This year’s E3 is one of the largest, most extravagant, and intensely competitive yet. Following arguably one of the best years of gaming, it’s not hard to see why. With incredibly impressive displays from Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and the other influential distributors of the conference, competition is rough. Game Critics Awards congregate the views of writers, journalists, and industry professionals from 51 publications to build a list of the most remarkable and astounding titles from the show floor. The results may surprise you.
Starting off with the big hitter, Best of Show at E3 2018 goes to the Resident Evil 2 remake. Capcom’s presence wasn’t too exciting, to say the least. However, the zombie-shooter remaster grew desired attention. The game is set to release 29 January 2019, only 8 days after the original 1998 game’s release on 21 January, it’s the only third-party Japanese title to receive the acclamation in 20 years. The lucky few who tested the game certainly showed excitement, being completely restored with realistic visuals, remastered audio, modern player perspective, and attuned controls. The game will release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Media Molecule’s Dreams receives the Best Original Game award of the show. The PlayStation exclusive follows in the footsteps of the developer’s love of imagination and creation in Little Big Planet and Tearaway, but takes it to extremes. The title puts emphasis on ‘play, create and share’ and building a game solely around user-generated content. Jokes like ‘make a game within a game’ and ‘Todd Howard will announce Skyrim in Dreams’ quickly made their rounds. If anything, these are testaments to the expanse of the creativity and tools that Dreams allows players to have at their fingertips. The title is certainly promising, although with user base games it mainly relies on player activity to keep it living. Dreams will release in late 2018.
After a controversial 2017, Marvel’s Spider-Man receives the award for Best Console Game and Action/Adventure. Initially revealed at 2017’s E3 and receiving flak for seemingly being Quick-Time Event (QTE) based and linear, Sony knew exactly how to change everyone’s view. New exciting and open world gameplay and a fantastic trailer featuring a huge roster of well-known villains has everyone on board. Insomniac’s return to fame this year is intense with Spyro the Dragon getting a remaster trilogy, and now this brand new Spidey game releasing in the tough September period. As a PlayStation exclusive, the game should sell well and move a few consoles in favour of Sony. Marvel’s Spider-Man is shaping up as the best Spider-Man game, ever.
With many more awards given to worthy nominees, the spread varies through many IPs and developers. Alike Resonair/Enhance Inc’s innovative Tetris Effect for best AR/VR game and Best Indie Game to Moon Studio’s Ori and the Will of the Wisps. What is quite surprising is the lack of Cyberpunk 2077 winning, well, anything. CD PROJEKT RED’s upcoming First-Person Shooter Role-Playing-Game (FPS RPG) certainly had the highest recognition among the entire show this year. The developer’s responsible for The Witcher series only received commendations for innovation and graphics from the Game Critic Awards. Maybe due to its exclusive ‘behind closed doors’ presentation and not physically on the floor for the public. Regardless, the title is definitely one to keep an eye out from the handful of amazement that came from that demo room.
Sony Interactive Entertainment ‘won’ the publisher standings coming away with six awards, with Electronic Arts following with only four. Whether the Game Critics Awards really mean anything besides a shiny sticker for developers to throw on their game or publications to use as key-search terms, there is merit in understanding what is getting people talking. The gaming industry is no longer about the technology and software and now about the marketing, community, and public reception. A good game will sell but a popular game will sell out. These awards may not particularly highlight any quality yet their importance lays in popularising the industry and creating attention for bigger and better games. Least we can say is, the future for the industry is looking bright.