Join me as I live blog the EA Play event, basically EA’s E3 2017 press conference. Refresh the page every 5 minutes or so to make sure you get the full experience and information.
Quick predictions. EA are definitely talking about Madden 17, FIFA 18, NBA Live 17, Battlefront 2, Ned for Speed Payback, and Battlefield 1. Rumours suggest that they’ll also talk about a new Star Wars title, and potentially some kind of game in the same vein as Assassin’s Creed and GTA 5. Currently EA have no games in this space so it would be really interesting to see what they consider good enough to compete with these titles.
The conference opens with a montage of the games we know that are coming. Then a live band of drummers wearing American football shirts start filling the hall with noise. I’ll add that these guys could well be professional players, I have no idea. However it then all makes sense as we see the story trailer for the latest Madden title, showing the deep connection between a father, son, and the greatest game of all.
EA’s CEO is the first dude to make it to the stage. He shows off the creative space that they’ve created around the hall where all the demos are available for anyone to play the games they’ve got coming out over the next year or so. He confirms that there are eight major experiences that they’re bringing out to show off. Half an hour of this show is going to be Battlefront 2 so if you missed it I suggest you YouTube that video.
Battlefield 1 is the first game to make it on stage. The video starts with a slew of streamers and YouTubers talking about why they live the game, alongside incredible shots that took them one hundred hours to pull off. The next expansion, In The Name Of The Tsar, is adding eight new maps, the Russian Army, new weapons and vehicles, and the Iconic women’s battalion of death. This will also improve operations battles online when it launches this September, adding a hell of a lot to Battlefield 1. We even get a pretty decent video of some of the gameplay.
Next we get to hear about the new FIFA Ultimate Team champions cups, which is an effort from EA to find more unknown and great players in the FIFA community. Now of course we have the obligatory FIFA 18 trailer, trendy music, lots of football, it’s actually pretty cool. In what seems like a fairly desperate effort to make FIFA 18 more interesting to talk about, The Men in Blazers jump onto the stage and begin talking about it with humour that only middle aged British men can have. Finally they talk about Alex Hunter, the protagonist from FIFA 17, and it seems as though we’re going to be getting a continuation of his storyline in FIFA 18, telling the story of the underdog in his new rich kid life.
Next up we have Need for Speed Payback, and some YouTuber who utter butchers the intro to this segment. So players will be taking on the role of three different characters, not just one, so I think each one will have a specific car they can customise into any class of car they want. EA next show what is known as a blockbuster mission, where the team steal a supercar from The House. Criterion are showing their Burnout pedigree with massive car takedowns as you make your way to the target. The more I watch, the more this is Burnout over Need for Speed. The crew end the demo by stealing the supercar and taking on the police, and it’s literally mental.
Now we have an EA Originals presentation. Apparently there are several new EA Originals titles in development from pitches EA have accepted from Indie developers. Joseph Farris of Hazelight, creator of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, has a new project that is coming out with EA, A Way Out. This is a game about two convicts who escape from prison together, and that life outside of prison as they try to get back in touch with their old lives, whilst avoiding the police who are constantly after them. This game is co-op only, very different, and looks much like Uncharted 4 if Nate and Sam were the two main characters. Apparently the game will have many aspects and mechanics, which I can believe since it’s probably the only co-op game in existence that doesn’t have single player. I’m into it. The gameplay demo we see shows a bit of what you’ll experience, which is constant split screen as one player controls a character while the other does the same or has a cutscene, but they always match up and can see each other. The game will release early 2018.
No EA begins talking about new technology. They talk about how Project Scorpio is revolutionising the games they make, and it sounds like they’re even using some of the dev kits there at the event.
NEW IP ALERT
They start talking and I’m already excite, what is this new game? It’s from Bioware! The game is called ANTHEM and will be fully revealed at the Xbox conference. The game looks to tell the story of an advanced civilisation who are based behind a colossal metal wall, with huge monsters on the other side of it. Think Fallout shanty towns when you want to know what the inside looks like. This is very exciting, let’s hope the game is good when we see the Xbox conference reveal.
