Electronic Arts went to the well for its 2015 E3 keynote, announcing a slew of new chapters for some of its most beloved titles, as well as some key updates to its line of sports games. With just one of its announcements serving as a brand new IP, EA’s approach to its gaming future remains heavily rooted in what’s made the company so successful over the last 15 years. Key reveals like the next adventure in the Mass Effect and Mirror’s Edge franchises, or the ultra-hyped next step for the Star Wars: Battlefront series, provided heaps of excitement for the those viewing the event.
Over the course of the nearly hour and a half event, Electronic Arts debuted a host of teaser trailers and gameplay footage which effectively set the stage for its 2015/16 gaming calendar. Check out our recap below for all the exciting news, announcements, and trailers coming out of EA’s camp at E3 2015.
Mass Effect Andromeda
Mass Effect Andromeda took us all by surprise, revealing that the next installment of the Sci-Fi action RPG series will be set in an entirely new galaxy. As the title suggests, Andromeda– nearest galactic neighbor to the Milky Way– will be the setting for whatever new space-faring adventures the series has in store.
An action-packed trailer showed off the gorgeous graphical capabilities of the new Frostbite 3 engine, and gave us the impression that this new galaxy is far more violent and mysterious than what players found in the Milky Way. Questions abound regarding this new Mass Effect and how it fits into the mythology of the original trilogy, but given Mass Effect Andomeda’s Holiday 2016 release window, it may be a while before we have any answers.
Mass Effect Andromeda launches on next-generation consoles Holiday 2016.
Need for Speed
Electronic Arts and Ghost Games officially pulled back the veil on the next chapter in the Need for Speed franchise — aptly titled Need for Speed — which plans to release for Xbox One, PS4, and Window PC November 3rd. By taking elements from several of the series’ previous installments, the team behind Need for Speed crafted what it calls “the perfect Need for Speed moment.”
Back is the customization from Need for Speed: Underground — only this time much more deep and varied — as well as the police pursuit-aspect of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. EA unveiled Need for Speed’s unique reputation system, built around the game’s five key pillars: Speed, Style, Build, Crew, and Outlaw.
Each race, pursuit, or otherwise gives players the chance to utilize each of these pillars to fit their desired style of racing, helping to earn reputation and money along the way. After a few unsuccessful entries, it appears EA found a new recipe for success for its twenty-first installment in the Need for Speed series.
Need for Speed launches on Xbox One, PS4, and Windows PC November 3rd.
Star Wars The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire
Bioware Austin’s free-to-play Star Wars MMO, The Old Republic, based on the lore of their classic role playing series Knights of the Old Republic, is getting its next major expansion, and players will be able to download it for free this October. Titled, Knights of the Fallen Empire, this expansion will add an entirely new storyline to the narrative-focused MMO.
The CG reveal trailer at EA’s 2015 press conference — which was created by the animation studio, Blur — showed no gameplay, but gave a look into the new content’s back story. Twin brothers who have force sensitivity are trained in the ways of the force by their father, who appears to be the leader of a galaxy-encompassing empire. The brothers spent the trailer taking on numerous challenges and testing their might in battle. The trailer comes to a climax when the two brothers clash with each other and their father.
What changes this expansion will bring to the universe of The Old Republic is yet to be known, but EA and Bioware are pushing this expansion as a big event for the game, so we’re excited to see what new content is on the way.
Star Wars The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire will be available for download on October 27.
Star Wars: Battlefront
Electronic Arts made waves by officially revealing the gameplay native to the much anticipated next release in the Star Wars: Battlefront franchise. Set during a recreation of the Battle of Hoth from Empire Strikes Back, the gameplay video greatly detailed the mechanics central to this team-based shooter. From ground troops utilizing jetpacks and ground cruisers, to the iconic AT-AT, AT-ST, and Tie fighters screaming around the level, its seems as though DICE — the game’s developer — struck all the right chords during the title’s production.
EA also announced the finished game plans to feature online multiplayer battles capable of supporting up to 40 simultaneous fighters at once, as well as a series of 8-player missions which focus on close quarters combat. The incredibly impressive gameplay trailer ends with two familiar foes — Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader — coming face to face with each other, with the screen going black just as they meet lightsabers. Color us wildly intrigued to get our hands on this game when it launches.
