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The Winners and Losers of E3 2017

Props to Ubisoft for announcing a game that's hardly in development.

Opinion by Caty McCarthy, .

We're at E3 2017 covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2017 hub!

A friend recently told me that E3 was his "Super Bowl." What he meant by that was that the event made him excited—all the press conferences, flashy cinematics, lengthy gameplay demos, all the announcements and hype. The Super Bowl, for nearly 112 million people, is an event centered around excitement for sports teams, and in an odd turn, the expensive commercials that air.

E3 is like the Super Bowl, if you took out the sports part and only left the commercials. E3 is the epitome of hearing your relative say, "I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials," because that's all we're getting excited about: elaborate advertisements for games that aren't releasing yet. And in some cases, haven't even really entered development yet.

Like the Super Bowl, E3 has winners and losers. Often they're relegated to "Best in Show" or "Best Reveal." Hey, we even have our own awards on the horizon—and a community post for you all to select your personal choices as well. (Please vote.) But who were the winners and losers of E3? Outside of killer fashion? Was it Microsoft revealing their new premium console, the Xbox One X? Ubisoft nearly taunting their fans with a probably-too-early announcement? We cherry picked all the winners and losers right here.

Winners

Ubisoft announcing a game that's basically in Day 0 of development

Ubisoft did something ballsy this E3—and has effectively tricked everyone in the process. At the tail end of their E3 2017 press conference, Ubisoft showed a shining, impressive cinematic trailer for the long-awaited Beyond Good & Evil 2. The game that has been in development for well over a decade, except not really. What Ubisoft did, instead of holding off until gameplay or more info was available, was create an expensive short film, a tech demo, alongside promises with what's coming for the future. A whole lotta ado about nothing, basically.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 is a winner for its sheer ridiculousness. We won't see this game again for at least two years, or longer, and we likely won't be playing it for even longer. Our own Mike went to an event to see the game "in action," or rather, what little action there is today. He even told our editor-in-chief Kat that it was the earliest he's ever seen Ubisoft unveil a game. Because honestly, there's hardly a game there. Just a proof of concept.

Good job in duping eager fans everywhere, Ubisoft. They'll be really angry for every press briefing from here on out that's quiet about it. Even with this pre-pre-pre, way-too-early announcement, I have a feeling we'll see this game on store shelves well before the Final Fantasy VII remake and Kingdom Hearts 3, because at least Square Enix isn't dragging their feet behind the whole thing.

PlayerUnknown

I tuned into most of E3 Coliseum's panels this past E3, Geoff Keighley's new thing this year. On one panel, a group of independent developers came together. Most there were known for their minimalistic, intellectually-profound games. And then there was PlayerUnknown. "I feel really bad because I kill people," he said, after some earnest reasons for making games spoken by other panelists. PlayerUnknown's reason? He wanted to make a game he wanted to play. Simple enough.

PlayerUnknown, a.k.a. Brendan Greene, is the purveyor of Battle Royale modes and creative director of the uber-successful Early Access smash PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. He put his own name in the title, slotting himself up high alongside the Tom Clancy's, Sid Meier's, Hideo Kojima's, and other names residing against games of our generation.

Predictably, Battlegrounds had a decent E3. As I predicted, Microsoft paraded the game on its large stage. They essentially said, "The Xbox One X can run this extremely popular 100 player PvP game, isn't that crazy?" And everyone cheered. We can play a game not on PC now. Battlegrounds will be exclusively coming to the console later this year. In the meantime, PlayerUnknown announced across E3 that they are working on new maps, a zombie mode, more weather, and even dynamic vaulting. Battlegrounds shows no signs of slowing down, nor going away anytime soon. That makes it a winner of E3, the little indie dev team who could murder.

