Published on June 10th, 2013 | by Fraser Brown3
E3 2013: EA’s a tease
My low expectations for the EA conference kept me in good stead today, as reveal after reveal left me unfazed and smug. For a company so happy to churn out the same old crap every single year, the whole concept of the “next generation” seemed laughable, and for the most part EA was more than happy to tell us all about the sports playing and gun shooting you’ll be doing on your PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Yet, the womb of the Elder Gods also saw fit to let slip a few surprises; possibly even good surprises — no, not the tentacles of Ammutseba, Devourer of Stars. Temper your excitement, however, because all but one of these surprises were nothing but horrible little teases. For shame, EA. For Shame.
EA’s conference started off in a way that few could have imagined: with PopCap. The Plants vs. Zombies developer has a sort-of-sequel in the works, and — remember, EA is publishing — it’s a shooter known as Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.
Once you’ve stopped having a seizure and have readjusted your eyes, you can calm down. It’s not some gritty reimagining of the IP, rather it appears to be a rather fun, tongue-in-cheek third person shooter. It’s got class-based shooting, corn barrages, man-eating fauna and the funkiest of undead disco bosses.
Frankly, I could do with more shooters where the guns and ammo were vegetation and crops. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was announced just for Xbox One and Xbox 360, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t move to other platforms. Oh yeah, and they announced Peggle 2 and a man jumped in the air.
If all that gardening wasn’t already too much to handle, EA splurged out a trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition. No gameplay, a big dragon, and Morrigan returns. Well, the trailer states that it is, in fact, real gameplay footage, but it really means that it’s in-game — there’s no gameplay. Tricky bastards.
Regardless, I still find myself a mite breathless. Whether that’s from my general love of BioWare’s fantasy world, or just because I have a ridiculously huge crush on Claudia Black, I do not know. While Morrigan was absent from Dragon Age 2, there was a good chance she would be returning. The end of that slightly disappointing second outing made it pretty clear that the next game would see the previous titles collide, and it would have been madness to leave out a fan-favourite like the infamous Witch of the Wilds.
Battlefield is a series people seem to like (even if it hasn’t been very good for a long time), and EA had some men shooting men and buildings falling down to show off in Battlefield 4. In all honestly, I was actually fairly impressed with the level of destruction, even while I was struggling to stay awake amid the American military jargon, jingoism and gunfire.
There’s no denying the impressive level of the tech that creates all of this mayhem, and even I could appreciate the addition of the commander feature which adds a level of strategy to all the shooting people in the face. It makes a welcome return since its absence in the third outing.
Also rather nifty is the horribly named “Levolution” feature, which allows players to interact with their environment in more meaningful and dynamic ways, from levelling a structure to cutting power to a building. All in all, the latest addition to the Battlefield series is looking considerably more thoughtful and intriguing than its predecessor.
And then there were the two surprises, both short — too short.
The first was a disgustingly abrupt teaser for STAR WARS FUCKING BATTLEFRONT. Or just Star Wars Battlefront if you’re more restrained. Rarely does a week go by when I don’t think about one of my favourite Star Wars video game franchises, and how tragically it was dispatched after that incredible tech demo.
For all my bluster and wishes that E3 actually reveal something truly “next generation”, this is probably all I really wanted: to live in a world where Star Wars Battlefront is still a thing. It’s being developed by DICE and it will definitely contain 1 x Hoth, 1 x AT-AT and 1x Snow Speeder. This is known.
The second surprise failed to get my juices flowing in the same way, despite showing considerably more. I’m going to say it here, in front of the internet: I don’t get the love people have for Mirror’s Edge. Boring setting, boring characters, shoe-horned combat and nauseating French acrobatics. It could have been considerably worse, sure, and it was certainly more inventive than most of the tripe I see being released by EA — and maybe that’s worthy enough of praise.
Anyway, Mirror’s Edge 2 is a thing. And in typical EA fashion, the trailer showed off punching and none of the parkour people seemed to flipping love. Oh yeah, and it’s a reboot. Still, DICE remains the developer, so at least the chances of it getting turned into some combat-heavy abomination to placate the clueless publisher is not a given.
And that’s your lot. Well, not quite. There was also football, NFL, basketball, a horrible bald man — who likes to fight — talking rubbish and more bloody cars. Now that’s your lot.
So, probably the weakest of today’s conferences, but undoubtedly the Mirror’s Edge 2 and Star Wars Battlefront reveals will have left many of you salivating and chomping at the bit.