In recent years, Electronic Arts has had some very lackluster press conferences during E3. From the constant bombardment of FIFA and Madden games to that awkward announcement of Peggle 2, the publisher has struggled to wow its fans such as Ubisoft or Bethesda. But as my esteemed colleague Luke Bargh pointed out, EA has the potential to steal the show right out of the gate with games such as Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1 and Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Unfortunately for fans, this year was more of the same for EA as executives talked the conference away and showed far too little.
Before I get into my frustrations, let me be clear. There were some great moments in E3’s opening press conference.
Battlefield 1, which they smartly saved for last, looks absolutely stunning on many different levels. There aren’t many developers out there who can create such a visually astounding game like DICE can and the studio’s move to World War I is no exception. The landscapes of war-torn Europe and Africa look textured and gorgeous while the attention to detail and destruction appears to be as phenomenal as fans of the series have come to expect. If the story can match the games graphics and era, this will definitely be the first Battlefield campaign I play since Bad Company.
I was also very impressed with the combat they showed in-conference and during the live event. The close-quarter combat looks exceptionally brutal while gun play looks as tight and engaging as ever. It is safe to say that this could be the Battlefield that re-engages me with the series.
Titanfall 2 was also a massive highlight of the conference. It appears as though Respawn is taking the criticism of the first game in stride and really focusing on creating a fuller experience by adding a single player campaign and a fuller multiplayer suite. The first game really intrigued me when it came to the lore and history of the universe so I am thrilled that I will be able to fully explore it with a Titan by my side. The single-player trailer really seemed to highlight the bond between pilot and Titan, something I am heavily looking forward to experiencing.
But like Battlefield, Titanfall is about the multiplayer and Respawn did not disappoint on that front. The additions of new abilities, Titan and human, and weapons, along with a grappling hook had me bouncing in my chair with excitement, along with the new maps that featured the first game’s signature of epic vistas and interesting locales. Just like the Battlefield 1 trailer, Titanfall 2 has me ready to jump back into a series that I haven’t thought much of in a long time.
Fe and EA Originals also intrigued me. Some of my favorite games of all time are indie games, so I am happy whenever companies take a vested interest in small developers and their games. Fe very much sparked my curiosity as thoughts of Ori and the Blind Forest danced through my head. What they showed was beautiful and I love the idea of walking around with no guide or context in this different world. Fe is definitely a game I will be keeping on my radar and my hope for EA Originals is that it can create quality indie games in the vain of Ubi Art.
Unfortunately, though, that’s where the highlights end for EA’s conference.
EA’s shows always seem to struggle when talking about its sports games such as FIFA and Madden and this year was no exception. I applaud the company’s new dedication to competitive gaming but the actual games didn’t do much to get me excited. The addition of the Frostbite Engine is always a good thing for FIFA but the story mode didn’t move the needle for me. It also didn’t help that the story seemed very similar to last year’s NBA 2k game, in the amount of cheese and sports cliches that appear to be running rampant in both games. Obviously, time will tell with FIFA, but as someone who isn’t a fan of the series, this will not be the game that gets me to dive in. Also, the exchange between Peter Moore and Jose Mourinho was just awkward and forced, as it seems to be every year EA pays an athlete to get up on stage.
The real disappointment of the day was Mass Effect: Andromeda and the EA Star Wars collection. Before everyone jumps on me, the snippets of the games fans saw looked tremendous. It appears as though Bioware is doing an amazing job with the small amount of gameplay we have seen and I cannot wait to delve back into the Mass Effect universe. I absolutely love the idea of your character being the alien this time around and the challenges that will present as players try and find a new world for humanity. Similarly, the one clip of the Amy Hennig-led Star Wars game got me curious and excited for what is to come in 2018.
That being said, this is now the third E3 in a row where EA has basically said to its fans that they don’t have anything to show us when it comes to games like Mass Effect. That is OK, but they again insisted on showing behind the scenes footage of games that either should have a lot more gameplay available at this stage or should not have been announced this far out in the first place. I understand that game development is not an easy process and I am totally fine that we won’t be playing these games until 2017-18, but the sheer lack of meaningful content at today’s conference is borderline inexcusable.
While there were some highs, EA’s kickoff conference was more disappointing than it was exciting. To be clear, I still believe EA has one of the best catalogs of upcoming games and I cannot wait to finally see what is in store. But on gaming’s biggest stage, the lack of meaningful trailers and gameplay left me disheartened and wanting more and not in a good way.
+Fe and EA Originals
+ The way-too-short look at Mass Effect
-EA Sports Content
-Awkward stage exchanges
-Those damn “behind the scenes” trailers
-How little they showed of Mass Effect and Star Wars properties
Let us know what you thought of EA’s Conference and keep it locked on ThisGenGaming for everything E3.
— ThisGenGaming (@TGGamingReviews) June 12, 2016