E3 week is finally here, and the season started off with Electronic Art’s Play show, a collection of titles coming to market under EA’s banner this calendar year as well as some interesting announcements from the company. This year’s EA Play was quite subdued compared to 2017’s. There were a lot more developers just coming to talk about their games as opposed to focus-your-eyeballs-here marketing runs. The pace was more refined, a little more relaxed, and EA even put in a significant amount of time for discussing Anthem, because that’s something they really need to come out strongly with. We’ve collected the highlights for you, so join us after the jump.
Respawn Entertainment is working on Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
Yeah, so, about Titanfall 3… it’s not coming yet. Instead, the talented folks at Respawn Entertainment are working on Jedi: Fallen Order. It’ll explore a much darker point in the galaxy’s history, set between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope. If you’re not following, this is after Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader and goes on a killing spree under the orders of Emperor Palpatine, waging wars on planets in the inner and outer rims, and hunting down every last Jedi in existence.
Respawn’s Vince Zampella didn’t reveal much about the game’s storyline or its setting, but we’re probably looking at somewhere between Solo: A Star Wars Story and Rogue One. Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is set to launch in Holiday 2019.
EA announces Origin Access Premier
Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson came on-stage to announce Origin Access Premier. For PC players only, Origin Access Premier will allow subscribers entry to an even higher tier of Origin Access, allowing them to play new games from launch day and continue to have them in their library as long as they remain subscribed to the service. EA has not detailed when exactly it will launch, but it’ll be available before the end of Q2 2018 and will cost $14.99 per month (or $99.99 per year, an annual saving of $80).
Origin Access Premier will give players launch-day access to Madden NFL 19, FIFA 19, Battlefield 5, and Anthem. There’s also a streaming service in the works that may end up being bundled with the Premier subscription.
Now, on to the game announcements.
Battlefield 5 has levolution, gun customisation, and trailer hitches
DICE’s Battlefield 5 has been hotly anticipated, and this latest installment is a big change to the traditional formula. The game’s multiplayer now features what can best be described as a “cart” mechanic, where some tanks have a towhitch that allows you to drag another player along for the ride manning something smaller like a machine gun. DICE didn’t talk much about this, but the mechanic could make way for some pretty interesting takes on the “escort this train” sort of game mode. DICE didn’t talk much about the Battle Royale mode that’s also set to make its way into the series, but they did say that they designed it to be a completely different take on the theme, with a certain flair that only the Battlefield series can bring to the table.
A short trailer for the Battlefield 5: Nordly’s War Story DLC is also shown at the end of the E3 reveal trailer, and honestly, I’d subscribe to Origin Access Premier just to play this. Battlefield 5 will launch on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms on 19 October 2018.
FIFA 19, now with 100% more UEFA
My only recollection of the UEFA Champions League is hearing the eTV voice-over guy talking about it happening every Monday evening (right before his launch into Friday Action Night!). Still, the UEFA League is a big-ticket season for soccer fans in Europe, and FIFA 19 will be the first in the series to bring the league into the game, including all official teams, matches, and events. FIFA 19 is once again running on the Frostbite 3 engine, and for the first time in a long time it won’t launch on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms. EA also announced that FIFA 18 players will receive, for free, the World Cup 2018 DLC to play along with the World Cup as it happens.
Rather amusingly, the character models in the World Cup DLC for FIFA 2018 have received a hefty upgrade in quality from the standard FIFA 18 models, but the DLC will package them separately from the main game. FIFA 19 launches on the Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms on 28 September 2018.
Unravel Two with drop-in co-op
Unravel Two’s announcement had me at the edge of my seat for a bit because it starts off a bit like BioShock 2. Yarny, the protagonist of the previous game, is traveling across the sea during a storm when his ship capsizes and he’s thrown overboard. After untangling himself from the sinking vessel, a small island with a lighthouse beckons in the distance, and he begins to swim to it.
Once ashore, he meets another yarned thingy for the first time, and they join threads and go on an adventure together to escape the island. The game features drop-in, drop-out co-op similar to that of Rayman Legends, and some puzzles require you to either switch between the two yarned thingies either on your own, or with a friend. Unravel Two is available starting today on Origin, the PlayStation Store, and the Xbox Store.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 finally adds The Clone Wars
DICE developer Dennis Brännvall took to the stage to announce what the studio and EA have planned for Battlefront 2’s future. He started by acknowledging that the team behind the game didn’t do right by its fans, and Brännvall recapped how the studio had recast its net to exclude gameplay elements that fans didn’t like. Brännvall then went on to announce the Kessel map for the Solo: A Star Wars Story content for Battlefront 2, as well as a new series focus starting with The Clone Wars. DICE is working on a Geonosis map that is apparently the largest they’ve ever designed, and will be adding General Grievous, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Count Dooku, and Anakin Skywalker to the character roster. Geonosis is the stage on which we see the Jedi, under Master Mace Windu’s command, attack and defeat the droid army that Count Dooku had been overseeing.
In addition to this, Brännvall announced that the second part of the Solo Season that DICE is working on will add a new squad-based system for multiplayer matches, a non-linear Starfighter game mode, as well as the new Extraction mode on Kessel, wherein you have to wheel out some dangerously unstable unrefined coaxium to the Millenium Falcon. Brännvall also mentioned the team was working on another Hunt mode like Ewok Hunt. You know… the one where you’re stuck with your squad on Endor, at night, in the pitch dark, with only a torch and your blaster rifle to protect you from an endless, terrifying horde of Ewoks controlled by the opposing team.
Sea of Solitude by Jo-Mei Games
Sea of Solitude is an indie game developed by Germany-based Jo-Mei Games, and published under the EA Originals label. The game tells the story of Kay, a young girl stuck in a world where becoming lonely is almost a death sentence. When humans become lonely in the world of Sea of Solitude, they turn into monsters, and become trapped in an ocean teeming with other things that go bump in the dark. Players must take Kay on a journey of self-discovery as she learns to cope with loneliness and depression, and turn herself back into the human she once was.
NBA Live 19
I’m not terribly familiar with the NBA series and I haven’t played an EA Sports title in years, so I really couldn’t tell you what this short trailer is all about. Still, I can tell you that NBA Live 19 runs on the Frostbite 3 engine. NBA Live 19 is set to launch on 7 September 2018.
Command & Conquer: Rivals for Android and iOS
Command & Conquer: Rivals is a mobile game set within the C&C universe where players pick one of three leaders from the GDI or NOD factions, and battle for field control against an opponent while you simultaneously play a game of capture the flag to gain control of a missile silo in the middle of the field, which will send a warhead to target your opponent’s base. Two strikes from the middle destroys the base and win you the game, but you have to also keep an eye on the forces your opponent is sending to distract you and take control of the battlefield.
Rivals will debut on iOS and Android later this year, and you can register your interest today on the Google Play Store if you wish to participate in the Android alpha test. This game was previously called Command & Conquer: War Zones, but “Rivals” definitely rolls off the tongue easier.
And finally, Anthem!
If you’re thinking that Anthem is basically EA’s answer to Destiny, then you’re probably also tempering expectations as to how this will turn out. Anthem is a multiplayer online role-playing game where you take on the role of a Freelancer, doing freelance-y things while wearing an exosuit that allows you to survive the harsh world outside the confines of the concrete fortress you call home. If you’ve watched Netflix’s Blame! recently, you’ll notice a lot of similarities in the world’s set-up and presentation.
Anthem is set to be a franchise that EA can curate “for at least ten years, maybe”, according to EA vice president Patrick Söderlund. Anthem is set for a 22 February 2019 release on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms.