We had a fair idea what to expect from EA going into their 2017 E3 ‘Play’ conference, yet they still managed to spring a surprise or two on us.
Naturally sport is always high on the EA agenda, with EA Sports pretty much owning that gaming space.
Proceedings kicked off (sorry) with a whole bunch of drums to help keep us awake, as well as a further look at what’s in-store with Madden NFL 18, the continuation of their decades-old American football franchise. Described by EA honcho Andrew Wilson as the “Most intimate NFL in years,” this showed off the shiny new story mode – a Madden NFL first. The story of aspiring quarterback Devin Wade, it’s been designed to be akin to a playable movie.
Next came the unveiling of NBA Live 18, the latest in EA’s rivalry with 2K’s NBA series. EA are hoping to up the competition with this one, with an included campaign – ‘The One’ – promising an authentic NBA experience as it takes play to the streets and beyond. Complete with right stick dribbling and left stick cut offs, we’ll be able to get a taste in August as a free playable demo will be let loose.
Of course, the biggest news in EA Sports’ annual line-up is always FIFA. We’ve had small tastes of FIFA 18, but now got to see a little bit of actual gameplay (and Ronaldo in spandex) as the game hits EA’s impressive Frostbite engine. Those who like getting their kicks online were also promised the “Largest FIFA championships ever” as of this autumn, with EA going big on competitive gaming. Those who loved the story mode of FIFA 17 which featured young Alex Hunter will be thrilled to hear that his story continues.
Popping away from grassy fields to war-ravaged ones, Battlefield 1 will be getting a bunch of updated content. A total of eight new maps are planned, including night ones and epic eastern front battles – the biggest of WWI. There’ll be new weapons, vehicles and even the Women’s Battalion of Russia as part of the previously announced In the Name of the Tsar expansion. EA exec Patrick Söderlund promised a “smaller, tighter more accessible and competitive experience”.
To new IP, the EA Originals project – which brought us the likes of cute little Yarny in Unravel – will deliver A Way Out early in 2018. From the developers of the acclaimed Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, it’s a tale of two felons, who team up to breakout of jail and go on the run, race, fight, slide and explore in order to reunite with their families. A Way Out is set to be a truly cooperative adventure – play on the couch or online, but you’ll need two people.
There’s been much talk of a new IP from Mass Effect and Dragon Age devs BioWare. EA didn’t disappoint, unveiling a snippet of futuristic spacy monster affair Anthem. We’ve been promised a meatier reveal at Microsoft’s E3 shindig tomorrow morning.
As expected there was more on Need for Speed: Payback, specifically in regard to the story mode, where you flip between three characters as the story unfolds.
Naturally the biggie this year is Star Wars Battlefront II, and EA went all out to promote it. Presented by star of the game’s story mode star Janina Gavankar, who fans will soon know better as Commander Iden Versio, she was great value – even letting it be known that she was so nervous about presenting that she brought her mother for moral support. Aww! After the fail that was a lack of single player content in the first Battlefront, the focus now is very much on story, story and more story. It’s intended to bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, and is part of some three times more content than the first game.
An incredible-looking massive multiplayer preview of ‘Assault on Theed’ (unrelated to Dr Seuss’ thneeds, natch) ensued, but the biggest news was that there is regular DLC planned post-release, and that it will be free! We like free stuff.
So, there’s some pretty exciting stuff in there. Stay tuned to STACK over the next few days for summaries of all the exciting new big game announcements from the likes of Microsoft, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Sony and Nintendo – and more.