So uhm, EA's Press Conference to kickstart E3 week was a bit different then I imagined it being. Being a crisp hour long conference that didn't really seem to have any new information about any of their upcoming games, the conference instead was very heavy on sports and quick, very quick looks at their upcoming projects. Lets start from the beginning.
The first game to make an appearance was Titanfall 2, with Respawn CEO, Vince Zampella, coming onstage to talk about the new games single-player campaign, release date, and show off some multiplayer clips. The game looked great, sounded exciting, and I was actually surprised to find myself interested by the games single-player trailer which had a very somber/melancholy feel to it, while still looking thrilling to play. That said, this game ultimately served as a harbinger of things to come, with there just being a noticeable lack of excitement or joy about the whole thing. It didn't help that for the entire conference the crowd in LA just seemed completely dead and I mean dead, I feel like you could have heard a pin drop in that place.
After Titanfall 2 EA shifted the focus over to Madden 17, for a really long time. I swear they spent like 15 minutes of their hour long conference just on Madden and the pro gamers who play it. I say this as someone who not only doesn't hate Madden, but actually in fact enjoys it, there was just zero things to be excited about regarding EA's discussion of this game. The whole thing just felt kind of sterile and joyless. Don't even get me started on their odd seg-way into the pro gamer portion of the Madden demonstration, the whole section was just off and never hit the right tone.
Then after the brutally long look at Madden finally EA shifted over to Aaryn Flynn, GM of Bioware, talking about the upcoming Mass Effect game, which looked and sounded great, at least the little we saw of it. For all the talk of Titanfall 2, Mass Effect, and Battlefield 1 coming into the conference I feel like those three games got an incredibly small amount of time actually being talked about. They didn't give any new information about Mass Effect or really show off any stunning and breathtaking footage, instead they showed a developers journal of sorts over clips of ships flying through space and that was about it. I'm excited for this game, but not because of what I saw today.
Next we got introduced to the newest Fifa, which actually looked significantly different and unique from it's soccer forefathers. The addition of what looks to be a compelling, film like single-player narrative captured my attention and actively had me wanting to play this newest Fifa. If done right, Fifa's story could be the sports game I've always wanted, taking the best parts of the most iconic sports films and allowing me to play my part in telling the story. Still, it was a lot of sports talk by this point with Madden and Fifa and a good time to go in a different direction.
And what a different direction they went in with Fe. Looking like a mix of Journey or Flower and providing a brilliant looking colorful world, Fe has the potential to be one of the standout smaller games upon its release. One line in particular stuck out to me, the mention that the game would be wordless. The ability to craft a moving and resonate story without any dialogue is a lofty challenge and one ripe for failure, but this first look has me totally on board with this smaller and quieter title that provided a welcome breath of fresh air.
They honestly talked about all the upcoming EA Star Wars games after this but it was so little information, no matter how interesting all the upcoming titles were that I am just going to skip over this and go to the next phase of the conference.
Battlefield 1 was there to mark the conclusion to the conference. I have been incredibly excited about Battlefield 1 from the second I first heard about its setting. Yet again, I was wowed by the beautiful look and scope of the game, I can not wait to get my hands on this game, yet even here EA made a misstep, not really showing or talking too much about new details for the game and instead just saying how excited everyone is for the game, which is true but not the point.
Ultimately as I sit here and write this in the immediate aftermath of EA's conference I have to say it was just a totally meh performance on the whole. There were real glimmers of something special here, just looking at the promise of Mass Effect or Fe or even Battlefield 1 and you can see the makings of something great, yet they were all very quick cursory looks. Instead large portions of time were devoted to things that seemed to get away from the message EA wanted to tell. In the end I just don't really know what EA's conference was all about and have a lot more mixed feelings and conflicted thoughts then I think they were aiming for and that's just a shame.