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Monday, June 22, 2015

E3 2015: Good, Bad, and Hideous Conferences

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Because ugly doesn't describe what happened last week with some of these companies.

Last week was E3 2015 week on KoopaTV. We published seventeen live reaction log articles for your enjoyment all linked to and labeled in our E3 2015 schedule. Hey, that's one more than 2014. So you heard from us more often on the key E3 moments!

And... it's through hearing us like we were there (Kamek was there literally but was stuck on the shelf for the rest of the conference) that we're able to come up with our educated and informed rankings on which company did the best during E3! 'cause if you're hearing us, then that means we had something to say.

So without further ado, here's the tier list and write-up, best-to-worst, with their main live reaction log linked: 

  1. Square Enix
  2. Microsoft
  3. Sony
  4. Nintendo
  5. Ubisoft
  6. Bethesda
  7. Electronic Arts
First of all, props to all the companies for essentially being on-time. No conference went above 90 minutes!

Now... where to start? Basically, Electronic Arts has to be last. There is no way you can just dedicate 8-10% of your conference to talking with this Pelé dude and expect a big score. If you're not going to talk about games, at least be sort of tangentially-related? I don't follow soccer. I don't know if most of the people watching the conference do. Most people watching are nerds first and might be into soccer later. Anyway, looks like EA's big innovations are women's teams, or something, and hilariously bad face-scanning. Besides Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, the most interesting thing here was Unravel, and that was mostly for its spastic presenter. ...Oh, I guess there's Star Wars Battlefront too but whatever.

"Ludwig, why is Bethesda below Ubisoft?" Bethesda doesn't know pacing well. And I guess it's because they're beginners. But there's like 25 minutes of DOOM and I still don't know if that game has a sub-title or anything. ...And... They pretty much flat-out said that the 45 minutes of conference before Fallout 4 was a waste of time. Well, jeez! Good thing we supplemented that with episode 3 of The Greg Gutfeld Show! At least Ubisoft treated each of their games with respect, I guess. (That said, Fallout Shelter is cute.)

Aisha Tyler was basically back to form after her dip in quality last year. And Ubisoft showed a large number of games within a limited amount of genres. South Park: The Fractured But Whole got our interest right away. Jason Derulo dancing was pretty entertaining for the one Nintendo game Ubisoft had (Just Dance 2016). Following Derulo were other fancy presenters, like Angela Bassett and Genevieve Forget, the latter of which created a whole sub-plot of actually figuring out that her last name is apparently "Forget". It's rich lore and parallel story-telling like that that propels Ubisoft's conference above Bethesda's. Also our staff liked TrackMania Turbo, too.

Nintendo............... Okay, let's be clear. The Nintendo World Championships? Significantly better than I expected. And right before that we got EarthBound Beginnings (aka MOTHER 1). Fantastic.

Then their Nintendo Digital Event actually happened. ...Not so good. ...Not one bit. Star Fox Zero looks like crap (visually). More importantly, it's a "reimagining" thing, whatever that means. Where is it in the timeline? Why does all the dialogue come from Star Fox 64? What happened to Krystal? It also doesn't really look all that fun. Skylanders Donkey Kong and Bowser figures? Is this Nintendo's "third-party support"? Anyway, I actually played The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes. It was... okay. Not as nice as Four Swords. As for Hyrule Warriors on the 3DS... that's worrisome. You're not going to rescue a conference with a watered down port.

And then the "Blast Ball" that was revealed during the Nintendo World Championships? It's really a minigame in Metroid Prime: Federation Force. Which is a spin-off of the Metroid Prime series. I don't really care either way, but I hear that Metroid fans are seeking blood (or Phazon) over this announcement. Sheesh, meanwhile Pokémon fans (like me) actually CHEER when we get new spin-offs, though Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon wasn't in the Digital Event. Actually, a spin-off was the best part of the Digital Event, as Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam was announced. That's big and is... the only redeeming announcement. (Subsequently soured by Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash.)

Yoshi's Woolly World Mario Luigi amiibo design documents
Yoshi's Woolly World came out strong, but credit for it was already given last year.
(Yes, this is the screenshot from the footer here.)

