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EA at E3 2012: Dependable, Predictable, Uninspired

If it’s E3 that means there’s going to be some EA all up in that E3, there’s simply a lot of ‘E’s being tossed around. Electronic Arts and E3 are dependable for a few things – debuting sports games and first-person shooters. Well, let’s see what EA showcased this year at E3 2012: Dead Space 3, Madden 2013, SimCity, Battlefield 3 Premium, Star Wars: The Old Republic, FIFA, UFC, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, and finally Crysis 3. So, shooters are a check, check, check and sports titles are a check, check, check and another check if you consider racing a sport, which I do, I’m just not sure if it qualifies once the sport-end of it evolves into escaping the police and trying to create the highest bounty for yourself through car mayhem.

EA delivered on all fronts they’re known for. Their show was dependable and predictable. Their show was normal and left me unexcited for anything the company had presented. Dead Space 3 looked to have adopted many Gears of War-esque cover, movement, and shooting mechanics, which left me wondering if Dead Space had genre confusion (not to be confused with gender confusion). Sports games like FIFA and Madden always try to be passed-off as the best game ever created in the long-running series, but only so much can be done with each reiteration pertaining to a game that is developed, published, and released within twelve months every single year.

What little was there for EA to showcase that was out of its comfort zone was barely present. SimCity Social was EA’s answer to the growing popularity of CityVille on Facebook and they even made a reference to the word “SIMS” crushing the word “ville”. Also, BioWare was basically not present, the RPG developer that’s employed under EA almost seemed like they were simply a plug to remind everyone that EA made an MMO. There was no mention of anything Mass Effect or Dragon Age related, simply a plug for how successful of a launch Star Wars: The Old Republic was and how you can play it for free starting in July up to level 15. Besides the BioWare segment that felt eerily like a plug, the Battlefield 3 Premium was simply an advertisement for the FPS.

Shooters are a dime-a-dozen and I found myself difficultly trying to be excited for Crysis 3 or Medal of Honor: Warfighters. After Crysis 2 left too many of the first installment’s features behind I just can’t trust that franchise until I can get my paws on it to try it firsthand. The Medal of Honor: Warfighters debut was interesting, but I am admittedly a bit bias toward a typical-looking FPS, they’re simply not my cup o’ tea. I cannot deny that the action shown looked pretty great, but Michael Bay movies have good action. Take that how you want it.

I understand that the point of E3, and other conventions of the like, is to essentially plug and advertise a company’s work, but EA’s was almost shameful. Most companies seem proud of what they’re doing or are trying to revolutionize the industry with new, atypical, and fresh ideas. I couldn’t find those atypical inspirations anywhere in EA’s show, they were typical and predictable. Microsoft’s show was video game-lite, but technology-heavy with the extremely intriguing debut of “Smart Glass” and Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs left me truly excited for the future of the gaming industry. Electronic Arts’ show left me completely uninspired, much like the overall feeling of their conference.

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