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Summer Game Fest Impressions and Highlights

We give our honest thoughts on the highs (and lows) of this year's Summer Game Fest.

Audio transcriptions

"So, we are here at the rooftop of our hotel because we weren't allowed to film the impressions and the thoughts we got from the Summer Game Fest live show at the venue itself because you know the U2 Theatre wasn't allowed for us to have our backpacks and our cameras and we wanted to bring you this from the venue itself, same as we've been doing for years at the LA Convention Center and other theatres, but it wasn't allowed, so we're here."

"The background is not bad either, so let's sort of go through our thoughts and impressions of what it was.
I know people are not super happy, but I don't think it was terrible either.
So how do you feel about the show in general?
I think it has been a rather typical sort of Geoff Keighley show and what I mean by that is the fact that there were some really high points and I think it started off incredibly strong."

"You know, Prince of Persia looks interesting enough, Mortal Kombat looks great, Nicolas Cage was excellent, but then it kind of, you know, it kind of fell off a cliff a little bit, went into this typical sort of format of really quick and really fast-paced and crammed together reveals and then there's the advertising thing, which I guess, you know, I get that there needs to make revenue, but when you see the same Samsung ad twice over in like a two-hour span, it kind of hurts things."

"So I think, you know, all things considered, I think it was a very typical sort of Geoff Keighley show.
I think it was, I don't think it was terrible, I think it was better than what PlayStation offered us back in late May, but yeah, there's definitely room for improvement, that's what I'd say there."

"Yeah, I totally agree with you and also one thing with Geoff Keighley is that we were, I mean, in the past days, in the old days, we were used to these very personal conferences by the companies, by the publishers, by the big ones, then some more joined.
So you would get Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, and then after that, Square Enix, Ubisoft, Capcom sometimes, etc."

"And you would get the flavor the company wants to share with their audience.
They know what to share, they know how to share it, they know what the fans like, and in this case, every game that is revealed is in a very, it's in the same way.
It's a couple of introductory sentences, and then trailer, and then that's it, perhaps a couple of guests on stage, and that's it."

"So I think it detracts from that very personal way you identified with those showcases before.
Even though I do like that it's a live show, I do like that, it's not pre-recorded, and you have to give him that, right?
I liked how Sam Lake was on the stage, I liked how he seemed nervous to me, and it's Sam Lake, he's given many interviews, gave me one, he's amazing, I think you're going to have him to talk about Alan Wake, which brings me to what was your highlight of the show?
And please don't say Alan Wake 2."

"Well, I'm going to leave Alan Wake most likely to you, and I'm going to say something a little bit left field, and I'm going to say that the highlight was Nick Cage, because there's so many times that we see these actors that they come to these shows, and they're in some weird niche sort of crossover sort of thing, and it's so strange and unusual, and then they go on stage and they say something that's so like almost cringey, and it makes you think like, why did you even show up?
You know, Keanu was a massive exception, Keanu was great when he was there at the Xbox show like four years ago, and Nick Cage was great this time."

"He was really charismatic, really electric, and I could have watched him talk for another hour, he was great.
So I'm not necessarily massively excited about the Dead by Daylight thing, because I don't, you know, the game is, I take it or leave it at this point, it's been going on forever and I don't have the time to play it, but I loved seeing him on stage, I think he was great, I think he really nailed it, and it's a shame in ways that it came so early in through the show, because I think he could have really saved the pace a little bit, you know, dropped Nick Cage in there, make him, re-liven things up a little bit, but yeah, but anyway, I'm going to pass it back to you, because I think I know what you're going to talk about."

"I mean, I have to talk about Nick Cage a little bit, because I think it made sense.
Everything he said was really from the heart, and he really wanted to try this new media for him, and I also think it made sense for him to be on Dead by Daylight, because it's like this B-series type of survival thing, and he, of course, we know him from many B or Z series movies, right?
And Keanu was fantastic."

"We were here for Keanu, last E3, 2019, I think, and he was reading the prompt, like saying like, why am I reading this?
And side fact, it's going to be fantastic.
So but yeah, on topic, I could say Sonic, but I got that surprise spoiled, because of course we were arranging the appointments for that, and we're going to try it out tomorrow-ish, and we're going to interview Isu Kazan, and I think it was a really nice surprise for the fans, because of course they are still playing Sonic Frontiers, and there's content coming out for that game until the end of the year, so this is completely the opposite."

