E3 2019, Day 1: Beautiful, Bloated Chaos.



So, Day One of E3 2019 is over – we’re not counting EA it seems because who counts EA these days – and… it was alright. It Wasn’t Terrible. There’s a marketing blurb for the masses.

We kicked off the day with Microsoft. I said that Sony’s entire no-show philosophy was hinging on Microsoft fumbling the ball, because if they did then Sony would rise with more power than we could have imagined. If Microsoft pulled it off, however, then Sony’s gambit would crumple and so would their own next-gen hype train.

Never underestimate the games industry though to find the middle-road through that though. Was Microsoft’s E3 Presser good? Sure, it was decent enough. Keanu Reeves showing up early built up the hype for Cyberpunk 2077, and it ended on Halo Infinite with a few announcements like Tales of Arise (which reminds me a little of Xenoblade Chronicles 2) and Phantasy Star Online 2 – which Sega ballsed up by not confirming a European release – and there were even plenty of indie games. Also, they bought out Double Fine Studios, and Tim Schafer seemed eager to work on some kind of Microsoft IP in the future.

So I expect The Adventures of Clippy sometime in 2021.

The problem? It was too long and too bloated. Announcing sixty games sounds amazing in theory but in practice, it can be horribly distracting and things start to bleed into each other. Having loads of content doesn’t work if more than half of that content fails to stick in the mind. The show could have cut some of the fat – perhaps having a separate indie showcase – and been a half-hour shorter, just for the sake of brevity.

But for all the complaints – it wasn’t a soul-crushing, childhood-destroying nuclear winter. No, for that, you had to wait for Bethesda’s show.

Why is this still a punchline?

Oh sweet lord. Where do we begin with this train-wreck?

I went to bed so angry and that clearly didn’t get any restful sleep, partly with Commander Keen being revived for a free-to-play mobile game. Yeah, one of the biggest parts of many childhoods and part of the reason most of us got into PC gaming before DOOM came along is back as a hideously anime-styled co-op free-to-play mobile game and I really need to go punch a wall before I continue.

OW GODDAMNIT THAT HURTS SO GOOD.

Fallout 76 got cheers – frankly, anything got cheers at Bethesda’s show, whatever they were giving that audience was of heavy potency, questionable legality and I need to know where to get some. A Battle Royale mode was added, as well as NPCs and Quests because… err… apparently no-one bought the lack of NPCs as a feature.

Elder Scrolls: Blades was announced for the Nintendo Switch – again, I swear to god they did this last year. Some more content for The Elder Scrolls Online, including an NPC – Sai Sahan – that I’m reliably informed by a friend who does play this game is actually a killable choice in a quest during the game. So how they’re going to fudge this I’m… not sure, but it’s not like anything made sense at two in the morning.

The big show was DOOM Eternal; yup, still DOOM and still awesome. I’ve been fairly resistant to collectors editions over the years for obvious reasons but that Doomslayer Helmet… nngh, daddy needs the big shiny thing…

So yeah. A hot, steaming mess. Memorable, sure, but for all the wrong reasons. Sony must have been laughing into their coffee, because this was kind of cringe.

And then Devolver Digital came to save the day. As always.

All Hail Our Lord and Savour, Nina Struthers!

The Continued Misadventures of Nina Motherf***ing Struthers careened into the Direct Presentation model this year with just as much violence, gore and awesome as we’ve come to expect. Of course, in previous years this was to cover the fact that the games themselves were… questionable in their veracity.

Not this year though. Enter The Gungeon: House of the Gundead is a thing. A light-gun game based in Enter The Gungeon and playing off House of the Undead… that was absolutely everything I ever wanted and/or needed last night and if I had the $4999.99 to blow on that full arcade cabinet, I’d be throwing this money down Ms. Struthers shirt. So I guess I’ll just have to wait for the inevitable Console Port like the peasanty pleb I am. Step on me, Ms. Struthers, for that would give this mortal life meaning. Ahem. Sorry, don’t know what came over me ignore that.

My Friend Pedro looks even more slick, Carrion looks like an interesting 2D Horror gaame, The Messenger is getting free DLC, Devolver Bootleg – an 8-in-1 pack of Officially Licenced Unofficial Bootleg Knockoffs of Devolver Digital games (wow, that was convoluted) is an actual thing. Fall Guys looks… like most multiplayer games, but hey, it’ll be interesting I’m sure.
As ever, however, the star of the show is Nina Struthers. And I would pay legit actual money to a Patreon to see more of this. Once a year is just not enough any more, Devolver. We need more. So much more. The actress, Mahria Zook, is just phenomenal and seriously why isn’t she mega-super-famous everywhere by now?

She also has an amazing script to work with!

So yeah. That was E3 2019, Day One. Microsoft just about held it together, Bethesda went so off the rails we can’t even see the rails anymore and Devolver Digital… is Devolver Digital.

An interesting day, but I still wish we’d seen more on Project Scarlett aside a confusing mesh of fluff quotes and questionable technical specifications and ideas.

But that’ll be a piece for another day.

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