The EA conference was very selective at what it talked about or even showed actual footage of. They opened up with some talking about the upcoming (and long awaited) “Star Wars: Battlefront 3”. They showed off some ‘early game footage’ of backgrounds and people standing totally still accompanied by people developing the game saying what they are doing as research. So to sum it all up, we still know absolutely nothing about the game. Yes, the early game footage looks good but what doesn’t these days. Especially in early footage.
This was followed by more early screenshots of the in development “Mass Effect 4” with more people talking about how they are developing it. So the second game they announce/show off while they say nothing about. 2 for 2 in the pointless department. At the moment they have only said that they are working on game we already knew they where working on showing footage that may change because of ‘developer hubris’ (ala “Watch Dogs”).
After BioWare is done talking about “Mass Effect 4” but saying nothing, they say that another of the BioWare studios is doing work on some new IP and nothing else. Well, I would be surprised if they weren’t doing work because it is their job to be making games. Knowing it’s new IP is good but that is the sum off all the information they said, making the announcement of ‘we’re working’ rather pointless.
Then came “Sims 4”. It was actually a rather extensive demo showing off the character creator, graphics, and emotions/goals systems. They didn’t show the interfaces but it can’t change that much. After the previous 3 iterations, the interfaces were polished to a shine so that’s nothing to be concerned about not seeing. I’ve said (many times before) that I’m not a fan of “The Sims” but I can see the appeal. I’ve played some of the PS2 versions and had fun. It just gets old very quickly. Anyway, “The Sims 4” is just more of the same but better and more polished. And it comes out September 2nd.
And so begins the sports section. To start, they show a chunk of Bruce Lee’s “Be water, my friend” speech/interview and they start talking about how great Lee is. Butting in and saying that its not true (at least I think so, he blazes through a few topics in under a minute) on comes the EA Sports representative of the moment and he talks about having Bruce Lee in “UFC” 2014: The Fighter: The Thing: The Game. Then they show some gameplay of Lee against a UFC fighter (I don’t care about UFC so he was probably some champion or something) where Lee [literally] kicks the UFC guy in the face and knocks him out, making the previous Lee-is-not-so-great sudo-talk kind of redundant.
The sports section continues with a demo of “NHL 15”. It’s an annual release so I’m not sure how much can be said. They talk about new AI and better animations but if there wasn’t new AI or animations even I would be disappointed.
Then there was a light break in the ‘sports section’ with another ‘we are working‘ announcement from Criterion Games. They say they have the main perspective of driving and racing because of the “Burnout” series and so they are researching extreme sports to make a game. They don’t say anything about the game. No plot, no gameplay, or even mechanics. Not even what they plan to do. Then just spend a few minutes talking about what they are researching and how they’re spending their free time. They also allude to having a more ‘open workspace’. Which means people where fired to downsize and open the workforce. I was surprised they almost admitted to it.
The ‘sports section’ gets back into full swing with “PGA Tour 2015” :Extreme Golfing :EXTREME! The tag line for the game is “Golf Without Limits” which sort of takes the point out of golfing. People who play the PGA games [stereotypically] are people who are in to golfing and the tedium of it all. Not putting across the Thames or trying to take out a plane with golf balls. It seams fun but it looks to have missed the ‘traditional’ PGA audience.
The final game in the ‘sports section’ was “Madden 15”. Just as in the NHL talk, they say it has better AI and better animations and they have made being defensive more fun. NFL, like most of the sports games that EA makes, is a more American affair so to everyone else, like the British man like me, glazes over and knows as near as nothing. If you like it, that’s OK. I, just like most of humanity, is not American so I have no knowledge or interest in American football.
“Dawn Gate” followed. A MOBA that is, they say, different to all other MOBA’s because it is. I’ve had a passing interest in MOBA’s before but I just lost interest. It’s a genre of game that requires a skill that I have in small amount but because of the hyper-fanaticism that follows the genre it is close to nothing. There are many MOBA’s out there so there is at least one out there that you will like. Adding “Dawn Gate” to the list of games you may like if you can play MOBA’s with enough skill the the average player base doesn’t get physically angry at you, then fine.
During the next game talk there was slight problem with the stream. It died. No idea why. And it wasn’t the first time. Anyway, the game was “Mirror’s Edge 2”, the sequel to a game that I really liked. They said nothing (again) but they did say that they are keeping what made the first great. Like the fluidity, the colour and the first person perspective. Nothing else was said but I can at least have some hope that it will be good.
There was a brief return to sports with “FIFA 2015”. I don’t really have to talk about this do I? It’s a yearly release that shifted less then tectonic plates.
Then came ‘the big one’, “Battlefield: Hardline”. They showed a whole match of what is a mutated, cop/robbers version of ‘capture the flag’. The demo showed shooting, driving, the shiniest of bonnets and the dustiest of explosions. There was even a point when a high-rise is inescapably bombed and falls in a chunky, cloudy explosion which everyone stops and stares at in awe for no reason except to say ‘we’re using the Frostbite engine’. I was hoping for more from a cop and robbers battlefield game. As soon as I heard that the next instalment was getting SWAT involved I was hoping for a more “Payday 2” affair with bank heists and police stands off. Not just another spectacle shooter instalment with a police theme. I was hoping for more but how much can I expect from one of the two modern shooters held up by all because they lasted the longest.
Overall, the EA conference was quite a big let-down. Not much was said. Games where announced but they where not shown. They could have said the same amount of information with a written press release. That is what was most saddening with the conference. They where just hyping up what was to come in 2015 but still held everything with total secrecy. Using E3 as a hyping point for the year coming is fine but use it like a burlesque dancer uses fans, not how a government agent uses the internet.