Brendan: Our deep thirst for videogame trailers remains unslaked. Yesterday we chatted live as EA delivered force powers and football in their E3 livestream. Today, it’s Microsoft’s turn to run the hype gauntlet, with the absurd gait only a multinational conglomerate can perform. But that means we must again divide the labour. So Matt, as the conference gets ready to start below, who would you like to be this time? The hopeful cheerer, or the grumbling jeerer?
Matt: Sign me up for jeery duty.
Brendan: Excellent! I get to be the happy one this time.
Matt: So we’ve just been waiting in line in the sun for 45 minutes. I have a suspicion this air-conditioned hall is designed to instil some kind of vaguely Pavlovian response to Xbox gubbins.
Brendan: I think getting a little sun is good for you. You’re very pale.
Matt: You are literally red.
Brendan: I’m coral. It’s a fashionable colour. Anyway, the show is due to start in about 30 minutes. So we can spend a few minutes now speculating. Is Microsoft going to reveal their new Xbox and what will it be called?
Matt: Yes, and it will be called the Nextbox.
Brendan: A gym-focused console called the Pecksbox.
Matt: An arm-gym-focused console called the Flexbox.
Brendan: An entirely glassware console called the Pyrexbox.
Matt: A console for bureaucrats called the Checksbox.
Brendan: What are we doing? This is a PC site. If the Nextbox is announced, we shall have to snub it. Though as the cheerer I should say that would be very sad. So far, I’m enjoying the Winamp visualisation on screen.
Matt: Whineamp, more like.
Brendan: Be quiet, it’s starting.
Matt: It this a Marvel movie? Have we come to Antman 3 by mistake? I’m enjoying the delicious irony of this The Outer Worlds trailer decrying corporate excess at an event where large swathes of the crowd just stood up and made X symbols with their hands.
Brendan: On the plus side, it looks shiny and full of adventure. I am willing to inhabit the body of a crazed man with a spacegun. They also announced the release date: 23 October!
Brendan: Anyway, they are wasting no time here. Bleeding Edge was next, and we barely have time to register it before a new Ori game is shown off. This is a rollercoaster, and something that makes a good conference – just game after game after game. This is good. I’m sure it won’t get out of control.
Matt: Ori has already fallen into the spider goo dimension. The worst of all dimensions. But then they flew away on a nice owl. Seems like a cop out.
Brendan: Minecraft now, which still a good game, but not your older brother’s Minecraft. Oh no.
Matt: It’s the Minecraft dungeon crawler you totally definitely wanted, with chunky hammers and sleepy keys.
Brendan: If it gives the Diablo nerds something more colourful to play, this can only be good. Think about all the grimdark dungeons those poor Diablists have been through. They deserve a brighter one. This one has a sobbing key. And again, no time to linger, because out pops Phil Bigman.
Matt: He’s telling us we have the sheer magnitude to be a uniting force for the world. I don’t think I have the sheer magnitude to be a uniting force for the world.
Brendan: He has moved on to some factoids now though. And confirmed that the new console (which we are going to snub) will be mentioned. Oh look it’s that adorable robot youngster of yours! The Star Wars bot. Let’s see you talk grumpily about your own flesh and blood.
Matt: Oh, that impertinant little rust bastard. I never want to see him again. Look, now they’re silencing another hill.
Brendan: No, it’s a Blair Witch game. I was very very very excited there for a second, but now I am only plain excited, no verys. Still, looks better than the movie.
Matt: We were talking about how rubbish that film was yesterday.
Brendan: Be quiet, we get to see more Cyberpunk 2077 now. A pretty brutal fight scene, followed by the appearance of Keanu Reeves. I laughed an unhealthy amount at this reveal, I am full of the good feelings. Ha ha ha.
Matt: I didn’t recognise the famous man. Oh no. My lack of pop culture knowledge has never felt more alienating.
Brendan: He’s the man who likes dogs enough to commit serial murder, come on Matt.
Matt: Huh, he’s right there on stage. He sounds incredibly bored.
Brendan: No, that’s just Keanu. He sounds like that all the time. He’s OK. Someone just shouted “YEAH KEANU” at him, and that was solid.
Matt: He just told us we’re breathtaking.
Brendan: We are, Matt. We are.
Matt: There’s your cyberdate, then. April 16, 2020.
Brendan: That’s decades before 2077! We’re getting this so early, we should honestly all rush the stage and just kiss Keanu to death right now. He is the one who probably said to CD Projekt Red, “Listen, you’ve got to give them a date.” Let’s go kiss him n– oh he’s gone.
