I might be slightly over gaming conventions, having covered several as media and following PAX, BlizzCon, and E3 for years now. Oh, they’re still good for the odd surprise announcement and the bevy of trailers, but it seems that messaging and marketing has shifted away from emphasizing cons. You know, since the internet exists and all.
But this year’s E3 had a few interesting stories, so I thought I’d jaw about them as I look back over the last week-plus. Perhaps the biggest story and delight for me personally was SEGA’s announcement that Phantasy Star Online 2 was finally, finally coming to the west in 2020. It’s not my most-anticipated MMO ever, but it was definitely one I wanted to play and one that I think will be well received and give MMO players something to look forward to next year. It’s still a pretty big story for that genre and I’m a little disappointed that most of the mainstream gaming media ignored it.
Bethesda’s presser was the only one I watched, perhaps because 2018’s was so incredible. This year was… lacking. Kind of sad, to be honest. Todd Howard tried to poke fun at himself (again) for the buggy products that Bethsoft pushes out, but it came off as pretty lame, as did the excessive “let’s watch our staff stream more DOOM!” bits. However, I’m glad they’re pouring more work into Fallout 76, and while I’m sure you heard me roll my eyes at the battle royale announcement, it’s definitely a good idea to bring in NPCs into this world.
One big theme of the show was cloud-based streaming services for gaming, like Google Stadia. I don’t know how I feel about this. We’ve kind of heard companies promise this so much in the past, and I guess if they can crack it, then it’ll benefit all gamers substantially. Won’t really impact me, as I’ll still be on a desktop, but hey, I’ll keep an open mind about it.
Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy VII remake puzzles me, especially how the studio isn’t just giving the old game a visual overhaul but is breaking it up into multiple games and remaking it as an action-adventure RPG. I’m not champing at the bit to play it, but seeing this in the news made me want to replay FF7 for the first time since I was in college.
The only other stories that got my attention seemed to all be upcoming RPGs. Yes, I’m still on board for Cyberpunk 2077 (now with 400% more Keanu Reeves) and The Outer Worlds, and Baldur’s Gate III and Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2 both have me hoping that these titles will do their respective series proud.