Over the past two years E3 has come and gone with some big announcements, still, it never shook gaming to its core. In 2018 everyone had predicted an E3 of battle royale clones. No one thought we would see story driven games take center stage, but we got it wrong. Companies are betting on games fueled with narrative titles like The Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima, and Cyberpunk 2077. The best news of all from my standpoint, the major announcement from E3, is an MMO set in Fallout's universe from Bethesda Game Studios.
EA and Its Anthem Problem
EA took a huge hit this year with the loot box sales in Battlefront 2. The game suffered from a terrible economy aimed at players to spend a lot more than expected. This year they have fired back and are going big on Anthem, which comes out in 2019. We saw the opening trailers last year and everyone called it a Destiny clone. Now it looks more like, Destiny met Monster Hunter and well, they had a mech suit together. The big question here is will their marketing push be enough for Anthem? After the failures of Mass Effect out of Bioware, can this title reclaim EA’s investment in non-sports games? We don’t think it will perform as well as EA might expect. They have some insane competition.
Ubisoft, Assassins, and Starfox
UbiSoft does well at E3, but they have had some misses in the last few years. For Honor did not do as well as expected, but to their credit, they continue to make the game better. This year though their press conference was stepped up a ton. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was another chapter taking place in Ancient Greece, it wins over fans, but the game that got all the cheers at the press conference was Starlink: A Battle for Atlas. Fans erupted when they saw that UbiSoft had teamed with Nintendo to bring the characters to a new game. Not to mention the addition of The Division 2, and UbiSoft had a very strong showing.
The Bethesda Bomb – An MMO
In the past few years if you said, in 2018, an MMO would be huge at E3, I might argue the point. However, Fallout 76 has given us back the MMO in a new form. Take whatever numbers you want to throw together, argue over how many need to be on a server, but the fact is Fallout is putting people online together in a persistent world for the first time. As Bethesda continues to capitalize on the huge success of Elder Scrolls Online, they have learned that online games make money, and continue making money for years to come. ESO expansion packs are doing fantastic among their fans as the series is now over 11 million players strong.
Now, we will have a Fallout to join and follow for years to come. But Bethesda did not stop there. They announced a mobile version of Elder Scrolls which will have us all fired from work. They also teased Elder Scrolls Six and their new sci-fi title Starfield. It looks like they are finally taking to the space opera after so many years of fantasy and post-apocalyptic fun. Bethesda’s press conference this year was a declaration of war on the games industry to keep building narrative games. They have thrown so many top announcements out, we wonder if anyone will be able to catch up.
Sony's Brutal Story-driven Feast
The industry did not end with Bethesda though. There were a lot of titles that turned people’s heads. The Last of Us Part 2 made huge waves at Sony’s press conference along with Ghost of Tsushima, a game about a samurai. And come on, doesn't Spider-man look absolutely stunning? Not to mention CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077. Which I lovingly call Grand Theft Blade Runner. These titles continue to get more hype from the press conferences but now we have to test them on the show floor. If we have learned anything these last two days it is that companies had a lot of projects being created and finally unleashed them on the world. They also are giving launch dates and keeping to a much tighter schedule than before. You actually know when games are coming. Other than the major teasers like Elder Scrolls and Starfield, those we may hear about next year.
Nintendo goes last this morning, and something tells me that'll be a crowd-pleaser too. While I'd love nothing more than new MMOs announced, I'm just glad to see titles like The Divsion 2, Fallout 76 and more make big AAA showings at E3. There's going to be plenty to play over the next year.