E3 2017: EA Predictions

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Let's be honest -- usually Electronic Arts has the most forgettable showcase at E3 every year. That's not to say the company's showcase is bad, it's just that one or more of the publishers tend to blow it out of the water.

Even when writing these E3 predictions lists, EA was the publisher I was least excited to get to. However, upon putting the list together, I realized how amazing this E3 could be for Electronic Arts.

Last year, EA released Battlefield 1, UFC 2, Mirror's Edge Catalyst, Titanfall 2, Unravel, and its usual sports titles. This year, the company has published Mass Effect: Andromeda, which did not fare well critically. So EA has been doing pretty well since its last E3 presentation, and its upcoming roster of releases is looking even better. 

We'll probably see some Mass Effect DLC in this year's showcase, but what else can we expect? Let's find out!

Fifa/Madden/NBA

As always, EA will spend a significant portion of its showcase on sports titles.

Madden

Madden 18 was revealed a short while ago and the legendary Tom Brady was announced as the cover star. Amazingly, this is the first time the five-time Superbowl winner has ever graced the cover of Madden, despite his team-mate Rob Gronkowski appearing twice. I wouldn't be surprised to see Brady show up at the conference.

This year's Madden will be the first on EA's impressive Frostbite engine, which will provide the game with a huge visual and gameplay upgrade. In another massive first for the series, we will get a story mode akin to The Journey in last year's FIFA, which we should learn more about at the expo.

FIFA 18

Speaking of FIFA and The Journey, we will undoubtedly hear about the next installment in this long-running soccer series at E3, along with season 2 of Alex Hunter's career. As mentioned above, The Journey was a shockingly good mode in last year's FIFA, and another season of it will be welcomed by many.

Other Sports Games

We can also look forward to NBA Live, PGA Tour, NHL, and UFC, all of which could see new installments announced at E3.

Of all these titles, I think the least likely to see a new installment is UFC. There was a 2-year gap between the first two titles, and it's a series that doesn't need yearly iterations. As for PGA Tour however, it's been two years since we've seen a game in that series, and so it could be time -- although the last game was not well received.

Star Wars Battlefront 2

Star Wars Battlefront 2 has already been announced and revealed via an amazing trailer from EA. I expect this game to potentially open EA's showcase this year, considering there is likely more Star Wars to follow.

Carrying on from the previous Battlefront game, EA Dice and Motive Studios are looking to add to, refine, and improve the series. The multiplayer will return in a big way -- with new maps, new heroes and villains (with better animations), much-requested space battles, and the new story mode.

The story mode in Battlefront 2 was revealed in the trailer a few weeks ago, and it tells the story of Iden Versio, a hero of the Empire. Playing as Iden, you get to see the other side of the conflict, which takes place right after the Death Star blows-up at the end of Return of the Jedi. This set-up is immediately interesting and puts players in a more personal story than we've ever had in a Star Wars game.

At E3 I would expect to see a huge multiplayer battle at EA's conference, and then perhaps a 10-minute playthrough of the campaign at Sony's showcase. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 will be a major factor for EA at E3, and the big fall game this year. So expect to see more than one demo.

Unravel 2

Martin Sahlin walked onto stage at E3 2015 and announced a surprise game for EA: Unravel. Sahlin and the game's adorable protagonist, Yarny, stole the hearts of everyone in attendance and watching at home. Unravel came out to a good critical reception, and EA confirmed that it had extended its contract with developer Coldwood Interactive to make a sequel.

Even though Unravel only released at the beginning of 2016, I think we could see a trailer for Yarny's next adventure -- even if it doesn't release until 2018. Unravel 2 would be welcomed by many, assuming Coldwood Interactive can improve upon the shortcomings of the original. 

Skate 4

Despite being called the worst company in America, EA actually does make games for its fans every now and then. One example is Mirror's Edge Catalyst, the sequel to cult hit Mirror's Edge. Although the original game (and its sequel) both sold poorly, at least EA listened to its fans. 

