Pre-E3 hype has been building up quite nicely so far, with strong showings from Bethesda and Xbox. Despite how much flak we like to throw at EA, they still produce some of our favourite titles. So how was EA’s E3 Live to Play Press Conference? Hit the jump and see.
The showcase began with aplomb, and cold-opened into the announcement for Mass Effect: Andromeda, out later this year. We only got a short teaser, but the Andromeda subtitle obviously means the game will take place in a new galaxy. Furthermore, the player character never removes their unusually shaped helmet, which means that they may not be human…
Then they moved on to a Need for Speed trailer, showing off a gloriously neon-soaked CGI trailer filled with street-racing porn. The game will take place in the open-world city of Ventura City. A short gameplay video began with a demonstration of the vehicle customisation engine, which EA promises will be their most detailed yet. The game then showed off the ability to seamlessly enter races and events while free-roaming through the map. The storyline involves impressing and eventually out-racing five faction leaders.
You can take to the streets on November 3rd, 2015.
Next up was some Star Wars: The Old Republic news. A new, single-player, story-driven campaign will be added to the game soon, subtitled Knights of the Fallen Empire. It promises to recapture the spirit of the old Knights of the Old Republic games, and will be free to SWOTOR subscribers on 27 October 2015.
Next on stage was a presentation by Swedish team Coldwood, who were presenting Unravel, an adorable physics-based puzzle game. Your character, Yarnie, unravels a red thread of yarn as he traverses the level, and this thread can be used for navigating the level. Overall, it looks sweet, poignant, and could be a Pixar movie.
The poignant and tender atmosphere built by Unravel was then smashed with the arrival of a zombie, dancing to a fanfare of “Danger Zone“. Yep, Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. A new four-player co-op called “Graveyard Ops” was demoed, which has players controlling Zombies to set up defenses and fight back against the Plant hordes. It’s a nice change of pace, and this gametype seems very reminiscent of Nazi Zombies.
Garden Warfare 2 will also have single-player components, allowing you to battle solo against bots. Also, make sure you keep your game files from Garden Warfare 1, because nearly all unlocked characters can be transferred. Grab your fertiliser, and get ready for a Q1-Q2 2016 release.
Next up was EA Sports. Will all the Canadians in the house please put your hands up for NHL 16? Or maybe you’re a golf fan and you’ll like Rory McIlroy PGA Tour? It’s the first EA Sports game to run with the Frostbite engine, and there will be no loading screens between holes. Beyond that, some new contextual teaching-aids will be present in NHL 16, FIFA 16, and Madden 16. These will ease new players into the games.
NBA Live 16 showcased their updated game-face capture feature. This allows you to scan your face into the game, and then edit that face extensively. Character customisation has been upgraded, as well as improved animations on the court. In general, the new changes to NBA Live 16 make the game far more lifelike and give players more control over the action.
And next was the surprise appearance of football legend Pele, which prompted the entire audience to give him a standing ovation. The star shared a few insights and anecdotes about soccer before leaving the stage so that FIFA 16 could be demoed.
Called: “The most balanced FIFA yet,” the demo showed off some advancements to defending and attacking. The other big feature is the addition of female FIFA teams, which caused the crowd to cheer again.
The sports section temporarily came to a close, and Mirrors Edge: Catalyst took to the screens. Players will be able to play the origin story of heroine Faith, playing through the same incredible first-person parkour and martial arts that made Mirror’s Edge famous. The biggest news was that Catalyst would take place in an entirely open-world. You can step into the tabi-boots of Faith on Feburary 23rd, 2016.
The conference then went BACK to sports with Madden NFL 2016. First up were some details about Fantasy Football support in the game, called Draft Champions. Fantasy Football is something I know nothing about, so I might have blacked out for the next few minutes.
When I came to, there was some talk of NFL’s improved passing abilities. There are new options for catching, as well defending. This was the point where I blacked out again under the weight of sports terminologies. If American football is your thing, you can pick it up this August.
Peter Moore then took to the stage, and began the presentation for Star Wars: Battlefront. The game is running in the Frostbite engine, so naturally it looks gorgeous and insanely detailed. Map sizes were confirmed to range between 40 players battles, down to eight player skirmishes. Jedis were also confirmed as playable.
And then the gameplay presentation began with one of the most iconic Star Wars scenes: The battle of Hoth. The gameplay is fast-paced, large scale and epic in scope. Opposing teams compete for various objectives, and you’ll feel tiny while scurrying around on foot as aircraft and AT-ATs clash overhead. Unless you’re actually piloting one of these vehicles, then you’ll have a sense of how large and varied the maps actually are. The trailer ended with a duel between a playable Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. The Force is strong with this one, and we will get our hands on it on November 17th, 2015.
All in all, EA delivered on some key areas. Mass Effect: Andromeda was rumoured, but the sudden teaser trailer was a great surprise. The usual batch of sports games show some improvements, and Need for Speed looks gorgeous. And of course, Star Wars: Battlefront looks spectacular!