EA Games is one of the largest third-party developers in the world, home to some of the biggest franchises in gaming such as Madden, Battlefield, FIFA, and Mass Effect. This year, EA took quite a different direction than E3's of years past, which were full of big games and bigger announcements.
Rather than taking the usual route, this year's EA conference was a bit low key than normal. Despite that, a number of games were shown in some capacity were shown at the event. Here's what you need to know:
- Starting off the show was a brief video from Dice on their progress with the latest installment of the Star Wars: Battlefront series. Powered by the Frostbite 3 engine, the game appears to be focusing on the classic trilogy rather than the prequels or the upcoming new trilogy. The team mentions that they were able to visit the LucasFilm Archives at Skywalker Ranch to photograph various props from the films, along with visiting the filming locations for the films to get an "emotional feel" of the environment. The game is slated to be released in 2015.
- Bioware also showed a video at the show, stating that they are working on a new Mass Effect title, with various concept art and character models being shown. It was stated however that Bioware Montreal is developing the title, as the original ME team is working on a new IP.
- New footage of The Sims 4 was shown at the show, with a September 2nd release date being revealed.
- Tiger Woods will no longer be the face of EA's PGA series, as he has been the title and the series will now go by the EA Sports PGA Tour title. With it's former cover star out of the picture, the series has taken a new wacky turn with the inclusion of a course ripped right out of Battlefield. Here's hoping that you can golf on the moon,
- Criterion revealed a new untitled project, which focuses on off road racing and involves various vehicles from ATVs to jet skis.
- Gameplay footage from NHL 15, Madden 15, and FIFA 15 was also shown at the event. Madden 15 will be released on August 26th, NHL 15 on September 9th, and FIFA 15 on September 23rd.
- New footage of Mirror's Edge was also shown, showing off mostly concept art and gameplay. No release date has been released just yet.
- Closing out the event was news on the latest addition to the Battlefield series, Battlefield: Hardline. Taking a different direction with the eternal classic cops vs robbers theme, the game features full on war between the men in blue and the criminals that keep them employed. The biggest announcement was that the closed beta for PS4 and PC was available at the end of the conference, offering codes to those who were lucky enough to register before PSN and Origin went down due to the high volume of traffic.
The Verdict: Overall, EA's conference was very lacking this year. Despite the usual sport titles being mentioned, there was very little to get excited about during the event. The two biggest games that were hyped up by the community, Mass Effect and Battlefront, only received brief videos of their existence. The surprise announcement of the Battlefield: Hardline beta being available day of show was a great move on EA's part and to be honest, it's the kind of thing I wish more companies would do. However, it didn't save EA from a lackluster showing this year. GRADE: D
Following EA's event was their rival in the publishing game, France's own Ubisoft. Ubisoft in the last decade has become a powerhouse, home to the ever popular Assassin's Creed series, FarCry, Just Dance, and various Tom Clancy titles. After EA's showing, it wouldn't of been difficult for Ubisoft to top their rival this year and with their conference, Ubi did just that.
Here's the info that you need to know:
- Kicking off the event was the first five minutes of the highly anticipated Far Cry 4, showing off the game's impressive visuals. The footage consisted of the protagonist riding a bus through the Himalayas, only to be stopped by armed soldiers. Things naturally go bad, with the bus getting shot up and the protagonist being captured. It is during this that we meet the villain of the game, Pagan Min. During his tense exchange with one of the soldiers, which whom Pagan then kills with his bare hands, he then warmly greats you, takes a selfie with you, and tells you that he has "cleared his calender for you". The game is set to be released on November 18th.
- Just Dance 2015 was revealed, showing off the same tried and true gameplay. Also revealed was a new smartphone app, taking the game and putting right in your pocket.
- The Crew was shown again at this year's event, showing time lapsed footage of a two hour cross country drive. A beta was announced at the show, which goes up on July 23rd with the game itself being released on November 11th.
- A new trailer for Assassin's Creed: Unity was shown at the event, which involved a lot of death and sneaking around. The game will be released on October 28th.
- A new fitness for Xbox One titled Shape Up was also shown at the event. Utilizing the Kinect, it offers various mini-games designed to well, make you shape up. No release date was announced at the event.
- Closing off the event was the surprise announcement of Rainbow Six: Siege. Showing off alpha footage of a multiplayer match, two teams consisting of R6 and terrorist square off in a Boston suburban home with a hostage being the flag. Showing off destructive environments and pre-mission planning, the game looks to be an intense experience. With the announcement of the title, it's now sadly clear that Rainbow Six: Patriots is now cancelled and will never see the light of day, something that saddens the writer quite a bit.
The Verdict: Ubisoft had a great showing this year, albeit with less games than years past. The usual fare from the company all looks great and from the looks of things, the company is going to have a great fall lined up for gamers this year. The surprise announcement of a Rainbow Six was quite welcomed in my eyes, as the previously announced Patriots mysteriously disappeared off the radar years back and it seemed that we not see another Rainbow Six for quite awhile. Overall, Ubisoft did good. GRADE: B+