E3 2016: EA showcase Star Wars, FIFA 17 story mode trailer and Mass Effect: Andromeda first look
E3 2016 has begun in earnest, with Electronic Arts the first video games publisher to showcase its wares. In a synchronised event from Los Angeles and London, EA top brass Andrew Wilson and Peter Moore hosted ‘EA Play’, a newly founded E3 satellite event from the publisher. Here are the highlights.
EA now own the rights to Star Wars video games, and while there was no official announcement of new games there was a hefty showcase of all the development studios working on Star Wars games at the moment. There will be further content to DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront coming, working alongside EA Motive who look to also be working on a VR Star Wars project. The two most intriguing reveals, however, came with the news that Titanfall creators Respawn Entertainment will be working on a third-person Star Wars action game and the first look at Visceral Games narrative driven adventure, due in 2018. We saw some concept art and some very early footage. Visceral’s game is being penned by former Uncharted lead Amy Hennig, and even the first glimpse had a clear echo of that game.
FIFA 17: The Journey Story mode
Along with the usual raft of promised game improvements for EA’s football sim (new set-pieces, overhauled physical play and AI) the most intriguing announcement for FIFA 17 came in the form of a story mode called The Journey. Starring a young Premier League star, Alex Hunter, the trailer shows off Rocky-esque cinematics as it charts his rise. While FIFA has dabbled in a single player career mode before, this is the first time it will have a full-blown story.
FIFA 17 will also feature real-life managers in game, with Jose Mourinho joining Peter Moore at the London EA Play event to announce the feature. No news on whether current consoles have the processing power to handle all those egos, however.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
EA showed off the first ‘proper’ trailer for the highly-anticipated sci-fi RPG Mass Effect: Andromeda, which developer BioWare are promising will offer more freedom than any game the studio has made before. Andromeda is a completely separate story from the original Mass Effect trilogy, following humanity’s exploration of the neighbouring Andromeda galaxy. It’s all running on EA’s proprietary Frostbite engine, and while the glimpses of gameplay were all too brief, it does look rather splendid.
A new trailer for DICE’s World War I themed shooter, Battlefield 1, showed off the game’s impressive destruction tech, as infantry, rumbling tanks and armed aircraft blew each other to bits. Tonal concerns remain, It’s all a bit … exciting for a game supposedly depicting the brutal, attritional Great War but you can’t fault the spectacle.
Elsewhere EA announced the intriguing ‘Operations’ mode, which will apparently see a sequence of multiplayer battles play out one after the other, with repercussions of the action going beyond a single match.
The sequel to Respawn’s thrilling but rather short-lived multiplayer shooter Titanfall was given its first proper airing. Unlike the first game there will be a single-player campaign, and in the multiplayer stakes there will be six new Titans, each with their own weapons and customisation options, as well as a deeper progression system. That’s according to Respawn head Vince Zampella. There will be a ‘technical test’ for the multiplayer before its 28 October release date.
Last but certainly not least, EA are setting up a terrific sounding initiative to help support and promote interesting independent projects. EA Originals is set up to bring “ first-time experiences that are unique, gorgeous, innovative and memorable” to the world, according to Executive Vice President of EA Studios Patrick Soderlund. EA will assist studios through development and marketing, but profits will apparently be funnelled straight back to the creators. It sounds great, and will begin with platformer Fe, developed by Swedish studio Zoink.