Not-E3 2023 wrap-up: From mainstream to boutique | Kaser Focus

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Following the death of E3, the Summer Games Fest and its accompanying suite of shows have fully taken over the June gaming slot. This means the last week or so is a glimpse of gaming’s foreseeable future, at least with regards to its big summer showcases. So, with that in mind, how did the event go? In my opinion, it was a bit hit-or-miss — most of the big shows appeared to be about release dates rather than new game reveals. However, that’s still something and most of the games shown looked like fun.

The event has become not so much an event as a big Summer Games umbrella, with the showcases now becoming more boutique and focused. The publisher-specific events were more about gameplay deep dives, such as those for Starfield or Assassin’s Creed Mirage. It’s good because it allows more time to focus on the games, though it does make the shows a little scattershot. And I still don’t approve of Summer Game Fest inserting two trailers for TV shows amongst the games — including one for the new season of The Witcher, a show that’s only tangentially related to games.

Out of the games we saw, my favorites (if I had to pick them) were Mortal Kombat 1, Star Wars Outlaws and the Apollo Justice Trilogy. While we knew at least the first two were coming, it was still a delight to see them in action (and of course I’m always just happy to have more Ace Attorney). And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled to see my old friend Assassin’s Creed return to its roots. Starfield also looks cool — I think it’ll be a bit much for me, but a new IP from Bethesda is worth trying, at least.

But if I had to pick a winner out of all the showcases, it’d be the Wholesome Direct. There we got a bunch of games, most of them indies, that precisely fit the shows mandate. We were expecting fun, cozy games, and we got a whole bunch of them. And not all the same cozy game, either. There was Sticky Business, a game about running a TikTok-style sticker shop; Lakeburg Legacies, a villager match-making sim; and 90s anime-style farming game Fields of Mistria. If you have any appetite at all for cozy games, the show had something for you — and it certainly had plenty for me.

What to play this week

What’s new:

  • Layers of Fear
  • F1 23
  • Dordogne
  • Park Beyond
  • Fall Of Porcupine
  • Jack Jeanne
  • ProtoCorgi

New on subscription services:

  • The Vale: Shadow of the Crown (Xbox Gold)
  • The Super Spy (Prime Gaming)
  • Top Hunter (Prime Gaming)
  • SteamWorld Dig 2 (Prime Gaming)
  • Age of Empires IV: Anniversary Edition (GeForce Now)
  • Jet Dragon (Apple Arcade)

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