Matt: I feel so sorry for this wholesome piratical nonsense they’re showing now, though the people seem pleased. They’re so damn pleased. Now they’re pleased about Battletoads. I can’t keep up.
Brendan: Battletoads is a 90s game that was very hard and I remember it fondly as the “cool game” my sister traded for another SNES game. It was a big deal. It was cool. And impossible.
Matt: Was it cool enough to be worthy of the red ribbons that just got cannoned at our faces?
Brendan: Possibly cooler. And now: another game blast. If I wasn’t so cheerful I’d say this was becoming unnerving. The Good Life. Undermine. Night Call. I am honestly missing so much just by looking down at my keyboard. I feel like my jowls are flapping around my face, like I’m in a big wind tunnel of games.
Matt: Those were all the games for the Xbox Game Pass, which I’m told is for PC also somehow.
Brendan: It’s available from today. Cool. Also, it’s bringing back renting (sort of) and as a boy who spent too many Fridays slinking around the video shop, looking for the next instalment of The Land Before Time, I am happy for this.
Matt: This was before my time, and should stay in the past where it belongs.
Brendan: This new Flight Simulator looks quite handsome. You can see elephants from above. Elephants! And there are flamingoes too.
Matt: Those flamingoes looked sickly to me. Too much air pollution.
Brendan: He did fly very close to them. But importantly, he did not strike them. Only admired them. That is the kind of nature we should have in our videogames.
Matt: We missed the ageing Age Of Empires 2 being de-aged in a definitive edition.
Brendan: It’s OK. Wasteland 3 is rocking a definite Fallout-funnies vibe. But jeez, barely any time to deal with that, Matt. Are you sweating? I’m sweating. I feel warm and uncomfortable, but in a good way.
Matt: I’m sweating in the presence of Matt Booty, the Xbox head. He has used the word “great” far too many times. And now people are cheering Double Fine being swallowed by his corporate megamonolith. Maybe they’ll make a dungeon clearer.
Brendan: That’s right, we are celebrating under the sirens of a Tim Schafer alert. He brings some self-deprecating humour onto the stage and that makes me feel a bit better about them being suddenly subsumed by Bigcorp.
Matt: Psychonauts 2, now. Was that a banshee dentist? Okay no time to absorb the ramifications. The stars are warring again.
Brendan: I played an hour of the first Psychonauts on the plane over here, to do homework for seeing a demo of the sequel later, and it made me do at least two embarrassing belly laughs while the woman next to me was trying to sleep. So I am happy to have another funny game in the world, even if I might not understand the backstory.
Matt: The star warrers were Legomen, by the way. They’re making all nine films into a new Lego game. I don’t want to play another Lego version of the previous films but do kind of want to play the latest, and am mildly annoyed by this. But now – ouch – I’ve got tonal whiplash. We just jumped from a Dragonball Z game trailer to a man comforting his wife as the police threaten to break down the door. He’s stabbed the cop. Now his wife? Now he’s screaming in inconsolable grief rage.
Brendan: I’d play this. I typed the whole way through Dragonball anyway, and I thank it for giving me the time to do that. A considerate videogame. A kind game.
Matt: Brendy, you’re missing the nice deer. I’m temporarily abandoning jeery duty to appreciate the nice deer.
Brendan: [Looks up] what a good deer! Back to jeering please, Matt. You’re not allowed out of the jeerbag.
Matt: Sorry. We appear to have stepped into a high-concept Evanescence music video.
Brendan: It’s Gears of War 5! It’s strange! People love it! I have never played a Gears game!
Matt: Nor have I! I presume this will be exclusive to boxes? The others are, right?
Brendan: No, this one is coming to Windows. Oh shit, fire. Fire out of the stage. Now I really am sweating. What’s going on? Oh, it’s a different, more shooty trailer for Gears 5. The hero speaks. “We lost everything,” he says. “Everything except the need for REVENGE.” This is the best line of E3 so far. You cannot take this from me Matt.
Matt: I can smell burning.
Brendan: It’s my burning desire for vengeance.
Matt: It’s the fire. The fire is redder now. I am exhausted.
Brendan: I’m… fired up.
Matt: Oh, no on-stage electricity for the electrical effects in the trailer? Only fake video-magic electricity? COWARDS.
Brendan: Dying Light 2 is being shown off now. The sequel to one of the best 7/10 games of the past few years. Look at these punches, these zombie splats, these trousers tucked into the socks – that’s what a parkour man would do! You don’t run around zombie town with your jeans hanging out, like a fool. You wear comfortable, close fitting trousers and you tuck [clap emoji] that [clap emoji] shit [clap emoji] in.
