Our Impressions of E3 2017 – Part 1

E3 2017 ended on Thursday and did we get some exciting news, trailers, announcements, and gameplay out of it. Last week, Xbox Culture posted an article with the thoughts of several writers and editors from the website. We talked about a lot of wants, expectations, and predictions, but now we are going to follow up to see what really stood out for us from each major conference. We had a lot of thoughts, so this is a special, 2 Part article! Click this link for Part 2.

Be sure to vote for “Who Won E3 2017” here!

Our contributors for this article:

Tyler Eirckson
Tyler Erickson
Senior Writer, Host of Gaming Culture Radio Podcast

 

 

Eugene
Eugene Belmont
Staff Writer, Co-Host of Gaming Culture Radio Podcast

 

 

Sam Goldstein
Sam Goldstein
Staff Writer

 

 

Dan Stewart
Dan Stewart
Staff Writer

 

 

Nat Edson
Nat Edson
Staff Writer

 

 

Rami Tabari
Rami Tabari
Staff Writer

 

 

Ryan DePalma
Ryan DePalma
Sub Editor

 

 

Mike Solseth
Mike Solseth
Sub Editor

 

 

Graham
Graham Hale
Staff Writer, Co-Host of Gaming Culture Radio Podcast

 

 

Now that introductions are out of the way, let’s get started! Here are our impressions of E3 2017!

 

Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts

Eugene Belmont:
I wasn’t expecting much as I tuned in for EA’s conference. As usual, their focus were their key sports titles, which I didn’t find too impressive this year. I did get excited however as I heard the drum line play, with the hopes of a NCAA game, but unfortunately, my hopes were crushed. You could also definitely tell they were excited about Battlefront II. They addressed all of the issues such as missing single player campaign, DLC releases, and repetitive multiplayer head on. I feel as if this took too much time, with over 20 minutes of multiplayer gameplay shown, and then at the end the conference, they showed their cash grab mobile game, Galaxy of Heroes. I found this to be a bit annoying. Let’s not forget the mini preview of Anthem, which helped highlight the Scorpio event, as it was a nice surprise.

Dan Stewart:
Battlefront II. Need I say more? This game blew my mind when we finally got to see the multiplayer in action; with so many different wishes confirmed for the game, it’s hard to not be impressed by everything that EA and DICE have to offer up for consumption here. The game looks fantastic, and seemingly contains every bit of feedback that fans have been screaming in their faces since the divisive first attempt at the Battlefront license on current gen consoles. I mean, other games were revealed, but Battlefront II completely stole the conference for me.
Other than Battlefront, EA showed off the standard yearly sports games we’ve come to expect and they look just as sporty as always. We also saw a new entry for Need For Speed but honestly, it was so forgettable that I don’t really remember much other than it just looked like Fast & Furious: The Video Game, so take that as you will.

Nat Edson:
Look, I’d be lying if I said I was totally zoned in for most of this one. EA is always a mixed bag and they spend an unholy amount of time talking about mobile games and their plethora of sports titles. Fortunately, it picked back up towards the end with some cool things like the Anthem reveal, and while it was almost definitely too long, the Battlefront II footage was still pretty sweet.

Rami Tabari:
No. Just… no. Like why… I don’t… $1000 on a card game? Really? Why do you even have a conference?

Ryan DePalma:
Let’s agree that the EA conference never happened, okay?

Mike Solseth:
When it comes to EA, I usually never have many strong impressions of their conference. As such, this year was sadly no exception as it was about what I had expected. That said, I will give credit to EA for three things: The Battlefront II demo shown wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, thus I feel better about renting the game than the first game, Anthem did intrigue us quite a bit to get us interested for Microsoft’s conference the next day, and A way out definitely looked quite fascinating with the co-op prison break gameplay. With all that said, it was still painful as all hell to watch and it did feel like their other game of interest was put off to the side for Microsoft to use to make it a powerhouse announcement. As such, it goes without saying that out of all the conferences, EA had the poorest one.

