The major focus of EA's E3 conference this year was on the player communities. All the games shown, aside from Bioware's new IP, Anthem, showcased multiplayer in some fashion. The cameramen would pan shots over the crowd at the conference, rather than focusing solely on the stage and the presenter. A few times, the presenter was even standing among the audience. EA also made a left-field mention of the charities they have supported that fight for a more inclusive world.
EA is home to a lot of big franchises, from FPS to sports games. The titles revealed this year should come as a surprise to no one. We're getting another NBA, another Madden, and another FIFA. Some Battlefield 1 DLC news was also shared. The only two games that were officially revealed were A Way Out and Anthem, and the latter was only briefly teased with a promise of more at Microsoft's conference later this week. Because of this, the conference felt like a showcase of the obvious. Of course the sports franchises are going to continue, and of course they'll talk about how realistic all the players look. The only thing of note in the sports games were story modes for all the major titles, allowing the player to take on the role of a rookie player, going through all the ups and downs of the professional athlete life.
The conference was capped off with a considerable look at Star Wars Battlefront 2, including an entire multiplayer game taking place on Naboo from Episode 1. Though EA of course has their hands in other genres, this conference reaffirms that sports and guns are the big pillars that hold up the publishing giant.
As always, the conference had its fair share of cringe-moments. From "Youtube creators" with stage fright to a couple of well dressed men gushing about soccer players to the point of needing a new pair of pants, by the end. The sports presence was huge this year, and if you enjoy sports video games then this conference would have been of big interest, most likely. For those who aren't into the realistic sports games, this conference was something of a bore.
There was a lot of cutting to Youtube personalities, showing off how they play the games and how they give feedback for future titles. It's something of a growing trend to create a montage of Let's Players enjoying the game in question, and it's one that just feels out of place. Though the conference can have a fun atmosphere, there is an expected professionalism, and Let's Players undercut that heavily. There's also something of "How do you do, fellow kids?" tone when a big company like EA brings in Youtubers to talk about their games.
Overall, the conference was banal and predictable. E3 conferences are all about surprise and flash, showcasing things that answer the dreams of players (before they're inevitably downgraded). EA's was just exactly what everyone should have expected. In an age of constant leaks, it can be hard to maintain a level of surprise for your big reveals. EA didn't even have anything to surprise us with, however. Though we knew a new Bioware IP was coming, we didn't know what it was, but were given very little even when it was revealed. The biggest surprise was A Way Out, which was the only game shown that wasn't a shooter, sports, or racing game.
For it's lackluster showcase of predictable titles and cringey utilization of Youtube and Twitch personalities, the EA E3 conference has earned a letter grade of D.
|+ A Way Out looks fresh and interesting||– Reliance on Youtube personalities|
|+ Lots of Star Wars Battlefront footage||– Predictable reveals and little surprise|
|– Heavy focus on one genre|