E3 2017 Day 1: Electronic Arts

By Shamus Posted Saturday Jun 10, 2017

Filed under: Industry Events 67 comments

Like I said yesterday, I’ll be watching the E3 stream and writing about it. I’m not sure which particular stream I’ll be watching, though. A half dozen different outfits are running their own stream, and I’m not sure which one will be the least annoying. I’ll figure it out once the show starts. For now I’ll be keeping an eye on the YouTube stream in one window and and playing Starbound in the other. (The Spacefarer Update just came out.)

Link (YouTube)

I don’t expect to have a lot to say about this particular presentation. EA seems to have killed off or mutated all of the games I might care about. But we’ll see if they have any surprises.

Ugh. I’m glad I’m not at the show. This pre-show room is bathed in redlight, and has been for almost half an hour. I’d be feeling ill by now if I was there in person.

Madden: Long Shot looks like they’re trying to do for Madden what Tony Hawk Underground did for skateboarding. Which is adding on a cutscene-driven story mode to a previously mechanics-focused game. Is that a wise move? I don’t know. They’re really selling the “story” angle this year.

Battlefield 1: Nothing to say about this game. I have no interest in playing it, although highlight clips are fun to watch.

FIFA: And there it is, another story mode added to en EA sports game. This seems to be the new strategy.

I don’t know enough about sports games to say much about this. My only point of reference for this is my brother Patrick, who follows all non-FIFA sports and plays the related games. About six years ago he was really unhappy with what EA was doing with the games. He hated the “innovations” they were adding to the games, while at the same time the developers seemed to neglecting long-standing problems with AI, balance, and team management.

Any EA Sports fans want to weigh in on this?

Need for Speed: Payback: A story mode in a driving game. This seems to be how EA thinks.

Let’s add multiplayer to ALL OUR GAMES. (Mixed success.)

Let’s add DLC to ALL OUR GAMES. (Mixed success.)

Let’s add a story to ALL OUR GAMES. (I predict mixed success.)

I’m not against stories, multiplayer, or DLC. But I am against this homogenized, single-minded approach that ignores the differences between games.

A Way Out: A co-op prison escape game from the guy who developed Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. I actually hated Brothers. It wasn’t a bad game. The developer made exactly the game he wanted to make. I just hated the ending and the whole thing felt like a Shoot The Shaggy Dog story.

A Way Out is a game designed for 2 player co-op. There is NO single-player mode, because the two characters must work together to escape jail. This is a really interesting idea.

Yes, this is another game where they’re really talking up the story. Although it makes sense this time.

Anthem: The new game from “BioWare”. (Whatever that means these days.) This teaser is too light on details to tell us much.

NBA Live: Huh. No cutscenes. I was really expecting them to continue with the individual story thing they’ve been doing.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2: This is the big finale. And right away they’re talking about the offline single-player story. “An authentic, un-told story”. That’s cool.

This game is amazing at recreating the look and feel of the various Star Wars environments.

Whelp, that’s the show. It wasn’t quite as stiff and awkward as years past, which I really appreciate. I’ll be back tomorrow for Microsoft and Bethesda.


From The Archives:

67 thoughts on “E3 2017 Day 1: Electronic Arts

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Hopefully,we will get the most important answer:Is International SportsBall 2018 going to fix the wonky team management AI that ruined ISB 2017?

    1. Agammamon says:

      The good news is that the answer is yes.

      The bad news is that there are *different* gamebreaking bugs in the release version.

    2. Mousazz says:

      I, on the other hand, am more interested in whether Shoot Guy 3 is going to properly support 60fps at launch.

      1. Decius says:

        Shoot Guy 3 isn’t even going to support five monitors at launch, I don’t know why such a casual game for casual fake geek gamers is even being mentioned. (Xbox|PS4|PC)>>(X-bone|pee station|pee sea).

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          pee station

          I prefer “the pisser” myself.Then you wont confuse it with pee sea.

          1. Agammamon says:

            How about ‘pissouir’? Sounds more like PS4.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Uuu,that one is even better!You should send your resume to Yahtzee,maybe he will hire you to ghostwrite for him.

      2. Scampi says:

        Well, whether it does or not, I’m totally hyped for Shoot Guy 3, as Shamus has clearly worked on the franchise for a long time now and the time for its breakthrough has come.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          That a (somewhat) good point.Shamus did indeed make a text first person shooter.I wouldnt mind seeing a sequel to that one.

    3. Garrett Carroll says:

      Should’ve just gotten MLB The Show.

  2. Duoae says:

    My liveblog response: I didn’t know American Football players did drums too?

