Opinion – EA’s E3 Conference 2016

So, E3 began this year with the giant that is EA. Whilst I’m not a massive fan of all their titles, I was excited to see what they would be offering up on stage this year (hopefully lots of Mass Effect). So, here’s my brief overview of what EA had on their 2016 E3 conference.

EA opened their show with Titanfall, announcing straight away that the once exclusive title was now also migrating over to the PS4 as well. For me personally, the most important reveal was the inclusion of a more substantial single player campaign, which seemed to focus heavily on the relationship between mech and pilot. The gameplay footage looks fluid and fast paced, although I didn’t see much in the way of multiplayer details. Colour me intrigued – I’m going to be keeping an eye on this one I think, though I’m not sure it’s enough for me to want to pay full price for it. Hopefully it’ll be good enough to create a more active online community this time!

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They then gave a brief showing of their new installation the Madden series, Madden 17. I’m not a big sports person (shocking, I know) and I have even less knowledge of American Football to be able to pass a detailed response to this. Hopefully the fans of the franchise will be excited for this one. However, EA tied this into a talk about their new focus on competitive gaming. They talked about their focus on three modes –

Challenger – which helps make it easier to host new competitive modes and weekly online contests

Premier – This includes live events, hosted by partners both within and outside the industry.

Major – Marquee, global style live events run by EA.

For me personally, I have little interest in this kind of major league gaming thing, but it could be pretty exciting for those who are following current pro circuits and have an interest in getting involved.

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So, the next big game EA brought onto the stage was one of the games I was most excited to see. No points in guessing which. So the main question asked by the Bioware Dev’s was – How far will we go?

They gave us a few more details on the idea behind the new game – searching for a new planet for humanity to make a home on – and boasted that it offers the most freedom the player has ever had in a Bioware game. There were a few more hints about the new universe, and it’s the first time I’ve seen the new ship (named Tempest, I believe) in action. I’m intrigued by how dynamic the weather looks, and the way it’ll effect your exploration of the new and different planets (all looking beautiful in the Frostbite engine.) There wasn’t much new ground discussed or shown, but either way it keeps stoking the fire of excitement for me.

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For most people, I’m guessing that seeing more on Fifa 17 was quite important during the EA conference. Interestingly enough, they seem to have added in a story mode. Apparently, you follow the story of a young, fictional footballer called Alex Hunter and help make or break him in the world of professional football. I personally think this is a bit of an odd decision for a franchise such as FIFA, and I’m curious to see how it goes down within the fanbase. They also announced the inclusion of Premier League Managers, which involved inviting Jose Mourinho on stage for a bit of an awkward chat. Was a little cringe, but fair enough. They also gave a brief overview of the things they’ve overhauled in the gameplay – a more intelligent system, better physical play, new ways to create goal chances and attacking techniques. This all goes a little over my head, but I’m sure it’s something that FIFA players will benefit from.

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EA then brought on another EA Original development, similar to their reveal of Unravel last year. This time, it was a small studio from Stockholm that showcased it’s game called Fe – described as a personal narrative about our relationship with nature. The basic concept behind the game is that you play as a young cub, having no idea who you are and how you ended up in the forest. Apparently, this game has no words, and relies heavily on a connection with music. Everything in the game has a unique song, which can be used to reach new parts of the forest and unlock the secrets of your past. For me, it looked to be an interesting blend of Ori and the Blind Forest, Journey and even a touch of Spyro thrown in there. The beautiful cellshaded-esq graphics and fascinating lighting design really look incredible from what they showed. I think this is definitely a game to keep your eye on. I know I will be.

EA then had a talk on their relationship with the Star Wars franchise, although they actually gave us very little information abut any of the projects that are currently happening. They stated the Battlefront is getting more characters, planets and environments (which I think are definitely needed), but aside from a brief bit of footage from Visceral Game’s new Star Wars title, there wasn’t much else to say. I was hoping for more on the Old Republic, but unfortunately there wasn’t anything.

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Finally, EA ended off their conference with one of their other heavy hitting titles – Battlefront 1. Again, they were a little sparse on information, instead showing us a CGI trailer with bits of gameplay footage thrown in. I have to admit, whilst I’m not a big FPS fan, I am actually quite intrigued by this one – mainly because of the setting of World War One. DICE announced that they would be focusing on big multilayer battles, enabling 64 players in a match, which sounds pretty good fun to me. One of the staple features in Battlefield is the aptitude for destruction, and there will be plenty of that within the environments apparently. They also detailed about their dynamic weather changes, creating unpredictability which means you’ll have to switch your play style up depending on what’s going on around you. They also introduced the Behemoth airship, which you’ll be able to pilot along with a variety of other vehicles that served in the first World War. They ended their conference by announcing that the open beta will be available later this summer.

So, it wasn’t a ground breaking show by any means, but it’s was comfortably enjoyable. There’s enough here to intrigue me and get excited about, without the usual boring sports talk (sorry sports fans). I don’t think it was the strongest start to E3, but all in all, I enjoyed the show. Bring on the next one!


Sarah
As the newest member of the team, Sarah makes her contribution by writing articles related to gaming. She also co-hosts on the podcast gaming segments. Apart from FC, she appears on Youtube videocast GameOn TV.

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