Electronic Arts doesn’t usually get much love. Voted the worst corporation in the world in multiple years, EA always seems to find itself on the majority of gamer’s bad sides. From poorly handled online game launches to continuous reports of poor working conditions for their employees, there always seems to be something that draws the ire of the greater gaming public. But this year, EA is one of the four press conferences I am greatly looking forward to, and it isn’t because I think they can surprise me.
Electronic Arts at E3 2014
EA has a lot to make up for simply by how underwhelming their last conference was. EA prefaced the event by saying that they would be revealing six new games at E3, but most were just conceptual or barely showed in-game engine footage. The six games in question were a new IP from Criterion Games, talk of the environments that BioWare might use in the next Mass Effect game, another BioWare IP we saw nothing of, Battlefield Hardline, which was leaked in an earnings report long before the day of the show, and PGA Tour 2015 (Now titled Rory McIlroy PGA Tour), which was probably the most interesting reveal at the show simply because of the announcement that you could golf over a crashing battleship. Generally speaking, you don’t want a golf game to be the most talked about game at your E3 show.
It didn’t help that the other four EA Sports games shown (UFC, Madden 15, NHL 15, and FIFA toed the usual line to hard that I needed to go back and watch the event through several times just to make sure they were all actually talked about. (I initially thought they had accidentally included NBA Live 15 in their show.) The rhetoric for each was the same we’ve heard every year, with the most notable lines being about even more “defensive improvements” in Madden 15 that never seem erase the term “Madden Numbers” from sportscasters’ vocabulary. Rounding out the herd of conceptual and pre-alpha footage was DICE’s look into Star Wars: Battlefront and Mirror’s Edge.
We were also reminded that The Sims 4 was not dead in the water and was, in fact, going to be released, and that the MOBA Dawngate existed. The latter one less so, as it was eventually canned. Finally, the game that, in retrospect, should probably have been given a lot more time was Dragon Age: Inquisition. While given a demo, going more in-depth on Inquisition might have really helped the perception of their press conference in general.
Games We Know About
The two games that were talked about conceptually but showed off the most in-game footage last year are the two we can just assume will show up. Star Wars Battlefront is the first and most likely, being scheduled to launch this fall just in time for the Episode VII release in theaters. The second, also from DICE, is Mirror’s Edge, which actually looked further along than Battlefront when shown at E3 last year and should have a good showing.
Several of the other games talked about should also make an appearance, given they’ve had a year of development to produce something of substance to show. Mass Effect should be well received, assuming those burned by Mass Effect 3’s ending aren’t still ready to scorn the franchise. Criterion’s new multi-vehicle game discussed last year should also have gameplay ready, and the new BioWare game offhandedly mentioned last year is also likely to make an appearance amidst rumors that it is actually another Star Wars game.
Of course, the annual slate of EA Sports games will make an appearance, with the new Madden, NHL, and FIFA each being easy locks. It’s possible NBA Live is actually shown this year, as EA will be looking to improve a track record with that franchise that has thus far been dead in the water against to 2k’s NBA title. It might have the extra spot, as well, since the next PGA Tour game likely won’t show in the wake of the previous entry shown last year being delayed all the way into this month– mere days before the show.
Ghost Games, which released Need for Speed: Rivals back in 2013 (has it really been that long?) have reportedly been working on a reboot of the Need for Speed series, and with Criterion not putting out another Burnout game (assumedly), there’s a spot for a pure racing game in EA’s lineup this year. After releasing The Sims 4 last year, EA Maxis should have some expansions to release in the coming year or two. Considering EA likes putting time in for The Sims each year, some talk could be thrown towards The Sims in some way.
The only other game we know is happening that EA is likely to announce is Titanfall 2, and many are thinking EA will reveal it at E3 this year, but just by looking at their current lineup, they really don’t have to. It’s been just over a year since the original title’s release, and EA may not want to direct attention away from the other big shooter they have on tap in Battlefront. Plus Titanfall 2 likely won’t be out before E3 next year, so it makes perfect sense for it to skip this year. Maybe we’ll see a teaser, EA seems to like those if last year is any example.
And that leads me to my bold prediction for EA’s press conference: They won’t announce any titles we don’t already know about, and besides in-game content, there won’t be any surprises.
That brings me back to one of my original points in that EA doesn’t need to throw out any surprises. They have at least two Star Wars IP (perhaps a third if BioWare is working on another), Mirror’s Edge, and Mass Effect. As far as hype is concerned, they don’t need anything else, and they likely don’t even need to release anything else until E3 next year that isn’t expected of them at this point.
The EA Sports fans will eat up the EA Sports news. The Star Wars fans, of which there are quite a lot, need only be satisfied and they’ll be all in. And Mirror’s Edge is essentially their cool-person game that arguably courts to an audience that doesn’t usually go for EA’s other franchises. Assuming Mass Effect still gets people excited, why would they need to announce something they can save for surprise next year? As long as they deliver on the games we know about, they’ll do just fine.
Predicted EA Game Lineup
- Star Wars Battlefront
- Visceral’s Star Wars IP
- BioWare’s New IP (Star Wars)
- Mirror’s Edge
- New Criterion IP
- Need for Speed Reboot
- Mass Effect 4
- Madden 16
- FIFA 16
- NHL 16