EA E3 Recap: Bioware's New IP & Battlefront 2 Single Player Revealed Along with Much More

It's time for the Annual E3 and this year EA kicks off the party. How'd they do and should we be excited for their lineup in the coming year?

Last year at E3, EA had some big guns on display with the highly anticipated Mass Effect: Andromeda and the return to historical Battlefield 1. This year, however, there were fewer bullets in the chamber -- with 30-40 minutes devoted to Battlefront 2, no news on any of the other Star Wars games that are in development, and plenty of EA Sports titles. 

Here's the rundown of what what we did learn during EA's presentation. 

EA Sports

Madden 18 Story Mode & Project Scorpio Screenshots

 EA started its press conference off with marching drummers wearing Tom Brady jerseys. This lead into what would be revealed as Long Shot mode for Madden 18.

In this story-based mode, you control Wade -- a QB who dropped off of the scene somewhere along his collegiate career and is now struggling to make his name known in the NFL. There are clips that show him playing for the Texas Longhorns and later the New York Giants, as well as a clip where he's shaking hands with Dan Marino (of Miami Dolphins fame).

This begs questions about how much control you have over his career path and whether or not there will be any collegiate games played (might this be the closest we get to a NCAA Football game for years to come?).

While not many details were given on this mode, it should be interesting to see more details arise in the coming days and months as similar story modes in sports games have been praised throughout the years. 

The only other mention of Madden 18 was in relation to Microsoft's Project Scorpio. There were several beautiful screens showing detailed uniforms and character models -- but none of them played out in live action, so it's hard to tell exactly how great things look in living color. 

FIFA 18 Tournaments, New Animations, Return of Alex Hunter

EA has promised a redoubling of its efforts for FIFA eSports tournaments, and seems to be referring ti larger tournaments and more prizes. That being said, specific details were sparse. Moreover, this message was slightly muddied by a montage of eSports clips from all of the EA Sports titles, which made it seem as if the company addressing more than just FIFA

Moreover, new dedicated animations for players were championed as a big feature for the next FIFA game. This reveal was accompanied by footage of Cristiano Ronaldo playing soccer in a motion capture suit. Like some of the other large announcements, it was unclear exactly how many soccer players they brought in for motion capture. It seemed to be more than just Ronaldo, but then it's a question of where they arbitrarily drew the line in the sand. Who made the cut and who didn't? This redoubling of efforts for unique player animations was also accompanied by a promise of more accurate recreations of the various stadiums. So clearly, EA is hoping to create a more authentic experience. 

The story mode from FIFA 17 will also receive its own continuation in what is being called"The Journey: Hunter Returns". Apparently, Alex Hunter has been unexpectedly released by his team and now he's up for grabs. Where he'll go next and the ensuing chaos are the setup for this story. 

NBA Live 18 Gameplay, Demo, and The ONE

NBA Live 18 received perhaps the least coverage during the sports part of EA's presentation. There was one play shown where LeBron is charging past Kevin Durant in stop motion/slow motion to go into the nitty gritty of dribbling with the right stick. While this was nice, it didn't really give a great feel for the game, since it's not Super Hot.

They also announced a new mode, which appeared to be single player, called The ONE. In this mode, your character is tasked with both rising through the ranks in The League and on The Streets. The Streets will feature matches against classic players in classic street arenas. These two styles of play will work slightly differently.

Your character will also have progression and will become better at dribbling, among other stats, as you play and (hopefully) win games. Sadly, not a lot of specifics were mentioned. It's unclear exactly how these two modes fit together-- why do you need street cred to get better in the NBA proper?Moreover, what exactly are the rule changes between The League and The Streets?

A free demo of the game is slated for sometime in August. Progression in the demo is also promised to carry over to the main game, which should be interesting since this effectively gives you early access to the larger experience. The contents of the demo were not specified. 

Need for Speed: Payback Story Mode, Open World, Customization, etc.

Need for Speed: Payback was one of the games that we received the most complete feature list for. We know the game will yet again try its hand at a story mode, which is going to feature you controlling 3 different protagonists -- each with their own unexplained unique abilities -- in an open world environment. 

