Most years in Oscar history has always had a a front-runner, the kind of film that everyone assumes will win the Best Picture award come Oscar night. 2016 is no different, with the clear lead for the award being Damien Chazelle’s throwback musical La La Land. At this point the La Land Land think pieces are pretty much impossible to avoid, with everyone and their blogging mother eager to share their thoughts on the most talked about Oscar nominee. Opinions are all varied about whether or not the film actually deserves the win its about to get, or if it’s just another example of the Academy being behind the times about what people actually respond to.
In an effort to truly understand what makes all these different viewpoints tick, we here at Freshly Popped Culture have gotten together to present three different viewpoints about the film: one that thinks the film is vastly overrated, one that thinks the film does indeed deserve to win, and one that is (more likely to the consensus) somewhere in the middle. So, let’s debate, shall we? Does La La Land deserve to win Best Picture? Jared Russo, Justin Powell, and Matthew Legarreta talk it out, starting with…
Jared, a.k.a. The Stick In the Mud:
Are you fucking kidding me? Do we even need to have this discussion?
Every single god damn year we do this song and dance about the Oscars and almost every year it ends the same way: a group of people see a movie at a festival, and suddenly it is decided among the brain trust that there needs to be a winner, that winner being a movie that is either the true story based on a social issue or historical figure OR is about artists and entertainers making art either on the screen or TV or radio or on the stage. Nobody has a say in this, there is no room for discussion, it simply becomes fact. It doesn’t become about who should win or who will win, but how many this front runner will pick up.
Let’s cynically and reductively look at the list of recent winners to justify my thesis and my case:
- La La Land — Actors in LA suck their own dicks
- Spotlight — The true story of child abuse and how fucked up Catholicism is
- Birdman — Actors in NY suck their own dicks
- 12 Years a Slave — The true story of slavery and how fucked up the South is
- Argo — The true story of writers in LA sucking their own dicks
- The Artist — Directors in LA suck their own dicks, silently
- The King’s Speech — The true story of how fucked up the Nazis are
- The Hurt Locker — The true story of how fucked up the Middle East is
- Slumdog Millionaire — The TV industry sucks their own dick, with a killer dance number at the end
Now, this isn’t against the actual quality of the films themselves, in fact most of the movies in that list are quite good! A few are beyond terrific! I love some of those movies! That is not the issue at hand here, simply due to the fact that the best movies never win, the most experimental movies never win, the most bold and daring get punished and the safest picks are rewarded based on a mixture of a ridiculous voting system and lots of money being pumped behind the scenes. It is what it is; as long as nobody is breaking the law I could care less.
But come the fuck on, really? Did you people not see the other contenders? This is one of the strongest lists of nominees for Best Picture in quite some time, and they’re going with La La Land? I like that movie, it’s fine. Tons of problems, everyone agrees, you can nitpick it to death, but it’s forgettable and not nearly as impressive as Whiplash. But that is a much longer discussion for another day.
Am I an asshole for writing this column? My tongue is in my cheek, although that’s harder to get across in written form, I admit. This is mostly a rebuke to my friends and their arguments, I’m sure what they wrote is fine. I’m okay being the resident negative nancy.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and unfortunately the history of Hollywood is filled with way too many winners that in retrospect look short-sighted and awful. The academy’s batting average is horrendous and you can make up a canon’s worth of all-timers with what didn’t win. Did nobody see Moonlight? Or OJ: Made in America and I Am Not Your Negro? Why weren’t they included in the main list? I fucking LOVE Arrival and Manchester by the Sea to death, but come on, this is so stupid. I get the fervor, I get the backlash, I get the backlash to the backlash, and I approve of all the nominations tying the record, but at the end of the day it isn’t about La La Land being a mediocre musical or not, it’s about the strength of the competition and this year it’s way too good to award to Damien Chazelle’s latest.
Maybe in another year I wouldn’t be so irked. But god damn do I love Whiplash and I will see everything Chazelle makes going forward. Enjoy the gold coming your way buddy, I’m proud. And silver lining: at least Mel Gibson won’t win anything.
Justin, a.k.a. The Middle Ground
There’s a few levels to consider when thinking about La La Land. First, do I , Justin, think La La Land is the best picture of 2016? The answer is no, I believe Moonlight to be the best film of 2016. But I do think La La Land is a good film. I distinctly remember saying that La La Land was going to win Best Picture at the Oscars to the family member I saw it with, but I think that’s more about the Academy Awards than the film itself.
La La Land is designed to rack up awards in a lot of ways. Everyone knows Hollywood loves Hollywood, so a musical that equally odes to Singing In The Rain as it does to The Umbrella Of Cherbourg is something that is right up their alley. Mix in the indie cred of Damien Chazelle and that fact this isn’t from a major studio, and you sate any arguments this typical studio awards bait, you say that this film is risky in 2016, “people don’t like original musicals” and all.
