According to the loot tables, this conference only comes out once a year!
They opened up the show with Battlefield V, which by all accounts was one of the more interesting things at the EA briefing today. There was a big emphasis on destruction and mobility. A lot of houses getting bowled over by tanks while other tanks were towing mounted guns around.
EA made a point to say that this was their vision of World War 2. Basically a final clarification to the people complaining about historical accuracy on the internet. Being the first game shown, Battlefield V started the trend of touting “no lootboxes” throughout the presentation.
I also get the impression that there will be some focus on building things in the multiplayer. There was a shot of someone holding a hammer, followed by soldiers stacking sandbags, which was followed by a tank hitching up a mounted gun and driving away with it. That might be a reach though.
Also there’s a battle royale mode, because it’s 2018.
Origin Access Premier
It seems like some sort of hybrid game streaming service that incorporates the existing Origin Access games and subscription. It invokes the Xbox Game Pass in some ways, especially with them saying it will include all PC EA games going forward.
Jedi: Fallen Order
A wild Vince Zampella (Head of Respawn) was spotted in the crowd and gave some vague details about their upcoming Star Wars game, called Jedi: Fallen Order. No details aside from it taking place between episode 3 and 4 were given, except for Zampella emphasizing it was the “Dark Times” and it would release in Holiday of 2019.
Star Wars Battlefront II
Battlefront II was brought out on stage again to mostly apologize for the loot boxes debacle and to explain that they have improved that system greatly. That was followed by the announcement of some new modes, both competitive and cooperative, as well as announcing that future content will revolve around the Solo movie as well as the Clone Wars era. Now we can all act out our favorite moments from the Clone Wars, when we get to play as General Grevious.
Unravel Two is deliberately spelled out rather than numbered, because its a cooperative game now. You play as 2 yarn boys who use each other to solve puzzles in this gorgeous world. The experience can be played solo, or via drop in coop. Also, it’s out right now for $19.99.
Sea of Solitude (SOS)
Continuing the trend of having very excited and earnest indie developers on stage, EA introduced us to Sea of Solitude. SOS as they intentionally refer to it, is a game about balancing your emotions, both good and bad. Also it’s about helping a girl transform back into a human because she got too lonely and turned into a monster the way all humans do. It is slated to be available early 2019.
Command & Conquer Rivals
EA brought out the Shoutcasters and had them commentate over a game of Command & Conquer Rivals, a mobile game that looks to speed up and simplify the C&C experience. I’ve never been a C&C guy, but this seemed interesting for what it was. A “pre-alpha” version of it is available now on Android, with a full release coming to iOS as well sometime in the near future.
Right before we dipped into the Anthem experience, we took a moment to hear about how EA values you, your time, your money and your gaming experiences. They followed that with an apology for their bad monetization practices, and hard pivoted to the Play to Give Foundation which promotes exclusivity and acceptance in gaming spaces. They donated a million dollars want you to know that.
So this Anthem presentation was weird. It was more or less a round table discussion about each of the core aspects of Anthem. They explained their design process as well as story stuff and mechanics, but did it while the same 4 clips of gameplay kept looping over and over with repeating shots of concept art sprinkled in for good measure. It had me really worried that they had nothing to show on Anthem.
There was a weird moment where they basically called out Destiny, claiming that other games in a similar vein dropped the ball on the story experience. Then came a totally real, Q&A segment with questions from Twitter. One question asked about customizing your appearance. The answer was obviously a yes. The next was about loot boxes and micro-transactions. There will be no loot boxes, and you’ll always know what you’re paying for. So paying for cosmetics is almost a guarantee. Up till right about here, this Anthem presentation was insufferably dull.
Then they showed some gameplay of the classes and gun play. There are some neat abilities and weapons that were on display, but the core loop of the game is you shoot things to make numbers pop out of them. There’s a combo system that appears to inflict more damage when players use powers correctly simultaneously, and a lot of flying around like Iron Man. You have the equivalent of a ghost, he is British and snarky. Aside from that, they once again emphasized the story by saying if you’re a solo player, you’ll have a lot to experience here, but it might be a bit more challenging.
Anthem is set to release on February 22nd, 2019.