E3 2015: Electronic Arts Conference

EA-E3-2015-Press-Conference-Review

 

To start off their conference at E3 2015, EA gave us the first official teaser for Mass Effect: Andromeda. The fourth instalment in the Mass Effect series, Andromeda is not part of the original Mass effect trilogy and will go its own way, literally into the Andromeda galaxy. The trailer we say showed us a lovely CGI glimpse of the game and the possible destinations we can visit in the game. Right at the end of the trailer, we also got our first glimpse of the new and improved Mako. Expect Mass Effect: Andromeda to be released Holiday 2016.

After the new Mass Effect trailer had been shown, EA immediately acknowledged Star Wars and the fans desire to see Battlefront in all its glory. But they deliberately kept us hanging all the way till the end of the show. More on that later.

Keeping the ball rolling, the next game revealed was the brand new and rebooted Need For Speed. Going back to its former glory days of the Underground series Need for Speed looks slick, sexy, and very well put together. We were lucky enough to see actual in game footage of the game and the seamless transition from real life footage to gameplay. Very nice. Screeching round the city in your tricked out motor harks back to the days of NFS Underground, but now you have the fuzz on your back. The map size is also roughly twice the size of that of the previous game NFS Rivals.

EA explained that there are five action-packed stories in the new Need For Speed which gives you five ways to play the game. They are Speed, Build, Crew, Style, and Outlaw. You can play one style, or master them all. It’s your choice. Need For Speed is due for release on November 3rd 2015. Vroom.

Next up on the roster was Star Wars, but not Battlefront oh no, Star Wars: The Old Republic. The MMO for PC. EA announced a brand new expansion for the game called Knights of The Fallen Empire. A free to play expansion if you’re a subscriber, it’s claimed that Knights of The Fallen Empire will hark back to the classic Bioware story driven game mechanic that we all know and love whereby your choices will affect the outcome of the game. No in game footage of the expansion was shown sadly, but they did offer up a shiny CGI trailer. Knights of The Fallen Empire is released October 27th 2015.

Revealed next at the conference was the utterly adorable Unravel. A physics-based platformer by Swedish developer Coldwood Interactive. No release date was given for Unravel, however an announcement trailer was displayed which shows the main character, a small creature made out of yarn getting into all kinds of jams. A yarn string, which trails endlessly behind the character, can be affixed to certain points in the environment and used to pull things, jump higher, or climb back up on objects.

Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 was shown at the conference. After a rather awkward appearance by a man dressed as one of the characters in the game coming onto the stage to Highway to the Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. I don’t know who and I don’t know why, but at this point of the conference I took my medication just incase.

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library
Generated by IJG JPEG Library

But anyway, the game will feature new classes to take control of and let you play as the zombies. Expect Garden Warfare 2 to be released spring 2016.

Now we come to one of the low points of the conference: EA Sports. I’ll admit, I am not really a sports fan, but I understand that because it’s such a large pillar at EA, they need to talk about it at their conference. I just wished they’d make it more interesting and in line with the rest of the presentation. I found myself zoning out and not engaging with what was said about NHL 16. All I know is that Rory Mcilroy Golf is utilising the new version of the Frostbite engine, like nearly everything EA is making.

But then, just when all hope was lost, he appeared: THE HOOP GOD. Know who he is? Yeah me neither and nor did a few other people. This Basketball deity was on the stage to show off a new feature in EA Sports upcoming NBA Live 2016 – putting your mug into the game and being the star. Doesn’t sound new does it? But when you realise you don’t need a Kinect or PS4 Camera to use it that’s when it gets interesting. Simply take a set of pictures of yourself with your mobile phone and upload them to the game and the software will create a 3D version of your mug which can then be used in the game. A very neat feature.  Though I still fail to see why EA needed our future overlord ‘Hoop God’ to demonstrate it.

Just watch:

Cringe worthy.

Whilst in full swing of discussing EA Sports, the conference then takes a massive detour when a rather lovely lady comes onto the stage and says: “Hello, I’m here to talk about mobile games.” Now, I know that a lot of people like mobile games and play them a lot on their phones and tablets, but there’s a time and a place to discuss them, and for EA, it wasn’t in the middle of something unrelated like EA Sports. We were introduced to a new Star Wars game which was discussed for all of 8.9 seconds and then we were shown a Minions game. I honestly didn’t know what to make of this. Clearly it is an effort to cash in on the Minion craze but this game had no place in the conference.

Once the mobile guff had been dispensed with, we went back to EA Sports and inevitably, FIFA 2016. Lots of newy newness was discussed, just like last year and the year before that. My hopes of a new corruption mode were crushed. However the long overdue women football teams are refreshing and introduce something new into this stagnating franchise. Expect FIFA 16 to be out later this year.

What I did find off about this segment of the conference, was that it completely ground to a screaming halt. EA managed to achieve this by bringing out legendary Brazilian footballer Pele onto the stage to have a sit down interview about football. Not even mentioning FIFA 16 at all. The time wasted by having this interview in the conference could have been better spent focussing on something better. Something like Mirrors Edge Catalyst which came straight after.

I never played the first Mirrors Edge game. It has its fanbase for sure, and I was hoping to see some more details about the latest instalment at the conference. We were treated to a pre-rendered trailer that was made to look like both in game footage and cut scenes spliced into one. Sure it looked nice, but I wanted to see what the game played like and how it performed. Expect Mirrors Edge: Catalyst out for all current gen consoles February 23rd 2016.

Veering back to EA Sports again, Madden NFL was showcased with all the standard improvements in physics and graphics. Nothing much really to say about it.

Now we come to the end of the conference. The big one. The one that everyone in the audience at the conference and watching at home were waiting to see: Star Wars: Battlefront. Boy, they did not disappoint. We were shown actual gameplay footage of the game. You’re on Hoth, in the middle of an icy warzone between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. We were shown first person combat with guns, third person combat and even vehicular combat with Tie Fighters and X-Wings battling it out in the skies above. And let’s not forget the AT-AT’s! Just when you think it’s all over though, you see one of your comrades lifted up by some invisible force and thrown like a ragdoll. You turn around, and there he is; Darth Vader. The crowd goes nuts but that’s not all as the next scene see’s you play as Luke Skywalker as you engage in a lightsaber battle with Vader right in the snow. The screen goes black that was Star Wars: Battlefront and the end of the conference. What a way to end!

On a whole, EA’s E3 2015 conference looked like it was planned by both a jock and a nerd who didn’t get along and were fighting on where to put what game or piece of news. It didn’t flow and there were parts of it I wish I could just forget (looking at you oh mighty Hoop God). Please EA make next year’s conference more interesting.