Now we’re onto NBA Live 2018. We get what looks like a highly-scripted piece of gameplay, and then we’re back to the conference. There is a demo coming out in August so I think that might be the best place to look to see if this will pull you away from NBA 2k. A gameplay mode called The One will serve as the campaign mode for the game. The core modes with real teams looks good, and the gameplay actually appears to be very refined and expertly implemented.
Back on the stage we’re hearing about the massive 30 minute Star Wars Battlefront 2 finale. First they talk about the charity event they run and how much they’ve given to chartiy, which is actually pretty great for EA. All E3 week EA then say they’ve got a bunch of free demos across consoles and PC, so that’s good.
Battlefront 2 now, and there’s a big focus on the offline story campaign. Storm Troopers take to the stage and it goes full Empire. The campaign-lead actress hosts the stage and starts to go on about how we can enjoy the offline campaign with new heroes and old, as well as all the online stuff we know about. Battlefront 2 has over 3 times the content of the original. Multiplayer is still a core part of Battlefront 2, obviously, and EA has actually had these guys called Game Changers introduced to the DICE team to help implement changes that will make the game better for players.
The trailer we see is for Battlefront 2 multiplayer. There is no limit to the planets, locations, types of soldiers, and type of battle you can imagine. This multiplayer looks really great, which is good because we kind of expected it, but there’s also a little hint at the story mode there. Finn himself has sent in a video, since he’s currently doing plays in London, telling us that the first set of free content is Finn and Phasma, as well as the new planet from The Last Jedi trailer. EA might well be taking tips from Ubisoft here, who have said they never intend on charging for DLC again and instead want to offer constant free updates. However, I can’t see EA not charging to a Battlefront 2 Season Pass.
Now we get Assault on Feed, the premiere of Battlefront 2 live gameplay with all the random YouTubers you want in there. I don’t know who they are because I’m old. The game mode sounds a lot like Overwatch moving the payload, but there are a few more bits and pieces to the objectives. We’ve actually got droids on the screen here, and they’re brilliantly campy just as they were in the movies. What we seem to be seeing here is the Clone army defending against the Droid army before Oder 66 has been implemented, and now it occurs to me that tracking all of the timelines between matches is going to drive me insane. The gameplay looks to me a lot like some of the modes from Battlefield 1, such as conquest, and that’s never a bad thing because those matches are highly addictive to play and never the same as another match you’ve played. All the in-atmosphere air combat is going on, and all the ships are in here as well. It seems like they’ve added a lot more classes into the game to make the hierarchy of fights a lot more interesting and generally work better together to keep everyone aware of what’s going on. A new system called Battlepoints has been introduced that I’m guessing work to help you buy stuff to customise your soldiers outside of fights. Rey and Darth Maul make it into the shot here, and even though they both go down relatively fast, we hear Rey has some kind of Jedi Mind trick ability that will affect the enemy’s controls if they’re the unlucky target.
That’s it for the EA Play E3 2017 conference, whcih has been super early for an E3 conference I must add. My initial thoughts are that EA’s big focus this year is Battlefront 2 and that’s kind of it. I understand why, with a new movie coming out and it probably being their most popular franchise at the moment. However, I’m still not convinced that it’ll be the best game yet. I think we need to wait until the Sony E3 conference so we can see some gameplay from offline modes, which is really where I love the Battlefront experience of older generations.
Battlefield 1 DLC is always going to be great, that game has modes that change up every singe match and make every experience a new one. I’m interested in the fringe armies being added here, and am excited to learn more about what’s to come.
Now, I don’t care that much about sports titles. I had every intention of playing FIFA 17 for the story mode, but I missed it totally. The continuation of the story from Europe to America in a David Beckham sort of manner is very interesting. Anyone in England knows what football culture is and has an understanding of what players go through, but American Soccer is just this black hole in our knowledge. With Madden or NBA, it may as well be in another language because they’re not sports I’m even remotely into. However, I would very much like to get into basketball, and EA’s new NBA game looks really great, so you might see me streaming it like some sort of noob degenerate.
Let me know what you think of the conference in the comments. I’ll be live blogging every conference as long as there isn’t some crazy thing that gets in a way.
Image Source: Playstation Universe