E3 Coverage: EA Conference

A Good Start?

by Matthew Roud

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3 to you and me) has just kicked off this weekend with the EA Play press conference. The conference kicked off with a statement from Electronic Arts (EA) CEO Andrew Wilson in which he thanked the audience for their enthusiasm and explained that while they would love to dive into detail about upcoming games they wouldn’t be able to given the time restrictions.

The first game to be shown to the crowd was the upcoming first-person shooter Titanfall 2, in which players battle in lumbering giant robots or as a nimble foot soldier. As the sequel to the original Titanfall it promises to be bigger and better in every way with improved graphics, new weapons, new abilities and new types of giant robots. It seems that the developer Respawn Entertainment has listened to the fan feedback from the original game and has decided to add a single player campaign, something which was noticeably absent from the first game. As a fan of the original, this is one game I’m going to keep my eye on!

Up next was a tiny trailer for the new Madden NFL game, followed by a speech by Chief Competition Officer Peter Moore focussing on the rise of popularity in e-sports, and how EA is at the forefront of this ever-growing field. As neither a fan of NFL or e-sports, the only thing that really got my attention here was the announcement that they would be showing an e-sports tournament on the sports channel ESPN which I think shows perfectly the rise in popularity in e-sports over the past few years. In all honesty I spent most of this part eagerly awaiting what was coming up next… Mass Effect: Andromeda.

At last year’s E3, BioWare officially announced they were working on a new Mass Effect game and released a short teaser trailer showing the development of parts of the game. This year, as the manager of BioWare, Aaryn Flynn took to the stage I couldn’t help but get excited. What would they show us this year? Gameplay? A story trailer? What we got instead was a slightly disappointing behind the scenes video which would gave us a little peek at the game, but not enough to give too much away. What we were shown though, looked incredible. Amazing new planets to explore, new aliens to discover, some of the most lifelike animation I’ve ever seen in a game and it’s still in development! While I was slightly disappointed, I couldn’t help but be excited for its final release.

Have you ever been playing last year’s FIFA game and thought that what it really needed was a story mode? If so then FIFA 17 is the game you’ve been waiting for! This was the only major announcement made regarding the game. Despite a trailer for the story mode and some snippets of rendered footage in the new game engine there wasn’t much to see here. A grumpy looking José Mourinho appeared onstage for a bit to stand around awkwardly before wandering off to collect his pay-check, assumedly.

Finally, there was the game that I was waiting for, Battlefield 1. Since it was announced about a month ago, fans have been going crazy all over the internet. Set during the First World War, this is the next instalment in the renowned Battlefield franchise, and it looks incredible. From beautiful looking environments, destructible buildings and phenomenal graphics to the brutal combat, chaotic firefights and intense vehicular gameplay, this looks like the game to beat for this year. After the press conference there was an hour long livestream of multiplayer gameplay featuring many popular Youtubers such as JackFrags, Seananners and Burnie and Gavin from Roosterteeth. This roster of internet personalities was padded out with mainstream celebs such as Terry Crews, Jaime Fox, Wiz Kalifa, Snoop Dog and Zac Efron which made it kind of surreal to watch.

Overall the EA conference was a bit of a mixed bag. Some incredible looking games were shown but only in small snippets. It could really have been improved if EA had given more time to focus on the games instead of focussing on celebrity endorsement. Still, there was plenty of  things announced: seven new Star Wars games that were teased very briefly, a charity scheme that if players achieve in game goals EA will donate money to several charities, and a support scheme to help create and fund many more indie games. It was a strong launching point for the next few days and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of the games that EA were showing!

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psEDJXl2ApY&w=560&h=315]

Thoughts? Opinions? Stipulations?