EA at E3 2017: everything we hope to see at EA Play
EA’s presence at E3 has changed a lot over the past few years, and E3 2017 might well be the one that cements its new approach to the show – an approach that involves not even being at the show, as it happens.
Once again Electronic Arts will descend upon LA alongside the rest of the publishers in early June – but while most will wait until the show doors open before showing off their games, EA is getting out ahead of the rest of the crowd.
EA’s E3 press conference will be the first out of the gates on the Saturday before E3 begins, and once that’s out of the way it will be opening the doors to EA Play – a Hollywood-based extravaganza where fans, media and celebrities alike can get their hands on EA’s games. Last year’s amazing weed-powered Battlefield live stream featuring Snoop Dogg and Jamie Foxx was a test run – now EA is going big.
But what can we expect from them at the show? Well… we thought we’d gather a list of the things they might show – predictions and wishes. It kills me that a new Command & Conquer isn’t on this list, but this is the cruel world we live in. Let’s get to it.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 blown out
Okay, so, come on… let’s start with the obvious. Star Wars Battlefront 2 is coming later this year, and though EA used the Star Wars dedicated Celebration event to announce many of the first details about the game, there’s still a lot left to show.
We already know, for instance, that the EA Play show floor will have the multiplayer component of Battlefront 2 open to both the public and to press – a first-ever multiplayer hands-on and a chance to see how the game’s major systems are mixed up by the changes to Battlefront 2.
Though some details on the changes and additions have been revealed the marketing so far has been largely focused on the new single-player campaign, so this’ll be DICE’s chance to shine with multiplayer action.
It’s also extremely likely we’ll see developers take to the stage to detail the single-player mode of the game more. If you remember EA at E3 last year, it dedicated a good slice of the show – maybe as much as a quarter – to Battlefield 1, and then followed it up with a lengthy livestream of celebrities smoking weed as they played. We’re hoping for the same again, if only for the gifs.
Need for Speed returns for some Payback
Need for Speed has taken a few years off, with the last release a 2015 reboot-of-sorts simply titled… well, Need for Speed. That game had some cool ideas going on, including a fantastic return to good-bad full motion video with real actors.
The development team at Ghost Games has had a couple of years to get this new entry right, and EA has now already gotten out in front of the show with the game, announcing it officially as Need for Speed Payback and confirming it’ll be out in November.
We know that it’ll definitely have a traditional offline single-player mode, and the first trailer gives off a serious Fast & Furious vibe – so they’ve clearly been inspired by the enormous success of those Hollywood films.
Battlefield 1 expands with DLC
Battlefield 1 was EA’s big, heavy-hitter game at E3 last year, and though it’s now old news, per se, the game is still ongoing with an enormous, dedicated audience hitting its multiplayer daily. DLC has been supporting that.
The next major DLC release will be In The Name of the Tzar, and EA and DICE have already teased a little about it with an image of a completely bad-ass looking solider – a woman. That’s a first for Battlefield 1.
The image teaser of the female soldier revealed that she’s from a WW1 squad known as the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death – a group formed back in 1917 in the real world. EA’s almost certain to spend some of the E3 festivities diving into what’s new in this DLC.
Sports Galore – FIFA, Madden and NBA Live
For FIFA and Madden in particular it’ll be worth keeping an eye on how big an esports focus there is now that esports evangelist Peter Moore has departed the company to work on real-life sports at Liverpool Football Club.
There’s also the question of if FIFA 17’s ‘The Journey’ was successful enough for EA to invest in another story mode – and if that feature will cross over into Madden.
NBA Live still exists after year-upon-year of car-crash releases (NBA Live 16, the last, is currently sitting pretty with a metacritic score of 59, and the series skipped last year), so EA has everything to prove there.
More Star Wars from Visceral and Respawn
We’ve already talked about this year’s Battlefront 2, but there are quite a number of other Star Wars games ongoing at EA right now. Any one of them could show up at E3 for a development update even if their releases are a way out. If we’re lucky, we’ll learn more about these.
Dead Space studio Visceral Games has been working on Star Wars for a while now – that’s the game that Uncharted creator Amy Hennig went to work on once she departed Naughty Dog. We got a little glimpse of that game last year, and though its release is still a way off it follows that we’re likely to see it again this year.
Beyond that there’s still more Star Wars to consider from EA, of course. Respawn Entertainment is known for Titanfall and for being founded on a Call of Duty driven legacy, but they too are working on Star Wars. It’ll likely be something different from Respawn’s shooter legacy. By all accounts it appears to be a third-person action game, something which lines up with the involvement of Stig Asmussen – the director of brawler God of War 3.
There are other Star Wars titles either ongoing or in development at EA too, including the continuing MMO The Old Republic and mobile-based game Galaxy of Heroes.
Bioware’s mysterious new IP, codenamed Dylan
The fact that many of the core team that made the original Mass Effect Trilogy has been beavering away on an all-new title for EA since Mass Effect 3 wrapped is hardly a secret. EA itself has spoken about the game several times, and it’s a large part of why Mass Effect Andromeda was made by a new team at Bioware Montreal. That sort of backfired on Andromeda, it seems, but the new IP is still to come.
Allegedly codenamed Dylan, the new IP has been briefly teased in a video a few years ago but otherwise never shown. Nobody knows what it is, though with the game due to launch at some point in 2018 this year’s E3 might be the place for the game to at least be revealed.
The rumor mill pegs the game as a Destiny-style mixture of action, RPG and MMO ideas and mechanics, though if that’ll also be mixed with Bioware’s penchant for branching stories remains unclear.
It’s also worth having Bioware on your radar for Dragon Age, too. A Dragon Age 4 is in ‘worst-kept secret’ territory, and though we don’t think it’s necessarily likely at this year’s E3, it feels more or less inevitable after Inquisition’s strong performance.
Other things we think we’re likely to see
Beyond the picks above, there are a few other things that might well show up during the EA Play event across that long weekend in Los Angeles. Once again, the lack of Command & Conquer on this list is heartbreaking.
The EA Originals label was arguably has its roots in the loveable Yarny from Unravel and his nervous, affable creators. That was a weird game for EA to sign, but EA Originals is the proof EA wants to do this more, setting up a whole label for games like Unravel.
EA Originals was announced with the lovely looking Fe and is continuing on with Sea of Solitude, a gorgeous-looking German-made adventure game.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see these two at the show – or see an all-new EA Originals game given the spotlight on the big stage, for that matter.
Mass Effect Andromeda: to DLC or not to DLC
Prior to launch Bioware spoke openly about plans for a multiplayer DLC setup similar to Mass Effect 3, where all new maps and additions would be free, funded by loot boxes. The logic would follow that Andromeda would get paid single-player DLC as ME3 did – but the state of the Mass Effect series now throws all this into doubt.
We liked Andromeda a fair amount even in light of its flaws, and there’s certainly some prime DLC story bait in that game. It sounds like a sequel is off, but if all plans are off entirely remains to be seen.
The return of PGA Tour
You might not have noticed or missed it, but golf has been absent from EA’s sporting slate since 2015 when Tiger Woods’ struggling ‘personal brand’ caused that series to swap him out for Rory McIlroy.
Golf games used to be a major staple for EA, so it’s fair to expect EA to return to that well eventually.