E3 kicked off a few days ago and I decided to write some articles to cover all the conferences and other interesting stuff that will be showcased there. Unfortunately, I’m not there to try out games with my own hands so I’ll be writing my impressions from the livestream. Today I’ll be talking about Electronic Arts and how they performed at their press event. This year EA moved outside of the E3 venue to host an event more accessible to fans, as opposed to E3 which is press-only access. I feel this is a good move as more publishers have been considering this approach. Is this the dead of E3 as we know it? Maybe, we’ll see. Here are the games that showed up: Titanfall 2, Madden NFL 17, Mass Effect: Andromeda, FIFA17, Fe, Star Wars games and Battlefield 1.
The conference kicked off with a Titanfall 2 multiplayer gameplay trailer. I haven’t played the first one yet, though I might try it out since there is a free trial available on Origin right now. From my perspective, the game seems more fluid than its predecessor, with more emphasis on fast action and vertical movement. I feel the difference is not great but Titanfall didn’t have any big problem in its multiplayer, so small upgrades is way to go. EA also confirmed a single player campaign for the game, exploring the Pilot-Titan connection and giving more depth to the Titanfall universe. All in all, nothing surprised me but seems the right direction for a franchise which might last for a long time. You can buy the game on October 28, available for all platforms.
The event then moved on to show a trailer for Madden NFL 17. I’m not a big fan of American football so I can’t really judge there. EA mentioned new ways to play Franchise Mode and a new group of commentators. Not much gameplay was showed but the graphics seem pretty good if the whole video was rendered in-game so Madden fans can look forward to the latest addition to the series. Madden NFL 17 is coming out this summer, August 23, on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Following Madden, EA announced a major investment into eSports. Starting with Madden, Electronic Arts is creating a framework of small and big tournaments for their games and, hopefully, launch their franchises into the highly competitive eSports scene. EA events will be divided into three categories: Challenger, small player hosted events, Premier, bigger events supported by EA, and EA Majors, world stage events organized by Electronic Arts themselves. As eSports keeps getting bigger and bigger, it’s always good to see more publishers getting into the fray.
Mass Effect: Andromeda made a small appearance with a video containing some behind the scenes work and pre-rendered scenes. Fans of the ME series like me will feel hyped but EA didn’t show anything relevant about it. No gameplay, no confirmed release date, nothing at all. The game is supposed for release in the first quarter of 2017 but, with how things stand now, I highly doubt that this will happen, unless they want to release a sub-par game and unleash the wrath of the gaming community.
Before moving on with more game-related news, Electronic Arts announced that they will be donating 1 million dollars to selected charities in order to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, aimed to provide such education to people who can’t access it and to fight all forms of discrimination in the field. As a STEM graduate myself, I support this initiative, way to go!
Back to gaming, EA moved on to FIFA17. No one expected anything mind-blowing, just the usual yearly announcement. Just imagine the reaction when the new Journey mode was unveiled. The player will be following Alex Hunter, a young prospect debuting in the Premier League. All normal until here. That is, until the video shows that the career will actually follow a storyline as you live the life of a football player, including failure and frustration. I feel like this is a new approach to a sports game career mode and I really look forward to try it out. EA might have a huge hit on their hands with this new feature, let’s hope they will meet expectations. You can get your hands on FIFA17 on September 27 in NA and September 29 in the rest of the world.
After this numbing moment, it was time to talk about indie developers. After last year’s success, EA decided to move further and announced their new program: EA Originals. In this program, EA will support independent developers to release new games and all revenue will go back to the developers themselves. The first game announced under the program is Fe, developed by Zoink, a wordless adventure about the relationship we share with nature and our surrounding. The trailer seemed pretty interesting but it’s too soon to say if it will be good or not.
Star Wars time! Star Wars Battlefront 2 was announced but not much else was mentioned about it, beside including content from the new Star Wars movie. EA also unveiled that they are working on two action adventure games in the Star Wars universe, but again, nothing else was said. I feel this was kind of disappointing, basically saying “We are working on stuff, trust me, it will be huuuuge”. Another behind the scenes video covered how they are taking the franchise from a creative point of view, like bringing different eras together, which implies that the upcoming games will probably have original storylines. Some skepticism here but who knows.
And here it is, the main course, Battlefield 1. We finally got to see a live multiplayer game, played by content creators and various celebrities, like Zac Efron and Snoop Dogg. The next installment of the Battlefield series is massive, with its trademark enormous maps and focus on both infantry and vehicular combat. The new tanks are a great addition, allowing for up to 5 soldiers to ride a heavy tank to use different parts of the machine, such as the main gun and its side turrets. Teased in first trailer, the zeppelin makes its appearance. I didn’t really get what are the spawn conditions but it seems to have quite a big effect, firing all over the battlefield. Even better, when destroyed it crashes on the ground, destroying any building it lands on and leaving its skeleton behind, changing the landscape. A weather system is introduced with conditions such as fog and rain changing the way you play the game. Battlefield will be available on October 21.
Overall the EA conference was okay. The only “OMG, my brain melted” moment for me was the Journey of FIFA17. Battlefield 1 met my high expectation and that was good. Everything else was less than overwhelming, to use a euphemism, and overall EA showed that they don’t have a lot on the plate right now, at least compared to other big publishers. As the first conference of E3, I felt a bit disappointed. Coming up in the next article will be Bethesda, look forward to it!
You can watch Electronic Arts’ Press Conference on YouTube here: http://y2u.be/wPSN9sTQCf4