What a Season, What a Season
Happy E3! It’s time for game announcements, surprises, and moments of cringe; and who better to deliver all three than Electronic Arts? EA Play kicked off the E3 press conference slate for this weekend and boy, do we have some stuff to talk about! Here’s a full breakdown of EACH AND EVERY announcement from the hour-long video game commercial.
Fall shooter season, the industry’s grand tradition, will be in full effect this year and EA’s kicking out a Battlefield offering. DICE announced they won’t be including loot boxes or premium passes in this year’s game, dodging the bad press around the business model used in Battlefront II.
Probably surprising nobody, Battlefield V is going to have a Battle Royale mode. The game needed this mode to keep pace with its closest competitor in Call of Duty, but I’m not too sure how this will fit in with what we know as Battlefield gameplay. Folks watching the stream most likely heard the mixed crowd reaction. Quite odd to hear boos at a press event, but like it or not it seems we’ll be seeing other games follow this same trend.
EA is eating Konami’s lunch this year by acquiring the UEFA license and the rights to the Champion’s League Tournament. For a long time this tournament was a main feature for the Pro Evolution Soccer, but now EA has snatched that up as well and effectively cornered the licensed soccer game market. Not really a suprise given they’ve done the same with the NHL and NFL games.
Also in a surprising move, FIFA 18 will be available for free for a limited time. Most likely a way for them to drum up sales of the World Cup DLC and this new game, but hey a free game is a free game.
Command & Conquer: Rivals
There’s no way this could’ve gone over positively for fans of this series. While the game itself seems fine, the show of little confidence by EA in this property has to be heartbreaking to C&C diehards. We got a demo of what matches look like and it mostly looked like Clash Royale in Command & Conquer clothes. Clash Royale is a decent game (with a bad business model), and this game seems to differentiate itself by having grid based movement rather than set routes. Hopefully this game captures a small RTS-lite experience in a fun way, but man I’d kill for a new Red Alert on PC.
During EA’s 2015 E3 presentation, the world was treated to the delightful Martin Sahlin and his game Unravel. Sahlin emanated awkward, yet sincere passion that gamers love to see in creators. And while Unravel may have felt a little off when got to play it, I loved Yarny’s design and the beautiful art direction in the backgrounds. The presentation of its sequel today was no different, with Sahlin returning to talk about the co-op focus this time around. While it is completely singleplayer as well, the addition of a blue Yarny and multiplayer grappling mechanics looked like a fun improvement on the first game. If the hurdles feel less floaty this time around, I’d love to go on another journey with these cute lil guys.
And it looks like we won’t have to wait long, Unravel Two is available today for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. So go go go! Put a smile on Martin Sahlin’s adorable face and play the nice man’s game!
Read More: UNRAVEL TWO ANNOUNCED, ALREADY AVAILABLE
Madden NFL 19
Madden as an eSport seemed to be much more of the focus here, JuJu Smith-Schuster came out with a champion streamer guy, and there wasn’t really much said about the game other than a showing of the trailer. We did, however, get some exciting news: Madden 19 will be available for PC for the first time in over 10 years. This seems like a really good idea for EA since the only other EA Sports offerings available on PC are the FIFA games, and I want REAL Football on my PC (YEAH I SAID IT!)
Other than that some details about a refined control scheme, faster jukes, and new player animations (i.e. fewer dudes flopping like fish out of water) were shared. But you know what this game is.
Sea Of Solitude
This was probably the best-pitched game of the conference. Art Director and Game Designer Chloe Geppart, from Jo-Mei Studio, took the stage to discuss how the game’s story draws from her emotional experience of feeling isolated and how those feelings of loneliness morphed her personality in negative ways. She delivered a moving speech about this game and how much it meant to her to get to work with one of World’s largest game publishers to make it happen. The game follows Kay whose loneliness turns her into a monster, from there she goes on a journey to turn herself back into a Human. How this game plays, we didn’t get a good look at yet, but one thing’s for sure it has an absolutely beautiful art design. EA Originals looks like it has another winner on its hands.
Star Wars Battlefront II
Dennis Brännvall had a thankless man’s job. He had to be the guy to speak on EA’s biggest press event of the year about the explosive shitstorm that was Battlefront II’s reception. The game has gotten better with a rebuilt progression system, but by that time it was too little too late to save face. Dennis addressed this and said that DICE is committed to supporting the game with more content and patches.
A Clone Wars Season will be coming sometime this year that packs new Heroes like General Grevious and Obi-Wan, Geonosis as a new planet, and new cosmetic items. The already revealed Solo Season will be released on 06/12 and will be premiering a map set on Kessel and Lando’s Millennium Falcon. Players can also unlock new skins for Han, Lando, and Chewbacca by earning in-game credits. These additions are nice for players who may be still playing the game, but I imagine that most players will come back when the Geonosis season eventually drops.
Jedi: Fallen Order
Battlefront II wasn’t the only Star Wars-realted prodcut that was talked about today at the Conference. Vince Zampella, formerly of Infinity Ward and now known as Studio Head at Respawn, talked breifly about the Star Wars game his studio is developing. He revealed its title will be Jedi: Fallen Order and that it will be a lightsaber combat-focused game set between Episodes III and IV. He referenced the “Dark Times” of the great Jedi purge and Jedi being hunted, which really sounds like a unique background for a Star Wars game.
Most Jedi-focused Star Wars games empower the player with fantastic abilities and most times it feels like the Jedi is in control of their situation. Being the prey of the Galactic Empire could make for some interesting gameplay, perhaps even stealth focused! We’ll certainly find out more before the Game’s release in Holiday 2019.
This was the headliner of the show, the Bioware A-team’s attempt at a service-based online-only game. We were treated to a Q&A session with Bioware staffers, as well as recently returning Studio Head Casey Hudson. Details were revealed about the four different Javelin Exo-suits that serve as the game’s classes and a gameplay demo of one mission. Hudson revealed that no loot boxes would be in the game for premium content, a shot at the broadside of the maligned Bright Engrams found in Destiny 2. Vague details were given about paid expansion packs down the line as well as a constant stream of “story-focused” content being made available to all players.
Anthem most closely resembles Destiny in its co-operative, loot-based shooter with abilities. It’s a game you can’t help but think you’ve seen before, but I’ll be damned if it ain’t beautiful. Flying in these rustic Iron Man suits with friends, blowing up Monster Hunter-sized behemoths sounds really fun. We’ll see how Bioware fares when the Game releases on February 22nd, 2019.
EA made a decent presser here, despite how arduous it felt in the presentation at times. I was particularly impressed with what I saw from Anthem and hope it is a success for Bioware, as well as the great initial pitch from Sea Of Solitude. EA really seems to be leaning into the Originals label and showing some support for indie developers. I’m hoping this program is expanded through, and we see more than two or three titles per year at these presentations. Other than that there weren’t any real surprises here. Gotta say, not seeing new games from the Dead Space or Skate series but admittedly that’s a bit of a reach.
Be sure to visit Heypoorplayer.com for more analysis and news from E3 2018!