience in to this particular string of trailers. Lots of predictable updates and sequels to major franchises, though Starfox’s presence in Starlink was a huge surprise. I’m a bit wary of another toys-to-life franchise hitting the market, but the collector in me is intrigued all the same.

Even if nothing really got me hyped, I can’t say there wasn’t a good variety of titles and details shown. At the very least, Ubisoft’s conference was miles ahead of EA and Square Enix this year.

Rating: C+



Sony (Playstation)


The Last of Us Part 2

  • The Last of Us: Part II is given an extended story and gameplay trailer.
  • Ghost of Tsushima gets the same treatment.
  • God of War will have New Game Plus in an eventual update.
  • Alan Wake developer Remedy reveal their newest title: Control.
  • A limited edition Kingdom Hearts 3 PS4 is coming, will come with Kingdom Hearts 3 and all the previous game compilations released on the PS4.
  • Nioh 2 is revealed, just in time to fill the void left by no new Dark Souls.
  • Resident Evil 2 Remake is coming January 25th and looks scary as heck.
  • Justin Roiland brings his Rick and Morty sense of humor to upcoming VR title Trover Saves the Universe.
  • Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is given a long trailer, no one actually knows what the heck it is exactly.
  • PS4 exclusive Spider-Man is shown off, looks like a mix of the PS2 Spider-Man 2 and Arkham City.
  • Dark Souls studio From Software is working on a VR title called Deracine, looks delightfully weird and like nothing else they’ve ever done.

Verdict: Microsoft’s conference was all about getting you all excited for video games. Sony’s conference was all about making you want to buy a PS4 to play Sony’s exclusives.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Lots of gorgeous games and new IPs were shown, which is a welcome break from the usual E3 fair of sequels and reboots. The extended trailers, while not showing “real” gameplay, at least helped get across the types of experiences you’d get with Sony’s exclusive games. Having said that, I’m not sure what I’d say Sony’s “trump card” was this year. The biggest hype generators were probably The Last of Us: Part II and Ghost of Tsushima, but I wasn’t convinced that the games would actually play the way they were shown. That said, if The Last of Us: Part II does indeed have the level of dynamic character interactions shown during the trailer, I’ll be seriously impressed.

While Sony’s approach to E3 makes more business sense, Microsoft’s conference was more exciting. If you weren’t already sold on Sony’s upcoming catalogue, I don’t know if you’d be sold on anything here. Still, for anyone who wasn’t expecting any specific mind blowing reveals, Sony had a pretty good conference with some great looking games.

Verdict: B-



Nintendo


Super Smash Bros Ultimate Ridley

  • Mech action game Daemon X Machina is revealed.
  • Xenoblade 2 DLC Torna: The Golden Country is announced.
    • Torna is a prequel to the core game and will actually be available to buy as a standalone game.
  • Super Mario Party is announced, brings the series closer to its roots.
  • The Poke Ball Plus accessory for Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee will have a Mew inside it upon purchase.
  • Fortnite is available now on Switch.
  • So is Hollow Knight!
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses is finally shown off. Will be coming Spring 2019
  • Most of the conference shifts into the formal reveal of Super Smash Bros Ultimate
    • Every single previous Smash Bros character is playable
    • Many classic stages and 3DS exclusive stages are also returning.
    • Princess Daisy is announced as a fighter, will act as Peach’s “Echo Fighter” (IE: A glorified clone character)
    • New mechanics are explained in depth.
    • After years of fan requests, space dragon Ridley from Metroid is joining the Smash Bros. roster.

Verdict: If you like Smash Bros., Nintendo had a pretty exciting showing. If you’re not into Smash Bros., there wasn’t a ton of material here for you.

What was shown was quite good. Fire Emblem revealed just enough to keep fans happy, and imminent arrivals of both Fortnite and a new Octopath Traveler demo give Switch owners new reasons to fire up their consoles. That said, there wasn’t much in the way of big surprises. Sure, there was a new Mario Party, and Daemon X Machina is intriguing. Still, I think a tease for something like Animal Crossing or an update on Bayonetta 3 or Metroid Prime 4 would have gone a long way.

Still, I thought what was shown was good. Each trailer gave a solid idea of how each game plays, which I appreciate. Though the Smash Bros presentation went pretty deep into the banal minutia of tweaked game mechanics, I think it gets away with it since those are details fans want to know. If a cursory glance as Youtube reaction videos are any indication, all the Smash news was more than enough to get plenty of Nintendo fans excited.

Rating: B+



Overall


Frozen Kingdom Hearts

My initial reaction to E3 2018 was positive, albeit a bit muted. However, after watching extended footage of the game shown and reflecting on the week, I honestly have to say that E3 2018 was pretty great.

Even if we didn’t get all the games we were hoping for (like Borderlands 3), we still saw a lot of games and got to see them in action. If I had to break it all down, I think it’d go something like this:

  • Depending on your fandom, Nintendo and Microsoft are in close contention for “winning” E3 2018. Microsoft had a ton of reveals, but Nintendo’s Smash reveals were the most “hype” for fans.
  • Bethesda was the underdog champion of E3 2018. They had a lot of reveals, a lot of cool stuff to talk about, and we even got confirmation of Elder Scrolls VI. More teasers than I hoped for, but for a third party they did great.
  • I personally wasn’t as hyped on Sony’s conference, but anyone who loves Sony exclusives saw a lot of great stuff here. The Last of Us: Part 2 definitely veers into “crazy hype” territory.
  • Ubisoft did perfectly fine and that’s a compliment!
  • Devolver Digital was hilarious and my personal favorite, but it’s not totally fair to compare them to the other attendees.
  • Lots of people are arguing whether EA or Square Enix “lost” the conference. EA may have had an awkward show, but unlike Square Enix, I at least felt they had a reason to be there. Either way, barely beating last is hardly a compliment, so these were the only two real disappointments.

It’s tempting to hold E3 2015 as the “best” E3 ever. After all, how can you beat reveals for Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Shenmue 3? But 3 years later, we haven’t seen either of these games hit stores, and Final Fantasy 7 Remake might not actually exist right now. As much as I would have liked a couple more teasers here and there, I love that we know these games are actually coming soon. Nintendo specifically noted that they only showed games that would release in the next 9 months, which means their relatively brief showing is going to feel pretty substantial by the end of the year.

Maybe there were a couple let downs depending on what you hoped for. But overall, did E3 2018 get us excited to play new video games? I’d say yes.

Share:
Written by TimM
Tim is a video game aficionado who is fascinated by pop culture. He built his first collection in 1999 by catching all 151 monsters in Pokemon Red, and he hasn't stopped collecting since. His work has been featured multiple times on Destructoid.com.