E3 2018 Recap – EA’s Conference – By FIR35TORM

It’s day one for E3 2018 and EA kicked thing off with some announcements at its own conference. Most of it are titles that are already announced, including ‘Anthem’ and ’Battlefield 5’. We’ve also received some other announcement, some promising, some…well, completely the opposite. Anyway, let us begin on what EA announced.

Battlefield 5

EA kicked off their conference with an ‘in-game’ trailer of ‘Battlefield 5’ which graphically, looked very gorgeous. We’ve seen some cool features in that trailer, from a new destruction model that allows tanks to plough through and therefore, level houses and buildings, to climbing and window vaulting capabilities.

And one of the largest gameplay additions is being able to tow mobile artillery and large turrets. It sure sounds silly on paper, but we can see players making some amazing Battlefield moments.

EA confirmed that ‘Battlefield 5’ will not have lootboxes and premium pass, which is a great change. That way, every player will be receiving free updates and it won’t have separated communities. Details are only light from the conference, but we’ll have a closer look at the new single-player War Stories at the Xbox Conference. EA has also announced that they will be including a ‘Battle Royale’ component to ‘Battlefield 5’ with more info to come. Oh, here we go…

And here’s some Star Wars stuff

Vince Zampella from Respawn Entertainment has made a big announcement via an off-stage chat. The title, ‘Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order’, has a release window in late 2019. There’s no trailer, no gameplay footage other than it will take place between Episode III and IV.

As for ‘Battlefront 2’, DICE has admitted that they’ve made a grave error with its progression system. Along with a complete overhaul, DICE is adding new content and modes with Ewok Hunt returning as a permanent mode. Hero Starfighters is one of the new modes and it would be a space-combat only mode, this will be a great addition.

DICE has also announced that they’ll be bringing additional Clone-War era content, with new characters including Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Sith Lord Count Dooku and General Grievous. All these heroes will be playable on one of the iconic worlds from the prequel trilogy, Geonosis. Let’s hope that EA will keep its promise after its massive backlash from launch.

Oh yeah, we almost forgot about EA Sports

If we’re honest, there’s wasn’t much to report about any of the EA Sports titles shown in the conference. However, for the first time, ‘FIFA 19’ will include the UEFA Champions League, an annual contest featuring the best clubs in Europe. Other than that, it’ll just be another yearly title with some minor improvements over ‘FIFA 18’.

As for the predecessor, ‘FIFA 18’ will be available as a free trial on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. So, if you want your Soccer fix (Yes, I’ve said it), you can give that a crack with the free New World Cup update.

A new Command & Conquer, for the new generation…oh dear

This announcement came more of a horrifying shock than a surprise from fans and previous developers from the series. ‘Command and Conquer Rivals’ was introduced with a quick match between two ‘influencers’ and a shoutcast.

The game features two teams battling against each other by controlling a nuke in the middle of the screen. The aim is to have majority control of the 3 points in the play screen that dictates who controls the nuke which will be launched to the enemy’s base.

There’s not much else to say, other than a painful reminder for many C&C fans. For those who remember the glory days of Westwood Studios, it’s a difficult piece to swallow knowing that this franchise is now being passed on as a Clash Royale mobile game.

‘Command and Conquer Rivals’ will be released as a free-to-play title on iOS and Android soon. For Android users, you can try out the beta version right now via Google Play. I mean, if you really want to.

But it’s not all doom and gloom

As part of the EA Original Program, an indie development initiative, EA had announced its latest game in the program, ‘A Way Out’, was a commercial success. Released back in March, ‘A Way Out’ from Hazelight Studios was played by over 2 million players in the first week. Part of the initiative, all profits goes directly back to the developers. This is very great to hear and although we’ve yet to play this title, we want to say kudos to the studio for their next project.

The next title picked up by EA Originals is an artistic and unique adventure game. ‘Sea of Solitude’, from Jo-Mei Games, presents the idea of humans who turn into monsters after suffering from loneliness and hopelessness. It shows a young woman, Kay, who drifted in a boat through a deserted and partly submerged city.

The game explores how she became a monster and the emotions within ourselves while meeting other monsters in her journey. This is not your usual video game and is focused on a more niche crowd.

Finally, we have Anthem!

‘Anthem’ is the most highly anticipating title and it’s no surprise EA left it as the last piece of the presentation. We’re shown a deep look to some of the lore and classes in the game, but considering it is due to release on February 22, 2019, we felt that we’re still only getting a touch of what is about.

The world of ‘Anthem’ is constantly reshaped by ancient tools, players act as freelancers, and are free to change what classes they wish. The classes are in fact, wearable exosuits known as Javelins, each with different abilities. ‘Anthem’ will have four Javelins available which are Ranger, Colossus, Storm and Interceptor.

We’re only given a quick brief of the former two, the Ranger will be an all-around class, while the Colossus is essentially, a walking tank. From the gameplay trailer, we speculate that the Storm class will have elemental-style attacks.

During the trailer, it shows a team of four flying around the world to its objective. If it’s anything to note, the graphical fidelity is absolutely gorgeous, although this is an area the Frostbite engine never failed to impress. The suits have to ability to seamlessly dive in and out of the water, which adds the free-roaming capabilities the game has to offer.

Compared to its closest rival ‘Destiny 2’, we don’t have to worry about loot boxes or microtransactions that will affect the gameplay. Bioware announced that it will only have cosmetics microtransactions. We’re still waiting to know more of ‘Anthem’ but we think that it is going to be a promising game, closer to release.

And some other things

Also announced is a sequel to a 2D-like platforming game. ‘Unravel Two’ is as stylish as the first game, but with a more co-op focus. The game shows two yarns like creatures that are conjoined by a thread of yarn.

The players can swing around, avoid hazards and help pull each other up. You can still play as a single player game, it’s just one of the yarns wraps itself around the other. The live demo shows the yarns running away from this crazy looking turkey, and to be honest, it was actually stressful to watch.

After its presentation, EA announced that ‘Unravel Two’ is in fact out and played right now, which is a nice surprise!

Lastly, all these titles announced here, and future EA titles can be fully accessible to play five days before its launch under a new membership tier called Origin Access Premier. Think of as the Xbox Game Pass but on PC, you’ll still have access to over 100 titles from the Origin Vault. This includes the ‘Mass Effect’ and ‘Dragon Age’ series, ‘Titanfall 1 & 2’ and ‘Battlefield 1’.

Local pricing for Origin Access Premier when its available will be $19.99/ month or $129.99/ year. It does sound pricey, but if ‘Battlefield 5’ and ‘Anthem’ received great reviews, this may not be a bad option to try out.

So, what did we think?

This year’s EA conference isn’t an amazing presentation, nor a terrible one, but if I’m honest, it certainly angered some passionate fans. The biggest standout is without a doubt ‘Anthem’ but that is to be expected. The worst…well, I wish EA had left the C&C franchise in the grave.

EA’s conference only lasted around 80 mins, it had a great opportunity to be an exciting presentation with their highly anticipated titles. Instead, we’ve left nothing with frustration and forced to watch later presentations for more info. At least it wasn’t as bad as their previous presentations which were littered with concept art and nothing gameplay-wise.

Alas, at least our first presentation is out of the way, stay tuned soon for our next coverage of Microsoft’s E3 conference.

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