Now that all of the major publishers are through with their “Hey, look at me!” press conferences, it’s the time where people try to determine who “won” or lost E3. This is a week-long event, though, and we’ve only just wrapped up the first official day.
Indeed, E3 is a fluid event, with smaller, yet still significant reveals and demos coming to light. Our impressions of a company can change at a moment’s notice, and so we’ll do the logical thing while still getting to pretend we’re good enough to judge a company — power rankings!
Each day we’ll take a look at the E3 landscape and say which companies are better than others, because it makes us feel all big and important. And so, with Day 1 all sorted, let’s get to it.
We’re all still reeling at just how incredible Sony’s press conference was. A tremendous variety of PS4 games, a price that undercut the Xbox One by a full $100, and all without the anti-consumer DRM. Sony’s press conference was a club banger.
The conference wasn’t perfect, however. For two years running, the Vita was all but ignored at Sony’s press event, with no price drop or significant software reveals to be seen anywhere. Hopefully there will be more of the portable this week.
Nintendo really had to do to get Wii U back in the spotlight was to provide a steady stream of good looking games, and on that front they delivered. Super Smash Bros. on both Wii U and 3DS got people excited with great character reveals, while both Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 both impressed. Unfortunately, only Super Mario 3D World and the freshly announced Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze are coming in 2013, and barely at that.
The 3DS’s presence during today’s Nintendo Direct was minimal, on the other hand. Instead, Nintendo dropped a bunch of trailers on their YouTube page after the presentation, but at least they weren’t bad. We got a name for Zelda on 3DS — A Bridge Between Worlds — and Pokemon did its job.
Nintendo had a safe showing, but it was all it needed to be.
Microsoft promised games at E3, and after integrating intrusive DRM measures into the Xbox One it needed to deliver more than any of the first-party companies. They were certainly plentiful, and at first it was exciting to see Killer Instinct — that is, until it was revealed to be a free-to-play title this morning.
When it came down to brass tacks, it was hard to get very excited for a $500 machine that won’t let you do what you want with your games. Hopefully Microsoft will announce the rumored subscription-based model to bring the price down a bit, because right now it’s very difficult to justify buying an Xbox One over a PlayStation 4.
As one of the two third-party publishers with their own dedicated E3 press conference, people expect a big showing from EA every year. Their 2013 event did not disappoint, even though surprises were scant. They talked up their next-gen engines and how good they made their games look, although we were particularly impressed by Battlefield 4.
In the end, it really was DICE that stole the show. Besides their flagship shooter, they confirmed that, yes, a new Mirror’s Edge is indeed coming. Perhaps the most jaws hit the floor when it was revealed that they were also working on a new entry in the long dormant Star Wars: Battlefront series. Truly great stuff from one of EA’s top studios.
5. Square Enix
Square Enix didn’t even have their own press conference, but they garnered tons of good will from their fans by showing significant footage for Final Fantasy XV — formerly Final Fantasy Versus XIII — and Kingdom Hearts III at Sony’s press conference. Of course, both games will be coming to the Xbox One as well.
In the hunt: Ubisoft
Bonus entry! Ubisoft debuted Tom Clancy’s The Division, which was an impressive melding of third-person tactical warfare with MMO elements. However, they’ve been really pushing both Assassin’s Creed IV and Watch Dogs the last few months, and yesterday felt like we hit a saturation point. They’ll be fine games for sure, but they’re the kinds of games that fans will want to experience for themselves.