The past few days have been home to some of the best E3 presentations in recent years! Bethesda gave fans exactly what they’ve been hoping for for years, and more. Microsoft announced plans to make their flagship console even more entertaining than it already it. Sony made everyone happy with a game I’m sure some people had given up on. But how did EA fare in the gaming industry’s biggest event?
The company that’s earned a reputation for not listening to their fans spent most of their presentation emphasising how their upcoming games have been influenced and improved by implementing community ideas. Sequels made us excited for the future of the company, and prequels gave us a new outlook on existing games. A new IP was announced that seems like an odd addition for EA, but will hopefully find a loving home. Here’s a rundown of the highlights from their presentation!
Mass Effect: Andromeda
EA’s conference opened with the twang of Western music and the view of an arid desert. Any thoughts of a cowboy game went out the window when a line of static scrolled across the screen and holographic viewpoints started highlighting landmarks.
This is Mass Effect: Andromeda, the fourth instalment in the series set a long time after the original trilogy.
As the title suggests, the new Mass Effect will be set in the Andromeda galaxy, which will be the first time the series has ventured outside of the Milky Way. This means there’ll be lots of new planets and cultures and technologies to explore, and we’re getting a new and improved Mako to do it in!
The trailer shows space travel, combat on an alien planet – including a devastating blow from an omni-blade – a jet pack in action, strange buildings emerging from the ground, and a glimpse at alien lifeforms – pause it at just the right moment to see a Krogan!
It’ll be interesting to see what a Mass Effect game without the threat of the Reapers looming overhead is like, and I’m curious to see whether legends about Shepard travelled this far, or if your actions in the previous games have any effect on the Andromeda galaxy.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4 holiday 2016!
Need For Speed
The return of Need for Speed comes in the form of a game built on some of the most popular aspects of the previous ones. It boasts the customisation of Underground, the world of Carbon, the narrative of Most Wanted, and the visuals of Rivals. “We are bringing twenty years of history together for the definitive Need for Speed experience,” claims Marcus Nilsson, executive producer for Need for Speed.
Need for Speed will be set in Ventura Bay, an open world roughly twice the size of Rivals, and will feature real-world icons driving icons whose respect you must earn to join their ranks as “the ultimate icon.” Each icon will have their own narrative centred around one of the five ways to play: a focus on speed, style, build, crew, and being an outlaw.
Customisation is going to be a huge part of the game, with the richest system of aftermarket brands, performance tuning, and personalised handling seen in the franchise yet. By customising your ride you’ll be able to specialise in these play styles for a personalised Need for Speed experience.
Need for Speed is coming November 3rd on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
Check out the customisation system and some racing the gameplay trailer:
Star Wars: The Old Republic
A new expansion for the Star Wars MMO titled Knights of the Fallen Empire was announced. The expansion will bring new worlds and companions and a dynamic story shaped by player choice.
Not much was discussed about Knights of the Fallen Empire, but the trailer chronicles the lives of two brothers and promises heartbreaking betrayal and lots of battles between the Jedi and Sith. What more could you want?
The expansion will be free to all subscribers on October 27th 2015.
The presentation only showed snippets of the gorgeous CGI trailer, which is definitely worth watching in full below:
Unravel is an exciting new IP developed by Coldwood, a 14 person team in Sweden. It’s a physics-based puzzle platformer that puts you in control of a cute little character made out of yarn that unravels as you explore the world. Martin Sahlin, Creative Director at Coldwood, explains that the yarn represents love, and it unravels because that’s what happens when we’re separated from the people we love.
Unravel seems like it’ll have a huge heart, and Sahlin was a delight to watch on the stage. It looks like a lot of love and effort has been poured into this game and it’s nice to see it getting lots of recognition at E3.
No word on a release date yet, but Unravel will be coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
You can watch the trailer for this beautiful and creative game here:
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Starting with a wonderfully cheesy dance routine by a costumed zombie set to Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone”, EA announced the follow-up to their 2014 tower defence/Battlefield hybrid.
Unlike every other instalment in the franchise, the plants are now the attackers! They’re bolstered by six new character classes, including Kernel Corn, Citron, and Rose.
They showed off some gameplay footage, which looks as ridiculous as the original and like utter madness. It also looks like lots of fun. Jeremy Vanhoozer, franchise creative director of Plants vs Zombies, describes the motto at work behind the game as “Go big, go crazy, have fun!”
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 launches in spring 2016 on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
NBA Live 16
NBA Live 16 was hyped up, showcasing an impressive array of graphical and technical improvements. Included in the new lineup of features is an app that offers “exclusive game face HD scanning tech” to put you in the game. The scan worked perfectly during the presentation, but we all know the horror stories from similar technologies out there. It could have done without the celebrity endorsement, but seeing an actual basketball player embrace the game is sure to give fans confidence in the upcoming instalment.