But after the enthralling experience of watching La La Land in the theaters, you return to your home, and on the way, you begin to consider certain things.
Like that Gosling and Stone can’t really sing, though that’s not unprecedented. The previously mentioned The Umbrella Of Cherbourg doesn’t feature the best singers, but the problem is, that film came out 50 years ago. What people think about musicals has changed, and no better understanding of this can be seen than with Hamilton, a.k.a. the biggest drawing musical in the world.
Then you consider the narrative that this is a film about how Ryan Gosling is going to “save” jazz. Although this is problematic (especially when it’s paired with John Legend being the evil sellout), I tend to think Damien Chazelle is actually the problem here. If you have seen any of his other three films, Chazelle has a tendency toromanticize jazz, but what he also does make films about awful men. Guy, Andrew, and Sebastian are terrible people, possible sociopaths if you consider their lack of regard of other people and their only desire to indulge their wants. So the idea of this being a film about a white man saving a traditional black music kind of falls apart with that, especially since Chazelle’s first male lead was black but still: come on man, we could fixed a serious issue with this film in casting.
Lastly, this is a conversation we’re having because I’m pretty sure that we all agree that there’s a clearly superior film in Moonlight. But unlike previous years, Moonlight has had a lot of acclaim during award season. In fact, Moonlight has won the most awards, so when it comes to the grand daddy of awards (and I can make the argument that no award holds more in acclaim in an Oscar relative to it’s field,) why are we having this conversation?
Ultimately yes, La La Land does deserve some awards, but why does it deserve all the awards? Why can’t the Oscars just get out of its own way for once? Imagine the story it will be if the Academy Awards actually awarded something that WASN’T Moonlight? And its important that it does: people often greenlight projects that they know won’t be huge financial windfalls if they think they can get awards. If Moonlight wins, if Hidden Figures wins, you effectively change the narrative of American cinema, because studios will take more risks on telling different stories. And that’s probably more important than anything else.
Matthew, a.k.a. The La La Lover
It’s not easy being in this position, arguing for a film that has (somehow) become a bit of a pariah as far as Oscar candidates go. I don’t know what really happened to cause such a backlash against La La Land, although I have my personal suspicions (the awards cycle is a cruel beast, let’s just put it that way.) But despite what the internet tells me, I KNOW there’s a ton of people that love this film. I know that I’m not the only person who believes La La land is indeed the “Best Picture” of 2016. But, even if I was…
Or in Simpsons terms…
Because, look: I loved La Land Land. It was my favorite movie of the year, and gave me an experience unlike any other in 2016. I thought it was technically marvelous, emotionally complex, and thematically rich. I personally believe that a lot of the “hot takes” that are coming out about the film (including the “Ryan Gosling wants to save jazz=racism” thing) are not giving the movie a fair shot, and I think I’ve come to realize that the movie I saw is apparently not the same one others did.
And you know what? That’s okay. It’s also okay for people to hate (or more likely, moderately dislike) the film, even if it does sadden me a bit that people can be so cynical about something that’s so wondrous and hopeful. I really did wish that more people loved the film, even if I can’t begrudge them for their hatred. And here’s another fun trick: though I loved La La Land, I ALSO loved Moonlight, and Manchester by the Sea, and even Fences for that matter.
It’s easy to get lost in the Oscar race, and to start turning on these (mostly great) pieces of art as the competition intensifies. But this isn’t sports, or even politics for that matter: you can love all these films without feeling like you have to dump on them because they are the frontrunner for the “big” win. I’m okay with people disliking La La Land, but in a world in which it wasn’t dubbed the Best Picture choice for the Oscars (and the predominately white film going against the minority led other choice, a conversation for a whole other article), I’m curious what the overall consensus on the film would be. Which is weird to say about a movie that has 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and a strong 8.5 on IMDB, but once again, that’s what this stupid competition ends up doing.
I understand where Jared is coming from, and see a lot of what Justin is saying too. But I don’t understand why all these factors have to change what I (and I imagine many others) feel about this film, and why we should just change our pick for the best film of the year because Moonlight being it would better contribute the industry. All I can do is talk honestly about my own experience, and in that sense, I am not going to stop loving La La Land, or be absolutely thrilled when it most likely wins Best Picture come Sunday.
But, hey, I was in this same exact position back in 2014 with Birdman, so I’m no stranger to having my opinion about the best film of the year going from widely accepted to culturally derided. I don’t want to harp too much about how persecuted I feel about all this, but all I’m saying is that Martin Scorsese is probably going to make a movie about me in a few years that stars an eternally tortured Andrew Garfield. And then when it becomes an Oscar front-runner, we can proceed to hate it too! The cycle continues.
