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VR vs. E3 2017 In Absentia Alternative Awards

Back for another year, Kevin E dishes out his own awards after watching E3 from afar. And it’s the usual unusual affair…

Every website it seems nowadays has their own awards they give out at the main gaming expos, these are either ‘metaphorical’ awards where they are announced by way of a top five video or the like or alternatively there is a physical award which is attached to the booth. Unfortunately I cannot give out either of these because I wasn’t there. Therefore in the spirit of someone who has been left behind for ten years (and is a tad sick of it, at this point…) welcome back to the VR vs. E3 In Absentia Alternative Awards

Introduced last year these somewhat satirical awards come from the exhausted mind of someone who had to stay up and watch the whole thing on livestream, covering the event (and slowly cooking thanks to the heat) from afar. Once again, much like 2016, E3 was a kind of mixed affair. It was ‘okay’ but I wouldn’t say it was stand out. Although at least after 2016 publishers made a big push this year to showcase the games and let them do the talking. Correcting a mistake that left 2016 feeling kind of dire. We also had virtual reality. Lots of it!

As usual these are only my thoughts – so let’s begin!

Winner: Microsoft/Minecraft

I was very pleased to see that Minecraft would be being brought to all platforms including the Gear VR. This is going to be a big deal, treating all platforms, including those in and outside of VR, equally. I have only one teeny, tiny issue with the announcement. Didn’t we, you know, have this at last year’s E3 with the ‘Friendly Update’? Or- or were we not really friends then Microsoft? Are you saying we were only mere acquaintances?? Did all those borrowed cups of sugar, did they mean nothing to you? Are you only merely following Samsung on Facebook? It just seemed kind of odd to go “you can now do this!” for something that’d already been active for some considerable time.


Minecraft: Gear VR EditionTHE ‘WHO ARE YOU KIDDING?’ AWARD
Winner: Sony

Speaking of Minecraft we discovered why that cross-play update has yet to include Sony and the PlayStation VR. You’d’ve thought getting the jump on Microsoft on their own brand would appeal to Sony but they are distinctly against the cross-play shenanigans entirely it seems.  This was brought into sharp focus not by Minecraft however but by Rocket League. Why? Well to summarise according to Sony it is protecting their audience from potentially mean people on the other systems. Because as we all know jerks only exist on consoles other than the one you own.

As other outlets have pointed out this seems a tad silly to give Nintendo’s histrorical excuse when Ninendo themselves are well up for it. The Rocket League devs have even said they’re ready for it and all that needs is for them to tick a checkbox. Everyone’s favourite remote control car football game might not be VR, but this affects everything. One can only assume the Switch will inevitably join the party on Minecraft – which will then end up being the first Nintendo console which can play games with people on a VR head mounted display (HMD) in the Gear VR. (Now that will be interesting if it happens…) But yes Sony, you’re not fooling anyone here. It’s not safety or brand preservation. It’s politics. Knock it off and sort it out.

4 The Players is also 4 Every 1.

Winner: Doom VFR

The winner of last year’s ‘Swing And A Miss Award’ with it’s Bethesda sibling Fallout 4 VR, a year has been very kind to DOOM VR, now DOOM VFR (because Bethesda has put the F ‘n VR. Geddit?).  With a proper game on the way this game has got me very excited to play, not only that it is apparently a standalone game and not a port – but still connected to the 2016 title by id Software. So many plus points.

It looks great. It sounds great. I can foresee it will murder many televisions with people trying to kick away demons. DOOM VFR also got a glowing preview from the team out in Los Angeles. It’s launch can’t come fast enough.

Winner: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR

So come on, come on, do the locomotion with me.

This could, if I’m honest, have been won by any of the Bethesda trinity. However, I have never seen so many people leap into discussions and arguments about movement mechanics then I did after Skyrim VR‘s announcement hit and I’ve never seen the word ‘locomotion’ used so much and so widespread in my life. Teleportation meanwhile continues to be spoken of like it’s some kind of pantomime villain, skulking around in the background twirling its moustache and disappearing with a flash of its cape.  It was all kind of bizarre and yet also somehow wonderful. These discussions need to be had as VR develops and there was just so many people doing so.

(Incidentally, I’m personally in favour of as many movement control schemes as a game safely allows – but think that decisions of the developers should ultimately be respected.)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim screenshotTHE ‘LEFT TURN AT ALBUQUERQUE’ AWARD
Winner: Final Fantasy XV: Monster of the Deep

How… how did this happen exactly? Where did this game come from? Who asked for it? What made Square Enix take last year’s experience where you fought huge enemies with your teammates and come back this year with a fishing game. I don’t care if fishing is in the main title or if said fish are monstrous it just seems such an utterly bizarre decision to go from what we had to what we have now. and as a result it doesn’t feel like Square Enix are really using VR to unlock new ideas.

Winner: Quill from Moss

Had I been at E3 Moss would’ve been my first stop when it opened. Without a shadow of a doubt.

A VR title for PlayStation VR whose reveal also managed to capture the imagination of non-VR players at announcement and whose preview only went on to confirm what was originally hoped. Moss is an absolutely stunning looking game with a suitably adorable looking protagonist in rodent swordswoman Quill. Some games look good. Some games play well. Moss ticks both of those boxes and positively oozes charm into the bargain.  Could Moss be the first VR-only game that standard gamers are jealous of? Time will tell.

Next week: E3 brought us plenty to discuss, especially for the PlayStation VR but what about the other HMDs? What indeed…


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