OPINON: E3 2017 was a dull, stagnant insult to everyone


The Electronic Entertainment Expo, E3, began June 13 and ends June 15 in Los Angeles, California. This expo is an event for computer, video and mobile game related products.

I will be blunt. This was the most disappointing expo in recent memory. From the announcements to the presenters to the games themselves, everything about this E3 seemed designed to underwhelm anyone who was actually paying attention. The event as a whole was so…forgettable. Corporate. Soulless.

It seemed like E3 was parodying itself this year, showcasing trailer after trailer of generic games that we have all seen before. They announced anti-consumer programs and practices like they were something to applaud.

The disappointment started with Electronic Arts, EA, as usual. The soulless, faceless megacorporation has published some interesting games in the past, but this year they doubled down on the worst aspects of their public image.

The company is known for lacking imagination, but the fact that the “Madden” team is so out of ideas that they are willing to make a cinematic football story mode just to put something new on the back of the box is laughable.

But really, everything is getting a story mode now. “Madden” gets a story mode. “NBA Live” gets a story mode. FIFA already had a story mode, so it is getting a sequel to last year’s epic tale of kicking balls in cleats.

Even “Star Wars: Battlefront II,” the fourth game in the “Star Wars: Battlefront” series (yes, really), is getting a story mode to address fans’ criticism of the multiplayer-only setup in the last game. Electronic Arts is known for its slow innovation, but this is downright stagnant.

Microsoft was not much better, no surprise. More racing games and more awkward people in suits.

The Xbox One X looks cool, but that is really all Microsoft had to show off besides a few decent third-party titles.

Unfortunately, the Bethesda conference was where E3 2017 stopped being a joke and became an insult. Bethesda, the developer of “Skyrim” and “Fallout,” is a company beloved by pretty much everyone who likes video games.

Bethesda’s E3 press conferences have a reputation for being honest and carefree, but that worked against them this year. The presentation was mostly handled by a condescending narrator inviting the audience to watch trailer after trailer for re-releases of games that came out years ago.

The true insult came with the announcement of Creation Club, a new service allowing users to pay real money for “Skyrim” and “Fallout 4” mods. Paying for mods might not sound bad in theory, but the issue is that mods are user-created content of questionable quality. Who would want to spend real money on a crummy set of armor for their virtual horse?

User-created mods have been free for all of computer game history. There is a precedent being broken here. What is even worse is that Bethesda already tried this two years ago, introducing purchasable “Skyrim” mods for one tumultuous week before shutting the program down.

The gaming community did not want to pay for “high quality” mods then, so why would the gaming community want to pay for them now? I guess Bethesda wants to upgrade their silver toilet seats to gold.

No matter how much Bethesda curates their new storefront, it is still an anti-consumer practice, and I have no faith in them to get it right this time.

I guess I am thankful the B.S. died down after that. Ubisoft showed off the usual array of open world games and cringe-worthy crossover titles.

Sony did not show anything memorable besides a “Final Fantasy” fishing simulator (yes, really) and an underwhelming look at the new “Spider-Man.” It has been over 10 years since a great “Spider-Man” game came out. Now Sony is funding a Spidey-branded rip-off of “Batman: Arkham City” with sluggish web-swinging and button-mashing quick-time events during the game’s cut scenes.

At least Sony showed something, though. Nintendo wasted 20 minutes of my life with nothing to show but stuff we already knew was coming and a title screen for “Metroid Prime 4.”

In my five years of watching E3 press conferences, I have never felt so dejected after it was over. The announcements ranged from dull to infuriating. The only stuff I liked was stuff I already knew about. Here is hoping next year is one for the ages.

Kyle Hampel is a junior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Those words you just read were written by me, Kyle Hampel. I am a 2019 graduate in English. I have strong feelings about barbeque pizza and the Oxford comma. I am a former copy chief, community editor, feature editor, designer and deputy multimedia editor. Beloit, Kansas, is proud to call me their own, along with several other towns I've lived in that aren't as special to me.