"This is a classic style, and I loved the graphics, and I think it was one of the surprises together with Prince of Persia, which I also knew about, so to me, it was Alan Wake, too.
I'm terrible, because I love Remedy, but I have no Remedy, because I haven't played the first Alan Wake yet, and yet I felt absolutely compelled and captivated by what they showed."

"It was like, it wasn't like Resident Evil, it wasn't like Quantum Break, even though it had this graphic effect that when they sort of changed dimension in a way with the monsters, but it had personality, so to me, Sam Lake, Remedy, Alan Wake 2, the way they show this raw, completely raw gameplay, it completely hooked, and I'm really, really looking forward to playing that, and I'm going to do my homework, and I'm going to play the first one before that one, and I think it's, we need that, more personal games, and more personality to them."

"Other than that, I loved Mortal Kombat, and I like fighting games, and I'm going to talk with Ed Boon tomorrow about it, and I think it felt very next-gen, finally.
Most of the games we saw, or many of the games we saw, were running on Unreal Engine 5, or were being developed specifically for the new generation, which is not new anymore, but we were looking forward to this, enough of what's cross-generation, it's 2023, so many of the games we saw were running on new tech, to some extent."

"How do you feel about Mortal Kombat?
Well, it was definitely one of the highlights of the show, and again, like I said with Nick Cage, it's kind of a shame that it came so early, because, well, we knew that Mortal Kombat was going to be there, right?
Jeff does this thing as well with the shows, which again, is another thing that I think is kind of take it or leave it, where he likes to spoil the surprise a little bit, leading up to the show and say, we're going to show you exactly this, and then it comes to the show, and you're like, well, I knew it was coming, so it's kind of spoiled for me, and that's the same with Mortal Kombat, we knew that it was going to be shown off in full, and you know, a part of me is a little bit, a part of me had my expectations limited a bit by that, because I knew what was coming, but yeah, it looks great, and I think it's going to be a great fighting game, you know, it's a great year for fighters, Street Fighter just came out, Mortal Kombat's coming in September, we don't know when Tekken's coming, but I mean, Bandai have shown off more Tekken than I think Capcom and Netherrealm have shown off Street Fighter and Thingy, so, you know, I don't know what's happening with that."

"We had this sneak peek of Summer Game Fest Play Days, which are going to open tomorrow, but they were arranging all the things for tomorrow, and there were these big, huge Tekken 8 banners, and what for?
We don't know."

"We're not going to play the game, we're not going to interview Harada-san, so Bandai Namco, you will see, it's about other things this time around, so we'll see with Tekken.
But I liked what you said about, you know, this was announced, and so the surprise is over, and it was spoiled, et cetera, so with Geoff, that happens a lot, but it was very weird that they chose Final Fantasy VII Rebirth as a mic dropper, as the ending, as the end to the show, so why choosing that, and the way he introduced it was a bit awkward, so this is, the rumors were true, something like that?
You didn't see this coming, or?
The choppers all the time in LA, they are protecting us from crime."

"Exactly, but they're not protecting us from Geoff's weird sort of intros, because, yeah, that thing that you said there, where he said the rumors are all true, in my eyes, leading up to this, the rumors around Final Fantasy were Final Fantasy IX Remake, not a trailer for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth."

