It’s another year when publishers begin to have their usual press conference to showcase games and announcements. We expect new announcements, potentially new IPs, and 5-second sneak peeks of those unnamed projects. For Electronic Arts, it’s EA PLAY.
EA has shown its demise from last year’s debacle by presenting a lackluster and ‘safe’ conference this year.
The Typical EA Conference You Could Expect
Electronic Arts, the publisher who brought you games like Mass Effect and Battlefield, held its annual press conference yesterday at 11:00AM Pacific Time called EA PLAY. Started with somewhat a 3D animation of their upcoming game ANTHEM blasting out from the stage screen. It didn’t wow me, or even anyone at the show. Or probably it’s only meant for the livestream? No idea. But that’s their opening right before they showcased Battlefield V and announced that the short reveal of one of the War Story chapters will be at Microsoft’s Xbox E3 press conference today. Then its usual EA SPORTS run through with Madden NFL, FIFA 19, and NBA Live 19 before revealing Unravel Two and Sea of Solitude – at least the EA Originals has kept me watching through their 1-hour dull press conference.
EA was short with announcements, even lackluster with their reveals for the biggest franchise they ever held – Star Wars. Vince Zampella, the CEO of the recently EA-acquired studio Respawn Entertainment, was asked about their Star Wars game and he gave interesting details. It’s going to be named Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order and players are going to wield lightsabers – this last bit was something that we all know from the Star Wars showcase at EA 2016. And the timeline will be set in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Zampella also said the game will launch in Holiday 2019, so we can already speculate that it’s going to be in November.
With all these Star Wars small announcements, the only Star Wars ‘announcement’ that fans were happy with was the Clone Wars DLC that’s going to happen later this year. Fans of the game and its community have been asking for it and there will tons of new game modes and features that are going to be added like an all-hero Starfighter Assault mode, new Squad features, and playable heroes.
Finally, with ANTHEM, BioWare’s upcoming new IP, getting a set-in-stone release date on February 22, 2019, the game was revealed to have similarities with Monster Hunter’s online multiplayer. Players can still take on quests and its story alone. ANTHEM’s multiplayer experience is going to be only co-op and that other players (or friends) can join in to help out. It’s going to be interesting how BioWare can pull this one off, but ANTHEM does show great promise from the gameplay video we’ve seen at EA PLAY 2018. One thing is for sure, there are no loot boxes this time.
Come Back To The Light
It’s sad to say that there was no information shared about EA Vancouver’s upcoming Star Wars game (the project that Visceral Games and Amy Hennig worked on prior to the studio’s closure). EA has been strong with their Star Wars announcements here and there in the past few years at EA PLAY but it seems like this year it was almost non-existent.
It was even rumored that Disney was already looking into other game publishers to handle their money-making franchise with love. After the bad critical reception that Star Wars Battlefront II had last year because of loot boxes and how gameplay was affected with microtransactions, it pushed EA and DICE to make massive changes with the game’s overall progression system after Disney had a serious talk with EA. After the rumors were circulating on the web, EA and Disney haven’t had any statements out for this.
However, if we watch at EA PLAY 2018 there was little to no major Star Wars announcements, it seems like Respawn Entertainment and EA Vancouver’s Star Wars project might be the last Star Wars games to be developed and published under EA before Disney finally pulls the plug. I may be wrong, but it’s still a likely possibility.
Andrew Wilson Is Not ‘Sorry’
Apparently, we all expected a public apology from Andrew Wilson. With the fiasco that his company started on loot boxes and microtransactions, the least thing he could have said was to admit they made a mistake before showcasing another subscription model at the show. But no, Wilson’s pride is apparently higher than his company’s need to rebuild its foundation. No sympathy, no remorse.
Unlike Wilson and his lust for “money”, Dennis, the dude from DICE who announced the plans for Star Wars Battlefront II, obviously had the guts to admit their game had a rough start and they want to bring the Star Wars game that players really wanted.
If Wilson apologized and showed commitment to changing their company’s business approach, despite all the harsh criticisms and hate they get, at least that could have reassured the gaming community a little bit than nothing. I’m sorry Wilson, I love your games, but your inability to at least show sympathy and to apologize makes me skeptical of your business practices.