Brendan: We are in Los Angeles, Matt! And we are doing a fun new thing. We’re going to liveblog the heck out of these press conferences, but with a twist. One of us can only be enthusiastic, positive and cheery, no matter what comes up. And the other can only be snarky, grumpy and critical. Who would you like to be today? The cheerer or the jeerer? Choose carefully: EA is our first conference.
Matt: I am ready to delight in the wonders of a new Apex Legends map. Let’s go!
Brendan: That leaves me as the sourface for this one. Super. The stream is due to start any minute now. I’m ready to grumble.
Matt: The announcey dude just laid everything that’s going to be announced for Apex, and a map wasn’t among them. That’s totally fine! They’ll be showing off the new character. But first: Star Wars.
Brendan: Here we see the stage, and the audience area of the show at EA Play where we were not allowed to sit. Because we would be on our laptops and that was deemed unclean for broadcast.
Matt: They couldn’t handle the jeerer. Fair enough. They’re clearly playing up the adorable robo-backpack element, but I don’t care because there’s an adorable robo-backpack.
Brendan: BD-1 he’s called. The protagonist though, has become known as “Blando Calrissian” in the RPS chatroom, and I am unexcited by his general appearance and demenour. Even if he is slicing people up now.
Matt: Well, that’s the stuff. Intricate melee combat with spicy force powers is definitely my (space) jam. It reminds me of how Sekiro handles minibosses.
Brendan: The average stormtroopers are as dumb as they are in the movies, however. Just standing mouth agape at the man with the hot torch. Shoot him, you fools. Ah! A large spider! With a “mash the B button to get away” sequence. I hate these things, but there will probably be an accessibility thing that let’s you hold B instead. But still, boke.
Matt: I like that average joey stormrooper is rubbo. They should be, canonically, and collections of stormtroopers might be a chance to show off and mess around, rather than carefully timing important spider dodges and whatnot.
Brendan: A little AI bug there, as one of the blackclad baddies freezes up? Do something, you space nazi. Don’t just stand around.
Matt: I think it was a ‘frozen in time’ force power deal? I’m going to say it was a force power.
Matt: I’m genuinely impressed. Big into those slow-mo force dodges, swinging and backpack cooing.
Brendan: I’m mostly just skeptical of Star Wars being able to deliver any story worth the pew-pew lasers. I don’t really know much about this Jedi lad, except that he has a pet robot, and that doesn’t count as a personality.
Matt: (Quietly) same. (Loudly) but the important thing is that you get to impale cocky stormtroopers on your big laser sword. BD1 IS IN THE AUDIENCE.
Brendan: Oh my god, he looks like an off-brand Wall-e paralysed from the neck down. Somebody help that robot. He does not want to be on stage.
Matt: Look at him tilt his ‘lil head though. He just wants to be our friend.
Brendan: The stream presenter just made a Watto joke, and the muted laughter that followed is my energy, as the cyberchildren say. Anyway, what’s next? Ah, it’s Apex Legends. Which I believe you think is OK.
Matt: My Apelegs are pumped. I think they’re going to talk about a new electricity pal? I’m into this line-up of cosplayers they’re showing us now, but miffed they don’t have Pathfinder. He’s, like, the best one!
Brendan: After what they did to that poor Star Wars droid, I’m glad these monsters have not crippled anymore sentient machines. It’s cruel, and a sign of EA’s growing thirst for power.
Matt: Lifeline’s droid does look a bit put-upon. I’m sure it’s fine really. So there’s a new gun, the L-Star. Sure, I’ll take a big “so OP” laser gun. It’s one of them that you only get from care packages, like the Kraber and Mastiff, so it’s nice to have a bit more variety there.
Brendan: Let’s start guessing the African country that lends its name to the next upcoming gun. The South Africa. The Egypt. The Democratic Republic of Congo.
Matt: The Congun.
Brendan: Oh man, what a quiet reveal. Wattson is the new character, they’ve said, which was pretty much guessed by a lot of players who found hints about that a long time ago, right?
Matt: We didn’t know how wholesome this trailer would be though, about a dad telling his daughter how great she’s going to be at murdering people in a gladiatorial combat arena.
Brendan: Murder is bad.
Matt: Controversial. Ollie’s guide told me about 50% of what we knew was guesswork, so this is definitely filling in a lot of gaps. Her ability is deployable laser grids, which could be neat – depending on how different they wind up being to Caustic’s gas traps. Her ultimate summons a defensive beacon that does a number of things I didn’t manage to catch.
