Yesterday morning, the skies blackened, massive blood-soaked fissures erupted in the streets of Los Angeles, and swarms of money-hungry demons emerged from the pits of hell as Electronic Arts took the stage to kick off E3 2018. We got a lot of predictable announcements, a heavy emphasis on EA’s new “no loot box” policy, and some weird indie games. Here’s what EA brought to the stage for E3 2018’s leadoff presser.
Battlefield V is getting battle royale and is bringing back destructible environments. No shockers here, folks. It’s pretty cool that DICE is re-implementing the destructive environment focus from Battlefield: Bad Company, and I guess it’ll be interesting to see a Battle Royale mode in the World War II setting? Apparently we’re gonna see more at Xbox’s conference on Battlefield V’s “reimagined” Royale mode. EA also made it a point to drive home the fact that Battlefield V will not have loot boxes or a premium pass. Sounds like somebody’s been watching their stock portfolios.
Respawn’s Vince Zampella made an appearance, and officially announced their upcoming Star Wars title – Jedi: Fallen Order. That’s real fucking neat, Vince – but no teaser? Not even a screenshot? A logo? Nothing? C’mon fam. JFO will take place between episodes III and IV, during a time where Jedi who survived Order 66 are on the run from the Empire. Titanfall 2’s boss says we should expect Jedi: Fallen Order next holiday season, and I’ll safely say that trailer or no trailer – this was the highlight of EA’s conference for me.
Battlefront II is getting a ton of new shit. Clone Wars DLC is coming, meaning you’ll soon be able to play as Anakin, Grievous, Obi-Wan, Dooku, and more. We’re also getting a ton of Clone Wars-era maps (like the Battle of Geonosis, which sounds sick) and a few new game modes. I’m pretty jazzed for this, and if you haven’t come back around to Battlefront II because of the gigantic shitshow surrounding it last year, check out my piece on all of EA’s changes – Battlefront II has come a long way.
Hey look – weird indie games! Unravel Two and Sea of Solitude both look like games I’ll never play, but they might be your jam. Unravel is the sequel to a pretty popular co-op focused cutesy-puzzly-platformy game, and Sea of Solitude looks pretty fucking haunting. It’s a game that explores the darker range of human emotions like sadness and loneliness, and to be honest – that just isn’t what I’m looking for in a game. If that’s your bag, get hyped. If not, move right along.
Command & Conquer: Rivals isn’t exactly a shocker. EA is translating it’s storied franchise into a competitive mobile RTS. Maybe EA is looking to find a way to recoup the money they’ll inevitably lose from this “no loot box or premium pass” narrative by dropping a game that is arguably one of the biggest cash-sink and micro transaction-heavy mobile genres. Smart.
FIFA 19 is a thing, the next Madden is coming back to PC, and we’re getting something called Madden Overdrive Mobile. Yawn.
Last but not least… Anthem. BioWare’s Casey Hudson made an appearance, gave us a release date (February 22nd 2019, though I’ll believe it when it’s installing), and reaffirmed that BioWare is focused on story and longevity with Anthem. Apparently they’re planning to add content for “years to come”, though the fact that BioWare abandoned single-player content prospects within the first year of your last AAA RPG – so excuse me if I take this with a grain of salt. Once again, no loot boxes in Anthem. The new gameplay was cool, I liked the monolithic bosses. We’ll see.
Overall Grade: C. EA kicked off E3 2018 with a relatively safe and very predictable presser. The only shock here is that Respawn actually got a few seconds to talk about their upcoming Star Wars title, but that was quickly swept under the rug so EA could talk about mobile games. Hopefully we see more good stuff from Anthem, but the nifty gameplay montage wasn’t enough to keep EA’s kickoff show from being anything more than lukewarm.