E3 Electronic Arts Highlights
During E3’s live stream of Electronic Arts’ (EA) panel, they discussed about a dozen games coming out in the Fall and Spring of 2015 and 2016, the majority of which are sequels to existing games. A common theme espoused by all the speakers was EA’s commitment to incorporating their player’s feedback into their future projects, and spreading world peace through gaming (ok that last part might be a little exaggerated). There was also a lot of mention about EA’s Frostbite game engine that is allowing them to take the graphics and design of their games to insane levels. Their videogames are looking more and more like real life movies, and in some of the trailers I had a hard time distinguishing whether the images were computer generated content or not.
So here are the highlights from EA’s stream:
Mass Effect 4 – Andromeda:
No information was released other than a teaser trailer that will make all the Mass Effect fans moist like a Debbie Cake, and that it is slated to be released for the Holiday Season, 2015.
EA partnered with a small studio called Coldwood Interactive, based in Northern Sweden. Unravel is this adorable puzzle-platformer game that has more of an Indie feel to it than something you would expect from EA. I could tell that the creative director, Martin Sahlin poured his heart and soul into this game. There were a few moments where he seemed almost moved to tears by the passion he had in explaining the concept behind the story.
Unravel follows the silent story of a tiny character named Yarny who leaves a trail of thread wherever he travels in his adventures, the thread being symbolic of the love in our lives that ties together all the memories of our heartfelt moments. As Yarny, you will traverse a beautiful world that is modeled after Scandinavian landscapes. Yarny uses his thread, the environment, and animals to overcome obstacles.
The official trailer and website for Unravel can be found at unravelgame.com.
…OK moving on, before I start to feel something!
Plants vs. Zombies – Garden Warfare 2:
EA confirmed the release of their upcoming sequel to Plants vs. Zombies for Spring 2016. During this segment, they mentioned that there would be a new co op mode and unique solo play against AI or with a friend, utilizing a split screen. All original players of Plants vs. Zombies will be able to transfer the majority of their unlocked characters, and will have access to free content updates. There will be six new classes. During the gameplay footage, EA showed three of the new classes:
- Imp (smallest, fastest zombie that makes quick ranged attacks)
- Super Brainz (melee class)
- Captain Deadbeard (sniper class)
Mirror’s Edge – Catalyst:
Catalyst is DICE’s origin story of Mirror’s Edge. This action/adventure game follows Faith’s resistance to the dystopian society led by corporate villain, Gabriel Kruger. Catalyst will be a first person combat game, and there will be no levels or load screens. The word “freedom” is the motif that was emphasized in this presentation, and the player will be free to roam about in a massive open world. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst will be released February 23, 2016.
NHL16, PGA 16, NBA Live 16, and Madden 16:
All of these are continuations of their respective titles. EA mainly focused on how they have improved the animations and responsiveness of these games to make the players feel like they are actually part of the sport they are playing. They have also added features so that players can perform some of the games’ functions on newly developed mobile devices. For example, there was a clip that showed someone making draft bids on their Apple Watch.
One thing I found super amazing is the ability to scan your face on a smartphone app so that you can import it into NBA Live 16 and use that as your avatar. I wish, I pray, I hope, I human sacrifice, whatever it takes, for this technology to be added to RPGs. To have my face superimposed on the flawless body of a video game avatar and then watch a romance scene in Dragon Age Inquisition with Dorian Pavus…
Excuse me, one moment. I need to pickup my underwear that just flew across the room.
Star Wars The Old Republic – Knights of the Fallen Empire:
EA announced that the expansion will be released October 27, 2015. It will be free to all current subscribers. During this session, EA promised more story, Bioware style, and offering choices in the gameplay that matter. There will be new worlds, a new enemy faction, and you will have opportunities to join or betray companions, both old and new. The official site can be found at http://www.swtor.com/fallen-empire/home.
Star Wars Battlefront:
And wrapping up EA’s segment was a gameplay trailer of Star Wars Battlefront. EA talked a little bit about their Frostbite game engine that allows them to add cutting edge graphics, animations, and gameplay to SWBF. EA stated that they want the players to feel like they are part of the Star Wars movie we all grew up loving. I’ll let the video speak for itself as to how insane the graphics are for this game. Below is actual PS4 gameplay footage based on the Battle of Hoth scene in The Empire Strikes Back:
Overall it seems like EA has been paying attention to the feedback they’re receiving from their fans and making an attempt to incorporate it into their games. I’m impressed with the fact that they took a bold chance on a game like Unravel, and I think it will be something fresh to try out. I’m a little bummed though that there were no details about Mass Effect or Dragon Age Inquisition’s downloadable content. Dragon Age Inquisition ended with a huge cliffhanger, and I’m dying to know when I can continue my epic journey. Can we get a separate Bioware panel next year, please?!
EA E3 Rating: 4/5