    They did this story thing with the Fifa game last year too…. Apparently it was very popular!

    Somehow, Battlefront 1/2 don’t interest me at all. I remember having a lot of fun in the old equivalent (was that called battlefront as well?) but modern me requires a bit more depth than running between capture points mindlessly. (The new games are probably much more immersive than that! )

    “As best as it can be!” – quote of E3 2017!

    1. Duoae says:

      Guy with two mics – you’re killing the sound guys!

      Guys laughing at the ‘playing for your own teams thing’ I’m surprised – I mean, it’ll be a ‘sponsored by’ thing… not the esports players playing for the sports team…

      I have to say that the esports angle is an interesting one for EA. They have the back-end infrastructure for it and, with the rise in popularity in watching competitions and the whole ‘make an unknown player famous’ thing I think they have a strong play on the genre going forward – maybe even stronger than the ‘team’ games such as DOTA and LoL…. They also have access to the real-world sports teams (they provide data and graphics for the Premier League in the UK, for example)

      Ronaldo can DIAF :)

      This youtube guy is breaking my heart. I am terrible at public speaking and when I see people floundering I really feel for them!

      1. Duoae says:

        Is it me or is this Need For Speed driving model looking really boring… but the whole Knightrider thing is kinda cool!
        What’s not cool is that the best moments are in cutscenes…

        EA originals is an interesting concept. Oooh. I loved Brothers, a new co-op adventure is really interesting. I played Brothers by myself, I didn’t know you could play it with a second controller! The art style is a nice riff on the TellTale Walking Dead style too!
        If I hadn’t played Brothers, I would be very skeptical of Fares because I know guys who speak like him and they are big b*llsh*tters. :D

        “A new media: One that disrupts, empowers and enslaves….. Er, I mean, entraps.. Oh, er..”

        Oh wow… I thought Anthem was Destiny 2… it’s like they just copies the themes and decrepit technology style there… Maybe it was too quick a look?

        1. Duoae says:

          Have to wonder if they got the 501st to cosplay for the stormtroopers or if they’re in-house…

          Three-times the content? What does that even mean? Bigger maps? More maps? More types of gameplay? It’s a nebulous term.

          Actually, YES, Starwars IS a giant checklist!! Especially in its Battlefront form… :D

          1. Duoae says:

            I have to say I really like this actual “real match footage played by real players and commentated on by real commentators”.

            I think the whole esports/ streaming thing is a revolution for events like E3.

    2. Scampi says:

      They did this story thing with the Fifa game last year too…. Apparently it was very popular!

      Yes, they did, and I’m still waiting for my favorite LPer to finish his playthrough. He’s been quite irregularly playing it.
      I know that I wouldn’t buy a sports game for a story mode, have to admit though that it looks quite nicely made.

    3. Wide And Nerdy® says:

      My only reference is my two brothers who follow various sports and who have enjoyed playing the Madden American Football games in the past. I can’t imagine either of them would ever play story mode. Management/multseason mode? Sure, they liked that. They play fantasy football too (American) so having a season mode in.

      And if this mode seemingly comes at the cost of other features they wouldn’t be happy (if they were still playing. They’re too busy these days to bother with it).

  3. LadyTL says:

    Doing basically the same “story” for two different sports games seems super lazy.

    1. Duoae says:

      You think there’s a big cross-over between the player bases? There’s plenty of incidences of similar plotlines in daytime TV and other ‘drama’ shows. Especially when it comes to love interests. I mean, TV tropes has something on this! :)

      1. LadyTL says:

        Maybe? But in the same year and almost right next to each other just makes it seem lazy.

        1. Duoae says:

          This is the second year for FIFA. First for Madden.

          [edit] So, maybe I should expand on this point:

          I mean that FIFA did the origin story last year. This year is about the progress of the player.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Lazy?An ea sports game?Inconceivable!

  4. Phrozenflame500 says:

    Christ almighty I’ve never cared so little about an E3 conference in a while

  5. Piflik says:

    Anthem is probably the game Bioware was developing while Bioware Montreal was fucking up Andromeda…the ‘Bob Dylan of videogames’…

    1. Greg says:

      Yeah, this is what the other, non Dragon Age team at the original Edmonton studio has been working on since ME3.

  6. Christopher says:

    I liked A Way Out the most! I was pretty into Brothers, too, but this seems mostly unrelated. The director who got up on stage(Fares I think) is primarily a film director known for comedies, and this seems more in that camp.