Graham Hale:
For a company that has the rights to so many great franchises, they have a hard time showcasing them in a proper manner. It’s like the saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. EA has a great array of titles, but they fail year after year to get fans excited for their product.

The biggest of their mistakes this time around, I would have to say, was handing off the glory of their new, big IP, Anthem, over to Microsoft. I’m not sure what their reason for this was, but I hope it was a good one because this was not a smart choice on their part. This game has garnered most of the talk from E3, and this talk is now centered around Microsoft as opposed to EA.

Besides Anthem, there were other EA titles that caught my attention, and one that I’m intrigued to try out and see if it lives up to the hype, which the presenter showcased. Now, this wasn’t an EA big title, in fact, this is a title from an independent studio, through EA Originals, a program from EA that’s designed to support the independent gaming studios of the world. This program already provided us with Unravel, which is a game that I loved right away. This time we saw the game A Way Out. This is a story-driven co-op only game, but it looks like it’s gonna be a ton of fun, and hopefully has the replay value that they have been pushing; we’ll see. The next title that fans were excited to see, and got an extended look at gameplay was Star Wars Battlefront II, and this time it has a campaign, which is something that the fans wanted since Star Wars Battlefront. Besides Star Wars, they announced a few other titles, but nothing that got me excited. Being a fan of the NHL series, it would be nice to see some gameplay from NHL 18, but this was a pipe dream. Hopefully, EA will give us a sample of their NHL title in the upcoming years. Doubtful!

Microsoft Xbox

Microsoft Xbox

Tyler Erickson:
A lot of people are saying the Microsoft conference disappointed, but I beg to differ. The expectations for this conference were so ridiculously high, fueled even more by a lot of “rumors” about the price of the previously known Scorpio that I think were mostly driven by fan want more than reality. Seeing this conference in 4K on Mixer really helped, as Microsoft was able to make a very compelling argument for purchasing the new Xbox One X. Every game they showed looked absolutely stunning, especially Forza 7, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Metro, and Anthem. The announcement of the Xbox One X itself was impressive, and I think they laid out the argument correctly in that they showed the console, showed what it can do to wow the people in the audience, and then deliver the price tag after everyone has bought into the power of the console. The OG Xbox backward compatibility announcement was big, as was the fact that aside from Anthem, Microsoft didn’t show any game slated for a later than early 2018 release. I get the argument that the console was priced too high, but as an owner of a 4K TV with HDR, I ask myself why I’d purchase that TV if I’m not willing to spend $100 more on a console to get the absolute best experience that TV allows me to have? Despite the ultra high expectations, Microsoft still delivered on all fronts this year, and it showed with the most energized crowd for a Microsoft conference in quite some time.

Eugene Belmont:
Microsoft did exactly what they needed to: they kept their overall message about the fans. They delivered the message about the Scorpio as well, which was announced as the Xbox One X, and it really is the most powerful console of all time. Looking at Forza, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and Metro, they were all mind-blowing to look at in UHD, especially since I was broadcasting in 4K from Mixer. Although the visuals and power of the console were impressive, a few things stand out to me. First of all is the price. The Xbox One X was announced at $499, which isn’t too ridiculous, as you’re getting a premium console. But that is where my other point comes in. The console is merely a luxury item; it is not necessary to have to play any future games, and all games will be compatible with all iterations of the One. It definitely is tempting, especially since I have a 4K TV, but I will probably wait until at least a $100 decrease. I was impressed with the total amount of games, and also the release dates being announced for the majority of them. I really hope that Microsoft and other developers have set precedence with future E3’s, and everyone will focus only on games either coming the current year or within the next 6-8 months. In regards to the number of games, there were definitely a lot, I just wished we could have seen more AAA first party titles. I was impressed with Forza, and definitely excited for smaller titles like Ori, but Crackdown was “meh” for me. Overall, there was not a dull moment with the announcements of all the games, and I’m excited to play some games in true 4K.