So there you have: three very different viewpoints on what La La Land’s very likely Best Picture win really means. After listening to all three of us rant, where do you align? And be sure to tune into the Oscars this Sunday to see what ultimately gets the prize.
Although, come on now, it’s totally going to be La la Land. Let’s not kid ourselves.
EDIT FROM THE FUTURE: Well, color us surprised.
Also published on Medium.
A Shot for Shot Breakdown of How Fucking Insane the Super Mario Odyssey Ending Is
I spent way too much time working on this ridiculous premise for an article, but it had to be done. It simply had. To be. Done.
First things first, let’s all watch this clip in the otherwise masterful Super Mario Odyssey and then I can break down why it is one of the most batshit insane things Nintendo has ever done. This cutscene was so impossibly stupid and crazy, that I had to talk about it and wonder out loud why more people are not talking about it.
This game is a master work, and it still somehow hampered by the laziest and most misogynist writing for children’s entertainment I’ve ever seen. Absorb this nonsense and then let’s dive in:
Okay, process that shitstorm, and just sit with it. Okay, now we can break it down part by part, added with commentary to make sense of the senseless trash that ends this wonderfully fun game. It’s mind boggling, but I spent an afternoon learning how to create many GIFs out of a YouTube video. The process has gotten easier over the years, but still, it was a lot of work for a gag.
So first off, you become Bowser in an earlier boss fight. You go to the moon, go through lava levels and stuff (which are not on the actual moon, but I’ll give that a pass). All without an oxygen helmet (less of a pass but okay, I’m still with this for now). The fight ends with you throwing the hat aka Cappy onto Bowser to become him, and fight your way out of danger with Peach to save her life. Again. But here is where things really get out of hand.
Bowser tries to marry Peach this whole game, and you and Peach are ready to be married right here and right now? What? Why haven’t you done that already you idiot, you saved her life a million times because Miyamoto can’t get his raging boner over cartoons from the ’30s. I’m surprised he didn’t steal blackface for these games but they really should have put an end to this troupe after Sunshine was about him getting arrested for graffiti. She was the star of her own game, and used her womanly emotions to fight off enemies! Jesus fucking Christ.
If you liked it you should have put a ring on it, but somehow here we are. Okay, so Mario shrugs after escaping the collapsing lava mountain or whatever. At this point things should just wrap up, a nice kiss, and a real wedding for this poor blonde woman. But no, that would be too easy.
Then their hat ghosts go to knock boots in a celestial dreamscape, sans their corporeal forms. As a symbol for Mario and Peach fucking? What the hell is this shit?
Mario, angry looking for some reason, after saving this helpless fool who I know for a fact isn’t, turns to her…
…the hats are waiting with baited breath making googly eyes…
…as he pimps walks up to her, doesn’t hear the gigantic and colossal dinosaur get up and run over to him????
He is a minimum of like 800 pounds, don’t tell me sound works in space and then use that as an excuse to mask his blindside shoulder hit Nintendo, that is garbage logic and you know it. So Bowser knocks his ass out, after being totally defeated and exhausted, and just finds the strength to wake back up. Yeah okay. Also we know that gravity is not normal, from like the gameplay and the jumping on the surface of the moon, but now it’s back to normal gravity? What gives? Did no one edit this before it went out to the public? Is there no editors or proofers or reviewers for stupidity in all of Japan? I know there are, hire them Nintendo, for the love of god.
Ok so Bowser, a gigantic monster who does nothing but kidnap royalty and race go-karts with strangers and enemies (the ones he made by being evil) PROPOSES with piranha plant flowers, just magically ready to go, like WHAT you already tried the plan of stealing her for marriage and now you try asking her politely? AFTER? You KIDNAPPED HER what the fuck is this shit, those are living flowers who EAT PEOPLE she isn’t going to choose you right then and there.
So Mario freaks out as if she is going to say yes, like what dude? Why are you panicking? Why are you not finishing the job and murdering this sick creep? He runs over to her and shows her a different flower, the rocket one, in an attempt to win her heart in this sad pathetic competition? What? Uhhhhhhhhhhhh excuse me, you stole his idea and gave her weak ass flowers, not that you needed to, because to remind you my dude you SAVED HER LIFE and chose to NOT MURDER Bowser, he is right there!!!! So they feverishly and fruitlessly compete for her love and affection, scaring the ever living shit out of her, and she isn’t making a decision right after all of that shit, that is traumatic. How she ended up with these two after all of these years is beyond me, she deserves better or is just so damaged she can’t quit either. But that’s another column about her well being. Does she do anything as Princess? Who is the Queen? What are her responsibilities?
