Despite the fact that E3 technically doesn’t start for a few more days, we’re here to kick off the whole shebang with EA and their series of live streams. The beginning of this year for EA was met with promise and praise thanks to surprise hit, Apex Legends. Soon after though, their tent pole release Anthem, belly flopped onto the scene and continues to be a tumultuous game.
With that said though, this is some of the more interesting things that EA brought to the table this E3.
STAR WARS JEDI: FALLEN ORDER
EA kicked off the show with arguably, the most anticipated EA game this year, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Boasting 15 “uncut” minutes of gameplay footage. From the jump, I they showed off some wall running to meet up with Forrest Whitaker, presumably playing his Rouge One character. Some cool touches were things like seeing the character use his lightsaber and a light source in a dark area along with using force powers to clear platforming paths for yourself.
A lot of the combat encounters early in the demo looked like they were crafted specifically for presentation purposes, cause a lot of the basic storm troopers just kinda stood there, waiting to get stabbed.
Eventually though, a tougher enemy showed up, and there was this brief one-on-one moment that looked like something out of Dark Souls, which seems like a great way to represent and experience the gravitas of a lightsaber duel.
There was a lot of wall climbing and running, and frequent use of a time slowing power that I wasn’t aware Jedi had, but it looked cool.
Another neat thing was seeing the storm troopers face off against local wildlife. It doesn’t seem like something that will happen organically, but it was nice to know that these guys aren’t just solely waiting around for you to kill them.
There was a “high ground” joke made in the demo, so that was fun.
It seems to be implementing aspects from a lot of beloved Star Wars games, notably Force Unleashed and what little people saw of 1313. One of the cooler bits I saw was a storm trooper fired a laser bullet, the player slowed time, pulled the trooper closer to him, and put him in front of the bullet he fired moments ago.
What I didn’t get from the footage was a sense of scale in the game. The level they showed off seemed fairly linear, without much deviation from the critical path. I genuinely hope that isn’t the case and there’s something similar to how God of War handled it’s world.
The combat looked very interesting to me as well, also bringing up comparisons to God of War. Everything seemed deliberate and calculated, and the post reveal interview revealed that everything we saw was done on the fly. The example they used was when the player pulled an enemy close to them and drove his lightsaber through them, that wasn’t a canned animation, but rather the result of button inputs.
One of the more interesting aspects here is that there isn’t much in the way of variation of the story. Star Wars games typically lean into the light and dark dichotomy, but in Fallen Order, you’re playing a tailored story. That isn’t a negative or positive thing, I just find it interesting that a Star Wars game is foregoing that weird expectation this time around.
The game looks extremely satisfying to play. I hate to keep drumming up this comparison, but it looks like they took God of War 2018, and injected it with Star Wars. The game is set to release on November 15th, and I for one, am eager to get my hands on it.
People really like Apex Legends. In theory, I do too. But it just never got its hooks in me. So who better than I to talk about what they’ve announced for Apex Legends than myself?
They started by announcing a new event called, The Legendary Hunt which I guess is a ranked mode for those who want to be even more competitive in this battle royale game.
They also seem to be finally leaning into the cosmetic angles of a free to play game, by showing off what I assume are new skins.
Then they pivoted into their season 2 plans. It launches July 2nd and is called Battlecharge. Touting a new legend, a map event, a mode, a new battle pass and some balance tweaks.
For all the hype of a new weapon, it looks like an SMG that shoots lasers. I think it’s from Titanfall 2, but I can’t be sure. It seems to be very powerful and the interviewer seemed very excited for it, as is his job.
The battle pass is undergoing a lot of changes, making leveling easier and streamlining its usage. There’s also a competitive season ranked mode, in the vein of Overwatch ranked mode coming.
There’s some additional skins, but to honest, they all kind of looked lame. With the exception of the gun with a rhino head on the front of it.
And then they revealed a new character named Wattson. She’s apparently very smart and French, so that’s cool. She looks to be a defensive oriented character, capable of putting up laser fences and turrets. She looks like a tougher character to play because her powers are so interconnected to herself and her teammates.
