Interviews & Opinion

E3 2018 - EA's conference was a bit of a mess

E3 2018 - EA's conference was a bit of a mess

With a conference that clocked in at well over an hour, you'd assume that Electronic Arts would have a fair bit to show off, but that apparently was not true.

There weren't any big announcements to speak of - there's a new FIFA one the way, as well as new American football and basketball games. But this wasn't a showcase to write home about.

Anthem got the longest time in the spotlight, with a twenty minute presentation that mixed up trailers, an on-stage Q&A and finished on a gameplay segment. The game is set to launch on February 22nd so it's about time we got some eyes-on time with BioWare's ambitious MMO project.

The game itself admittedly looked pretty impressive. The reps on-stage at the show confirmed that the game would be an on-going project for some time now, as well as that there were not going to be any loot boxes. Cosmetic items could be purchased, but that's it with regards to monetisation so far.

This isn't isolated to Anthem, but is true of Battlefield V as well. That project opened up EA's showcase, with the publishing giant showing off the multiplayer component of that game. And, to the surprise of no-one, battle royale is coming to Battlefield V. Dubbed simply 'royale', the mode is described as a wholly new experience but PUBG Corp is likely deploying the lawyers as we speak.

We also got a sneak peek - and we really do mean a peek - at what Respawn is working on in the Star Wars universe. The Titanfall maker's project is called Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and will be launching at the end of 2019. That's likely around the same time that the next film in the franchise will be rolling out. The project will also be set between the prequel and original trilogies.

The publishing giant also decided to bring back Command and Conquer as... a mobile game with an esports angle. The company brought two RPG pros onto the stage along with a duo of shoutcasters in what was a pretty awkward and long segment where the duo fought for dominance.

But perhaps the best segment of the show was the EA Originals section. This is EA's indie games label that kicked off life back in 2015 - since then we've seen a number of interesting projects from the scheme, including Unravel and A Way Out. Now there are two more titles coming out from this imprint - a sequel to Unreal, dubbed Unravel Two (which is out now) as well as Sea of Solitude from Berlin-based game maker Jo-Mei.

These were by far the most personable sections of the showcase, with two very passionate game makers sharing their love of the medium with the world. Honestly, this would not have happened a few years ago and is a nice indication of where video games as a medium have evolved in a short space of time.

But that evolution has come with some growing pains. EA's showcase felt like a disjointed mess. We were awkwardly transitioned from discussing big hitters like Battlefield V and FIFA 19 to talking about some artsy and personal indie games, only to then be thrust into a segment about Madden esports with two pros exchanging banter and smack talk on stage before a mobile game was demoed complete with shoutcasters before ending on an on-stage interview about Anthem.

Our medium is now so all-encompassing that it can't be represented in a single 80-minute long conference any more. Not that that's a bad thing - evolution and innovation is a good thing for the sector - but it does not make for a coherent viewing experience.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.