Is she confused, did she think Bowser saved her because Mario controlled his body? Why is Mario having to do this, and why can’t she decide, this makes no sense at all, it’s so obvious. Their motivations are all wrong, and logic has clearly stopped being an issue decades ago in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Okay so she gets pissed and storms off, lady you could have died. But maybe it’s just too much all at once and too ridiculous, okay, so just thank Mario he is right there, and leave to talk about it. She says something to the ghosts, what does she say to the ghosts, I don’t know, moving on, she’s walking to the ship wait what. You’re just leaving? Them behind? Excuse me? What the fuck is that, you’re just going to bounce like that? That’s not your ship lady, who said you could go on the Mario ship, with his logo, after he RESCUED YOU.
So Mario consoles Bowser LIKE THEY ARE FRIENDS or some shit, are you shitting me? This isn’t Mario Kart Double Dash, you can’t just team up all of a sudden, the entire length of the game you fought each other IN TUXEDOS AND TAILCOATS.
She fucking leaves them behind! On the moon! What an ungrateful bitch! You stole the ship to leave them to die! She waves goodbye, like this isn’t her abandoning them, a betrayal of the highest order. And Mario has to leap and get to the ship, HIS OWN SHIP, in order to get off the moon with her. And so he ends the game by throwing his hat at the screen into a logo. That is the end of the game. Bounces off of Bowser’s head, who caught up to them by running? Isn’t he slower than Mario in every conceivable way?
WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK WAS THAT
WHAT IN THE FUCK
what was that nintendo
that is how you end that game? really
give us the ending from super mario world, that was a real ending
im not even going to give you the decency of proper punctuation or grammar or capitalization, fuck you nintendo writers and copy editors and storytellers and narrative designers
luigi won a mansion in a fake contest through the mail
bowser jr thought peach was his mother
birdo is a poor soul trapped in a corporeal body and deserves the true form free from the social construct of a gender spectrum
the supreme court is stolen and illegitimate
im losing my mind
E3 2018 Report Card: Grades for All the Giant Companies Who Held Corporately Mandated Press Conferences
If you wanna call some of these “press conferences”… *cough*SQUARE ENIX*cough
E3 is over, and I’ve never felt more distraught about NOT being able to play those games right fucking now. I’m so upset that we have to wait literally a lifetime, or several months, to start playing these games. Nothing is coming out until September, and most of the games on display this week are 2019 or later. What the hell gaming industry? You used to release demos and betas and downloads on the same day after an announcement, and the future should have been “play our shit in your home right now!” and instead I just have to imagine what Cyberpunk 2077 looks like. What is this, 2002, what kind of bullshit is that? Anyways, I graded the shows, just like I have for a decade (fuck I’m old,) so compare my report card to the one you wrote for your own blog — because if there’s one thing gamers love beyond writing their own commentaries is harassing others about theirs! Fuck having opinions, let’s get to some grades!
Electronic Arts: D-
Fucking useless. Next!
How is this not a meme yet, can we start that everyone, this is too good to waste pic.twitter.com/lmB7DdyLHS
— Jared Russo (@jaredrusso) June 10, 2018
Alright I’ll say more. I love Vince Zampella and his coy trolling of the audience and the corporation who signs his checks while actually giving us the one genuine surprise of the show. I love Andrea Rene, I met her at a Comic-Con once and she is the nicest person ever, and she needs to host more things forever. But Anthem is the only thing worth talking about, I’m cautiously optimistic about that game and really shocked it’s coming out in the death month that is February 2019. I just don’t see how that game comes out and is perfect right out of the box without controversy, right? They should have showed way more of it without the Casey Hudson interview. Interview Juju Smith-Schuster about Anthem, that would be more worth our time. And give us a little tease of any PopCap game, PvZ Garden Warfare 3, something, anything. This show was fucking stupid otherwise, and they need to stop doing this trash because it has never sold a single extra copy of Madden, FIFA, or Battlefield. Spare me.
Microsoft: A (and winner of best showing at E3!)
How the fuck did they manage to pull this shit off? Congrats Phil Spencer! You did it. By process of elimination you had the actual best proper press conference of the entire week, and it was paced well, had no bullshit or downtime, featured genuinely interesting games throughout the entire presentation, had lots of surprises and a good range of recent and faraway releases. Their Games Pass is a legit beast now, they’re actually investing in their future, they seemed honest about the next generation and their game-plan going forward, and we got motherfucking Cuphead DLC. That’s all I need baby: fucking Cuphead, I drink that shit up all day. Not literally, because that would be murder; they are cup people and I’m sure drinking their blood is lethal.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is also the heroin I need, just inject it into my blood stream. This is the good stuff you need to start generating hype and building a narrative to springboard off of once you get going next year into the final hoorah for the Xbox One, and into the next console generation.
