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  • Opinion: The Major Letdowns of E3 2018

    June 13th, 2018GamespotUncategorized

    The following is a list of major setbacks or disappointment, in my opinion, from this year's E3. When I say that, I'm not necessarily referring to the worst-looking games shown (or the most anticipated ones not shown, for that matter). I'm talking about bad direction, or just simply a lack of attention to detail in making something as good as it can and should be. There were plenty of other games or company decisions during E3 that were just plain bad, but they weren't surprising at all, so I've omitted them from this piece.


    Continued Lukewarm Third Party Commitment to Switch

    This E3 we witnessed yet more dedication from third parties to Nintendo's Switch, but often in a slightly baffling way. Instead of, for example, announcing Fallout 76 for Switch alongside Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4, Bethesda instead announced Fallout Shelter. The latter is actually quite acclaimed, so it's a welcome addition to the Switch library, but sans a Fallout 76 announcement at the same time it ended up feeling like a bit of a snub.

    I don't want to unfairly single out Bethesda, though. Compared to most western third parties Bethesda has done a much better job of supporting Nintendo devices since the launch of the Switch, with Bethesda Game Studios' Skyrim being ported over and selling well, and the publishing arm of the company handling publishing duties for Doom and Wolfenstein on Switch.

    But given how well Switch's Skyrim has performed, just imagine what a good day-one port of one Bethesda's modern, high budget games would sell. It's not just Bethesda either, of course; it's easy to imagine the likes of Kingdom Hearts III and Dead or Alive 6 performing on a par with the Xbox One versions if they were released on Switch too.

    Instead, all too often it feels like publishers are simply saying “hey, let’s throw a bone to Nintendo fans, and if they don’t buy the one title we give them then we'll have our justification for not giving them any red meat.” 

    EA Announcing a Mobile Command & Conquer Game

    As someone who has been a fan of the series since I was a child, it's been sad to watch such a highly acclaimed and treasured series as Command & Conquer slowly trend downhill into irrelevance. The series' amazing games (Red Alert 2/Yuri’s Revenge, Tiberian Sun, Generals) have long since faded into memory and have been replaced by the likes of Tiberium Wars, Tiberian Twilight, and Red Alert 3, all of which were quite horrible in their own individual ways. Then there's Generals' sequel, which was turned into a free to play game. And that leads us to Command & Conquer Rivals, the newly-announced free-to-play mobile title. 

    It's not just that it's a mobile spin-off that has so enraged fans, it's that no new flagship entry was announced alongside it, nor does one look likely to be announced in the near future. As if to rub salt in the wound EA 'showed' off a full-screen version of the game during its conference.

    Is this what E3 has become to EA? It’s bad enough a large chunk of EA's conference each year is taken up by annual sports releases (which, while popular, make for unappealing reveals, especially for the sort of audience that attends and watches these events), but even the newest single player Star Wars adventure was rushed through like it was chopped liver (no trailer, no box art, not even a piece of concept art, just a vague description of when it will be). EA then dedicated, what? Five, ten minutes at least to a mobile game.

    Perhaps I've set my expectations too high, or I'm being unfair to mobile gaming, but I don’t feel mobile games warrant being discussed in great detail on the biggest gaming stage of the year, especially when said game is more likely to piss fans off than please them. The E3 stage should be reserved for blockbuster announcements, gameplay premiers, and trailers.


    No Halo Collection Games for PC

    Halo Infinite is coming to Windows 10. This is both unexpected and fantastic news for PC gamers. But if Microsoft is going to release its newest Halo title on both PC and Xbox, then why not also release remastered version of existing Halo releases on PC as well, be it in the form of The Master Chief Collection or separate releases? Halo 5 Guardians and Reach could then also have made the transition to PC.

    Many PC gamers won't just want to enjoy the future of Halo, but also the past and present, so this feels like a missed opportunity from Microsoft.


    The Square Enix Conference

    You would think, after not having one of these in years, that Square Enix would come out all guns blazing upon its metaphorical return to the conference fray. Well, you'd be wrong. There was a lot of bad in Square Enix's conference, both in terms of content and presentation.

    But the single worst part? As I alluded to above - Kingdom Hearts III not coming to the Switch. Not to make this a port begging article, but why is it not coming to Switch? It's surely not because of the graphics, because it's a title that's clearly more focused on art style than graphical prowess (Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey arguably look technically better). Maybe Square Enix doesn't think a kid-friendly game starring dozens of incredibly popular, family-friendly characters will sell all that well on a Nintendo device? Darn it Nintendo, you became too “hardcore!”.

    No Animal Crossing Switch

    Seriously, Nintendo, what the heck?! New Leaf came out in 2012/2013 (Japan/rest of the world). We will have had two fully-fledged Fallout games in the same time span as one mainline Animal Crossing game. Heck, at this rate, Elder Scrolls VI may be out before Animal Crossing Switch.

    Don’t tell me demand isn’t there either. I hear more clamor for this game than any other Nintendo title; I heard it for the Wii U and now the same thing is happening for the Switch. So why not develop one? I guarantee it will sell a whole lot better than Metroid Prime 4Star Fox, Bayonetta, Pikmin, and a bunch of other new entries in established franchise. The aforementioned New Leaf sold well over 10 million copies, and even the lacklustre spin-off title Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer shifted over 3 million.

    I understand Nintendo not announcing it until it's ready to be shown off. What I don’t understand is Nintendo's priority when it comes to which games it makes and when it's going to make them. By all means Nintendo should continue to make games that many of us want but which don’t sell very well, but not at the expense of a series that literally prints money but which hasn't shown up on a Nintendo home console in almost 10 years now. If you don’t milk the cow, it’s going to be bad news for it further down the road! MILK THE COW!

    Honorable Mentions

    • EA's Origin Access Premier. Many people have already voiced their concerns about this, although some are excited by the idea of having a cheaper digital-only solution to their gaming habits. Time will tell if it is a good or bad thing for the industry; there's a real possibility that it represents the thin end of a very unappealing wedge. We shall have to wait and see on this one.
    • Frankie Ward's over-reliance on sexual innuendo when hosting the PC Gaming Show. 
    • If Super Smash Bros. Ultimate doesn’t have some kind of single player story mode, I'll riot. Who's with me?
    • Sony’s odd, poorly paced press conference filled with hardly any new games.
    • Nintendo’s fast-paced, very focused conference filled with hardly any new games.

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