Star Wars: Battlefront will launch on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on November 17.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
For a long time, the idea that there would ever be a sequel to Mirror’s Edge felt more like an ephemeral hope than foregone conclusion, but we never lost faith. That devotion paid off; Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is finally coming to consoles and PC February 16, 2015, and will focus on Faith’s backstory and her evolution from rebellious youth to freedom fighter.
The footage shown seems to stay true to the philosophy and style of the original Mirror’s Edge, where combat is secondary to movement and open-ended freerunning environments. EA even made sure to ease fan concerns that the sequel would rely too heavily on gunplay and combat, with the trailer going out of its way to express that Faith doesn’t need to resort to violence, as she is skilled and agile enough to avoid her foes and pursuers. Count us in.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst will launch on Xbox One, PS4, and PC February 16th, 2015.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Get ready for another wave of invading, suburban braineaters, Plants Versus Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is on the way from PopCap games and EA. Zombies have taken control of Suburbia (the game’s fictional world), and dubbed it “Zomburbia,” a dark, strange neighborhood where zombies run rampant, turn the tables on their plant enemies and turning them into the invading force.
A new Zombie co-op mode will see players taking the role of Zombie defenders, protecting their undead neighborhood against waves of enemy plant-warriors looking to take back the Suburbia. This will be one of multiple new gameplay modes, including an offline play option where players can take on AI-controlled bots.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 will launch on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC in Spring 2016.
Unravel, EA’s lone new IP announced during its keynote, is a physics-based puzzle platformer similar in style to the Little Big Planet franchise, or a more cartoon-ey version of Limbo. Players take control of Yarny, a tiny character comprised of nothing but yarn who comes unraveled as players move throughout the level. The game’s designer debuted a video detailing much of the title’s gameplay and showed off Unravel’s incredibly lifelike environments. Though EA didn’t announce a release date for the upcoming title, a $20 pre-order showed up in EA’s Origin store for the PC version.
Unravel has no release date currently planned.
EA Sports roundup
Though the changes won’t necessarily make waves among even the most loyal of EA Sports fans, the company did outline a way in which it believes more people have the ability to enjoy its line of sports titles. For NHL 16, Electronic Arts announced it worked on adding the brutal physicality native to the NHL, as well as a brand new passing system. Those who enjoy playing the title with friends no doubt will get excited to hear EA added split-screen, four player cooperative play, as well as online tournaments to NHL 16, which launches this September..
NHL 16 will launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this September.
NBA Live 16
EA’s much-maligned NBA franchise NBA Live always seems to fail to live up to expectations, and never seems able to step out from NBA 2K’s gargantuan shadow. This year, Electronic Arts announced plans to include a revolutionary new face-scanning technology, capable of producing incredibly true-to-life models in-game — a feature they showed off during the press conference. EA also said it reprogrammed its animation system to allow for more variables when it came to player movement. It has a long way to go to compete against NBA 2K, though NBA Live 16 appears the closest the franchise has been in years.
NBA Live 16 will launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on September 29.
Madden NFL 16
For 2015’s iteration of the popular Madden franchise, the team at EA decided to devote their attention to boosting the stats of quarterbacks, wide receivers, and defensive players. The captains under center now have the ability to make body-relative throws, meaning players have the option of throwing towards the feet of a receiver on a curl route, or high on a fade to avoid the defender. Receivers also received a slew of additions, and now possess the ability to catch the ball aggressively, for possession, or for a run after the catch. Each carry its own risk/reward threshold, but if executed correctly, pay off in a big way. Finally, the defense has the ability to play their opposing receivers in two different ways, either to secure a tackle or execute a well-timed hit capable of dislodging a caught ball.
Madden NFL 16 will launch on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on August 25.
Consistently the most successful sports game in the entire industry, the FIFA franchise looks to continue its dominance with two incredible new features to this year’s title. Most notably, the team at EA finally decided to add women’s teams to the mix, allowing players to choose between 12 different national teams — unfortunately, women’s club teams are still not included. EA also improved FIFA’s defensive systems, and upgraded the available midfielder options like having the option of dribbling without the ball a la Leo Messi.
FIFA 16 will launch on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on September 22.
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