I just woke up and the last thing I remember is watching EA’s press conference. What did I miss, were there games?
There are three types of press conferences that take place during E3. There’s the good, like Microsoft’s, that are well put together and exciting. There’s the hilariously bad, which you can still laugh at. Then there’s the kind that are totally inexcusable; the boring ones, the ones that drone on and feel interminable. And that’s the sort of show EA decided to put on this year.
It all kicked off with some live cello playing to help overstate the importance of a Dragon Age: Inquisition trailer. Nothing too remarkable, sure, but it’s a prelude for things to come. Aaryn Flynn walks out and says “oh, the feels!”
At least we got some actual gameplay footage of Dragon Age, something that was mostly avoided in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it presence the game had during the Microsoft briefing. Combat looked alright, you’re able to switch between characters on the fly, and a special combat cam allows you to pause the game and plot different moves and commands. I’ve never played a Dragon Age game, for all I know both or at least one of those features is standard to the whole experience, but it looked fun here and for once I’m actually somewhat interested in playing one of these things.
Little time was wasted jumping off from Dragon Age to sort of kind of announce a new Mass Effect. Concept art was shown, and different members of development team said that in the next Mass Effect we’ll be exploring a new part of space. Thank goodness, there’s more space than the space we’ve already seen.
After that, we got a quick look at a new Sims game followed by what felt like an eternity of sports sports sports. Hey, this is EA, man. That’s kind of their whole deal. But even if you find sports interesting, you have to admit each installment of FIFA or NHL is just the same thing over and over again.
The first EA Sports games were UFC (starring Bruce Lee for some inexplicable reason) [Bruce Lee actually was one of the pioneers of mixed martial arts, although not really the same type of MMA as is featured in UFC – Ed.] and NHL15 (which sure does look like some more hockey.) An excruciating amount of time later, Patrick Soderlund out on stage, and in the slowest possible manner assured us that “it’s all about getting to the fun. Fast.” Well gosh, it’s a good thing we pissed away 20 minutes on cello playing, concept art, the Sims, and goddamn NHL.
And that “fun” comes in the form of a new game Criterion is working on, and by “working on” I mean they really only began developing this thing. We’re more or less given the elevator pitch, which boils down to “man Burnout is great. We’re not making Burnout, but we’ll let you pilot planes, and boats, and wing suits in our next game!” The concept is very intriguing, but there wasn’t enough to show here to get any idea on how it’ll work out.
Oh and then we go back to sports. First up is GOOOOooOOOOOlllf, hip hip hooray.
Next? A new NFL game, and something about the totally unique ways cameras for defense and offense will be used and blah blah blah who cares. I’m seriously surprised they didn’t drone on about how realistic the grass on the field is, but all this nonsense about cones and player emotes isn’t much better.
Finally the NFL garbage closed out, taking us to Mirror’s Edge, which had one shot to redeem this shit show EA put on. And… it failed to. I was actually jazzed up to see a gameplay demo for Mirror’s Edge, but what I got instead was more developer interviews while short glimpses of gameplay and concept art ticked by. Yes, they showed gameplay for it, and under normal circumstances that would be great, but it was done in a totally uninteresting way. I would have settled for a two minute trailer, I would have preferred someone got out on stage and played a few minutes of it, but what they actually delivered made me tune out about as much as all the hockey and golf dreck that came before it.
Well, fine. The presentation for Mirror’s Edge was a letdown, but at least there’s no more sports games, right? Wrong. Not until we’ve seen FIFA.
Look, I like you, anonymous reader. I’m not going to waste your time, because I had to watch the EA press conference and I know how infuriating that feels. So I’m not even going to talk about this. It’s soccer. There’s something here about “emotional intelligence.” If you care enough then just look up the conference when it’s archived on Youtube.
Last, and not least (although the bar hasn’t been set really high) we have Battlefield: Hardline. The mode they played through looks great, it’s Payday if players also controlled the police. This might be the one portion of EA’s conference that didn’t have me wishing for the whole thing to be over with.
SofaKing wrote his take on Ubisofts conference, which he called the worst of E3 so far. I haven’t seen it yet but I find that very hard to believe. Watching EA’s conference this year was an endurance test, and I came out the other side worse for it. It was barren, there was hardly anything to get excited about, and the few games that should have stolen the show were marred by poor presentation.
Highlights include seeing some gameplay of Mirror’s Edge, Battlefield: Hardline, Dragon’s Age: Inquisition, and hearing Criterion’s pitch. Low points are everything else. And since even the high points had to come with some sort of compromise, at least more than half of EA’s time on the stage was spent being proud of absolute trash.