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  • Writer's pictureNate Hermanson

(Not) E3 2022: Day 2 delivered the payoff of pandemic productivity

If anything positive came out of the pandemic, we saw it here on Day 2 of (Not) E3. The day's showcases dispatched boundless creativity, innovative ways to access games for a wider audience, new types of gaming experiences, and diverse stories from around the world.

It wasn't always like this. Last year's E3 felt the aftereffects of the beginning of the pandemic, with developers and publishers still finding their foothold after a year full of delays and cancellations.

But after years of being stuck inside — tinkering on projects, adjusting to new forms of collaboration, and learning new skills — the long wait has finally paid off. Pandemic productivity is at an all-time high and game developers are delivering their passion projects in spades this summer, if Day 2 is any sign.

Day 2 was a delight. We had the IGN Summer of Gaming Expo, a gaming-themed day of Netflix's Geeked Week, the Epic Games Store Summer Showcase, the second annual Tribeca Games Spotlight, and the Freedom Games Showcase. Across all of these events, there had to be 100+ titles spotlighted and showcased. There's no way we can break down EVERYTHING... so join us on a journey of highlights.

Without further ado, Day 2 in summation.

Innovation's back on the menu

Across a variety of showcases, Day 2 was a pinnacle of innovative works in gaming.

There was The Walking Dead: Last Mile, a live 24/7 streaming event set to air exclusively on Facebook Gaming starting July 11. Viewers/players can tune in whenever they'd like to witness the life and events of an Alaskan community of survivors in the Walking Dead world. Throughout the stream, viewers have the opportunity to weigh in on major decisions and influence the way the community is taking shape. It's far from the first interactive livestream, but with the 24/7 nature of it all and the collaborative nature of chat, I'm certain this will be something unique.

People have long been asking "Where is the Netflix of gaming?" Well, Netflix answered. And apparently, it's on mobile.

Announcing collaborations and publishing partnerships with a ton of major indie developers, Netflix made their biggest push into the gaming space yet, and it's a pretty compelling one. Essentially, for no extra cost, all Netflix subscribers have access to a growing library of quality mobile games, accessible through the Netflix app.

Growing the gaming audience by creating more accessible avenues into gaming is a genius move on Netflix's part, and the library of games they're touting is compelling for gamers of all types. The service essentially mimics the Apple Arcade initiative of yesteryear, but across several different marketplaces and with a much easier buy-in proposal. We're in a wait-and-see period for now, but Netflix is making the right moves so far.

Before we move on, I just want to take a moment to shout out two specific games for their particularly innovative approaches to game design.

  • Sam Barlow's Immortality looks and feels like the coolest and weirdly most logical jump forward for the unique mystery game formula he started back in 2015 with Her Story. Watch the presentation and be blown away.

  • As Dusk Falls is a narrative adventure game that feels fairly familiar with its choice-and-consequence gameplay system and even in the way its story is told through the perspective of multiple characters. But one look at its visuals shows this is something special. Aesthetically landing somewhere between classic Norman Rockwell paintings and the Adult Swim classic Tom Goes to the Mayor, As Dusk Falls is brought to life with a beautiful slideshow of painted scenes adapted from fully acted and filmed sequences. Watch and enjoy.

Every show this year is a can't miss

Like the developers themselves, last year's E3 was constrained. On a production and scope level, it's clear that the showcases themselves were still finding their footing. Pacing, production value, and quality of content made some of last year's showings completely skippable. Which hurts to say. We watched it all, but some of it just didn't pay off in the end.

This year... that just ain't true.

If this is how we're reacting, it's gotta be good.

With indies continuing to reign supreme and the aforementioned creativity boom on full display, every single showcase trimmed the fat and got straight to the juicy gaming content we have all been waiting for. Day 2 was full of smaller showcases that normally wouldn't be a huge deal, from the IGN Expo all the way to the Freedom Games Showcase. And yet, when I step back and look at it all, I might have found twice as many interesting games in today's showcases than I did all of Day 1.

With bigger names lining up for the rest of the week, I'm drawn to watch everything I possibly can, because if Day 2 was this big... who knows what's next.

If you want to find out, too, watch along with us on Twitch! We'll be live from 8 AM to 2 PM on Saturday with a rad batch of shows, including the Wholesome Direct, the Guerrilla Collective 3, the Future of Play Direct and Future Games Show. Don't miss a single moment.

Below, we've embedded each of Day 2's full showcases along with a few timestamps for trailers you won't want to miss. Catch up before Day 3!

Day 2 Showcases

IGN Expo

Recommended viewing: There is No Light (1:07:20), SacriFire (1:11:24), The Unliving (1:20:23), Super Zoo Story (1:47:11), Beneath Oresa (1:55:18)

Netflix Geeked Week: Day 5

Recommended viewing: Dragon Age Absolution (1:35), The Queen's Gambit Chess (16:01), Poinpy (31:15)

Epic Games Store Summer Showcase 2022

Recommended viewing: The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria (15:13), Shoulders of Giants (19:01), Tchia (20:34), Rawmen: Food Fighter Arena (27:11)

Tribeca Games Spotlight 2022

Recommended viewing: Honestly the whole thing. Starts at 15:02.

Freedom Games Showcase Summer 2022

Recommended viewing: Symphony of War (23:47), Retreat to Enen (28:47), Monorail Stories (39:40), One Lonely Outpost (55:58)

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