It's all over. Sure, there are showcases still to come all month long, and we'll be there to talk about the most exciting announcements from each new show. But "Not-E3" as we've laid out is finished.
With both the Ubisoft Forward and the Capcom Showcase, we wrapped up a week of game reveals and breakdowns that left us so incredibly excited for the future of gaming. While our final recap will cover some of the announcements from both shows, this is also partially a fond farewell to the week that was.
Ubisoft kicked off our final day in style, showcasing the first extended look at their surprisingly appealing Avatar game, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. This first-person adventure looks stunning, bringing the lush verdant landscapes of Pandora into the gaming world and letting you just play around with it. With the reveal of its two-player co-op, we can easily see ourselves losing hours to it in a way that we genuinely didn't expect. They followed that with an extended look at the new Prince of Persia game that looks to reinvent the series as a Metroidvania with interesting time-based gameplay mechanics.
Then, Ubi spent a good amount of time on mobile games (that genuinely look like the home console experiences they're echoing); a Skull and Bones sea shanty performance that gave us rad pirate vibes and news of a closed beta from Aug. 25-28, but no other information; and The Crew Motorfest's take on the more stylish open-world racing experience of a game like Forza Horizon.
Assassin's Creed Mirage helped bring some energy back into the room, but as it remains a revival of where the series was initially headed, there's not much to say about it until we get hands-on.
Needless to say, the show had a fairly uneven pace but generally kept our interest. But things kicked into high gear when we got our first look at Star Wars Outlaws.
THIS GAME. Our first actual look at it sells the idea of a Red Dead-like Star Wars, one where you're free to roam the galaxy, attempting to keep up your reputation with various criminal factions, and where you take care of and covet the cutest little alien creature named Nix.
Video games are getting wild. And while we're waiting to see this game for the second and third time to believe that this vision is achievable, we are choosing to be excited for this GIANT game being developed by somewhere north of 10 of Ubisoft's massive teams.
The Ubisoft Summer Forward had a weird nostalgic feel with overly rehearsed developers reading very precise scripts about their games and cueing up the perfect slices of gameplay videos. No one else is really doing this style of presentation anymore, and it was kind of missed in its own way.
Ubisoft also let their passion show, so even when we weren't particularly interested in, say, The Crew Motorfest, we were compelled by the passion of its presenter. It was a great showing from a publishing house that has silently put out quality releases for a good deal of its recent history.
Capcom's Showcase on the other hand...
Honestly? The less said the better.
We don't like to pile on, and the online reactions to the Capcom Showcase do more than enough to tell you what was shown here.
They replayed old trailers several times over, they only announced the revival of a dead mobile game and another collection from the Phoenix Wright series (which is exciting). And... they showed Pragmata, one of their most interesting-looking new IPs, with actual gameplay and hints as to its interesting spaceman-magical girl narrative... only to announce that the game would be indefinitely delayed.
For a publisher and developer that's had as great a decade as Capcom, you can certainly afford to cut them some slack. But for their 40th Anniversary... you certainly have to wonder if it would have been better to leave their "Not-E3" contributions to the few games they announced throughout the week. Ultimately, the showcase dampened the vibes for the "finale" to the week's events.
But even with that. Not-E3 proved to be excellent in a way that the last few years weren't, and we're sad to see the chaos end.
We spent a large chunk of our Not-E3 recap and farewell describing our experiences with the week, so you can watch that for some of our sleep deprivation-enabled speeches that came directly from the heart, but it really can't be overstated how special this week is.
It's exhausting, it's stressful, and it's so much work — not only for those in games journalism and media, but also for the countless developers, publishers, and presenters banking on these events to secure their industry foothold and games' successes. It's even a lot for your run-of-the-mill gamers as they try to keep up and consume as much of the week's content as possible.
But it's also exhilarating, inspiring, and such a great look at where the industry is headed. The big publishers are scattered to the winds without E3 as we once knew it. But folks from across the industry continue to come together to showcase games that otherwise never get this level of attention any other time of the year.
This week of gaming continues to anchor the industry and draw higher attention because of the potential for thrilling and out-of-the-blue announcements. We keep seeing new groups pop up — like this year's Access-Ability Showcase — and each one comes with more spotlights for groups of underrepresented developers.
It's amazing to see what this industry can do when it comes together. We truly saw that embodied in the last-minute scramble for the Media Indie Exchange showcase in LA. The Media Indie Exchange, or MIX for short, is an event that aims to connect the biggest names in games media with the smallest and most interesting indies out there in a physical showcase where folks can get hands-on time with hundreds of smaller games. This year's edition found itself in peril after their venue had to shut the show down for reasons completely out of MIX's control. They suddenly found themselves with a ton of games and developers desperate for some sort of replacement for the exposure they were expecting.
In stepped Jirard Khalil, aka The Completionist, a content creator and games publisher who decided to host a stream so all of these developers could still have a place to showcase their hard work. What resulted was a six-hour stream of late-night loopiness and playing games for an audience that never dipped below 600. It was a beautiful display of support and allowed more people to see what we at VGG see in everything we do: the humans behind these games that we adore.
"Not-E3" was full of that. And we loved every second of it and were so excited to share it with you. While this ends our "daily" coverage, there'll be more to come in our Not-E3 Mini-Preview series — stay tuned for previews and reviews for some of the games that we fell in love with during the week and, as always, continuing excitement for what looks to be yet another BANGER of a year for gaming in 2023 and beyond.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter to get notified when we next hit publish or go live on Twitch, and tell us about your Not-E3 highlights in the comments below.
Keep on the VGG rollercoaster ride with us. I think we're headed for the best part.