EA showed off their physics-based player movement system “Live Motion”. The movement animations shown in trailers and gameplay footage so far look really fluid and contextual, which seems like a great step forward for sports games.
They also teased an online mode coming later, but no details were announced.
NBA Live 16 releases September 29th 2015, and the face scanner app will be available before the game launches so that you can have your personalised character ready and waiting.
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
Samantha Ryan from EA Mobile announced this collectible card game, and boldly claimed that “We believe this is the Star Wars game mobile players have been waiting for.”
We’ll see about that, but I’m not opposed to more Star Wars, wherever it comes from.
A mobile builder game featuring Despicable Me’s minions, and Phil, a character exclusive to the game. When Phil crashes a cruise ship he has to build a Minion paradise for his friends on a tropical island.
It doesn’t look mind-blowing, but I can see it becoming a new favourite for commuters due to its colourful aesthetic and cheeky cast.
The soccer game showcase started with an interview with Pelé, widely regarded as the best player in history. Fans of the game (in real life or games) should consider watching it, because it’s inspiring to see how passionate Pelé is about the sport.
Building off NBA Live 16’s emphasis on flow, EA showed footage of motion capturing FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to make sure all your movement and ball control is fluid in-game. Motion capture should add a nice personal touch to the game, and recording it from one of today’s best athletes will hopefully give players the sense that they’re professional soccer athletes too. In fact, all the new features are aimed at cultivating this experience, and it looks like EA have succeeded!
As impressive as these gameplay changes are, perhaps the most exciting is the introduction of women’s teams! Hopefully this will open FIFA up to a wider audience, and it’s really encouraging to see a huge company like EA work towards positive representations of women in games.
FIFA 16 will hit your screens in September.
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is a prequel to the original game, and explores Faith’s origin as a Runner. Sara Jansson introduced the game by discussing what it is that makes Faith such an intriguing character: “Who would save us from our oppressors, from ourselves? Could a young girl without any superpowers be a catalyst for change? These are questions you may ask yourselves, and these are the questions that inspired us as we set out to bring Mirror’s Edge to a new generation of gamers.”
Mirror’s Edge’s unique first-person free-running gameplay offered a unique gameplay experience, and Catalyst boasts new and improved techniques to make you feel even more graceful, elegant, efficient, and powerful. It’s also opening the series up to an open world with no loading screens or individual levels, promising endless free-running and a true sense of being free. To top it off, the game is built with the latest iteration of the Frostbite engine, which means it looks absolutely gorgeous!
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst is coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on 23rd February 2016.
Madden NFL 16
Build your dream team from a huge range of professional footballers in Madden NFL 16, and play with your drafted team solo or online. The system has been streamlined but the features have all gotten more interactive.
Just like NBA and FIFA, Madden NFL 16 has a new and improved movement system that gives players more control over their team and their tactics.
Check out the gameplay trailer and start thinking about your dream team! Madden NFL 16 is out on 25th August 2015 on Xbox One, PS4, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Star Wars: Battlefront
These games are exciting, but we finally reached the moment we’ve all been waiting for! We finally got more info on the long-awaited Star Wars: Battlefront in the form of gameplay footage demoing the Battle of Hoth. The video jumps between certain Empire and Rebel characters, and shows off Walkers, Snow Speeders, and Tie Fighters weaving through the foot soldiers.
DICE are well known for their quality sound design, and they’ve nailed the iconic sounds we all know and love. Blasters look and sound like they’ve been ripped straight on the films. Ships tear through the sky above you with the same whining engine noise as the original Battle of Hoth. At one point the character takes cover under a shield as an orbital strike rains down, and the shield makes that perfect thunking noise.
Characters seem to have a nice array of gadgets and abilities to play a unique role on the battlefield and complement other play styles. The gameplay looks smooth and aside from a fairly basic HUD there are no tell-tale signs that this is still in development.
The gameplay video ended with a tease of Luke Skywalker cutting down some Stormtroopers and meeting Vader on the battlefield.
Excited is an understatement!
Star Wars Battlefront is coming to PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on 17th November 2015.
Here’s the multiplayer gameplay footage so you can watch it on repeat:
EA had some standout moments in their presentation, and obviously pleased fans with Mass Effect and FIFA, but other sections felt rushed, especially the sports announcements. The presentation didn’t have the flair or surprise value of Bethesda’s opening day, but there were no flat moments and the speakers seemed genuinely excited to be talking about their games.
Besides, Star Wars: Battlefront was good enough to make up for any “meh” moments.
For more info on EA’s presentation make sure to tune into our Game Over podcast later this week!