"Or XI or something.
Yeah, yeah, exactly, but the reason why it's so weird is because Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, we've known about it for years, you know, we've known that it's coming, we know sort of when it's coming, and that's not really changed, it was known as Winter beforehand, right, which is realistically anywhere between December 2023 and like February 2024, that was early 2024, so what, like January through April, it's not really changed, so you know, the game looks great, the game looks really great, but the way that it was handled is so strange, and actually that brings me on to Spider-Man, which, this is just like, I know that we've talked about this at length on our way back to the hotel, and I know you have good reasons for why we've seen Spider-Man today, but I don't get it, I don't, because the PlayStation showcase, quite frankly, was disappointing, I think is the best way to put it, and, you know, and it didn't have Nicolas Cage to save the day, it didn't have Nicolas Cage to save the day, but Spider-Man was the saving grace of that showcase, and it looks great, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna take that away from it, it looks like an absolutely fantastic game, but two weeks ago, it was coming out in full, and now it's coming out on October 20th, yeah, right, why, I, look, I get that, you know, you don't want to commit to a date, but if it's been six weeks, that makes sense to me, you know, you've had plenty of time to rethink about it, it's been two weeks, man, like, come on, just make, like, either don't, either don't show, no, push the, push the showcase, push the PlayStation showcase two weeks, because everything else in that PlayStation showcase was quite frankly irrelevant, it was all CGI trailers for things that won't come out until 2035 or something, I don't know, it just makes me kind of infuriated that they've, they kind of sacrificed their own showcase and saved the really big stuff for a third-party showcase, so, and plus as well, they didn't even show anything new for Spider-Man, it was just box art, release date, really weird."

"Yeah, any other, yeah, exactly, and many of the things felt weird in the way, in the way they were delivered, but then we have, we've mentioned the highlights, of course, I've mentioned briefly Prince of Persia, which I think it's really nice that they are going back to the Madridvania sort of, or Prince of Persia sort of style, because it was one of the first cinematic platformers, and they're going back to that, to the side-scrolling action and with this sort of lore and heavy culture, and I kind of not dig the art style as of yet, perhaps it's for a different generation, but I kind of, I really dig that they are doing this, and it's not just the Sons of Time remaster, which is taking forever, or not a full 3D game, which we have Assassin's Creed 4, right?
We have Assassin's Creed for that, so we kind of need Prince of Persia to go back to this style, but then there were a good bunch of both reveals and re-reveals and showings, and one of the smaller highlights that I want to do is this Akira Toriyama-based sort of action-buzzard type of Japanese game, I think it looks both weird and interesting in a way, I'm going to call that Toriyama at Max, if you know what I mean, and I'm looking forward to playing it, or at least to taking a look at it at Bandai Namco's tomorrow, which other would you say is, you know, not like your super peak of the day, but something that, I know it's not this zombie game, right, it's John Carpenter's, it's not your favorite, right?
I'm going to hijack your entire question and just talk about that actually, because, look, John Carpenter is a rather famed horror director, right, and you expect horror out of him, and what did we get?
Well, we got a game that, to me, as somebody who doesn't really know that much about the game right now, it kind of looked in places like a rail shooter, because you're stuck in this big truck, and you just gun down hordes of enemies, and it just looks so repetitive and miserable, and I might be proved completely wrong, but nothing that I saw in that gameplay trailer made me think, man, this is going to be something special, and to be honest, they could remove John Carpenter's name from it, and it would be the exact same, it looks to me like somebody's made this game, and they've gone, how do we make people want to play it?
Oh, let's just see if John Carpenter wants to be associated with it, and slapped his name on it, because it just seems so unusual and strange, and I don't, I don't, I don't know, it took up a massive portion of the show as well, like it had one of those ones where it's like Jeff talking about it, this is going to be great, you know, horror director, famed horror director, it's John Carpenter, watch the trailer, and you're like, okay, it's kind of, I don't know, I don't really know what to think about it, I don't think it's, it didn't really capture me, it didn't really make me very excited about it."

"So I don't know, it's, it's a difficult one, I think that's the show in general for me, it was, you know, really impressive triple A games that we kind of already know about and have seen, and then matched up with smaller announcements that kind of missed the boat a bit, and there was some smaller announcements in there that I think got buried by the way that the show is formatted in general, right, because you know, again, it's a very similar format to what we're known for with Jeff Keighley's shows, where instead of it being one continuous sort of broadcast of announcement, announcement, announcement, announcement, he breaks it up with those little small interviews."

"And then to obviously offset that, they crammed together like five or six trailers at once.
So you go from talking about Mortal Kombat for 12 minutes, yeah, and then all of a sudden, it'll be six trailers that are 30 seconds long crammed together, and you, you kind of forget about it."

"And for me, Remnant 2 was one of them.
I really enjoyed Remnant from the ashes.
And Remnant 2 was just crammed in there.
And I've already forgotten about what they show in the trailer, which is a shame, because I think that game is going to be really quite fun and exciting."

