E3 2018: EA’s Press Conference

And so E3 2018 has begun!

(Disclaimer: All images screencapped from IGN’s live stream).

I have to say, the lead-up to E3 2018 was pretty interesting. Leaks are common to see these days but having official announcements ahead of the big show was surprising. Some people decry E3 as a bit of a dinosaur and perhaps that is becoming truer with every year. Companies can do the fancy press on a more frequent basis now. Just look at Nintendo and their “Direct” videos for example. Still, I feel that there is still gravitas and hype attached to E3 and even if a lot of info was out ahead of time, one would hope to see some solid press conferences.

One would hope…

I won’t mince words here: EA started the press conference train on a low note. Granted, I’ve never been impressed with EA’s press conferences in the past but I figured they’d at least put the extra effort after the PR disaster they faced with Star Wars Battlefront 2. And yet, it almost seems like they delivered a stinker as though it’s per tradition.

To begin with, I find putting little emphasis on Battlefield V strange. It was shown at the conference but only for about three minutes. Yes, it got its own dedicated reveal two weeks ago and yes, it’ll be shown off more at Microsoft’s press conference (Lords knows Microsoft needs games to show). But that brings me to a certain question: why even share conference time with Microsoft when you already have your own conference to show your games? Why even emphasize the Xbox version when Battlefield has generally been a very PC-oriented community? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

More baffling was how EA announces Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars title, Jedi Fallen Order. Thing about E3 is that when you can pull off a big surprise announcement, it can make for some really great press. Nintendo’s reveal of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a legendary example of that. And more recently, Sony nailed its reveal of the new God of War by having an orchestra play the main theme before the demo starts.

What did EA do for Jedi Fallen Order? Just have one of the lead developers sitting with the audience getting interviewed about the game. No gameplay, no pre-rendered trailer, not even concept art. That’s the first impression EA wants you to have with a brand new Star Wars game. This could’ve easily been summed up in a press release.

If I had to say what was the hardest moment to sit through though, it would be the reveal of a new Command & Conquer game for your phones. That alone is upsetting (I already have some friends upset over it) but the reveal was pretty bad in its own right. Not only did EA demo the game longer than they did for Battlefield V, they didn’t even bother telling you what the name of the game is until after the demo was over! It’s like they knew name dropping Command & Conquer would rile people up.

You did have your usual EA sports portions in the press conference but, really, that’s just standard stuff at this point and not worth talking much over. Honestly, does EA really need to pitch a new Madden or FIFA to anyone? People will buy those games every year and everyone knows they’ll come out anyway. Still, Madden finally getting a PC release again is some good news.

And to be fair, there was was some good moments in this press conference. Unravel Two was arguably the highlight of the conference. Sure, the game got leaked ahead of time but the co-op twist to the original gameplay looked great and it got me interested to play it with a friend. The game’s even available to play right now! There’s also EA sharing some success story with its charity drive, EA Play to Give, and say what you will about EA, that’s a really admirable thing of them to do.

I was hoping that some gameplay of Anthem would at least end things on a strong note and while the game looks gorgeous and mechanically competent, I don’t know if I’m fully sold on the game. I do want it to be a good game (especially with BioWare behind the wheels) but right now, I think the game looks derivative of Destiny and the gameplay shown at this press conference was just a lot of flying and shooting (admittedly really gorgeous flying and shooting). Maybe future trailers will be able to hook me on the game but right now, it’s a bit disappointing that it couldn’t salvage what a really poor and skippable E3 conference.


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