As was the case last year and in 2016, Electronic Arts once again chose to skip the main E3 floor in favor of its own EA Play event. The publisher hosted a press conference as the highlight of the event, giving us a few surprises, as well as new gameplay from previously announced titles. The conference was short on details, but it did offer tidbits of as yet unknown information.
By far the biggest game of EA Play 2018 was BioWare’s Anthem, which received a new gameplay demonstration showing off the cooperative action at the heart of the experience. In the video, we see several of the player-character “Freelancers” soar through the air and eventually underground as they search for the source of a poison being utilized by the evil “Scars.” Along the way, they run into several weaker enemies who are quickly dealt with using area-of-effect combo attacks, made possible by the Javelin suits each Freelancer equips.
As the trailer concluded, we got a sneak peek at a giant insect monster who will likely be a boss fight, and it looks quite formidable. Though designed to be played with friends, those looking for a challenge can enjoy the content of Anthem solo, and your hub area will be where you experience your own character’s story. The outside world, meanwhile, will be shared by all players.
The development team wants the game to feel alive, and it will continue to update Anthem with new story content after its launch. Like previous BioWare games, you’ll get to make choices and connect with individual characters, though there will not be any romances.
BioWare also confirmed the game will feature no loot boxes or paid gameplay enhancers, instead only offering paid cosmetic items. Anthem is shaping up to be one of the most ambitious games BioWare or Electronic Arts has ever created, and we’ll see how well it worked out when it launches on February 22, 2019 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
We saw a brief look atBattlefield V’s multiplayer mode, including the massive “Ground Operations” that spans multiple maps and in-game days. The map shown during the conference was covered with snow, and showed soldiers leaping from a plane thousands of feet in the air as fire rained down all around them. Elsewhere, German soldiers set up defensive turrets, which can be moved in order to better protect against tanks and other offensive threats.
EA also confirmed rumors that Battlefield V will have a battle royale mode, though it won’t be in the game at launch. More information will be provided at a later date, but it will contain all the destruction and vehicular combat we see in the game’s other modes. Our first look at the single-player “War Stories” mode will be shown at Microsoft’s conference on June 10, and will focus on the character Nordly.
Battlefield V is out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC October 19.
"Your lightsabers will make a fine addition to my collection…"
— EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) June 9, 2018
Star Wars: Battlefront II released last year, and has undergone major changes to its progression system, removing loot boxes and using a merit-based approach to earning experience. Dice is still committed to providing players with new content. This summer, the game will introduce an all-new squad system that will make it easier to play with friends, as well as a new “multiplayer sandbox experience” and a Starfighter mode featuring hero ships.
In the future we’ll also be getting Clone Wars-centric content in Battlefront II. New heroes include General Grievous, Obi Wan Kenobi, Count Dooku, and Anakin Skywalker, and we’ll be heading to the planet Geonosis for the largest single map in Battlefront II.
Respawn Entertainment, which was recently acquired by Electronic Arts, is also working on a Star Wars game, and studio head Vince Zampella shared a few details about it during the conference. Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order will take place between the events of the prequel films and the original trilogy, and it stars a Jedi during one of the darkest times in the Order’s history. As the Jedi are being hunted down, it could make for a treacherous and intense journey. Zampella confirmed you will also be using a lightsaber, and to expect the game during the holiday season in 2019.
Electronic Arts’ Origin Access program already gives subscribers the ability to access certain games and play them for a limited time prior to launch, but a new level Origin Access Premier is designed for those who don’t want to buy games at all. The $100-per-year program gives players full and early access to FIFA 19, Madden NFL 19, Battlefield V, and Anthem, along with unlimited access to The Sims 4 and its Digital Deluxe content. The program launches later this summer.
CEO Andrew Wilson also touched on the company’s recent push into game streaming. In the future, games like Need for Speed Payback and Titanfall 2 will be playable on a variety of devices through the power of the cloud, made possible by EA’s recent acquisition of GameFly’s cloud streaming team.
Surprisingly little information was given regarding FIFA 19 during Electronic Arts’ press conference, but the company is pushing the inclusion of the UEFA Champions League. This league will be available to play across several of the game’s modes, including tournaments and FIFA Ultimate Team. It’s also where “The Journey” protagonist Alex Hunter will be heading in the next chapter of his story, which began with FIFA 17.
For a limited time, FIFA 18 can be played for free on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC through Origin Access, as well. The game was recently updated to include World Cup content.
FIFA 19 is out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC September 28.
The Madden series has been exclusive to consoles for several years, but that will end with Madden NFL 19. The game will be coming to PC, and it will be available to play early for those with an Origin Access Premier subscription. One again, it will make use of the Frostbite Engine, and the trailer shown during the event focused on players like Tom Brady, Baker Mayfield, and Eli Manning. No details were shared about “Longshot,” the single-player story mode introduced in last year’s game.
Madden NFL 19 is out for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC August 10.
The NBA Live series is going to the blacktop with NBA Live 19, which will focus heavily on building squads of players off the street and challenging others. “The Streets World Tour” gives you a chance to play on different street courts around the world, each with different rules. Developer Ryan Santos previously worked on the NBA Street series, and its DNA is certainly apparent in NBA Live 19.
The choices you make as a player and a person in “The One” mode can affect the story and send it in a new direction. You’ll be able to play in both traditional courts and blacktops in that mode, allowing you to progress however you see fit.
NBA Live 19 is out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One September 7.
Coldwood Interactive has developed Unravel Two, a sequel to the original puzzle-platformer, and it’s available right now. As the name suggests, Yarny is joined by a friend this time around as his searches for his lost “Spark,” and the two share a bond that makes them inseparable.
Playable both solo and cooperatively, Unravel Two is a game about “second chances” and the “spirit of optimism,” according to director Martin Sahlin. It switches between fast-paced, danger-filled moments and slower puzzles. In the first gameplay trailer we were shown, a large bird attempts to attack Yarny and his friend, who took turns distracting the creature as the other character moves to a safer location.
Unravel Two is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Perhaps the most depressing game shown during EA Play 2018 was Sea of Solitude, an EA Originals title being developed by Jo-Mei Games. The adventure game stars Kay, a girl whose loneliness and anger have caused her to physically transform into a monster, complete with shadowy skin and glowing red eyes. It’s her mission to discover how to reverse this change, but standing in her way are other monsters that have grown to several times her size. Developer Cornelia Geppert said during the show that her studio attempted to show how people can experience loneliness in different ways, and we’ll see how well Jo-Mei did when it launches in early 2019.
Strategy fans will want to charge their phones, as the Command and Conquer series is back with the multiplayer game Command & Conquer: Rivals. The game offers small-scale and quick warfare between players, who must destroy their opponent’s base with two missiles in order to claim victory. Crystals appear to dictate how quickly you can deploy new units, and the resource is constantly charging in the corner of your screen. Details on most characters are limited at the moment, but it will see the return of the villain Kane.
Command & Conquer: Rivals is coming to iOS and Android. The game is in the pre-alpha state, but Android players can sign up to try the game out right now.