Jo Wylie ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Video Games Editor
The EA conference is always going to be a mixed bag for viewers; those here for EA Games have to trudge through the avalanche of sports content and surprises, until the EA Sports fans have to sit back and check their phones while the EA Gamers start screaming. So here’s a round-up of what the EA Games division got up to at the EA conference.
EA dived right in with one of their biggest pieces of exciting news to kick off the show. Watch the Mass Effect: Andromeda trailer here and listen for, in the distance, the sound of Bioware’s invested and somewhat excitable community losing their collective minds.
Bioware announced in their blog post today that the game, set for release in “Holiday 2016”, is “very much a new adventure.” We’ll be playing a male or female human – though not the human in the trailer; seeing as their only defining trait is the N7 logo, we can assume our protagonist is not a member of the systems Alliance Military. ME4 will feature a new team, new romances, a new galaxy to explore and, most importantly, Mako Gameplay.
The Need for Speed section of the EA conference promised a reboot of the iconic series featuring all of the community’s favorite parts of existing games. An open world, and strong narrative, and super sexy cars. A huge amount of customization looks possible, both in look and in gameplay.
The car customization looks super smooth, with excellent visuals, but also seems pretty much what we’d expect – unless you’re trying to build a Mad Max war rig, you’re limited when it comes to car customization to the kind of thing we’ve seen before.
The area where Need for Speed seems to have something a little more innovative is in the customization of the gameplay. As you go through the game, you’ll apparently be able to focus on one or numerous of the pillars of the gameplay; speed, style, build, crew, and outlaw. You can either specialize in one field, or become a jack of all trades, and what you choose will shape the world and races you inhabit. We don’t know if this means you can be a racer who has 100% style but is actually terrible at all other things, including racing, but we do hope so.
One downside to the need for speed section lies in the gameplay footage of the race, a drifting competition. The Camera angles seem to go for the best cinematic view, swerving to the side to get a cool shot of the drifting car, rather than giving us straight and simple views of the race. Hopefully this won’t linger in the speed races, where the nauseating camera angles will surely make it harder to play.
EA also monopolized on its grip of Star Wars, revealing a stunning cinematic trailer of Knights of the Fallen Empire, the story-driven DLC to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The conference promised a more Bioware-like immersive and A-linear storytelling system, with a huge upgrade to characters, the gaming system and everything else. EA have also promised a simplification of the leveling system as well, to limit the need for mindless grinding and hundreds of online hours in order to max out characters’ potentials.
EA wrapped up their conference with the news we were all hanging on for – Star Wars: battlefront announcements and gameplay. The announcer promised a deep immersion in the worlds of the original trilogy, using items, universes and characters from the original trilogy, including iconic heroes and villains.
Watch the gameplay trailer below.
EA also released information on a new IP, Unraveled. There were some reservations when a small, cute, yarn-related sidescroller puzzle game was introduced as “like nothing you’ve ever seen before.” Were EA hoping we’d forgotten Little Big Planet? Either way, once the creative lead came on and extremely adorably explained the way that he built the concept by exploring the forest and building the main character out of rolls of yarn, Unraveled quickly stole our hearts. Watch the trailer below, and you’ll see how Unraveled is an EA released game with an absolutely overflowing amount of indie heart and creativity.
EA has a lot of fun with its existing IPs, and the new addition looks like it’ll be fantastic. A lot this year for people who were already excited for ongoing EA titles – what has you most excited?