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E3 2019

E3 May Be Epic’s Grand Statement of Intent

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Every year, developers from around the world gather in June to showcase their most secret and anticipated projects. In the months leading up to E3, gamers witness the spectacle of influencers and industry veterans discussing the rumors of what might be, further fueling their desired announcements come to life. In the spirit of fun and excitement, E3 allows for the passion of gaming to be broadcast on a world stage and recognized for its influence on the entertainment industry.

Now that the industry is approaching the eve of E3, OnlySP is counting down the days remaining in a segment we like to call ‘12 Days of E3’. Please join OnlySP in celebrating an event that can be described as Christmas for Gamers, as we come together in anticipation for E3 2019!


Epic Games: a one-time industry darling, best known for Unreal Tournament, Gears of War, Fortnite, and the ubiquitous Unreal development engine. However, across the past six months, the company has attracted the ire of a vocal contingent of gamers who insist that its new digital storefront is predatory and anti-consumer due to exclusivity deals and rumours of spyware.

Nevertheless, indie developers and even large publishers have flocked to the Epic Games Store, some no doubt attracted by the bigger revenue cut compared to Steam and other storefronts and others because a partnership “felt completely natural and right.” The result so far is a strongly curated selection of memorable and highly promising games, including the likes of Close to the Sun, RiME, Control, Phoenix Point, and Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. However, E3 could be Epic’s greatest statement of intent to date.

Following in the footsteps of Intel and Oculus, the company is the major sponsor of the PC Gaming Show this year, suggesting that Epic views the event as a prime advertising opportunity. That surmise has precedent. One of the most eye-catching games of last year’s event was Oculus and Insomniac Games’s Stormland, while several other high-profile titles from the presentation—The Sinking City, Genesis Alpha One, Anno 1800, and Satisfactory—have since signed on for PC exclusivity with Epic.

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, one of Epic’s most promising upcoming exclusives

Two possibilities exist:

Epic could use the stage to announce a swathe of new exclusive offerings, which may be drawn from the ranks of its fellow sponsors. Rebellion, for one, has already confirmed it will announce a new game at E3, while Frontier Developments, Funcom, and Paradox Interactive already have highly anticipated projects prime for poaching. This approach would make for a continuation of the practices the online community has already railed against.

On the other hand, the company could finally open the storefront up to developer submissions, allowing studios other than those directly selected by Epic to sell their games, significantly expanding its offerings.

In either case, the new storefront will become more competitive overnight, and an expanded userbase may inspire Epic to expedite those features that the community seems to be clamouring for most.

However, more interesting than what might be is what is. Oculus sponsored the PC Gaming Show last year at a time when its dominance in the VR market was in question. The HTC Vive’s profile was on the rise, and PlayStation VR was making plenty of headlines. Stormland alone may not have put Oculus back on top of the pile, but it did help gamers remember the disruptive promise of Oculus in a market where many VR offerings have become too safe to be truly exciting. The sponsorship deal, more than anything else, was a reminder that Oculus still has a stake in the game.

Stormland, the upcoming Oculus exclusive from Insomniac Games

Epic’s backing of the show seems a little different; rather than a reminder, it seems to be a challenge. Steam has long dominated the PC gaming market simply because no competitor has been of a scale to truly be a contender. Epic, with its vast resources, established brand, long history, and backlog of goodwill, is different—or, rather, it might have been were the company able to control the narrative surrounding its store from the beginning. The company has had to fight off concerns about its relationship with Tencent and backlash against its business decisions, even though several developers and publishers have spoken positively of their sales on the store.

For Epic, E3 has to be more than just more of the same self-promotion and shiny fluff. The storefront has already won a huge number of converts (or at least individuals indifferent about their launcher) if statements by THQ Nordic and Saber Interactive are to be believed, but a cult of negativity persists. By going all in at E3 and throwing its money behind the show where it clearly has the most to gain, Epic is throwing down a gauntlet and may be making a play for those gamers who have otherwise already written off its service. Whether Epic can successfully convince those naysayers, however, is a different story entirely.

On the other hand, all this speculation could amount to nothing, and Epic may simply show up to promote the future of Fortnite.

