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E3 2017: EA Showcase
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 05:35pm 11/06/17 | Comments
All the announcements and trailers from EA's showing this year.

In the early hours of today EA kicked off its second EA Play conference in Hollywood, where over three days the publisher will be showcasing playable versions of its biggest upcoming titles – Star Wars Battlefront II, FIFA 18, Madden 18, Need for Speed Payback, and more. Although technically a separate event from E3 proper, you can consider it the first of the big showcases. And the beginning of a week of games, games, and more games.

From a surprise announcement perspective things were kept pretty safe, with the biggest – a new IP from BioWare called Anthem – teased in lieu of a proper reveal at Microsoft’s conference tomorrow. A strange move that did little more than lessen the surprise that a new game from BioWare is coming soon. At Microsoft’s conference, we’ll probably see it running on Project Scorpio hardware too so we’re excited. In fact, at one point during the EA Play presentation Scorpio was mentioned by name alongside this and EA Sports’ Madden. In the end, the largest chunk of the showcase focused on what was coming this year. With Star Wars Battlefront II leading the charge. Which meant that there were no glimpses of any additional Star Wars games that we know are in the works.

Kicking things off though was the return of one of the stars from last year – Battlefield 1, with the first look at the Russian themed expansion coming in the next few months called In the Name of the Tsar. Although this will introduce a new faction, weapons, vehicles, and maps like all major expansions we’ve seen so far, this will be the biggest yet with a whopping 8 new maps coming and a new mode specifically being created with esports and competitive gaming in mind. The new mode, which will get a full reveal at Gamescom in August, looks to fill the gap that the current Battlefield setup has been unable to fill in that space. Mainly because Battlefield is, well, Battlefield.

Next up was sports with a look at FIFA 18, Madden 18 and the next NBA Live. When it comes to sports games you kind of know what to expect, but perhaps the biggest takeaway this year is that a lot of resources seem to have been poured into adding story modes to each game. We saw this last year with FIFA 17, which turned out to be such a great addition that this year the game will include an actual sequel and continuation of the storyline with The Journey: Hunter Returns. Referring to the return of digital footing ball superstar Alex Hunter.

With Madden 18 getting in on the action.

And NBA Live 18 too.

With each EA Sports title now running on Frostbite they’ll certainly look the part, with the only exception being NBA Live 18 as its competitor the NBA 2K series, has just about become the gold standard for NBA games – even in the story department.

Next for EA Play came Need for Speed Payback which was awkwardly introduced by a YouTuber/influencer alongside one of the developers. A fact that EA kind of doubled down with this year, with a whole slew of online personalities on hand to introduce or comment on the publisher’s line-up. As for the game, much like the announcement a few days ago we get a definite Fast & Furious flavour. With the gameplay chunk shown being more of an action film with cars than anything to do with street racing. It looked fun, but there was an alarming number of scripted sequences where driving up to a truck triggered a cutscene full of stunts and explosions. With player control relegated to the actual driving from point A to B parts.

But, in terms of what we were told -- open world, events, various types of racing, being able to find old cars and rebuild them ala Barn Finds from Forza Horizon -- Need for Speed Payback could be a return to form for the series.

Next up was look at an upcoming EA Original scheduled for release in the early parts of 2018 called A Way Out. Coming from the developers behind Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, this split-screen only co-op adventure puts players in control of two individuals looking to break out of prison. With a presentation that looks to focus quite heavily on story, this is an interesting approach to same room co-op that we definitely want to see more of. The way in which one player can be engaged in a cutscene whilst the other player is exploring or doing something else looks fascinating. Something that in execution will require you to in part be aware of what’s happening in two different places concurrently.

Finally, we get to Star Wars Battlefront II with the star of the single-player campaign Janina Gavankar taking the stage to introduce a live chunk of the game’s multiplayer. And re-iterate that DICE has taken on board the criticism from the first game and looked to address each point with the sequel. They even called on John Boyega, who played Finn in Star Wars Episode VII to confirm that not only will there be a single-player campaign but also free content in the form of heroes, maps, and modes for everyone. Including Finn coming to the game as a hero around about the time that Star Ears Episode VIII hits theatres.

For those that played Star War Battlefront and marvelled at the visuals but were letdown that the actual gameplay was more Battlefield-light than a proper Star Wars Battlefield, you’ll be pleased to know that classes are being introduced this time around. And that the general look and feel of the multiplayer has a definite Battlefield 1 vibe. Which is a big step in the right direction.

For more, be sure to check out the entire EA Play stream below.

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