Mario is too powerful for his own good in Super Mario Odyssey

There was something thrilling about seeing my dude Mario throwing his hat and possessing actual people at the end of Nintendo's E3 presentation. It made me realize that this is the first Mario game I've been actively excited for since Galaxy 2. Unfortunately, Kat didn't love it though. I hope I can get my hands on it before release too, to see for myself.

Final Fishing XV blowing me away

I wouldn't be surprised if that other Final Fantasy XV VR thing was dead, but I am all on board with its fishing venture. Final Fishing XV, as I like to call it (the actual name is Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV, hinting at a scary monster of sorts at the bottom of the sea), is a VR experience about fishing. And, according to its trailer, cracking open a Coleman-branded cold one with the boys. Contrary to my colleagues, I strongly dislike Final Fantasy XV because it's a mess of a game that betrays the Final Fantasy stature, but the idea of a spin-off focusing primarily fishing tickles my interest. I will play this on my virtual hell headset, and probably enjoy it.

It was the only thing that gave me any sort of emotion during Sony's press conference. Even if it was just laughter.

Losers

The most exciting reveal was a PS2 game

Okay, there was one other announcement that emitted feeling. And it was a confused "okay."

It's 2017, but this year's eyebrow-raising unveiling of a Shadow of the Colossus remake might make you think otherwise. For me, the Shadow of the Colossus remake (or as initially thought, HD port), was the highlight of Sony's E3 press conference. That's 90 percent because I didn't expect it; about 10 percent because I wanted to play it.

Shadow of the Colossus is one of those rare games I've returned to time and time again over the years. I've probably played through the entirety of it—both in its original form on PlayStation 2 and later on the PlayStation 3 in HD—five or more times. It's beautiful as it is: with its film-like grain, clunkiness, blemishes. There's beauty in its simplistic goals and unpolished gameplay. Shadow of the Colossus is often regarded as one of the greatest games of all-time for good reason. Team ICO's original vision of it remains unmatched.

I'm worried about this remake though. The teaser trailer looked gorgeous, for sure, but it was also missing the haunted, slightly-obscured dread the original had. With grain and not-superb textures, there was a roughness to the game. By polishing that, all we're left with is immense colossi and a shining sword.

I don't know how I feel about that. I'll still play it, as I often do, but it was further proof of the games industry's constant thirst for nostalgia. Consider all the biggest games of E3 this year: mostly sequels, nearly all beckoning towards an obsolete golden era of games. Battlefront 2 wants to be more like old Battlefront. Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is more Wolfenstein. Beyond Good & Evil 2 sounds like it's only like its predecessor in name alone. We're trapped in a cycle of only being self-referential, and I can only hope that we're surprised by more things soon.

Microsoft unveils a bunch of games that I can just play on my PC

Microsoft had arguably the most game-filled showing of E3, but it was a lot of third-party games and a lot of "exclusives." "Exclusives" that are available also on PC. I have a PC, so I guess I'll continue not having an Xbox One until the end of time. I'm sure a lot feel the same. I don't think the Xbox One X is as bad of an idea as most people have been insisting though. It has an audience as a premium console. Although the Xbox One X is expensive too, people with 4K televisions will be stoked off it.

Do we need E3 anymore?

We ask this question every year nowadays. Like clockwork. "Do we need E3?"

I feel like this year, more than ever, it's relevant again. E3 used to be an industry and press-only show. The type where the biggest companies paraded their sales numbers, upcoming games, upcoming hardware, and more in the blandest of ways. Then things shifted to the general audience: and now we're serviced a bunch of trailers and hardly any demos or statistics at all.

In recent years, E3's been waning in relevance. Publishers and developers are more likely to deliver their Triple-A game news on their own terms: like Destiny 2's massive reveal event just weeks ago. As a result, Destiny 2's presence at the conferences—despite being one of the biggest games of the year—was negligible. Because they already said all they need to say about it.

