E3 2016: EA Play Was Pretty Awful

EA’s press conference at E3 2015 was really, really bad, but this year they decided to throw their own event — EA Play — instead, and somehow made it worse. It was a long-winded, overly verbose conference full of uninteresting developer diaries that are better suited for YouTube than a grand stage.

Going in to the conference, my predictions were:

  • Huge Mass Effect Andromeda gameplay spot
  • EA Access finally coming to PS4
  • Skate 4
  • A new Dead Space
  • Mass Effect trilogy remaster finally confirmed
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic remaster
  • Lots of sports game trailers

Sports games have their audience, clearly, as their games (NBA Live aside) go on to sell millions and print money on a yearly basis. And my issue isn’t necessarily that EA spent a significant amount of time talking about sports games, it’s that they spent a significant amount of time talking about sports games.

The visual fidelity of their upcoming FIFA and Madden entries look fantastic running on the Frostbite engine, and I’m curious to see how the story-driven Journey mode works in FIFA 17. But show us something, anything, rather than stand on stage yammering on for what felt like an eternity.

I also agree with Kinda Funny’s Colin Moriarty — Why in the hell would they hold a simultaneous conference in L.A. and London, and show Madden (you know, American football) in London? Baffling. Truly baffling.

There was no talk about NHL or the NBA Live series, which is surprising (in NHL’s case, anyway), but seeing as how the latest NBA Live sold less than 1% of NBA 2K16’s numbers, it may be time to sweep that monstrosity under the rug forever.

Why no NHL though? We’re nearing the end of the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals, and there’s no other event outside of Gamescom before NHL 17’s inevitable September release date.

So far my “lots of sports games” prediction holds true, but again, it’s not that I’m genuinely uninterested in them, it’s how they were presented in uninteresting ways.

Unfortunately my Mass Effect prediction was off as well.

Mass Effect Andromeda was given yet another verbose developer diary and only a minor amount of gameplay. I have no doubt the game will be phenomenal, and what they showed looked great, but that’s it? Really, that’s all EA is going to show during their own conference?

The put it in to perspective, EA spent more time showing interview footage of a professional Madden player than they gave to Mass Effect Andromeda. They spent more time talking about FIFA’s new story mode than they did showing any form of Andromeda’s gameplay.

There was no Mass Effect trilogy remaster talk either, so maybe it’s time to give up on the dream and assume EA is sticking to their “no remaster” guns. Oh well.

Everyone seemed pretty jazzed about new Star Wars games, but again, we received a lengthy developer diary and a mere glimpse at Visceral’s new game. The footage shown looked great, but there’s no better way to take the air out of the room (outside of Pele) than to show behind the scenes dev diary stuff that we can watch any other time of the year.

It was little more than EA talking about Star Wars projects, rather than showing us anything.

Titanfall 2 was shown off in the form of two trailers, focusing on new multi-player components and their new single-player campaign. The campaign would have been a nice surprise if EA didn’t accidentally leak it themselves during a rehearsal prior to the conference. Still, the game looks fine, and I’m curious to see how Titanfall’s mechanics play out in a campaign setting.

Titanfall 2’s release date was confirmed as October 28th, one week after Battlefield 1 — which is an extremely stupid decision. Both are competitive shooters, and yeah, both may have their own core audience, but Titanfall is nowhere near the giant that Battlefield is. Putting it up against your own game in the same genre is another baffling maneuver on behalf of EA.

Battlefield 1 does look pretty incredible though, at least visually. I thought it was hilarious when they cut away to none other than celebrities Jamie Foxx and Zac Effron, who seemed as uninterested as the L.A. crowd (and the Kinda Funny twitch chat) was.

Apparently the last hour of their show was supposed to be a 64-player Battlefield 1 match, but half of it was spent interviewing other celebrities and players.

Battlefield 1 will have an open beta later this summer.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the show was the EA Originals bit, where they segued from Unravel talk to a new 3D platformer called Fe. It’s aesthetically similar to games like Badland, and the screenshots got a lot of comparison to Ori and the Blind Forest in the chat, but I didn’t feel it worked very well when they showed its 3D gameplay.

Hopefully I’m pleasantly surprised.

This presentation was a chance for EA to show what they’ve been working on, and they did, but they did very little to hold the audience’s attention — again, I’m going by a roughly 11K deep twitch chat audience, my entire Twitter feed, and my own reactions.

Had the Titanfall 2 campaign trailer not been leaked (by EA themselves), I think that would have added an element of surprise to the EA Play presentation, but it wouldn’t have been enough to salvage it from the realm of confusing mediocrity.

I can’t imagine why they’d invest the money they did for the low caliber presentation we just watched today, but at least they’re working on a new charity initiative and a program that gives their profits to the developers.

What did you think of EA Play?

4 thoughts on “E3 2016: EA Play Was Pretty Awful

  1. And this is why I don’t watch E3. I always feel like it’s a huge waste of time. It takes too long for it to get interesting and there are always too many uninteresting side things that don’t interest me. I’ll just wait for the articles and read about it :].

    I’m surprised there wasn’t more game announcements from EA though. That’s disappointing and I’m still pissed that they won’t bring Madden to PC. We need a football game damn it.

    Also the NFL is a pretty big deal in London these days so showing Madden there isn’t that weird or surprising since NFL teams play in London regularly these days.


    1. I hear London may be receiving a team in the near future as well, but they didn’t give much of anything to the L.A. audience. I figured Madden would be a given, since FIFA was shown in London as well.

      Bethesda’s conference was a little better, but was definitely inferior to last year’s. Doing that write-up as we, uh, type I guess.

      And yeah… why isn’t Madden on PC? That seems like a no-brainer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bethesda’s conference didn’t show enough gameplay for anything except dishonored 2 and I’m not a fan of that series. I actually wrote about it last night.

        It sucks that The Evil Within 2 isn’t a thing…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, they showed Doom MP DLC stuff that I couldn’t care less about, and I really don’t care about Dishonored either. I left only really excited about Prey, but by the Xbox and PS conference I had already forgotten about it.

          Liked by 1 person

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