And so another E3 has come and gone. This year had a lot I didn’t like. Far too great a focus was put on showing CGI trailers that told us nothing, many of the announcements were things we already knew, and there was celebrity endorsements. While a certain appearance wasn’t unwelcome, using celebrities to promote products always feels like a shallow way to easily win people over. And it works. Even when the game can stand on its own merit.
Instead of continuing to be a curmudgeon about E3, I wanted to highlight some of my favourite pieces of news to come out of the show. My hope is that you’ll share some of your favourites down in the comments below. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
Baldur’s Gate III
While officially announced days prior to E3, Larian Studios were present at the PC Gaming Show to speak about their plans for the next game in the Baldur’s Gate franchise. For those unaware, Baldur’s Gate is one of the oldest running video game adaptations of Fantasy Tabletop games. While not the original developers, Larian have already proven their aptitude for creating these kinds of games with both Divinity: Original Sin titles.
I enjoyed both Original Sin titles and hoped Larian would take the framework of those games while adapting new stories to it. There is only so many times I can handle playing a hero who ascends into literal godhood. Baldur’s Gate III is the realization of that hope and I’m eager to see what Larian delivers.
While growing up, Zoo Tycoon was one of my favourite computer games. The management aspects were something I struggled with, but I found the sandbox mode incredibly fun. Having the freedom to create a zoo showcasing all of your favourite animals was very cathartic. The popularity of simulation games died off shortly after the turn of the century leaving us without a modern successor. Until now that is.
With the rise of smaller development studios and digital distribution we’re seeing a number of spiritual successors to classic management games including Zoo Tycoon. Planet Zoo aims to be a modern take on Zoo Tycoon. While the name is terrible, I am excited to see if Frontier manages to do with Planet Zoo what they did with Planet Coaster.
Plus I actually understand how to balance a budget now, so I won’t get obliterated in the campaign mode.
Animal Crossing New Horizons
This is somewhat cheating as I’m more excited for my SO on this one. We both enjoy Animal Crossing, but the latest one looks more up her alley than mine. The premise is that you start on a wild island living in a tent and slowly build up the village around you. Instead of moving into an existing town to carve out your own slice of life, players will construct their own utopia. It’s the logical next step in the franchise from the previous game, New Leaf (we don’t speak about mobile games here), and I can see her losing several months to the game.
Foregone is an interesting one. I saw the trailer during the Kinda Funny Games Showcase as one of the sixty or so featured games. It has a stark resemblance to Dead Cells in its art-style and appears to feature fluid platforming and combat. It’s the kind of game that none of my friends would be surprised to hear I’m interested in.
What makes this interesting is the studio behind the game: Big Blue Bubble. I went through college with one of the developers who works there. It’s probably weird to say, but I’m looking more forward to the game knowing that I’ve met, worked with, and hung out with one of the developers.
Songs of Conquest
It’s a strategy game with pixel-art.
Really detailed pixel-art.
Similar to Foregone, this is a game that very much appeals to my tastes visually. The mechanics of the game will make or break it for me, but for now I am intrigued.
I have a complicated relationship with JRPGs, which is a polite way of saying I don’t like them very much. For me only the odd few games within the genre stand head and shoulders above the rest. However, whenever I see developers state they were inspired by a classic JRPG I get worried. Very worried.
Cris Tales looks beautiful and has me intrigued by its implementation of time travel mechanics. You’re able to travel through different points in time (past, present, future) simultaneously, which could lead to a lot of interesting puzzle and combat mechanics.
Having played the demo on Steam I got to see how the mechanic is introduced, as well as solve a puzzle and combat encounter using it. There is definitely a seed for a good idea here. I’m hopeful that it will be explored fully in the final release.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Wow it’s almost like that paragraph where I call attention to how I don’t like JRPGs was a setup for this.
Final Fantasy VII is a game I have no connection to, and I had no faith in the remake prior to now. Growing up on Nintendo consoles I didn’t have the opportunity to play what many consider to be an all time classic. By the time I did I’d lost the desire to because of how many bad experiences I’ve had with JRPGs.
In addition, all signs were pointing to this game being a complete disaster. Square Enix is responsible for developing it. This is the same company that announced 2016’s Final Fantasy XV as a spin-off from the thirteen game back in 2006. And released Final Fantasy XIV, which was so poorly received it was entirely remade and re-released. On top of that, the original announcement teaser looked bland and ran below 30 FPS. That doesn’t set a very promising stage.
Enter E3 2019.
Square Enix pulled their head out of their ass for long enough to showcase the remake of Final Fantasy VII. The combat system looks involved enough to be interesting as you swap between your party members to issue attacks. The trailer following the gameplay demo was slick, ran smoothly, and looked nice. I am now willing to give this game a shot provided it eventually crawls onto PC like the rest of Square’s games.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
There is a lot I could say, but then this post would be twice as long. Instead may I draw your attention to this terrible meme I posted on social media:
I’m very excited by the changes announced thus far and look forward to sinking another couple hundred hours into Monster Hunter World once I finally get my hands on the Iceborne expansion.
So those were my E3 highlights. What stood out most to you? Were you disappointed that a particular game was a no show? Let me know in the comments below, or on twitter.