Independent games have had the most to gain from E3 in recent years too, because of this. The big games can show off their work elsewhere, whereas for independent games, getting that large audience is a lot harder. This year was a disappointment on that front, with Microsoft and the PC Gaming Show being the only places that shined spotlight on the smaller developers on their respective platforms. Sony ignored that front, contrary to past years. Same with Nintendo.

E3 probably won't ever die. Though with its shift to being a public event, I can see it changing immensely in the next few years. We'll always be back, covering it, writing about it, as the games press does. There will always be surprise announcements, though I wonder what we have next after Beyond Good & Evil 2 (somehow, somewhere Valve is clinging to a Half-Life 3 that will never happen—and even then, would never be at an E3). E3's proving itself to be like the stale zombie genre. Dead, but not really.

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Comments 28

  • Avatar for AstroDemon #1 AstroDemon 3 months ago
    Caty, great article, as always. I think everyone on this site should listen to the interview of Phil Spencer by Jeff Gerstmann. It was a really genuine and smart conversation about the reality of console gaming today and I'm starting to understand why merging the Xbox and PC gaming scenes makes sense for Microsoft.
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  • Avatar for swamped #2 swamped 3 months ago
    I never expected the thing that would finally pique my interest in VR would be Fishing Boys XV. I can't wait for my buds to yell the same 3 lines at me in VR.Edited 2 times. Last edited June 2017 by swamped
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  • Avatar for catymcc #3 catymcc 3 months ago
    @AstroDemon Yeah I listened to that last night! It's a great interview, especially regarding the current state of non-competitiveness. Like everyone's just offering different things to players right now.
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  • Avatar for NateDizzy #4 NateDizzy 3 months ago
    Winners:

    Metroid fans: 2 new games, even though one is little more than a title card

    Losers:

    Marvel vs Capcom fans: Even if we take DBFZ out of the mix, this game is not looking too hot. The "story" trailer was supposed to get us hype, instead all I'm hearing from the community is "wtf is wrong with their faces?" Anemic roster, rumored character DLC gating...yeesh.
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  • Avatar for ojinnvoltz #5 ojinnvoltz 3 months ago
    What a dud, this E3! I go into E3 hoping to see something that I didn't know I wanted or some unexpected reveal, but this was business as usual. I was nonplused by every reveal. The things that got me jazzed were the stuff I already knew would be there (New Colossus and Dishonored DLC). I suppose I could get into Destiny Too if it leans heavily in to role-playing with mech suits and less loot farming.
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  • Avatar for Daikaiju #6 Daikaiju 3 months ago
    The take on Microsoft's presentation mirrors my own. No XB for me.
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  • Avatar for adamacuoadamacuo #7 adamacuoadamacuo 3 months ago
    As an avid PC gamer and lapsed Xbox gamer (though I own two Xbox One consoles) I really fail to understand how anybody can complain that a game isn't exclusive to a single console. Are you advocating against consumers? We want to play our games on whatever console or system we choose, and the more the merrier. I have every system - PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC and Linux. I want less exclusivity and more selectivity. Kudos to Microsoft for renouncing console exclusivity and leaving me with a choice. They won E3 as far as I'm concerned.Edited June 2017 by adamacuoadamacuo
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  • Avatar for TheWildCard #8 TheWildCard 3 months ago
    I don't know, that Dragonball reveal was pretty hype (even though yes it was leaked early). Most of the other best trailers were for stuff we already knew though.

    I don't know who wins from announcing Beyond Good and Evil so early though, not in the long run.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #9 Roto13 3 months ago
    @NateDizzy Once the story mode is over, there will still be an excellent fighting game to play, and that's the important part. The actual fighting in the demo is as fun as ever.
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #10 Kat.Bailey 3 months ago
  • Avatar for NightingaleXP #11 NightingaleXP 3 months ago
    I really think Nintendo came out on top here-- hot on the trail of what's already been a great year for them, with Switch selling so quickly, they had a conference full of great-looking games coming out this year.

