Like last year, Electronic Arts was the first company out of the gate to host a press conference at this year’s E3. The company is not officially a part of E3 itself; it instead chose to again showcase its games through an event open to the public called EA Play. This took place in the days prior to E3 proper, with the highlight being the company’s press conference on Saturday.
In this feature we lay out some of our favorite moments from the show, a few of the things we wish EA had done differently, and a handful of its biggest games. This is the spot for a high-level analysis of all things EA had at E3.
To get more information about all of EA’s E3 announcements, we’ve got you covered with: All of the news and from the EA press conference, all of the new EA trailers (including the Anthem teaser), and a list of all the EA games shown at the show.
And for our analysis of the other press conferences, check out the roundup of right here of all the highs, lows, and biggest games for the other big publishers and developers, including Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.
Undoubtedly the biggest news out of EA’s press conference concerned the new IP from BioWare, Anthem. We unfortunately had to wait for Microsoft’s press conference to get a real sense of what the Destiny-esque game is all about, but the brief teaser aired during EA’s show was enough to get fans excited about what the Knights of the Old Republic studio can do when creating its own universe.
Highlight: A Way Out
A new co-op game from the people behind Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is intriguing enough. Make it a full-on action game with apparent triple-A production values, and you’ve won over a lot of people. It’s not often we see a game designed from the ground up with mandatory co-op in mind, and one in which you try to escape prison and engage in all sorts of illegal activities sounds incredibly novel.
Highlight: NBA Live 18
Only time will tell whether NBA Live can ever hope to compete with the NBA 2K series, which is firmly entrenched as the definitive basketball sim experience. EA says it’s looking to nail the fundamentals of basketball with NBA Live 18, which will be critical, but that’s not enough–offering a version of the sport that’s almost as good as NBA 2K isn’t going to be enough to win over someone planning to pick up NBA 2K18.
But EA also laid out an intriguing vision for what NBA Live 18 could offer with it’s The One mode. This sounds almost like an RPG mode for a basketball game, which–if executed properly–could make Live 18 worth a look. Revealing a new game in the series after its struggles over the last decade-plus was always going to be a challenge, so for it to be in this position seems like a real positive.
Needs Improvement: Where’s NHL?
EA’s major sports games were given their time in the spotlight: FIFA 18 looks good, NBA Live 18 seems potentially promising, and Madden is adapting FIFA’s The Journey for its own story mode. But NHL 18 was nowhere to be seen, apparently so that it can be shown off separately at some point in the future. If you’re a hockey fan who doesn’t think the sport gets its due, you probably weren’t happy with this no-show.
Need Improvement: Talk More About Star Wars
EA has, understandably, become more hesitant to talk about games that far off in the distance. Likewise, it’s no surprise that EA would want to focus Star Wars fans’ attention on the game that’s due out this year in Battlefront II. But after the company has provided overviews of what its various studios are doing on the Star Wars front in the past, it would have been nice to get some insight–however surface level–into what else is on the horizon for the franchise.
Biggest Game: Star Wars: Battlefront II
EA Play brought with it a new map and a lengthy demonstration of Battlefront II’s multiplayer. It looks to be addressing many of the criticisms of the first game; aside from the addition of a campaign, a new points system provides more of a sense of progression, making it feel like you’ve earned your way to spawning in as a hero. It’s also completely gorgeous, with a wealth of new vehicles and characters, and the ability to bring together content from all eras of Star Wars. It still may not offer some of the elements of the earlier Battlefront games, but Battlefront II looks to be offering a great experience.
Biggest Game: Need for Speed: Payback
A year off for Need for Speed has provided the series with a serious injection of Fast and Furious DNA. Provided that doesn’t immediately strike you as a turn-off, Payback looks to offer a different approach to racing.
Biggest Game: FIFA 18
FIFA 17’s The Journey was a big hit, and that’s evolving for FIFA 18. While the premise–protagonist Alex Hunter may move from the Premier League to Major League Soccer, which sure sounds like a step down–is a bit silly, it’s nice to see EA continue to do something new with its sports games than refine mechanics and improve the visuals.
Biggest Game: Battlefield 1
Battlefield’s post-launch support continues. And although you’ll need to be a Premium member to get most of the benefits, a lot of this content does look solid–particularly the nighttime maps, which should help to offer a different dynamic.