Brendan: I’m less convinced by Apex’s attempt to make its characters likeable with backstories and stuff, like Overwatch has done. Leave that to the fan fiction, ta.
Matt: I’d rather some flimsy background cardboard than a blank void, but yeah, I’d be lying if I said I gave a damn.
Brendan: You’re supposed to be the Cheerer, Matt! You are contractually obliged to give a damn. Or at the very least, a darn.
Matt: Oh yeah, whoops. Um. I give at least three darns about Apelegs character backstories. Oooh! There was a giant beast with a giant eyeball and now the man who knows what it is is being coy about it. “A few new things are coming to King’s Canyon at the start of the next season,” he says.
Brendan: No new map though! No new map. What a disaster. What a gong show. This is the un-Apex of E3 so far.
Matt: A big dinosaur is an acceptable replacement for a new map. I’ll take it.
Brendan: Let’s see, what’s next on the hell schedule? It’s Battlefield V, which a game about war, and dying in a war.
Matt: Oh, but what a lovely war. They’re going to talk about new maps and a new “theatre of war”, which is different somehow. That’s a nice Grecian village. Jeerer, surely you can agree that’s a nice Grecian village?
Brendan: It’s fine, I suppose. Adding “unique vertical gameplay” to my E3 bingo card for next year though. And “creative chaos”. Oh lord, the cringe of this chat is killing me, please, help.
Matt: Yeah, but this map is in a banana shape. I like bananas. Don’t you like bananas? Come on now.
Brendan: I don’t, actually.
Matt: They’re talking about a swathe of new close-quarters focussed maps. I know bombastic tanks and airplanes are kind of the whole point of Battlefield, but fighting on a smaller scale makes you feel less like an ant being plunged down drain of war.
Brendan: They’re talking about ranks now. They’re increasing the level cap, basically. What rank did you reach Matt? (I’m zero).
Matt: Oh, too high for me to remember.
Brendan: They are remaking Metro, a map from one of the older games, but it’s called Underground here. I am not a massive fan of the tight fights in Battlefield, with their grenade spam and terror corridors.
Matt: They’re good when they don’t turn into chokepoint swamps, with front lines that don’t move for ten minutes. But I’m sure that won’t happen with Underground. Nuh-uh.
Brendan: The Cheerer’s mask is slipping.
Matt: THEY’RE REMAKING MY LEAST FAVOURITE BATTLEFIELD 3 MAP I’M TRAPPED
Brendan: But look, they’re remaking my favourite map from Battlefield 1942! Iwo Jima. That was a good one and– I mean, no, the pacific theatre is rubbish. I hate the pacific ocean. It’s full of garbage.
Matt: It’s okay. It is.
Brendan: They’re adding the M1 Garand too, which is a gun people like, and it famously goes “ping” but historically it may not have made that noise at all. I’ll leave this argument to the historians.
Matt: I’m going to disappear briefly to go watch a Jedi do more Jedi stuff in a press demo. Brendy, don’t be too morose about the footballs.
Brendan: Football is a living symbol of humankind’s degeneration. I’ll be fine. It’s only FIFA. Have fun with your Blando demo.
Cheerful Brendan: Don’t worry, I will keep him straight.
Dark Brendan: Who are you? I don’t like the way you dress.
Cheerdan: I’m Cheerful Brendan. I’m here to make sure you say nice things, while Matt is gone.
Brendark: Your voice is annoying.
Cheerdan: Fifa is going back to doing street football with Volta mode in Fifa 20, and Rio Ferdinand is there to chat footie and says his favourite place to play street football was in a favela in Brazil. Of all the football in the world, surely this tight, fancy-footwork game in a cage is the most exciting, right?
Brendark: Uh, it might be?
Cheerdan: You can also play as whoever you want, including making your footballers women, and dressing in cool non-uniform clothes.
Brendark: Good. Football kits are very boring and expensive and I don’t like that.
Cheerdan: Now, you’re getting it. As for the games played on grassy fields, they’re now talking about how your AI teammates will be a bit smarter. And some changes to tackling, penalties, and–
Brendark: Be honest, Cheerdan. You have no idea about football, do you?
Cheerdan: Well no, but look how happy this weird sport makes people! Look how loud they shout. If you say football is rubbish, you’re a small-minded dope.
Brendark: I said want Matt to come back!
Cheerdan: You want Madden?
Cheerdan: We can talk Madden NFL, sure. It’s the game EA will be talking about next. From Britball to Statesball, I’m happy to see all the sports!
