It’s the most wonderful time of the year, E3! And once again EA have claimed the earliest conference time to show off all the goodies we’ll be getting our hands on over the coming weeks and months.
Prior to the press conference itself was a short pre-show with hosts Andrea Rene and Jose Sanchez talking about the activities available at EA Play this year. EA has been renting out its own space away from the main E3 to run various stalls, including a ball pit this year. For some reason.
Also during the pre-show Jose chatted to two popular YouTubers, Madeline Dusek “Deligracy” and James Turner of “The Sim Supply” about the upcoming expansion pack for The Sims 4, Seasons.
This time Seasons includes various holiday themes as well as the usual rainy days and snowfall.
Then it was time for the main show, starting off with Battlefield V. Battlefield 5. Battlefield 5 Royale? Yes, whether you wanted it or not DICE have confirmed they’ll be adding a Battle Royale style mode to Battlefield 5, featuring all the usual tanks and destruction gameplay you’ve come to expect from Battlefield. That’s all the detail we have right now on the Royale mode, expect more in the weeks ahead.
For those worried after the fiasco that was the lootbox system in Star Wars: Battlefront 2, EA has confirmed there’ll be no loot boxes in Battlefield V. Nor will there be a Premium Pass, something past Battlefields have offered as a way of getting access to new maps early, as well as priority access in server queues and bonuses for their old loot box system.
In terms of actual gameplay, you can hitch defensive emplacements to tanks to move them around the battlefield. It’s not clear whether they can be fired while moving, but expect crazy shenanigans if so. The Microsoft briefing will have more Battlefield details, including information on Nordlys War Story, which seems to be the singleplayer campaign?
Next, sportsball part 1! FIFA 19 is, of course, happening and this time it will have the UEFA Champions League playable. That seems to be the “big thing” for FIFA 19, unlike past years where there’s been highlights of new tackles or ball handling skills. FIFA 18 has also been updated with the upcoming World Cup teams and a free trial including that update is available right now. See if you can take Iceland all the way to the World Cup!
Something of a curve ball next, with a kind of vague announcement of a cloud streaming service coming from EA? All the games will live on EA’s servers and players can stream them to whatever device they want. Many other companies have tried this before and we’re all still not actually doing that, but EA certainly has the resources and catalog to try this.
Alongside this is the coming launch of Origin Access Premier, a more premium version of their existing Origin Access subscription. Instead of just playing the back catalog and a few newer games, Premier will give access to the newest PC games. Including Madden 19, back on the PC for the first time in over a decade. Then FIFA 19, Battlefield V and Anthem, plus more titles to come. You’ll also get access to the back catalog, of course.
Coming “later this Summer” at an as yet undisclosed price. If it gives Sims plus all the expansions it might be worth the price of admission on that alone?
Vagueness continues with a short interview with Vince Zampella of Respawn Entertainment. He’s sitting in the crowd. Andrea sits with him to ask about… the Star Wars game they’re working on? Jedi: Fallen Order. Set during “The Dark Times”, between Episode 3 and 4 (Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope) and you’ll get to hold a lightsaber. Coming “Holiday 2019”. And that’s literally all we know.
In much more exciting and detailed Star Wars news, DICE have acknowledged that the launch of Battlefront 2 was kind of a mess due to the lootbox fiasco. They’ve been trying to build better experiences into the game ever since, including the launch of Ewok Hunt a few months ago. They’re about to start their season of Solo content, to tie in with the recently released Han Solo film, which will include Kessel as a playable space.
Later this year they’ll be adding a bunch of new heroes and planets from the Clone Wars. General Grievous is coming! And, of course, Obi Wan Kenobi to face him. Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker also confirmed.
Next, tis a dark and stormy night and a poor little ship is being tossed about on the open water. Then, a flash of red yarn… It’s Yarny! He’s back!
And in Unravel Two, he’s got himself a blue yarn friend, who is unnamed at present. Ynray, perhaps?
Unravel Two is a singleplayer or co-op game. If playing solo Yarny can gather Ynray into himself and they run together until needing to solve a harder puzzle, where you can split the two and swap control back and forth. Or you can just play co-op! You’re always linked together and can catch each other on hard jumps, or stretch your joining yarn across gaps to form jumping platforms.
Sound good? Well, it’s out right now! On PC via Origin, Xbox One and Playstation 4.
The original Unravel was part of what EA call their EA Originals initiative, where they seek out small developers making interesting titles and offer them help to get their games out the door.
The next game they’re looking to do this with is from German developer Jo-Mei, and it’s called Sea of Solitude. A story about being lonely in a big scary flooded world. There’s not a lot of detail about what you’re going to be doing, but it looks super creepy. Definitely don’t skip the trailer on this one. Sea of Solitude is due early 2019.
Sportsball breaks number two and three!
NBA Live 19 available September 7. It’s basketball. There’s a cool soundtrack and a lot of talk of being “The One” but no details on what makes this one different to the last one. Sorry, watch the very short trailer!
Madden 19. Now even more Madden-y than Madden 18 and not quite as Madden-ish as Madden 20. If sportsball games are your thing you’re going to buy this regardless for the roster updates alone. It does look pretty great this year.
And now, something super mysterious on mobile platforms. They don’t reveal the name until the end, but if you’re familiar with the old school Command & Conquer titles you’ll recognise the GDI and NOD logos and units. Especially the tiberium harvesters!
Command & Conquer: Rivals is a heavily cut down version of the classic RTS title, where you mostly order units around on a single screen trying to maintain control of specific points on the map. Control the majority for long enough and a missile will launch at the enemy base. Two hits will destroy the base, so you can make a comeback after a slow start, but the game isn’t likely to drag on.
The demonstration on stage with two high level RTS players made it seem very tense, but if you’d like to try it for yourself it’s available in pre-alpha form on the Android platform right now. iOS version will be coming some time later.
Last cab off the rank is the one most people have been waiting for since last E3 – Anthem.
Bioware are promising a living, evolving world where your personal story will matter, but missions and general exploration will take place in a shared world. If it’s night time for you in the game, it’s night time for everyone. If a crazy shaper storm is rolling through a zone in your game, it’s rolling through for everyone. You may or may not be in the same shared instance with everyone but if you and a mate were both playing at the same time you’ll be able to share stories of things that happened in the world, even if you weren’t in the same team.
The world is not Earth, not a colony of Earth, nothing to do with it. The world was created by an ancient godlike race, but abandoned during the build process, leaving massive machines behind, which occasionally malfunction and change conditions. The Anthem from the title is the Anthem of Creation, a sort of opposing force of nature, which is in conflict with the terraforming process, leading to a lot of havoc. Enemies of the freelancers (you!) The Dominion are attempting to weaponise the Anthem of Creation and use it for their own purposes.
The four Javelin exosuits have been confirmed. Ranger, Colossus, Interceptor and Storm. Each has different skills and gear, but you’re not the exosuit. You’re a pilot and can thus have any of the exosuits equipped, depending on your mood or the activity you’re tackling.
Yes, there will be microtransactions, but they will be cosmetic in nature and you will always know what you’re buying – no mystery lootboxes. The example shown on stage is various paint jobs for your Javelin, including a Mass Effect themed N7 kit. Clearly, a must buy.
It’s possible to play the game solo if you prefer, your home base area will be just for you, but Bioware are hoping to encourage co-op and making that a good experience for everyone.
And lastly, a release date! Anthem is coming February 22, 2019 to PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4.
That wraps it up for EA Play 2018! What game are you most looking forward to?
Stay tuned to Player Attack for the rest of the E3 press conferences. Check here for times to watch live!