No Looking Back, Now
After six months of fantasy action, we’ve officially reached the halfway point of our competitive season. Just when things started to seem like they were dying down, E3 rolled through and threw us all for a loop. Three massive AAA games got hit with delays into 2019, while several others were left in “release date limbo” by a lack of confirmation as to when exactly they’d be launching.
Thankfully for us, a plethora of new 2018 releases were officially unveiled in L.A. last month, providing some extra firepower for teams looking for a pick-me-up. While it may be difficult to judge from six months out, the rest of 2018 is sure to bring a rejuvenated sense of competition from our players.
Let’s kick this off!
A Brief Recap of the Major Delays Out of E3
While E3 is typically a time for merriment, celebrating the best and brightest games set to release in the near future, it’s also a time for disappointed and unexpected sadness. For every game like Cyberpunk 2077 or Death Stranding that gets shown off, there’s a Final Fantasy VII Remake or Mother 3 that ends up being a no-show.
Generally, reception to this year’s show was a bit “meh.” Publishers like EA and Square Enix seem to holding their cards close to their chest, while others like Sony and Nintendo sacrificed quality reveals for updates on their upcoming lineups of titles. (For our full impressions of E3, be sure to check out our E3 2018 Exit Survey.)
Among the casualties of the lukewarm show? Numerous delays. At Microsoft’s (surprisingly good) press conference, Ori and the Will of the Wisps got kicked to 2019. Yoshi, the still working-title Switch game that was on track for a 2018 release, was also pushed to 2019—a bit heartlessly too, if I may add; Nintendo relegated the announcement to a post-Direct interview. Finally, the hotly anticipated JRPG Kingdom Hearts III received a delay to January 29, 2019, allowing for some extra polish while cementing Dragon Quest XI and Shadow of the Tomb Raider as Square Enix’s two big Fall 2018 titles. As disappointing as this news is on its own, it hurts especially bad for Teams David (Ori) and Genesis (Yoshi, KHIII), both of which had fantasy bets placed on the delayed titles.
Meanwhile, over at Sony’s presser, Dreams and The Last of Us Part II were also essentially confirmed as 2019 games by the lack of release information for either title. Dreams’ll be getting a 2018 beta, while Spider-Man seems to be Sony’s only big AAA player this holiday season—TLOU II, Ghost of Tsushima, and Death Stranding will all have to wait for their time in the limelight. Teams Geron (Dreams) and Jack (TLOU II) are certainly feeling the burn right about now.
The E3 2018 Draft Rules and Order
Getting back to the draft, here’s how things’ll work:
We’re picking up from January’s draft, meaning that we’re technically starting from Round 6—this is because our teams snaked back in January for five rounds, meaning we need one last round to even things out. That also means that the draft order is reversed; Team Kei will start, and Team PJ will pick last.
As a refresher, here’s the draft list going into Round 6:
- Kei Isobe
- Genesis Sandoval
- Jack Linnehan
- Augustine Villanueva
- David Silbert
- Anna Hickey*
- Sam Martinelli
- PJ Manning
*For those wondering what that asterisk is about, Team Geron has now been co-opted by Anna (and subsequently named Team Anna), as Geron takes a well deserved break from the site and gaming journalism. Anna is excited to take over and help bring home a fantasy win for the team!
Following Round 6, we will proceed into the waiver wire portion of the draft. During this segment, players are required to drop a current pick from their team in order to pick up a new one from the waiver list. At bare minimum, the waiver wire will last three rounds (Team PJ has a lot of replacement drafts to make, after all), with the potential of lasting until every team is satisfied with their picks. Once satisfied, teams will be able to “pass” until everyone is finished, after which the draft will officially conclude.
Makes sense? Let’s get to it.
Kei: Should we just start throwing things out there? I’m going to take Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
David: Yeah, sure. As always, do me a favor and give us a sentence or two about why you chose it.
Kei: For my pickup, it’s actually a bit of a tough one between Forza Horizon 4 and Smash. 85/86/91 Metacritic splits for the Horizon series comes to an 87.33 average, which is actually close to the Smash series average of ~88 (admittedly, the average between Melee, Brawl, and Wii U is 92.33). But in the end I have to put my faith in Sakurai, even if my reaction to the Smash reveal and gameplay shown off at E3 wasn’t 150% pure-blooded hype.
Genesis: I’m adding Ooblets, and I’m mainly picking it for one reason: The visuals. The art style for the game is adorable, and to be honest I’m hoping that’ll give the game a better score even if it flops. The characters fight through dance battles, that’s amazing. I really want to play it myself, but basically I’m just relying on the cuteness of this game to redeem itself in case all else fails in terms of playability and gameplay.
