E3 Media Briefing Impressions: EA

e3-14-ea-media-briefing-impressions

EA took the stage as the second press conference for the day. Going after Microsoft had some advantage as some of EA’s titles were already shown and others would be shown later in the day.

The conference started off with a mini documentary piece about Star Wars Battlefront. It was disappointing that we didn’t get to see any new trailer or gameplay, just the “we’re working on it” line. They did say to look for Star Wars Battlefront next year though. I’m sure there are some licensing issues, but I was hoping to see a release of the classic Battlefront games on PlayStation Store and Xbox Live.

EA‘s CEO, Andrew Wilson, opened the show by spending some time explaining how the conference was going to work. They stated some titles will be out this fall and other are still works in progress; which I really liked, since it set up the rest of the show. During this time they claimed they were here for the gamers, leading me to believe they were almost apologizing publicly for some of the issues Battlefield 4 has this year.

Dragon Age: Inquisition was shown and while this game does nothing for me personally, it does look very beautiful and colorful. The lighting engine along with the environments are just stunning to look at. They spent some time explaining how the game works and how to use your party members, whilst presenting some gameplay footage. It was too hard to tell if this was being played live or recorded, but none the less it was good looking gameplay.

BioWare’s Casey Hudson entered next to reveal the next Mass Effect game. Fans stated they wanted to go somewhere new and have new characters. The latest iteration in the blockbuster Mass Effect franchise will adhere to both of these requests. BioWare Edmonton meanwhile, are working on a new IP.

Next up was Sims 4. Now with smarter Sims, this latest version appears to be still PC-only as no console announcement was made. This was a slight disappointment for me personally, since I don’t enjoy PC gaming. Sims 4 will release on September 2, 2014.

Then came the sports. UFC (which launches next week) focused on Bruce Lee as a playable character, which is a huge feature in this game. NHL 15 followed, looking amazing. Being a Detroit native, hockey games sink away hours upon hours of play from me each year. I was hoping EA would step thier game up on the new consoles with their sports franchises and they have done that with NHL 15. The flow of the puck and the players is spot on. The emotions they show on their faces and how the characters react to hits are amazing.

EA PGA Tour – the first golf game from the publisher in years without Tiger Woods in the title – will use the Frostbite 3 engine. No load time between holes was the headline benefit of this. EA‘s tagline for PGA Tour is “Golf without limits!”; on top of playing real-world courses, the trailer displayed some fantasy courses, including a battleship.

In Madden NFL 15, defense finally matters. It appears that the suction blocking and tackling are gone; replaced by the tackling cone. This reminds me a little of the vision cone from years ago and that scares me somewhat, as that particular implementation was awful. They also announced that a director from NFL Films has been working with them to help you ‘feel’ the sport.

Dawngate, a MOBA (Multiuser-Online-Battle-Arena), then appeared. It sounds like EA has spent tons of time with hardcore MOBA players to give them exactly what they want. The development team, comprising huge fans of the genre, was specifically built to make DawngateMirrors Edge was next, much to the audience’s delight. Focused very heavily on movement, DICE really want players to experiment with various ways of traversing the environment.

FIFA 15 focused on player control with new stutters and strides which allow for better turns. New ball psychics and player visuals give it an even more realistic look then it already had. Energy of fans and environments will make you feel just like you’re in the stadium. Turf tearing and environmental interactions of the ball hitting the cross-bar were also added.

Battlefield: Hardline rounded off the conference. The basics of the game is Cops vs Robbers. Just as Battlefield is built around the use of teamwork, Battlefield: Hardline will require you to work as a cohesive to achieve your goal. There was an extensive multiplayer match shown, containing a heist with the police being dispatched to stop it. A lot of destruction ensued, including a part where a construction crane fell down and ripped through an entire building. At the end of the conference, Sony‘s Adam Boyes appeared on stage to announce a Battlefield: Hardline beta, which began immediately. This subsequently caused the PlayStation Network to crash. The full game releases October 21st 2014.

EA did a great job with this showing. Their pacing was very good and there was never a boring moment, whilst the sheer volume of exciting gameplay footage suited me fine.

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  • EA was the “OK” conference, Some nice titles but nothing that blew me away. I was hoping to see more footage of The Sims 4 and Battlefront, but sadly none showed up. BF Hardline looks like fun, but worry it will end up as broken as BF4 at launch.

    And oh, can’t wait for the new Mass Effect.