Matt: They’ve already moved on to Lego Forza, the gritty, hardcore racing sim for serious raceheads.
Brendan: The density of videogames in this show is approaching unsafe levels. A life-sized Lego car was just wheeled onto the stage. This is dangerous, and good.
Matt: Bye bye, Lego car. Now it’s time for the Pop miniatures Gears of War game. Obviously.
Brendan: Somebody get up there and tell them to stop, for everyone’s safety. I am enjoying a lot of this but there comes a point at which I must remind our readers that there are lives at stake. Some of the people around us look like they are close to vomiting with happiness. They try to cheer, but only a hoarse vacant croak comes out. The games must stop, for the love of god. The good games must stop.
Matt: It’s okay, our throat pipes are safe. The Pop game was only for phones. State of Decay 2 Heartland will probably be something we have to vaguely care about though.
Brendan: And maybe Phantasy Star Online, a pleaser of gamechildren of the 2000s. The Dreamcast gang.
Matt: They’ve spelt ‘fantasy’ wrong. Don’t they look silly. AHHH the speakey guy is four seats from us. My beard is on the stream. MY BEARD IS ON THE STREAM.
Brendan: How wonderful! Give us a wink, jeerer. Oh never mind, the presenter is gone now. Missed our chance!
Matt: It’s okay, I think the camera guy must have realised and zoomed in a bit.
Brendan: A new Tales game, Tales of Arise, has been announced for 2020. The games show no sign of ceasing. My shoes are melting.
Matt: When will the games stop, Brendy? Please make the games stop.
Brendan: I can’t. They’re too good. Too good [sweats].
Matt: Borderlands 3, now. They’ve got five gun bastards on (virtual) stage. Might mean they’re upping the player count by one.
Brendan: Is this……… Is it…….?
Matt: It is…
Brendan: Elden Ring, the new From Software game. Which has plenty of mysterious chatter and fantastical imagery. Plus, the theme of having lost an arm seems to have jumped from Sekiro straight into this one. George R R Martin is also involved, a man who also loves to chop off limbs. This is great. Isn’t this great, Matt?
Matt: Hurray, another project sucking up Martin’s time before I get to read Winds Of Winter. Anyway, Phill Spencer’s back. He says he just showed us 60 games. It was objectively too many games.
Brendan: Why would you ever read a book when there are not 60 but [recounts] 9 billion videogames to play now. My shoes have dissolved by the way. There seems to be some sort of corrosive fluid on the ground, probably made of games.
Matt: It’s liquified gamer. They’re doing the Nextbox chat now. It apparently supports 120 FPS. People just cheered about 50 frames their eyes cannot physically detect.
Brendan: My cheerer duty does not extend to this advert for the new Xbox, which they are still being quite coy about. It has some nice music though! But wait, what’s this? Are they about to tell us the name? The new Xbox… it’s called… Project Scarlett? Ach. That’s not the name.
Matt: They spelt ‘scarlet’ wrong. Don’t they look silly.
Brendan: It’s named after Scarlett Johansson, obviously, who is embedded in the circuit boards.
Matt: Hello Halo.
Brendan: Halo Infinite. I am present in the locality for this. And look how many frames we can see. There’s loads. The story here appears to be that Master Chief has been in sleep mode for a while. I’m not caught up on my Halo lore, but I am ready to sort that out. I am a sucker for this dumbassery, even though it looks like we will have to wait until “Holiday 2020” for a go (assuming it comes to PC at the same time as the Johansson box). On another note: can you feel these vibrations, Matt? The stage speakers are booming at a delightfully inhumane frequency. That’s the feeling of games being pumped directly into sonic form and assaulting your body. Are you okay? You look unsteady.
Matt: I am wincing, literally wincing. Not theatrically. Oh thank God, it’s over.
Brendan: The show is over but we still have to escape this theater.
Matt: As Mister Chief just said, this is no time to run. This is time to fight.
Brendan: You punch the fifteen billion games to the right, and I’ll take the ten billion on the left.
Matt: Oh no, you gave me the side with Keanu Reeves in it.
Brendan: Good luck! I’ll recover your bruised corpse if you don’t make it. Goodbye, sweet jeerer!
Note: This is a liveblog, but we don’t have fancy technology, so you’ll have to refresh to see chat as it happens. Or come back when it’s all over, and see how we reacted.
See our E3 2019 for the rest of our coverage from the show, including all the news of the conference collected by Alice O.