We’re trying a new format out here at Expansive; our Completely Unnecessary Guides are massive, serialised articles intended as a off-beat and irreverent source of all the information you to need about a subject to pass off as being vaguely knowledgeable. Yesterday we looked at the Microsoft Press Conference and pretended to be all hip by calling the new COD a silly name.
The Electronic Arts Press Conference
When and where?
Monday 9th June, 12pm Pacific (8pm UK time) at the Shrine Auditorium
The State of Play:
Things haven’t been going that well for EA over the past few years. Sure, income is up, but revenues are down and the shareholders are none too happy about it. After long-term CEO John Riccitello quit the company last year citing poor financial performance and the company went into E3 2013 without a permanent head. In fact, EA remained in this rather sorry state of affairs until September when Andrew Wilson was named the new CEO, surprising everyone who had assumed that Peter Moore was a shoe-in for the role.
Which makes this E3 interesting for EA. Whilst it’s too early in the game for him to have actually changed anything significant, as Wilson’s first E3 in the big chair it’s the first opportunity for him to demonstrate the direction towards which he plans to move the company and to consolidate his power by proving to the board and shareholders that the company is safest under his tenure. Last time a new EA CEO did this we got Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space out of the deal, so the cool new cult game of tomorrow may just be in this auditorium, or it could all go horribly wrong and everything could be filled to the neck with microtransactions. Or both, really.
What to Expect
Sequels. Lots of ’em. EA’s current strategy is based upon that of the smaller but more profitable Activision, which long ago dropped any kind of innovation in favour of brand recognition. Still, with promises of six presumably unannounced new games to be shown off, there might just be enough interest and intrigue to make up for the inevitable over-egging of the annualised sports games it actively needs to make simply to stay afloat. Also, expect plenty of games with that blue-grey sheen as EA continues to shoehorn the Frostbyte 2 Engine into every product it makes. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.
There’s already plenty of EA games that we know of, many of which have already been confirmed to be appearing at this year’s expo. The sports games are the most obvious ones, with FIFA, Madden, NHL, Tiger Woods and UFC games making up the perennial favourites. Expect a big fuss to be made of the newest Bioware game, Dragon Age: Inquisition which is already looking a lot better than Dragon Age 2 (but then, most things look better than Dragon Age 2) and is currently a mere 4 months away from release. A formal announcement of the recently leaked Cops ‘n’ robbers Battlefield spinoff ‘Battlefield Hardline’ is doubtlessly due, as is our first actual look at DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront reboot. On the less-likely-to-see front, we’re hoping for at least a glimpse of the fourth Mass Effect (although I’m expecting a teaser at the very most), and if we don’t see the new Mirror’s Edge in all it’s glory, I shall be sorely, sorely disappointed.
The Sims 4 is also confirmed to be making an appearance; get a good look now, because the next time you see it it’ll be covered with increasingly unnecessary expansion packs.
Like Microsoft, EA suffers from middle-aged-white-man reshuffle syndrome, and with the recent reshuffle there are ever-fewer familiar faces likely to be placed in front of a camera:
- Andrew Wilson: This is the first E3 for the Australian in his new post as EA’s CEO. Before being unexpectedly catapulted to the head of the company back in September, he was the Executive Vice President for EA Sports (a cushy job, as it involves convincing people to buy FIFA and Madden) and Executive Vice President of Origin (a much harder job, as it involves convincing PC gamers that there are services other than Steam).
- Peter Moore: The bald Limey chap who serves as the company’s COO is actually one of E3’s most experienced veterans. Peter Moore was in charge of Sega’s US wing during the Dreamcast era, and then hopped over to Microsoft to bolster the early efforts of the original Xbox after brutally murdering the Dreamcast (yes, okay, we know it didn’t happen like that, Peter but it still hurts, okay!). He supposedly still has a tattoo that was used to announce the release date of Halo 2, but as few people in the industry have seen him shirtless in about a decade it’s not really certain. He’s been with EA since 2007, and has been COO since 2011.
Things to Tweet
“Bring back Bullfrog!”, “Hey Peter, show us your tats!”, “Where’s Mirror’s Edge 2?”