E3 2017: The Year of the Expansion

With all the major press events over (Nintendo has some recorded thing they’ll let into the wild later this morning, but since they can’t manage to get their hardware on store shelves they’re irrelevant to me, and this post is 100% subjective personal opinion) I’m sitting her ruminating on E3 2017. I hate to admit it and give the nay-sayers lots of “I told you so” ammo, but I’m feeling a little let down.

Again, this is totally subjective. For instance Ubisoft showed Beyond Good & Evil 2 which was a huge deal for a large number of people, but I have never understood the fascination. I played part of Beyond Good & Evil but got bored/distracted and never finished, and never really cared that I didn’t finish. So BGE2 wasn’t a big deal FOR ME. If it was for you, I’m happy for you.

One issue I had was that companies had already tipped their own hands. EA showed us Star Wars Battlefront 2 but I didn’t feel like they showed us anything new about it. Ditto Bungie showing us Destiny 2 via the Sony presser, or Ubi showing us Far Cry 5. We knew about these games and didn’t really learn anything new. For me the biggest ‘surprise’ was Assassin’s Creed: Origins. I knew there was going to be an AC game this year but had no idea it’d be in ancient Egypt or that they would be changing the AC system so much.

The bigger issue is that I still don’t really know what we’ll be playing this holiday. Well I know we’ll be playing Destiny 2 and SW Battlefront 2, but again I already knew that. Assassin’s Creed Origins is this fall too, but the holiday season is feeling a little sparse. (And I do mean ‘feeling’; I haven’t sat down and made a list…I could be missing a lot of stuff.) I guess in some ways that’s good. We only have so much time to spend playing games and last year there were so many big titles that no one could buy and play them all, leading to quality games getting pushed out of our shopping carts and onto the discount rack.

What do I KNOW we’ll be playing this fall? Expansions. There’s the Uncharted 4 expansion, the Steep expansion, the Battlefield 1 expansion and the Horizon Zero Dawn expansion. Now lest you misunderstand me, this isn’t bad news and I’m super excited for more Uncharted and more Horizon Zero Dawn. My point is, all these expansions were featured in press conferences that already felt pretty short this year. The only really beefy press conference was Microsoft’s and they had to talk about hardware.

Now 2018 is already looking good. We’ll be playing Far Cry 5 and the new God Of War and I guess Bioware’s Anthem (which I’m withholding judgement on until we learn more) are all 2018. Holiday 2017 though; I’m just not that sure what to get excited about.

I’m waffling on Microsoft too. They stated that they were going to show 42 games in their press conference, 22 of which were in some way console exclusives, but y’know I can’t remember many of them. Crackdown 3 (which has taken a cel-shaded turn towards Borderlands town, much to my dismay), Forza of course. What else can I only play on Xbox One or Windows 10? I’m sure there are more but I’ve already forgotten them. So now I’m trying to decide if I REALLY want to spend $500 to play games in “true 4K” rather than 1800P on the PS4 Pro that I already own. I’m starting to think XboneX can wait for a price cut or an attractive bundle deal.

My other big disappointment with E3? YouTubers. Only we don’t call them that any more. Now they are called “Influencers” and I saw in a couple of demos when a professional journalist asked a question the game’s representative replied “We’re holding that back for YouTubers to share.” WTF? I can’t wait to see the game industry’s reliance on these childish, annoying “influencers” blow up in their faces. But I guess that’s the thing about the gaming industry: it’s determined to cling to being an industry aimed at 12 year olds. (I’m not dissing streamers in general. Some of my best friends are streamers. But the You Tubers that seem to get all the attention are the ones who are shrill, vulgar, entitled little punks. They are like the Jerry Springers of the streaming community.)