Sam Goldstein:
I’m going to start with my negatives, so I can get them out of the way. To begin, I am not a fan of going from Scorpio, which was sexy, to Xbox One X! Perhaps Microsoft was hoping everybody would be impressed with how the acronym for X-Box-One-X is XBOX, but I can’t even tell if it was intentional. I’m more worried about the confusion that will ensue when somebody tries to describe having one, Xbox One X box. The console seems cool, but the poor nomenclature is a perfect nitpick.
For the sake of brevity, let us move to positives. Thankfully, there was a lot to love at this year’s E3. While I do not think any of the conferences overall was spectacular, I enjoyed many of the announcements and trailers I got to see. I was particularly impressed with Microsoft’s display of indie titles. I know many people complain about seeing indie games shown at E3, but I completely disagree with this. A good indie title deserves attention and support. Maybe not to the degree of No Man’s Sky, to the point where the title’s value and self-worth become over-inflated. But I was happy to see many great looking indie titles. I can’t wait to see more of Cuphead, The Last Night, and especially Ashen. I was happy to see Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord gameplay, though I think that after years of delays it is time to give fans a release date, or at least an honest release window. I am also really glad to see backward compatibility coming to the original Xbox. As an Xbox One owner, I‘m glad to see Microsoft finally beginning to understand what its fans want out of the Xbox One. You’re the man, Phil Spencer!

Dan Stewart:
Microsoft smashed it out of the park at this year’s E3, with games like Forza 7, Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves and of course, the stellar looking Anthem; impressing almost everyone with its fantastic gameplay, that acts as a hybrid of Destiny and The Division to create the potential next big multiplayer hit. All of which was accompanying the impressive reveal of the Xbox One X, the most powerful console of all time that dwarfed every other conference with its sheer power and the confirmation of many of the games at E3 having enhanced versions for the system. The conference ended up being the most talked about on social media, with good reason. Well played Microsoft, well played indeed.

Nat Edson:
I’m a sucker for new tech and the promise of a premium console, as ludicrous as that sounds, it was really exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still really excited, but… Xbox One X? That’s really what you’re going with? The conference had a lot of really great moments otherwise, ranging from a plethora of beautiful indie titles to promises of amped up quality. The Darwin Project stood out as being presented well (the color commentator was hilarious) and we got our first real look at Anthem. It definitely is a pretty game, and it has a lot of promise, but I’ve been burned by such games in the past. Also, can the people that make those demo trailers stop having the people playing the game use trumped up jargon? Gamers don’t talk like that. Nobody talks like that.

Rami Tabari:
First off, Scorpio still sounds way better. Second, I feel like flaunting all these specs at us didn’t give any effect. Sure the audience applauds, but I doubt they knew what six teraflops actually meant. I wish we got to see side by side comparisons of games running on the One X vs the original. Other than that and the completely unnecessary reveal of the Forza car, I thought the conference was pretty solid. We got to see a huge array of games, my favorites including Anthem, Dragon Ball Fighter Z, and Ashen. Microsoft finally has the power, the One X, all they need now is more exclusives. If Anthem was an exclusive, it would have really been, (pardon my phrasing) a game-changer.

Ryan DePalma:
Microsoft brought the quantity to E3. Between the Xbox One X (not a fan of the name) and all the new games, there was a lot to be excited about….if you didn’t mind hearing the words ‘exclusive’ and ‘4K’ every twenty seconds. Ashen looked like a great indie title, and Anthem looks like EA’s attempt at Destiny. Those 2018 release dates really killed my interest though. Everything else was unimpressive, especially the One X’s price tag.

Mike Solseth:
The joys of being the only one of the big three with some new hardware to play with. While this has been a long time coming, it was nice to see the now called Xbox One X and all the fun details of it. That said, that was just a minor detail for me since I was more interested in the games shown, and I have to say that there were quite a few that grabbed my attention. Anthem did look fascinating and I can’t wait until we get more details for it, Dragon Ball Fighter Z was hands down the best new fighting game shown off this year, and who doesn’t love Terry Crews as he is yelling about Crackdown? There was a nice mix of games and surprises out of the Microsoft conference, although one could agree that there weren’t that many that we could call “impactful”. Still, kudos to Microsoft for showing off what we can expect this year.