    As far as I recall from interviews at the time, Fares and his family immigrated to Sweden from Lebanon during the civil war, and at some point he had to bury his own baby brother. Combined with The Brothers Lionheart, a Swedish children’s fantasy book in which two brothers die and go to a medieval fantasy kingdom after death to have adventures, I wasn’t exactly expecting Brothers to be a very light game, but I found that the color pallette and moments of lightness(like riding around on goats or rescuing the troll) helped. That, and it ended on a positive note.

    I don’t care about Star Wars very much, but I have fond memories of playing through one of the old Battlefront games with my brother. It was one of those Lord of the Rings Two Towers-style co-op games that wasn’t exactly the world’s best game, but more than good enough to be a wonderful time in co-op.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Need for Speed: Payback: A story mode in a driving game.

    Toby fair:

    They have been doing stories in a need for speed games for a long time now.With varied success.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Anthem: The new game from “BioWare”. (Whatever that means these days.) This teaser is too light on details to tell us much.

    Prediction:It will involve some forgettable story about saving the world,and youll be granted magical powers to turn straight people gay and gay people straight.

    1. Munkki says:

      Nah, they tried to implement that feature but the way they designed it caused maths errors when you used it on bi people.
      After that they toyed with a system where any time you met a new NPC a splash screen would flash up with all the relevant details on availability and preferences for romance, but play testers allegedly found it ‘mostly distracting’ and ‘unsettling when it pops up during dramatic scenes, combat’.

      Instead, they settled on a system where you can see a character’s ‘romance stats’ when you bring up the relevant tab on their character sheet – core fans lauded it as ‘excellent’ and ‘a return to the bioware of old we all knew and loved’, before getting entrenched in a forum flamewar over whether the elven racial bonus ‘charming countenance’ makes elves objectively more attractive than other races.

      1. Thomas says:

        You’re both being optimistic in your sarcasm. The Videogame Executive description of this game makes it sound like it’s a Destiny clone.

        “The game is built around a live service, and through our creative process, we’ve decided to add more to the disruptive new social designs for our players. To accommodate that, we are moving the launch date for this project into fiscal year ’19.”

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          They can still inject “romance” into a destiny clone.This is bioware after all.

          1. Syal says:

            Your Destiny… is love.

          2. Shoeboxjeddy says:

            I want to romance Gjallarhorn. It took me almost the entire first year of the game to finally get one, a love story as epic as the one from Twilight or Outlander, no doubt.

      2. Agammamon says:

        This is the new Bioware, brought to you by The Game Changers (all rights reserved EA 2017)!

        All NPC’s are romancable – yes, even the one’s you’re shooting at right now! And there 1,500 genders and only one sexual orientation – Playersexual.

        Oh, character generation has been streamlined – there’s only one stat, called Badassitude, and it starts out maxed.

        1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

          Knowing that the person you’re shooting to death could love you, if only you’d let them in is actually an incredibly twisted idea. Good job with that.

        2. Cubic says:

          I usually cast a jaundiced eye on that sort of thing, but Saints Row IV somehow got the bang with a hovering metal robot globe (same sex) right. I blame the sexy background music. I just got pulled into the moment.

  9. DavidJCobb says:

    In the remarks on A Way Out, you claim to have “haded” a game. I see other folks note typos for you but I wanna double-check that I ain’t being a jerk here: this all good?

    The red light actually interests me. Blue light (even the weak tint from LED screens) can alter sleep patterns and delay sleep; red light seems a bit safer for lighting dark places. (I think you actually linked to an app that makes use of this not too long ago, actually.) EA probably just used red because dark spaces lit up in red are really badass, though. All the hip kids think so, right? :P

    1. Syal says:

      Good old EA, making it easier for the audience to sleep through their presentation.

    2. Ninety-Three says:

      Answering since Shamus seems to have fixed the typo without answering your question:
      He’s totally cool with typo corrections. Last time he commented on it, he said something to the effect of “Better you correct me than the typo stands for more people to see, that would be embarassing”.

      Red light is also a good way to illuminate a dark space without ruining people’s night vision, maybe they picked red because they wanted an easier transition from dark to partially illuminated?

      1. Mousazz says:

        I find Shamus’ comment weird, though. Instead of typos remaining in the blog post, now various comments calling out those typos remain instead. The problem doesn’t dissapear, it just shifts location (and with more attention called out to it, as well). This only benefits those who read the blogs yet ignore the comments.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Yeah,but who reads the comments anyway?

        2. Syal says:

          The problem doesn't disappear, it just shifts location

          First impressions are the most impressions. An error in the article affects the strength of the article directly; something like ‘highly clips’ instead of ‘highlight clips’ can make someone stop reading in confusion, and when they come back they might trust the author less. A fixed error preserved in the comments just gives the impression that “I guess that used to be less polished”. Those location shifts do work.

