EA have gone it on their own this year. Choosing to not take their iconic position in the LA Convention Center South EA decided to “skip” E3 and instead set up next door to run their own event called “EA Play”.
As a part of the event EA held their media briefing simultaneously in LA and London with CEO Andrew Wilson presenting in State-side and COO Peter Moore in the across the pond. Another interesting experiment with EA throwing sheets to the wind this year the setup left the crowd (and presents) mostly weirded out as it crossed to the other feed and left people standing on stage not really knowing if they were supposed to get off or not.
The event was kicked off with Respawn CEO Vince Zampella introducing Titanfall 2 along with it’s hours-before-leaked single player campaign trailer. The game looks to be an exciting extension of the formula we came to love but this time will also be coming to PS4 as well as XB1 & PC October 28.
EA Sports was of course given ample screen time too. Madden 17 for the US and then FIFA 17 from the Brits. The exciting element being that FIFA 17 will include a new mode called “Journey”. Essentially a single player campaign mode that puts you in the shoes of up and comer footballer “Alex Hunter” as he goes pro and learns to deal with the realities of pro-footballer life. Beyond that both titles are improvements on last year, which is the same thing everyone writes about every year and unless you’re deeply involved in them can’t exactly define them very well so I’m not going to bother.
Most anticipated title “Mass Effect: Andromeda” was introduced to much applaud but lacked any real depth. A behind the scenes trailer was shown (see above) that highlighted the team behind the game and gave us very small glimpses into actual gameplay. The story for the game was revealed however with the basic premise being a humanity search for a new home and the reiteration that it would involve all new characters and stories. Nawww, no Shep.
EA’s Star Wars showcase was shown off by Jade Raymond telling us all about titles we already have and more importantly what’s to come. Similar to the Mass Effect dev trailer the Star Wars reel showed even less but did offer some interesting little tid bits including developers wearing PlayStation VR headsets closely followed by 3D models of the Death Star from the famous trench run.
Amy Hennig, of former Naughty Dog fame, talked about her new home at Visceral and their known upcoming Star Wars title for 2018 but with little detail. It was also announced that Titanfall creators Respawn would have their highly anticipated title out after Visceral’s with no further information so expect a fast paced Star Wars based shooter come 2019. Maybe.
Beyond just the games front EA announced an interesting and philanthropic venture in donating proceeds from things such as micro-transactions to charitable causes in what they’re calling EA Play to give.
They also announced “EA Originals”. A collaboration between EA and “three or four” smaller developers a year to bring their games to market. EA said they want to put every cent of profit back into the hands of the developers for them to continue making great titles and are there to support the developers bring their dreams to reality. Something they’ve done with the first EA Originals title “Fe”.
Fe is developed by Zoink, a small euro development house of twenty people who have created a game that to me looks to be a cross between Limbo and Ori and the blind forest. Whilst I applaud the initiative I’m not excited by the game but will reserve final judgement until a hands on.
Lastly the show concluded with a new Battlefront 1 trailer along with a series of awkward celebrity cameos. Non more so than Jamie Foxx and Zac Efron who when asked if they were psyched about the game responded with blank faces and a weird “Uhhhhhhh… yeah bro”.
The game itself looks like a Battlefield and whilst you can use a shovel as a weapon from all the gameplay seen and had no one really does. The maps are affected by weather, which is new and interesting, the vehicles are some of the largest ever in the Battlefield franchise and I’m sure it will have a lot of Battlefield fans excited. My hands on impressions: it’s Battlefield alright.