E3 Coverage- Part 3: Square Enix, Ubisoft, and Sony

spiderman
Insomniac’s Spider-Man was yet again a highlight of Sony’s conference, this time featuring a battle with villains like Electro and the Vulture. Image by Insomniac Games

In this third installment of E3 2018 coverage, Square Enix is outdone by a small publisher, Ubisoft’s partnership with Nintendo expands beyond the stars, and Sony gives a short but somewhat sweet presentation.

Square Enix came to E3 with a few notable titles, but if its conference is evident, it might’ve been better off showing their games at other presentations, which it technically did. Most of its big titles had a presence at Microsoft’s show, such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider and The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. As far as new announcements went, there’s a PlatinumGames title called Babylon’s Fall that could likely be another of its signature action games in the vein of Nier: Automata or Bayonetta, another new title called The Quiet Man, and Monster Hunter World DLC featuring Final Fantasy XV content, but that’s about it. The Kingdom Hearts III trailer shown at their presentation was the same from the Microsoft conference, despite revealing a second trailer marking the return of the Pirates of the Caribbean level and a collection of previous Kingdom Hearts titles during Sony’s livestream later that night. Honestly, if a company doesn’t have enough reveals, it’s a waste of its money, as well as investors and consumers’ time, to hold a conference at E3, and given Square Enix’s reveals were mostly done at other conferences, it’s like the presentation was an afterthought.

Weirdly enough, Square Enix had fewer notable announcements than Limited Run Games did during their first ever conference. Limited Run is a company dedicated to physical releases and special editions of previously digital-only indie games, with a recent lineup including Kero Blaster and SteamWorld Dig. Eight games were announced for upcoming physical release: Golf Story, Layers of Fear: Legacy, Thumper, Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas, Cosmic Star Heroine, Night Trap: 25th Anniversary Edition, Yooka-Laylee, and Dust: An Elysian Tale.

Next was Ubisoft’s conference, which usually ends up as a mixed bag of annual releases and a few very interesting titles sprinkled in. As per the norm for Ubisoft, the presentation began with a pop dance number to promote the latest yearly Just Dance game -which is still somehow being released on the Wii, if that says anything about the console’s lasting impact-. Beyond Good and Evil 2, a teaser of which appeared at last year’s expo, was given pre-alpha footage and the announcement that the game would use HitRECord, which allows fans to add their art to the overworld and other areas. For Honor is set to receive a new Breach mode involving four teams fighting to the death, as well as the Marching Fire DLC, which adds the Wu Lin as a fourth faction based on China. Skull and Bones was given more footage and may either attract or detract those turned off by Sea of Thieves’s muddled launch, the previously leaked Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was revealed, and a new VR title called Transference is set for a fall release.

However, Ubisoft surprisingly had not one, but two games in collaboration with Nintendo. After last year’s genuinely delightful reveal of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, which managed to shockingly win over the general public and drive its creator to tears for its overwhelmingly positive reception, most expected a trailer for the recently revealed DLC pack, Donkey Kong Adventure. Following a surprise performance by veteran composer Grant Kirkhope, the expansion was announced to release on June 26. What most didn’t expect, however, was that Ubisoft’s upcoming toys-to-life competitor, Starlink: Battle for Atlas, will feature Switch-exclusive Star Fox content, including Fox McCloud’s Arwing as a playable ship and missions involving Fox’s rival team, Star Wolf. Starlink is set to release October 16.

Finally, Sony’s conference showed a few new IPs such as Control and Ghost of Tsushima, as well as sequels like Nioh 2 and Resident Evil 2, but in the end, the amount of announcements was in the single digits, which made it feel a bit less spectacular than recent years where Sony’s presentations were among the better ones. Fortunately, there was a good amount of gameplay shown for each reveal, including Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima’s next masterpiece in the making. The highlight of the presentation was easily Insomniac’s upcoming Spider-Man, as gameplay was shown of what’s likely an early level in which Electro breaks hundreds of villains out of confinement. It was noted that a mysterious villain has made special new suits for Spider-Man’s greatest adversaries, including the Vulture and Rhino, with whoever is likely the culprit just about to be revealed before the trailer ended on a cliffhanger. -Five bucks says Dr. Otto Octavius is behind this one.- Despite some intrigue, though, the Sony presentation was fairly quaint, and while there was more substance than Square Enix’s conference, it did end up being a bit underwhelming.

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of the Electric Retrospective E3 special, featuring the wildcard of E3: Nintendo, and by extension, the long awaited reveal of the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch.

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