KEIGHLEY SHINES AMONGST THE CRINGE
Set phasers to awkward.
By JAY TEE
Thank goodness for Geoff Keighley. The cringe factor continues as this year’s crop of Gamescom press conferences from Microsoft and Google showed little improvement over past efforts. Stadia’s sterile, corporate plainness left little opportunity for excitement. Across the board, there was a lot of talk and not enough show, particularly from Inside Xbox, which places it at the other end of the spectrum from their E3 bombardment of back to back CG trailers. Outside of some admittedly excellent additions to the Game Pass roster (Blair Witch! Devil May Cry 5!), the majority of “announcements” were simply new trailers for existing games. Two new controller designs and a Gears of War clothing line should have been press release e-
This speaks to the nature of what I constitute a worthy announcement. The unveiling of a new project, a development studio purchase, or even a hardware revision are the kinds of things that make sense for a dedicated platform specific stream. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a single new game announced during Inside Xbox, and although I appreciate the opportunity to deep dive into certain titles, at least space them out with significant original reveals.
It all comes down to pacing, and with presenters improvising painfully awkward banter and three showings of the same Borderlands 3 trailer, tedium quickly sunk in. Microsoft are doing so much right at the moment that whenever they misfire it really sticks out. Their studio acquisitions have created an incredible lineup of first party talent, Game Pass is arguably the best service innovation this gen, and their work in the accessibility field with the Xbox Adaptive Controller is best in class. They’ve shown an ongoing willingness to work with Nintendo, with the port of the first Ori being another great, consumer friendly move. Perhaps they should take a look at what Nintendo does with their Directs? Perhaps a live show isn’t the way to go?
Mercifully, Gamescom’s Opening Night Live delivered the goods. Lots of fun reveals, a pacey show, and a nice dose of Keighley / Kojima bromance (“He just texted me! He’s here!”) put a positive spin on proceedings. The emphasis on first look gameplay, and brand new announcements, did much more to justify the pomp and circumstance than either of the previous live streamed events for Stadia or Xbox. With E3 seemingly scaling back, and making silly blunders relating to attendee personal details, Gamescom 2019 has put itself at the top of the pile. Roll on X019, Tokyo Game Show, Paris Games Week, and The Game Awards!
The CG announcement did nothing for me. Keighley’s deep dive actually made me super interested.