Welcome back, one and all, to the annual YouChew E3 Awards! As always, these awards are voted by the YouChew community to determine the best of the worst of this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. Was this year's showing a glorious return to form? Was it a flaming tire fire of absolute horror? Or was it just another mediocre slog? Find out as we unveil the winners of the 2018 YouChew E3 Awards!
The “You Are Tearing Me Apart, Reggie!” Award
For the most unintentionally funny moment
Unfortunately, this year lacked many of the rip-roaringly hilarious moments we've come to expect from E3 and its unplanned goof-ups. Thankfully, though, we did get a few of those special chuckleworthy moments to spice up what was mostly a rather dull year for a lot of companies.
PC Gaming, which tends to lean on the dull side, got some laughs when the microphone of one of the speakers broke, forcing him to lean right into Sean Plott's chest to speak straight into his heart. There were also the stone-faced reactions from members of the crowd at Bethesda who were unamused by Andrew W.K.'s musical performance.
The winner, though, goes to a rather innocuous moment.
As two Ubisoft presenters stepped off stage after showcasing Beyond Good and Evil 2, one excitedly shouted to her companion "We nailed it! We nailed it!", unaware that her mic was still on. As funny as this was, it was also kind of cute in an endearing sort of way. This wasn't a mechanical drone accidentally squeaking its wheels, but rather a human showing some humorous overexcitement. Precious as it was though, it did give us a good chuckle. Still...aww.
The “Great Job, Jeremy!” Award
For the most patronized on-stage performer
Look at this poor mother fucker.
Look at him.
Okay, we're fudging this award just a touch, since technically he's not an on-stage performer. But if there was anyone patronized to high hell this year, it was poor Vince Zampella, the CEO of Respawn. Respawn has been getting dicked around by its parent company EA ever since the monolithic publisher tossed Titanfall 2 out to die literally a single week after releasing Battlefield 1 and a week before Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's release.
This year we received news from Respawn that they were developing a new Star Wars game, Jedi Fallen Order. Did Zampella get to go on stage to show off a trailer or some gameplay, or at least to just announce the damn thing? No. Instead, EA had Andrea Rene pick him out in the crowd, sit down next to him, shove a mic in his face, and have him awkwardly talk about his studio's game like he's some fan discussing his own Anthem fan film.
Whether or not Jedi Fallen Order turns out to be any good or not, you gotta feel it for the guy. I mean come on, EA. Cut your own guy some slack, for fuck's sake.
The “Exciting Dog Action!” Award
For the most boring game due to lack of innovation
Ah yes, E3. The time of year when we anticipate the game industry's endless creativity and end up walking home with blue balls as we're reminded of just how little creativity most big budget developers have.
This year's show had a plethora of options to choose between, from Battlefield V caving to the Battle Royale craze and Anthem's bland mimicry of Destiny to the same old horses brought out to trot with Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Standing above the crowd, though, was FIFA '19.
It's no surprise by now that we, as a community, couldn't give less of a fuck about sports games. Which, again, wouldn't be quite such a problem if EA wouldn't dedicate so much of their conferences highlighting them. Honestly they (thankfully) held back a bit with Madden and NBA Live this year, but they dedicated a good chunk of time to FIFA '19, treating it as if it were some massive esport that fans across the world couldn't get enough of.
EA, sod off. You're delusional. Soccer is huge worldwide, yes. And plenty of people play FIFA. But you go on ESPN to watch esports competitions, and what do you see? DOTA. League. Overwatch. "Gamers' games". Because we already have Soccer. We already have FIFA. Very few people get enjoyment from watching other people play a Soccer game when we could just watch people playing Soccer for real.
If you must spend so much time on FIFA next year, at least bring Pele back.
The “My Body Wasn’t Ready” Award
For the biggest “Oh SNAP” moment of the show
There were some decent contenders for this award, like Bethesda closing out with work-in-progress announcements for Starfield and Elder Scrolls VI as well as Star Fox making a surprise appearance in Ubisoft's Starlink. But...come on. You all know what (or rather, who) the winner is.
Hah. I get it.
Depending on who you ask, Nintendo fans have been waiting on Ridley to be a playable Super Smash Bros. character since as early as Melee. By Brawl, when he was relegated to a boss, the requests for Ridley to be a playable character really started to take root. And when fans believed he was snubbed in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U for being "too big", they got pretty miffed. Not only was Ridley one of the few "iconic" villains from Nintendo's stable still missing from Smash's roster, he would help support Metroid's pitifully minuscule representation within the crossover fighter.
So imagine our delight when after years, arguably decades of wanting to see Ridley join the ranks of Smash, we finally got our wishes. Well played, Sakurai.
Now then...how about King K. Rool? What? We Smash fans are never satisfied.
