E3 2015 Winners & Losers: Day Zero

It’s time. Time to look past the nuances of the video game industry, the malleability of the artform and the subjectiveness of fans. Time to pass imperious verdict on what sucked today and what didn’t suck.

The term “Day Zero” is normally employed at E3 to describe the day when most of the big press conferences go down. It’s “zero” because E3 itself doesn’t begin until tomorrow! This year, it’s actually going to include two days, because Bethesda decided to get in a whole day earlier with its first E3 showcase, and calling that “E3 Day -1” would have just been silly.


Illustration for article titled E3 2015 Winners & Losers: Day Zero

EXCLUSIVE DLC - The biggest example of this today was probably Sony’s “nyaah nyaah” over Call of Duty’s extra content. Stop it, all of you. You may be helping your bottom line, but you’re fucking gamers over by doing it.

XBOX EARLY ACCESS - No, no, no. One of the last benefits of console games is that they are—nominally at least—complete, finished products. Early Access has created as many problems as it’s solved for PC gamers, so it sucks to see the concept shuffle over.

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF HEROES - The world needs a lot of things. Yet another Star Wars card game for mobile phones is not one of them.

XBOX ELITE CONTROLLER’S PRICE - The idea is sound. The price is insane.

DOOM - It had a shotgun and gore, yes, but it also looked slow. The scrapped version of the game we saw recently looked a lot fresher!


PLAYSTATION VITA - If you woke up this morning hoping for some hot new Vita exclusives, then I am deeply sorry.



XBOX ONE BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY - This should have been standard at launch. That it wasn’t, and that it won’t cover all games, still sucks. But late is better than never, and it’s certainly preferable over Sony’s position of making you pay for games you already paid for.

SONY’S MEGATONS - What sorcery is this? Final Fantasy VII remake? Last Guardian? Shenmue 3? It still doesn’t feel real.


MOTHER - It’s not Mother 3, but it’s a start. But seriously, Mother 3 next?

SEA OF THIEVES - If Ubisoft won’t make any more pirate games, then damn it, Rare’s take on the idea will have to do. The combat and multiplayer crewmates idea look cool.


MARIO MAKER IS A NIGHTMARE - The Nintendo World Champs nearly made the LOSERS list by virtue of it not actually being a World Championships. But who can walk away sad from an event that showed us such crazy Mario action?

DREAMS - If LittleBigPlanet was a creative take on platforming, Media Molecule’s next looks to be a creative take on...well, media and culture itself. Expect to be subjected to endless “Something Something Recreated Perfectly In Dreams” headlines, because this game looks like it can do anything.


FALLOUT SHELTER - Fallout 4 looks great, but we knew that was coming; Fallout Shelter was the nicest surprise from Bethesda’s conference, not just because it’s funny as hell, but because it was released immediately.

Illustration for article titled E3 2015 Winners & Losers: Day Zero

STAGE REP - There has been previous criticism about how bro-heavy E3 is, not just in terms of the games on show, but from the people presenting them on stage. This year shook that up. Ubisoft’s show in particular was a highlight; seeing Aisha Tyler and Angela Bassett together on stage talking about Rainbow Six, of all things, was both weird and wonderful.


HORIZON: ZERO DAWN - From Killzone to...post-apocalyptic cavewomen fighting giant robot dinosaurs? We’re interested, Guerilla. As are our 7 year-old selves.

MINECRAFT HOLOLENS - Just when you thought you were long done with caring about Minecraft, along comes the technology of the future to make it look cool all over again.


UNCHARTED 4 DEMO - It looks exactly like you’d expect a next-gen Uncharted to look. Which is also exactly what you’d hope it looked like. The massive levels and driving sections should add some spice to the old “climb, shoot, solve” formula.

UNRAVEL - EA’s quiet little surprise.


And that’s it for Day Zero! If something didn’t appear on this list, assume we found it acceptable. Tolerable. Passable.

Join us tomorrow for more hot takes!

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Stephen Totilo

I strongly disagree with Early Access being in the “losers” list. Luke, you know full well that console games aren’t really finished products any more. And I’m not just referring to consoles games that are released with lots of bugs. Games evolve over time. The idea if a pristine, unchanging release is less and less relevant and true to how games are made and played.

Aside from all that, any program that lets a developer test a new idea—especially if they’re doing it through a clearly-labelled in-development early release—is fine by me.