Now, we bashed EA for spending so much time on Pelé... But Nintendo is actually WORSE with dedicating a large portion (the ending) of their Digital Event on Super Mario Maker and the idiotic 30th anniversary celebration. No one wants to watch musicians do the Super Mario Bros. theme, and donating tiny bits of ad revenue to some charity is not a justification for the downright scary waste of time that was. Jason Derulo dancing was at least delightfully absurd. This was just cringe-inducing.

It's very telling as a whole what people thought of the conference when Miiverse trashes it and... well, look at the like-dislike bar here:

Nintendo Digital Event E3 2015 YouTube like dislike bar thumbs down fan response
One of those dislikes is mine. I disliked it.
...Yes, I did specifically choose this moment in the video.

So... Sony! They dropped big news people didn't expect: The Last Guardian, Shenmue III, and Final Fantasy VII remake. However, the games people care about from Sony's conference are... very far away from release date. So Sony pretty much put front-and-centre far-away releases to build hype for their game-less PlayStation 4 to cover up their dismal library. Their conference was also quite unprofessional, with what were assuredly sycophant NeoGAF fans making up the crowd cheering and interrupting the conference. Would it kill Sony to get crowd control? Don't forget about the Uncharted 4 failure. Anyway, Final Fantasy VII credit goes to Square Enix with their own conference, and Sony themselves disallowed credit for Shenmue III. The whole Shenmue III was a cheap stunt. It's like if Nintendo announced the Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter on their conference but had nothing to do with it. Though it turns out that Sony actually lied to the audience about their involvement, which is super-shady. Sony had interesting things to show, but they didn't devote the right amount of time to 'em. Shame. ...Oh yeah, and hahahaha the Vita.

By comparison, Microsoft's E3 was actually solid. There was Phil Spencer (who Rawk has firmly stood with) and his shirt sub-plot. Halo 5: Guardians managed to be interesting and a solid start. But perhaps the biggest surprise of the whole conference? ReCore from Comcept. The game looks interesting and compelling, and it's exclusive to the Xbox One. Microsoft then caught up to the world with backwards compatibility and stuff. Somehow, Microsoft showed more Fallout 4 stuff when we thought the whole point of Bethesda's conference was to show EVERYTHING from Fallout 4 that'd show up at E3. Microsoft's indie reels also looked a lot better than Nintendo's ever did, despite Nintendo's Nindies push over the weekend that we didn't inform you about. (Sorry.)

But perhaps most important of all was Rare's contributions. First there was Rare Replay, which we immediately ridiculed because we thought that's all Rare was working on. If you take a step back, though, you can see that 30 of Rare's games for $30 is an absolutely amazing deal, and the games are retrofitted with a lot more care and more features than, say, Capcom and Mega Man Legacy Collection. Rare then revealed Sea of Thieves, which is your pirate-gaming MMO dream and allegedly the most fun thing Rare has ever devised.

And, somehow, just somehow, Microsoft made Minecraft garbage really cool with Microsoft Hololens trickery. It's not something I'd ever want to use and it's a gimmick, but it had us glued to our computer screens and forced us to pay for surgery afterwards. (The cost of surgery was more than the cost of just buying tickets and going to E3 itself.) Microsoft finished it by shining flashlights into our now-glued eyes with Gears 4, which we wouldn't care about if not for flashlight jokes.

And to conclude... the best E3 conference of 2015 was... Square Enix? Square hasn't appeared for years on the stage, but they didn't waste our time and went to their surprisingly diverse amount of games. So confident was Square Enix that they didn't even mention Bravely Second for the 3DS and proceeded to trash Nintendo systems by saying they announced that conference diverse offerings for "every viable platform". And their confidence wasn't misplaced. Neither was their theme song for the conference (the waiting music before it started).

Shinji Hashimoto Square Enix E3 2015 Kingdom Hearts Final Fantasy producer
Shinji Hashimoto knows he's bringing the goods.

