While E3 only officially lasts for a few days, the bulk of the hype is delivered through the show's press conferences. Major game publishers get on-stage, wave their hands, and kick off a cacophony of hype. E3 2019 had plenty of noise to spare, even though Sony sat out the show and Nintendo did its usual low-key Nintendo Direct presentation in lieu of a press conference.
We like to talk about the supposed dwindling relevance of E3, but for now, the show still builds impressions that can last for years, for better or worse. That's why it's impossible to resist the pull of E3 "Winners and Losers" lists. We're guilty of the very same here at USG; allow us a moment to hang our heads in shame.
OK, we're done. Please indulge us while we walk you through our own Winners and Losers from this year's show—though do note this list of cheers and jeers might be a little different than other outlets' countdowns.
E3 2019's Winners
All of us for being blessed by Cyborg Keanu Reeves (May His Circuits Fire Forever): OK, so Microsoft didn't have the most exciting press conference this year, but it wasn't without merit, either. Its in-depth look at CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077 ended with one of E3 2019's nicest surprises: Keanu Reeves is in the game as a character infused with metal bits, and he thinks we're all breathtaking. Whatever else happens, believe in yourself, because Keanu Reeves believes in you.
Bam Bam the Dog's cameo: A good boy cameoed at Ubisoft's press conference when Ghost Recon Breakpoint star, Jon Bernthal, brought his grey pittie Bam Bam on stage. Bam Bam quietly lay down when ordered and was calm through the whole presentation. I don't profess to understand how canines think, but Bam Bam wore the uninterested look of a dog who is disinterested in shooters and would rather attend a conference about Milkbones and the delicate art of sniffing German shepherds' butts. Maybe next year, Bam Bam.
The staff at the World of Nintendo store: There's no such thing as a perfect job, but some jobs are certainly more fun than others (I should know). Retail work of any kind is rough, but I imagine employees at the World of Nintendo store in New York City feel a certain amount of elation when people come in off the street to cheer their heads off during Nintendo Direct presentations. Nintendo had a great E3, so this year's live feed of the Direct caused a good deal of hullabaloo. But when Banjo and Kazooie were revealed for Smash, these kids really raised the roof. We can see the Nintendo store employees join in the celebration, too. It's the fun, positive things that make the E3 workload more bearable.
Heh heh. Bear-able.
That one kid I grew up with who is vindicated that everyone's finally excited about the TurboGrafx-16: The TurboGrafx-16 is getting a plug-and-play retro console, just like the NES Classic, the SNES Classic, the PlayStation One Classic, and the software that runs your grandmother's CPAP machine. My interest in the machine is so-so at this stage: If Konami wants to give me some of the PC-Engine CD games I missed out on, it'll have my attention. For now, I'm just thinking back to that one friend I had in grade school who owned the TurboGrafx and tried to elbow his way into our conversations about the NES. We all kind of pitied him. Now that people are giddy with nostalgia for the TurboGrafx, I bet he's feeling warm and fulfilled today, even if he has no idea why. Congratulations, Imran. You made it, man.
Short-haired Princess Zelda: Nintendo set off a bomb at the end of its Direct presentation with its announcement for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. The internet immediately fell in love with Princess Zelda's new short hair. I argue (maybe futilely) that Zelda's shorter hair signifies in a roundabout way she might be a playable character this time around. Or maybe it's wishful thinking. Either way, that hair suits her.
Helen, the octogenarian assassin from Watch Dogs Legion: Ubisoft showed off Watch Dogs Legion at its press conference. The game involves taking down a totalitarian regime that monitors every aspect of life in apocalyptic version of London. A big job, if there ever was one. Watch Dogs Legions' concept is "everyone is part of the Resistance," and Ubisoft isn't making up stories about that. One of the freedom fighters you can control is Helen, a lovely old granny who thinks wistfully about feeding pigeons when she's not hobbling directly up to a government thrall and shooting him in the face. Helen, I have a pot of tea and a pile of tiny cucumber sandwiches with your name on it.
People who ship the hell out of Cloud and Sephiroth: Final Fantasy 7 Remake is one of the biggest shows at E3. The game is available to play hands-on, plus there are new trailers to get lost in. Final Fantasy 7's protagonist, Cloud Strife, has always had a tense relationship with his enemy and former mentor, Sephiroth. Fanfic writers and fan artists have relied on "Cloud x Sephiroth" as a muse for decades, and if the new trailers are anything to go by, that muse is about to receive a massive Mako infusion. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. Or keyboards. Or Wacom tablets.
Our controllers, thanks to Elden Ring: Elden Ring is the upcoming collaboration between Dark Souls studio From Software and A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin. It's probably going to be great, but don't expect the new setting to spare you from having to "Git Gud:" Elden Ring will supposedly be as hard as any SoulsBorne game. Start investing in strong controllers now, because they're going to go a-flyin' once Elden Ring comes out.
The Fire Emblem weapons triangle: Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a little different from other games in the series. How different? Well, the weapons triangle is gone. R.I.P. swords versus axes versus spears. The good news is, Fire Emblem: Three Houses seems to do just fine without the Sacred Triangle.
Dr. Disrespect's pee-pee tape: 2017 "Trending Gamer" award recipient Dr. DisRespect was suspended from Twitch and had his E3 pass revoked after he entered a washroom and streamed gents relieving themselves at the event. It was supposed to be his first live stream from E3 (GEDDIT?), and it wound up being his last. Turns out filming people in public washrooms isn't the most legal of pursuits. Wackety-shmackety-doo.
Anyone waiting for Metroid news: Nintendo already warned us it's going to be a long time before we hear any news about Metroid 4. After all, the project was recently scrapped and is currently rebuilding under Retro Studios' banner. I suppose there's always that magical false hope that accompanies every E3. Alas, there was no Metroid magic to be found this year. Nintendo fans have to sate themselves with a surprise announcement for a new Zelda game instead. What a hard-knock life.
Our massive game backlogs: Despite my best efforts, my Pile of Sin is about to get bigger. Someone petition the Catholic church to canonize a Patron Saint of Gaming, because I'm going to have to beg for forgiveness before this year's out.
How's E3 treating you so far? We've been hard at work writing up tons of news, impressions, and opinions. Visit our E3 2019 guide to pore over everything we've published so far!