After the spectacular Microsoft press conference, the pre-E3 coverage continues with EA showcasing their line-up for this year along with games coming out beyond 2014. But did EA showcase enough content to justify interest for next year?
EA’s press conference began with a brief showing on the development of the new Star Wars Battlefront game. The team working on the game made it very clear as to how accurate they want the game to be to the films it follows, by showcasing a trip to the Lucasfilm archives to see the different costumes, models and other props used to help bring the Star Wars movies to life. They also visited the location where key scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy were shot. The early footage of the game showcased how that research has paid off, as the environments and general look of the new Battlefront game is very accurate to the movies as well as looking amazing as a game. EA promised at the end of the showing that more information would be detailed in spring 2015.
Following the Star Wars opening, EA showcased the latest entry in the Dragon Age franchise, Dragon Age Inquisition. Placing the focus on the backstory, the demo only gave us a brief glimpse on to the improved and very fluid looking combat system. The Tactical interface from the previous games was also confirmed to have received an overhaul, encouraging either an action or tactical based approach to combat.
BioWare briefly showcased some prototype work being done on the next Mass Effect game. The game is still very much in the early stages and didn’t have much to show, but judging from the early prototype work it appears that the next Mass Effect game will have the same feel as previous games in the series. Also mentioned and shown was prototype environments to another game being developed by BioWare that is yet to be named. Even less was shown of this game, however it was confirmed to be a full BioWare production that, judging by the early environmental footage, is going to look spectacular.
As expected, the Sims 4 also made an appearance. While not showing off anything new, the E3 demo once again emphasized the all new mood system which, according to the developers, lets us now not only customize the bodies and minds of our Sims but also their hearts (allowing for an even better simulation).
Many sports games were shown during EA’s conference, and the one to kick them off was the soon to be release UFC. Showcasing Bruce Lee as a playable character, the game has really great visuals and the details to the playable fighters are superb. With the game releasing next week, no new information was detailed during the conference.
The presentation of this year’s iteration of NHL places a strong focus on improvements in terms of visual fidelity and physics simulation while staying true to the NHL core gameplay. Most notably here are the improvements to the arenas themselves, featuring much more detailed crowds and arena specific details like banners.
Criterion Games talked about their next game that has an emphasis on many different vehicles. The video showcased ATVs, jet skis, bikes and snowmobiles as just a handful of vehicles to be possibly used. A brief piece of prototype footage was shown depicting a person jumping onto an ATV and driving through an obstacle course, all of the while in first-person view. It appears that Criterion Games is putting forth a lot of research into this game.
The developers of PGA Tour, a game usually not known for big surprises, announced a switch to the Frostbite engine today. Frostbite, the engine behind Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4 and other upcoming EA games will allow for even more realistic environments and physics as previously. In addition to these technical changes, PGA Tour will now also feature fantasy courses alongside its realistic models of real ones, with the demo presenting a course on the Paracel Storm map from Battlefield 4.
Madden 2015 was shown and a new feature called defensive camera was showcased. It let’s the gamer get up close to the player they are controlling to have a clearer idea of the details of the football game being played. A focus on defense was also pushed for the 2015 installment of the annual series, and a release date of August 26th was given.
EA also showcased its own take on the MOBA genre in the form of Dawngate. Although EA’s presentation gave some insights into the development of the game, the best way to check out Dawngate is to simply hop into its beta which has been available on the website for a while now.
DICE’s Mirror’s Edge was showcased, but not too much footage was shown. Emphasis was played on the redesign of Faith, along with concept art and design shots of the game so far. The melee combat shown looked very good for a game at such an early stage of production, and detailed were the changes being made from the first game’s move sets. DICE wants players to find different paths by exploring the game’s environments. Realism was also a big factor that DICE wants to incorporate into the game.
Just like NHL, this year’s FIFA puts a strong emphasis on better graphics and physics simulation while leaving the core concept untouched. In addition to improvements to physics affecting the player and the ball, the goal and other objects surrounding the field are now fully simulated, allowing for goals to tip and corner flags to bend.
Finishing the EA conference was Battlefield Hardline. This showcased a massive 32-player multiplayer match that had cops trying to catch a group of robbers who had stolen money. It was an interesting take on the classic cobs and robbers take off, and showcased how large the multiplayer map was with the two factions fighting against each other. In a surprising announcement, that closed the conference, EA announced that PlayStation 4 owners can sign up for the Battlefield Hardline beta through their Battlefield 4 starting today.
I personally found the entire press conference to vague and too unspecific. I would have loved for EA to give us some solid details on their new titles but rather they showed us new trailers with stuff we had previously seen. I am really excited for the changes to PGA Tour even though I have never touched a golf game in my life, there is just something about shooting golf balls over a battleship that appeals to me. As for the other sports games I feel let down once more, with neither FIFA nor NHL really reinventing the wheel this year. The new defense system in NHL is interesting but also not world-changing. As for the rest, I am not really sure so far, there’s a lot of interesting stuff but no information about it so that I’ll hold back on a judgment in that regard.
Coming off the high of the Microsoft conference, I was really disappointed at the lack of information shown for some of the more interesting games at the conference. Most of the games that were really interesting like Star Wars, Mass Effect, and Mirror’s Edge were given little to no information. While it’s totally understandable that the games listed are early in the developmental cycle and not much could be shown, the fact that those games weren’t ready for EA’s E3 conference was a bit of a let down. The games shown off in more detail were games we’re familiar with already, such as the sports games and a Battlefield game. While it’s not the worst E3 conference ever, it’s certainly the worst conference shown so far and I was expecting much more from EA.