EA historically has a rough time putting together conferences that the public would altogether agree are good and unfortunately, in a year when EA really needed to hit it out of the park, this year was no different.
As a fan of Kinda Funny and What’s Good Games, it was nice seeing Andrea Rene on stage hosting the event. I thought she kept the show moving at a nice pace and even during moments when the crowd really wasn’t reacting to anything kept things moving. I’m a really big fan of when conferences bring back familiar faces year in and year out, a great example being Aisha Tyler who hosted the Ubisoft conference for several years and it would be great if Andrea could take that role for EA.
As for the games that fall into the “Good” category, there really isn’t much to talk about. Not because what EA showed looked bad but because they didn’t really show off all that much. That doesn’t mean there weren’t a few gems though.
Sea of Solitude
First off, there was Sea of Solitude, an indie title from studio Jo-Mei Games. “S.O.S”, as it was also referred to on stage by Creative Director Cornelia Geppert several times, is a game about loneliness and how we all have dealt with it in different ways. While the gameplay wasn’t entirely clear, the art style alone was enough to grab everyone watching. Sea of Solitude comes out early 2019 and I know that I will absolutely be keeping my eyes out for more on this one.
Based on everything shown, Anthem is very clearly EA’s response to Destiny. Even while the game was being described by its creative leads, I had to ask my colleagues if I was crazy or not because it felt like they were just describing Destiny. That being said, Destiny is a fun game and a game being made in that style from the Bioware team is pretty exciting. And just because it seems to have a similar structure to Destiny, that doesn’t mean that it’s an exact clone. What got me most excited was how from an aesthetic point of view the game really gave me a Horizon-vibe as players traversed a jungle-like setting inside an Iron Man-esque suit. Obviously, the Iron Man suits are something unique to Anthem and the thought of being in a suit of armor flying around the jungle fighting monsters that range from small to gigantic has very intrigued. Anthem is slated to come out February 22, 2019.
There just isn’t a lot to talk about. While it’s possible that EA maybe holding off on showing more than just Battlefield 5 for the Microsoft conference, for fans that tuned in today, they really didn’t get to see much. I understand that games like Madden and FIFA are going to look mostly the same as they did last year, but still, showing off cinematic trailers for the titles is a letdown. And when EA did show gameplay it was a new Command and Conquer title coming exclusively to mobile. I’m not kidding when I say that this particular mobile game may have gotten as much time on stage as anything else shown today, excluding Anthem, of course. There was even a shoutcaster. Yes, a shoutcaster for a mobile game. Woof!
It started with a tweet from Titanfall developers Respawn who a day before the conference said they had an announcement to make. I couldn’t wait to see what they had to say and show. Everyone watching assumed it would be a new Star Wars title and we were right. Jedi Fallen Order, a Star Wars story that takes place between episodes 3 and 4 and it’s coming out Fall 2019. Wow, a new Star Wars title a year out? I can’t wait to see a trailer… Oh, there was no trailer. How fun.
Moving on, EA did their best to salvage Battlefront 2 and that didn’t go so well. The crowd barely cared about anything shown or discussed. First, it was Ewoks, one of the few things that a large percent of the fans dislike from the original trilogy, then they showcased all of the new content coming to the game that’s inspired by the unfortunate box office bomb Solo, and then to finish it off, fans were given the announcement that characters and settings from Episode 2 Attack of The Clones, the worst of the prequels, was coming to the game.
After the year that EA had, at least in terms of public opinion, this wasn’t the type of conference that I expected to see from the company. That being said, they showed off two games that looked really good and have another in Battlefield 5 that will more than likely follow in those footsteps when we see more it at Microsoft’s conference. As someone who just wants to see developers and publishers do well, I, unfortunately, have to give this conference as a whole a…