Graham Hale:
For this conference, I used my Xbox One S on my 4K TV to stream the show on Mixer, and this was by far the optimum way to view the upcoming games in all its beauty, running in true 4K. But by doing this I might have sealed my fate of having to buy the Xbox One X on day one. I feel that if I don’t play any of the 4K capable titles in its intended optimum capability, I am doing a disservice to the developers that put so much time and energy in creating these beautiful creations, and now that I know visually what’s out there, I would feel that my experience is lacking a better visual experience. So with that being said, when the opportunity rears its head for me to pre-order this premium console, I will do just that.

So, now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to my thoughts on Microsoft’s 2017 E3 conference. I think overall Microsoft had a pretty impressive conference, and they brought their “A” game. One thing I noticed as the conference progressed was that they planned from the start to not bring attention to the final price of their forthcoming console. It wasn’t till towards the end of their conference that Phil Spencer announced the price of $499 USD for their premium console. Personally, I feel that this is a very reasonable price for the Xbox One X, given its specs. These are specs that you would normally find in a fairly high-end gaming PC, so I’d say that their price point is justified.

As far as content goes for their conference, they had an impressive amount of games that they announced and they also announced some major, exclusive triple A titles.

Bethesda

Bethesda

Tyler Erickson:
If you were going to put together a “how-to” video on E3 conferences, the Bethesda conference from this year would be it. They got people excited with VR, slowed down a bit with Skyrim and ESO, then built fans into a huge level of excitement with two trailers that set the standard for what video game trailers should be with The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein 2. Particularly the trailer for The Evil Within 2 – it was easily one of the best game trailers I have ever seen and made me want to be playing the game immediately. This is only Bethesda’s third conference, and arguably the best game developer on the planet today has already nearly mastered to formula for a great conference too.

Eugene Belmont:
“Wow!” Is how I basically sum up this conference. I admit I was thrown off a little bit when I first saw Bethesdaland, but my viewpoint changed very quickly as we got rolling. The announcements of Fallout VR and Doom VFR brought life into the peripheral, and I know they will make an appearance on the PSVR. They kept their message clear: the focus was on games that come out in 2017. I think this will be the future of E3, as most viewer’s feedback was positive with this mindset. At the end, they announced two new major titles: The Evil Within 2, and Wolfenstein 2. In my opinion, The Evil Within 2 was by far the most impressive trailer of the entirety of E3.

Sam Goldstein:
I wasn’t happy to see TWO different versions of Skyrim announced, with still no Elder Scrolls VI. I thought it was the perfect time to release some new content from Bethesda Game Studios. Maybe I am too attached, and I’ll admit that my judgment could be clouded on this matter. However, I think that everybody, regardless of bias, is entitled to displeasure regarding Bethesda’s new Creation Club. You can read my full take on the new content marketplace here. The short version is that I’m not opposed to the Creation Club. I am, however, extremely unimpressed with how Bethesda handled the reveal of their new feature. It seemed that the plan was to sweep the entire thing under the rug with a brief video and hope nobody noticed. I really hope this is not the case.

Dan Stewart:
Screw. Paid. Mods. Seriously Bethesda, your conference was an utter disappointment. Not only have they announced another 2 versions of a 6-year-old game in Skyrim VR and Switch; but Bethesda has announced their next attempt at charging people to mod their games with the Creation Club. This is something that caused a storm of hatred last time, and once again, has managed to anger the community because MODS SHOULD BE FREE. Other than that, The Evil Within 2 should be okay, more Dishonored 2 is always good, and Wolfenstein 2 looks awesome. It’s just a real shame that Bethesda have let us all down with everything else.