Now it’s one thing to judge a presser on the breadth of announcements and quality and quantity of their trailers, and it’s another to hold it against all the major publishers for featuring third party games to draw ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’. Microsoft does not get to champion around Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice as an exclusive, and Sony doesn’t get to do the same for the Resident Evil 2 remake. The magical year Sony had with Kingdom Hearts 3 and Shenmue 3 and Final Fantasy VII Remake, those are all coming to Xbox and PC so you have to take it all with grains of salt. But the actual physical act of watching the Xbox show did not make my eyes bleed, and it made me smile and cheer, so they win E3 by sticking to a great formula and making Gears 5 and Halo: Infinite and Forza Horizon 4 and Crackdown 3 look interesting, while pulling baller ass moves like purchasing Ninja Theory with cash money, straight up. Good on you Phil Spencer — now get to work on the Xbox Scarlet, since you brought it up.
A B for Bethesda, ha. The first 75% of this show was expected. That’s fine. That’s okay to get updates on the Elder Scrolls MMO and card game, and Quake, and yadda yadda. It’s totally expected and that gets a flat B-, so right off the bat Pete Hines and co. aren’t aiming for the moon. I respect all jokes made at this thing because they landed brilliantly, so that made me think about bringing the grade up to a B+. Then they trotted out Andrew W.K. for no reason to do a song to kill time, to mask Rage 2. Which looks kind of cool! But that dropped the grade again. Wolfenstein sequel with co-op is terrific, Doom Eternal is fantastic, Fallout 76 is intriguing, and Todd Howard is my dream husband if I needed to marry somebody. He crushed it, and I wish I could just personally pay him to come out and do the rest of the E3 briefings from now on, for all other companies besides Bethesda. They didn’t feel like beating around the bush with all the Kotaku leaks and Jason Schreier (fellow Jets fan) ruining their plans with solid reporting. Don’t blackball him for catching your trademarks Zenimax, that’s just petty. So I respect the honesty and upfront trailers for Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6! That’s bringing your A game to E3. And for that, you get a B. Don’t bring musical acts to a press conference about video games, that’s fucking poison, are you that naive, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. Simple!
Give me Elder Scrolls: Blades on my phone now please thank you.
Square Enix: F
Every camera operator and producer and director who works at E3 shooting livestreams needs to be fired immediately for constantly zooming out during every press conference for the last 15 years collectively
— Jared Russo (@jaredrusso) June 11, 2018
This was sent immediately after we all couldn’t see the Beyond Good & Evil 2 pre-alpha gameplay because the camera pulled out and we missed it. Everything else that happened was either leaked or rumored or just had to be there like clockwork. Just Dance ✔ Trials ✔ Rainbow Six: Siege ✔ Skull and Bones ✔ For Honor ✔ Nintendo crossover and some DLC for Rabbids ✔Beyond Good & Evil not finished yet ✔ The Division 2 ✔new Assasin’s Creed ✔wow look I just filled out the checklist for being a Ubisoft executive, do I get some shares of stock now? There was no new IP to close the show, no Rayman, and no Prince of Persia.
AND NO SPLINTER CELL REBOOT. FUCK OFF UBISOFT, DON’T DO A SHOW IF YOU HAVE NO REAL REASON TO, OR NO SAM FISCHER.
What in the fuck was that? Honestly, Sony, what were you thinking, honestly? Like, you really don’t have to try, but don’t make it look like you’re not trying at all. Remember the orchestra and God of War and Crash Bandicoot shadow thing and having a cohesive show that made sense? One designed for both the live audience AND the millions viewing at home? Somehow you managed to piss BOTH groups off with a head-scratching structure, start and stop opening and closing segments, pointless interviews with lackeys, awkward pauses, delays, horrible production quality, and piss poor video and audio. The issues that occurred while watching this live stream were literally and figuratively terrible, and the equivalent of a train wreck.
That being said, the games were stellar, the number of things to focus on were low, and you spent the time to dive into long gameplay demos. That was smart, but no release dates anywhere wasn’t, and neither was burying flops-to-be Days Gone and Dreams. You know that we know these are going to sell like duds, so why pretend they don’t exist? Really this all doesn’t matter because Red Dead Redemption 2 is going to outsell all other games combined, and Fallout 76 will clean up the rest of holiday sales. You won this generation and have more PS4s to sell somehow because everyone is buying them. Like, is it mandated that all citizens in all countries purchase one per day? Like a message was sent to all the villages and towns that if they don’t buy a PlayStation 4 the first born son of all families will die?
