E3 never used to start on a Monday -- let alone a Monday dedicated to the Queen's Birthday, BBQs and Australian things that aren't video games.
But things change and here we are. Day one (or day zero) of E3 is complete and we have a number of new video games to look forward to.
EA's conference was a little lackluster by most accounts, and you sort of suspected that might be the case after it announced a switch up in how it was handling E3. EA's conference was usually sandwiched between Microsoft and Sony, somewhere on the Tuesday morning. A time to sit wired on coffee waiting for Battlefield or Mass Effect news, and sleep walking through weird Madden presentations. This time it was starting the show... with a whimper.
We got a short look at Mass Effect Andromeda. That was cool, but I wanted to see more. Battlefield 1 got its multiplayer debut, but we already knew about that game and had a decent idea of how it would look and play.
Bizarrely, for me, it was a sports game that grabbed my attention most effectively. I'm talking, of course, about FIFA 17 and its radical new facelift.
The FIFA franchise has been coasting for a while now, to the point where some hardened football fans believe that Pro Evolution Soccer is now the better game. That thought hadn't been entertained for years, which suggests EA has taken its foot off the pedal with soccerball. But FIFA 17 is doing something I'd long hoped it would do: bring the silly, super camp single-player storyline mode from Fight Night Champion to soccer.
If you haven't played Fight Night Champion (and you really should) here's a quick explainer. EA brought all the cliche and drama of a Rocky movie into the video game realm, providing players with higher stakes, characters they cared about, and a goddamn reason to punch people in the face in the middle of a boxing ring. It made so much sense I'm amazed it's taken EA this long to transfer the same concept to FIFA (or UFC for that matter, when is that gonna happen)?
Also -- finishing the trailer with an overhead kick. Yes. Of course. Goes without saying. All football trailers have to end this way. All of them.
Bethesda's press conference started with a real sense of urgency. In hindsight a Quake reboot was a super safe bet, but I honestly didn't see it coming.
But it's hard not to feel a little jibbed at the whole situation. Quake Champions: even the name suggests that the game will feature squad shooting elements and abilities -- all sorts of nonsense. It's clearly an attempt to play to the MOBA crowd -- ill-advised considering the fact that anyone and everyone nostalgic about Quake is looking to play a brand new, modernised Arena-shooter. Quake feels like the last series that needs to mimic Overwatch. Quake needs to feel like a return to high-paced, frantic, twitch shooting. It's probably unfair to judge at this point, but I doubt that's what we're gonna get with Quake Champions.
It was supposed to be a quiet year for Bethesda, but they ended up making some serious noise. I have zero interest in Elder Scrolls Legends, their me-too-please version of Hearthstone, but I will cage fight to the death the person who refused to stir when Skyrim's emphatic theme music started to play.
Yes, you're damn right I want to play Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim remastered. You're damn right I want to re-enter that universe with a fresh coat of paint and full access to mods on console. That, in my mind, is a perfect stop gap to the Elder Scrolls VI, whatever shape or form it may take. I am so down.
I am also 'down' for Dishonored 2, which looked absolutely fantastic.
Dishonored 2 took up the majority of the Bethesda conference's time, and rightly so. The art design, the world building and the eye for detail has me completely sold on this sequel. I love the ability to choose between two seperate protagonists, each with their own dialogue and perspective. I love the new abilities and how they're integrated into the universe. I am supremely excited by the whole time travel mechanic. Anything that alters a game world in mind-bending ways -- ala Metroid Prime, Batman: Arkham Asylum or A Link to the Past -- is solid gold in my eyes. I can't wait to see more on how this whole thing works, and how it provides players with a new ability to problem solve in Dishonored 2.
Oh, and Prey. I almost forgot about that. Prey looked fantastic. I wish it wasn't hampered by the 'Prey' name and all the baggage that comes with it, but I am excited to play a new video game that looks as weird as that trailer suggests.
And holy shit: Link might rock climb in the new Zelda?
What a time to be alive.