Electronic Arts held their E3 2014 press conference on Monday this week, before the actual event opened, just like Sony, Microsoft and Ubisoft all did. EA had the job of following the Xbox show, which as I’ve mentioned, I think was a really strong showing this year, so the bar was pretty high. As I’ve done with the Big Three’s shows, I’ll break down the EA conference.
EA certainly knew how to start the show off on a high note – kicking off with a phenomenal teaser trailer for DICE’s upcoming Star Wars Battlefront. Curiously, they didn’t put a Three after the title, which has me thinking it might be a “reboot” or that they are kicking around ideas for a sub-title. While what they showed was clearly in the very earliest stages of development, what we did see looked absolutely insane. The detail and love that DICE is putting into this game is really evident – but we have a while to wait to see it, as they are going with Spring 2015 as a release.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
EA followed up Star Wars with a really nice segment featuring one of my favorite developers around – BioWare. BioWare started off by showing a pretty in-depth look at the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition – the third in their fantasy RPG series. The fact that this game will have a more open world, with more control on the tactics of party members (similar to the first game) as well having a “Tactical Camera” option which pauses the time flow for commands, really has me more interested in this game than before. Beyond that, the game itself just looks really good. The other major section of this game was dedicated to showing off four characters – Black Wall (a Grey Warden), Sera (An Elven Archer), Iron Bull (A Qunari Warrior) and Vivenne (A Mage with some curious history and motives). As we get closer to the October 7 release, more and more will be coming out, but it looks like a strong contender for RPG of the year I think.
Mass Effect and New IP
The other great bit of info we got from BioWare was some new information about the next Mass Effect game in development. As a huge fan of the series, it was really refreshing to know that they are creating a brand new story, with new characters and worlds to explore. As much as I love Sheppard – I think it’s clear his story is over. It’s time to move on and find new characters to love. The last little bit of BioWare’s segment was devoted to briefly talking about a brand-new IP that they are developing. This particular game is still super early in development, so we really didn’t get much. I think ultimately, we will probably know more at next year’s show on both Mass Effect and whatever this new IP is.
The Sims 4
EA’s hugely popular world building series got a nice little segment, showing off the personality customization options that they have added into The Sims 4. I’m admittedly not a huge fan of the series, but I know that on September 2, a lot of people will be rushing to grab this one.
EA Sports UFC
EA Sports had a new trailer ready to go showing off Bruce Lee in the new UFC game, showing off exactly how he plays in game. Honestly, it’s a little weird to see him bouncing around and kicking modern UFC fighters, but maybe it works. We’ll know for sure how it plays since the game is out next week.
This year’s entry into the NHL series got a trailer demonstrating the new physics that are being applied to all 12 players, as well as the puck in real time. The nice thing is that this year’s games will be the first ones truly developed for the New-Gen consoles.
New Criterion Game
Another personal favorite developer of mine is returning to their roots with a new IP featuring the high octane action that they were known for with the Burnout series of games. While it won’t be a pure car racer like those games were, this first-person action racing game will have all kinds of crazy vehicles play around with. I doubt we’ll see anything much more from this one until next year though.
EA Sports PGA Tour ’15
The first game to not feature Tiger Woods on the cover nor title, as well as being the first true New-gen console golf sim got a new trailer as well, showing off the new usage of the Frostbite 3 engine. Because Frostbite is a DICE/Battlefield engine, they of course used it to demonstrate the fantasy courses, showing one that was set on Battlefield 4′s Paracel Storm map. One thing that I thought was very cool is that there won’t be any loading between holes. We do have a bit to wait, as it won’t be out until Spring 2015.
What will surely be another big seller, as it is every year, this year’s Madden NFL game got a trailer detailing the defensive overhaul that EA Sports did. Personally, I really only use the Madden games to determine when the summer low season is done, as it releases August 26.
One game that I think might end up being buried under the DOTA 2 hype is the upcoming MOBA Dawngate, which got a developer trailer.
Mirror’s Edge 2
Another cult favorite getting some sequel love, we got the first trailer and look at Mirror’s Edge 2. It’s still early in the development, but we got a good look at Faith’s design and the changes to the combat system. Overall, at this stage, the game looks really strong.
As we get to the World Cup, FIFA ’15 got a new trailer – this one detailing the little tweaks to the system. The primary change that they wanted to promote is that the A.I. will have a sort of memory, which will impact performance and the “emotion” during the matches. I’ve learned very well that I am just terrible at the FIFA games, but the good players will find out if the memory will worth the change this fall.
EA closed with the official unveiling of the new Battlefield game coming October 21, even though it had leaked a few weeks ago. The nice thing about Hardline is that it’s co-developed by DICE and Visceral games (the studio behind Dead Space), which I think will result in both a strong multiplayer experience, while allowing Visceral to develop a great single player game, which has always been lacking in the Battlefield series. One neat thing that I picked up on while they showed some screens was a nice little Easter Egg – there is a poster promoting the “Ishimura” – which of course was the space ship from the first Dead Space. All things considered, the reveal I think looked pretty standard for Battlefield, although the tone seemed a little different than Battlefield 4. The other really cool thing EA did was announce a PS4/PC exclusive beta that started during the conference. While that’s really cool, it had me wondering if maybe the reason it’s not on the Xbox One has something to do with the the leak, and this is EA’s way of punishing them. Total speculation there, but still – the game looks solid, I just wonder how it will separate from what is shaping up to be a really busy October this year.
In the end, I think EA had a pretty strong show – they’re high points were really high (Battlefront, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Mirror’s Edge and Battlefield) and the pace of the show was just right. Good showing this year.