"Some of them you could even watch, you can even see the logo.
It was so fast, and then it was removed.
But it's, I really respect that they go, I won't say back, because it's the very first Summer Game Fest that is like this, like a live show."

"So but you know what I mean, going back to the format, which we missed from the pre-pandemic E3.
So I respect that.
The event itself, it wasn't full."

"It wasn't sold out.
We are not completely sure about the price.
People like regular public were paying for the ticket.
So we really don't know."

"But if it's like $100, the venue was really nice, but it wasn't full.
It wasn't sold out.
It looks like we are still not there.
We're getting there."

"The sound wasn't perfect.
I'd rather watch it live.
I'd rather watch it live than being streamed.
The quality is much better."

"It needs more, right?
Because you know, E3, God rest its soul, should we say.
I think we will go there to pray for it.
Maybe, yeah, maybe."

"But the point is, when you go to E3, yes, those showcases were happening at the same time.
And they weren't necessarily in the convention center a lot of the showcases.
They were like nearby, sort of like the Microsoft Theater, which is literally just over the road from the LA Convention Center."

"But the point is, when you go to E3, you go to play these games, you go to see them, you have to get hands on with them.
Whereas some of Game Fest live, you go to just watch the live broadcast.
And look, there were some other things there, right?
You know, there was some arcade cabinets that you can mess around with."

"If you wanted to buy refreshments and drinks and stuff like you could do that.
But it wasn't, as far as I'm aware, part of the package, right?
So it's quite expensive.
I will say it's quite a big ask to buy into that."

"And I think that for it to properly return and to get back to this sort of early June start of the gaming summer thing that E3 used to be, there needs to be something else.
And I'm hoping that in the future, maybe some of Game Fest can get there.
Alternatively, if it's going to stick in this sort of hybrid nature, I think I'd prefer it to be digital myself, because I think they can do it better and commit to digital and do it really well in that regard instead of this weird sort of hybrid where it kind of mashes things together."

"And it's just all over the place a little bit more like the ecosystem.
That being said, we're still looking forward to Ubisoft's on Monday and to Microsoft's on Sunday.
It's not that they can save the day."

"I think this was your average sort of Geoff Gigley type of show.
It wasn't completely horrible.
I had fun.
It was like, just like Ben said, the pace to it wasn't very good and it went upwards and then down and then it was difficult to recover, right?
As a member of the press, this is great, you know, because we get to see the things and we get to try the things and we get to tell you all about what they're like."

"But what I'm saying is from a consumer standpoint, I don't think it's there yet.
And I think it's going to take some years to get back to that point.
If it ever does.
I'm not sure it ever will, because Gamescom is kind of like the king of the physical video game event."

"And I think that if L.A. and we'll call it the not E3 until there's more, you know, something more firm in place for that to get to that point, it needs to replicate what Gamescom does.
I mean, like the Gamescom opening night live is held at the Köln Messe in Germany in the actual event."

"So, you know, if they're going to do something like that, they need to properly commit to it if they can and bring every big publisher together.
Because I like, you know, don't get me wrong, I love seeing I love knowing that on Sunday we've got Microsoft."

"I love knowing that Monday we've got Ubisoft and it's great.
It's exciting.
Not only that, but tomorrow and the day after, we have the Play Days, which from our sneak peek look really nice."

"Look summerish and look Los Angeles-ish.
So yeah.
And we get to try the game and we get to talk to the developers.
So even though the show wasn't really there, super something memorable, we will."

"The point is, though, is that's for us as press and it works for us as press.
But, you know, I would have been just as happy not being in physical attendance for that show and knowing that there's still Summer Game Fest Play Days a couple of days later that we can tell you all about these things."

"But as a consumer standpoint, with people not being able to, the public not being able to go to these Play Days and try the games for themselves, there's obviously still some growing that needs to be done with this format.
So we'll see what the future holds."

"Is this an idea of what's to come?
Maybe.
But we'll find out.
This is the first stage to a more physical, you know, return to L.A."

"Yeah.
And hopefully they let us film at the SoFi Stadium, which looked amazing in the background.
We couldn't use it, but we used L.A.'s downtown as background.
And now we're going to The Mix to see some really interesting indie games."

"So thanks for watching.
Stay tuned.
And yeah.
See you at Game Reactor.
Yeah."

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