Then they started saying some stuff that I couldn’t understand cause I don’t play Apex Legends. It’s hard for me to be excited for or properly report on what this stuff is about, cause I’m just not a huge fan of Apex Legends.
In an attempt to drum up some hype for their fledgling release from last year, EA marched out a half hour of Battlefield V news. Once again, I’m not a huge fan of Battlefield these days, but here we go anyway.
They announced a new map that unsurprisingly looks beautiful and chaotic as hell and should be out sometime in July. Shortly after, they showed a sizzle reel of some other, equally pretty and chaotic maps that are due out in July.
It’s always really interesting to me that in these demos, they never show off the true gameplay loop of Battlefield. There’s always a lot of people mowing each other down in mid to close range combat, but in reality, the experience is more of you spawning in, and then immediately getting sniped.
This entire section of the presentation felt similar to the apology tour they did last year with Star Wars: Battlefront II. Not that they were apologizing, but they hammered the point home that they were responding to community feedback in crafting the new maps and modes.
It’s nice to see that EA isn’t straight up abandoning Battlefield V despite it under performing for them, but rather, supporting the community they have. It seems like a course correction in the public image issues EA has had for a while, where they appear to drop any unsuccessful game instead of supporting it. It’s a smart move, and I hope it’s indicative of a more permanent change as opposed to a temporary solution.
Anyway, this wasn’t what I’d call a super exciting portion of the presentation. It felt like they took a map pack announcement trailer, and spread it out over a half hour.
Man, I don’t know. They’re doing some FIFA Street style mode which seems like it could be fun, but I really am not the target audience on this one. I mean, I enjoyed the “street” series of games they once made, but it isn’t enough to make me buy a FIFA game.
Also, I should mention, for the first half of the time slot for this presentation, they just talked about the concept of street football (soccer) instead of actually showing any gameplay. I get it, I do. There’s a massive cultural relevance for this product and mode, but it really felt like they didn’t have much in the way of additional announcements for the upcoming FIFA.
At this point I started to zone out and stare into the background of the shots. There were a lot of people with umbrella hats on, and I’m so thankful for that. They must’ve been selling them nearby, and even if they were free, they were too expensive. Also, a lot of people waving in the background and generally being a nuisance.
Anthem showed up for a cool 3 minutes. Basically a short apology tour, saying things like “we’re responding to the community” and such. It was just standard stuff about how they’re fixing things and working hard.
MADDEN NFL 20
Welcome to football town folks, they have more umbrella hats here. This year in football town, there’s a career mode for your created player, new playbooks, challenges for ultimate team stuff, and something called “X-Factor abilities” which seem to be superstar specific buffs that you can unlock in-game by completing player specific challenges.
I think I went to the restroom while this segment was going on. I don’t know, it’s a shiny new Madden that I’m sure people will love.
THE SIMS 4
Rounding out the 3 hour event was The Sims 4. They started with an expansion pack called Island Living, which looks like exactly what you think it would be. Lots of beaches, jet-skis, sandcastles, and coral reefs. Cleaning up beach garbage and beach parties were also in the mix, as well as a mermaid.
You can have dolphin buddies, which seems pretty rad. And I’m pretty sure they just implied that mermaids and dolphins fuck. So thanks for that disturbing visual, EA.
Oh good, they decided to play a video from a YouTube content creator. An influencer if you will. But this person did announce that The Sims 4 was including gender neutral and LGBTQ pride items to the game, which is very cool.
And then they announced a magic themed pack that’s coming later in the year. So, Harry Potter fans, get pumped.
EA Play is a weird thing. It’s like EA is trying to do both the established E3 event thing, and the streaming to consumers thing. It isn’t a bad way to do a conference or event, but when there was so little to announce, it just felt lifeless.
I will say that I thought every host they had on the show, teetered between enthusiastic, and supremely annoying, but hey, that’s their job. Aside from that, the biggest news has to be at the very end when a man in an umbrella hat, holding a camera and an anime body pillow stood in the background and waved at the camera. Great job everyone.