E3 2014: EA E3 Round-Up
The third-party interlude between Microsoft and Sony's press conferences has now become a big part of E3 and EA and Ubisoft often bring shows that are almost as big as those of the big platform holders.
There was a really marked change to the feel of EA's E3 press conference this year. New CEO Andrew Wilson has clearly taken to heart all of the criticism that EA has taken over the bug-ridden mess that was the Battlefield 4 launch and so he came out with honesty and enthusiasm as EA's cornerstones for this year's briefing.
Instead of the usual big-budget CGI trailers that have been used in the past for titles that are on their but not really ready for a proper gameplay trailer EA decided to show some more personal behind-the-scenes developer videos with the individual teams talking about their games with sincere passion.
This was clear right from the outset as EA opened with DICE talking about how they plan to capture the real essence of the Star Wars universe for Star Wars: Battlefront.
This game is still some way off (probably aiming for a 2016 release) and so DICE spoke of looking at George Lucas' original props and models as well as visiting the locations used for filming the original trilogy to get a real sense of what the films were about. It was a nice touch and set a great tone for the rest of the press conference.
The first proper gameplay shown was for Dragon Age: Inquisition. This is a massive game and a huge step forward not only for the series but for BioWare as a whole. Dragon Age: Inquisition is the first fully open world that BioWare has created and it is shaping up to be an epic experience.
It still remains to be seen whether the current-gen console versions will feel anywhere near the next-gen and PC experience that they've been showing off but come October the 7th Dragon Age: Inquisition looks like it will be the RPG to play.
After Dragon Age came BioWare's developer video [watch above] talking about their early work on the new Mass Effect game. They are creatong a whole new realm of space for players to explore but the art shown in the video shows that there's still plenty of familiarity from the weapons and armour to some of the architecture featured in some of the game's locations. It's still far off though so don't expect much more news on this until E3 next year.
There was also a tease of artwork from the brand new sci-fi IP that BioWare are working on at thei Edmonton HQ. It was just a couple of concept art pieces but BioWare stressed that they are focused on building new explorable environments. Again, don't expect any more news on this game any time soon.
EA's biggest market is their sports titles and this year sees a few more of their key franchises hitting next-gen consoles. NHL 15 looks amazing and the first gameplay footage shown at E3 really gives a sense of the impressive upgrades that the Ignite engine will bring to the series.
Another focus for EA Sports is Madden 15 and there are big changes for the series in the defensive area of the game. Players can now guide individual defenders to guide their opponents off their routes in an effort to throw the opposing quarterback off his game or even get in position for that crucial sack.
They've also changed the highlights footage from presets to in-game footage which captures the incredibly detailed physics-based animations that the Ignite engine is capable of.
The most curious announcement came from EA Tiburon who revealed that they are using Frostbite 3 and not the Ignite engine. What is most important about this is that this removes the loading in between holes and offers the power to render some really gorgeous courses for players to experience when the game launches on next-gen in the spring of 2015.
We all knew what they would finish with and Battlefield: Hardline still managed to yield some suprises. This was EA's weak spot but they came out slugging by announcing that there would be a beta for the game which would be available on PC and PS4 from the end of the show.
This beta is much earlier that previous efforts which seemed to be cursory fine-tuning efforts in October a few weeks before launch and it shows that EA is committed to makeing sure that they never launch another game in the state that Battlefield 4 launched in.
We have access to the beta so keep your eyes out for our multiplayer impressions of Battlefield: Hardline on PC coming in the next week.