          Plus pointing out errors in the comments lets people see how intelligent and cool the audience is! Everybody wins!

  10. djw says:

    When I want story mode sports I’ll just play Final Fantasy X again.

    I wonder if EA will add unskippable cutscenes. Everybody loves those.

  11. Dreadjaws says:

    EA has been doing story modes for Need for Speed games for years. The first one, I believe, was Underground back in 2003, surely inspired by The Fast and The Furious. The stories have always been cheesy and that’s pretty much part of the charm.

    In fact, considering the popularity of adding story modes to game genres that didn’t use to have it (Puzzle Quest, Need for Speed, Mortal Kombat) I’m surprised it took them until last year to start adding them to sports games.

    In any case, I actually see myself playing a soccer game if they were to make a proper story mode based on Captain Tsubasa, an anime I loved despite the fact that I hate soccer with a passion.

  12. StrongStyleFiction says:

    You know, you should really check out the Road to the Show mode in MLB The Show ’17 on PS4. Its a better RPG than Fallout 4 as you have stats that you raise and your choices actually matter and have an effect on your career.

    1. Syal says:

      “Major League Baseball: now with crafting!”

      1. djw says:

        Corked bats are craftable, but if you get caught they will ban you.

        Of course, if you go the alchemy route, you can juice instead.

    2. Jokerman says:

      I have been sweating away in the lowest level (i don’t know terms here, never actually watched a baseball game irl) for 2 seasons now… does it get better then? I quit playing a few months back.

  13. Ninety-Three says:

    Typo patrol:

    although highly clips are fun to watch.

    “Although highlight clips”? “Although clips are highly fun”? At least one of these words looks wrong.

  14. Thomas says:

    Generally FIFA fans are happy with the quality of the game. Last year Pro Evolution Soccer made a case for best playing game, but that was because of improvements to Pro Evolution than failings of FIFA.

    FIFAs modes of play are unbeatable.

    There was a long period of time in the 2000’s where FIFA wasn’t good enough, but EA upped their game

  15. Jokerman says:

    “He hated the “innovations” they were adding to the games, while at the same time the developers seemed to neglecting long-standing problems with AI, balance, and team management”

    Being the opposite of Patrick, As someone who occasionally plays Fifa and none of the rest(bar breath flirtations), its weird (but not THAT surprising) that it has basically the same problems as the other games… every year Fifa offer a new ‘thing’ first touch control, new set plays, adding the stadiums… while the AI is barely touched and the bugs that were there half a decade ago are still here now (even after an engine switch)

    The games are still good, but personally i feel they have been slipping since ’13, and there main competitor (Pro Evolution Soccer) has overtaken them in the gameplay department (retook the lead they had in the ps2 era)

    But the story mode they added last year…. was actually quite good, not great, it had it’s flaws, was cliched as hell, but it was an interesting first attempt and i am glad they are continuing it, i feel it was the best thing about the last game.

  16. Mokap says:

    Watching this live was a painful experience. I don’t know how they managed to talk about Madden’s story mode for half an hour, and when they then switched to talk about Fifa’s story mode for another half hour, I just had to switch off.

  17. Ninety-Three says:

    Things I learned from the Anthem teaser:
    It has a Pacific Rim wall.
    It has is at least one monster.
    Bioware has exactly one scifi aesthetic.

    If you told me that armour had already showed up in Mass Effect, I wouldn’t blink. I wouldn’t mind so much if their aesthetic were more interesting, but it’s pretty bland.

    1. beepbeep says:

      Wait, what? I didn’t get a Mass Effect vibe from this trailer at all. What is pointing you towards Bioware having “exactly one sci-fi aesthetic”?

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Just that the armour looks like it was stolen from the Mass Effect universe. Now it might not be fair to judge the trailer based solely on a piece of armour, but if Bioware didn’t want me to do that, they shouldn’t have released such an insubstantial trailer.

  18. LCF says:

    Battlefield 1 bad, France as DLC shame shame shame, gib Alsace-Lorraine, gib revenge for 1870, muh Voie Sacrée, muh 1.4 millions dead soldiers, no disrespect!

    Sorry for the rant. Feeling better now.