David: Interesting pick! I like it.
Jack: Picking up Octopath Traveler. PJ told me to pick the game, and all but guaranteed it will be 90 or higher, so this is on him if it fails. I know nothing about the game but what else is new?
David: …pssst, Augustine already has Octopath Traveler.
Jack: F**k. PJ help.
PJ: Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle’s Donkey Kong DLC will probably be good. I’d also wager on Pokémon: Let’s Go. That’ll be an 80s game probably.
Kei: Don’t be a dumbass. Take Forza Horizon 4.
Kei: Series average Metacritic of 87. Easy pick.
David: No I can’t even feign ignorance here. Jack, take it.
David: I was waiting for everyone to pass over it.
Jack: Why was I not made aware of Forza earlier?
PJ: Oh dude, Odyssey.
Jack: OH. Odyssey. Gimme.
PJ: Ha! Tricked you! Odyssey came out last year!! [Editor’s note: *Ba dum tss*]
David: Quick reason why, Jack?
Jack: Assassin’s Creed Origins got low 80s. They know what to do right now. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey will be even better. GIMME.
Kei: David trying to scheme his way into picking up FH4. I see you.
David: Augustine, you have some good picks here. Forza Horizon 4, Black Ops 4, Battlefield V, Mega Man 11, Mario Aces, Fallout 76, Banner Saga 3
Augustine: Picking Fallout 76.
David: Reason why?
Augustine: It’s Fallout.
David: I’m taking, *surprise*, Forza Horizon 4. Forza Horizon 3 is arguably the best exclusive to date on Xbox One, and Playground Games its most talented developer. With Forza Horizon 4, I have no reason to expect any less. Plus, it’ll hit its October 2nd release date, guaranteed.
Kei: What the f**k guys.
Kei: I can’t believe you guys let David pick up FH4 for the 4th pick in this round
Sam: I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.
David: Hey, it’s a free country.
Anna: I’ll take Hitman 2 for no particular reason.
David: Nice! Sometimes it’s just gotta be a gut reaction.
Sam: I’m taking The Banner Saga 3. Reasoning: I’ve been replaying the series lately and have come to the conclusion that The Banner Saga is among the better RPG series around right now. The mixture of excellent writing, engaging combat, epic soundtrack, and beautiful art makes for an incredible journey, and one that isn’t any longer than it needs to be. I look forward to seeing that story progress and even end.
PJ: I was so gonna go Banner Saga! For mine, I’ll take Mario Tennis Aces. It looks like tournament mode adds a great level of game depth. Motion controls remind me of Wii Sports with better characters. [Editor’s note: while Mario Tennis Aces has already released at the time of publication, this pick was made back on June 18—in other words, before the review embargo was lifted. As such, it’s fair game for Team PJ. Finally, PJ gets on the board!]
Waiver Wire Round 1
PJ: I’m dropping Days Gone and picking up WarioWare Gold. I’ve always been a massive fan of that franchise. Having a “best of the best” mash up will take some of the already great games and make them better.
Sam: Hmm this seems like a tough one. I’ll go with Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and not just for nostalgia: it looks flipping BEAUTIFUL. The graphical and quality of life upgrades alone make this collection interesting, and a lot of the gameplay seems like it holds up. Swapping out for Crackdown 3.
Anna: I’ll drop Shenmue III and go out on a limb and take Chasm. If a game shows enough promise to get Kickstarted, maybe that’ll translate into a solid Metacritic score. Or maybe it’ll borrow from the success of games like Iconoclasts, who knows. Could also fill that Metroid void before Prime 4 is out.
David: Dropping Ori and the Will of the Wisps—shame that it got pushed to 2019, as I’ve been a fan of Ori and the Blind Forest for a long time now. Glad it’s getting the time it needs to be polished up, though. As my final pickup, I’m taking Mega Man 11. E3 previews have been extremely positive for this one so far, and with Mighty No. 9 setting the bar super low for expectations going into any new Mega Man game whatsoever, I think reviewers are going to be pleasantly surprised.
