In January, we learned that production company iam8bit was one of several companies working with the Entertainment Software Association to help "reinvigorate" E3 2020 and "shake things up." That's not the case anymore.
"It's with mixed emotions that @iam8bit has decided to resign as Creative Directors of what was to be an evolutionary #E32020 floor experience," tweeted iam8bit, which is known for its videogame collector's items, vinyl soundtracks, art exhibitions, and events.
It’s with mixed emotions that @iam8bit has decided to resign as Creative Directors of what was to be an evolutionary #E32020 floor experience. We’ve produced hundreds of gaming + community events and it was a dream to be involved with E3. We wish the organizers the best of luck.March 5, 2020
The break-up doesn't appear to have anything to do with fears that E3 may be cancelled due to precautions related to the spread of coronavirus. The ESA said this week that E3 plans are still moving forward, though the organization continues to monitor the situation.
The wording of the tweet—mainly "what was to be"—suggests that whatever iam8bit had planned for E3 2020 isn't what the ESA is moving forward with. Iam8bit declined to provide any more details on its resignation, saying only that it has "confidence with the parties involved" and wishes them luck.
The statement sent to PC Gamer by the ESA doesn't help clarify the situation either.
"We can confirm that iam8bit is no longer part of the inter-agency group working on E3 2020," writes the organization. "We greatly value their passion for the video game industry and the contributions they brought toward our vision for this year’s show. We have an innovative and experienced team in place including Endeavor’s creative agency 160over90, event innovators Mat+Lo and longtime E3 partners, GES, Dolaher Events and Double Forte—all collaborating to bring to life an exciting and authentic experience for fans, the media and the industry.”
In somewhat related news, Game Awards producer and host Geoff Keighley recently announced that he will not be participating in E3 this year. "Given what has been publicly communicated about plans for E3 2020, I just don't feel comfortable participating in the show at this time," he told GamesIndustry.biz last month. Keighley has hosted the E3 Coliseum panels for the past couple years.
The two events aren't related—Keighley seems to think E3 should broadly move in a new direction, and didn't quit mid-project—but taken together they do cast a slight feeling of unease over E3 2020. If we find out more, we'll let you know.