Watching E3 every year has become somewhat of a tradition in our house since we first discovered it just a few years ago and I’m super excited to be able to live tweet my reactions and compile all these emotions into blogs this year. This years E3 is running from Saturday 10th June until Tuesday 13th June 2017, kicking off tonight with the EA conference. So, without further ado here are some of my highlights from the EA conference and what I’m most excited about.
Star Wars Battlefront II – The Major Attraction
Of course, Star Wars Battlefront II is one of the biggest attractions for many at this year’s E3 conference following the resounding success of Battlefront launched in 2015. Since then, it appears that EA has been playing close attention to the concerns of fans and has actually (shock horror) addressed some of these! As a massive fan of the entire Star Wars universe (owning all of the films, various books, and playing a multitude of Star Wars games across a number of platforms) the trailer actually gave me goosebumps watching it which were only intensified during the conference.
Not only do we get three times the amount of content that we got in Battlefront I spanning across all 3 eras and new heroes including Rey, Kylo Ren and Darth Maul but we’re finally getting a single player campaign mode in which we can play as Iden Versio, female commander of the Imperial special forces unit Inferno Squad. As a player of Battlefront I, the lack of a single player campaign really frustrated me so I’m very excited to see that it’s included in Battlefront II with the additional interest that we get to play as an Imperial ‘hero’. Anyone who played Battlefront I might have felt that the game was almost a kind of demo of an actual game given the limited maps, heroes, customisation and timeline. However, it seems that EA are going to be really addressing much of this by introducing 4 different classes in multiplayer mode, greater starfighter assaults, memorable locations including Naboo, Kamino and Kashyyk, more diverse vehicles and characters from all eras. It seems that EA has really invested a lot more time in Battlefront II which I’m really looking forward to exploring. Oh, and they just announced that DLC will be free, and John Boyega confirmed he is an avid fan of Battlefront and will definitely be running around the maps as Finn as much as possible.
Battlefield 1: In the Name of the Tsar
Having previously been an avid Battlefield player on the ps3, I sadly fell away from the franchise a few years ago before I got my PS4. Despite loving the look of Battlefield 1 during previous E3 years I didn’t see anything that particularly drew me back in. However, the reveal of the new expansion ‘In the Name of the Tsar’, coming this September, has definitely peaked my interest. But it’s not the stunning new locales, characteristic of the Battlefield franchise, which will see the introduction of 8 new maps including 2 night-time maps, the new Supply Drop game mode, or the Russian themed expansion that grabbed me but it was the all important debut of the female soldiers, based on World War 1’s Women’s Battalion of Death. This will be the first time in Battlefield that players can actually play female characters, and I think it might actually be the first time in historical war games that this is possible. As a History student who is constantly infuriated by the amount of men who continue to deny the presence of women in wars, such as the French Revolution and World Wars, I am absolutely thrilled that EA have made the decision to introduce female soldiers to the franchise. For this reason, I will definitely be reinvesting in Battlefield 1 and getting ‘In the Name of the Tsar’ ASAP.
Other brief mentions
Whilst I wasn’t massively blown away by anything else in the EA conference, the announcement of bold new indie co-op game A Way Out by creator of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Josef Fares, seems potentially interesting. A Way Out will only be able to be played as a split-screen game, designed as a story-driven co-op to encourage local co-op with your friends, which is arguably something that has been lost with the domination of online multiplayers. Although I’m admittedly unsure of whether I would be interested in the actual story line of the game itself, the idea of a story-driven split screen game is attractive given that this is not really something currently available in other games.
There was also a very, very, very brief teaser trailer issued for new BioWare’s Anthem. Sadly, no further information seems to be available at the moment given that the first gameplay reveal for Anthem won’t be happening until tomorrow’s Microsoft’s Xbox E3 conference, which has lead to some dubbing it as ‘some kind of Destiny-esque game but with an actual storyline’.
Disappointingly, aside from the blow-away gameplay reveal of Battlefront II, EA’s 2017 conference didn’t really offer us much more in terms of excitement. There was much, much, much time devoted to EA Sport’s, which mainly consisted of sports, sports, sports, cars, sports sports, awful bald men in blazers, explosions, sports. Whilst this might be attractive to a subset of the EA fans, it proved to be incredibly boring for the many thousands of EA fans who were subjected to a good 30 minutes (if not more) of sports and cars.
Sadly, there was also nothing on offer for casual gamers which seemed a bit odd given the platform of Plants Vs Zombies 2 in previous years and the fact that many Sims fans are still waiting a very long wait for Sims 4 expansions. Despite all of their talk of the community and fans, which was definitely proven throughout their Battlefront II presentation, they seem to have forgotten other parts of their massive fan base such as young children and other casual gamers. Also, as a monumental Dragon Age fan I am forever still sat here waiting for some kind of…. something and am continually disappointed every single year.
Lastly, the overall feel of the EA conference this year was one of chaos. Not only did one of the presenters forget his own name and fumbled through a discussion about cars, but most viewers were left wondering whether the conference was even over at the end. Well.. there’s always next year EA.