Compared to previous E3 events, E3 2017 was relatively tame; there were no overt jabs between Microsoft and Sony regarding their latest consoles (there were some more subtle ones though, i.e. Shawn Layden’s “True exclusive”), there were no fake announcements of an invasion by a rogue country, there weren’t even any particularly groan-inducing Ubisoft gameplay trailers. All in all, E3 2017 was a fairly laid back event where everyone could just sit back, watch every single conference, and be pleasantly surprised at all the new games that are scheduled to come out within the next year or two, without having to deal with corporate loyalty “drama.” Of course, that won’t stop the Internet from having endless debates about which companies were the winners and losers of E3, so it might do some good to take a look at some of the more interesting and or best conferences of E3 2017.
From an objective standpoint, Microsoft did very well for itself this year, debuting a new console and over 40 different games; there truly was something for everyone. The relatively high-end console doesn’t appeal to you? Chances are that with such a wide variety of new games being shown off, you’ll probably find at least one or two titles that pique your interest. Don’t care for the likes of Anthem, Metro Exodus, or Ori and the Will of the Wisps? That’s fine, because your Xbox One will soon be able to appeal to your nostalgia with games that were on the original Xbox. Don’t even like consoles? Well, some of these games are coming to PC, or more importantly to Microsoft—Windows 10. Microsoft’s presentation style wasn’t shabby either, mercifully doing away with the useless fluff and awkward montages that perforated almost every other conference and diving straight into the things that we all watch E3 for. And while almost every E3 conference had some kind of strange song and dance routine, at least Microsoft had the sense to simply unveil a Porsche 911 GT2 RS (in other words, a really fancy sports car), instead of say, hiring a dance troupe.
Not to be outdone, Sony also had a very clean conference, wasting little time as they unveiled one game after another. Their Days Gone gameplay debut had some rather weird moments, but it was clear that Sony’s goal was to aim for quality rather than quantity, displaying some rather lengthy demos and trailers to compensate for the comparatively low number of games that were shown off at the presentation. Detroit: Become Human, for example, had a trailer that was over five minutes long, but it did get people talking with its interesting take on the intersection of sentience, artificial intelligence, and human/android rights. Unfortunately, whoever was managing the PlayStation conference decided that it would be a good idea to relegate a number of their game trailers, including Undertale and Gran Turismo Sport’s trailers, to the pre-show; while the pre-show is still technically part of the conference, such a decision was bound to cause some people to miss a number of announcements and debuts.
All the games that Microsoft and Sony rolled out onto the stage apparently meant nothing to Nintendo though; unfazed by their competitors’ substantial stage time and presumably high budgets, Nintendo had a relatively short conference that all but stole E3 (or rather, the adoration of the Internet) with its high-profile announcements. Between Metroid Prime 4 and Super Mario Odyssey, it was clear that Nintendo was not holding anything back this year, proving that fancy graphics and complex storylines can’t hold a candle to the combined powers of nostalgia and relatively simple, but good, gameplay.
Ubisoft does deserve an honorable mention here for having a substantially better E3 presentation this year when compared to years prior, but this doesn’t mean much when their previous conferences often revolved around showing off a tactical shooter with super-real and super-serious gameplay dialogue. To their credit, Ubisoft did have a strong presentation intro with Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, complete with an appearance by Shigeru Miyamoto. At times, the Ubisoft conference did wander into more mundane territory (i.e. Steep DLC announcement), but the overall conference was solid thanks to the fascinating trailers of Far Cry 5 and Skull & Bones. Perhaps most importantly, Ubisoft ended their conference on a high note by showing a trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2. That being said, only time will tell if Ubisoft can put their money where their mouth is by actually delivering good gameplay on the games that they debuted, but at least they managed to surprise people by being able to pull off a better-received conference than Bethesda’s.
Overall though, 2017 proved to be a decently good year for E3 conferences, and one can only hope that all the games that were shown off this year will live up to the excitement that they generated at their debuts.
If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2017 Coverage Hub.