    If they can resolve their supply chain issues, they're going to have one hell of a holiday season this year.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #12 NiceGuyNeon 3 months ago
    You don't need Xbox if you have a PC. And with its general lack of compelling AAA exclusives, you also don't need Xbox if you have a PS. I don't know what Microsoft's thinking, maybe they're on the right track and lowly peasants like me have no idea what's right or wrong but I will tell you this much: IF YO DUMB PLASTIC BOX DOESN'T HAVE GAMES TO MAKE IT WORTH BUYING I AIN'T BUYING IT. I don't care how many damn terafoozles and whatsits are crammed in there, give me something good to play. YOU BEEN WARNED XBOX. You are OFFICIALLY on notice!
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #13 NiceGuyNeon 3 months ago
    @adamacuoadamacuo You're the real winner of E3. Keep on rocking in the free world.
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  • Avatar for Jericho-GM #14 Jericho-GM 3 months ago
    As a fighting game fan, I think the biggest winner here is Arc System Works. They created the perfect fighting game engine for anime-based properties, and the excellent response Dragonball FighterZ is getting from the FGC regardless if they ever cared about Dragonball means that this is probably just the start of their relationship with Bandai Namco, and that I think is exciting.

    Can you imagine a Gundam Battle Assault that looks and plays like that?

    It doesn't even have to end with Bandai Namco. How about a Perona 5 Arena? The possibilities are endless.Edited 2 times. Last edited June 2017 by Jericho-GM
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  • Avatar for link6616 #15 link6616 3 months ago
    @Jericho-GM Yeah that DBZ fighter is the biggest surprise for me.

    We knew it was coming, but general people are responding with loads of interest, DBZ fans seem pretty hype, and fighting game people who don't like DBZ like myself are excited for a DBZ fighter?

    Really excited?

    I don't understand this world I live in now.
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  • Avatar for Wellman2nd #16 Wellman2nd 3 months ago
    I am still surprised either Sony or Microsoft had not just followed Nintendo and put out a digital video showing their news and trailers, it would save them cash.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #17 VotesForCows 3 months ago
    Has anyone seen the speculation that maybe the hat was in charge of Mario all along - that it just possessed this poor plumber back in 1985?!
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  • Avatar for Thetick #18 Thetick 3 months ago
    I don't get the "i can play MS games on PC, that is bad for MS" argument. MS runs the OS, so they have the data. They can see the specs of the PC and the games of everybody who logs in on xbox with windows. They can make a really good business decision on that data. If they can sell games to pc owners who wouldn't buy a xbox anyway they win. They might lose a couple of potential xbox one owners right now, But they are building a xbox relationship and library, making the step in the future to buy a (next gen) xbox easier, cause they already have a bunch of games for it
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  • Avatar for Mr.Spo #19 Mr.Spo 3 months ago
    I feel like a winner. I've seen enough to convince me to buy a Switch when I can afford it, I've got a steady stream of software coming to my 3DS, Xbox One and PC. Cuphead and Ori 2 look great, Sea of Thieves is hopefully a return to form for Rare, Mario Odyssey is zanier and more inventive than I was expecting, Mario vs Rabbids is somehow a legitimately interesting, good-looking game, and 2018 is (already) shaping up to be a strong year across all formats.

    Most importantly of all, Metroid and Beyond Good & Evil are back! It might be a while before we see Prime 4 or BG&E2 hit store shelves, but Samus Returns in 3 months. Exciting.Edited June 2017 by Mr.Spo
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  • Avatar for secularsage #20 secularsage 3 months ago
    E3 is such a weird event; it's hugely successful (attendance grows every year), but it's less and less important as a showcase for upcoming games and even more of a huge hype-a-thon. When they tried to change the format to be more businesslike, it lost its sparkle, and it only really works with big events and dramatic reveals. It makes sense to turn it into a public-friendly convention down the road rather than a straight-up trade show, and that's what it'll be in a few years.

