Not-E3 is over. Well, wait, it isn’t? It’s bleeding into the days and weeks to come a bit, with Capcom making a presentation today and Ubisoft still likely to do something in July, we think.
Even with the different format of this year’s presentations, the spirit of the thing was the same: we flew to Los Angeles and played some games, we watched a large sum of trailers, and we emerge from that process with a set of feelings. And you, dear reader, are the recipient of those feelings. This is the closest thing to an award that we’re giving out for this year’s Not-E3, G3, “Keigh3,” or whatever your preferred portmanteau.
👑 The best game of Not-E3: Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
Morgan Park, Staff Writer: I went into our Darktide demo confident that the Vermintide folks know how to make great melee combat and a little worried the shooting wouldn’t be able to pull its weight. I left the demo excited that Fatshark might have made some of the best, most gratifying videogame guns in years. I want that entire game right now. Gimme.
Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: Darktide really nailed it on two fronts: the game itself rocks, and it was also the most substantial preview of any game in this strange not-E3 season. We got to run through a whole mission, multiple classes were available, no arbitrary cutoff time—just playing the game the same way we’ll be playing it in September. That’s how you do a demo.
Runner-up: Street Fighter 6
Wes: The only reason I’m putting Street Fighter 6 behind Darktide is that Street Fighter’s showing was more limited: I could only play with four characters and didn’t get to see the big singleplayer mode Capcom’s working on. Otherwise, I think this is the most exciting fighting game in years.
📺 The best trailer of not-E3: Skate Story
Evan Lahti, Global Editor-in-Chief: With fuzzy neon-red titles like “YOU ARE A DEMON” centered on screen, Skate Story presents itself as Tony Hawk’s Stranger Things.
The trailer doesn’t do anything inventive to show us Skate Story—there’s no voiceover or clever twists, no gimmicks or cinematic flourishes. It just presents some gameplay elegantly, but the effect of the trailer is tremendous: why have we been setting skateboarding games in the real world all these decades? We could’ve been “demons made of glass and pain” doing backside 360 heelflips in the upside-down this whole time?! Why haven’t I played a game where my body collapses into shards of glimmering glass when I die? It’s a real public service to have reality checked. As our contributor Lincoln Carpenter put it on Twitter, “You ever remember that video games are allowed to look sick as shit?” I haven’t seen a game this creepy, cool, and centered on its concept since Devil Daggers.
Runner-up: Demonschool, by Ysbryd Games & Necrosoft Games
Evan: I’m biased on this one—Demonschool debuted in the PC Gaming Show, which I help put together—but among an indie landscape that often feels like a cookie-cutter set of games cribbing visual styles or mechanics from one another, Demonschool blends 2D and 3D art in a way that I hadn’t quite seen before. It immediately grabs my attention and was an instant Steam wishlist for me, and that’s coming from someone with zero skin in the Persona series it’s partly inspired by. The song in this trailer also slaps.
🤔 Most absurd claim made by a developer: Forza Motorsport
“We’ve completely overhauled our driving experience. This includes a 48 times improvement in the fidelity of our physics simulation.”
Ted Litchfield, Associate Editor: This line from the Xbox showcase is lodged in my brain like an icepick. PC Gamer F1 fan Jacob Ridley pointed out that this is surely a quantifiable thing, a not-unreasonable claim to make, but I just don’t care. It’s so… E3. The quantification of something this miniscule as meaningful is something publishers should’ve left behind when we stopped bragging about how many polygons a character, a car, or a world contained. I don’t know how much my gaming experience might be changed by a 48X improvement in physics simulation or time of day temperature differentials affecting tire traction, but by God we are getting both.