Despite Electronic Arts giving their best effort in order to leak all of their announcements before their E3 2016 press conference, there were still some surprises today. Well, maybe the plural form of surprises is a bit strong, but it wasn’t all old news (even if most of it felt like it).
After an awkward start where EA showed off that they were holding this press conference in both Los Angeles and London (it was just as lame as when the WWF tried to do this for WrestleMania 2), they eventually showed off Titanfall 2 gameplay footage. Non-shockingly, Respawn’s first-person shooter looked great, as it’s building upon the original’s solid base. The big announcements (which leaked earlier today) were that the game would release October 28, and would include a single player campaign (which apparently has players battling robotic enemies). It was a strong way to start off the conference, but also very predictable.
Next up was a Madden 17 trailer, which is only really notable because it had Cam Newton doing the dab. This was all to segue into a conversation about eSports. EA will be hosting a series of events, with the most important ones being called EA Major events. It killed any momentum the conference had after the rad Titanfall trailer, and was probably the most EA moment the event had.
In a rare moment of self reflection, it seems like Electronic Arts knew that the eSports talk was going to be dire as they followed it up with the promise of Mass Effect Andromeda. Sadly, all they showed was a lengthy cinematic trailer that was visually impressive, but the lack of any gameplay made it feel underwhelming.
The handsome, but devoid of any enthusiasm, Andrew Wilson then took the stage to talk about EA’s Play to Give scheme. These are challenges that will take place in Battlefield, Star Wars Battlefront, FIFA 16 and Madden NFL 16, where the publisher will end up donating 1 million dollars to various charities. Even if this segment was boring, at least there was a positive to it.
FIFA 17 then got the spotlight, and the actor who is starring as Alex Hunter in the game’s story mode took the stage. The story mode actually looks quite interesting, and can’t be any worse than NBA 2K16‘s Livin’ Da Dream mode (I hope I don’t have to eat crow here). It’s a unique spin for a sports game, and hopefully the mode (officially called The Journey) will be fun.
During this segment, EA even flashed a graphic proclaiming that there were “5 minutes until Star Wars Update,” which gave me nightmarish flashbacks to last year’s presser which constantly teased Star Wars Battlefront. This was wishful thinking on EA’s part as FIFA 17 talk went on for 10 more minutes with the only real news being that real Premier League managers are in the game for the first time.
EA’s Patrick Söderlund then took the stage to announce EA Originals, EA’s initiative to support small developers and publish original ideas like Unravel. A substantial amount of the profit from these games will go to the developers so they can continue making more original ideas (what a novel idea!).
The first game of EA Originals is Zoink Games’ Fe. The Stick it to the Man and Zombie Vikings developer’s latest game has an Ori and the Blind Forest vibe to it, but is a 3D platformer. An impressive gameplay trailer was shown off, and this is definitely a title for gamers to keep an eye out for as it’s absolutely stunning.
Jade Raymond then took the stage to talk about a little series called Star Wars. She explained that EA already has three Star Wars titles, but that Battlefront 2 would be coming next year. They then reconfirmed that Amy Hennig & Visceral Games’ untitled Star Wars game (which will feature an original storyline and characters) would release in 2018, and that Respawn was developing a third-person action game. This isn’t exactly new information, but we did get to see a featurette that featured a whole 3 seconds of footage from Visceral’s new title.
The conference then ended on Battlefield 1, which killed any excitement for any potential major reveals. The alternate history WW1 multiplayer shooter was first shown off with an extremely short trailer, and then Jamie Foxx and Zac Efron (not even kidding) were awkwardly interviewed to plug a livestream after the event. Finally, the full version of the previously shortened trailer was shown, and it wasn’t particularly exciting.
This entire press conference, aside from the Titanfall 2 start was pretty much a trainwreck. The pacing was horrible, it started late, and certain segments (look at you, FIFA 17) went on for way too long. Throw in the lack of newsworthy announcements (Fe was the only new game shown off), and you have one of the worst E3 press conferences in recent history. Not even Tha Hoop Gawd could’ve saved this.