E3 2017: EA Conference

by Kieran Daly

Another year, another Electronic Entertainment Expo – better known as E3.

This year Electronic Arts that gets the gaming event started with their EA Play event in the Hollywood Palladium.

The EA conference started with a performance from a drum line getting the crowd right in the spirit for the emotional trailer for the new Madden NFL story, Long Shot, starring recent Academy Award winner Marshala Ali. Following the trailer, EA CEO Andrew Wilson took the stage stating that this Madden is “the most innovative one we’ve done it over a decade”.

Wilson went into how their E3 play event is going to run down, bringing up Star Wars Battlefront to mixed reactions from the crowd, saying, “we got a lot of feedback, a lot of it positive and a bunch of it constructive…that’s a euphemises for not as positive.” Wilson boasted that their EA conference show will have a “bunch” of live gameplay.

The next thing EA jumped to was the hit game Battlefield 1. Producer Andrew Gulotta went in to say how happy he is that over 20 million people are still playing the game and then showed a short clip of various YouTuber’s best moments in Battlefield 1 and discussing how great the online community is, and as always, the game is a spectacle. Gulotta then went on to announce some new online DLC for the game starting with two new maps set at night releasing in June and July respectively.

After that, In the Name of the Tsar was announced with 6 new maps, the Russian army, new weapons, new vehicles and the inclusion of the Hussar Cavalry and the iconic women’s battalion of death. The release date for the blistering winter DLC was announced as September and one of the maps was announced as being on the floor at the expo. The trailer for the DLC looked gorgeous, showcasing the harsh winter terrain and the epic scale that fans of the game have come to love.

Next on the stage was Executive Vice President of EA Worldwide Studios, Patrick Söderlund announcing a new competitive online experience for Battlefield 1 but mentioning that more would be revealed at gamescom in August.

Next up Söderlund, went into a bit of the professional competitive side of gaming, announcing that fall would bring the largest competitive FIFA experience ever.

FIFA itself was the next trailer shown at the conference with the latest game being FIFA 18. The game boasted amazing graphics and we saw motion capture footage of Christiano Ronaldo. Everything about it screams what fans of FIFA have loved; their favourite teams and players, large stadiums and incredible heart racing moments of gameplay making it deserving of the label it gave itself as “the world’s game.” The new installment in the franchise seems to continue the story of Alex Hunter with a follow up trailer showing what might come to pass in The Journey.

YouTuber Jesse Wellens was next to take the stage to talk Need for Speed Payback with Executive Producer of the game, Marcus Nilsson. The game boasts heists, intense co-operative missions and jaw dropping action moments along with a new narrative being announced with three different characters, all with their own unique driving and play style.

EA treated the crowd to gameplay for one of the new highway heists. The game looks amazing and the amount of carnage that comes with the vehicular combat looks like something from a Fast and the Furious film.

Söderlund came back to the stage to talk EA originals, something EA started last year to support indie developers. A trailer for a game called A Way Out from new studio Hazelight (the maker of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons), the game is a new Co-Op experience which has you play as two convicts escaping jail together and avoiding getting recaptured as wanted men.

Following the announcement trailer was a gameplay example, showing that the game is entirely co-operative and split screen. The game appears to multiple ways of progressing through the mission with some ways being more reckless and violent that others. The game is scheduled for early 2018.

Again, Söderlund took the stage discuss new technology and announce a new IP from Bioware, Anthem. A full gameplay trailer was promised for the Microsoft’s conference.

Next on the stage was Sean O’Brien, Executive Producer for NBA Live 18. A demonstration of the gameplay was shown, the control over the players seems incredible and even more immersive. A demo was announced for August, giving people a chance to start a new experience called The One. The One is “an authentic NBA experience” that lets you play for the biggest teams and build a rep with them while also allowing you to play ball on streets with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Andrew Wilson came back on to the stage to close the show and discuss Play to Give. The developer recently partnered with three charities and gave players in the communities of several games chances to raise money by completing nine in game challenges. As a reward for all of the communities hard work Wilson announced that EA Access and Origin Access will be free for the next week, along with this PS4 players will also get free trials to play.

The show closed with 30 minutes of Star Wars Battlefront II and, boy, was it a treat. The new offline story mode was revealed to bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens; the game was stated to be bigger than the last game with three times the content. More heroes, planets, deeper progression, multiplayer class systems and much more were promised for online. The multiplayer gameplay trailer looked amazing and made me think of the old days playing Battlefront on my PS2 with my brothers, the game spans all the generations of the film franchise with all of the characters and vehicles fans know and love.

The last thing we saw was Assault on Theed, a live multiplayer game in which the clone army has to defend an on-going attack from the droid army. The graphics look spectacular on the new Frostbite engine, and the gameplay itself looks fun and innovative.

Overall EA’s conference was a decent start to E3, I wish that there had been more games and gameplay shown. It felt like at times we only saw the stuff that EA does every year, but the introduction of new game Way Out and the massive gameplay demonstration of Star Wars Battlefront II added something that made it worth watching.

You can watch the whole conference here and for more E3 coverage stay tuned to Air3 Radio.

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