EA played it very safe at E3 today, relying on sequels and brief teasers rather than showing off gameplay. Here’s what went down at their E3 conference.
- EA opened with their biggest new game: Star Wars Battlefront. It was more of a dev diary than anything else, with just a few seconds or so of in game footage, but what we did see was very pretty indeed. EA are using all the power of their brilliant graphics engine to create a game worthy of the Star Wars license: we’ll be getting a closer look at it in Spring 2015, although it was unclear if that’s a release date or not.
- This was immediately followed up by a trio of Bioware games. We got a look at Dragon Age: Inquisition, which features a squad-based mechanic and some very nice looking graphics. There was a brief teaser of the new Mass Effect: again, the game seems to be in the early stages, with just concept art shown. And a new IP was mentioned – no specifics, just that the game would be “surprising”. Expect more at E3 next year.
- A fair amount of time was spent discussing The Sims 4, with the new artificial intelligence mentioned a fair bit. The game has better multiplayer implementation than before as well – you can upload your Sims to a server and share them with your friends. Expect DLC and microtransactions to take advantage of all that: purchasable celebrity Sims, perhaps?
- After this, EA moved onto where they’re most comfortable: sports games. Bruce Lee will feature in the new UFC title, whilst NHL is making its transition to next gen in glorious fashion: brilliant crowd animations galore. Old favourite Criterion Games briefly teased their new game, which features all sorts of vehicles from helicopters to jet skis to planes to cars. If done right, it could be marvellous, but we didn’t see much of it – don’t expect it to be released for a year or two.
- The sports game assault continued with a new PGA Tour game, which features fantasy courses such as…hitting a ball over a battleship. If that’s your thing. Madden 2015 features a new emphasis on defence, whilst FIFA 2015 now has players with “emotional intelligence”, apparently.
- We got some brief interludes to focus on other titles: already-released MOBA Dawngate had a short trailer, whilst Mirror’s Edge 2 got the briefest of mentions. Some concept art and a tiny bit of in-game footage was shown, and the devs explained that the game was being made in partnership with real parkour artists. Again, this seemed to be in the very early stages.
- We closed out on Battlefield: Hardline, Visceral Games’ upcoming entry in the franchise. The multiplayer demo seems to be the same as other games, with just a little bit of cops vs robbers window dressing. The trademark destruction and vehicles of Battlefield are present, with big “levolution” events still wreaking havoc across the map in the late-game stages. If you want to try it out for yourself, you’re in luck: the closed beta opens today, and if you already own Battlefield 4 on PS4 you can download it right now. The game’s out in October.
EA played E3 very safely: the only titles announced for this year were sequels to existing franchises, most of them were sports games, and no risks were taken. All the meaty stuff, such as Battlefront, Mirror’s Edge, Bioware’s titles and the new Criterion game, seems to be in very early alpha stages: we won’t be seeing them for a year or two. This fall will be a challenging one for EA: they only have one heavy hitter, and that might not prove to be enough against Activision and Ubisoft’s slate of huge franchises. This E3 was the chance for EA to innovate, and on that front, at least, they failed. At least there’s hope for the future, however: the upcoming slate suggests that E3 2015 will be a superb conference for EA.