E3 is the sort of thing that publishers and developers spend the whole year planning for. It's grand gestures and big reveals. But sometimes it's also something much more appealing - quirky little moments in games, fleeting instances where you glimpse something truly human happening. Here, then, are the best individual moments of E3 2018, with GIFs where appropriate.
The Cyberpunk 2077 commuter with his head on fire
Is the follow-up to The Witcher 3 channelling Blade Runner? No - it's channelling Robocop, and this beautiful, comical, horrifying moment proves it.
Antti from RedLynx falling through the podium
The beautiful thing about this is that it makes total sense. That's the Ubisoft difference, isn't it? Would Shawn Layden take out a podium with a glorious staged faceplant? Would Major Nelson? But here comes Antti from RedLynx. Crash. Of course! What a pro.
The Forza Horizon 4 hovercraft
The black cab weaving across the road was good, but the moment we were cut up by this majestic, wallowing, dairy cow of the sea is going to take some beating. Next, Forza, can we have ekranoplans pls.
I am pretty sure Just Dance only exists these days to give Ubisoft a solid gold means of reliably kicking off the most charming conference of E3 each year. If this is true, I'm perfectly fine with it. "Don't you just hate pandas? Whenever I find myself with a surfeit mouthful of unfocused loathing, I remember pandas and it slips down nicely." This is the panda that might have changed A. A. Gill's mind.
That nice German lady at EA
Cornelia Geppert is her name, she's from a studio called Jo-Mei, and her excitement at getting to show her game, Sea of Solitude, to millions of people on stage at EA's conference was contagious. In big, slick, "the dress code is smart-casual but I'd really rather it was just smart" conferences like those, some nerves and a bit of audible quiver in the voice goes a long way to making it feel human.
This was Sony making a statement: a themed auditorium to match the trailer's setting, and the biggest stage possible for a video game. And it was beautiful - beautiful because it was so normal. Two people kissed and looked like they were in love. Clumsy, human. That the two people were women should be beside the point but of course it isn't. Never have we had a gay kiss in such a spotlight. It lit up that room and it lit up my heart. It was a big moment for video games.
"We nailed it!!"
We're all so used to seeing starchy high-level video game execs take to the stage to wax lyrical about titles they probably had nothing to do with, so there's something quite magical when a publisher like Ubisoft brings out the actual minds behind their games to enthuse about them. This was especially true during the Beyond Good and Evil 2 presentation.
Ubisoft story designer Gabrielle Shrager and senior producer Guillaume Brunier took to the stage to elaborate on the game's world, delivering an impassioned and infectiously enthusiastic presentation. The best part though? That would be when they exited the stage and someone forgot to cut their mics. Hearing Gabrielle's "We nailed it!" was a lovely reminder that games are made by humans just like us - quirky, diverse and imperfect.
The Elder Scrolls 6
Bethesda's conference looked like it had finished. We thought we'd seen the show-closing announcement - Starfield - and that was that. But Todd Howard still had something else to say. "We're also building towards the game after that." Understanding began to accelerate through the audience, there were a few excited shrieks, and Howard just stood there smiling. "And it's the one you keep asking about," he said. Then there were the drums, the flyover shot of the mountains, the choir, the logo.
The Elder Scrolls 6 is probably years and years away, and everyone and their dragon expected it was in development anyway, but in the moment it didn't matter.
Bayonetta variants and their sound effects
How much of a stickler for detail is Sakurai? "Bayonetta's costumes from her first two games are both available." Right... "Listen closely and you'll hear differences in the sound effects." Man, you have to listen really closely. But that's the joy of it, right?
"You ARE the shark"
Forget documentaries like Sharknado, this is the real deal: a single-player, open-world shark role-playing game. "Or as we like to call it, Shark-PG," said John Gibson from publisher TripWire, unveiling Maneater at the PC Gaming Show. "You are the shark." It even has a shark skill tree.
They've got Chris Avellone!
There are few names more synonymous with role-playing games than Chris Avellone. At Black Isle and Obsidian he created some of the most memorable RPGs and characters around. So it was a surprise - a very pleasant surprise - to see Avellone stride onto Microsoft's stage to reveal Dying Light 2 to the world. Not only did it announce his involvement, it said, hey look he's involved in a big way, and we're serious about this big new idea of evolving cities, and factions and stories. Our excitement has increased significantly because of it.
Bethesda's E3 conference is only quite a recent thing. This year's was, I think, the third ever showcase. It's a move that has received no small amount of criticism - the publisher is known for only releasing a handful of games throughout the year, so how do they expect to fill two hours of live conference time?
This was probably on the minds of the audience when they took their seats for the show, and it didn't take long before they found out - when alt-rock shouty boy Andrew W.K. showed up in his trademark crisp white tee and started belting out "It's Time to Party".
The crowd's po-faced reception to Mr. W.K.'s bellowing performance was hilarious, but also a reminder that E3 takes itself far too seriously sometimes. It's nice to have that levity occasionally - especially when you're still up watching a conference at 2.30 in the morning.
Bethesda takes on The Little & Large show
As the years pile up, the big platform holders - generally - get better at their E3 shows, but when it comes to relative newcomers such as Bethesda there's still some of that slight clumsiness creeping into the theatrics. And it can be absolutely charming.
The presentations were a case in point, featuring missing autocues, awkward silences and, in the pairing of Tim Willits and Magnus Nedfors, some strange match-ups. Those frayed edges only made it seem all the more human, the passion all the more genuine, and a reminder that behind these fantastical games are ordinary - and extraordinary - people. Willit's reference to the oddball double act later on Twitter only confirmed that he's just like the rest of us, revelling in the madness of it all.
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