Games Inbox: The best Xbox showcase ever, Summer Game Fest length, and The Wind Waker remake

Call Of Duty: Black Ops 6 – on of Xbox’s big reveals (Activision)

The Monday letters page gives its verdict on the weekend’s two showcases, as one reader hopes Hollow Knight: Silksong will be at the Nintendo Direct.

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Good show
I’ll say one thing for Xbox, they have learned to put on a damn good showcase. Everyone thought the Sony one would be bad, and it was, but at least I really liked the look of Astro Bot. I can’t honestly think of anything in Summer Game Fest I found interesting. I’m sure there were good games in there, but in terms of standout games, nothing comes to mind. And what was that one they finished on? That was just paid for, right?

Summer Game Fest seemed to go on forever too – I’m not watching all that again – whereas Xbox was shorter and had just as many games and a lot were more high profile. You could argue, and you’d be right, that they’re just buying their success but at least they’ve learnt how to leverage their developers to some degree now.

Although I thought it funny how the absolute worst bits were the segues to the execs, all of which were at their cringey, insincere worst.

Some other interesting things to note, I don’t think Xbox had a single live service game to show. I also don’t think it had a single Japanese game either, so I guess that Blue Dragon rumour didn’t come true – unless there was some other role-playing game that passed me by?

Overall, very good. They’re just copying Sony’s format from years back but now Sony should copy it back. The best Xbox showcase ever? I can’t think what would even come close, except for last year’s.

That’s the way to do it
That Xbox showcase was top notch, I have to hand it to them. That is the way they should be done. That is also the way they used to be done and I have no idea what Sony is playing at, at the moment. They not only feel like they’re not trying anymore but that they’ve run out of money and are just coasting on fumes and can’t compete anymore.

I say this as not just a PlayStation 5 owner but someone that doesn’t own an Xbox and doesn’t really have any strong interest in any of the games they showed. They still haven’t escaped the ShooterBox image and Fable was never any good, so I’m still not really sure why they’re bringing it back.

But that’s not the point. They had stuff to show off, it look good visually speaking, and there was not much waffle or time wasting. Whether you care about the games or not the showcase was perfectly done.

I agree that them not talking about multiformat is just kicking an awkward conversation down the road but in attempting to beat Sony at their own game, in terms of showing off their line-up and giving things to look forward to, Microsoft hit the bullseye.

Two long hours
Is it just me or was the Summer Game Fest really boring? I knew some stuff had leaked out beforehand but I didn’t realise it was all the interesting stuff! I sat down to watch the whole two hour thing and I was really pushing myself towards the end. I was really losing it by the one hour and 30 minutes mark but I kept thinking they’d save something good for the end and then it was Monster Hunter again and some Soulslike I’ve never heard of.

The guy said that the future was indie games but it just seemed to me that he didn’t have any decent games to show off. And what’s the point of a Civilization 7 reveal when all it was, was some pre-rendered nonsense and Sid Meier saying ‘tune in later’ to find out something real. Still, a little bit of Inbox magic there, for the reader that was asking for it just the day before.

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Toon Link
Totally agree with the Reader’s Feature suggesting The Wind Waker as the next Zelda remake. I particularly agree that the dungeons are the best in the series, and I’d love to see the game recreated as it was originally intended and not the rush job they ended up going with, to get it out the door.

Considering how great it is now, just imagine how much better it would be with all the extra content added in! I agree that Nintendo is unlikely to do it, because it will mean admitting the original was flawed, but I’d love it if they did.

It could also maybe open the door for more games using that art style. We got a few on the DS but then they stopped, which I think is a real shame. If it was me, I’d have a different art style for each timeline.

Long commitment
That Summer Game Fest was pretty impressive. Lasting two hours and having so many games, and yet still being really boring is quite the achievement. I agree that the Blumhouse Games section was the best bit. There’s no way to tell whether any of them are actually any good but I appreciated that they were trying something different.

Apart from the Alan Wake 2 DLC though I’m struggling to think what else was even there. That weird Lego Horizon game and that was it really. These things have got too long. I couldn’t remember stuff from the start after I’d just watched it, let alone now, a day later.

I haven’t watch the Xbox one at the moment, and not sure I will as I don’t own one, but it can be better simply by being shorter.

Quiet Fest
Interesting points you raise about Summer Game Fest becoming a different experience to E3, in terms of not having the big name game reveals. I’m writing before any of the other showcases from the big publishers have took place, so we wait to see if this is because they are being saved for their own showcases.

Those prices that publishers have to pay for a trailer at Keighley’s event were eye watering (£250K for one minute?!), yet the fact that there were 40 or so publishers willing to pay them shows that Geoff certainly found a (very lucrative) gap in the market.

But I would have also thought the reason for the lack of AAA games being shown was because the bigger publishers, who have multiple games to show off, would rather save that money and just hold their own online showcase instead.

Although we all know this is looking like a relatively quiet year for the big publishers, but still, looking forward to watching them all anyway.
Stephen, Manchester

GC: The PlayStation showcase was before Summer Game Fest and Xbox had plenty to show off. The only other publisher, other than Nintendo, with an event this summer is Ubisoft (later today).

War soundtrack
In light of current world events in Gaza, was it such a good idea for Microsoft to start their showcase with a game trying to make war look and sound cool, set to a soundtrack of Firestarter?

Nintendo delayed a cartoon strategy war game indefinitely because of the Russian invasion; Microsoft put Activision’s ultra-realistic game based on a relatively recent war front and centre. Just doesn’t sit right with me.

Too long
I watched the Xbox Games Showcase, the State of Play, and the highlights of Summer Game Fest and I’ve got to say there’s no question about which was best. The Xbox event was fast and snappy and fun to watch, whereas the Sony one seemed to go on forever despite being much shorter and the Summer Game Fest really did go on forever, to the point where I gave up halfway through.

I think these mega long preview events have got to stop. There’s just no point when there’s not enough good games to go around and you’re just padding things out. The Xbox one was about an hour and 20 minutes without Call Of Duty and I think that should be the absolute limit.

To be honest, I think it would be best to just do it for one game, if it’s big enough, or some kind of monthly update or something. The Game Awards is even longer, as I remember and that’s just crazy when there’s really only three or four games, at most, that people are looking forward to.

Also, as good as the Xbox Showcase was they need to stop making so many shooters. Doom, Perfect Dark, Call Of Duty… all their biggest games were shooters. Even Indiana Jones was first person, for reasons I still don’t understand, because it looks really weird.

But that’s another issue entirely. In terms of making a showcase that was watchable and didn’t make me have flashbacks to being stuck in boring school lessons, they did great.

Inbox also-rans
Just wanted to say signed up for newsletter… really enjoyed it. Nice having everything in one place rather than trying to go back over individual days on the site for something. Hopefully it’s here to stay.

I would just like to point out that Hollow Knight: Silksong was in fact not at the Xbox Games Showcase. Looking forward to it not showing up at the Nintendo Direct now!

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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