E3 2016, EA Play – Mixed Bag, Because EA Is Run By Robots

This year’s E3 was a strange little thing. E3 has a reputation for being kind of a gigantic hype machine, and really, that’s kind of the point — the big companies are there to get you excited for their products. How they go about that differs, but that is the general goal. And this year, Sony really embraced E3 as a display of showmanship, and went all out in pushing to capture a sense of wonder in their audience. At the same time, they knew where to stop and there was minimal presenters and it was almost all straight-up trailers. It actually sold me on something. Anyway, I’m just going to give my quick impressions on the various conferences that I actually cared about (to varying degrees). Starting things off is EA!

EA Play

Yes, they called it that because… reasons. This was undoubtedly the worst conference of this year’s E3. I didn’t catch this one live because of university exams, but I got the gist of things. There was an onslaught of sports titles, because the sports demographic is definitely the one who watch E3 livestreams, right?

Yay, old races!

Anyway, aside from that, the only thing I really cared about was the amazingly brief “trailer” for Mass Effect: Andromeda, which really told us nothing except that we’d have an Asari character. And had no real gameplay, because of course. There were talks about a focus on exploration, which sounds interesting but also makes me worry that Andromeda will be as sprawling and unfocused as Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’m still very worried about this game, but there ya go. Also, it was later revealed that the main character’s last name would be Ryder, meaning I must call my character Richard… after Marvel character Nova, what did you think I meant?

So Titanfall is now Pacific Rim: The Game?

We also got an official trailer for Titanfall 2, which I at least have a passing interest in. We’ll actually have a campaign this time around which is nice, and there’s a focus on a soldier and his Titan, which gave me a sort of Steven Spielberg vibe. Hey, if this is Transformers done right, sure, go for it! I’m worried about how they’ll justify you not being in your titan the entire time without using a lot of stealth missions. Still, looks fun. It’s coming to Xbox One, PS4 and Windows 10 October 28 this year.

Blimps make everything better!

I’m not a big Battlefield guy, since I just suck at modern military shooters, but Battlefield 1 won me over. See, I was sceptical about the World War I setting; does that make for good gameplay? I remember studying World War I, and it didn’t sound like video game material. But… there are blimps, so yes, I will be playing this at some point. Because blimps. But, they just refused to show proper gameplay! C’mon, EA, show me actual gameplay not cinematics and renders!

Some games just run off cuteness.

Fe is the EA indie of the year. Heck, the presenter seemed to be doing his best impression of the Unravel developer!  For real though, my heart goes out to the guy, and he seemed genuinely terrified. The game seems like a cross between Journey and Limbo, albeit with more colour than the latter (and by colour, I mean black, white and varying shades of purple). It’s about stealth and using the language of music to communicate with other creatures in an open world. I think this is going to be EA’s thing now: every year, have one dev whose heart is stone cold to give off the appearance that EA isn’t run by robots. Fe will be the first game in a new publishing initiative by EA focusing on indie devs. For all my snark, it does look interesting, and I look forward to when it releases some time this year.

We also got Star Wars… things. Just an announcement that, yes, we will be getting more Star Wars games. Thanks guys, I totally thought you were going to sit on that incredibly marketable license. There will be an action game by Visceral with a new narrative, and a third-person action-adventure game (vaguest of vagues!) by Respawn. Oh, and more Star Wars: Battlefront DLC or something, if you’re still playing that miserable game for some reason.

Overall, a pretty weak conference and exactly what everyone expected from EA. I can’t even say I’m disappointed, because I wasn’t expecting much. At the same time, the things I wasn’t expecting weren’t that great and weren’t shown off well. At all. And the sports crap is just more of EA not knowing their audience. This was just a pretty standard EA conference. Do better next year, guys.



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