The headline above is admittedly a little misleading, because EA technically isn’t going to E3. Instead, the publisher is using the weekend hype leading into E3 to hold its exclusive event in Hollywood, which it calls EA PLAY (how original!).
EA PLAY stands as gamers’ opportunity to play EA’s upcoming games library before anyone else. If you happen to be in La La Land during that time, have registered for a ticket and been approved, you’ll gain access to a wonderland of games right smackbang in the middle of Hollywood.
E3 2017 — or, EA PLAY pre-E3 2017 — stands as a big one for EA, as it’ll be the first opportunity to see the likes of Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Need For Speed: Payback, and the rebooted NBA Live franchise in action.
So which games will be on show, and what can we expect to hear and see more of over the course of the weekend? Let’s take a look.
Star Wars Battlefront II
Battlefront 2 is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most anticipated releases of the year. Developer, DICE, promises that the game will be at least three times bigger than the 2015 entry, which is good news for those that bought that game and then quickly dropped off due to a lack of content.
DICE’s first Battlefront entry had some great gameplay fundamentals, but it ultimately lacked depth. Over time it became a fantastic game with great additional content, but its DLC strategy ultimately hurt it by dividing the community.
We obviously won’t know whether or not this game gets off to a better start until its actual release, but EA PLAY will be our first chance to see how the game has evolved from the first one, and whether DICE has actually been able to expand upon what made that game so great.
FIFA 18 stands as an interesting release this year. It’ll be the second year of The Journey, the fantastic story mode that was introduced in FIFA 17. How has EA evolved that experience? It’s set a very high standard for itself with only that first offering, so The Journey 2 is certainly intriguing as it stands.
The series has also dropped off a bit on the quality and gameplay stakes, arguably overtaken by Konami’s PES franchise, which has climbed back from oblivion. Can FIFA 18 reclaim the crown as the definitive and best football game on the market? It seems likely.
It’ll also be interesting to see how Legends has changed, with the feature no longer an Xbox exclusive, renamed to “Icons” and brought over to all platforms.
NBA LIVE 18
The NBA Live franchise has been fighting an uphill battle for a very long time. EA’s decision to reboot the franchise under NBA Elite was a failure of colossal proportions, arguably destroying the publisher’s basketball credentials before the game was even released (it was eventually cancelled after the demo was released).
It’s made some inroads with a few NBA Live games since, but it took another break last year, handing NBA 2K genre exclusivity once again. That franchise probably can’t get any further ahead, and so the only way is up for EA and NBA Live.
Has the year off benefited the franchise? Can it reclaim its place atop the NBA game mantle? EA PLAY stands as the perfect testing ground and starting point for what was once the king of basketball games.
Need for Speed: Payback
Just as with NBA Live, Need for Speed took a break last year after what was a tiring and not-so-great past entry. It’s clear that EA and developer Ghost Games went back to the drawing board to reignite what made Need for Speed great … it’s a shame that so many of us have forgotten what that is.
If Payback can keep it simple, ditch the lame story mode and cutscenes, and keep the experience grounded in pure adrenaline-fuelled street racing, there’s no doubting that Payback can earn back the respect that the 2015 entry lost for the Need for Speed franchise.
EA Sports FIFA on Nintendo Switch
I know that FIFA is already on this list, but what’s unique and interesting about this release is that it’s being treated as a completely seperate FIFA entry to the one coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. As it stands, FIFA on Switch lacks many of the better features, including The Journey, which needs the Frostbite engine, which evidently doesn’t run on the console.
Can EA release a FIFA game that makes up for the lack of those modes, and offer solid value for money for Switch owners? It certainly has an opportunity to establish itself on the platform with a strong showing, and the portability of Switch makes a FIFA game on the platform that little bit more appealing.
What else will EA be showing? Here are the other games planned to be at EA PLAY.
- The Sims Mobile
- Madden NFL 18
- The Sims 4
- Battlefield 1: In The Name of the Tsar
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and Titanfall 2
- Madden NFL Mobile
- NBA LIVE Mobile