Feature

The winners and losers of E3 2019

We look at what got people talking this week, from the big reveals to the no-shows

Every year, E3 brings its fair share of extreme highs and lows. Among the countless game reveals, there are always a select few titles or moments that stand out and get people talking for the right reasons… and ones that stick in the mind for all the wrong reasons.

They’re the games, the people and the moments everyone’s commenting about online, either because they were so fantastically brilliant that our excitement can’t be contained, or because they were so knuckle-clenchingly bad that fans can’t help spreading the cringe.

This year has been no different, so here are our picks for the biggest winners and losers of E3 2019.

Winner: Watch Dogs Legion

The reveal of Watch Dogs Legion was no surprise to anyone: after all, Ubisoft itself had officially teased its presence the week before E3 (possibly as a response to numerous leaks).

Despite that, the lengthy gameplay trailer still managed to drop jaws with its beautifully grim portrayal of a futuristic, post-Brexit London that has become an oppressive surveillance state (not that Ubisoft is being overtly political, of course).

The confirmation of the rumour that players can control any character in the game also left many impressed (as well as a fair few sceptical, to be fair).

It was the sight of a granny kneeing a bad guy in the face then tasering him in the neck, though, that had people whooping the most. And that’s a sentence we never thought we’d write.

Loser: Sony

For the avoidance of doubt, we have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the PlayStation 5 is going to be an absolute beast that will generate mass excitement when it’s revealed in further detail.

We’re also certain it will have a bunch of great first-party exclusives that will ensure the next-gen battle is a cracker.

That said, Sony’s decision not to attend E3 this year has undoubtedly gave Microsoft centre stage and allowed it to get its message across unchallenged.

The Xbox conference not only revealed new Project Scarlett details, but also (perhaps more importantly for now) drove home just how ridiculously good a deal Game Pass is: something players will no doubt be bearing in mind when choosing their next-gen system.

Winner: Keanu Reeves

Celebrity appearances at E3 are generally a bit hit-and-miss, with the vast majority falling squarely in the ‘miss’ category.

That notion was blown out of the water this week when the Cyberpunk 2077 demo shown during the Xbox E3 conference revealed that Keanu Reeves would be starring in the game.

Suddenly, a wall at the back of the stage slowly rose to reveal the man himself, who entered through a wall of dry ice in the most rock star manner imaginable.

One lucky person in the crowd may have earned himself a copy of the game for shouting “you’re breathtaking” at Reeves, but let’s face it: he was only expressing audibly what we were all feeling internally.

Loser: Hecklers

Speaking of people in the crowd, there seemed to be a slightly greater number of said loudmouths in attendance at each conference this year.

One person in particular during the Bethesda conference seemed to be “WOOOOO”ing and “YEEEEAAAAAHHH”ing at practically every sentence uttered.

We could give a deep and philosophical reason for this, and surmise that perhaps it’s a reflection of our social media culture.

In reality, though, all we need to say is the obvious: they’re bloody annoying.

Winner: Retro gaming fans

While many of the most impressive announcements at this year’s E3 were for brand new games, devotees of the classics were treated to a healthy helping of retro-themed reveals too.

Sega Saturn classic Panzer Dragoon is being remade for the Switch, while Final Fantasy VII Remake was given a PS4 release date.

Meanwhile, Switch owners were treated to a double-whammy of “and it’s out now” moments, with both the Contra Anniversary Collection and Collection of Mana launching on the eShop shortly after Nintendo‘s E3 Direct took place.

And obviously there’s the small matter of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening too, the upcoming remake of the Game Boy classic looking a million dollars ahead of its September release.

Oh, and Banjo in Smash Bros Ultimate too? Absolute gold.

Loser: The Avengers‘ likenesses

Before you start typing a strongly-worded comment, let’s just be clear: we’re massively excited for Square Enix‘s upcoming Avengers game.

Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal making a superhero adventure? Count us in with gusto.

That said, while we appreciate that Square Enix probably didn’t want to spend the crazy money that would’ve been needed to secure the likenesses of Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and the rest of the gang, did it really have to decide that the alternative should be faces that look roughly 60% like them anyway?

We get it: The Avengers movies have broken box office records time and time again, so naturally Square Enix wants to tie its game as closely to them as possible. But we’d have preferred completely different faces, rather than the distracting “that looks like it could be Chris Hemsworth’s slightly jaded uncle” ones.