The conference begins in a galaxy far far away. Dice’s Star Wars: Battlefront opens the show with a brief dialogue from the games developers. To create a truly authentic and engaging Star Wars experience Dice visited the Lucasarts archives to recreate the models from the movies. It paid off as the Frostbite engine gives us a glimpse at game play prototypes and makes it hard to distinguish if you are watching a game or the movie. Dice’s Battlefront looks like its going to be a behemoth of a game.
Enter Andrew Wilson, CEO of EA as he takes the stage to set up the unique way the conference will approach announcing its games. Instead of showing trailers or game play footage, EA decides to show developer diaries to show games that are currently in production or in early stages of development. They promise big things to come in the future. Now the entire room darkens, a sullen theme starts to play as a Dragon Age: Inquisition trailer moves to center stage. Right off the bat the beauty of the game is shown as stunning landscape shots show the scope of the game. The environments look way more expansive and in-depth than the other two games and truly capture the epic scope of the game. As the trailer comes to a close, Aaron Flynn studio manager of Bioware’s Montreal studio discusses extensively the combat system for Inquisition. Combat definitely takes its ques from the tactical game play that appeared in Origins, the first game in the series. Players are able to select individual party members and use their abilities based on the current combat situation. Also, the approach from the second game can be taken in which is purely action driven. Furthermore, the tactical pause returns which allows for the placement of party members and commands can be given to them to take control of the battle. The demonstration ends with a brief trailer showing off some the new party members we can expect to see in the game. They are Blackwall, a Grey Warden, Sera a wild elven archer, Iron Bull a Qunari Mercenary, and Vivienne a powerful mage.
After a fade to black, the screen shows a few Bioware developers talk about their love for storytelling and with that the fist conceptual footage of Mass Effect 4 is shown in a developer diary. The developers talk about how fans wanted to see new locations for the game, and footage of new planets is presented. Immediately, you can see how they are trying to create a next gen Mass effect. The environments are beautifully detailed as we enter a whole new region of space in the ME universe. As the diary continues we see new footage of character prototypes. The power of next gen graphics makes these characters come to life like never before and although its just prototypes, its a very promising future for this galaxy. With that they talk about how another studio is working on a brand new IP which I will get to in just a little while.
The room suddenly turns green as up next is Rachel Franklin executive producer of the Sims introduces us to the next generation of Sims. We are then shown the new innovations in the create-a-sim feature. Now players can can completely customize every aspect of their sims from, looks, weight, and now fully explore their personalities. You can choose all areas of their personalities, one example shown was a hot-headed, athletic sim who loves to read. The action then moves to a new vibrant neighborhood that shows how now, more than ever the sims are interconnected with the actions of the neighborhood. Next a party is shown that shows how far the new personalities go as now if you push a sim too far consequences occur as the athletic sim unfortunately died of laughing too hard. The demonstration ends with a new player market feature that allows players to upload all sorts of creations, including sims with full personalities intact. It appears that Sims 4 is pushing towards an immersive experience where our sims stories can be told to its fullest extent yet. We are then treated with a release date of September 2nd this year.
Next a video plays of martial arts legend Bruce Lee’s famous water speech. Then a quick video of different fighters talk about the fighter as this Leads in to EA Sports UFC. Creative director Brian Hayes comes to talk about the new features that are in this new title. Gameplay is shown that truly captures the look of the fighters. Next, the new take down feature is shown where you can control how the submissions go depending on where you move the analog stick. The demonstration ends with Bruce Lee knocking out his opponent. Its set to debut next week on the 17th.
We are then given a glimpse at NHL 15. The physics engine is highlighted as details are applied on all players and the puck itself. With the power of next gen new detailed arenas for a unique and total immersive experience. A quick trailer is shown that looks to entice player with energetic crowds and intense hockey gameplay. If you have never been a hockey fan before, now looks like a good time to strap on your skates.
