E3 2016: What to Expect from EA

With E3 now right around the corner, there’s a lot to look forward to, and it can be hard to keep track of all the big players. EA, Bethesda, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Sony and Nintendo will all have conferences to tell us what they’ve been working on, so we thought we could give you our best predictions as to what they are likely to announce, show off and maybe even what celebrities might make an appearance this time around. So here’s what to what to expect from the first to go, Electronic Arts.

EA is a huge publisher, which has in the past warranted them their own conference, and now they’ve gone even bigger, putting on their own show called EA Play. The mini-E3 will take place a day before everyone else’s conferences (excluding Bethesda) and run all the way up to when the E3 show floor opens on June 14. After the press conference, EA Play will consist of demos, live events, competitions, guest appearances, and of course, merch.

So what can we expect from the conference? E3 press conferences almost always consist of three basic things: sales updates, release date announcements and new game announcements. For the hardware manufacturers, you can also throw in new hardware announcements. With EA Play being its own, separate event, we can certainly expect the conference to be longer and more show offish. EA has quite a few developers under its umbrella and lots of games coming out in the coming months. With many of their franchises being annualized, an exclusive Star Wars license and a myriad of mobile titles, EA pumps out tons of games each year, so there will be a lot to talk about at their big new event.

With Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst coming out a week before E3, it’s likely all we’ll get is an update on how well it’s doing. If it doesn’t do well, however, it may get the sizzle reel-only treatment. For those who don’t know, pretty much every conference has what’s called a sizzle reel, which is a montage video featuring all of their games to get you excited. Games that don’t do so hot sometimes only show up in the sizzle reel and the company doesn’t really mention the game. Other than Mirror’s Edge, the only other games to have release dates yet are Madden 17 and Battlefield 1. Though it’s likely that many more of their games will get release dates at EA Play.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst Screenshot
DICE, one of EA’s biggest developers, has two games to talk about. Star Wars: Battlefront, which released last year, will probably get a DLC pack announcement. They’ve already said that the next pack will take place on Bespin, but maps, new modes and the new heroes that will be added have yet to be announced. DICE is also working on Battlefield 1, the next game in the Battlefield series that will notably take place back during World War I, contrary to the trajectory of all the other shooters out there today, which seem to be pushing farther and farther into the future. A short trailer teased at some of the basic elements that will be in the game. Horses, biplanes, swords, and even a spiked mace were seen being used to fight the Central Powers. There’s also been word that the story will instead of telling one long story, be composed of smaller, more diverse stories about the lesser known heroes of the Great War. Hopefully EA Play will give us some more insight into what to expect from the story of the game and maybe even show off some multiplayer. Battlefield 1 is set for release on October 21.

Next up is Titanfall 2. To make their sequel a bigger hit than the first, there are really only a few things developer Respawn has to do; put the game on multiple platforms and give it a campaign. Luckily, both of these things have already been confirmed and a teaser for the game revealed that there will also be swords this time. For the Titans. Titanswords. It’s hard to say how far along Titanfall 2 is, but the first game came out a little over two years ago, so they must have something they could show.

Mass Effect is EA’s biggest franchise besides Battlefield, so Mass Effect: Andromeda will probably take up a large portion of the conference. All we’ve gotten so far is a teaser that reveals a new protagonist, but the protagonist is wearing a helmet, so it’s easy to say we don’t know much. The Andromeda subtitle gives away the fact that rather than our Solar System, players will explore the Andromeda galaxy. The promise of pure exploration already has some fans excited for the game, while others are wary due to the mixed response to Mass Effect 3’s ending. Hopefully Andromeda can win back the hearts of those who feel burned by the series and hype up the diehards even more.

BioWare’s other series is Dragon Age. After the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition and all of its DLC, there hasn’t been much talk about the series. The chances of an announcement don’t seem high, but who knows, maybe they’ll surprise us. Another series unlikely to get a new iteration is The Sims. Sims games come out around every five years or so and since Sims 4 just hit shelves in 2014, the odds of Sims 5 showing up are slim.

Alongside all that, expect lots of sports games. EA is one of the biggest publishers of sports games and they will surely give a large chunk of time to their biggest money makers. Madden 17 is the only game that has been officially announced so far, but FIFA, UFC, NBA Live, NHL, PGA Tour and Need For Speed are all EA published, and will make an appearance. EA has been known to make big deals out of their conferences, but especially when it comes to their sports games. Last year, they brought Pele (a famous soccer player) out on stage to talk about the new FIFA game that year. Who knows what will change with the new structure of EA Play, but their splitting off to have your own conference makes it seem like they will make even more a show out of it.

Madden 17
In terms of new announcements from EA, the rumor mill has been somewhat slow. There is one thing, not really a rumor, but something that could be big. As EA is the home for all things Star Wars video games, a new third person action game from Visceral Games (Dead Space) is in the works. Amy Hennig, the storyteller behind Uncharted 1 and 3, is leading the narratively-driven game as creative director. What character the game is centered around, where it takes place and when it takes place are all mysteries, so maybe EA Play can shed some light on what it’s all about.

EA Play is its own event, taking place in a different venue from E3, so EA’s presence at the actual event will be limited. Their games will be available to demo at EA Play, which will probably include games that have already come out, like Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst and Garden Warfare 2. There might also be Titanfall 2 to play, if it’s ready, and probably a bunch of the sports games. Games like Madden and NBA Live are annualized, so they’re far enough along to get a demo.

EA Play runs from June 12 to 14, with their conference on June 12 at 1pm PST. The conference will be streamed on their website. If you can’t make it, Hardcore Gamer will keep you up to date with all the big news.