EA 2014 Press Conference Impressions

Of all the press conferences, I have no problem saying EA was by far the weakest. It felt like they forgot to actually bring in finished games to show people, instead just offering a lot of “we promise it’ll be good, totally guys.”

They started off right away with Star Wars Battlefront, which should have been great. For some reason all they really did was show clips of the developers walking around the sets of the Star Wars movies and promising that they would be using this knowledge to build the best Star Wars Battlefront game ever. They showed very little of the actual game, which was all relegated to alpha footage of things like people getting into vehicles or zipping around some trees. There was no gameplay, or even a CGI trailer of any sort, just the promise that it’d be a great game. I was hoping this would just be the only fluke in the conference, but this was going to set the theme for the night.

Next they showed off an impressive trailer for Dragon Age Inquisition which was accompanied by a woman playing the cello. Like before, it’s still an impressive looking game. In our first super-cringy E3 moment, we got a developer come out and promptly say that trailer had “all the feels” in the most hilariously bad high-pitched voice. Thankfully the following gameplay made up for that. They showed a party of four battling a dragon. I noticed you could do things like attack specific body parts to cripple it, and the game seemed to keep the faster paced action RPG flow of Dragon Age 2 rather than the slower tactical feel of Dragon Age Origins. After the brief battle, one of the developers did note you could play the game like either Dragon Age Origin or Dragon Age 2, so that’s neat.

Following that they did another one of those awkward “we forgot to bring the game” announcements, this time with Mass Effect. Bioware basically said they’re working on a new Mass Effect, showed some concept art from the older games, and showed a few target renders. They talked about how they wanted to make a living breathing world and all. They also hinted that they were working on a new IP, but not much was said about that. They then brought out Sims 4, which some people seemed extremely super excited about with all their yelling. It was appropriately silly and featured things like Obama dancing, a man laughing so hard he died, and getting revenge on an old woman for kicking a body builder’s ass. The developers noted that you can easily import content people create into your game with just a click of a button. It looked like fun, something Sims usually manages to be.

EA then moved onto their sports section. I know a lot of people like to bitch at EA for having sports, but that’s silly. They make the most popular sports games. It makes sense for them to show, you know… sports games. They started off with UFC, which showed that they will feature Bruce Lee as a playable character. It looked pretty, though I don’t know much about sports games so I’m not entirely sure how it’d play. They did show gameplay though, a match between Bruce Lee and another fighter who’s name is escaping me at this moment. They followed that up with NHL 15, which they promised would be a massive improvement over NHL 14.

Taking a break from sports for another “nothing is done” announcement, EA decided to talk about Criterion’s next game. It’s still in extremely early alpha (the little they showed was an ugly untextured mess), but apparently it’s a racing game where you will always be in first person and features more than just cars. Characters were using helicopters, wingsuits, ATVs, and more. Could be interesting, but it’s still a long way off from telling. Following that we got too more sports games. PGA Tour 15 now features goofy fantasy courses for people to golf on, and featured someone golfing over a crashing battleship (Specifically it was on a Battlefield 4 map). Then they showed a trailer for Madden 15, which pretty much just talked about the emotion of football a lot. Looks like more Madden, as expected.

We then moved onto Dawnguard, the only original IP shown during this entire press conference. It appears to be EA’s turn to jump into the ever growing MOBA ring. They promise things like an epic massive story though, which seems off for a genre that is normally competitive multiplayer. We got the final “no game” announcement then, in the form of Mirror’s Edge 2. This one was easily the most disappointing, since Mirror’s Edge 2 was probably one of the most hyped games going into this. The most we got is some clips of people parkoring, and a few work in progress animations of Faith punching people. Then was a trailer for Fifa 15, which again talked all about the emotion of football. Wrong football though.

Finally we got a solid 7 minutes of multiplayer gameplay from Battlefield: Hardline. In this cops vs robbers scenario we got to see some criminals make a heist on an armor truck, getting into highly mobile firefights with the cops, and we got to watch as the levels would be destroyed in the process. It was visually impressive, and looked like a lot of fun. By far it was the best thing that EA showed. Then they came out with the surprise announcement that the beta would be available right now at this very moment on both the PC and Playstation 4. It’s a smart move, and the best thing EA could have done.

Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to save their press conference. Outside of Battlefield: Hardline their conference came off as boring, lazy, and thrown together at the last moment. They didn’t really have anything to show and they didn’t have any big wow-moments that the other press conferences had. Overall it was a mess and one of the worst showings from EA in a long time.

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