5 Things I Learned From EA’s Press Conference (E3 2017)

I’m Still Not Interested in Sports Games

Listen – I like sports. I don’t necessarily like playing them, but I watch hockey. I watch football. I watch baseball. I love the Olympics. I am not against sports. I’m not even against sports video games – play what you like. But I ask you this – who gets EXCITED about sports video games? Is it you? I’m not asking who PLAYS sports video games. I’m sure they’re great. I know that millions play them. But who gets EXCITED about sports video games ANNOUNCEMENTS? Anyone? Please, let me know, because I’ve never understood why EA spends so much time showcasing games like Madden and FIFA on their E3 stage. These games are released every year. The changes are usually incremental. They bring out athletes and internet personalities and other people I don’t know to try to sell these games that are ALREADY GOING TO SELL because really, who else is making sports games? EA kind of has a monopoly on the genre. So I ask you – who is this for? These aren’t new IP’s, they don’t feature anything new or unique, there are no crazy set pieces or action sequences. It’s just not good material for a stage show that has one primary purpose: hype. Not even a STORY MODE can get me interested in a sports game. Moving on.

The New Need for Speed Game is Fast & Furious

I have been wondering for years why we haven’t gotten a real Fast & Furious game. There was a stand-alone Forza Horizon 2 expansion, and there have been lousy movie tie-ins in the past, along with an assortment of arcade and mobile games, but we haven’t gotten a real, fleshed out Fast & Furious game that resembles the later movies in the franchise. We still don’t have one, but Need for Speed: Payback may be the closest we ever get. It’s so similar, in fact, that I’m shocked they didn’t actually partner with universal to create Need for Speed: Fast & Furious. The gameplay shown featured a fast and furious car chase – complete with slow-mo takedowns – that ends with a woman crawling out of your car, jumping onto a semi-truck, breaking in, then stealing a car and crashing out the back of the truck. Control then drifted from your car to hers as she proceeded to speed towards a number of police cars. This game is my jam. Give me all the heisting, ramming, and speeding gameplay. Feed it into my veins.

I Want To Play a Co-Op Prison Break Game

In 2013, Starbreeze Studios released a great little game called Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Members from that team have branched out and started Hazelight, and their first game is A Way Out, a character-driven game about two convicts breaking out of prison. Brothers director Josef Fares has taken the unique “single-player co-op” mechanic of that game and removed the “single-player” part – A Way Out is a “forced co-op” game, which will definitely be a turn-off to some, myself included, but it still looks so cool! You and your partner have to work together to break out of prison and escape from the law, which requires you to team-up, split up, and make joint decisions. The game employees a 24-like split-screen mechanic, with one side of the screen becoming more prominent when the situation calls for it. While one player is experiencing a cut-scene that takes up 70% of the screen, the other player is able to watch around and view that cut-screen from an outsider’s perspective, using the other 30%. It’s a really neat mechanic, and I really want to try it out… but, you HAVE to play it co-op, which isn’t a problem… IF you have someone to play with. I guess what I’m saying is… I need a gamer girlfriend.

Bioware Has a New IP

Bioware, the developer responsible for franchises like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, has a new IP. It’s called Anthem. And that’s literally all we know. There’s a giant wall that protects people from giant monsters, and there are robot suits. And no, it looks nothing like Pacific Rim. We’ll find out more at the Microsoft conference, but consider my interest… piqued.

EA Really Likes Star Wars

Towards the end of the press conference, there was a big Star Wars: Battlefront 2 presentation, followed by… 30-minutes of Star Wars: Battlefront 2 gameplay. Which is great! It just kind of felt like… EA’s kind of putting all their eggs into one basket. I mean, they’ve got sports and driving. And they’ve also got… nothing else this year apart from Battlefront 2? Which, I mean, that’s fine. That’s kind of EA’s thing. They’re like the CBS of video game publishers – they make broad hits for broad audiences, the kinds of games that people who don’t even play games play. I just can’t help but wish there was something more. Granted, we’re fresh off of the poorly received Mass Effect: Andromeda, Anthem is on the horizon, Titanfall and Battlefield are presumably on off-years. I would just rather see EA diversify a bit instead of becoming the “sports and shooting” company. And I have no idea what this has to do with Star Wars. I drifted. I think the point I was trying to make was that if you’re not into sports, your gaming options from EA are down to… Star Wars. So that’s why they spent a good 40 minutes on it. Stormtroopers marched out, Janina Gavankar (the actress who is starring in the single-player portion of the game) came out on stage and acted super excited, and we got a great trailer, followed by an entire multiplayer match. The game looks cool. I just wish… there had been more. And yes, 40 minutes is a lot, but those 40 minutes were not varied. They spent a good chunk of their stage time touting this story-driven, single-player campaign, and then they didn’t show us any of it. Plus, there are two more story-driven, single-player Star Wars games in development (one from Visceral and one from Respawn) that we know just about nothing about. More and more, E3 conferences have begun to focus on the “short term” rather than far-off future, which is good in many ways, but it also means that some years are going to be pretty boring if there isn’t anything interesting immediately on the horizon.

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