Excitement was clearly in the air when EA kicked off E3 2017, but it soon descended to a pile of mediocrity filled with cringe and it was unwatchable at times. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since EA wasn’t known for delivering exciting conferences at E3, but yesterday’s session might just top off whatever we have seen so far in terms of delivering yawns and facepalm moments.
It all started right at the beginning of the conference when they teased a new story mode for Madden NFL 18, with staffs dressing up in American football jerseys while beating some drums. This particular stunt seems normal to me in promoting the game, but the live stream chat exploded with massive spams of “cringe”, which was just a precursor of what to expect for the rest of EA’s conference.
From one sports simulator to the next, the FIFA 18 reveal seemed like a standard affair, as it showcased the involvement of Cristiano Ronaldo in being the game’s mascot, and an impressive-looking real life footage detailing the return of Alex Hunter, who is the main protagonist for story mode The Journey. The intro delivered what the fans expected, until you have football podcast duo Men in Blazers standing on stage talking extensively about a sport that general Americans doesn’t care for, which was still fine if they didn’t start it with a missed high five to invite more “cringe” comments.
Now, of course EA is not only known for making sports simulators, and it always prides itself on catering to a wide range of gamers. While their Need for Speed Payback gameplay intro might have captivated the audience, especially those who are a big fan of the Fast and Furious franchise, it had a disastrous start when YouTuber Jesse Wellens fumbled his opening lines. It was so obvious and at the same time painful to watch, which he even addressed later on Twitter by mentioning the faulty teleprompter. We can definitely empathize with him if that’s the case, but the damage has already been done.
Luckily for EA, there were some good moments to salvage their conference, namely the Battlefield 1 compilation footage from its robust community and a look at Prison Break-like game A Way Out, which featured a split-screen coop only gameplay. They also teased their new sci-fi IP Anthem, with talks about a wall, monsters, and cool-looking suits that prompted comparisons with popular anime Attack on Titans. But EA knew what the crowd wanted to see the most as they saved the biggest and last timeslot to feature Star Wars Battlefront II, yet it has its fair share of cringe moments as well.
I was hyped up to know more about what EA will offer in Battlefront II without screwing things up, but the high sense of anticipation slightly diminished when Janina Gavankar, the actress who plays Iden Versio came out on stage escorted by stormtroopers with Darth Vader’s theme playing in the background. It’s supposed to create the typical jaw-dropping moment, but it was overused to the point where it’s predictable and boring. Gavankar even tried to rouse up the crowd later in an awkward manner, but kudos to her for handling the stress of presenting such an iconic IP well, and all was forgotten as soon as we are presented with some impressive-looking multiplayer gameplay.
At the end of the day, it’s easy for us to comment on how EA should have managed the presentation better, but in my opinion, all that matters at the end is whether they can deliver what they promised in the upcoming releases. It’ll at least make it worthy for those who made an effort in watching the entire conference, like yours truly.