Following the Xbox briefing, we made a switch to a publisher's press event. EA is well-known for its numerous sports titles, as well as some of its story-rich role-playing games such as the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series. This year, we saw another installment of sports games, most notably Madden and FIFA, updates to the next chapter in some of its old titles, and the introduction of brand new projects.
Over the last year we only had the slightest of glimpses of the next chapter in the popular Mass Effect series, but that changed today.
The next title in the series is called Mass Effect: Andromeda. It featured a quick and heart-pounding trailer showing a lot of combat and a new unknown hero, but at least we know that he or she is part of the N7 corps. Details are still slim, but we know it will come out in 2016.
Need For Speed
The series is back for another reboot. A trailer was revealed a few weeks ago, but we're getting another trailer that puts an emphasis on the thrill of the race and chases from cops, featuring high-speed races and aggressive police chases.
It seems to take certain cues from past games such as Carbon, Most Wanted and Rivals. The world will be twice as large as its predecessor, Need for Speed: Rivals, and your goal as always is to become the best and most reputable racer in the city.
There are five different ways to leave your mark: speed, style, build, crew and outlaw. Each focuses on a different aspect of the underground racing circuit such as winning races, drifting competitions, making beautiful builds and evading police.
Another trailer showed off the various customization options on the car such as the hood, spoiler, tires and paint. Each customization part has an icon next to it to indicate that items are available or that it still needs to be unlocked. Afterwards, you take to the streets, finding a pickup race and showing off your driving skills, and then quickly transition to escaping police custody. The game will be out this year, on November 3.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Bioware Austin also showed us the next big update in the online-based game. A free new expansion was announced called "Knights of the Old Empire" for October 27, 2015. It features the story of two brothers growing up in the ways of the Force, but later events will turn them against each other.
In addition to adding new worlds and new characters, Bioware Austin said the expansion will have a big focus on storytelling, the element that makes Bioware one of the most reputable development teams in the industry.
Something New: Unravel
Aside from the usual sequels, EA also introduced a new game called Unravel. Players control a yarn-based character that uses its own yarn to progress through each level and overcome multiple obstacles. Its tiny size means objects like branches and rocks can be used as a fulcrum for the character to swing across large gaps or remove obstructions.
The game also had a trailer showing how the physics-based gameplay would work across multiple levels, such as traversing through snow, avoiding cars and using fish to move quickly across large bodies of water. It seems to be a very heartwarming type of game. There's nothing especially intense about it, but it can be a very relaxing game that doesn't require too much thinking.
When Plants Attack
Microsoft showed off the sequel to Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare earlier today, but EA took a little more time to show the unique shooter in detail.
For the first time in the series, the plants faction is the attacking force. We got to see how this plays out in a live gameplay demo. Numerous plant characters attack the Z-Tech Factory, which is run by zombies.
In the four-player cooperative gameplay, we also saw new classes such as the Imp, a tiny and fast zombie capable of providing quick and surprise attacks on enemy plants. A melee class of zombie was also introduced, and it looks like a superhero, complete with powerful ranged abilities and strong melee punches. Other classes include a pirate character that deals with ranged weapons and explosives.
Even though Garden Warfare and Garden Warfare 2 are multiplayer-based, EA announced that it's introducing a single-player mode or local coop mode with a friend via split screen. The game is set to launch next spring, and those who own the first game will be able to transfer all their unlocked characters to the new game.
Sports, Sports, Sports
A big portion of EA's popularity lies in its sports titles, so it's pretty obvious that we're going to see the next yearly update for its big sports franchises.
First up is the NHL series with NHL 16. In addition to the FIFA and Madden titles, all three games will include new features to help new players get acquainted to the game by way of training modes and other tutorials.
For golf, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour 16 will be built with the Frostbite Engine, the same engine used to build games such as the recent Battlefield series.
NBA Live 16 will also include a new app for smartphones called Gameface HD, which will help better incorporate your face into the game. You can also use experience points earned in the game to earn more outfits and skills both in and out of the game, so you can look good when you're in a press conference or making the game-winning shot.
The game also includes Livemotion technology, which makes movements more natural so it should be hard for you to tell if the action is scripted in certain scenarios. Additional improvements include better passing, pick-and-roll, and a new shot system that gives you better control as to when you want to exactly shoot the ball during the jump. This title will be available later this year.
Soccer legend Pele also showed up in person (how about that?) and helped to introduce FIFA 16. After some moments reminiscing about the glory days, we finally saw what FIFA 16 has in store for fans.
The first big upgrade is improved defense. Players in the backfield will be more agile and aggressive in defending goals. For the midfield, there's better ball control to weave through players to set up the crucial attack. Finally, the forwards also have the same improved control and better Final Touch moves so that you can shoot the ball exactly where you want it. As revealed earlier this year, the game will also include female players, a first for the series. It comes at the right time, as the Women's World Cup is currently underway in Canada.
As far as Madden 16 is concerned, there are also improvements in the form of three new catches for receivers. You can even control the receiver to make sure your team can make the catch that can win a crucial game. There's no doubt that there are yet more improvements in the game, including the always-needed graphical updates, but considering the time in the event, we'll have to figure it out for ourselves.
Aside from consoles and PC, EA also has a big presence on mobile platforms.
Of course, the Need for Speed, Bejeweled and Sims titles make their appearance on the small screen. For FIFA 15 Ultimate Team, not only can you manage your dream team on your phone or tablet, but it also works on an Apple Watch.
Two new titles for mobile were also announced: Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and Minions Paradise. We got some gameplay footage of the latter game. All gameplay is based from the Tiki Lounge, where Phil, the Minion who ruins everyone's vacation, must try to please his friends in their new island. Players can build structures such as slides and pools. You can even spend your time relaxing or just fishing, but don't get eaten by the crocodiles.
Mirror's Edge: Catalyst
Faith is back in the parkour-based first-person game. This time we go back to the past as we play through Faith's origin story.
Built on the Frostbite Engine, the gameplay still shows the classic white environment with red objects that indicate a parkour route, but a few graphical improvements give it a visual upgrade. In addition, the game is also considered to be fully free-roaming without the inclusion of levels or loading screens, although that could change before the game arrives on February 23, 2016.
Star Wars: Battlefront
After finally seeing the first few pieces of early gameplay from the game, EA decided to show off a little more of the upcoming Star Wars-based title.
We were treated to more shots of models used in the game such as lightsabers and the X-Wing fighter as well as more screenshots as to how battle will take place both in air and on land. We also learned that even though multiplayer is a heavy focus of the game, there's also a single-player mode where you can play split-screen coop with a friend.
However, DICE saved the best for last by showing off gameplay reminiscent of the Battle of Hoth. The footage, captured from a PlayStation 4, seems to show fluid, almost 60 fps gameplay, despite the fact that it's still in the pre-alpha development stage. We got to see both the Imperial and Rebel sides of the conflict as we walked next to an AT-AT, as well as fighting in the freezing trenches.
Obviously, you can also take the fight to the skies, flying a powerful TIE fighter as it shot down X-Wing fighters left and right. To end on a high note, we got to see Luke Skywalker start a fight with Darth Vader.
Look To The Future
Even with Star Wars: Battlefront closing out the show, it's good to know that we're seeing a lot more from other big titles in the series, specifically Mass Effect: Andromeda and Mirror's Edge: Catalyst. Even the new Unravel is sure to find a loyal following. We're going to see EA later this week, and we're going to get as much hands-on time as possible with each available title.