Nat Edson:
It might just be a personal thing, but I can’t stand dressed up presentation antics like “Bethesdaland”. I get where they were coming from, and why it jibes with the flavor of Fallout, but why couldn’t you just give us a normal presentation? Most of this failed to excite me. I don’t want VR for Fallout, and I certainly don’t want it for Doom. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus and The Evil Within 2 were exciting reveals, however, with the latter having arguably the best trailer in the entire show. Both my and the internet’s reaction to the Creation Club was so vitriolic I’m frankly skeptical it’ll ever release. We don’t want to have to pay for mods. Do not make us pay for mods.

Rami Tabari:
While Bethesdaland made me feel like I was tripping on acid, it was an interesting way to present their conference. The problem is that they didn’t really bring much to the table besides Wolfenstein 2 and The Evil Within 2. These games do warrant excitement, but it took 45 minutes to get to them, especially after their glorious reveal of Creation Club. Am I sure we all agree this is a horrible idea right? Okay great. Bethesda, from the bottom of my heart, stop milking Skyrim. Make a new game for the love of Elder Scrolls and your fans.

Ryan DePalma:
Bethesda had the best presentation in the entire expo. Sure, they didn’t announce anything substantial, but the Disneyland-esque atmosphere was cute and captivating. I love that they did something different. As a soon-to-be Nintendo Switch buyer, I’m pumped to explore Skyrim once again on a mobile platform. But, uh, paid mods? Really Bethesda? Ignoring that, Wolfenstein II and The Evil Within 2 are definitely on my wish list.

Mike Solseth:
Oh Bethesda… I don’t want to say, “How the Mighty have fallen,” since there was still great reveals like The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein 2. The problem, however, lies in the fact that this wasn’t much of a conference as it was like a Nintendo Direct, the constant breakdown of Skyrim on literally all possible systems, and what I’d say was the biggest miscommunication: The Creation Club. Had that been better expanded on, there might be people who were excited about the idea, but where things stand, that not only left a sour taste in people’s mouths but got a lot of people pissed off to a point where the video on Youtube is getting beat down with “Dislikes”. I’m happy that Bethesda is staying the course, but they might want to reevaluate how they do conferences (and if they should opt out to a direct presentation instead of an actual conference).

Graham Hale:
First off, I’m a fairly big fan of Bethesda, mainly due to the Fallout series. And after that, I’d have to say that up until this conference, my next favorite Bethesda franchise would be their Elder Scrolls franchise.

When I learned that Bethesda would be hosting their own conference once again; (Bethesda hosted their first conference last E3) my excitement and expectations grew. What were they going to announce? Perhaps a new Fallout spin-off game, like Fallout: New Vegas. And on top of that we were informed by Bethesda themselves that they were working on some new major IPs, so again, I was ready to hear about what they had in store for us. But alas, we didn’t see either of these. But this was not seen as a misstep because Bethesda planned their 2017 E3 conference around showcasing titles that would be released this year. And the way that they showed the world their upcoming releases, was nothing short of genius. It was awesome watching Bethesda go through their upcoming titles, by simulating attractions from their “Bethesdaland”. This proved to an effective way to keep me engaged from beginning to end, and what an ending it was.

So let’s talk about what games were announced that got me excited. First, it was great to see proof of their intent to support the Nintendo Switch, and being done via Skyrim. Now I’ll admit that I already own this game twice over, but being able to experience this on the Nintendo Switch may very well convince me to pick up this game again. But the biggest game of this conference for me was Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. Has mentioned before, I’m a big Fallout fan, and as I watched gameplay for this title I could not help but think that this game is teeming with flavors of Fallout, and as I watched all of what they had to offer from Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, I had myself convinced that this is an experience I wanted to experience and found myself pre-ordering it that same day.

Continue to Part 2…

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Written by: Eugene Belmont

A proud dad and nerd, Eugene has been playing a wide variety of video games since the late 1980’s. He is also a co-host of the Gaming Culture Radio podcast.

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