E3 Day One Thoughts: EA and Bethesda

It's technically not "Day One" yet, but when EA and Bethesda both have their E3 conferences, you should probably take count it as such.

Rating: D+  

I've only named 8 titles and they usually like to bring 10+.  They could go the easy route and reveal more about the Absolutely Not Ready Star Wars games, or there might be some surprise titles they've kept under wraps.  There's even a chance that EA has some more EA Partner-type deals where we see a game from a studio they don't own, but are publishing for.  Either way, I'll be absolutely shocked if EA pulls off another Worst Performance Ever. - Me, in my EA Pre-Show Thoughts.

Color me shocked.  But I think I've got it figured out: The other companies have struck a deal with EA.  Each year, they create the absolute floor for how poorly a show can go, which leaves everyone else stress free.  After all, you can't do worse than these guys!  Otherwise, there's honestly no way you explain these trash-ass shows.

Mass Effect: Andromeda, a game from EA that has legitimate hype behind it, wastes half of its trailer showing developers talk about the game instead of placing all its focus on the game itself.  It's crazy--Mass Effect "4" was first mentioned at E3 2014, teased at E3 2015, and yet still we know next to nothing about it officially.   The vast majority of information on it--about taking place in another galaxy where you're in charge of leading a part of the human race to a new home and all the sentient alien people you meet along the way--came from leaks.   Combine that, these piecemeal showings at E3, and the fact that it's missing a proper release date, and you almost wouldn't believe EA has it on its fiscal calendar for the end of the year (no later than March).

Admittedly, I get it.  If they get the scale right, you'll be exploring massive planets and that takes time to make, but...I still feel like they could cut a vertical slice that's better than what we've gotten.

We're in danger of this being "the E3 of expected surprises".  Watch_Dogs 2, Injustice 2, Titanfall 2...everyone's super-excited for most of these games, but they're all slam-dunks.   We're talking about million seller games here--it wasn't a matter of "if" these games got sequels, but when and where.  So while I'm excited to see most of them, we're not at a point where anyone can do backflips out of excitement. 

Still, the campaign for Titanfall 2 sounds pretty neat, and I'm 95% certain Peter Cullen is voicing the Titan in the trailer, which makes this game five times cooler by default.  ....I'm still not terribly interested though, as it's still a first-person game and I can never acclimate to the perspective shift.

After that, EA proceeded to its usual "drown us in twenty minutes of sports", and I was out so I missed all of that.  What I didn't miss though, was the montage of Absolutely Not Ready Star Wars games I hoped wouldn't be there:

2017's Battlefront 2, 2018's Visceral game from Amy Hennig, and 2019's Respawn title.  Yup, not just next year--but the next TWO years ahead of that.  Now, Square-Enix does this all the time and it is annoying...but at least S-E has the common decency to give you a trailer to get hyped about. 

They say this was done as a sort of recruiting drive, so it was less for most of us and more for people working in the game industry as a sort of "Hey, we're hiring for these" kind of deal.  I get that too, but you know who else did that and managed to get people actually excited?  CDProject, when they revealed Cyberpunk 2077.   I'm not sure who EA's got marketing at us but they've definitely got how it works twisted.

Lastly they introduced Battlefield 1 again, and I would show the trailer, except they already did that twice.  No, that's not a typo.  They showed a trailer, cut to Jamie Foxx and Zac Efron (because there's a mandatory number of celebrities that have to be at E3) who were apparently going to lead two 32 player teams against each other, and then cut back to show the exact same trailer to end the show.

What's frustrating about this show is--the games aren't bad.  Every single one of these will sell millions of copies.  Even their sports games are evergreen titles that consistently stick around in the Top 10 of the sales charts for months.  It's just the presentation--EA excels at showing their games off in the most boring way possible.

Rating: C+

I have no idea why for two years in a row I've watched Bethesda's conference.  Their focus on titles with first-person perspective means I'm never, ever interested in anything they do.   Still, they definitely had quite a few games for fans of theirs:

- A new Quake, which had a neat reveal trailer if nothing else.   Fortunately they're sticking to their roots with this game, leaving out all the heavy customization of shooters like Call of Duty and leaving it as a pure arena-based shooter with a focus on "hero" characters with special abilities.

- Fallout 4 is literally drowning in DLC, which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you talk to.

- Dishonored 2 looked gorgeous, even if the playthrough at the conference was kinda miserable. Last I checked, Dishonored was about stealth, not ruthlessly murdering everyone in sight.  The fact that it's this year's November release for them is both ballsy and welcome, though.  It grants a little bit of a change for those gamers who aren't necessarily looking to jump into the multiplayer FPS world that month. 

- Prey is...clearly not ready, which I'm guessing is why we didn't see any gameplay.  If you're a horror fan, it definitely looks interesting though.

- Skyrim remastered is...probably going to make far more money than a recreation of a five year old game should.  It does look significantly less boring than it did on PS360 though, which gives me hope that TES VI will be semi-interesting.   If nothing else, we're getting closer and closer to a point where there's literally no reason to continue owning a PS3 other than a love of outdated hardware.

And that's Day One.  Bethesda's conference was leaked a few days before it happened and EA usually puts all its games out there so no one's ever shocked by them.   Day two starts in less than eight hours.


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