The “We Can Rule the Galaxy as Father and Son” Award
For the most unsettling corporate partnership
During Microsft's E3 showcase, they revealed that in an effort to reach out into the indie scene, they have decided to purchase a number of independent game studios. Most of these seemed harmless, such as the purchase of the companies that have worked on State of Decay and We Happy Few. However, then Microsoft dropped that it had bought Ninja Theory.
See, up until recently Ninja Theory was mostly only known for their polarizing reboot of Devil May Cry (DmC, as it is generally referred to as). However, they recently put out a little title called Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. Love it, hate it, or never even heard of it, it was meant to be a statement to the game industry as a whole. Sold for $50 on a lower budget and with no publisher, it was meant to stick a flag in the dirt and state that "AAA"-quality games can be made without the support of some big publisher, and that companies are willing to charge less than $60 for their game and not be ashamed of that.
So...yeah. Microsoft gobbling up such a studio is a rather ironic turn of events, one that hopefully won't end in tragedy. I mean after all, Rare continued to churn out classic after classic after being bought by Microsoft, right?
The “ESPN Experience” Award
For the announcement/presentation that had the least to do with video games at a conference about video games
Sony, go home. You're drunk.
The “Rock Band 3, Fucking Finally” Award
For the biggest bait and switch
Geez, talk about a lot of bait-and-switches this year, huh?
One big one was the skating game Session, which had a lot of people champing at the bit thinking it might be Skate 4 prior to the game's title being revealed. This can be attributed to Skate 3's servers suddenly booting up a week prior to E3, leading to much speculation on Skate 4 being announced. However, Skate 3 was EA while Session was Ubisoft, so this was mostly people grasping at straws. Other instances include Ubisoft unveiling footage of Star Fox...only to reveal him to be just another playable character in Starlink, as well as Sony roping us along with The Last of Us Part II footage before suddenly going offline for 10 minutes while they switched venues.
But the winner by a landslide was...hooh boy...
Microsoft...what the fuck?
Okay, let's put things in perspective here. Yes, an actual Gears of War 5 got announced shortly after this...thing. But you gotta play your cards right. Let's say they announced Gears 5, then said "While you wait for Gears 5, here's something fun to keep you satisfied", then showed this trailer. Whatever; it's a cute holdover until Gears 5 comes out. But instead, the first we heard of Gears at the conference was that logo, only to then see the screen filled with these vinyl monstrosities.
Like...who asked for this? Who asked for this? And who thought pulling the rug from viewers like that was an okay thing to do? Jesus buttery gravy...
“Jack Black’s Octagonal Emblem”
For the most cringe-worthy and painful game/presentation to sit through
Ubisoft, you really are the kings of cringe, aren't you?
Barring last year, Ubisoft has won this award every single year since its inception. And even then, last year the award went for Anthem pulling this stunt that Ubisoft made popular in the first place, so it all comes back around to Ubisoft, you cringeworthy fucks.
Okay, a little background. Over the past few years, Ubisoft has mastered something that has come to be dubbed the "Mic Trick". Basically what this boils down to is showing gameplay footage of a multiplayer game, then overlaying it with actors pretending to be players playing the game. The intended effect is to make the viewer think that they will feel this engrossed when playing the game, that this is such an immersive experience that they'll talk about things like enemy squads and coordinated assaults as if they were real. The produced effect is some of the most cringy stuff ever produced at E3.
As the video above displays, when Ubisoft demonstrated The Division 2 at Microsoft's show, they felt the need to include their precious Mic Trick. Had it not been for that, this would've been a perfectly serviceable gameplay demo. Just let the main character talk. Or have a narrator talk over it if you must. Or, you know, you could just let it be silent and let the game speak for itself. But no; instead. Ubisoft wants to trick our brains into thinking that this is some amazing immersive world, when all they've succeeded at is tricking our brains into desperately attempting to claw their way out of our skulls.
Stop it, Ubisoft.
"Usher's Plastic Disco Ball"
For the most shoehorned-in celebrity
Another award that had a surprising number of candidates this year, huh? Both Bethesda and Ubisoft provided us with a pretty decent helping of celebrities. Keegan-Michael Key starred in a parody commercial for a version of Skyrim that would be playable on Amazon Alexa, but that "trailer" was actually pretty funny, so we can let it slide. Ubisoft had a couple of awkward cameos; Joseph Gordon Levitt showed up on stage for Beyond Good and Evil 2 to show off his company HitRecord's involvement with the game, while Elijah Wood continued to discuss his confusing ties to the confusing VR title Transference.
However, none of these topped Andrew W.K., who showed up at Bethesda's conference to perform in junction with a trailer for Rage 2. And...well, let's just say the audience didn't exactly eat him up.
This reaction says it all.
His appearance wasn't the worst thing in the world, nor was it the most cringeworthy. But feeling as unnecessarily crammed in as it did, it was definitely the most shoehorned-in celebrity appearance, and...well, that's what this award is for.
