As usual, Electronic Arts got the jump on everyone this year with a press conference held a full day before any of the other major companies. The presentation itself held very few surprises. As expected, we were shown new footage of Battlefield V in action, given more information about this year's upcoming FIFA title, and were finally given a more in-depth look at Anthem, Bioware's newest sci-fi adventure. Less expected were the handful of joyous indie games that felt like a welcome breath of fresh air and the revival of the Command & Conquer franchise.
Battlefield V kicked things off with explosive gameplay taken from the title's multiplayer mode. The emphasis this time seems to be giving players more mobility options with plenty of sliding and angled shots. Battlefield V players will be able to blow massive holes in fortifications and buildings with blasting weapons like rockets or grenades to open new routes. Alternatively, Battlefield V presents piloting tanks straight through structures as a viable strategy. The trailer depicts players being able to move large anti-aircraft guns and canon emplacements around by hitching them to trucks, which hints at a battlefield that might be more in motion than ever before.
In a pleasant surprise, Vince Zampella, co-founder of Respawn Entertainment and co-creator of the Call of Duty franchise, took a minute on camera to announce that his company was in the process of creating a new Star Wars game called "Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order." Aside from a few details, not much more is known about the mysterious announcement, not even a teaser or a trailer.
FIFA 19 made its predictable appearance. It will have some minor improvements over the previous entry in the series, notably tweaks to the Active Touch system will give players more control over the ball then ever before. The biggest addition, though, has to be the UEFA Champion's League which will be integrated across the entire game, including the returning story mode.
Of course, EA took time in its press conference to talk about its upcoming Origin Access Premier service. Premier will allow players to access upcoming EA games on PC days before they're commercially available to anyone else.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 also made an appearance. Flying in the face of predictions that the company would be abandoning support for the multiplayer shooter, EA announced that the Clone Wars would be coming to Battlefront 2 sometime after the Solo movie tie-in content launches. Players will finally be able to play as Obi-Wan Kenobi, General Grevious, and a host of other heroes and villains from the prequel films.
One of the more surprising reveals of the conference was the abrupt reveal that Unravel Two both existed and was currently available. The physics-based platformer supports co-op play with two Yarneys as they journey together sharing the same spark. It looks as adorable, if not more so, than the first game.
By far the best indie showing of EA's conference was Sea of Solitude. This adventure game combines The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker with the sensibilities of Hayao Miyazaki to create something special. From Studio Jo-Mei comes the tale of Kay, a young girl in a flooded world of people who have been turned into monsters. It's a symptom of a curse that Kay herself is slowly succumbing to, as well. Players join her on a journey to uncover the cause of the curse and what, if anything, can lift it.
Another surprise came in the form of a resurrection of sorts. Command & Conquer has been an RTS series long dormant, but EA hopes to change that. Unfortunately, they have decided to bring it back as a mobile strategy title that condenses the RTS genre into a short, competitive experience a la Clash Royale. It even has a snazzy trailer with Yuri from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 in it!
Anthem delivered the moment for which most people viewing the press conference were waiting. The Iron Man-like suits in action against the backdrop of a mysterious, unfamiliar world unfinished by the gods brought the excitement. It's far outside of Bioware's wheelhouse, but the results of their efforts are undeniably impressive. Bioware aims to straddle the line between a shared online world with a strong narrative component that exists in the single-player hub area that changes with player decisions.
Overall, EA's press conference stood as a middling showing. We didn't see much that was new, but even the familiar games on display had interesting aspects designed to get certain segments of the gaming population excited. There was a bit in there for everyone, sports fans, indie aficionados, twitch shooters, and nerdy nerds. Nothing that was completely mind-blowing, but a pleasantly acceptable series of titles ranging from interesting to dull. You can watch the full press conference below.
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