The force will be strong with Electronic Arts at E3 this year—expect there to be major showcase of their Star Wars license.
EA is very easy to predict in this way. We know what is coming and that most of it is going to be playable. We know there will be an EA sports showcase, major touting of their “gaming as a service” model, and likely a showcase of their online and eSports presence.
The easiest prediction, of course, will be a ton of information on new Star Wars games. It is likely that information will be shared on two well-known properties and one still in the dark.
The first, we already are getting some major updates before E3 takes places: Star Wars: Battlefront II. After the middling success of the previous revival of the franchise, and the commitment to a new, singleplayer experience to the title, Battlefront II is getting a gameplay showcase on June 10th, three days before the Expo begins. This, of course, is all part of EA’s plan, trying to pull a page from Bethesda and keep a sustained amount of buzz throughout the expo.
Battlefront II is the tip of that spear, yet we know so much about it already, it is likely nothing will be truly surprising, except the mysterious singleplayer mode touted for the title. What is more of a question mark is the other untitled Star Wars project being developed by Visceral and Motive Games. While virtually no information has been revealed about the title outside of rumors of what type of game it is, E3 may be the first look we get of the title, possibly with a standard teaser trailer to start drumming up excitement for the fans.
The last Star Wars game is likely their now long-running MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic. The most recent, episodic expansion, Knights of the Eternal Throne, has been going over well for the game, and the constant episodic content released for subscribers has given The Old Republic a jolt of life in the past two years. It is likely that more content for the MMO will get a small showing to drum up interest for players to come back into the MMO fold.
Interestingly enough, those are not the only studios working on Star Wars at this time. Respawn Entertainment, the team behind Titanfall 2, is also dipping their toe into a galaxy far, far away, but the studio is not ready to talk about their title yet by any stretch of the imagination. While it is unlikely we will see Respawn’s Star Wars game, it does mean that four titles are either in production or actively being supported for the franchise by EA, making it one of the major cores of their gameplay lineup for the next few years.
Of course, while Star Wars will dominate a lot of the EA coverage, the games surrounding Star Wars will also likely get some play. Need for Speed: Payback, with its release date later this year, will use E3 to start drumming up hype for the long-standing racing series. The hands-on demo at E3 is just going to be a part of that presentation, of course, but it is the hottest title for EA outside of Battlefront II going into E3 this year. Perhaps we might even get info on Need for Speed: Edge, the free-to-play MMO that is taking cues from Need for Speed: Rivals, which was announced but has yet to see the light of day. Either way, Payback is going to be a big title for EA this year and is likely going to get second billing to the Star Wars games.
Plants vs. Zombies and The Sims 4 will of course get some love as well, and most of that will likely tie into EA’s mobile presence, which will possibly get a segment on the show floor. EA has had a strong, if strenuous, mobile presence for a while now, but with Nintendo coming strong on smartphones, EA might try to tip the scales in their favor by presenting more freemium content than ever before on iOS and Android devices.
Speaking of Nintendo, one of the things I hope to see is a presence on the Nintendo Switch by EA. We know that a version of FIFA is already making its way onto the console, but the hope is that EA begins committing to more titles on the system that are not just different versions of their flagship franchises. Even if it is a port of older titles, like Bethesda is doing with Skyrim, that is something that will give both companies a boost for the long term, especially considering how hot the Switch is right now. My hope is that we see actual ports of Madden and Need for Speed on the system, and maybe, if Nintendo sorts out their online services, Battlefield or Battlefront as well.
The rest is the usual suspects, of course. Updates and DLC for Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2, and Mass Effect: Andromeda will likely be present and accounted for, including announcements and maybe a demonstration or two of the games at the show. If we’re lucky, BioWare Edmonton will also show off the long-fabled “project Dylan” at the show floor, which has been rumored to be the case before. However, the pushing back of project Dylan to 2018 might change plans.
Again, it is standard stuff from EA, and it is likely the show will have few, if any surprises based on these games. In fact, the only surprises would be coming from their EA Originals program. We know a sequel to the underrated title Unravel is already in the works, and the game Fe is set for a 2017 release, so it will likely get some play at the EA press conference. The only other title from the Originals program is Sea of Solitude, which has yet to be given a release date.
There is a lot of potential for smaller games stealing the thunder at EA this year, as they would be the spice needed by EA to keep everyone’s attention. The biggest failing by the company is the fact that there are few secrets left to covet, unless something totally out of left field is announced like a revival of Dead Space or the Ultima series. EA tends to have very lackluster conferences because of its predictability. Save for the “dream” revivals of fan-favorite franchises, their support for indie titles under the Originals program might be the best ticket for the company to go. Fe and Sea of Solitude are known, the question is, what will be the third title under the label, and will we see it at the conference?
Perhaps we won’t find out at all, and EA will offer more of the same. That is probably the safest prediction of all, but at the very least we might get something out of EA this year. My guess is it will be Star Wars related however you slice it.
What are your thoughts and predictions for an Electronic Art’s press conference at E3 this year? Leave them below, and make sure to check out all of our E3 prediction articles.