    I also hope folks are prepared for Beyond Good & Evil 2 to be a game that won't live up to its hype, because that tends to be the pattern with Ubisoft early reveals - they show a concept off and then pressure the development teams to ship games that aren't ready. This one's even worse because there's a decade+ of expectation based on the repurposed name. Don't be surprised if Michel Ancel leaves the project for creative differences.

    Still, while the overarching sentiment is that this wasn't a particularly exciting E3 beyond a handful of games, if you look at the release calendar for the next 365 days, there are some potentially amazing titles on the way. For example, I don't know how people can watch that Spider-Man gameplay and be anything less than excited for it; if the game lives up to the promise of what was shown, it's going to be an incredible experience.
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  • Avatar for camchow #21 camchow 3 months ago
    The most exciting reveal was Monster Hunter Worlds for sure. Could have been a better trailer though.

    Not sure why they are remaking Shadow of the Colossus to be honest. I LOVE that game but I know how to defeat them all, why would I want to pay to go through it again when I already have the HD remake or original? Throw in a couple new bosses and sure but otherwise this is a strange one imo

    Out of curiousity, with Bob gone are there any Monster Hunter fans left on the USGamer crew?Edited June 2017 by camchow
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #22 Kuni-Nino 3 months ago
    Nintendo always wins E3 because of Treehouse. Their stream is just awesome all around with a great look at the game, some fun personalities, interviews with the devs, and some fun events. Seriously, the ARMS tournament was pretty lit. Yabuki himself sold me on the game along with that flyass jacket. I want it.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #23 yuberus 3 months ago
    Watching videos and such from E3 this year made me rethink my old thought of going to E3 sometime. It looks like a hot mess without much going for it.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #24 yuberus 3 months ago
    @NateDizzy I don't know. Sure, some of the character models in Marvel look awful, but I think they nailed the Mega Man characters and Captain Marvel, and I'm okay with the cast (though it really needs Ms. Marvel). The actual gameplay sounds pretty cool too, with the loosened tagging rules.

    It's biggest sin is that it got showed off at the same show as Dragonball Fighterz, which looks great and seems like it plays more like Marvel 2 or Skullgirls. That's a hard act to follow.
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  • Avatar for catymcc #25 catymcc 3 months ago
    @Thetick@adamacuoadamacuo

    Apparently the tongue-in-cheek humor that is spread over most of this story (Ubisoft isn't *really* a winner y'all) didn't come through in this bit on Microsoft! So I'm sorry I guess. This was meant to poke fun at people getting mad that Xbox's exclusives aren't exclusive enough, while simultaneously noting that yeah, I'll still probably never own an Xbox console. I guess it read too much as legit anger. My bad?
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  • Avatar for Thetick #26 Thetick 3 months ago
    @catymcc i'm probably reading to much different info, cause a lot of sites say the same and actually mean it! Maybe we readers are getting a bit overwhelmed with info too and after watching to many trailers and presentation are having trouble getting the feel of a written piece :)
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  • Avatar for Jericho-GM #27 Jericho-GM 3 months ago
    @yuberus I agree with Captain Marvel. She looks the most okay of the bunch.

    But even if you just compare to other games in the series (I really like MVC3's comicbook style) everything in Marvel vs Capcom Infinite just looks flat and bland. It's almost like NetherRealm Studios or some other American developer trying to create a MvC game. And honestly, Injustice looks better, and that really breaks my heart.

    Some people even compare the graphics to iOS or Android games, and I'm finding it hard tell people they're wrong.

    I have heard that it's still fun to play though, so at least there's that. I'm definitely still going to give it a try, but yeah. Aesthetics-wise, it's terribly disappointing.

    PS Injustice 2 on iOS for comparison's sake. You be the judge.

    Edited June 2017 by Jericho-GM
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  • Avatar for mattb0527 #28 mattb0527 3 months ago
    @swamped I've wanted a FF fishing game since FFXI..../fish.../fish...../fish......
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