Nigmabox Rundown (6/12) E3 2017: I Really Should Have Taken Off Work Today

Trying to follow E3 news while working a very busy job where the only down time I have during lunch is not very fun, and as such I have spent nearly the entirety of my evening catching up to E3 and watching what I missed.  I’m just thankful that Microsoft moved their conference to Sunday, otherwise I would have been writing until I was struggling to stay awake.  Well, more than I am when finally publishing this.  

I really do mean it when I say I am staying up very late to get everything done, and in order to mitigate that slightly, I am going to be glossing over a lot of minor things as I go through the third annual PC Gaming Show, the Ubisoft conference,and the Sony conference.  Especially witht eh PC Gaming Show, which I lacked the needed time to even watch most of.  

For the prior two years, Penelope Cooper’s inability to keep a disgruntled audience entertained as she talked about how PC gaming is the best of them all has caused her events to be underpopulated and probably did wonders for her confidence, being such a small newcomer amongst established giants.  He talk show format and use of secondary sources could make a point for why PC gaming is the best of the bunch, but her reasons are often lacking, and her presentation lacks the same level of enjoyability as others.  Also, I still do not think she knows how to write a research paper.

While I did not watch all of this event, I did check over the news, and it certainly sounds as if I was not missing much, as there were only about three games shown that caught my eye.  Well, aside from another trailer for the slick cyberpunk noir cinematic platformer The Last Night and the Advance Wars inspired Wargroove.

Ooblets is a game with a cute and more minimalistic art style where you can grow monsters in your garden, decorate rooms, dance with friendly NPCs, and explore a seemingly vast world filled with mother monster folk to befriend and battle in the form of simple turn based combat.  It is basically Story of Seasons X Pokemon X Animal Crossing from what was shown, and never has a game concept been so incredibly inviting and woefully intimidating due to the time commitment it would demand.  Thankfully, Ooblets seems to skirt past the obsessive RPG elements of those games and is instead focuses on providing a chill and happy time.  It will come out for PC and Xbox One sometime in 2018.

Tunic reminds me of how the gameplay of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was originally envisioned as being used for an isometric Zelda game where everything looked like a toy diorama, mostly because that is basically what Tunic is.  A 2D Zelda game presented in an isometric manner that involves the protagonist progressing through a fairly simply detailed world, filled with mysterious creatures who wish to do them harm.  Except instead of Link, it is a fox person in a spiffy green tunic.  While its comparisons are worn on its sleeves, the game does try and add in unique twists with regards to the combat and such, and will hopefully succeed as a Zelda-esque title when it comes out for PC, Mac, and Consoles in 2018.

Griftlands is an RPG from Klei, developers of Mark of the Ninja and Don’t Starve, that boasts both impressive 2D visuals as has become expected of the developer and an in depth negotiation system where the player is encouraged to get their way through and past things by making dialog choices and generally good decisions about how you want the protagonist and her crew to operate.  I am admittedly a bit confused how things work based on the more minimalistic trailer, but the concept is at least somewhat intriguing to me.  The game is set to release in early 2018.

European exchange student Uri Softich was most notable at the past few iterations of these events for how he enjoyed fusing with his mother’s black friend in order to satiate his feitshistic desires to be a tall black woman.  However, the woman learned about Uri’s desires, and promptly bailed on this event, leaving this mildly disproportionate French dandy boy on his own to entertain the crowd and stir up hype.  All while not thinking about how the capitalist houndog Vivi Darn may kidnap him after the presentation is over.  Uri personally thought that if he was captured, he would be turned into a dog loli slave that would need to do all sorts of sexual acts in order to regain the ability to speak a human language. Uri spends too much time on Exhentai.

Ubisoft began the festivities by formally announcing Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, the Mario and Rabbids crossover that has been known about for, oh, nearly a year at this point.  As revealed information has previously stated, the game will center around Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi along with their cosplaying Rabbid counterparts as they explore a Mushroom Kingdom that has been warped and mutated by the Rabbids’ presence, fending off enemy Rabbids as they do so via turn based tactical combat that is most comparable to XCOM: Enemy Unknown.  