Brendark: I’ll be right back. Someone from EA is kicking us off these seats because they want them for Lars Gustavsson, head war man for Battlefield V, to give a press interview with someone who is not us. Guess the wee men at RPS don’t matter…
Cheerdan: We’re back. And the stream has gone from Britball to Statesball, I’m happy to see all the sports! EA also took a small break to talk about bullying and inclusion in videogames, and mention their charity events Play To Give. Which is nice, right?
Brendark: I’m just going to link to something.
Cheerdan: Lots of Madden NFL chat happening now. Ultimate Team is going to get some tweaks, but more interesting is that some players are going to get “Superstar” abilities. Basically these are passive traits on some players, like being better at intercepting passes.
Brendark: This is boring. The only thing I like about NFL is the Green Bay Packers player Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, because he has a great name.
Cheerdan: Well, at least that’s something.
Matt: I’m back! Just in time to be super cheerful about Madden NFL 20.
Brendan: Oh thank god, we got kicked off our seats by a Swedish warmonger. And there’s been this awful upbeat person here who– huh? He’s gone.
Matt: I’m going to presume you are okay and totally fine and equally excited about the signature animations of footballers we just learnt about.
Brendan: What the flip is a “pre-snap read”? I’m so lost. How was your Star Wars demo? Did you get to play it?
Matt: Nope, it was an extended version of the demo we just saw. There was a cool bit where he climbed up an AT-AT drenched in vines and moss, then chopped up some more troopers as before. I do legitimately think the combat looks promising, perhaps skewing more towards Dark Souls than your usual care free hacking and slashing. But look, the sportsmen are… what are the sportsmen doing now? Oh sweet, they’ve been replaced by an Apexman.
Brendan: They are stalling for time before The Sims 4 gets some airtime, and I’m thankful. Because if I start saying negative things about The Sims, our video person Alice L will set wolves on me.
Matt: I didn’t catch the guy’s description of his made-up Legend, “the grabbler” but will nonetheless be outraged if he is not the 11th character.
Brendan: Sims now!
Matt: It’s the “Island Living” expansion! You can feed dolphins and muck about on jet-skis and clear up horrible beach litter. Then hug your pals around a nice bonfire. How on earth can you be cynical about that?
Brendan: I would not trust the Sims to tackle the ongoing ecological thunderfuck that humanity inflicts on the planet. They can’t even get out of a pool without a ladder.
Matt: There are also meteor showers and volcanoes, if you’d rather see your Sims suffer than splash about in a utopian paradise. I didn’t know Sims expansions did stuff like this, whisking you out of dreary suburbia and off to somewhere more interesting.
Brendan: I would just like to point out that Matt’s laptop battery ran out in the middle of that sentence and he had to finish it on my computer. We’re exhausted, our computers are rebelling, and I keep overhearing Vince Zampella who is giving an interview a few metres away and getting distracted.
Matt: Should I mention the phone I’m now typing on only has 7% battery? I probably shouldn’t mention the phone I’m now typing on only has 7% battery.
Brendan: We’re falling apart here, and I blame The Sims 4.
Matt: It looked like a lovely island that I would very much like to go to. Does LA have any lovely islands?
Brendan: No. It’s just concrete and old matresses. There are mermaids in the new Sims expansion also. Just in case anyone want to know.
Matt: I don’t think most people will care unless you can woohoo with them. Have they confirmed mermaid woohoo yet?
Brendan: It is, as yet, unconfirmed. Sorry, Matt. But they are now talking about Pride month and how the Sims is an open game when it comes to sexuality. They also said a second ago that there will be gender neutral bathrooms added to the game.
Matt: I think you’re contractually obligated to be bitter about that.
Brendan: I will break the rules. Anybody bathrooms are good. And oh, they just announced a new pack while they’re at it: Realms of Magic.
Matt: Agreed. It’s actually super cool to see the Sims being on top of this? Like, more so than I can properly express in a silly liveblog where I have to be positive about everything. Nice one, Sims.
Brendan: All right, I’m done with this. They have ended the stream now, which means I don’t need to sit on these uncomfortable steps anymore, watching as Vince Zampella’s PR man hovers over him to make sure the next HACK gets to talk to him about the same stuff. (No, we did not secure an interview with Vince either).
Matt: I’m going to stay on these wonderfully comfortable steps and soak in annoying PR dynamics. See you at the Microsoft conference, jeer pal.
Brendan: See you then, for more cheering and more jeering. Good riddance.
Note: This liveblog is over now, but you can catch the next one tomorrow at 1pm PDT or 9pm BST for our UK readers. Also, you will be glad to know that Matt did meet Pathfinder, eventually.