After shooting attack in Orlando, an unsure E3

Posted at 8:36 AM, Jun 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-13 11:36:42-04

The flags outside the Electronic Entertainment Expo are flying at half-staff in tribute to the victims of the shooting attack at an Orlando gay club that left 50 dead. However, it will seemingly be business as usual inside the video game industry's annual trade show this week.

The weeklong event kicked off Sunday with flashy presentations featuring footage of upcoming games — many of which depict unrelenting gun violence —from publishers Electronic Arts and Bethesda Softworks.

EA, which has a studio in Orlando, did not directly address the shootings Sunday afternoon while hyping such games as the World War I-set military shooter "Battlefield 1" and the robot-filled sci-fi shoot-'em-up "Titanfall 2."

Chris Plante and T.C. Sottek of the technology site The Verge wrote after EA's presentation that "witnessing a sales pitch for the fun in gun violence felt strange, to say the least."

The developers on stage at Bethesda's presentation Sunday evening sported rainbow ribbons in support of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community as they showed off games like the multiplayer shooter "Quake Champions" and the stylish assassin tale "Dishonored 2."

Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft and the PC Gaming Show are similarly not expected to address the shooting attack or alter any content of their presentations scheduled for Monday at various venues in downtown Los Angeles.

Several publishers and developers tweeted their condolences as news of the shooting attack spread Sunday morning. EA called it "senseless and tragic."

Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, said in an interview that the attack was "tremendously shocking and devastating."

"I don't know that it will directly affect the mood (at E3), but anyone who is a parent or feels they have a voice is certainly going to be thinking about how we as a country and culture move forward and address it," he said.

The trade show has long featured presentations and demonstrations of mature-rated, over-the-top games featuring photorealistic grisliness, bone-crushing violence and other high-definition gross-outs.

While a vast number of games set to be exhibited at E3 don't feature any depictions of violence, the shooter genre is among the most popular in games. Such games at E3 include Activision's futuristic military shooter "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare" and 2K Games' period piece "Mafia III."

"The Orlando tragedy was a horrific act of terrorism and a crime of hate," the Electronic Software Association, which organizes E3, said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the families of all those affected."

The organization said security and personnel were already in place before Sunday morning's shooting to ensure the safety of E3 attendees.