I am a little salty at the moment. I was playing Overwatch just before watching the EA press conference and was getting my ass handed to me by a trio of Tracers, and that salt carried over to their conference, and it’s not actually what you expect.
The people at the North American theater for EA’s conference were shit. Plain and simple shit. They were incredibly quite, almost uninterested in the conference itself and generally made an “okay” conference worse due to their collective attitudes. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect the Woo girl from the Bethesda conference, but at least some polite claps as stuff, otherwise why the fuck are you there. On the opposite side of the pond, the UK crew with Peter Moore at least had some cheers and clapping going on for some of the games being shown, which was a welcome reprieve from the collective NA toadstools. That rant out-of-the-way, lets talk about the actual games.
Starting off, I have to say Titanfall 2 is high on my list of games to pick up. I really enjoyed the first one and with the ability to play on PS4 now, I am going to be all in. Both the single player and the multiplayer trailers looks pretty awesome, though I will admit that the former was a bit duller as we didn’t get the bombastic combat moments and explosions from the latter. The multiplayer trailer does show one important thing though, everybody is “stealing” idea’s from everybody, zip lines, gravity grenades, ground smash’s, it seems like the only unused idea Team Fortress 2 has left is its beloved hat economy. Besides that though, looks quite enjoyable, and I hope it runs as smoothly as shown. One might worry about this game and Battlefield 1 being launched so close together but I have a feeling they actually wont, however I will talk about that below.
Both types of football made their faces shown, and as a FIFA fan, I found myself drawn to proper football, and not American grid iron. What interested me about FIFA is not only the gameplay, from one-off and seasons, but this new “Journey” mode, similar to other EA sports title single player like career modes. It will be an interesting twist for the series to go with as you battle, strategize, and play the game both on and off the pitch. With a new collision engine, better ball control and improved shot placement I think FIFA 17 will have another blockbuster year in sales.
The other football shown was Madden 2016/2017 and their new challenge draft modes. This image above was from yesterday’s bracket games from the eight best players in the world as they battled it out for fifty thousand dollars. I don’t follow this myself, but its cool how EA is getting more into the e-sports scene as it helps those who enjoy that kind of thing and allows for more people to become involved with it. Madden looks good still and I am sure it will also do well in the up coming season.
This game looks interesting, Fe one of the small dev teams that EA is helping support is putting together a cute little title which seems to run in the same vein as Journey or Flower. You are wandering around the world with no prompted direction, so the user is literally the driving force for the story as you resume your dark fantasy looking woodland friends, and battle what I assume are the representation of humans destroying the ecosystem. A fun looking title, and a good move for EA to start helping the little guy out as they continue to make strides to change their “worst company in america” image.
Now we start getting into the real meat and potatoes of the conference. . . . or at least we would have if there was anything of actual note to show for EA and their massive Star Wars push. Every game is at LEAST a year out and their entire section of this presentation was a series of dev diaries and other essentially sizzle reel of star wars images. This was the second most disappointing aspect of their conference as while the sports games and Fe were interesting, Star Wars should have been a juggernaut of content to get people excited. We instead get humdrum into and “hey stuff is happening at some point between here and when we all turn to space dust”.
Speaking of space dust the “information”, if you could call it that, about Mass Effect Andromeda was so sparse and useless that I was literally at a loss for words for how terrible that portion of the conference was. Sitting in the basement with friends watching and I turned slowly to them and asked if I had stroke, because I didn’t hear any information and clearly I must have blacked out. EA drops two of its three big balls with poor messaging, lackluster information and seeming inability to put cohesive thought together.
Thankfully the last, or at least seemingly biggest, ball rolled through with a strong finish. Mid conference their half trailer was another blunder, but a full trailer at the end of the show made up for that. Another big, bombastic, and beautiful shooter is on our doorsteps that should keep a good chunk of the community happy. While I have concerns for this games release date, which I will comment on below, I am looking forward to getting a squad together to roam the trench’s.
If you stayed around after the conference to watch the 32 v 32 battle with a bunch of celebrities and YouTube gamer’s you got to see four important things. Firstly is Snoop Dog smoking a blunt on camera and being an average player with a close second, in terms of importance, being Snoop Dog after he finished his blunt and started wrecking house. The third note worthy thing is how even in a pre-alpha build the amount of great visual cues and destruction they have. We saw planes hit buildings and not get destroyed, which is to be expected at this stage, but rain pattering off your weapon, fog, dust and debris obscuring vision, and the zeppelin crashing down on the map WHEN it gets destroyed and permanently altering that area of the map which is really cool to watch. The fourth and final thing however is the release date. The build they showed for the play session said pre-alpha, and with only four-ish months before it’s launch I have almost one hundred percent certainty that this will be pushed. Either to November or sometime mid next year.
That being said, I thought there was some good info, some shit crowds, and a serious lack of Star Wars and Mass Effect news, which was irksome to say the least. Let’s hope the big boy conferences are much better.