While we’re all still digesting what went down at the Microsoft press conference (at least I assume something went down and I don’t have to completely overhaul this preview), we quickly move on to Electronic Arts conference. As you would expect from EA, they’ll have a lot of sequels and franchises on display. Still, they could have a surprise or two up their sleeve.
It’s been about seven months since we last seen Battlefield Hardline. Back in June, EA tried to capitalize on the post-E3 hype of the BFH reveal by almost immediately launching an early beta of two game modes and one map for the upcoming game. At that point in time, the game was due for an October 2014 release.
In the time following that beta, EA, DICE and Visceral announced that the game would be pushed back five months to March 2015. As February began, EA took Hardline back to beta one more time in order to get a last big batch of feedback before it is launched in March. It looks like some lessons from the first beta were learned by Visceral has many more to take into account over the next month.
About six months ago, Electronic Arts was caught in a controversy over homosexual characters in The Sims 4 which saw the game get an adults only rating in Russia.
This week, EA is having another fight with regulators over the content of its games. One day ahead of the launch of Dragon Age: Inquisition, EA was forced to cancel the release of the DA:I in India because the game would have violated Indian laws because of the inclusion of a prominent homosexual character.
I know that it’s been a few weeks since the Battlefield Hardline beta has wrapped up but I think I’ve documented (either here or on The Lowdown) how busy I was during the month of June. Now that I’ve finally got a little bit of free time, I’m going to start pumping out reviews and other long-form pieces with a bit more frequency.
So let’s start with the beta for Battlefield Hardline. It was launched with great fanfare at the end of EA’s E3 keynote and was so popular that the Battlefield website crashed as people tried to get into the Beta. With all that hype, it would be hard for BF Hardline to live up to it. And, wouldn’t you know it, Hardline didn’t live up to the hype.
In between Monday’s press conferences for Microsoft and Sony, the usual publishers got their work in. Electronic Arts, twice named the Worst Company in America, was the first to show off their new wares at E3. Actually, no, they didn’t show off much new. In fact, apart from some new trailers, I don’t think the word new should be used anywhere near this media briefing.
Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licencing Company have settled a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit over the use of the likenesses of NCAA Division I (and FBS) football and basketball players in EA Sports video games without compensation.
After agreeing to a settlement in principle back in September 2013, the three parties agreed to a settlement worth $40 million for the estimated up to 200,000 players who appeared in the EA Sports NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball / March Madness games since 2003.
When I was at Fan Expo last August, someone in line for the State of Gaming panel asked the group of us waiting where we thought the industry was headed. Increasing the quantity and quality of free-to-play games was a popular answer. More mobile games for core gamers was another answer. Motion controlled games on Kinect, Wii U and PS Eye finally becoming proper gaming was a less popular suggestion but it was made.
After some pondering, I realized that those answers weren’t wrong but I had a better one. While all those ideas might be right, I think Titanfall might be a harbinger for where the industry is headed. It has nothing to do with mechs or pretty graphics or third-party triple-A games going exclusive. It has everything to do with dropping the single-player campaign and launching a game with only multiplayer.