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The first day brought us presentations by Microsoft, Bethesda, and Devolver Digital. Now that some time has passed and we have gathered our thoughts, each of us from Critical Coins will share our impressions of the press conferences we watched.
If Day 1 of E3 2019 could be summed up in a meal, it would be a decent beef stew with stale bread that was lacking just the slightest amount of butter to make it edible.
On this first day of E3 we were treated to the main course of the day, Microsoft, who for all intents and purposes was forced to become the main press conference of E3 2019 due to Sony bowing out this year. What this resulted in was a substantial press conference that had a lot to offer, but it seemed to lack any pizazz. Perhaps the best example of this was when it came to Microsoft’s first-party titles, games that traditionally garnered a lot of the spotlight during Microsoft’s previous press conferences. At this year’s E3, these titles felt almost pushed to the side to make room for everything else. Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Forza Horizon 4 DLC, and even Gears of War 5 were all given the spotlight, but for a far shorter time than I was expecting. Gears of War 5, in particular, is releasing later this year and is essentially Microsoft’s last hurrah for the Xbox One, but all that was learned about was the new multiplayer mode and not a whole more. Perhaps less was shown off because of the existence of Inside Xbox, but being their one major title releasing this year, it was disappointing to see so little shown.
Outside of Microsoft’s existing first party titles, there was plenty to be shown from their newly acquired titles. While games like Outer Wilds stood out to me initially, many of them seemed interesting but personally, I wouldn’t play. What felt odd, was that these titles didn’t feel as first-party titles when presented by Microsoft, rather, they felt like another third-party developer simply highlighting their game during Microsoft’s presentation. I can only assume that this is due to Microsoft’s new philisophy of spreading the titles, but it really takes the bite out of the significance of the announcements. No longer are they Xbox and PC exclusives, they are simply Microsoft titles. More games are always great, but it again made the presentation feel like a catch-all rather than an Xbox presentation.
Finally, we were treated to a glimpse into Microsoft’s next console, and of course, the next Halo. Nearly identical to how the Xbox One X was announced, a quick sizzle real was provided on what this next console could be, but extremely limited on the details. A new Halo was perhaps the most exciting of all the announcements of the presentation, setting the stage for the next title, after what appears to be humanity losing. While again, not much was shown, the fact that Microsoft announced this as a launch title for their next console was both fantastic and left me feeling a little disappointed. If any company was to remove the console generation barriers, I felt it would be Microsoft, and while this is neither confirmed nor denied, having Halo: Infinite as a title that would be playable on both would have been a great announcement.
Overall, Microsoft’s presentation was good, but not great, a solid showing
Bethesda was the stale bread of the day’s announcements. While I completely expect Bethesda’s announcements to be lacking, that didn’t truly set in until the presentation itself. Outside of the two games announced, that no gameplay was revealed for, the highlight of the presentation was Doom Eternal. Even then, Doom is Doom after all, and regardless of how good of a title it is, the gameplay is such that to get the full effect, one must actually play the game. Doom is really just murder followed by even more murder and, for a presentation, it becomes monotonous. Beyond this, Bethesda’s presentation was more about fixing past games they released, highlighting mobile games, and reminding everyone of what is already announced and coming up. We know already about Wolfenstein, we know already about Fallout 76, and we know about Rage 2. The only difference now is that we know about new content coming to Fallout 76 to fix it, more gameplay regarding Wolfenstein, and Rage 2 is getting some sort of update. These are the types of announcements that don’t need a press conference and made the entire presentation extremely lacking and boring, as the main content that I was looking forward to–game announcements–was virtually non-existent.