E3 2014: You Can’t Teach an EA Dog New Tricks
In between Monday’s press conferences for Microsoft and Sony, the usual publishers got their work in. Electronic Arts, twice named the Worst Company in America, was the first to show off their new wares at E3. Actually, no, they didn’t show off much new. In fact, apart from some new trailers, I don’t think the word new should be used anywhere near this media briefing.
The best analogy for the EA press conference was from The Annoyed Gamer, Marcus Beer. He likened EA to a lover that shot their load early and went limp for the rest of the hour.
EA opened up the show with a look at the upcoming Battlefront game from DICE. Some early in-game footage was shown of Hoth and Endor. However, that was but a tease as DICE and EA promised more in spring of 2015. With Episode VII not coming out until December 2015, I wouldn’t expect the game to be released until closer to that date. If it gives DICE and extra six or seven months to iron out the bugs, it’s worth it.
That immediately went into a look at BioWare’s offerings. This included an on-stage demo of Dragon Age: Inquisition and the combat system. You can have a party of up to four members and can switch between them to control them directly which is a return from DA:O. It also showed off the particle, fire and open-world graphics in the Frostbite 3 engine which I thought was more impressive than what the Battlefield franchise has to offer using Frostbite 3 so far.
Speaking of BioWare, we got our first looks at concept art for Mass Effect 4 and the unannounced BioWare IP. There wasn’t any hard info about what to expect from either game. ME4 promised more exploration so it’ll be a bit of a return to ME1. The new IP looked like it was set on Earth so we might not actually get a sci-fi/fantasy game out of BioWare so this will truly be new ground for the Canadian dev.
EA Sports was given a lot of time to show off its new offerings. The new UFC game was mostly hyped by Bruce Lee appearances. This year’s NHL 15 will get a bunch of graphics and animation overhauls for the move to current-gen consoles. Madden 15 will focus on the defense with new animations and tackling enhancements. They’ve also brought in an actual NFL TV director to help improve the presentation seem more like a TV broadcast. And there was a FIFA trailer about the stadium atmosphere. Having been to an Australian soccer game and watched games with supporter clubs in pubs, it’s the crowd that makes soccer amazing. I just doubt that it’ll be quite as amazing as actually being in a stadium.
The big showstealer for EA Sports was PGA Tour 15 which is in the Frostbite 3 engine rather than the EA Sports Ignite engine. The trailer involved a battleship crashing into a golf course and exploding golf balls flying over the ship. I don’t get it either but damned if it doesn’t get your attention.
The Sims 4 got some gameplay footage and a trailer which I doubt will help sell it to new gamers. If you love The Sims, you’re going to get this game. If you don’t, you’re still going to pass. I can probably say the same thing about Dawngate which got a brief video snippet. By the way, did you read my Dawngate impressions post? Dawngate fans hated me slamming the game’s economy. Where do you stand on that?
We also got a look at the in-development Mirror’s Edge 2. And it turns out that Visceral is making Battlefield: Hardline in collaboration with DICE. EA showed some multiplayer gameplay in the cops vs. robbers mode which seemed to go far too perfectly for it to be a real bit of gameplay. They also launched the Hardline beta during the show and that was an utter disaster because the site was down immediately and I’m still waiting on the beta being added to my Origin library despite being told that I was in. Granted, since DICE can’t make a Battlefield game that works, why would they make a beta program that works too.
The biggest problem with the EA press conference was that everything new was at the front and there was nothing promising or new after the first 15 minutes. It was just sports and Sims and shooters after that. After the first quarter of the presser, it probably wasn’t worth sticking around for… Well, unless you like sports.