Now about that new IP I promised to talk about earlier. Patrick Söderlund, executive VP, at EA Studios comes to talk about Criterion games and announces a new IP. It’s a first-person racing title that gives players a chance to handle a variety of quad bikes, wingsuits, parachutes and more. Although the name of the title wasn’t announced, it looks like a high-octane adventure. We then get a quick trailer of the intense action.
Up next is the announcement of the new PGA Tour game. A brief video is shown highlighting the new spin on the game. While players can opt for the traditional experience or you can “golf without limits” as new fantasy tracts are thrown into the game to create a golfing game like no other. The highlight of the trailer was one particular tract that takes inspiration from Battlefield 4, allowing you to golf on a battleship type course complete with islands and explosions. No release date was announced. The scene then switches to Madden 15. Madden 15 looks to increase defensive gameplay with a new defensive camera feature that puts the camera behind the player to give a precise way to approach the play. New ways to tackle your opponent are also introduced in a game play video that showcases a variety of new features including new player reactions and animations, plus dynamic new camera that highlights the intensity of the game. A trailer is then shown with a release date of August 26th.
Then we get a glimpse at EA’s foray into the MOBA genre with Dawngate. It’s a story driven MOBA with a “massive” story arc. Wilson enters the stage to talk about his passion for the games that have been shown so far and then promises that the show isn’t over yet.
A developer diary of the new Mirror’s Edge is then shown. There is a showcase of new concept art and conceptual prototype gameplay. Parkour is shown to showcase new fluid movement that this new reboot is striving to create. With branching pathways in the level there are multiple ways to approach navigation in the levels, be it quick and efficient or slow and thoughtful, carefully choosing the best path to take. Combat takes the new movement into account and makes you feel like Faith is the weapon. This new reboot has potential but time will tell if Mirror’s Edge has what it takes to bring the series the attention it deserves.
David Rutter, executive producer of the Fifa series, introduces Fifa 15. A video demonstration highlights key features that make this game stand out among its predecessors. New ball physics tracks the ball depending on movement. Authentic player visuals demonstrate the power of next gen as players exhibit emotions and memories dependent on the how the match is going at the time. Also, kinetic stadiums are introduced that makes you feel like you’re there experiencing the action in all its glory.
Last but certainly not least, Karl Magnus and Steve Papoutsis introduce Battlefield Hardline the newest installment in the series. This game shys away from the grand wars of previous titles and instead moves to take on the war on crime. Of course, while this may worry some core gamers of the series, rest assured there will be vehicles,destruction and open urban battles assuring that the experience will definitely be Battlefield. While promising an intense campaign experience, the main focus today was on the multiplayer portion of the game. A live demo of game is shown highlighting a brand new mode called Heist, which is a a Battlefield spin on the classic cops and robbers. Cops are tasked with stopping the robbers, while the robbers try to make off with their stolen loot. the demo took place in an urban downtown setting, that provided stunning visuals and high octane gameplay true to core battlefield experience.Destruction looks better than ever as the action heats up and a rocket launches a car into the sky and rains cars on unsuspecting players. The action then moves to the highway as the criminals attempt to escape in some cars, then a player cop attempts to take out a criminal by firing a rocket which misses and instead knocks a crane into a building further showing off the destructive new physics in amazing detail. As the action culminates in another chase we get a sense that the maps are vastly expanded to give a sense of vastness to the chase. The battle concludes when both sides take into the skies as an aerial battle ensues with multiple helicopters culminating in an intense parachute drop before crime is foiled at the end of the demo. After the demo is finished they announce that the beta is available online and for download on PSN for a limited time, so grab yours while you can!
With that the EA conference concludes. The highlight of the entire conference was the Battlefield Hardline demo, while not in an open war setting, it promises to be a core experience that will satisfy both series veterans and new comers alike.While there wasn’t alot of gameplay shown, EA is definitely trying to tell us that big things are coming and it’ll be worth the wait with highly anticipated titles such as Battlefront and Mass Effect 4, it seems EA is stepping up and trying to deliver a satisfying next gen experience.