E3 kicked off on Saturday with a press conference from EA, a company that seems to almost always be digging itself out from under a different controversy. This year, its the outcry over loot boxes and microtransactions in their games, particularly in their Star Wars: Battlefront franchise. These E3 conferences do not so much rain as pour, so here are some of the biggest highlights:
Battlefield V, the current target of the more unshaven sector of gaming’s ire, was probably the cornerstone of EA’s stage show. While not much has changed from Battlefield 1, time period aside, DICE is adding in plenty of little tweaks and fiddly new mechanics that move the series incrementally forward without spooking the fanbase. The biggest news for Battlefield is its foray into the current fad: Battle Royale. We don’t know a whole lot about how it will differ from current market leaders Fortnite and PUBG, but DICE is putting distinct emphasis on their unique brand of environmental destruction as they present the game.
Sports Go Sports!
For all their controversies on the shooter and RPG end of things, EA has a near monopoly on sports games. While still essentially glorified roster updates, they still like to show off graphical changes and the small gameplay additions they try out year after year.
- The FIFA series is one of their biggest sellers and next year’s model will feature a new Champion’s League (a pan-European cup) mode.
- NBA Live 19 is happening. The one sport they don’t pretty much own, the new game will be another try from EA to eat into 2k’s dominance on the virtual court.
- Madden 19 is happening and will be available on Origin for the first time, the first appearance for the series on PC in over a decade.
Gaming In A Galaxy Far, Far Away
- The biggest news on the Star Wars front is Respawn’s announcement of Jedi: The Fallen Order, a game set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope when the Republic is dead and the Jedi are hunted. The player will take the role of a Jedi during these “dark times,” but beyond that, we know very little. It will be out by Holiday 2019.
- On the Battlefront side, EA has apparently been listening to all of the noise and plan on improving things. The next year will feature a whole mess of things for the game like content from Solo and The Clone Wars, a multiplayer sandbox mode that hearkens back to the old Battlefront’s space battles, and the ability to play as prequel characters like Anakin and Grievous.
Sea of Solitude
EA wants to double down on their “EA Originals” line, a way for the company to publish indie titles on their own terms. Their big announcement in that line is Sea of Solitude, a game rooted in real life despite its fantastic setting. The game deals in loneliness, following a young girl in a mysterious flooded city who has become a monster. As she fights monsters much like herself, the player will search to find a way to make her human again. It will be out early in 2019.
Mass Effect Died For This
Battlefield isn’t the only game EA is blatantly using to cash in preexisting ideas. From the people who should have brought you a good Mass Effect game comes Anthem, a glorified reskin of Warframe stitched from the corpse of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Like in Destiny, you’ll get to be one of four classes and, like in Warframe, those classes are represented by suits that can be switched between at will. It will have no loot boxes or gameplay related microtransactions, but you bet your ass they’ll have a bajillion dance emotes to buy. It will release on February 22nd, 2019.