PrE3 was in full swing this morning with EA hosting its annual EA Play show – a show that is but isn’t an official part of E3 proceedings. Doing things a little differently this year, EA Play kicked off with new host Andrea Rene instead of the Dark Lord himself, and from the get-go you could sense that E3 2018 was going to get off to an (unofficially) underwhelming start. Plus, if you were hoping for EA to dig up a corpse and bring it back to life, such as Skate 4 or as Greg Miller tweeted, Road Rash, then you probably wish you didn’t drag yourself out of bed at 4 am. Anyway, here’s what former winner of America’s worst company (2012 & 2013) and loot box champion had to show.
Battlefield V was always going to be a pillar of EA’s 2018 offerings, and you would have thought that the showcase would have been centred around DICE’s take on World War II, which is set for release on October 19. Instead, we got a rather ham-fisted look at the game’s multiplayer before two DICE reps took to the stage to confirm that BFV will have no loot boxes and that there would be free future DLC, naturally. DICE also confirmed that, of course, it will have its own Battle Royale mode (due out after release) and that we would get a proper look at the game’s campaign during Xbox’s conference (Monday 6 am AEST). Nothing more was shown from EA’s war juggernaut and the whole thing was over in about five minutes. Bizarre.
Another staple of EA’s catalogue was up next with FIFA 19. This year it didn’t feel like they belted on for ages about ‘how this is most dynamic FIFA ever’ or whatever corporate spin they’d been scripted to sell. Instead, it was announced that the UEFA Champions League would feature in-game for the first time. Whether it be Career Mode or The Journey, players will be able to chase European glory. It’ll also feature in Ultimate Team in some capacity. FIFA 19 will launch on September 28. A free trial of FIFA 18‘s World Cup mode/update is available now.
Origin Access Premier
Next up, the Prince of Darkness (Andrew Wilson) took to the stage to wank on about EA’s business models and games as service being the future of gaming (look to be fair he’s probably right). Wilson then announced Origin Access Premier, EA’s new subscription service for PC, which will allow players to play all of EA’s latest titles in full before their public release as well as all the benefits of a basic Origin membership. No information on Australian pricing was given, however US pricing is as follows, $14.99 per month or $99.99 per year.
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
The stream then cut to our host sitting beside Respawn leader Vince Zampella. Here the cringe and awkwardness surged to a new level while Zampella revealed that Respawn’s Star Wars project will be titled Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, which will be set between episodes three and four and will see players play as a Jedi. We won’t see it until the end of 2019 at this stage. Plenty of time for Disney to revoke the Star Wars licence (although this does sound kinda cool).
Star Wars: Battlefront II
You’ve got to feel sorry for old mate from DICE who was sent on stage to atone for EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II‘s sins. He apologised on behalf of EA for burning players at the stake with the company’s egregious loot box tactics, and he meant it too, despite the awkwardness of the whole thing. However, that apology was met with an announcement of more DLC for Battlefront II, but thankfully it’s free DLC. It was revealed that General Grievous, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Count Dooku and Anakin Skywalker would all be joining the Battlefront II roster in the coming months, as well as adding the planet Geonosis.
Although it was leaked a few hours prior to EA’s conference, EA made it official during EA Play that Unravel Two was a thing, and not only is it a thing but it’s finished and available now. Unravel was a surprisingly enjoyable adventure from EA’s Originals lineup, and the sequel looks like it’ll build on its predecessor’s foundations. Unravel Two will follow the journey of two balls of yarn and will be playable solo or in co-op. One of EA’s better announcements.
Sea of Solitude
Probably the best announcement of EA Play 2018 was their latest EA Originals title, Sea of Solitude, from German outfit Jo-Mei Games. The premise is built around humans turning into monsters when they become too lonely, which has happened to the game’s lead protagonist Kay. Sea of Solitude will focus on some heavy themes such as heartache, empathy and hope. It will launch early in 2019.
NBA Live 19 & Madden 19
Next up we had a small focus on the next entries in the NBA and Madden series. Nothing much was revealed, apart from the announcement that Madden would be releasing on PC this year after a decade-long hiatus. Surprisingly short segment, especially for Madden. However, that didn’t stop the cringe from going through the roof with Madden 18 esports champion Shay “Young Kiv” Klaven scoring a cringe touchdown. No mention of NHL 19 or a new NHL Rock the Rink. Bastards.
NBA Live 19 will launch on September 7, while Madden 19 will be available from August 10.
Command & Conquer: Rivals
When you thought EA’s presentation couldn’t get any worse this year, they drag one of the most iconic franchises out of the shed and piss all over it onstage. Command & Conquer is a progenitor of the RTS genre, but now it is a hollow money-making sex doll that EA shags whenever it feels the need to remind us that EA is still EA. Command & Conquer: Rivals is a mobile RTS game developed by Redwood and it is nothing more than EA flipping the bird to everyone praying for EA to either revive the series properly or lay it to rest. It didn’t help that its lengthy presentation was utterly shithouse, with two annoying shoutcasters commentating a match between two combatants with amateur camera work. It sucked, the game sucks and fuck EA for even thinking it was a good idea. The fact that it had a bigger segment than almost any other game is even worse. The whole thing made our resident RTS lover Aza so mad he simply had to write about it.
The game everyone was waiting for finally showed up, closing out EA’s EA Play presser. Anthem, the upcoming title from Bioware has big expectations on its shoulders, with fans hoping it will deliver the goods. The game had a decent showing but was surprisingly lacking in gameplay, despite it being announced that the game would launch against Sony’s Days Gone on February 22, 2019. We were treated to a cinematic trailer before our host Andrea Rene had an onstage Q&A with three members of Bioware. We found out that Anthem will not have loot boxes but will have cosmetic DLC, the game will have a fully-fledged single-player campaign which players can choose to play in co-op should they wish, and players will be able to interact with other players in the world, a la Destiny. The presentation then shifted to a short gameplay demo which showcased a four-player mission and cut gameplay. Enjoy.
That concludes our EA Play 2018 recap. It was disappointing and it wasn’t worth getting up at 4 am for, but there were a couple notable announcements. Check out our top cringe moments from EA’s presser here. What did you think of EA’s show? Let us know in the comments below.