The PC Gaming Show will take place on June 10 at 10am PT/1pm ET/6pm BST. Stay tuned for more of our 12 Days of E3 by following OnlySP on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. Also, be sure to join the discussion in the community Discord server.

Damien Lawardorn is an aspiring novelist, journalist, and essayist. His goal in writing is to inspire readers to engage and think, rather than simply consume and enjoy. With broad interests ranging from literature and video games to fringe science and social movements, his work tends to touch on the unexpected. Damien is the former Editor-in-Chief of OnlySP. More of his work can be found at https://open.abc.net.au/people/21767

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E3 2019

Biomutant is Vibrant, Unique, and a Hell of a Lot of Fun

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biomutant

THQ Nordic had a bevy of games available to play on the show floor at this year’s E3. While some attendees eagerly lined up to play Darksiders Genesis (as our own Michael Cripe did), others sought to finally get their hands on Experiment 101’s highly unique Biomutant for a hands-on, 30-minute demo. Thankfully, Biomutant’s E3 demo is more than enough proof that the will end up being something truly special.

After selecting their preferred language, players were given the option to recode their mutant’s DNA, serving as Biomutant’s version of a character customizer. The customization options were satisfying. A circle graph appears on the screen with five key skills the player must find their preferred balance between: strength, agility, intellect, charisma, and vitality. A sixth skill, luck, was also present, but it was not one that the player could influence from the circle graph. This graph not only influences the player’s mutant’s skills but it also directly changes the mutant’s appearance.

Other customization options included determining the mutant’s fur length and primary and secondary colors. Once these options were set, the demo thrusts the player into a mission that begins with riding a hot air balloon  while the narrator speaks of the excitement of an adventure. Enemies begin firing to bring down the hot air balloon and the player is dropped into the action.

Biomutant

The world of Biomutant immediately pops, as the colors were sharp and invoked thoughts of Ratchet &Clank with a slightly more comic-book style. The visuals reflected the conditions of the area, too, with vibrant reds representing intense heat being a memorable example. The first thing that stood out about this sequence was how great the combat felt. Similarly to Insomniac’s Spider-Man and Rocksteady’s Arkham series, sliding through an enemy’s legs while kicking, punching, and shooting felt tight and familiar. In some instances, the game slowed down when a knockout blow was dealt, which was a nice cinematic touch.

Progressing forward saw the player in an area with additional enemies with a larger, more intimidating foe acting as the main objective. This section introduced the Super Wushu attack, which varies depending on the equipped weapon. The most rewarding of these attacks was with the Klonk Fist which was obtained later in the demo. The Klonk Fist offered huge gauntlets that could pummel multiple enemies by mashing the action button.

The key to unlocking the Super Wushu attack involves stringing together combos which felt fairly easy to do. I do not recall ever losing my combo to an enemy attack, as I obtained the special attack fairly often. The combat allowed for those who wished to mash the melee or firing button but also rewards the players who are more tactical in their combos while mixing in shooting with melee attacks.

Biomutant

With the tutorial for the demo out the way, the game continues by having the player go to a different part of the planet. This new area showcased the vibrant greens and life that contrasted the overheated reds from the previous area. After some platforming, the demo descends the player down into the world where Gizmo the Greasemonkey resides.

Biomutant NPC dialogue is spoken by the narrator from the beginning of the demo while the player’s character makes vague sounds during the conversation. This exchange felt a bit underwhelming for the action-RPG as options did not hold any consequences for how the next section plays out and can be skipped without missing out on much of the story or mission objective.

After descending down and exiting an elevator shaft, the player enters a dark, oil-spilt area. The color palette here reflected the same pop to its visuals as the other sections. A mech suit, which was required to clean up the oil, controlled fine, though combat definitely felt better out of the mech suit than in it.

A final enemy awaited which served as the boss fight for the mission. This fight contained three phases with the enemy adding a new attack method from in the second. The third phase, however, took place inside the creature. After taking him down from the inside, the planet’s Tree of Life becomes more alive as indicating a reversal of destitute for the planet.

The demo confirmed the anticipation OnlySP had for Biomutant. The combat felt great and the visuals really popped. THQ Nordic and Experiment 101 may something special on their hands if the rest of the game plays as the demo did.

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