The big production, on stage live events that comprise the E3 2023 schedule are designed to shock and awe and showcase new games. Among the highlights of the recent PlayStation Showcase were Phantom Blade Zero, the Metal Gear Solid 3 remake, and, of course, Marvel's Spider-Man 2. At today's Summer Game Fest, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth impressed, as did Mortal Kombat 1 and Alan Wake 2 as well. Great things are inevitably still to come from the likes of the Xbox Games Showcase, Starfield Direct and Ubisoft Forward. And while I'm always keen to see the biggest and brightest upcoming ventures show face at these events, I'm also pleased when they remind us why we play video games in the first place: to have fun.
Today, Nicolas Cage joined Geoff Keighley on stage to discuss his forthcoming appearance in Dead By Daylight. Later in the show, Fortnite announced that it'll include a Transformers crossover in its Chapter 4 Season 3. And it really doesn't get much more fun than that.
Why so serious?
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Despite the entertainment value gleaned from live events like Summer Game Fest, there is always an element of disappointment attached. Be that a game announcement that you thought might launch at some point later this year, but instead isn't coming for another 18 months; or the game you wanted to feature most instead posting absent entirely, it is impossible for everyone to walk away from these things satisfied and fulfilled. Being let down by Hollow Knight: Silksong feels like a hobby in itself at this point, and while there's a chance it might still show face on stage at this Sunday's Xbox offering, I'm tempering my expectations. Likewise, I thought SGF could have been the stage for more on Elden Ring's Shadow of the Erdree DLC, but alas, it wasn't to be.
I was otherwise impressed with Summer Game Fest's scope for leveraging nostalgia, but on reflection I reckon two of my favorite moments came when it was taking itself less seriously. Nicolas Cage sauntering on stage to chat about his inclusion in Dead By Daylight was so weird, so funny, and yet so fitting, and as someone who's only ever dipped in and out of Behavior Interactive and 505 Games' multiplayer survival horror online game, this is all I need to jump back in proper. Just the thought of Cage, wide-eyed and grinning, pegging it in the opposite direction of The Ring's Samara or Ghost Face or Freddy Kreuger sounds amazing, and something I cannot wait to experience first-hand.
"You might miss whatever you're pining for most – but I tell you something: we're definitely getting Nicolas Cage and Optimus Prime in two pretty unlikely crossovers".
Fortnite has, of course, dabbled in just about every high-profile crossover you can think of since the inception of its Battle Royale endeavor six years ago. But with it now putting dinosaurs next to Optimus Prime in its incoming 'Wild' Chapter 4 Season 3, the thought of gamifying Transformers within such a sprawling open-world setting is as exciting as Nic Cage sharing a locker room with dead people. If nostalgia was a key part of SGF 2023, then me from 30 years ago would be absolutely buzzing with the thought of steering Optimus around The Island, crippling everything in its path, dinos and all, in a modern day, Unreal Engine 5-powered slant on Rampage.
Which is to say: sure, new gameplay trailers, new game reveals, and new release date confirmations are great, but when video games are having fun, that's video games at their absolute best. Shit week at work? Go on, send Nicolas Cage chasing after Pyramid Head with a meat cleaver. Trust me you'll feel better. Tiring week at school? Seeing Megtron downing Chug Jug might put a smile on your face.
I may not get to see anything new from Elden Ring's much-anticipated Shadow of the Erdtree DLC during this not-E3 season, nor might I get to see Hollow Knight: Silksong. Likewise, you might miss whatever you're pining for most – but I tell you something: we're definitely getting Nicolas Cage and Optimus Prime in two pretty unlikely crossovers. And that's worth celebrating, because, simply, it's good fun.