2017 E3 Roundup – EA

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While Mike will always be the video game half of That’s Entertainment, I do enjoy keeping up to date with what’s going on (and trying to find time to play games). And while I’m partial to podcasts, EA CEO, Andrew Wilson, said something that struck me—and likely the Kev of 10-15 years ago would have agreed with:

Video games are the best form of entertainment.

~ Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA

I think each generation has their form of entertainment and I think, more than ever, we’re in the generation that does consider video games to be the end all for entertainment. Every company and studio, regardless if it’s video games or Hollywood, will tap the well as many times as they can—it’s hard not to when you have IP that has proven itself. I do see more risks and opportunities for originality in the video game industry. I also see some very good storytelling done: The Walking Dead Season 1 and The Last of Us are just two quick examples off the top of my head.

That being said, out of everything we saw during the EA conference, only a few things were new and original. The one that stuck out the most to me was from EA Originals, a division of EA that is committed to finding great new games and working with small developers to make sure those games get discovered and into the hands of players (read more about it here), A Way Out.

First and foremost, the excitement of writer/director Josef Fares was a pleasure to see during the conference—which, more often than not, was filled with people who seemed less than thrilled to be there. What blew me away about this game, is that it brings back old cool multiplayer / co-op play. It was designed to be played on the couch, with your friend, IN REAL LIFE. As some one who played hours of Final Fantasy VI (co-op play in battles was cool at the time), GoldenEyeMario Kart, and other multiplayer games, it brings me great joy to see this, especially in the world of doing everything online. Not only does this game take us back, it also takes some twists and puts a new spin on this style of play. While you’re watching a cut scene for Leo, one of the main characters in the game, your friend may be trying to sneak into a restricted area of the prison as Vincent. Hazelight Games, the team Fares is part of, seems to have a real hit on their hand.

One of the other big moments for me, came in a very short snippet of this conference—Madden 18‘s first ever story mode, Longshot.

I’ve been playing football games since Quarterback Club ’96 on the Super Nintendo and have always enjoyed just playing the game. Getting into Madden was a big transition; more elaborate game play and a season long ‘campaign’, with the chance of a championship truly in my hand. As the years have gone one, they’ve been able to improve game play and graphics, but in the current generation, you can only improve things so much. And doing season/career mode can become repetitive (I often only end up play a single season, despite how neat all the off season stuff is). Introducing a story mode is the next logical step to keep the franchise fresh. I’m excited to get my hands on this one and see what Longshot has to offer (and hope that it takes some cues from Telltale to allow your actions effect game play down the road (helloooooo DLC).

EA had plenty to show for their 2017 E3 conference—

  • Battlefield 1
  • Need For Speed
  • NBA Live
  • FIFA
  • Anthem (which is one of the few other new IPs we got to see, but only a small tease—hopefully we’ll get more on this in one of the other conferences I haven’t seen yet)

But the biggest thing EA had to show this year, devoting around 30 minutes to it, was Star Wars Battlefront II.

I have Star Wars Battlefront I, and haven’t play very much of it (though, I’m 100% devoting some time tonight to do so), which also means I’m pretty oblivious to many (read all) of the complaints the first one had. That being said, it seems like EA wanted to make sure fans were happy this time around and answered a lot of questions, including a new story mode that is original and is reportedly going to help bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens. We’ve been promised some awesome (and free) DLC, starting with the first season (themed after The Last Jedi). That very last portion showed us multiplayer in action, which reinforced the idea that we’re going to see all three generations of Star Wars represented in the game with Rey, Han Solo, and Darth Maul all making an appearance.

Check back in later this evening with my opinions and coverage of the Microsoft and Bethesda E3 conferences from yesterday. You can also read Mike DeAngelo’s complete coverage of E3 day 1 here.

Kevin M. Gallagher, Jr
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