Ah, E3. A magical time of year when the biggest names in gaming coming together to share the latest innovations and brilliant ideas that gamers can look forward to in the coming year and beyond. We come together as one community to share in the joys of teased reveals and surprise announcements alike. We revel in the glow of giant LCD displays giving us the first glimpse of the games we will wait with baited breath to devour upon release. And as we stand mesmerized by the glamorous presentations and beautifully rendered scenes before us, someone has to go and fuck it all up.
Let’s take a look at what we’ve seen at this year’s E3!
Now, for starters there is a lot to cover so this is going to be both somewhat high level and there are going to be multiple episodes of The Revolution this week to dissect what we don’t cover here today.
Secondly, I’m going to tackle things in as close to chronological order of the actual press conferences occurred just to keep things in check with my notes because I only have a limited number of brain cells left and I didn’t get the preorder bonus gray matter.
So let’s start with the first big show of the show: Them bastards what done ruined Star Wars, EA.
First off I’m gonna do something a little out of the ordinary and defend EA on something. Since the initial reveals of Battlefield 5 there has been a vocal minority complaining about the historical inaccuracy of giving women a prominent place in a WWII game centered around the hashtag #NotMyBattlefield. I don’t have the time or mental energy to explain just how fucking stupid that is from an academic standpoint so let’s just stick with saying that if you’re offended by women in a video game you really need to reevaluate your priorities and stop being such a whiny tool. That’s some soft hands bullshit and we don’t cotton to soft hands around here.
So back to EA being EA. Battlefield 5 got no real attention aside from some still shots and prerendered clips that tell us little more than we already knew. It also has a battle royale mode, because of course it does. Though confirmation of no loot boxes or a season pass is a step in the right direction, even if it’s only because they don’t want any more torch and pitchfork wielding mobs after them.
FIFA 19 appeared to be nothing more than a microtransaction platform with a soccer theme. Yes, soccer. I live in the United States so it’s my prerogative to not call it football because we call something else football because MURICA!!
Respawn’s Star Wars game was announced to be set in the period between Episode 3 and Episode 4 in which the player can take the role of a Jedi during a time when the Empire was killing all of them under Order 66. Now, as we haven’t seen much I’m withholding most judgement, but if you know anything about Star Wars then you already know how this has to end unless they’re playing as fast and loose with canon as Disney. That’s coming from someone who really enjoys Respawn’s work. I genuinely love the Titanfall games. I love Star Wars too.
Star Wars Battlefront EA 2 is still shit and the leaks of the new additions seem pretty accurate so moving on!
Command and Conquer is getting a mobile game. That’s because F2P mobile games with a pay to win economy are more socially acceptable and EA likes money. That is all. MOVING ON!
Unravel Two looks like it should be a really great game. The art looks even better than the first and the co-op gameplay looks like a great addition to the already good platforming and puzzles, especially because it’s optional. It’s available now as well so check it out.
Sea of Solitude also looks like a great addition to their release schedule. All the details aren’t out yet but the game looks be a combination of exploration and platforming. However, the presentation from the writer from the German indie studio behind the game, Jo-Mei, was delivered with a level of passion and excitement that makes me hopeful that the game will live up to the fantastic art and intriguingly emotional trailer.
Anthem. Oh Anthem. Oh how I want you to be good. How I want you to fill the Destiny-shaped-action-adventure-shooty-shooty-pow-pow hole in my heart. It looks good. It looks great even. The music sounds great. There’s not going to be loot boxes. Everything has an evocative, capitalized proper name like the “Anthem of Creation” and the “Dominion” and that gets me all tingly in a place usually reserved for British urban-fantasy novels. There are so many things going for it. So we’re good right? Probably not.
Here’s the thing, EA hasn’t learned anything from all the recent backlashes except how far they can push now and what they still need to desensitize people to. Just not having loot boxes isn’t enough. Putting microtransactions in a full price game is still garbage. Being really shitty, then backpedaling into only being regular shitty doesn’t make you not shitty! The fact that you’re helping promote great games from small indie studios only means you’re making good business decisions that benefit you as much as the do the developer. It’s not an act of altruism. I’m glad you’re doing it but you don’t get good boy points for it to offset being an AAAsshole. Not building games around a framework of nickel and diming people to death only means your less terrible than you were last time.
And lastly, let’s talk about EA CEO Andrew Wilson. Primarily, let’s talk about his little speech about how EA is striving to learn from feedback and be better. He wasn’t apologizing for the way his company behaved in the past. Oh no my friends, he was merely framing the continuing behavior as a benefit for EA’s customers. As always it’s about “player choice”. They let us spend money on content they pay wall out of the game so we can “choose” if that’s part of how we want to play the game.
Listen Andy, can I call you Andy? Listen pal, no one believes that shit. We know that all these garbage monetization plans are there to monetize. None of this improves a game. Never, ever in the history of games has anyone ever actively wanted things to cost more real world money. That’s not how actual human beings operate buddy. There is not a game on this planet, past or present, that is improved by having to spend money to get in-game content unless it was designed to be so utterly unenjoyable that spending more money is the only way to make bearable. That’s not choice guy, that’s extortion. That makes you a dick. You’re now Andy Dick. You deserve that.
Okay… So one down and a lot more to go. This is gonna be a long week for both of us. Just hang in there and we’ll get through this together.
Fight the power!!
The Revolution is a weekly series from Bro Seriously highlighting the shenanigans of the game industry and how consumers can fight back. Join us every Tuesday to go once more into the breach and change the world one game at a time. Follow us on twitter @thebroseriously & @bssourpineapple to stay up to date on all things Bro, Seriously.