With not a lot to show but plenty of announcements, EA certainly had one of the more different feeling E3 press conferences in quite a while. While it wasn’t the two hour announcement extravaganza that was Microsoft’s presser, what was shown was notable.
Right from the get go, EA CEO Andrew Wilson explained that the games shown today would be shown in one of two ways. The games EA would be showing in depth (as well as showing near-final footage of) are the games that’ll be released in 2014. For the games 0f 2015 and beyond, they would be shown in dev diary form, complete with incredibly rough tech concepts, prototypes and concept art.
In fact, we began with a tech concept of Star Wars Battlefront. We learned very little about the actual game, except that DICE are going to some extreme lengths to try capture the feel and personality of Star Wars, including the use of data from models used in the films and going out to the locations of where the films were shot. We were finally given a 2015 release date for the game. Another DICE game, Mirror’s Edge, was also given this treatment, where we were informed about the design of Faith and how DICE are bringing Mirror’s Edge to a new generation of hardware.
The idea of ‘capturing personality’ was a recurring theme in a number of games shown off today. FIFA 15, NHL 15 and Madden 15 are all trying to capture personality and emotion via player animation and the replication arenas and fanbases. The Sims 4 uses emotion and personality to help drive the weird and wacky storytelling present in the game, to the point where you can push a personality so far that a Sim can literally die of laughter.
We also saw Dragon Age: Inquisition and the number of ways it handles combat. From actively attacking and switching between the different characters (which included specific limb targeting for larger foes), to using a “tactical camera” to strategically attack foes, Bioware’s Aaryn Flynn, promised a satisfying RPG experience…when he wasn’t making “feels” comments.
As far as the remainder of the new games go, there were plenty of announcements…just no names for the most part. Bioware reiterated that it is working on a new Mass Effect experience, headed up by the Montreal team, while the Edmonton team is working on a brand new IP. Criterion showed off a concept for a brand new open world first person experience, where you can control a number of different vehicles, such as dune buggies, ATVs, helicopters, and snowmobiles, and speed around worlds with them. EA also showed off Dawngate, and was pitched as not a clone other MOBAs based on its focus on the metagame.
EA announced that its golf series, now christened EA Sports PGA Tour, would return. It’ll be powered by Frostbite, which allows for no loading between holes. You’ll even have the opportunity to play on extreme fantasy courses, such as a raging conflict right out of Battlefield.
Matter of fact, that’s how EA closed out the show — with the first look at Battlefield Hardline. We were treated to a 32 player cops vs robbers match as the chase spread all over Downtown LA in what looked to be one of the more open ended maps in Battlefield history. Shown off were non-lethal combat options for the police, plenty of triggered destruction and even traffic intervention. EA took the time to announce that the Hardline beta would be launching immediately, and that PS4 Battlefield 4 players can access the Beta immediately.
Compared to last year, EA had a lot less new to show off, but what was there was satisfying enough to hold out until next year. Your move, Ubisoft.