EA comes to Play
Sure, EA might technically be the first E3 press conference this year, but only in spirit. Today's presentation is actually the start of EA Play, which sees the publisher abscond from E3 proper to host its own fan/press event in the adjacent Novo Theater, and simultaneously in London. Watching the online stream probably proceeded as normal, but it was certainly strange to be in the audience—half of the presentation took place in the room, while the other half was livestreamed to us from Europe, via Peter Moore.
Regardless, the result is lots of games—most that we already knew about, including Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, and Mass Effect Andromeda. There were some small surprises though. Play to Give and EA Originals, anyone?
EA's press conference started with a leak—though, to be honest, what hasn't leaked ahead of E3 this year? The trailer for Titanfall 2 went live mere hours before EA's press conference, but it's still pretty impressive. The focus is still on mobility, wall-running, sliding, et cetera, and this time grappling hooks make an appearance, along with six new Titans to command.
More interesting though: Respawn is including a singleplayer campaign this time around. A real one, not just a series of multiplayer maps with awkward voiceovers. Maybe that'll help the game's playerbase stick around this time when Titanfall 2 launches on October 28.
Madden NFL 2017
Hey, there's a new Madden. Hey, it's still probably not coming to PC.
Like Activision and many other big-name games publishers, EA’s pushing hard into e-sports, with a new focus on tournaments for its flagship titles.
The new push divides tournaments into three different types. “Challenger” tourneys are hosted and run by fans. “Premier” tourneys are higher-profile, hosted by EA itself and run by partners. Finally, “EA Major” events are the cream of the crop, with competitors from all around the globe and marquee events.
Mass Effect Andromeda
We've been seeing behind-the-scenes trailers for Mass Effect Andromeda but very little real game footage for years now. That trend...didn't really change today. Once again we got a look at a bunch of Maya windows and motion cap rigs.
There were a few teasers of real game in between all the non-footage, though—including, maybe, a shot of the game's protagonist at the end. And BioWare did promise "More freedom than we've ever given players in a BioWare game."
I guess that'll have to do, for now. The game's scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2017 so they'll have to show more concrete gameplay sometime soon, right?
EA Play to Give
Perhaps trying to distance itself from the ol' "Worst Company in America" title, EA announced a new Play To Give program during its press conference. EA's put new achievements into certain titles (Battlefield 4 and Star Wars Battlefront, among others) that are rewarded for helping teammates. In return, EA will donate a million dollars to various charities at the end of the week.
I wasn't a huge fan of Unravel, but I did like EA's intent—find small indie games and help them with funding and marketing, like EA in its earliest days. Now EA's codified that relationship with a new "EA Originals" program, where all profit goes back to developers.
Their showcase game this year? Fe, which looks like some sort of open-world exploration game starring a fox. Very '90s mascot-platformer-esque.
Did you forget EA owned the Star Wars license? They certainly didn't. EA confirmed that another Battlefront is coming in 2017, and that Respawn and Visceral are also working on new Star Wars titles.
But like Mass Effect, this was another "behind-the-scenes footage mixed with teasers" presentation for all three games. They basically confirmed the games exist and then walked off-stage. Strange.
The one interesting tidbit? Mention of Respawn working in a "different era" of the Star Wars canon.
EA closed out its show with Battlefield 1, which we saw last month at the world reveal. There wasn't much for them to show off here that hadn't already been shown, though we did get the new CG-heavy trailer above. Also, confirmation that you can fly (and shoot down) airships in the game, which is all I really wanted to begin with.
Unlike most of EA's games, Battlefield 1 is playable here at the show so we'll have more granular impressions coming soon. It'll release on October 21, with a beta test opening sometime beforehand.