Today officially starts E3 off with EA Play, the E3 press conference that "isn't a E3 press conference, we are separate we promise." Over the last three to four years, EA has been getting worse, with this most recent offering from them, have they really changed their tune, like they said they wanted to? That is always up for debate, however it can be said if nothing else, EA has gotten better at moving quicker through their more boring, and cringe worthy aspects when it comes to their E3 offerings. It can be said that this is most definitely better done than their last two without a doubt, and a great deal of that is more due to who they chose to host it, Andrea Renee. While not perfect, she is heads above their choices in previous years, and it is a most welcome change. While the lineup is the usual suspects of inclusions, new Battlefield game, their typical sports games, E-sports inclusions, game service back patting, charity self-congratulatory preening, the speed at which the information was disseminated was quicker, and thankfully less pretentious than previous (though still has plenty of pretension), as a whole is was mostly tolerable this time.
The games shown were of pretty standard fare for EA, with a few welcome surprises strewn throughout. Starting the show off is Battlefield 5, which likely due to its reveal late last month there was a somewhat of a dearth of new information. Mostly used as a means of clarification of points of confusion to the core audience, there was at least some new news. They confirmed that there is not going to be any form of loot boxes, that while there will be microtransactions, they will be direct purchase for cosmetics only, and the content of the game post-launch will be free for the life of the game. The devs also mentioned that the destruction engine has been improved upon, and made more distinct, so you could drive your tank through buildings, and drive to the other side. Gun emplacements will be mobile, where you can hook them to your vehicle and drag them to another point on the map. Also the movement has been improved, where you will be able to jump through a window that is still intact, among other movement being a likely addition. The last thing is that there will indeed be a "Battle Royale" mode, that is currently known simply as "Royale" no other information was given on that.
After that short presentation, they moved onto their sports games. First up was Fifa, and they announced that not only is there going to be a World Cup update to the current game, Fifa 18, rather than a separate release as is the usual decision, but there is also a free trial for the full game, starting today, available PS4, Xone, and PC. Fifa 19 was briefly mentioned with the typical mentions of the story mode, the gameplay improvements, and "pitch control," but also the inclusion of the Champions League for the first time in franchise history, the game releases on 28 Sept. 2018. Short trailers of NBA Live, and Madden 19 were shown, sometime later, with release dates of 7th Sept. and 31st August respectively. There was mention of a yet unnamed streaming service that will be coming in the future, and the creation of Origin Access Premier, coming in the summer, with a price of 15.99 a month, or 99.99 a year, with the main difference being you will actually own the games that you have access to within this service.
A short talk with Vince Zampella gave a small "tidbit" of information of their in development Star Wars game titled Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, scheduled to be released in "holiday" 2019, and you will be able to "use a lightsaber," the story will take place in the "time of darkness" that happened between episode 3 and 4. In other Star Wars related news, Battlefront II gave a few announcements to game, and content updates to "look forward to," with a new squad system, a new dogfighter mode which will use hero ships. Also they confirmed that the long awaited Clone Wars content will be coming later this year, the first planet included in this will be Geonosis, with a couple levels, and the announced heroes for this will be General Grievous, Obi Wan Kenobi, Count Dooku, and Anakin Skywalker. Time will tell how long this game will receive support, but hopefully the fans will get a fair shake, and that the content is good, full bodied content that feels worth the wait.
After this they announced two indie projects, one a sequel, and another new project, just announced. The first was Unravel Two, which adds a co-op functionality to the game, where there are now two yarnie that are attached to each other, with all the gameplay that comes with such a mechanic. It looks like they increased the speed at which the game plays considerably, and also the attached character mechanic seems to have increased the complexity a fair bit as well. Also, while you do not have to play it co-op, when solo, you will still be controlling both characters simultaneously, however, you can have one yarnie jump onto the back of the other so you are technically controlling only one. The other game titled Sea Of Solitude, is an interesting looking platformer that deals in emotions, and how they affect us, and those around us, more specifically: loneliness. In the world of the game, too much loneliness (and maybe other emotions, currently unconfirmed) turns humans into monsters, and the impetus of this game is trying to find balance of your emotions in order to turn a girl, recently turned into a monster back to a human, and find emotional equilibrium.
After a lackluster reveal of Command & Conquer: Rivals, a mobile PvP RTS game, and announcement of registration for "pre-alpha" access on Android systems, they moved onto the meat of this conference, Anthem. They announced a fair amount pertaining to the story, world, and gameplay of this game, and while a fair bit of it sounds interesting, with the recent track record of both EA, and Bioware, it seems better to take a wait and see approach. Firstly, they confirmed that while the open world area is where the co-op part of the game will take place, the cities and towns throughout the world is where your single-player content will be taking place, consisting of character interactions, and the game's singleplayer story. As is usual for these "games as a service," content will continue past the ending that you receive at the completion of the base game, where they want to create a world of "mystery." Your character is known as a "freelancer," and as such they have the capabilities to use the exo-suits known as Javelins, these armors come in four different "specs," the seeming "jack-of-all-trades" Ranger, the "tank-like" Colossus, the "speedy" Interceptor, and the seemingly "glass-cannon," Storm. These will of course be customizable, (though there was no given indication of whether there was more to it than simple color changes), which while there will be purchasable cosmetic options, there will be a lack of loot boxes, all will be direct purchases, and will not affect gameplay in any way. While the game is more or less meant to be played with others, you can play it solo, with a difficulty curve giving those players a "slight" disadvantage to those utilizing co-op, lastly, they announced the game will have a release date of 22nd February 2019, with no information pertaining to the existence of a Beta.
After all is said and done, was EA and what they showed a worthwhile endeavor? As with most things, that is completely subjective, while it was a vast improvement over the last few years, and not as boring, there is still a bit lacking from the presentation as a whole. Personally, none of these games hold any interest whatsoever, and will never buy another product from this company ever again, but the improvement in attitude, and presentation is appreciated regardless. EA is a company that is an "acquired taste" especially these days, they know how to speak to their audience however, and have hopefully learned from their mistakes of the recent past though in the larger scheme of things, and with someone like Andrew Wilson at the helm, that much is doubtful, at best.
~Koyuuki °˖ ✧◝(○ ヮ ○)◜✧˖ °