The EA E3 press conference is an inevitable spectacle that may as well have had a checklist recycled from last year and every other year. Sports games announcements? Check. Forza? Check. BioWare being almost criminally under-represented on stage? Check. Random celebrity(ies)? Check. Mind-boggling moments of why? Check.
It ma sound like I’m being a bit harsh on Electronic Arts, and honestly it’s because I am. They have some good properties, and if they would get their heads out of their own asses they could probably put on a press event I would walk away from feeling genuinely excited about. As it is, I finished the press event excited about a few games, but those were almost overshadowed by my questions about what I just witnessed.
This is all I wanted. This is all any of us wanted. Star Wars: Battlefront III has its own gameplay trailer. We know what it’s going to look like and what it’s going to play like. HUZZAH! A few things of note in that trailer: While the original Battlefront games were mods of the Battlefield franchise, the latest offering looks much more like a direct mod of Titanfall. In fact, I’m almost certain that’s what it is based on the 8-player match size and the card-looking elements on the UI. This isn’t necessarily terrible, but it is definitely a departure. That being said, the game looks gorgeous, and the action looks intense. I am glad they kept the hero-spawn system, and somehow using vehicles like AT-ATs or TIE Fighters looks better than ever. The single-player mode and split-screen co-op for local matches only will definitely be a bonus for many fans of the franchise. It’s something I look forward to finding out more details about.
Another game with some pretty killer gameplay footage was the new Need for Speed. For one thing, that seamless blend of live action to game footage was hella impressive. It certainly got my attention as did the attention to detail on the cars. In short, it’s shiny. The racing seems pretty standard all in all, and I 100% approve of the system even if I’m not much of a racing fan. In fact, I’d say I’m not too qualified to comment on the depth of the franchise or title, however my plebeian mind was impressed.
A game that completely surprised me when it crossed my radar was Unravel. I did not expect an EA product to show itself with so much heart. It genuinely looks like it’s an inventive concept for a game, and one that has an aesthetic that somehow resonated with me. I can’t wait to find out more about the title.
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst made its debut at this presser as well, showing us a bit of story and some gameplay. I’m iffy on the origin story, but nonetheless the gameplay still looks solid. It’s definitely a game I intend to keep on my radar if only because of fond memories of the original.
It’s no mistake that everything I enjoyed about the press conference involved gameplay. It’s also no mistake that what I didn’t like involved a lack of gameplay. BioWare, of course, was around this year, but they had no gameplay and no real announcement. There was the above trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda, and as much as I want to know more about the game, all this tells me is that there will be a new Mass Effect title and little else. Give me something to bite down on, and I will, but this isn’t it. The exact same flaw was carried over to their The Old Republic trailer was just as cinematic and impressive as always, yet still lacked enough gameplay for me to actually take notice. An impressive, cinematic announcement is cool and all, but I buy games to play them, not to watch them.
Before I move on with this, let me start the paragraph by saying I absolutely respect Pele. He is perhaps the greatest soccer player of all time, and an incredible man. That being said, why was he interviewed on stage in the middle of a press conference? He was on for 5 minutes, and the man deserves so much more. It served as an odd segue in an event that was surrounded by some awe-inspiring “why?” moments.
If ever there was a “why” moment, it came right after the delightfully heartfelt trailer for Unravel. Kenny Loggins started to play, and a character from Plants vs. Zombies walked onto stage to ‘Danger Zone’. No one reacted. No one was excited. I swear, you could almost hear the cringe in the audience. I mean, just look at that goofy thing. It dances, it prances, it flexes, it… is somehow lifeless. No one cheered. At all. It was just awkward silence. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t funny. This just… broke me.
For that matter, there is a Star Wars strategy card game coming to mobile platforms. This is the second strategy card game to be announced in as many days. Do developers really feel they need to chase Hearthstone that bad? I know it’s a good and popular game, but seriously. Why? Why is this a thing?
Despite the awkward and the curiously bad decisions, we saw some pretty cool stuff. Star Wars Battlefront, Unravel, Mirror’s Edge, and more look like impressive candidates for games, though I wish EA would move away from needing celebrities on stage, or the stupid, goofy ideas like that Super Brainz mascot. Why was that a thing? This was by no means the most impressive or exciting press conference, but it wasn’t a complete disaster. That’s the best you can hope for, right? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments!