This year, EA chose not to hold a traditional press conference, and instead held its EA Play event on June 8-9, just ahead of the E3 2019 festivities. In lieu of the press conference, the publisher featured interviews and gameplay demonstrations focused on six of the company’s games. There weren’t any big surprises, but we did get plenty of new information. Here’s all the big news.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Respawn Entertainment showed off 15 minutes of gameplay for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order at the beginning of EA Play 2019. Set on the Wookie planet Kashyyyk, the mission we saw had protagonist Cal on a mission to liberate the area from the grips of the Empire. Early in the gameplay demonstration, we saw the traversal tools he will use, which include wall-running and grappling like in Uncharted or Tomb Raider. We were also surprised to see Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera make a return to assist Cal in his mission.
This was the first time we saw gameplay of Fallen Order, including lightsaber combat. Using his lightsaber, Cal is able to cut Stormtroopers down to size and go head-to-head against powerful enemies and wild beasts. He also uses several force abilities, such as a pull and throw, and gains skill points after beating several targets in combat. Against powerful enemies, the game had a combat flow similar to action-role-playing games, with less focus on flair and more on methodical dodges and capitalizing on mistakes.
Jedi Fallen Order is set to launch November 15 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
FIFA 20 might not have Alex Hunter’s story this year, but it does have Volta street football. The informal soccer matches will allow you to play as all licensed players and teams, but you’ll be able to knock the ball off the walls in cage-style pitches, and you can play with male and female players in the same game.
Improvements have been made in several key areas for this year’s game. One of these is “composed finishing,” which is designed to make one-on-one shots against the keeper less frustrating. You will also have more control over strafe dribbling, tackling, and free and penalty kicks, and the ball physics have been reworked for greater realism. A.I. defensive support has also been reduced in order to make it a more active part of the experience.
Madden NFL 20
Madden NFL 20 wants to put its star players front and center, and that’s being done with the new “X-Factor abilities.” The best players in the league have special traits and abilities that can help them perform better in key scenarios. Last year’s MVP Patrick Mahomes, for instance, gets the “Bazooka” ability to throw farther after completing four passes of more than 30 yards. JuJu Smith-Schuster, meanwhile, has an ability that forces players to double-cover him if they want to avoid getting beaten in match-ups.
Playbooks will evolve based on developments in the real NFL, and run-pass options plays have been added. In fact, there are more than 200 of them. The Scenario Engine will bring dynamic challenges to the game for a chance to improve players’ ratings in each game, and “Ultimate Missions” have been added to give you a more guided way to earn items in Madden Ultimate Team.
Apex Legends is wrapping up its Season 1 content, and recently added the “Apex Elite” queue, which will be limited to only the best players for more competitive matches. This includes Legendary Hunt challenges, which will be available until June 18.
On July 2, the Battle Charge Season 2 will begin. The new season brings a new Legend called Wattson, who utilizes an electrified fence ability and powerful pylons to lock down areas and punish overly aggressive players. Players will also be able to use the L-Star plasma machine gun, which was previously in Titanfall 2, and daily and weekly challenges will now stack for those who don’t have time to play on a weekly basis, and leveling should be much quicker. The Mozambique weapon should also be getting a significant boost in the near-future.
Season 2 will also see the debut of a new ranked mode. This mode has six tiers, which you’ll progress through based on your performance, and go from bronze to Apex Predator. Depending on where you end up at the close of the season, you’ll get unique rewards. At the very conclusion of the event, we also got a hint that Titans from the mainline Titanfall series could be coming to the game at a later point, but Respawn isn’t ready to talk about that quite yet.
EA is still plugging away at its 2018 first-person shooter Battlefield V. Its new content will certainly please WWII buffs, as it includes Pacific battles fought between the United States and Japan, including an Iwo Jima map.
Several new maps are coming for Chapter 4 of the game’s ongoing updates. These include infantry-focused battles in Greece, the North African desert, and an island complete with a beach. Private games are coming in September, with the baseline package free to all players, and an “Operation Underground” map based on “Operation Metro” from Battlefield 3 is coming in October. For those who maxed out at rank 50, you’ll soon be able to go up to 500, as well. The new ranks come with additional dog tags and other flair to show off your achievement to the worlds.
The Sims 4
The Sims 4: Island Living was announced during EA Play 2019. The new expansion will be available to PC and Mac players on June 21 and consoles on July 16.
The expansion adds open-water gameplay and the ability to go from land to water naturally. There are several different water activities to complete, including jet skiing, snorkeling, and playing with dolphins. You’ll have to watch out for the active volcano on the island, however, which can send lava bombs hurling toward your community. Oh, and there are also mermaids.
What we won’t see from EA at E3 2019
It’s not all sunshine and candy; not everything we were hoping for from EA Play came to pass. Here’s a quick look at the titles we were hoping to see — and left empty handed.
New Need for Speed
The February 2019 earnings report also revealed that a new Need for Speed game will launch in 2019. Need for Speed Payback underwhelmed at launch in 2017, and the long-running franchise has frequently been a mixed bag. While EA has confirmed that a new Need for Speed game will launch this year, it will not be shown at E3.
New Plants vs. Zombies
A new Plants vs. Zombies game is also in the works at EA. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 launched in 2016 and was a huge improvement on the original.
However, the game isn’t at EA Play 2019. A PopCap producer confirmed that a new shooter in the universe is on the way, but we don’t yet know when we’ll actually get to see gameplay or learn more about improvements from the original.
How to watch the EA Play livestreams
If you want to watch the full EA Play 2019 livestream yourself, you can do so above.
- EA discloses massive data breach affecting thousands of competitive FIFA players
- Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order hands on: You have potential, Padawan
- New Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order trailer looks the part, but is that enough?
- NBC’s Peacock streaming service hopes to be the home of comfort food TV
- The best A/V receivers for 2019