This reaction editorial is going to be brief, mostly because for the second or third year in a row, EA turned up with another stinker of a show. I don’t know what it is, but over the last few years, the company has consistently spewed out press conferences devoid of excitement, surprises, or any really practical news.
As Gaming Editor Joey Davidson pointed out two-thirds into the show, we saw more footage of developers making games than the actual games themselves. But hey, at least we got an awkward moment where a soccer manager almost punched Peter Moore in the face.
The show started off promising with actual newsworthy announcements. Titanfall 2 is going to have a single player campaign, is going to be released on Oct. 28, and looks pretty good! I wasn’t that big on the first one, but who knows? If the positive reception is there, I might be down to give it a go if Battlefield 1 doesn’t totally slay it the week before on Oct. 21.
Is EA sure about that release date? They are awfully close and could directly compete with one another.
This is how an E3 2016 conference is supposed to start and how time dedicated to each game is supposed to look! A big-name game, lots of exciting in-engine footage, a brief speech from the developer with important details, and a release date. BOOM! Done and onto the next, nice and easy… EA started off big, and quickly toppled into its usual pitfalls.
Madden 17 is a game, if you didn’t already know. It’s coming out. When cover athlete Rob Gronkowski didn’t show up, I couldn’t determine if my mood was happy or disappointed. Ultimately, I think we’re lucky we missed another awkward professional athlete performance because EA certainly delivered one during the FIFA 17 segment.
We ended up with more footage from FIFA than we did with Mass Effect: Andromeda at any rate. Don’t get me wrong because what we saw was great, but I think I would have rather seen more Asarians and Turians than José Mourinho taking awkward jabs at Peter Moore. I would have rather seen more footage of the game than BioWare developers working on it as well.
We get it! People work on these games! You showed us this last year!
BioWare detailed the plot as one with humans being an alien in a new galaxy, desperately looking for a place for them and the other established alien races of the Milky Way to relocate. And that’s it. No characters, no story, just a promise that this game provides the most freedom of any BioWare game to date and that it looks brilliant being powered by the Frostbite engine.
BioWare isn’t wrong there. That Asarian face making the rounds is downright beautiful, one of he most brilliant character models I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Mass Effect: Andromeda looks great for the little we got to see, but now we’re in “announcement of an announcement” mode with BioWare promising more details in the fall. Again, nothing substantial, but hey, it exists. And do I sense a trace of No Man’s Sky in that opening screenshot?
Afterwards, EA paraded out its new EA Originals line-up, stating how it did the world a service by introducing us all to Unravel and deciding to launch its own “indie platform” following its success, a full two or three years after Ubisoft got the jump on the idea. EA Original’s debut game Fe looks solid enough, but it’s dancing so much along the line of Unravel in that it comes off as a machine trying to be emotional.
It’s Limbo, it’s Journey, it’s all of these previous ideas you’ve seen in other games coming out as yet another major publisher backed “indie” project. I’m happy that Zoink Games is getting its chance to make it big, and for what it’s worth, the game comes off as interesting enough. You play as a little cat thing who interacts with shadowy forest inhabitants through your musical calls.
Vague premise, just like Limbo and Journey, and wouldn’t you know it!? No release date!
Then Star Wars! You know Star Wars right? EA still owns and dominates all video game rights to the sci-fi franchise, and it naturally had a lot of games to show off, correct? Umm, no, but it had a lot of footage of developers working on the games.
When it came time to get down with the nitty-gritty details, EA’s Jade Raymond said that a new Star Wars Battlefront would be coming out next year, Amy Hennig’s game with Visceral Studios would be out in 2018, and Respawn was working on a Star Wars game. No footage, no details, no information, no solid dates, nothing we didn’t know already. Just a reminder that EA is your God if you want to play video games from a galaxy far, far away…
I think EA’s show planners must be from a galaxy far, far, away as well. Such little knowledge on the human attention span. The only footage we got to see was “early footage” tucked away in the montage.
And with Battlefield 1, we finished with a segment that was as strong as the first but seemed so much longer after an hour of eyes being glazed over. We got a great CG trailer from the upcoming hit, a brief recount of what it is, and some in-game footage that closed out EA’s broadcast into an online 32×32 multiplayer match. Informative, brief, exciting, and totally out of line with the rest of the show.
Well done, DICE. You did it!
That being said, maybe it was because EA decided to hold this conference on a Sunday, meaning a 4:15 AM Monday morning alarm clock for me, but I was exhausted all the way through. Not because of the lack of sleep or the sun still rising over Osaka Bay south of my apartment, but rather because EA once again missed so many marks and delivered yet another emotionless and forgettable show.
I realize it’s been keeping a low profile in recent years, because low profile translates into less controversy for EA, but it’s E3 guys! Time to go all out and really knock it home.
Huge announcements, release dates, in-depth discussions on all your best games! We don’t care about athletes, and we don’t need you wasting our time pandering to ESPN and trying to prove that your eSports demand television attention! We care about the games first and the games always. Do you?