Electronic Arts was the first one out the door this year for E3, but you can’t say very many people were truly looking forward to it. To many gamers today EA represents the worst about the industry that feeds their hobby. When someone says the words “EA press conference,” visions come to find of the most generic bro-game titles around, and crass and greedy loot-box schemes on top of that.
But this year, something interesting happened. Take it as an encouraging sign of the times, but EA actually took some time away from Madden #320879358 and Bioware’s Destiny clone to display Sea of Solitude, a deeply personal game about feeling so lonely that you turn into a monster. Literally.
Five years ago, this type of game never would have shown up during EA’s press conference. Heck, two years ago it wouldn’t have happened. Consider what Sea of Solitude represents: a giant conglomerate like EA, well-known for playing it as safe as possible, publishing a small original indie title from a studio somewhere in Germany, simply because it shows promise. Not only that, they’ve put it front and center. At E3. The times, they are a-changing.
Naysayers have cast doom and gloom about the direction of the video game industry for quite a while now. The prevailing theory was that another crash was inevitable once the AAA publishers got big and bloated enough. When the proliferation of loot-box schemes hit its peak last year, it didn’t quiet those people down any.
After so many years of homogenization and blandification, is the game industry finally turning a corner? It might be too early to state that, but THIS bearing the EA brand is a very good sign for the future. And we need one.