E3 Hype - EA Press Conference Summary

EA finished up their E3 event about 2 hours ago. Just watched a replay so I'm ready to give my two bits. In the overly used Good/Bad/Ugly format. Sue me.

The Good Stuff

I went in pretty hype on Titanfall. I left pretty hype on Titanfall. Included actual gameplay trailers for both multiplayer and nearly spoiled single player campaigns. I really like that it appears that there will be more custimzation among the pilot loadouts and the titan equipment. Little disappointed no date for a beta was announced. I expected more hard date for a beta. If we learned anything from Overwatch, a good beta will drive interesting a game. All in all, I'm happy. I was getting really hungry to see some actual gameplay footage.



Peter Moore brought up something I've been keeping my eye on of late in the gaming community. And that was the push for more organized competitive gaming. Sure, it was EA and the competitive community for their games (Madden, FIFA, and Battlefield) is not very large or prestigious, I am happy to see them make the effort. In particular, the format they seem to be organizing of Challenger for local events, Premier for larger events, and Major for the big money events reminds me of how StarCityGames and other trading card game event organizers run their events. My hope is that this leads to a set of online automated tournaments. It's a feature from my days in Guild Wars that I greatly enjoyed, and I want more games to adopt similar formats. Kudos to EA for this. It's nice to see a developer/publisher really take some initiative on this front.

Often I find that publishers just give lip service to helping to promote the smaller independent developers with small contributions so that they can tie their name onto the product if it becomes the next FTL: Faster Than Light. That is probably what EA is doing with EA Originals. I've only recently started in dabbling with putting money into small Kickstarters, and I become rather pleased when a major publishers see a flailing project need money and rescue it from death, then support it with their PR chops. Which is why I was quite happy after I saw the gameplay trailer of Fe. It's a project with enough creativity that I would have gladly backed. Kudos EA, for picking a good first project with EA Originals.


The Meh Stuff

There seemed to be a major movement in development at EA while I wasn't looking. Almost all of their games had shifted to using the Frostbite engine. Mass Effect, Madden, and FIFA all announced that they were going to running on Frostbite. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, I would be cautiousness in making all developers use a single set of development tools. I say this for two reasons. First, it doesn't do any favors to the code writers. Mainly because of the nature of the game development cycle. Often developers go out of work and get the pink slip after a game's launch. But if they have no experience developing on anything but Frostbite, than EA would be the only play they could work. Secondly, I worry about the uniformity of development in games. When every game uses the same engine, I worry that every game starts to look the same with just a new coat of paint. I sort of get that feeling when I watch Battlefield 1 and wonder how different it is from other Battlefield games. After watching gameplay for Battlefield 1 on the post event stream, my fears were not alleviated. I not harping on the Frostbite engine itself, it's proven to be capable of great things, I just worry about a lack in interest in games that lack variety.

There was WAAAAAAY too much time devoted to EA Sports and particularly FIFA. I know they are huge money makers for EA, but showing it off at these events is a huge turn off to the crowd you would expect to see for E3. They need to host other events to announce changes in EA Sports. It deserves the time based on the value it brings, but not at E3.

Now I don't expect every game to have some live gameplay footage, but for none to show in the event is a bad look. Nothing but trailers. Very Nintendo-isc. If you wanted live gameplay you had to stay around the stream to watch the Battlefield 1 gameplay. Not even the game I really wanted to watch. If I wanted to watch nothing but trailers, I do that on Youtube. I wanted some live gameplay demos.

The Bad Stuff

There was next to no gameplay footage of Mass Effect Andromeda to be found. A trailer is more than what we have had to work with, but I was really unimpressed. I guess I understand why the game was pushed back. I doubt it is anywhere near release at this point. I think it's possible we could see another delay if they are unwilling to push any more gameplay footage than what they showed.


Talk about Star Wars overload. I think EA went way overboard on the IP. To make matters worse, they aren't doing a new Knights of the Old Republic, the only one I would be really interested in. Well, so long as it wasn't an MMO. But between the Visceral Games Star Wars project, the Respawn Entertainment project, a new Battlefront from Dice, and likely more projects for the Old Republic MMO, it just feels like way too much.

They announced zero hard dates for any pretty much inevitable beta for Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2. Where they even paying attention to what happened to Overwatch? Use your betas to generate hype EA.

Other Notes

  • The José Mourinho appearance during the FIFA showcase made me laugh.

  • Amy Hennig works at Visceral Games and is working their Star Wars project? I may have to keep my eye on that. She was instrumental with her work on the Uncharted series at Naughty Dog.

  • During the Star Wars showcase, there was a brief clip of what looked to be a test for a VR device being used in what I think was Battlefront. Hmmmmmm.


In Conclusion

My overall thoughts on this disappointment. I felt that EA had the most products to show off at E3, and they fact they didn't is not a good look. I give it a C+. I expected a much better showing out of E3. Very few new products to show off, and did not promote the ones they did bring very well.