The dust on the E3 season of 2022 has finally settled down. Without a real E3 event the whole line-up of digital showcases has been a bit convoluted to say the least. But it was not without its moments of highs, or lows either. In case you missed it, we did a blogpost last month predicting this year’s events, and while we got a few of them right, there were also things that feel like wishful thinking at best, in hindsight. Let’s take a look at what was possibly the weirdest E3 season in a very long time.
A Strong Start
Sony was the first in line with its State of Play event and, we must admit, it was a strong start. Sony’s State of Plays are usually 20 -30-minute affairs that does not garner much fanfare, but it is a format that has worked for the company, and so the company has kept what works for them. So, expectations were low for this show, especially as Sony had stated that this 30-minute showcase will feature third party games and titles for the PSVR2. This meant no first party announcements or, perhaps more importantly, a release date for God of War: Ragnarök. But what we got was without a doubt the strongest edition of State of Play since its inception. The shows started with the release date for Resident Evil 4, which was then followed by a featurette and trailer. This was followed by the announcement of Resident Evil village for PSVR2. All of the announced PSVR2 games looked fantastic as expected. But there were also some unexpected surprises like the reveal of a PC port for Spider-Man remastered and released date for stray and its day-one availability on PlayStation Plus Extra. There was an impressive collection of smaller indie titles too, alongside a good look as Street fighter 6 including gameplay, before the show closed off with Final Fantasy XVI. That is a lot of big punches and there has never been a State of Play this strong. But Sony’s presence may not end with these, and we’ll get back to that in a bit.
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Mild Summer Heat
When Geoff Keighley tries to temper expectations, it is not a good sign of things to come. Sadly, that is exactly what he did at the start of the Summer Game Fest show. To be fair there were some really good announcements including some cool gameplay features of already announced games like The Callisto Protocol. Save for a few new game reveals, the show mostly stuck with revealing more for already announced games including heavyweights like Call of Duty, Marvel’s Midnight Suns, Street Fighter 6 and Gotham Knights. Add to this a rather confusing off-stage appearance by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (which I still don’t know what to make of), and the show’s final surprise, The Last of Us Part 1, being fully leaked on the day of the event and we had a lukewarm show on our hands. I mean, the man did warn us beforehand. So, there’s that.
Devolver Digital was up next, and we had predicted that “what we CAN expect is another off the rails, completely bonkers showcase”. And the company totally delivered on that. The show was light on new announcements though, but what new was shown was completely unique and charming in a typical Devolver Digital way. I’m looking at you two, Anger Foot and The Plucky Squire! I do have to admit that the presence of Suda 51 made me anticipate a new game from the legend himself, but that left me disappointed.
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Microsoft made an interesting decision to show games that are due to release within the next 12 months. This was a sensible move, at least on paper, which comes as ripple effect of two major delays, namely Starfield and Redfall. The show featured some great announcements like the release date for Scorn, a full release for Obsidian’s Grounded, Persona franchise making its way to Xbox, the new game High on Life from the creators of Trover saves the Universe, among various others. All of these were accompanied by taglines indicating console exclusivity and day one releases on Gamepass. The show even began with the gameplay trailer for Redfall, hoping to put fans at ease signalling that the game was in good shape despite the delay. All this was good. Nothing that made the internet go crazy, but good. Then Starfield was showcased. This was classic Todd Howard and ever second of it was entertaining to say the least. Whether the game will live up to the expectations and promises is yet to be seen. But, for people to jump the gun and take a jab at the game’s framerate, engine and similarities to No Man’s Sky is a bit uncalled for at the moment. The game was delayed for a reason, and it is best to reserve judgment until we have it in our hands.
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More Showcases. Indies Shine
I do not recall these many shows or event during the time of in-person E3 events, but there were a whole lot of them this year. Other than the ones mentioned above, the month of June featured Day of the Devs, Netflix Geeked week Gaming event, Assassin’s Creed 15th Anniversary Celebration, Tribeca Games spotlight, Epics Games Store Summer Showcase, Guerrilla Collective, Wholesome Direct, Future Games Show, PC Gaming Show, Capcom Showcase and a Nintendo Direct Mini to close the month out. That is a lot of events to be showcased in one month. To no one’s surprise, some of them were devoid of meaningful content while others, re-iterated past announcements. But, between these events were some true gems that showcased the amazing creativity of the Indie development community. Big budget games are fun, yes. And there are big corporations getting them developed. These games are much like a formulaic Superhero movie that is being made with the backing of some great talent, the goal of which however is to create a franchise and make money. Indie games on the other hand are what hold the industry as still being this creative goldmine, and the games present in these showcases further solidify that fact. I was taken aback by the simplicity and weirdness of it all, in the best way possible. Games like Time flies, A little to the left, 30 Birds, Schim, and Naiad among many others just ooze with creativity. I highly recommend checking out these events to understand what cannot be expressed in words.
Missing Pieces of the Puzzle
With all that said, there may still be a few things to look forward to. Ubisoft had officially cancelled their Ubisoft Forward showcase for June but have mentioned that there will be some kind of an event later this year. The Assassin’s Creed Celebration event seems like it will span across a number of showcases over a few months. And getting back to Sony, there was a second state of play rumoured to have been on the 30th of June featuring God of War: Ragnarök, but that was cancelled at the last moment (also a rumour). If we consider these rumours to be true for a moment, then we are left to wonder, what caused Sony to cancel the event? And what is the company planning next? Sony has had its annual grand showcase of sorts around September over the last couple of years. Can we expect one this year as well, perhaps sooner? We will have to wait and watch.
What did you think of this year’s events during the E3 season? Sound off in the comments.