“IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PLAY.”
Electronic Arts’ E3 presser has always been something of a mixed bag to watch, with the publisher often weaving between tidbits of heavy hitting franchises like Mass Effect and things like sports and mobile titles. This year EA seemed to focus on substance over corporate buzzwords, but unfortunately they didn’t have a whole lot to show off.
The show started off decently enough with Respawn’s Titanfall 2 (which thankfully will now have a singleplayer campaign), although judging by the reaction of EA’s Los Angeles crowd, the show was to be an uphill battle from there. The show weirdly weaved between EA’s “EA Play” events in Los Angeles and London, with EA’s corporate brass in LA and EA Mastermind Peter Moore in London. The shifts between locations didn’t break the flow of the conference too much, although it begged the question of why the conference needed separate locations in the first place.
While it was nice to see EA not spend a chunk of the show talking about mobile this year, they did spend a long time laying out their eSports plans… for Madden NFL. Now, if anyone out there does enjoy watching competitive Madden, more power to you, but it’s hard to see Madden Play becoming the big juggernaut EA is trying to position it as. (And the cornball video they brought out with it didn’t help things much.) Was there really no time to talk more substantially about other eSports-ready series like Battlefield or Battlefront?
They offered little beyond some concept art and quick interviews with developers.
There was some neat tidbits for things like BioWare’s upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda, but they didn’t show anything beyond some concept art and behind-the-scenes footage: barely more then they showed when the game was announced on stage last year. Interestingly, while EA’s show tends to slog whenever they trot out the sports games, FIFA’s story mode featuring the story of a rising football star actually looked pretty intriguing (despite Peter Moore chatting the audience’s ear off about it). Finally, EA gave updates on their upcoming Star Wars titles, but like the Mass Effect presentation, they offered little beyond some concept art and quick interviews with developers. While it’s understandable that most of these are probably months if not years away, something better than “We’re working on it, we promise!” would’ve been appreciated.
A bright spot was the introduction of EA’s new “EA Originals” line, an indie label of sorts that will showcase and work with smaller studios, similar to the publisher’s work on 2015’s Unravel. While it did seem like EA was trying to recapture some of the magic of Unravel’s reveal, it was still great to see the reveal of EA Originals first offering, Fe, bring a clearly passionate developer from Sweden to the stage, along with a trailer and a great look at just what Fe will offer.
By the end of the conference, EA proved that they knew more of what to focus on at their press events and even had some good ideas. EA Originals sounds great, at least on paper, and it’s good to know EA is at least trying to address fan feedback to games like Titanfall and Battlefront. While we’re at it, Battlefield 1 isn’t looking half bad as well. It’s clear that EA has a better idea of how to sell itself to its fans. Despite the presser focusing on all the right things, they really should’ve brought more to the table.
Should EA have brought more to the show? Tweet me @MaxMielecki. And be sure to follow us @YouNerded.
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