There is no denying though the sheer strength of Sony’s line-up. Death Stranding is a troll delivery game, Marvel’s Spider-Man looks unbelievable, The Last of Us Part II is an automatic write-in candidate for a 100 on Metacritic, and Nioh 2 was a trillion times more hype than whatever Ghost of Tsushima is.
When does their Direct actually start, because they showed Smash Bros. but like where is all the other stuff, for real? Did I miss the day, or get the time wrong, or
The 18 Games I’m Looking Forward To Seeing The Most at E3 2018
With the biggest week in gaming set to kick off tomorrow, here are the 18 games I’m looking forward to (hopefully) seeing at the show.
Look, we got a lot of ground to cover here, so I’m not going to waste time here. You know what E3 is, right? You’re reading this article, so I’m assuming the answer is “yes.” Cool, cool. Since you know what the event is, I’m assuming I don’t have to explain to you how fun it is to see a bunch of new video games get shown off to the public, all in the attempt to wow as many gamers as possibly, build up them “HYPE!” points, etc. It’s an event I love to bear witness to each and every year, and even if it’s not as big a deal as it was, say, 10 years ago, the days of press conferences still occupy a soft spot in my heart. So I go into this year’s event excited — more excited than I thought, even. While my list was initially only going to be 10 games like last year, this year looked so promising, I quickly expanded it to 18 (which, coincidentally, seemed to cover about everything for me.)
But in expanding the list, I also expanded the parameters. While usually I try to make a majority of my list things that are CONFIRMED to make an appearance at the show, this year I went a little gung-ho with it, and included things that were merely rumored. Rest assured, though: I didn’t go completely crazy, and kept things in the realm of “speculated but unconfirmed” (sorry folks, no Half-Life 3 predictions here.) In any case, not all of these games are 100% going to appear during the event and, if I was a betting man, I would say there’s a good chance a few of them won’t. But, hey: it’s 2018. Let me dream a little, okay?
Here are the 18 games I’m looking foward to seeing the most at E3 2018, starting with…
18. Halo 6 or Halo: Genesis or Halo 6: Genisys or Whatever The Hell It Will Be
Ugh. It’s been nearly three years since the release of Halo 5: Guardians, and I’m still not really over it. The game is the Halo equivalent of The Phantom Menace, and I simply can’t believe how badly 343 Industries fucked up with it after releasing the surprisingly great Halo 4. Just thinking back on that awful campaign makes me mad, and no amount of competent multiplayer (Warzone is fun, sure) can make my memories of the game any better. That being said, a small part of me hopes 343 learned from the mistakes of Halo 5, and has something of a comeback with the next (and presumably final) installment of the Reclaimer Trilogy. At the very least, the reveal trailers for these games are always fun to witness, and though there’s no guaranteed Halo will even make Microsoft’s conference to begin with…c’mon. It’s been a long time for Microsoft to keep this brand dormant. If we don’t hear what is next for the universe on Sunday, by this point, it’s time to get worried. Well, more worried, at least.
17. The New Splinter Cell
Hey, cool, a new Splinter Cell game is pretty much guaranteed to be revealed on Monday. As a casual fan of that franchise: neat! Let’s hope Ubisoft won’t be able to turn it into yet another open world, multiplayer heavy “experience.” Lord knows the world of AAA gaming has enough of those already…
16. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch
It’s a new Smash Bros game – what, do you need a full paragraph of explanation or something? Its status on the list is guaranteed from the word “Smash,” c’mon now.
15. Rocksteady’s New Game
…Whatever it may be! All signs are pointing to a Superman thing, which would be a weird sort of challenge for the Arkham Asylum dev to tackle. Superman doesn’t naturally make a good video game character but, hey, so didn’t Batman, I guess. And they did an amazing job of bringing him to the medium. I mean, mostly. Arkham Knight was…disappointing? Mediocre? A whimper of a conclusion to one of the Caped Crusader’s finest stories? All of the above, sure. But if Rocksteady ends up popping up during a press conference this year (which is like 80% possible at this point), it will at least be nice to get a general idea of what they are doing.
14. Square Enix’s Avengers Game
Speaking of superhero properties: remember this? Marvel is working on a big AAA game with Square Enix, to be developed by Deus Ex developer Eidos Montreal and Tomb Raider dev Crystal Dynamics. It was something of a big fucking deal when it was first announced back at the start of 2017. At the time, Square said more details would be revealed about this Avengers projects come 2018 and, well, look at that: it’s the time known as “come 2018.” With Square’s press conference Monday morning, I would very much expect a closer look at this game. I doubt it will be anything too detailed (probably just a couple minute long CGI-rendered thing), but with The Avengers the biggest thing out there at the moment, I doubt Square will drop the chance to tease their potentially huge project.
13. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Ori and the Blind Forest was one of the most beautiful game experiences I’ve had this generation, and last year’s reveal of its sequel was equally as charming. I doubt we’ll get much more than another trailer during Microsoft’s presser on Sunday (if even that), but I just want to see more from this game, in any capacity possible.
12. Beyond Good and Evil 2
Beyond Good and Evil 2 delivered in a big way last year, returning from its many years of silence with an entertaining, beautiful, instantly memorable reveal trailer. Of course, said trailer was only capable of presenting the atmosphere and FEELING of the game…what the game actually is, really, remains a mystery. Might we actually get a taste of actual gameplay for Beyond Good and Evil 2, confirmed for an appearance during Ubisoft’s press conference Monday afternoon? Let’s hope so. After nearly two decades of waiting, we’re going to need more than an (admittedly delightful) CGI trailer to stoke the flames of hype.
11. Ghost of Tsushima
I mean, it’s a huge AAA Sony production about motherfucking samurais. Please, sir, can I have some more? Because everything about this should end up being awesome. I hope this one manages to wow me in a God of War/Horizon type way when it gets its first big spotlight during Sony’s press conference. I mean, did you see that reveal trailer?! I’m already so in, you guys.
10. Fallout 76
Who knows what Fallout 76 actually is (well, everyone who reads Kotaku, I guess), but it’s a new Fallout experience of some sort, and there’s no way in hell I wouldn’t be looking forward to another one of those. Heck, it might even be enough to get me excited about a genre that, frankly, I’ve never given a damn about! Never doubt the power of the brand, folks.
9. Cyberpunk 2077
Everything about Cyberpunk 2077 looks right up my freaking alley, and lord knows the world could use more futuristic sci-fi set RPG’s semi-based on a tabletop board game, and developed by a bunch of independent-but-acclaimed Polish developers. What, it’s a perfectly cromulent niche! In any case, the brief teaser trailer first released by CD Projekt Red was INCREDIBLE, and I’m eager to see what the game actually is five years removed (yes, seriously, it’s been that long…can’t rush perfection, eh?) Well not 100% confirmed for the show, chances are high it will make an appearance in some capacity. If it’s even a tenth as amazing as that trailer looks, me feels like we’re going to be in for a treat.
8. Metroid Prime 4
I have no idea if Metroid Prime 4 will actually be shown off during Nintendo’s livestream this year, but I’m certainly hoping so. It’s been two years since the game was first announced with its literal nothing reveal trailer, and with only Smash on the horizon as Nintendo’s next big AAA game, another big franchise game has to be detailed, right? I doubt the game will be coming out until late 2019 at the earliest, but even a cinematic teaser trailer would go far here. Actual gameplay (even if it was as brief as Breath of the Wild’s first reveal) would be the cherry on top.
7. Kingdom Hearts 3
I didn’t have Kingdom Hearts 3 on my list last year, mostly because I didn’t think it would make the show. It did, but in a rather limited capacity, only showing off a “trailer” comprised of a random sequence from the game, and other random snippets. You might notice that has been a trend for Kingdom Hearts 3 so far, though, as most of the trailers Square Enix have released are just quick snippets of random action, completely subtitled in Japanese and with little rhyme or reason to their existence as a piece of promotion (Square just seemed to pull whatever piece of game footage looked decent, interstitched with some non-sensical cutscenes taken from random points in the game, and called it a day.)
Well, I say no more to that. If Kingdom Hearts 3 really is in the lead up to its actual release (BELIEVE IT WHEN I SEE IT, FOLKS), than Square Enix better actually deliver details on the game, including what the fuck the actual story is, a trailer featuring ENGLISH dubbing, and details on all the new worlds, new gameplay features, etc. And give us the first release date, that way we can get the act of it being delayed into 2019 out of the way.
6. Battlefield V
I’ve said this in the past, but I feel it must be reiterated: for my money, Battlefield 1 is the best multiplayer shooter of the decade. Sure, it might not have created a whole new genre like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or be as massively popular as something like Overwatch, but Battlefield 1 was one of the most polished, atmospheric multiplayer shooters I’ve ever had the chance to play. And that’s coming from someone who, for years, placed himself in the Call of Duty camp, rather than the Battlefield one. But what can I say? Battlefield 1 is amazing, and really I’d be absolutely fine if DICE just kept everything the same about it, but with a WWII skin on top, for Battlefield V. Of course that’s likely not happening, which makes me extremely curious to see what the studio plans to do with the follow-up. Even putting aside the dual Star Wars: Battlefront debacles, I have faith in them to treat their star IP right. We shall see when the game gets its full, detailed unveiling during EA’s Play Conference tomorrow.