The story is revenge tale that pits your three protagonists against The House, which is a crime syndicate. To take them down you will be performing heists, getting in cop pursuits, tackling car battles, and participating in unique set piece action scenes. The developer stated that victory is no longer just about crossing the finish line first -- which makes us wonder how heavy the emphasis on racing will be this time around. 

A short gameplay demo shows you chasing down a semi, ramming cars off the road and weaving through traffic in the process, only to eventually have your co-pilot jump ship and steal a car from the semi. At this point, control switched to your female cohort as she sought to escape chase. It's currently unclear whether heists are a mission type which might pop up in different places, or if they are completely scripted events for certain story moments. 

It was confirmed that customization would be a big part of the game, something which some of the more recent installments had largely done away with. Moreover, this customization would not only be visual but would also have performance effects.There was also mention of derelict cars which you would find throughout the world. They will start out as mere scrap, but can be upgraded into seemingly some of the best cars in the game. 

With so much being revealed about the new Need for Speed, I was glad to be left excited about an N4S title after the recent hiatus. 

EA Original: A Way Out

A Way Out is part of EA's Indie support program: EA Originals. It was also one of the more odd titles on display at EA's press conference, or rather I should say that the way that it was displayed was odd. The games' lead, Josef Fares (of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons fame) came out onto the stage to tell us about the game, but things quickly dissolved into rambling about the game being awesome. 

Awkward developer antics aside, A Way Out is a story-centric co-op experience which is always played in split screen, whether you are playing online or in the same room on the same console. The game starts out with Leo, who seems to have been in the Mafia from his stereotypical accent, and Vincent, who doesn't seem to be an immediately identifiable stereotype. Both are in prison. The beginning of the game centers on them escaping from prison together, but later the game shifts to their escape and life on the lamb. 

Currently, the primary genre seems to be uncertain. The game is definitely third person and features driving segments, exploration segments, and presumably some shooting segments. Its unique story, premise, and ever-present split screen make this an interesting game to watch in the coming months. The release window is "Early 2018".  

Battlefield 1 Night Maps & Expansion

Battlefield 1 also commanded a decent portion of the early part of the EA press conference. 

This summer will see the release of two Night Maps: Nivelle Nights in June and Prise De Ta Hure in July. The developer said these maps will require teamwork as you work your way through a complex series of trenches under the cloak of night. 

The upcoming expansion, In The Name of The Tsar, will expand the battle to the east into Russia. This expansion will include 6 new maps, the Russian Army -- including the Hussar cavalry -- new vehicles, weaponry, and the women's battalion of death. Watching the presentation did not make it clear as to whether there would be any additional single player content.

Operations mode will also be expanded upon with increased customization, progression, and specialization options. 

There is also a promise that there will be a new competitive "experience" announced at Gamescom in August -- which will be a small, tight, all out war that requires great team coordination which is also easy for viewers to keep track of. Yeah, that's a lot of promises. 

All the Battlefront 2 

EA spent nearly half the press conference on Battlefront 2. For the full rundown of what was revealed, check out our full article on Battlefront 2 announcements at E3. A couple big highlights include:

  1. The addition of a story mode
  2. Much more content than the original game
  3. Couch co-op

BioWare's New IP: Anthem

I wish I could tell you something really awesome about BioWare's new IP -- but honestly, I really don't have much to say. There was a short, cinematic trailer revealed that didn't say much about the game. It gave a general setting, in which a giant wall protects the vestiges of humanity from a dangerous outside wild.

There was also a power suit shown, whose design was reminiscent of something you might see in Destiny. The lush jungle environment, in particular, reminds me of Havarl, one of the highlights of Mass Effect Andromeda. EA then stated that further gameplay footage will be revealed at the Microsoft press conference, which is Sunday @ 4 pm CDT. So be on the lookout for our coverage shortly thereafter.  

In Review

EA had an odd press conference this year. We saw a Tom Brady drumming circle, several minutes of Battlefield 1 players talking about how awesome it is, eSports highlights/champions, competitive Battlefront players giving feedback on the game, awkward commentary by suits, guest speakers, and developers alike, and most of the show (30-40 minutes, at least) being devoted to Battlefront 2 while moving all the substantial info about Bioware's new IP, Anthem, to Microsoft's press conference. It wasn't bad, per se, but nor was it great. That being said, there's still some interesting info coming out that I think is worth being excited over. 

Published Jun. 11th 2017

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