EA and Bethesda took the stage Sunday to kickstart E3 2016.
They also left me scratching my head as they left the stage.
I’ll touch on EA in a bit, but first I want to talk about Bethesda’s press conference. It was dominated by a woman screaming “WOOOOOO” during the Elder Scrolls Online segment, one of its biggest applauses was for an HD remake of a five year old game, and contained two new game announcements, of which we already knew from leaks. Considering how Bethesda has used E3 week to reveal and highlight their newest games, it was weird to see them move laterally for once. Granted, this could be due to the fact that we already knew just about everything the company was up to. Still, if this was the case, it seems odd that the one playable demonstration they had was beyond staged.
Bethesda didn’t have a bad press conference, but it wasn’t good either; it merely existed. I wasn’t blown away. I didn’t have my attention grabbed, though to be fair it was competing against both Game of Thrones and Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Still, it’s disappointing since we know Bethesda is capable of such amazing things. Maybe next year they’ll tear the roof down once again. They’ve shown that they’re a company that are only comfortable showing off games they’re releasing in the very near future. Remember, Fallout 4 was officially announced at E3 last year before its Holiday release. It’s a great philosophy for a company to have, it just sometimes makes for a lackluster press conference.
Still, Bethesda’s show was far more impressive than EA’s, which seemed to focus solely on their sports franchises and Battlefield. As a disclaimer, I like these franchises, but I was eager for Star Wars and Mass Effect news. All I got on those fronts were “it’s coming, we’ll talk more about that in the future.” With Mass Effect, that’s a line that’s getting a little too familiar.
Electronic Arts completely dropped the ball, though it wasn’t as embarrassing as Sony 2006 or Microsoft 2013. It was just weird to see the company move away from the “traditional” E3 setting to only have a press conference that was completely devoid of any personality. They weren’t talking to the people who were tuning in on Twitch on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. They were talking to the type of people that are going to buy FIFA and Madden regardless of any new innovations that are put into the game. They were talking to the people who were already excited about Battlefield 1. Sure, they spent some time talking indie support with Fe, but it felt more like a token announcement and a stop-gap between their sports franchises and Battlefield. Maybe, like Bethesda, they just don’t have anything big coming out this year. Maybe their big reveals were scooped up by Microsoft and Sony (supposedly Microsoft is doing a Battlefield live demo). Still, it was weird to not see much gameplay during an event called EA Play. Maybe this has always how their pressers have been and we just didn’t pay attention because they were sandwiched between Microsoft and Ubisoft. Regardless the reasoning, their presentation wasn’t strong.
Day 0 of E3 came and went with a bit of a whimper. Hopefully today ramps up more excitement as Microsoft, Sony, and Ubisoft prepare to tell the world what they’ve been up to.