The big press conferences of the E3 2019 are over, dozens of cool trailers are online – but most of them could show movies instead of video games. Who wanted to see gameplay from new titles, came this year too short. There are reasons for this – and cause for hope for next year.
I can not say I was looking forward to Watch Dogs Legion before E3 2019. But: Ubisoft’s presentation has convinced me and raised the hacker action game to one of my highlights of the fair. This is not just because the developers dare to do a few experiments apart from the usual open-world formula. But also because they showed me this in action.
I want to know what the “Watch Dogs” grandma can do – and Ubisoft shows it to me.
For several minutes, Ubisoft performed footage from the title, which is still a good nine months away from its release. Do I expect the final product to look as shown? Of course not – one or the other downgrade can be counted in gameplay trailers so basically firmly. Do I now have a much better idea of what I’m going to do in Watch Dogs Legion? Definitely!
Let me see something!
There’s one simple reason why I remembered the game so much: It was one of the few really big titles that we saw at the E3 in 2019, longer, coherent gameplay passages. Many developers only included a few cutscene-cut snippets in their short videos. Microsoft showed a whole series of “gameplay trailers”, but rarely had more than a few seconds of game scenes. There were very few exceptions – for example, “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order” or the “Final Fantasy 7” remake, which was well discussed for a good 20 minutes.
By and large, 2019 was dominated by the risk-free CGI hype trailer. Why is that?
How is Kait Diaz doing in “Gears 5”? After the E3 2019 we are not a bit smarter …
On the one hand, it is certainly due to the fact that the E3 2019 was relatively poor at really big games. Sony, always a guarantor of blockbuster titles, stayed away from the fair. Electronic Arts showed only the obligatory “FIFA” and the new “Madden” only “Jedi: Fallen Order” as a really new game.
Notorious secretaries such as “Cyberpunk 2077”, of course, are always there – probably no one has really expected new scenes for the audience (at least behind the scenes, the creators, however, present gameplay). And while Microsoft had a lot of new ideas in the luggage, but did not even show the already appearing in September “Gears 5” in action.
Playing by yourself is better than watching
At least, a new multiplayer mode of “Gears 5” is already live on the show playable and records of which are now online on YouTube. Other newcomers are also represented on the E3 site, but above all, some will soon be able to try out their home without any problems.
Ubisoft roller skating game “Roller Champions” is already available for free as Alpha, also the multiplayer brawler “Bleeding Edge” from the Xbox show starts in late June in a trial phase. The advertising effect of such tests should not be underestimated: When a popular Twitch streamer plays a game, it does not matter if it is still unfinished, as long as it is communicated openly. And play yourself anyway is (almost) always better than watching over the Internet – why record extra pre-made videos?
The most important reason why many AAA titles came to us this year only as a glossy allusion, but probably the new generation of consoles. The marketing for Xbox Scarlett and PlayStation 5 is just picking up speed, but the consoles have been casting shadows for a long time. Not only Sony and Microsoft hold back a few extra large titles. The other publishers are shorter and save the revelations of their big games rows for the start of the new generation.
Hoarding for the next generation
That “Halo Infinite” appears with the new Xbox, we now know and accordingly there was at least a CGI trailer with the Master Chief. But what about the next “Assassin’s Creed”, a new “Final Fantasy”, the new “Elder Scrolls”, the still mysterious “Beyond Good & Evil 2”? Not present – and for good reason: When at the E3 2020, the big revelations on PS5 and Xbox Scarlett come on the table, it should hail new announcements – ideally with fresh “next-gen gameplay”. In the next year we can therefore look forward to much more “real” game impressions. The E3 2019 is unfavorably at the end of a console cycle.
The Master Chief makes himself scarce – on purpose.
Speaking of the console cycle, what happens if you just ignore it was easy to read to Nintendo this year. The Japanese are the performance race of Microsoft and Sony thanks to the technically modest, but still ingenious switch pretty low. The Nintendo Direct presentation hammered out one highlight after the next and beat the whole thing with the announcement of a new “Zelda”.
Yes, we have not seen any gameplay from it. But a new “Zelda” can afford it. Other games I would have liked more gameplay instead of pre-rendered videos that leave too many questions unanswered. At least that’s likely to change on the next E3.