Of all the trends we witnessed at E3 2017, one stood out immediately as a sign of a larger shift in the gaming community: Bears.
Sometimes lovable, often aggressive, and always furry, these monuments to nature and its raw fury are often relied on for big roles in games. In fact, 2017 felt like the year of the bear. You know. Kinda. If you squint real hard.
5. Just Dance Panda
This panda made a brief appearance on stage at Ubisoft’s press conference. The bear has appeared in the Just Dance games before as a recurring character, and made the transition to the real world to help ring in Just Dance 2018. He certainly had the moves, but didn’t have the same viciousness and drive as the other bears on this list. Plus, we’ve seen him before.
4. Metro Exodus Bear
Moving up the scale to a much more frightening contestant, the Metro: Exodus trailer finished off with what can only be described as a mutated, monstrous bear. It charges the player, taking several crossbow bolts to the face without flinching, before the player flees over a zip-line. Not exactly a prestigious finale for such a majestic creature.
3. Elder Scrolls Bear
The Elder Scrolls bear actually made its debut in the weeks leading up to E3, but that didn’t stop it from making a heroic, show-stopping performance at the Bethesda press conference. It took down several mechanical monsters, plus took arrows to the back and lived to tell the tale. It’s a totally badass bear, and it easily earns a spot over the Metro: Exodus bear for helping humans, rather than fighting them.
2. Days Gone Bear
On the other side of the spectrum, the Days Gone bear takes home the second place trophy for being absolutely devastating. Wrapped in barb wire, with a fence post stuck through its chest, this bear threatens Deacon St. John and his friend Manny at the end of the game’s E3 2017 trailer. The infected bears in the final game will be dynamic, and part of the living ecosystem, making them all the more surprising and monstrous.
1. Disco Bear
As the only game we found at E3 2017 that was actually focused on a bear, Disco Bear easily wins the titles of “Best Bear.” It might’ve won even if it had a peer, because the short game serves up a delightful story, original, funny gameplay, and an insightful message. It was created by two students from USC as a class project, inspired by the likes of odd physics games like Octodad: Dadliest Catch. Plus, it’s already available to play on any desktop at the Disco Bear website.
We spied another bear at the Indiecade booth, and while it didn’t heavily feature bears, there was a small plastic figurine of one by an unmanned laptop. The game is called Oikospiel Book 1, from David Kanaga, developer/composer of Proteus and Dyad.
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