It's pleasing to know that Square Enix remains committed to the console Japanese RPG experience, with them opening a new subsidiary in Tokyo RPG Factory and "Project SETSUNA". Platinum Games is also teaming up with Square Enix for "NieR New Project", which at least looks like it has good character designs. Square also announced World of Final Fantasy, which is the super-cute chibi Final Fantasy experience (plus the Hiroka Chiba developer sub-plot). They somehow made mobile garbage in Kingdom Hearts Unchained Key look interesting. And... speaking of which, Kingdom Hearts 3 was the most hyped game of the conference and it... delivered very well! Even games like Just Cause 3 and the new Hitman were relatively more interesting than expected.

Like Nintendo, Square Enix allowed their developers to display their personality on stage and brought their sub-plots. Unlike Nintendo, Square Enix actually did it in a way that did not waste the viewer's time. Let's put it this way: Unlike my colleagues, I watched Square Enix's conference before the Nintendo one. I left Square with a smile on my face that was subsequently ruined by Nintendo.

Funny, since Nintendo's whole slogan is to put smiles on people's faces. Honestly, it did not occur to me that Nintendo could get less than first place... but it happened. Fortunately, there are more Nintendo Directs to come this year, but we already know so much resources are being used up by this hopeless projects that... it's dismal to think about.

Ludwig has a lot of specific things to say about the things announced at E3 that will get their own articles. In fact, the other KoopaTV staff members likely do as well. So stay tuned to KoopaTV for post-E3 analysis on all your favourite and non-favourite projects!

For the E3 2013 winners and losers, click here.
For last year's (E3 2014) winners and losers, click here.
For next year's (E3 2016) best and worst, look at this hyperlink.
Ludwig talks more about Nintendo's "transformative" E3 here.
More details on those Nintendo spin-offs and Metroid Prime: Federation Force in particular here.
While KoopaTV ignored the Nindies promotions, we got you covered for the next Nintendo system bundle.


  1. I was really (and pleasantly) surprised by how good Square Enix's conference was. Final Fantasy XIII left me with negative feelings toward SE, and I went into the conference expecting it would show FFXV, KHIII, and a bunch of stuff I didn't care about.

    And that wasn't the case at all. Despite my worries about the FF7 remake, the press conference restored a lot of my faith in Square Enix.

    1. FFXV didn't even show up besides being in multiple montages that were shown for no explicable reason, lol.

      If you told me two weeks ago that Square would have the best E3 I'd giggle at you and say that Nintendo would pull something amazing that no one expected. (Like Splatoon from 2014.)

      ...guess not.

    2. Yeah. XD

      When Nintendo STARTED with EarthBound Beginnings, after having just had a mini Direct not that long ago, I felt sure they had super surprises in store...

    3. Some mysteries that were never answered...

      1. So... why IS Ryu in Smash now? Capcom and Nintendo aren't doing anything together.
      2. Why did the Mini Direct even exist?

  2. I guess I'm the only person here who liked the Fallout 4 presentation.

    1. .........

      I thought the building stuff was neat but it's probably a bad sign if I was more interested in Fallout Shelter.

    2. Fallout Shelter is bullshit.
      Not the game itself, that looks cool. But the fact it is only for IOS really grinds my gears.

    3. Oh, yeah.

      Bethesda's conference rubbed me the wrong way with their whole bragging about second screen experience but not going to Wii U.

    4. Atleast with Bethesda's second screen experience you can play for more then 12 and a half seconds without having to recharge.

    5. Hey, you can play for like 4 hours straight on your Wii U, which is a lot more than you SHOULD be playing.

    6. I think the longest time I've ever played a game was 11 hours.
      I had just got an Xbox 360 for Christmas and overheated it, it still worked though.


      I was in the 9-12 hours group.
      With Super Smash Bros.

      It's definitely not recommended though.

    8. Lmao.
      Pretty sure /gaming/ isn't recommended at all.

    9. That's incorrect depending on which psychologist you talk to.
      For example, Dr. Andrew K. Przybylski says that a small amount of videogame play is neutral-to-good for you.

    10. Pretty sure it's good for basic motor skills or something.

    11. "higher levels of prosocial behavior and life satisfaction and lower levels of conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems, and emotional symptoms"

      And that apparently.

    12. You're not gonna get a seizure from playing videogames.

    13. I dunno man.
      Rainbow Road makes people go crazy.


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