"Mr. Caffeine's Bronze Coffee Mug"
For the worst performer of the show
To be honest, this year didn't have any singular performer who we can easily single out as the worst performer of all of E3. Not a single Mr. Caffeine or Aisha Tyler in sight; most performers rocked the line of acceptable to mediocre, as can be seen by the fact that almost a majority of voters chose to abstain from this vote.
Almost a majority. There was one contestant that managed to snag the overall votes, and that would be none other than Andrew Wilson, the CEO of EA Games.
This is the second year Mr. Wilson has won this award, and it's easy to see why. From his monotone drone to his slick CEO suit, he is the embodiment of gross corporate culture that radiates from EA's core and permeates the whole industry.
Microsoft lost a lot of its bad look once they fired Don Mattrick, that slimy little skeezeball. Maybe EA will someday fire Wilson's slimy ass in a desperate attempt to help maintain its public image, if we're ever so lucky. Until such a day comes, though, we can probably expect Wilson to take home Mr. Caffeine's Bronze Coffee Mug some time again in the near future.
Enjoy the embronzed mug, Wilson. Here's to hoping Mr. Caffeine takes a caffeine-fueled acid piss into it. Drink up, buddy.
“The Concrete Donkey”
For the company that made the biggest ass out of themselves, in both presentation and content
While Ubisoft had a few mediocre games during its run and Sony suffered from a sheer lack of content for a platform holder, this vote wasn't remotely close. EA won by an absolute landslide. And sure, you can argue that a lot of that sentiment was just negative feelings towards EA as a company themselves rather than necessarily an indictment of their conference.
That being said...fuck their show was weak.
What did they present? Battlefield V, a game they'd already announced a week or so prior? Oh, but now with Battle Royale. Oh heavens, I'm getting the vapors! DLC for Battlefront 2, a game that's dying a slow and prolonged death? Honey, you shouldn't have! Command and Conquer: Rivals? Oh joy, a classic franchise reduced to a F2P mobile title! FIFA, Madden, NBA Live! Our favorites! And we wouldn't dare forget Anthem, EA and BioWare's ultimate tour de force which...looks like just a Destiny clone.
A smattering of decent-looking indie titles was far from enough to salvage such a weak show, especially when you consider how bloated it was with fluff between the likes of the ridiculously long time they spent on Command and Conquer: Rivals and the prolonged build-up to Anthem that resulted in a wet subdued fart.
The Concrete Donkey, the ultimate trophy for the worst of the worst at E3, has plummeted forth from the heavens and has landed right on Andrew Wilson's skull. Here's to hoping he chokes on that urine-tinged coffee.
“Best in Show” (Game)
For the game that, through trailers, live demos, or other presentations, deserves the most praise and built the most hype
Between Fallout 76, Kingdom Hearts III, the surprising reveal of the remake of Resident Evil 2, Cyberpunk 2077 and many more, there were plenty of cool looking games to look forward to on the horizon. That being said, just as Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U took the polls by storm in 2014, it should be no surprise that the brand new Smash game coming to Nintendo Switch, christened Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, would easily take home the crown for Best in Show for 2018.
I mean, look at this art. Look at it.
It wasn't enough that all of the DLC characters from Smash 4 are returning. It's not just that Snake, Ice Climbers, Wolf, and every other fighter thought lost since Brawl have come back into the fold. It's not just the fantastic-looking mechanics balancing and visual updates to characters such as Ganondorf and Zelda. All of those probably would've still been enough to keep this as the best game of E3. But once you factor in the reveal of Ridley...well, that just wasn't fair, was it Sakurai?
It is with great honor that we bestow Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with the Best in Show award for 2018. In the same way that Smash 4 blew us away in 2014, here's to hoping that Smash Ultimate lives up to its name and can truly be deemed the Ultimate Super Smash Bros. title.
“Best in Show” (Company)
For the company that overall was of the highest quality and standard, in both presentation and content
This year had its share of stinker conferences, but it also honestly had a good few that were surprisingly strong. Bethesda gave us a solid showing of titles such as Fallout: 76 and Quake Champions, as well as teases for games such as Doom Eternal, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI. Microsoft actually had a pretty solid sampling of titles for once, with previews for games like Gears of War 5, Devil May Cry 5 and Cyberpunk 2077 rocking our socks off (even if a majority of its solid-looking lineup will end up multiplatform).
But only one company can reign above all the others, and this year that company is none other than Nintendo. A small sampling of titles such as Daemon X Machina, Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Super Mario Party aren't too much to sneeze at, but the nearly half-hour look at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was enough to clinch the company with this year's award for Best in Show.
Nintendo, you've been on an utter roll with the Switch. Let's keep this going; don't let us down.