Jack: Dropping The Last of Us Part II. Was hoping on an outside prayer that TLOU2 would hit late 2018, but that looks pretty unlikely at this point. Gotta think they’d have dropped a release date at E3 if it were to be the case. Instead, time to be basic as hell: Black Ops 4 baby. Treyarch is gonna bring it back to the glory days
Genesis: Dropping Yoshi and adding NBA 2K19. I’m really disappointed that Yoshi got pushed into 2019 so now I’m forced to drop the game. I recently got back into Yoshi’s Island just for fun, and it hyped me up for a new Yoshi game. Oh well, I guess I just gotta be patient until 2019. As for 2K, I’ve never played an NBA game, but my sister’s boyfriend says I should pick 2K19 because it WILL be good. So I’m basically putting all my trust in him and hoping he’s right, haha.
Kei: My pick is Battlefield V. Annoying naming conventions aside, the last Battlefield game to clock in under an 85 was the beleaguered Battlefield 4, which was cross-gen, lacked a strong single-player, and has littered with multiple issues in its online component. DICE took those criticisms to heart when Battlefield 1 came out, and I believe that Battlefield V will be another stellar entry in the series. I’ll also be dropping Darksiders III. With no Darksiders III news over the last several months, it’s time for me to move on. While I’ll probably be dropping Code Vein and Valkyria Chronicles 4 as well, those at least have committed 2018 dates, and Code Vein might not totally suck.
Waiver Wire Round 2
Kei: I considered dropping Valkyria Chronicles 4, but since it’s already released in Japan I figured I should stick to my guns. Instead, I’m going to drop Code Vein, the Bandai Namco-developed action-RPG that first baited all of us with its “Prepare to Dine” tagline in its trailer. Openly inspired by Dark Souls, this anime-styled cel-shaded game was on my radar for a while, but it just seems like there are safer picks out there. A mix of God Eater veterans and ufotable is still appealing, though. In its place, I’m going to grab F1 2018. It’s not a sexy pick, but the F1 series has stepped up following its disastrous 2015 entry and F1 2017 is sitting pretty with an 86.
Genesis: I’m dropping Kingdom Hearts III. That’s disappointing because I thought for sure it would do amazing, and now I won’t find out until 2019. I’m also picking up Guacamelee! 2. I just have a really good feeling about it. The first one had a pretty good reception, so I’m sure the second will do great.
Jack: Imma pass.
David: Woj bomb. ?
David: I’m also passing.
Anna: I’ll boot Dreams. Anybody have Madden 19? Couldn’t hurt to diversify the portfolio with an indie game and a sports game, hopefully.
David: I don’t believe it’s been taken yet! I’ll lock it in!
Sam: Passing as well.
PJ: Dropping Metro Exodus for Starlink: Battle for Atlas. Starlink is the big gamble. Early footage makes it look like the No Man’s Sky we always wanted, but with such a unique IP, it could be riddled with gameplay hindering bugs. In my position, I can afford a gamble.
Waiver Wire Round 3
PJ: For my final pick, I’m dropping Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, and I’m thinking Pool Panic. If I remember correctly, it’s an Adult Swim PC/Switch exclusive. It won’t have a ton of gameplay, but as a unique, pool based puzzle game, I’m hoping the simplicity and humor push it into good reviews.
PJ: That means we’re done, right?
Kei: I think so, unless anyone has anything else to drop/pick up?
David: …Nobody? Cool! That’s a wrap.
The Final Tally
After 12 drops and 20 pick-ups, our E3 2018 draft has come to a conclusion. For those interested in seeing how the new teams shape up, here’s the finalized list of picks for teams moving forward. Remember: no take backs or safety nets, moving forward. These suckers are locked in.
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Mario Tennis Aces
- WarioWare Gold
- Starlink: Battle for Atlas
- Pool Panic
- Monster Hunter: World
- Sea of Thieves
- MLB: The Show 18
- State of Decay 2
- The Banner Saga 3
- Spyro Reignited Trilogy
- Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Soulcalibur VI
- Hitman 2
- Madden 19
- God of War
- Dragon Quest XI
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider
- Forza Horizon 4
- Mega Man 11
- Detroit: Become Human
- Dynasty Warriors 9
- Octopath Traveler
- World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth
- Fallout 76
- Far Cry 5
- Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season
- FIFA 19
- Metal Gear Survive
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
- A Way Out
- Kirby Star Allies
- Where the Water Tastes Like Wine
- NBA 2K19
- Guacamelee! 2
- Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
- Dragon Ball FighterZ
- Valkyria Chronicles 4
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
- Battlefield V
- F1 2018
More Updates Soon!
Want the updated tally with team scores? Check back in August for the July update, when we should have news on games like Octopath Traveler, WarioWare Gold, and more. Until then, be sure to check out other articles around the site in the meantime.
As always, thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next month!