The E3 2015 madness continues, and by “madness” I mean “press conferences full of trailers and, sometimes, gameplay. If you’re lucky.” Number two on the list of conferences we’re talking about today is Electronic Arts. Well known for being voted Worst Company in America on The Consumerist, a site patronized almost entirely by the kind of person who’d (with breathless hyperbole) say a video game company is “the worst in America“, Electronic Arts’ recent escapades include the utter destruction of the SimCity and Dungeon Keeper IPs and the actually-quite-impressive releases of Dragon Age: Inquisition and Battlefield: Hardline.
In other words, EA is a bit of a wild card, and it was hard to say what we were going to get in terms of raw, concentrated hype with this conference.
Not hype: sports games! Loads of them. We’ve got basketball and football of both the American and non-American varieties. Sorry, I’m just not your guy here. I will admit that all of these games look damn good. These are EA’s moneymakers and it absolutely shows in the level of polish on display when it comes to the graphics. But, well, in the end they’re sports games so I’m afraid that takes me out of the running.
Next up, we’ve got Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst. This looks about as fantastic as we’d expect from a prequel to 2008’s surprise hit Mirror’s Edge. The high note here is that the game’s doing away with the level-based structure of the original game and moving over to an open world setup. Given the emphasis on freedom of movement that’s key to the series’ gameplay, this is an obvious choice and I think it’s going to work out well.
Star Wars was clearly EA’s heavy hitting IP this time around. We’ve got the announcement of an expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic, for instance. When this title went free-to-play, I (like most people) assumed that it was the usual last gasp from a game on its way out. Much to my surprise, though, The Old Republic has managed to life on – not just clinging to life but actually thriving as a free-to-play title. The upcoming release of the expansion Knights of the Fallen Empire should further cement TOR’s grasp on life – pre-E3 leaks suggested a return of the game’s beloved class stories. EA’s press conference only revealed a standard trailer and a promise of more story content, though, so at the moment there’s not much to say aside from the fact that it’ll be free for subscribers is certainly nice.
The real star of EA’s show, if we base that on what they were pushing hardest, was Star Wars: Battlefront. We’ve known about this one for awhile, but it’s always great to see some gameplay, and what was on display (eventually) impressed. While the initial preview of Battlefield-style infantry action with blasters instead of AKs didn’t exactly blow my mind, later on there was some vehicular action involving X-Wings and TIE Fighters that managed to get my saber lit. DICE looks like it’s about to hit another home run after the success of Battlefield: Hardline.
Not all was well in the world of EA, of course. There was an abortive attempt to get a crowd of games journalists excited about a freemium builder game based on Despicable Me’s Minions, which went about as well as expected. Oh, and I guess they showed off Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. So there’s that. Highlights there include a guy in a zombie mascot suit coming out to almost complete silence from the crowd, then quickly get pushed back offstage.
Aside from the sports games, the continuation of EA’s infamous freemium legacy and the relative “meh” that was Garden Warfare 2, I didn’t find a lot to complain about with EA’s show. Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst in particular looks like a winner in the making, and Star Wars: Battlefront is shaping up along the same lines.
Stay tuned to Popzara for more E3 2015 madness! Or for more coverage of freemium builder games with the characters from Despicable Me. Either/or, your choice!