You’ve already seen a bunch of different outlets give out awards for this year’s E3, and more are sure to follow. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do about that.
See, I’ve got my own awards to give out, and they’re not necessarily the same as all the others. While I’ll let my co-editor Daniel George and the hard-working crew that kept Gamesided fully stocked with great content all week long decide which games were most impressive, I’m going to focus on things that are specific to the show experience itself.
Mostly, it’s about the booths. As one E3 newcomer pointed out to me this year, it’s kind of silly to even call them booths at this point. For the bigger companies, they’re more like little buildings or tiny cities inside the convention center, complete with multiple floors, theaters, food service areas and approximately 1/3 of the world’s flatscreen monitors. I can’t even begin to fathom how many PS4s, Xbox Ones and high-end PCs there were to run all of the demos.
In any case, I want to show some love for these monuments to video game hype, beginning with the most important category of all:
Best E3 Booth 2014 – Warner Bros. Interactive
I don’t think most gamers automatically consider Warner Bros. one of the big guns of the industry, but that needs to change. No publisher had a more impressive theater or closed-door demo lineup in 2014, as Warner was showing Batman: Arkam Knight, Mortal Kombat X, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The booth was also nicely laid out, with clear queues and listed times for all four games. Add in the fact that Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham was also playable and it was like an embarrassment of riches.
Ubisoft always does things big, and in 2013, it had the booth of the show. It slipped just a bit this year but not much, as the company had demos for Assassin’s Creed Unity, Rainbow Six Siege, FarCry 4 and The Division, plus The Crew was playable out in the middle of its expansive layout. The only real problem? The music promoting Just Dance 2015 was just so freaking loud that even with headphones on, it was hard to hear the developers talk in the theater sessions. I’m going to be hearing Pharrell in my nightmares now, thanks.
Honorable mention shout-outs go to Activision and 2K, both of whom appear in my less serious awards on the next page. Click on through if you please.