Characters each have their own unique ability, move to and from cover, which can be destroyed, and team members can work together to lock enemies in deadly attack combos and increase their mobility by jumping on top of their allies or by going through conveniently placed pipes.  While I am quite concerned about the game’s style of humor, as I simply do not find the Rabbids very endearing, what was shown actually looks pretty promising, and looks distinctly non-traditional for a Mario game, even beyond the unique environments and equippable guns.  The game will release for the Switch on August 29th.

Following a flaccid announcement via an investor meeting summary, The Crew 2 was shown off.  Much like the first game, it is built around the fantasy of driving around the continental United States in extravagant vehicles, except this time the roster of vehicles is beyond cars and motorbikes and now includes planes and boats, which seems like an obvious choice considering how they already mapped out the entire country, and have apparently refined their map with this successor.  Ubisoft has a habit of releasing underwhelming first entries in a new IP before greatly improving things with a sequel, and I think that will be the case here.  Mind you, the concept still sounds incredibly boring to me, but those who are interested will be able to check the game out when it comes out on the three primary systems in early 2018.

The similarly announced Far Cry 5 was also shown, and it looks like one would expect.  The player is tasked with freeing the people of a small Montana town that have been subjected by a malicious Christian cult, and the world reflects this.  The big change with regards to the gameplay seems to be a reliance on “Guns for Hire” who can help the player dispatch enemies, and may even include a co-op partner.  It is a fine feature to include, but the game’s most notable point of interest is still how it has modern Christian fundamentalists as antagonists, which will probably rustle up some jimmies, but only those of people who deserve to be all rustled up.

After the success of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, I’m sure that many were wondering if Ubisoft intended to continue upon the gameplay formula in that game.  Well, the answer is yes, as Ubisoft announced Skull & Bones, a pirate themed “tactical action game” set in a the early 1700s that puts players in an open online world where they must partner with and fight against other players in order to prove themselves to be the greatest pirate of them all, seeing as how the game is a multiplayer and clan driven game that encourages player versus player combat and will supposedly lack much in the way of a story.  However, it is a bit early to say much more, as the game is not due out until Fall 2018.

Another game due out around the same time is the space game that Ubisoft teased as an in-game leak in Watch Dogs 2.  Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a game about exploring a small collection of themed planets with a fully customizable spacecraft while also dealing with a vaguely defined antagonistic force creatively named the Legion.  It looks to be a fair game from what was shown, but the biggest thing to mention is the game’s peripheral.  It is a plastic strap that is placed over your controller and contains a small rod with a model spaceship affixed onto it.  This spaceship is moddable and will change the look and properties of your spaceship in-game.  Not only is this greatly unappealing and likely to get annoying, but this reads like a recipe to push a toys to life for a single game, and tie it into a central mechanic in a manner far beyond anything I have ever seen beforehand.

After nearly a decade of wishy washy teasing, Ubisoft has finally reconfirmed Beyond Good and Evil 2 and reannounced it as a prequel to the original title that will follow an entirely new cast of pirates as they smuggle their way to riches in a corporate controlled solar system, traveling to a variety of different planets filled with all sorts of people and animal people, in their quest of riches and likely justice.  From what was shown via the CG cutscene, the world still has a grounded yet playful and eccentric charm that I felt was the greatest strength of the first game, and features some characters who, while a bit on the nose, seem like fun people who I would like to get to know.

There is reason to be excited based on this announcement, but at the tail end of it, director Michel Ancel mentioned how the game will feature a seamless online playground, implying there to be some sort of multiplayer component, which I doubt any fan of the original really wants.  However, more details on this will be revealed as Ubisoft plans on involving fans rather closely with the development of this game, and launched a program that does not seem dissimilar to the one Capcom launched for Mega Man Legends 3.  I just hope this does not end with Michel Ancel leaving the company and Ubisoft cancelling the campaign right as a demo was about to be released.  That would be woefully upsetting.

