This year’s E3 press conference series is finally underway, so let’s get right to it. After some pretty strained pre-show banter, EA introduced their slate of upcoming games with a show that differed from their past conferences, putting game developers and players front and center. As the company presented simultaneously from Los Angeles and London, lots of new games and initiatives were unveiled, so let’s dig into it.
The first game shown on stage during the show, Titanfall 2 looks to step up the fast-paced, mech-fueled combat introduced in the original game. The game will feature six new Titans, expanded pilot gameplay, and a deeper progression system, among other things. Also noticed in the trailer were such features as Titan melee combat and enhanced movement mechanics. An offline single-player campaign will be available as well, and this addresses one of the biggest complaints critics had with the original game. The story promises to further explore the relationship between pilot and Titan, and what happens when a Titan gets re-assigned.
Titanfall 2 will launch on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 28th. Players interested in the game’s upcoming multiplayer beta can visit the game’s website to sign up for access.
Madden NFL 17 & eSports
Another year, another Madden. In short, Madden NFL 17 promises more balanced gameplay, a deeper franchise mode, and a new commentary team with weekly voiceover updates based on events and happenings in the actual NFL. In addition, EA took this time to highlight this and next year’s Madden Championship series, the latter of which will have a total of one million dollars in prize money. They also dug into their newest eSports initiatives, namely Challenger, Premier, and EA Major events. The Challenger initiative will allow players to more easily organize tournaments, Premier events will be larger events hosted with partners, and EA Major events promise to be marquee EA undertakings on a global scale.
Madden NFL 17 launches on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on August 23rd.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
It’s been several years since a new game in the Mass Effect franchise, and Mass Effect: Andromeda wants to bring the series back in a big way. The game will revolve around mankind’s journey to leave Earth and explore the galaxy to find a new home. It promises more freedom than any BioWare game to date, and like many other EA projects, it uses the Frostbite engine to deliver the more advanced visuals you’d expect to see. A behind-the-scenes trailer emphasized the explorational nature of the game, with teasing glimpses of new environments, in-engine combat, and the return of vehicular exploration.
BioWare promises that more information about the game will come this fall. No firm release date was announced; Mass Effect: Andromeda was recently delayed to Q1 2017.
EA Play to Give
Breaking up the game reveals, EA Play to Give stood out as a new initiative that fuses in-game accomplishments with real-world charities, including SpecialEffect and code.org. For example, current Battlefield games will reward you for helping teammates in need, and EA will couple the completion of those in-game challenges with donations to five different charities totaling one million dollars.
EA spent lots of time giving their annual soccer franchise some love as well. A recap of the franchise’s long history culminated in news about the newest installment, including details about a brand-new mode. FIFA 17: The Journey will deliver a story mode focused around Alex Hunter, a newly-minted professional footballer with dreams of climbing to the top. Several Premier League managers will also make an appearance in the game. In terms of gameplay, four big transformations will occur; among them are set piece rewrites, a new physical play system, and new ways to score.
FIFA 17 will arrive on all current and last-generation consoles on September 27th in North America and September 29th worldwide.
EA Originals & Fe
EA Play to Give wasn’t the only new program announced today. The new EA Originals plan promises to help small developers curate and release their ambitious games by offering developmental, financial, and marketing support. The first EA Originals game was shown on stage as well; Fe, a third-person adventure game by Swedish studio Zoink, wants to explore our relationship with nature. You play as a forest cub that slowly learns more about the world and the other creatures in it while evading The Silent Ones, monsters who silence the forest as they thunder through it. The game promises not to hold your hand or tell you where to go at all, which means you’ll have no choice but to figure things out for yourself.
No release date was announced.
Star Wars Update
In case you haven’t noticed, Star Wars is pretty hot right now. EA reminded us that Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Star Wars Battlefront are all available on their respective platforms today, and they will continue to receive updates with new content. In terms of the future, the company is sinking lots of resources into lots of new games. A new Star Wars Battlefront game will arrive next year, which will include tie-in content from the films as per fan requests. Visceral Games are creating a new action-adventure game set for release in 2018, and Respawn Entertainment also have something related to Star Wars coming in the future, though no additional details were revealed.
Of course, EA saved their biggest for last, and they lavished more hype and attention onto Battlefield 1 than anything else – the game received an hour of coverage after the press conference with full 64-player matches on display. DICE wants to make the game more ambitious and unique than its predecessors, and that means taking destruction and dynamic weather to the next level with even more immersion and variance between matches. The game will also place heavy emphasis on “behemoths,” massive machines like zeppelins and propellor planes that can fight, crash, and heavily alter the flow of a battle.
Battlefield 1 launches October 21st worldwide. Battlefield Insiders will receive free access to the open beta coming later this summer.
What did you think of EA’s press conference this year? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.