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Thursday, June 17, 2021

E3 2021: Company Presentations Tier List

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Write-ups of the worst-to-best.

With E3 2021 now over, that means we can reflect on the (calendar) weeks that just transpired. And unlike some bland losers in the mainstream gaming media, we're not going to shy away from sharing our opinions of what we watched on the basis of “everyone worked really hard!” In fact, E3 itself held an awards show (about itself) and in their view, Microsoft had the best presentation and Forza Horizon 5 is the official “most anticipated” game of the expo. ...As a warning, KoopaTV disagrees with that decision.

Here is KoopaTV's tier list, ordered from worst company to best company—and shout-outs to me using a reversed ordered list this time to minimise confusion:
  1. Verizon and Take-Two
  2. Ubisoft
  3. Square Enix
  4. Devolver Digital
  5. Microsoft
  6. CAPCOM
  7. Nintendo


Verizon and Take-Two Interactive


I'm grouping these together because they both happened on Monday and they have the same themes of not actually being about videogames and instead actually being about promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity (DIE). KoopaTV live-reacted to Verizon's but did not do so for Take-Two; nonetheless I did watch Take-Two's diversity panel afterward. It's basically just gibberish. Neither company has any core proficiency in this and they haven't explained how their company has anything to do with the space. I kept waiting for Verizon to tie their core business or presentation themes (how 5G networks will do so much greatness for the gaming industry) to DIE, but they never did. It was a bait-and-switch.

E3 isn't the right venue for those types of discussions. They should've saved it for Game Developers Conference (GDC), which happens to be next month and includes an entire “Advocacy” track. No general member of the public listens in to E3 for this stuff. Almost by definition there's no potential for a takeaway.


Take-Two Take 2 diversity equity inclusion panel discussion E3 2021 participants games for change
I genuinely tried to listen to the words of what the participants were saying for an hour,
but I really couldn't follow it. At least the character animations were amusing, especially Gordon Bellamy of Gay Gaming Professionals.


Ubisoft


Ubisoft's conference was... bad. There's one good part, and that's Far Cry 6's section. Mostly because the shooting that occurred genuinely upset me, and that's... kind of impressive. Good job, Antón Castillo.

Far Cry 6 Abuela's last words poisoned your son Anton Castillo
Abuela's last words...


However, none of the Tom Clancy titles are actually memorable, looking back, and then there were several really bad things, ranging from Just Dance 2022 (which is normally a highlight for Ubisoft presentations when they treat us to big dancing spectacles, but this year they had us listen to the cartoonishly flamboyant Todrick Hall talk) to “Rabbsolina” existing, alongside the other disgusting Rabbids in Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. That would've been an OMG reveal, except Nintendo literally leaked it on their website (a real leak) hours before the presentation.

And then there was an Avatar game (cinematic trailer; not much game involved) at the end, and... who cares about that? Not Avatar: The Last Airbender, but Avatar the film from over a decade ago. It's just so out-of-touch...


Square Enix


...And speaking of out-of-touch, there's Square Enix in 2021. In 2019, I thought they had the best conference, off the strength of FINAL FANTASY VII Remake. This year, they left their Japanese RPGs to... mobile and not consoles. Instead, they focused—extensively—on their Marvel IP licences, which I really, really don't care for. (Did you know that the Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy shown off in the Nintendo Direct is actually a cloud version? Yeah, they didn't make that clear at all.) That, and Life is Strange.

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin was pretty stupid, but it seems like many other people besides KoopaTV picked up on just how silly the trailer for that was, with all of the CHAOS and all. That turned into its own form of entertainment.

It's really important to note that the (also Square Enix) Dragon Quest 35th Anniversary announcements was, by itself, better than the entirety of what Square Enix showed at E3 2021. Square isn't a hopeless company. They have a lot of interesting things coming. They just didn't talk about them at E3.


Devolver Digital


In previous years’ tier lists, I went ahead and just...excluded Devolver Digital from them, based on me viewing their presence as more of a skit than a presentation. This time, I think their skit actually took a back-seat to the games, so here they are, above the trash tier of companies. There's some genuinely interesting titles here, like Phantom Abyss, Wizard With A Gun, and especially Demon Throttle.

Microsoft


Microsoft once again structured their conference as game trailer after game trailer after game trailer, leaving little time for anyone to internalise a given game before the next one appeared. While they showed off many games (and a mini-fridge), many of them blended into each other (especially with the lack of context-providing segues)... or they're coming out far into the future.

Starfield 11-11-22 November 11 2022 release date in-game
Starfield is coming out far into the future, and it's probably bad they coded the release date into this “alpha in-game footage”...


Just because the trailers focused on games doesn't mean they focused necessarily on gameplay. Still, with 30+ games shown, there's bound to be interesting stand-outs, like Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes—though it's hard to give Microsoft credit for this since it's coming out in 2023—or Psychonauts 2 (2021) or Slime Rancher 2 (2022). It's a quantity-based approach that borrows from future years that really should be the subject of E3 2022, not E3 2021.

CAPCOM


Meanwhile, CAPCOM did not have a focus on quantity. In fact, at E3 2021, CAPCOM only had four games: Resident Evil Village, Monster Hunter Stories 2, Monster Hunter Rise, and most importantly, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. The last one of those actually got the most emphasis, since it was the only game they went into any gameplay depth with. I'm very pleased that CAPCOM is giving Ace Attorney attention this way.

CAPCOM Virtual Booth E3 2021 portal The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles
And look how shiny The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is in the CAPCOM virtual booth.
(And my avatar is on the top right of the picture.)


Yes, there was very minimal new information at CAPCOM's presentation. Resident Evil Village is getting DLC, but with no word on what. There was legitimate information on Monster Hunter Rise's Version 3.1 update, as well as word about the fact Monster Hunter Stories 2 is getting a demo in a week. But really, the purpose is to expose these high-quality games to the general E3 audience that CAPCOM may not have been directly marketing to this year. Perhaps they've never heard of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles—but now they have, and hopefully they think it's really interesting and will buy it when it releases at the end of next month. CAPCOM also gets credit for sticking to 2021.

Nintendo


Nintendo's Nintendo Direct | E3 2021 not only had high quality games, but also actual news that made it worth the time for existing fans to tune in. There's stuff for everyone, whether it be my strongest reaction of Advance Wars 1+2: Re-boot Camp, or Mario Party Superstars, WarioWare: Get It Together!, the confusing trailer at the end of the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and what seems to be the biggest talk of the town, Metroid Dread. And maybe I should finally play the Danganronpa series now that they're coming to the Switch.

For some reason, CAPCOM had Nintendo demo Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin in intricate gameplay detail for longer than the entire duration of CAPCOM's presentation—probably because CAPCOM really wanted Ace Attorney to have the biggest impression on their viewers (and if I haven't made it clear, that thought really excites me as an Ace Attorney fanboy).

Oh, and there was a newly announced character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but for now, that's actually one of the least impactful announcements. It'll probably remain that way until I learn how to type “Kazuya Mishima” without copy-pasting. Hopefully that'll happen over the course of June 28 for his dedicated event.

Either way, in terms of what's coming out in 2021, Nintendo has the strongest line-up—and there are several titles that they didn't even mention in the Direct. (The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles being one of them.) They didn't have to borrow that much from 2022, unlike Microsoft...



Do you agree with the tier list? Or do you think it sucks? You're free to disparage this article in the comments section, as well as constructively produce your own list. It's also a really good thing that EA and PlayStation didn't make E3 even worse with their historically terrible presence.


The E3 2019 tier list (the one that happened before 2021) is here.

18 comments :

  1. Replies
    1. Nintendo having an...average-ish Direct is still enough to take #1.

      Delete
  2. Quite interesting that diversity, inclusion and equity forms that acronym. It's like something Catbert would come up with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. terrible take bozo, LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

      Delete
    2. Chronologically, advocates in the field began by talking about diversity first, then inclusion second, and then equity third. But the acronym they prefer to use is DEI... probably because DIE isn't so flattering...

      Delete
    3. If you think about it, DEI has its own sinister undertones to it...corporations are not, and should not be gods.

      Delete
    4. I thought about it but dunno wot's sinister about DEI (as an acronym).

      "Deity"?

      Delete
    5. Yes. Also it's a word for God in Latin.

      Delete
    6. I mean, they're saying they want more DEI out there in the world and more people and organisations to practice DEI.

      Religions should like that!

      Delete
  3. Yeah Nintendo definitely saved E3. Just remember, it’s only going to get worse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it only going to get worse, though?
      Like, 2022's games could be better and more numerous.

      Unless you mean the diversity stuff. Then...yeah.

      Delete
    2. I mean the diversity stuff, although it will also end up merging with the games. I’m sure Nintendo will be able to hold out, I pray they do, but get ready for a lot more games to be like “life is strange” or “the last of us two”. At any rate we’re gonna be seeing a lot more political messages.

      I am already excited for 2022 as it is kirbys 30th anniversary! ….Kirby game and watch?

      Delete
    3. wtf is wrong with you ?

      Delete
    4. I have no idea why, feel free to delete it. I would if I could but the phone version doesn’t let you

      Delete
    5. Yeah, classic KoopaTV hating mobile users.

      Delete

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