For the last three years, EA has run their own fanfest in Los Angeles alongside the official E3 event.
This year was rather light on big announcements or surprises. Perhaps some of the most interesting things said were in response to the huge controversies surrounding loot boxes and EA’s botched launch of BattleFront II.
Nonetheless, here are the biggest things EA talked about during their press conference.
The latest entry to the Battlefield series kicked off the event, with more information about the multiplayer and singleplayer experiences. For those who don’t know, Battlefield V is going to take place during WWII, but it isn’t a hyper-realistic simulator.
They weren’t very forthcoming with information for the single-player, opting to say more during the XBOX conference tomorrow. They did emphasise that you’ll be experiencing WWII through the eyes of the men and women who helped shape the world with “War Stories”. We will have to see what comes tomorrow.
On the multiplayer front, they said that it was the deepest and most immersive Battlefront yet, with more destructive environments - including the ability to smash through windows.
They made a big point to state that the game will have no loot boxes and no premium pass, which received cheers from the crowd.
Oh, and there is going to be a battle royale mode, because that’s the in thing.
With the World Cup starting in just four days (at time of writing) it is a good time to be the world’s biggest football game publisher. FIFA 18 is getting a free update to include World Cup content, where you can take a team through the tournament - which might be the only way you see England win. If you don’t own FIFA 18 then don’t worry, because for a limited time EA are making the full game available to download for free.
UEFA Champions League is going to be playable in FIFA 19, which is coming out on 28 September.
Respawn’s Star Wars game
Very little has been said up to this point about Respawn’s EA game, and those gagging for information are going to have to continue waiting.
What we did learn was that the game is called Jedi: Fallen Order, and canonically will take place between Episode 3 and 4. It’s a darker tone of game, as obviously the Order has fallen and the Jedi are in disarray during this period.
It will launch in the holidays of 2019.
Star Wars Battlefront II
Dennis Brännvall from DICE came on stage to give us updates on Battlefront II. He started things off though by admitting that the team got things wrong when the game first launched - perhaps an understatement when you consider that it triggered legislative investigations into the nature of loot boxes.
However, he did also announce a slew of announcements for the game. Han Solo season is starting next week, with content from the Solo movie coming across. They will also be releasing an expansion that focuses on The Clone Wars. General Grievous, Obi-Wan, Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker will be playable.
The adorable, yarn-based and emotionally driven game Unravel has now got a sequel.
While the first game was praised for its airy, breathy tone, it was underwhelming to play, with some frustrating mechanics and slightly slow pace. The team at ColdWood have taken this on board and seemingly focused on adding to the experience this time around. The tone was certainly a bit darker, with you losing everything at the start of the game, including your life-giving spark. However, hope is not lost, and from the darkness can come light.
Specifically, you can now play the game on your own or with a friend in co-op. I got the impression that co-op is their preference, mentioning a couple of times that puzzles have now been designed to make use of the two yarn characters working together. They’ve also added more fast paced moments to the game.
The biggest surprise though was that the game is out now.
Sea of Solitude
One of the most interesting games to be demoed was Sea of Solitude, a indie game from the small Berlin studio Jo-Mei Games.
Not much was said, but the game focuses on loneliness, and how humans can turn into monsters when they are alone. It follows Kay, who has woken up as a monster, due to her own struggles with loneliness and inner-turmoil.
It comes out Early 2019.
NBA Live 19 AND Madden 19
Very little was really said about either. The former is coming out 7 September, the latter wasn’t given a release date BUT for the first time in over a decade it will be coming to PC as part of the new Origin Access Premier subscription - also announced today and also very light on detail.
Command and Conquer: Rivals
The classic Command and Conquer has been reimagined for a mobile market. The real-time strategy game (RTS) was shown off on stage with a shoutcaster commentating on a battle between two gamers. If I’m being perfectly honest it wasn’t the most gripping event of the press conference, and it’s difficult to judge how fans of the series will react to this new style of gaming.
It did have a bombastic trailer though.
One of the big announcements from the XBOX E3 conference in 2017, Anthem was given more time to breathe - and ease player concerns.
Headline announcement: Anthem will have in-game purchases, but they are completely cosmetic and will have no bearing on your progression through the game. You will always know exactly what you’re buying, and there won’t be any loot boxes.
With that out of the way, we also learned that you play as a ‘freelancer’, and that there are four classes of mechanised suit – called Javelins. They are the Ranger, the Colossus, the Interceptor and Storm. They each offer a different way to play the game, and it seems you will be able to earn different suits as you progress through the game.
The backstory is that this is a world that the gods started to create, but then abandoned. They left the tools on the world, meaning that it is constantly in a state of flux, changing over time. It is a persistent, shared world, meaning that everyone will experience the different weather conditions or attacks at the same time.
It incorporates elements of single and multiplayer. When out in the world you can team up with your friends or other people you might just encounter to take on missions, but when you return to your base it reverts to a single-player experience, and you can then hand in your various quests and learn the outcomes of your actions.
It has quite a lot in common with Destiny, right down to the promise that this will be supported for years with more stuff added to it. Obviously with Destiny that turned out to not be the case, as they released Destiny 2, but Bioware have obviously had the benefit of launching second so they can see what works and what doesn’t. Indeed they seemed to have a subtle dig at Bungie’s efforts, by suggesting that they wanted to create something different from an MMO, or “a multiplayer game with story bolted on the side”.
The game will launch 22 February 2019 but I’m sure we will see more before then, perhaps at Microsoft’s E3 conference tomorrow, as the game is XBOX One X enhanced.