Beyond what I covered, there was a bit more on Assassin’s Creed Origins, if only to acknowledge its existence at this press conference.  More footage of South Park: Fractured But Whole, marking the third year in a row the game was featured at Ubisoft’s press conferences.  Though it is finally coming out on October 17th, 2017.  There was an odd VR thriller thing that I think is going to also be an FMV game by the name of Transference.  In addition to an Olympics themed expansion pack for Steep due out on December 5th.  

As a whole, Ubisoft’s showing was good, yet they clearly did not have a lot to talk about that was coming out relatively soon, as their two new IPs are not due out until late next year and Beyond Good and Evil 2 is who knows how long away.  Also Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, but I know that game is going to be extremely divisive.  Plus, the decision to add online elements as a cornerstone to Beyond Good and Evil 2 is honestly just baffling to me.  I would ponder this further, but I need to move on to Sony.

Sonia Entin has been on something of a roll as of late, pleasing all the people with her captivating and enticing presentations, with the last one even having a full orchestra.  With her favoritest console being set to be the dominant system of this generation, she has been doing rather well and is able to speak with great confidence.  Well, unless you ask her about the Vita.

Sony’s press conference consisted of basically a barrage of games condensed in an hour, so things are actually a bit compact to unpack.  The show began with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, the stand alone snip-off of the series starring two female protagonists as they go on an adventure to a war torn middle eastern country and a series of ruins as they hunt for *insert relic here* The chemistry between the characters and general tone of the storyline are both on par with the level of writing and characterization Naughty Dog has been known for, and the game will likely be a memorable end for the series when the game launches.  Whenever that is.

Following the incredibly warm critical reception, an expansion for Horizon: Zero Dawn was announced under the subtitle of The Frozen Wilds.  The game will place protagonist Alloy in an unsurprisingly wintery and harsh environment, where she must deal with the harsh weather along with what are hinted at as being new and ferocious robot dinosaurs.  While I know very little about the base game, this idea sounds promising, if a bit tertiary, as if it is something to keep developers busy while pre-production on Horizon 2 is ongoing.  The game will be out sometime in 2017.

Following its announcement last year, Zombie apocalypse game #5,287 Days Gone was shown once more, and despite Sony’s insistence that the game is somehow something special, it really does not seem that way.  The environment is that of the pacific northwest, rich with forests and the like, but generally seen before, the zombie threat is only made menacing due to their massive numbers and rapid speed while the conflicts with humans and variety of stealth present here is very reminiscent of The Last of Us.  In fact, the entire game really does strike me as Sony Bend trying to make their own rendition of The Last of Us, except the story seems pretty plain so far and the game is clearly walking in the shadow of something else.  I do not like being bitter about this kind of thing, but I cannot justify optimism either.

A while before E3, there was a rumor that while Capcom wanted to support the PS4 with a more western oriented Monster Hunter game while also continuing to create games for Nintendo systems.  While I cannot say for certain that the Nintendo side of the rumor, Monster Hunter: World certainly proves the former.  The game is the first true high detail and modern looking entry in the series for the past decade or so.  The monsters are far more detailed than they were before, there are new mechanics like hiding in bushes, camouflage, and pitting monsters against each other, and everything is given a more dramatic flare due to the higher technical capabilities the developers may now utilize.  I am unfamiliar with the series, but I am sure that a lot of fans will be very excited for this title when it launches in early 2018 for PS4 and Xbox One, with a PC version due out on a later date.

While I could scratch my head at the next bit of news for being unnecessary, Shadow of the Colossus is one of the most heralded games of all time, and while it receiving a quality HD remastering was sufficient, it receiving a full on remake is also pretty amazing.  From Sony Japan and Bluepoint games comes what appears to be a straight forward rebuilding of the original 2005 title with modern technology and the extra flare that it can give to the titular colosi.  The title will release in 2018, but by that point, I really do hope that the game gets a subtitle, so a year does not need to be awkwardly affixed to the end of its name like a suffix.

After being revealed half a year ago, Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite was shown off, this time focusing on the story campaign that the game will launch with.  While my familiarity with most of the Marvel side is not very deep, as I do not watch films very often or read comics, I always love the very concept of a crossover storyline like this, and while it may be pretty simple conceptually, there were enough good moments in this trailer to make me want to at least check out the cutscenes one the game released on September 19th, 2017.

Seeing as how Sony needs to at least attempt to support their ancillary platforms before they are likely dropped in favor of focusing on the main platform, there was a showcase of various Playstation VR titles.  These included The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, which I should not be surprised by considering Bethesda’s push for VR.  Star Child, a game where I believe the player serves as a giant robot who resides in the background of a 2.5D game and assists an AI controlled little boy as he traverses around an alien world with with basic looking monsters… yeah, it really is not clear at all.  

The Inpatient, a horror game about a person placed in a cartoonishly grim mental hospital where some supernatural stuff is going on.  Bravo Team, a first person cover based shooter that looks like more of a tech demo than anything.  Moss, a game about guiding a brave little mouse knight as he goes through a fantasy world and fights off various monsters with the player helps him out.  Along with, finally, Final Fantasy XV: Monster of the Deep, a VR fishing game that expands on the fishing in the original release.  I would say anything more, but as I said in prior posts, I am just not interested in VR.  

After being a surprise title of last year’s showing, the subtitle-less God of War reboot and sequel was shown off yet again, this time through gameplay and cutscene snippets that show how the gameplay is still quite weightier and more reserved than it was in prior installments.  Along with showing some of the more interesting elements that would come with a world based on norse mythology, like Kratos’ new buddy, Jörmungandr the World Serpent.  However, my core take away from this trailer was how the game will be focusing on both Kratos and his son growing up and changing as people.  The son will learn how to be a warrior while Kratos will learn how to be both a father and a human, after he kind of lost his way after his genocidal quest in God of War III.  The game is due out in early 2018.

After being repeatedly shown and teased, another trailer for Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human was revealed, this time reiterating how the game will be centered around a revolution between commercialized androids and humans, a conflict that the player will be able to influence using multiple character in order to ideally give everybody a slightly different experience, but this is a David Cage game, so there is reason to believe that the differences will be more circumstantial and mean little in the grand scheme of things.  I honestly do want this game to be impressive and tell a compelling story, but with the track record of the studio’s leader and by extension the studio itself, I have every reason to doubt the game.  Also, it somehow still lacks even a release year.

The conference ended with what I believe to be the first stretch of full gameplay from Insomniac’s unsubtitled Spider-Man game, which looked like both Arkham Asylum with the dodge, strike, and counter driven combat system along with the hanging from perches and taking down enemies stealth system.  However, it does have one big difference, and that is an incredibly amount of highly intensive cutscenes that are so prevalent that I honestly cannot help but find this entire trailer suspicious.  So many things look far too clean and perfected, and the whole display that make me unsure if the trailer is unrepresentative of the final game or if Insomniac is actually trying to make this game as cinematic as possible, in which case they did an amazing job.  I guess people will find out as the game draws nearer to its release in 2018.  

That is all for the press conference, but some other Playstation related announcements were made.  The first and worst being how the Minecraft cross-platform deal that Microsoft announced yesterday would not include Playstation platforms.  No reason was given, but this strikes me as a major blow, as everybody could have had a great time playing one of the most influential and successful games of all time together, but nope.  Sony just had to poop in the punch bowl.  Lighter news consisted that Knack 2 will be releasing on September 5th, and received a new trailer that makes the game look far better than the mediocre launch game that was the original.  While Undertale will be coming to PS4 and Vita, where it will also receive a full Japanese translation.  Neither of which I expected and both of which are great news.

As a whole, Sony’s showing was not very remarkable, which is unusual considering how many strong conferences they have had in the past.  They likely announced too many things too early, and as such need to have more of a break year, which this served as.  With only two big reveals to mention, and a bunch of formerly announced titles that are not coming out for a while, there was not a ton of things to get all that excited about.  To an extent, that sentiment could be applied to a lot of E3 this year.  There were a lot of games shown, but not a lot that was surprising.

That is all for today, and I am now done with the hard part of E3.  *Falls over and dies*

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