E3 2018 Postmortem: All The WTF Moments

So, E3 2018 is now in the books. While most of us will remember the games, shock reveals and what did and didn’t show its face at the gaming extravaganza, there’s always a special place in our heart for the, um, “memorable” moments of E3 2018. You know the ones: occasions that were either so ludicrously silly or maddeningly unshakeable that you’ll remember them for years to come. Let’s celebrate ten of the best – and marvel at just how ridiculous this pastime can be.

10. Skyrim: Very Special Edition (Bethesda)

Celebrity endorsements can often be filed under instantly forgettable. The Very Special Skyrim Edition was anything but. Sandwiched in-between Bethesda’s E3 conference, Keegan-Michael Key cropped up in a trailer to showcase Skyrim: Very Special Edition, an edition of the legendary RPG that can be ‘played’ using Alexa. It was a great joke – but here’s the kicker: it’s a real game that you can actually (sorta) play now. Brilliant.

9. The Return of Battletoads

Ok, hands up. Who asked for Battletoads to make a return in the year of our lord 2018? No, me neither. Still, it was pretty surreal to see a brief teaser make a showing at Microsoft’s E3 2018 conference. Having gained cult status thanks to its nigh-on impenetrable difficulty, Battletoads was the ultimate badge of honor for many a gamer back in the ‘90s and, in an industry where hand-holding can become a little too common place, it’ll be interested to see if these awesome amphibians.

8. The Last of Us 2’s Banjo Beginning

How would Sony kick off their E3 2018 conference? Kojima coming down on a jetpack? Clickers invading the church in which half of the world’s game journalists were patiently waiting? Wrong and… wrong again. Instead, we got Gustavo Santaolalla, of The Last of Us composing fame, out to, ahem, pluck his banjo for what felt like an eternity. Sure, we eventually got some rip-roaring (and throat-ripping) gameplay from The Last of Us 2 but this went down like a lead balloon.

7. Command and Conquer’s Mobile Game

E3 is often the place to bring back long-dormant franchises and announce them to a crowd that would probably lap up the cold-blooded murder of their parents live on-stage if you put a Metroid Prime teaser at the end of it. Still, Command and Conquer: Rivals couldn’t have gone much worse. Not only was it a weird F2P mobile title, it was introduced through the lens of watching two people play the game on stage for a whole ten minutes. As you can imagine, the backlash was swift and brutal, with the game’s YouTube trailer racking up the dislikes in near-record time.

6. Wii Fit’s *big* Smash Bros. Change

e3 2018 postmortem

Series creator Masahiro Sakurai always sweats the small stuff when it comes to his Smash Bros. series but this… this was something else. With new Nintendo Switch title Super Smash Bros. Ultimate coming packed with changes to all 64 fighters on the roster, leave it to Sakurai-san to come up with the weirdest line of all of E3. The director “wavered” on changing the near-identical Wii Fit Trainer’s face for the new title but eventually bowed to his development team who instigated the change. Gee. Thanks for that?

5. Gears of War Funkos

This could have gone very, very wrong. Microsoft’s E3 2018 conference was winding down; the time was now for a big, show-stealing announcement. We got a Gears of War Funko game. Forgetting the fact that Marcus Fenix and the rest of the square-jawed squadron couldn’t look less macho if they tried in POP form, it sounds utterly ridiculous when you step back and think about it. Was that the big reveal? There was an awkward pause before, thank COG, Gears 5 was announced. That was a close one – and an example of misreading the room in hilarious fashion.

4. Cyberpunk 2077’s Secretive Demo

This has become the stuff of legend. The few games journalists who managed to sneak a peek at CD Projekt RED’s next game post-Witcher 3 have spoken about it in reverent tones reserved only for the finest titles of a generation. Is it that good or is all just overblown nonsense? We won’t know for quite some time but, for a few days, it’s all anyone could talk about – and it made those of us who weren’t there green with envy.

3. Just Dance 2019

Just Dance is an oddity at E3. Seemingly turning up every year since the dawn of time, the dance-crazy title from Ubisoft always brings out something that’s sure to leave an indelible print in your memory. And not always a good one. For E3 2018, it was the inclusion of a grandstanding panda and his flashmob friends who not only took to the stage during Ubisoft’s conference, but actually kicked the whole show off to introduce Just Dance 2019. Start as you mean to go on, I guess?

2. Andrew WK’s Shouty Bethesda Intro

Andrew WK can rock out with the best of ‘em. But E3 2018 wasn’t the best place to do it. Starting Bethesda’s conference (noticing a theme here?) with a bang, Andrew WK took to the stage to perform and… nearly every journalist in attendance sandbagged it by looking terribly bemused and ashen-faced. Sure, it might not have been for them but that’s what made it all the more surreal: Andrew WK pulling out all the stops for an electrifying performance but the audience – who were expecting shock, horror, some games at E3 – couldn’t care less. You would have heard a pin drop if it wasn’t for the deafening guitar. Maybe a lesson learned: less celebrities, more games next year?

1. The entire Devolver Conference

The Devolver bunch a special breed, to put it mildly. Every year they seem to come to E3 with the intention of being wacky for wacky’s sake and, honestly, it works. It’s memorable, unique and, as their E3 2018 conference showed, liable to stay with you for a very long time. The 20-minute conference had everything: a post-modern take on E3, over-arching storylines from previous E3s and a few barbs aimed the way of other more po-faced developers. It simply has to be seen to be believed and, for many including me, was the highlight of E3 2018.

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