E3 2018 will largely be remembered for two things, a competent Microsoft conference and an underwhelming Sony one, so let’s start with Nintendo.
Nintendo had everything to gain from this year’s show and very little to lose, after all the Switch is selling like hotcakes, as is just about every game Nintendo releases on the system, so a few surprise reveals and some unexpected third party support really would have seen this year’s E3 belong to Big N. What we got instead however was a lot of Smash Brothers.
Well Super Smash Bros. ultimate to be precise, a grand culmination of the series featuring every fighter that has ever appeared in a Smash Brothers game. Ever. Yes it looks as good as that sounds but at the same time it surprised nobody and brought to the show the exact level of excitement you would expect a Smash Bros. Title, built on the bones of a Wii U game, to bring.
In Stark contrast Fire Emblem three Houses was a game we all knew existed and yet managed to delight the viewers with glorious looks and teasing refinements to the series all the fans are likely to get behind. Super Mario Party also looks like a ton of fun and Nintendo are certainly putting their weight behind Fortnite, which they showed off with a very energetic trailer, but it was that very energy the show itself seem to lack. Just a few more big game reveals and surprises like Daemon X Machina really could have changed that though.
So Nintendo played it safe, Sony meanwhile didn’t really seem to know how to play this year’s show at all treating us to odd musical interludes, “controversial” kissing scenes and no real surprises to speak off whatsoever, but I guess that was the surprise, Sony decided to rest on their laurels this year, call a time out, or like a boxer clinching in round 12 because he knows he has the match won on points. Sony too knows this generation is all tied up, sales wise the PS4 won a few years ago so why bother throwing any more real knockout blows. Logical as that approach and this E3 might have been for Sony, as gamers we crave so much more and while the Resident Evil 2 remake and Ghost of Tsushima looked wonderful, they alone couldn’t save Sony’s conference from being a complete and utter let-down, a handful of pretty but predictable games will never win an E3.
Compared to both their rivals, Microsoft came to this year’s show with gamers’ expectations very low. So forgettable has the Xbox One’s impact been on this generation thus far, speculation had BEEN heavily mounting of late that Microsoft might even withdraw from the games industry altogether.
Reports of the Xbox brands death have however been greatly exaggerated and Microsoft used this year’s E3 to show the fans that the company has much in store for the future, with exclusives like Crackdown 3, Gears of War 5, Gears of War Tactics and wait for it, Rash, Zitz and Pimple return in a brand new Battletoads. Microsoft didn’t stop there however, oh no, the Windows maker showed off a wealth of third party offerings including Bandai Namco’s new anime crossover fighter Jump Force & Cyberpunk 2077 before confirming the company was investing big in second party studios, buying up the likes of Undead Labs (State of Decay), Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Ninja Theory (DMC) & Compulsion Games (We Happy Few). Master Chief even made an appearance as did the first details surrounding the NextBox, it’ll offer console quality gaming anywhere apparently.
With all that & a few other eye catching trailers on show Microsoft took this year’s E3 by doubling down on the games & the fact that their competitors simply didn’t bring enough to this year’s show.