With that in mind, I think EA would be willing to bring another fan favorite back from the dead and release Skate 4. The previous Skate game released in 2010 and received decent reviews, then returned to prominence in 2014 when YouTube sensation Pewdiepie released a hilarious video of the game and caused it to start selling again. Skate 3 became one of the best selling games of 2014 and EA was forced to reissue the game. On top of this, it was one of the most requested backwards compatible games on Xbox One, leading to it becoming available on the service in 2016.

With all of this in mind, Skate 4 seems inevitable. EA has likely looked into developing a new game in the series, especially considering there are no other skateboarding games on the market right now -- other than last year's abysmal Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5. The market is ripe and ready for a new Skate game, and E3 2017 seems like the place to do it.

The Sims 5

The Sims 4 launched in 2014 to mixed reviews. The first game in the series not to get rave reviews, Sims 4 suffered substantial issues at launch, which kind of killed the hype for the title.

Since then, developer Maxis has supported the game with three expansion packs, five game packs, ten stuff packs, and additional DLC. That's an impressive list of post-release content for a three year period. There were five years between the third and fourth installments in the series, but I think EA will look to regain some steam and good-will towards the franchise sooner rather than later.

The Sims 5 isn't a lock for E3 2017 but it's definitely possible. The game could be announced at the showcase with a vague 2018 release date, which could potentially even slip to 2019. I can't imagine the fifth installment being just another Sims game -- I believe EA will want to really innovate and change the formula. 

Need For Speed: Payback

After several teases in the past week, EA finally announced the latest instalment in the Need For Speed franchise, entitled Payback.

Following on from 2015's rebooted Need For Speed, Ghost Games looks to continue the precedent of a fleshed-out story mode. Unlike the 2015 title, Payback will have animated cutscenes, and the trailer has reminded gamers of the Fast & Furious franchise.

Racers will take control of three different characters, and wage a war against a cartel known as The House. The game takes place in the fictional Fortune Valley (which seems to evoke Las Vegas), and offers open-world exploration to gamers, as well as car chases, heist missions, police pursuits, and "jaw-dropping set-pieces". We'd love to see a lot more from Need For Speed: Payback at E3!

Visceral's Star Wars Game

Here's the big one. As much as we all love Battlefront and want the second game to be even better than the first, it's another Star Wars game from EA that has everyone's fingers crossed.

Visceral Games, the EA development team that became famous for the Dead Space franchise, has had a Star Wars game in the works for a while now. After Naughty Dog's Creative Director Amy Hennig left the developer in 2014 following her work on the Uncharted series, she joined Visceral Games to work with Todd Stashwick on a Star Wars IP. Two years later we saw our first glimpse of the game at E3 2016 -- an 8 second clip that showed a man seemingly walking out of the Mos Eisley Cantina, as pictured above.

Maybe we're still a little too early for this game to be fully revealed, especially with Star Wars Battlefront 2 already on the horizon. But this game could very well see a late 2018 release, and thus the time would be right for a full trailer. EA doesn't need to go all-out and show a 10-minute gameplay clip, but a bombastic trailer to close out the showcase would definitely leave the publisher in a strong position walking out of E3 2017.

Those are our predictions for EA's E3 2017 showcase, which kicks-off the entire E3 weekend on Saturday at 11:30 AM.

The guaranteed locks for EA's showcase are all the annual sports titles, Star Wars Battlefront 2, and Need For Speed: Payback. We're also likely to get some DLC announcements for Mass Effect Andromeda and Battlefield 1.

Everything else for the show is guesswork, but in making this list, it's become clear EA has a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline right now. Two other projects we left off the list is another Star Wars game from Respawn (the Titanfall developer), and the new IP being worked on by Bioware Edmonton (developer of the original Mass Effect Trilogy). It's unlikely we'll see anything from these two titles because they're still a year or two away, but it's further proof of EA's impressive list of upcoming games!

What are you excited to see from EA at E3? Let us know in the comments, and keep it tuned to GameSkinny for all your gaming news and E3 predictions!

Make sure to check out our other E3 predictions: 

Published Jun. 4th 2017

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