The fact that I actually survived the sixty excruciating minutes that were the EA E3 2014 press conference is incredible. You see, that press conference was a new method of torture, of cruel and unusual punishment. The Geneva Conventions should probably be amended to include a clause about the EA E3 2014 press conference. It was that bad.
There was literally nothing about it that worked. Nothing about it that was even slightly redeeming. EA’s 2014 E3 press conference was so bad, it ranks as one of the worst showings at the convention, ever. It’s right down there with Sony’s E3 2006, or Konami’s E3 2010, for instance, but at least those two were so bad, they were funny. This one? This one was just bad, it was boring, and it was a pain to sit through.
Let’s talk about the games EA did show throughout the conference, though- they showed off Dragon Age: Inquisition, which, yes, looks good. They showed off a range of EA Sports titles, including Madden 15, FIFA 15, NHL 15, EA Sports UFC, and a new PGA Golf game (which seems to be taking a leaf out of Nintendo’s Mario Golf games in terms of how fantastical its courses seem to be); apart from that, they also showed us more of The Sims 4, which releases later this year, and looks great and fun, simply by virtue of being The Sims, but being more and better of it. They showed off a new MOBA game that they are working on. And finally, they showed off Battlefield Hardline, which looked great fun, although it did ultimately boil down to just being ‘Payday mode in BF3.’
But yes, I’m sure you’ve already noticed the problem- most of EA’s titles that are actually anticipated weren’t shown at all. For instance, Mass Effect 4 was mentioned. It was mentioned in a developer video with Bioware. But that was it. We did not get to see it. No gameplay footage, no CGI trailer, no prototype storyboards, no alpha footage, nothing. Or Star Wars Battlefront? Yeah, same. We didn’t actually get to see the game.
It was a little better with Criterion’s new game (which is not a new Burnout, because EA doesn’t want to have two car racing IPs, and they would much rather keep the inconsistent and often mediocre Need for Speed around rather than the excellent, amazing, innovative Burnout)- we got to see some very rough, very early pre-alpha footage of the game, and though it was hard to get excited over what looked like a PS2 era render, the ideas that the video floated- such as multiple kinds of vehicles in game, including parachutes, helicopters, water ski boats, cars, ATVs, bikes, and so on- were genuinely interesting, and made me want to see more of the game when it is in a presentable state. Plus, well, it’s Criterion, and those guys don’t usually make bad games.
Similar treatment was extended to DICE’s Mirror Edge, the sequel/reboot of their cult hit first person parkour platformer. We didn’t get to see actual gameplay footage, but we got to see lots of in development stuff, and what we saw looked absolutely amazing- how could it not? It was Mirror’s Edge, and that was always going to look good, right? The fact that there was no actual footage, and no indication as to a release date, was a total bummer though.
And ultimately, that was a problem endemic to the entire conference- there was a lot of talk, most of it absolutely boring, quite a bit of it about games and products we should have been excited about, but there was almost no real gameplay footage, or indication of when they might be coming out. Just lots and lots of talking, with almost no actual games. It was like being on a gaming forum- where people talk about games more than they actually play them.
Almost as if to add to the surreality of the console wars forum posts sensation, they ended their conference with the declaration that the Battlefield Hardline beta, available today in limited numbers, will be made available… to PC and PS4 owners. A cold shoulder to Microsoft and Xbox One if there ever was one, and a remarkable turnabout from their absolute support to Microsoft last year. Then again, I guess the poorer than expected performance of the console, as well as EA’s own tentpole games on it, is probably to blame for that.
All said and done, then, EA’s conference was all talk, and no substance. It was a tale of sound and fury, told by an idiot, signifying nothing. Absolutely nothing. If we’d at least gotten release dates or teaser trailers, it would have been worth something. But we didn’t. So it wasn’t.
The Good: The Sims 4 looks nice, I guess?
The Bad: No gameplay footage outside of a handful of games, a lot of talking with no substance, an inordinate focus on EA Sports games, and very poorly structured and pace.
The Verdict: A tale of sound and fury told by an idiot, signifying nothing.
FINAL SCORE: 2/10