E3 2016 Recap: The EA Press Conference

Summary

E3 2016 held lots of news centred on change, diversity, and philanthropy for EA. The big takeaways were their increased devotion to charitable causes, e-sports tournaments, and overall attention to diverse and novel new kinds of product. The major videogame mentions and showcases were focused on Titanfall 2, Madden NFL 2017, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Fifa 17, Star Wars, and Battlefield 1. You can find out more about each of these titles below.

Titanfall 2

The most significant and only announcement regarding Titanfall 2 was its addition of a separate single player story mode. The plot is to be built around exploration of the bond between Titan and soldier, and will expand upon the universe in ways not attempted with Titanfall 2.

Of course, the other major announcement is that this game will be released across all three current gen platforms, PC, PS4, and XBOX ONE. Other than these two pieces of information, nothing much else was shown - besides a trailer that, admittedly, looked kinda kick-ass (which you can find below.)



Release Date: October 26, 2016

Madden NFL 2017

Again, focus was more so on visuals and the accompanying trailer than any real new announcements. Graphics have been overhauled, things look great, and it will assumedly run and play just as well as past entries. I’ll let the trailer speak for itself.



Release Date: August 23, 2017

E-Sports Talk

There was a large amount of discussion on EA’s dedication to the future of e-sports. This dedication was exemplified by announcements of three new types of events: Challenger events (the hosting of annual tournaments), premier events (events hosted and affiliated with select industry partners), and EA Major events (events hosted and run solely by EA for their own community and games.)
Throughout all of this, the face of these events was undoubtedly Madden NFL 17 and the EA Sports label of games. Madden NFL 17 will have a long running Championship Series, which is to be a whole year of non-stop competitive action and EA Major events.

There will be more news of upcoming e-sports events in the near future.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

No new information on Bioware’s upcoming sci-fi RPG epic, however there was a very nice trailer which you can find below.

Talk was mostly focused around the role of the player character (previously dubbed ‘The Pathfinder’), and your journey towards the Andromeda galaxy in search of a new home. Bioware touted more freedom than ever before, with adventures taking place across massively open environments and fully destructible terrain. To add: It would seem facial animations have had a significant overhaul under the Frostbite 3 engine, and to my eyes, the game looks visually stunning.



Release Date: Q1 2017

EA ‘Play to Give’ Initiative

The first arm of their new philanthropy initiative is in their Play to Give scheme. With Play to Give, EA are offering up to $1 million in donations to several charities and orgainsations across several STEM fields, celebrating diversity in technological advancement. It’s a good move by EA, especially considering how they were being titled the ‘worst company in America’ only three years ago. Much of what has been discussed here today feels like a play on that title, ad in my opinion, they’ve done a good job of turning themselves around this year.

FIFA 17

Fans rejoice: FIFA 17 now runs on Frostbite, and the game looks incredible to boot. By far the biggest addition to this year’s instalment, however, is a story mode. Titled ‘The Journey,’ it centres around a young upstarts trying to make it in the big leagues, and appears to riddled with drama and passion. The whole thing reminded me of your typical ‘inner city athlete fights his way to the top’ plotline, but as an addition to FIFA 17, it could bring something wholly fresh to the table.



Release Date: September 29, 2016

EA Originals and ‘Fe’

This is essentially EA’s new indie funding arm. What’s great about this initiative is they intend to give all proceeds back to the developers, instead of taking a cut for themselves – they only aim to publish and help get their name out.

The first game announced under this label was ‘Fe,’ an open world platformer that has no spoken words at all. You take control of a young forest creature, who explores the world around him through song and sound. As you progress, you learn more songs, which allow you to interact with the environment and learn about the world.

It also has a very nice soundtrack.



EA Star Wars>

There are lots of EA studios involved in the drive to create new Star Wars games, including Visceral, Bioware, Respawn and Motive.

The first major announcement was Star Wars Battlefront II, which is to be released in 2017 and will include material from the current films. They have also stated they are listening to any and all feedback regarding Battlefront I, which should mean Battlefront II will likely be an even bigger and greater game than its predecessor.
Next up was a small piece of discussion on Dead Space’s studio Visceral and their still unnamed project. What we know so far is that it is being penned by Uncharted writer Amy Hennig, and will tell a different kind of story to what you will have seen within the universe before.

And last but not least was the announcement of Respawn Entertainment designing their own game, within ‘a unique era of the Star Wars universe.’ No other information was given to expand upon this announcement, but the project is due in 2018.



Battlefield 1

The game has horses, armoured trains and airships. Need we say more than that?
The environments look huge, and total player count within multiplayer matches is at a series high of 64 players. The game boasts updated destruction physics and dynamic weather, ensuring no two games remain the same. The weather mechanic especially serves to force players to adapt to new playstyles each time they replay a map.

Last of all, the new ultimate vehicles add a massive new feature to the game, with the three noted additions being airships, armoured trains, and battleships. The fact that vehicles of this size can move around these maps is a testament to just how big the game is shaping up to be.



Release Date: October 21, 2016

Wrapping Up

This has been a solid year for EA overall. The previous few years have not been too kind to them, and much of what they announced seems focused on giving back to the community and the industry. With their increased attention to e-sports, they look to build a more close knit community of players, and with their dedication to charitable causes and indie publishing, they look to keep the industry thriving with new talent.

Plus, the games they announced were all fresh, exciting, and on top form.

Comment 1
George Prax's picture

Pretty shitty conference overall. Nothing particularly new was shown off other than Titanfall and you had to wait until after the conference to see anything from Battlefield (which just looks like fucking battlefield despite the new setting). I'm glad Titanfall is getting single player and coming to PS4 so I might check that out. FIFA story mode sounds kind of enticing too considering that's led to some pretty good stuff in the NBA 2K franchise (Before Spike Lee bungled it last year). Otherwise it seems like well have to play the waiting game for Mass Effect and anything Star Wars related.