EA Play: New Experiences, New Stories & Breathtaking visuals

EA Play kicked off E3 like no other with two separate conferences streaming from both London and Los Angeles and demonstrated a lot of interactivity between the two via satellite feed. We were treated to a lot of predictability, but also a lot of new insights into the world of EA (Electronic Arts). EA really stole the show with some promising titles coming up this year, so what happened?

The introduction provided watchers with the phrase ‘It’s time to play’ which really relates to the amount of games that are already here and coming our way. They want people to play and want people to join the 2.6 billion gamers out there.

Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA, said 60 minutes is just not enough to showcase everything they wanted to and so was the real influence for hosting their own event.

First up was Titanfall 2 with Respawn Entertainment CEO Vince Zampella. The series will be coming to PS4 and the trailer showed there will be plenty of first-person shooter content, lots of stealth, plenty of melee including grappling hooks and also moments that looked like anti-gravity was used.

titanfall2
Your Titan compadre ‘BT’ in the single-player mode

What is new to the series is six new titans all with their own traits and abilities. There will be more customisation but the real show stealer was that this game will have offline single-player gameplay. Players will be able to delve deeper into the world of Titanfall and learn about the connection between humans and titans and how it developed. The game will release on October 28th on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Next up was sports with Madden NFL 17. The focus was on eSports and competition. Coinciding with EA Play comes three new tournaments. The first is ‘Challenger’ which is where players can create their own tournaments. Secondly, there is Premier which is large scale live events and finally EA Major Events which will be huge events up for grabs on a global stage. In all competitions there will be up to $1 million prize money.

Fifa 17 will be run through the Frostbite engine which is a reoccurring name in the next couple of titles. The game will have a strong single player mode called ‘The Journey’ which takes the life of upcoming footballer ‘Alex Hunter’ and places them in real world football. Football managers will also play a role from the sidelines and upon this mention there came the ‘special one’ José Mourinho who had a bit of banter with Peter Moore in London about the lack of managers in the game.

EA also mentioned that they will be hosting charity events for five charities: Special Effect, Code 2040, Code.org, He for She and Women Information. In games such as Battlefront, Battlefield: Hardline and Fifa 16 players will be able to compete in missions and give donations to charities.

mass effect
An Asari was shown in the trailer, how many new alien species will we see?

Mass Effect: Andromeda which is being made through the Frostbite engine showcased spectacular visuals of space, creatures of all sizes (some huge) and ships. Andromeda is a whole new adventure in an aim to find a new home for the humans. CEO of BioWare Aaryn Flynn said this game would let imaginations run wild. Players will be treated to a whole new cast and plenty of freedom with the trailer depicting a women waking up from deep sleep in a spaceship and saying: “we made it.” We did not get to see too much from the trailer or be told much in general and for a game releasing in a few months it is a little disappointing to say the least.

One of the most popular games from last year’s E3 was Unravel which showcased one of the most beautiful graphical side-scrollers to date. Patrick Soderlund of EA informed us of how the company is working with indie developers to support, fund and provide security. He said that all profit made will go back into the hands of the developers.

The first title to come out of this programme is ‘Fe‘ by Swedish company ‘Zoink.’ For me personally, this title takes home the biscuit and shows that we haven’t done everything in video games. The idea of the game is that you wake up as a cub and the idea behind it is to develop a relationship with nature due to our longing aim to be one with the world. The most interesting part of this game is that there is no dialogue and the game is not going to spoonfeed you the answers. You have no idea of who you are or how you got here. Every creature you find is connected by their own language and this is where sound is incorporated and is used as the mainframe of the game.

Throughout the game you can learn about this communication and use it for its purpose with those species. In the end the character will learn the secrets of its  own kind, but not without learning about and defeating the enemy: ‘the silence’. The game has an ambient soundtrack, mixtures of dark colours and tons of creatures you can ride on, but you can even fly yourself. A must to check out in my books.

Star Wars
Behind the scenes development on a new Star Wars game.

One of my favourite franchises, Star Wars, has a ton of video games and the train keeps rolling because it was revealed by EA that multiple companies including Respawn, Dice and Bioware are working on titles. One example is that we have a new Battlefront in the works. I was said by Jane Raymond that EA is listening to the fans, adding what the fans want and this includes content from the new films.

Visceral will be creating an original narrative with new characters and Respawn are looking at a different Star Wars era to create a third-person action adventure title. All of these companies are working with Lucasfilms and are aiming to do what hasn’t been done before to create a authentic Star Wars story. The trailer also showed the use of the Playstation VR which leaves endless questions for the potential of these games.

tank
Actual Battlefield 1 gameplay with striking early 20th century architecture getting a real feel for the time.

Finally, it’s the one game that we’re all waiting for Battlefield 1. This and Titanfall 2 could cause the end of Call of Duty.

Battlefield is a series with 60 million players and the company knew they could not make an ordinary game. In one late night in Stockholm it was decided that a World War I concept would be their next main series title.

Patrick Bach of Dice said that no battle will be the same as there will be dynamic weather which will be unpredictable causing players to have to adjust their gameplay to the conditions, more intricate destruction and more natural gameplay. To show off the game, viewers of the Twitch stream were treated to the new online deathmatch campaign which has a total of 64 players in a 32 v 32 team at any point. The teams included famous YouTube gamers such as Achievement Hunter’s Gavin Free along with popular music icons such as Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa.

There was a look at vehicles including the new behemoths like blimps which when brought down, can fall anywhere and cause plenty of destruction. The carcass of the blimp does not de-spawn and so players have another obstacle in the vast surroundings. There are plenty of gun classes, weapons to use against tanks such as special grenades and airplane battles. Basically, there is a ton of stuff going on in this game – no two games are alike. There are rocket guns for assault, signal flares for snipers and syringes for medics. The game has plenty of content.

The main message in the trailer sates: “We’re gonna change the world” and in terms of gameplay, Battlefield might do just that.

EA look to have a lot of promising ideas and titles in the mix for the rest of this year and have set themselves as a strong contender for the rest of E3. Their EA Play has proved a fun idea and it wouldn’t be surprising if during E3 next year we see more personal conferences by other companies.

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