5. The Last of Us: Part II
As someone who was firmly against the idea of “franchising” The Last of Us (which perfectly works as a standalone story, thanks)…yeah, I do kinda want to see more from The Last of Us: Part II. I simply can’t doubt the abilities of Naughty Dog, and the brief looks at the game that they have given us so far looks, well, pretty damn intense. Whether or not the game can match the emotional and narrative power of the first is still VERY much up in the air, but I would like to at least see more of what Naughty Dog is aiming for here. Thankfully, we’ll probably be getting that in spades, as it is confirmed to be a big part of Sony’s E3 conference.
4. Marvel’s Spider-Man
I wrote at length last E3 about how amazing Insomniac’s new Spider-Man game looked and, for my money, it was game of the show in 2017. With launch only a few months away, I wouldn’t expect anything quite as amazing or revealing this time around, but just getting another look at a big set-piece from the game would be enough to get my hype engine going.
3. Death Stranding
I hope Death Stranding isn’t an actual video game. I hope it’s just a string of bizarre CGI trailers, each of which feature a notable presence from the world of TV and film (woah, Norman Reedus! Woah, Mads Mikkelsen! Woah…Guillermo del Toro? Okay, sure – woah Guillermo del Toro!) I hope it’s just an elaborate string of artistic short films, each more insane than the last, and showing off the Hideo Kojima we all know and love: mainly, an insane but brilliant motherfucker. Truly, I would be happy just watching these non-sensical CGI trailers year after year. But, alas, Death Stranding is (allegedly) a video game, and a video game towards the end of its promotional life cycle too. Which means that – finally – we’re probably going to get a look at actual gameplay from this strange little beast. Which is all well and good: Kojima is good at crafting that too, sure. But will extended gameplay, no matter how cool and unique, manage to top Norman Reedus with a baby up inside him? I don’t think so, folks. I expect we’ll learn a lot about what Death Stranding actually is come Monday night, but let’s hope that it will also present us with more disturbing visuals, cryptic symbolism, and atmospheric overload. I for one can’t get enough of it.
Anthem was my favorite new game announced at E3 last year, as I absolutely loved the presentation that Bioware and EA put together for the game. It gave me the kind of reveal high that only a big E3 presentation can…and, frankly, can only do once. It’s a lot harder to wow gamers the second time around, and I’m not really sure if Anthem will be able to do it. Bioware has A LOT (arguably everything) riding on this game being a hit, and I hope that means they are doing everything in their power to make it one of their best ever gaming experiences. As someone who has Mass Effect 2 as his second favorite video game of all time, I truly want Bioware to deliver something incredible. And the promise of Anthem is overpowering. Then again, so was the promise of Destiny. I certainly want to see more from this game but, please, please be awesome. I can’t handle another Mass Effect: Andromeda from this company.
Okay, yes: I’m putting all my speculative chips on the table here. There’s a HIGH chance that this game won’t even be at this year’s show…and yet, I still can’t help but be incredibly excited everytime I think about its mere existence, and be rather optimistic that now is FINALLY the time we get it confirmed.
After all, while not as long as the wait for games like Borderlands 3 (which, btw, won’t be making the show, sorry) or Kingdom Hearts 3, I feel like I’ve been looking out for the reveal of Bethesda’s new IP for a LONG time now. Making it worse is the fact that we don’t even know what that IP is, not really. The consistent leaks and rumors over the years have pegged it as some kind of big Fallout/Elder Scrolls RPG in a space setting (so, yes, dope), but with absolutely nothing to back it up, who the hell even knows? It may not even be called Starfield anymore, for Christ’s sake. But we do know the game exists, and that Bethesda’s main development group is in the process of creating it. Could 2018 FINALLY be the year they blow the door off their worst kept secret? I’m hoping that, by putting it on this list, that will be the case. Willful ignorance, don’t let me down now!
We’ll see if my anticipation for any of these titles were at all deserved when most of them (hopefully) get shown off at E3 2018, kicking off tomorrow with EA’s press conference at 2 PM Est. Stay tuned for more thoughts from us then!
Also published on Medium.
Games1 year ago
The Official Backyard Baseball Tier List
Movies9 months ago
My Problem With Star Wars: The Last Jedi Isn’t That It Changes Too Much—It’s That It Doesn’t Change Enough
TV4 months ago
They Didn’t Make A Huge Mistake: In Defense of Arrested Development Season 4
Movies7 months ago
Let’s Speculate Wildly: Is Marvel Laying The Groundwork For A Thor Crossover In Black Panther 2?
Games9 months ago
Jared’s Top Ten Games of This Horrible, Godforsaken Year
TV1 year ago
‘Sick, Sad World’ Punchlines, Ranked
Movies9 months ago
The Force Frustrations: Working Through The Disappointments of Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Games2 years ago
Overwatch Legendary Skins, Ranked (Updated with Orisa!)