    Now, time to highjack that thread right to FactorioLand.
    I just realised that one more thing bugging me with nuclear power in Factorio was the way nuke fuel behave.
    In the Real World, it burns slow, can be controlled by moderator rods and even stopped (I think it can be completely stopped, please correct me if it’s not the case).
    In Factorio, it burns fast, all the time. To mitigate this, you need to set up an Inserter control device with Logic buildings, set up steam reserves and/or be available to manually refuel the reactors.
    This is both annoying and contrived. One upside of nuclear power is control over fuel, which does not natively exists in the game. I’d understand them not making a realistic process, not modelling rad damages, not taking all nuclear risks into account, not introducing Uranium, Plutonium and Caesium all right now, but such wastes…
    Also, think of all the potential for remote, low-intensity, caesium-powered stations. We can’t have that with the current fast-burning one-canister model.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      (I think it can be completely stopped, please correct me if it's not the case)

      Yes,the fission reactor can be completely halted in regular circumstances.And the reason why the “burn” needs to be kept slow and controlled is that without it you quickly get a core meltdown.

      As for factorio,its still a game where you have perpetually moving conveyor belts.Abstracted nuclear power is far from its worst break from reality.

      1. LCF says:


        I agree, abstraction is good. In this case, though, it’s too far and in the wrong direction for it not to annoy me.
        Also, whoever uses acid at the mining stage, and not at refining? If anything, the centrifuge should need it, not the mining drills.

  19. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Creator cave?Is that ea admitting that they treat their devs as subhuman slaves?

  20. Stu Hacking says:

    Need for Speed: Payback: A story mode in a driving game. This seems to be how EA thinks.

    Confession: I thought Need for Speed: Undercover was a pretty neat attempt at doing open world driving with a bit of basic story framework. It did a better job of being a ‘Fast and Furious’ style game than any of the F&F games, in my opinion.

  21. General Karthos says:

    Maybe EA focusing on story will encourage competitors who are actually capable of TELLING A STORY to focus on story too, instead of pumping out another 10 shooters?

  22. Shoeboxjeddy says:

    A co-op prison escape game from the guy who developed Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. I actually hated Brothers. It wasn't a bad game. The developer made exactly the game he wanted to make. I just hated the ending and the whole thing felt like a Shoot The Shaggy Dog story.

    Color me shocked on this analysis. The ending is by far one of the strongest parts of the game. The way the developer creates an emotional reaction through a control scheme of all things is unique in gaming as far as I’m concerned.

    The point of the trope you invoked is that the long story was meaningless. The story of Brothers is not meaningless at all. When they were children, the younger brother fell into the water and hadn’t learned to swim yet. In his panic, he accidentally contributed to his mother drowning, leading to a complete traumatized inability to learn to swim ever. When the two Brothers go on quest to cure their father, the older Brother always has to look out for the younger one, most specifically when they’re swimming. Towards the end, the younger brother starts to take the lead, he’s grown from the experience. When the older brother is killed,
    the younger brother is on his own, but the memory of his big brother pushes him through that mental trauma wall and lets him swim. As a big brother myself, I think that’s a very solid ending thematically. Ultimately if your younger brother surpasses you because of what you taught him, you did a great job as a brother. And the trip wasn’t pointless because they succeed in saving their father and the Younger Brother has now basically grown into manhood.

    1. Shamus says:

      You liked the story as a brother. Fine. As a father, I found it bleak and miserable. The father – an old man – recovers from his illness to discover one of his sons died saving him. For me that’s literally a fate worse than death. I would MUCH rather die than find that one of my sons died young so I could live a couple more years.

      Great, the younger brother overcame his fears. Good for him. But now big brother is dead and father is going to live out the rest of his years in anguish knowing his life came at the cost of one of his children. They all would have been better off if the two boys had simply sat by dad’s bedside and watched him die.

      1. I felt exactly the same way, Shamus, and that was before I became a father.

      2. Shoeboxjeddy says:

        I agree that in the father’s position it’s upsetting, but don’t agree that therefore it is a bad story. Things can be tragic without being pointless. In a world as dangerous as the one shown in Brothers, older Brother probably had an average lifespan… considering.

        1. Shamus says:

          Right. Which is why I said in the post:

          It wasn't a bad game. The developer made exactly the game he wanted to make. I just hated the ending and the whole thing felt like a Shoot The Shaggy Dog story.”

          I’m not sure why you’re trying to argue with me. You’re not going to convince me I didn’t hate the ending.

          1. Shoeboxjeddy says:

            You’re right, I misremembered part of what you had said about it. I mainly started to disagree based on the specific trope you said it felt like. It wasn’t long and meandering like a shaggy dog story (a very brief game) and the ending wasn’t pointless (implied by the “shoot the shaggy dog” variant of the trope). You have no obligation to like it, of course.

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