E3 2017 Press Conferences Ranked
The E3 hype train is slowing to a stop, and the conferences have come and gone. It’s all in good fun but ranking is still necessary, and this year, I am the decider. Seven conferences enter, but only one will emerge the champion, it’s the winners, the losers, and the weirdos of E3 2017.
7. Electronic Arts (EA)
Oh EA, you really did try, didn’t you? EA was the first company to take the stage at their E3 adjacent event, showing off a multitude of sports games, the impressive looking Star Wars Battlefront II, and some charming looking new projects like A Way Out. It was a strange presentation format that puts EA at the bottom of this list. They relied heavily on montages of YouTubers. They doubled down in this regard by having influencers host some of their segments, these content creators aren’t live personalities, and EA learned that the hard way. Some on air stumbling and no games that truly blew the crowd away, EA is number seven.
The word “Exclusive” is ringing in my head like a bell. Microsoft came to the show with a huge slew of games to show off, an impressive number of them were Xbox One console exclusives. Unfortunately for them, not only were most of them less than mind blowing, a whole lot of them were already out on PC. We finally saw project Scorpio in the flesh, dubbed the Xbox One X, the $500 premium console can handle native 4k and HDR, the hardware is impressive and understandably priced but who cares if the software isn’t there? Forza 7 and Crackdown 3 look great, but it just isn’t enough.
5. The PC Gaming Show
Intel sponsors the PC show every year, so a certain amount of bragging about hardware is expected. Intel also announced a VR Esports League around the upcoming title Echo Arena. The rest of the conference was very low key, a date for Total Warhammer, an Xcom 2 expansion, but the closing announcement made the otherwise unbearably long presentation worth it. Age of Empires is getting a remake in 4K, and it is glorious. Next time Intel should keep this conference short, show us some games and keep the show moving.
Bethesda was the first to show a growing change in E3 press conferences. They’re less about the traditional press than ever, and unfortunately for developer’s, this mean less time to come out and talk directly to an audience about their games. Instead, most of Bethesda’s segments were introduced by prerecorded animated segments leaning into the whole Bethesda Land theme. The focused hard in VR, with Fallout and Doom leading the virtual charge. We also got a look at a new Wolfenstein which might be my favorite game of the show. A few of us at Lunawolf couldn’t help but think the conference lacked a closer, is it possible that the rumored Starfield was pulled at the last minute? Only time will tell, but until then, Bethesda is number four.
Sony played it safe this year, showing off just a bit more of all of last years show pieces. Days Gone, God of War, and a closing gameplay peek at Insomniac’s Spider-man game. Much like Bethesda, almost nobody came out on stage to speak. If I’m not mistaken, Sean Layden was the only speaker. It’s a shame to see less of developers fawning over their babies, but E3 is changing, and shorter more concise presentations seem to be the trend. Sony also has a considerable amount in the pipeline for PSVR, interestingly enough a full PSVR Final Fantasy XV fishing game that I can’t wait for, and Skyrim on PSVR. Sony didn’t show off any brand new heavy hitters, but a short and to the point conference showing off 2018’s line up earns them number three.
No, Aisha Tyler wasn’t there to host this year, but I was happy to see Ubisoft’s developers out and excited. Our look at Far Cry 5, seemed like a very different tone from what that announcement trailer showed. Less religious zealots, and more wacky high jinx. Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle is official and looks weirdly amazing, and a closer look at Assassin’s Creed Origins has me more excited for the series than I have been in years. Ubisoft’s conference skewed more traditional, glimpse’s of developers being brought to tears at the sight of a positive reaction to their game is something special. Also, let’s not forget that the Beyond Good and Evil 2 closer means IGN’s Marty Sliva needs to eat his own coffee cup.
Drum roll please, maybe we all have Stockholm Syndrome, or maybe Nintendo really is that great. Nintendo started the short more controlled conference trend with its Direct events. They kept it short and teased big titles for the Switch like Metroid Prime 4, a new Kirby, and an October 27th release date for Mario Odyssey. We also got a very casual confirmation of a mainline Pokémon title for the Switch. Nintendo won this E3 by a mile, but we’re all winners when it comes to that classic E3 cringe.
Honorable Mention: Devolver Digital
I’m sure some of you are wondering where Devolver is on this list. Well, that bizarre production was less of an actual press event and more of an E3 parody. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a watch for the weird factor alone. It confused and annoyed me at one in the morning, but in retrospect, it was an odd breath of fresh air.