This year’s EA Play event takes place on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9 at the Hollywood Palladium. While it is no longer a part of E3 officially, EA was smart enough to keep the event within the same excited news week as E3 itself. The publisher has already said they will not be doing a traditional press conference, and will instead be opting for a series of live streams.
Personally, I am unsure about this particular tactic. It is easier to get people to sit through an hour of quick hits and bullet points, all accompanied by shiny videos than it is to manage to sync up with an audience perfectly for 48 hours. Yes, people said they wanted to “see less talk and more play,” according to an announcement from EA, this feels a little bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Anyway, let’s get stuck into what we expect E3 to talk about at this year’s EA Play.
Apex Legends has been the surprise hit of 2019, entering the Battle Royale market with a splash and taking advantage of smart tactics to rapidly build up a huge playerbase. We know that EA plan on bringing the game to the lucrative mobile gaming market, but I also expect to see some talk about the main game as well. Potential map and character reveals are entirely possible, but mostly I expect to see a celebration of the game itself.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
For whatever reason, Star Wars single-player content has been thin on the ground lately. EA has the license to make games about the franchise just hasn’t resulted in that many titles, and it caused a bit of a backlash. As such, Jedi: Fallen Order will be a big deal for them. Respawn having built up a lot of goodwill with the Titanfall 2 campaign, and Apex Legends certainly helps this game out a lot. What people want to see right now is gameplay, so that is pretty much guaranteed to feature heavily at the event. Who knows, you might even get a chance to play.
Even with poor sales compared to the previous installment, Battlefield 5 still sold millions of copies and has a loyal playerbase. I don’t know if we will see anything about the next Battlefield game, but we will undoubtedly see something Battlefield related. The franchise is too big for EA to let an event like this pass without covering it in some capacity.
All The Sports Games
FIFA, NFL, and UFC games are all pretty much guaranteed. The first two are yearly money spinners for EA, and the second seems to work on a two-year cycle, with the last one released in February of last year. As such, it seems about right that we see some early footage of the UFC 4 that looks suspiciously like UFC 3 with some minor system changes. I’d also expect FIFA to expand on their story-based career mode, as that seems to have been a bit of a hit with fans. I firmly expect to see an embarrassing couple of months as players go head to head on stream, facilitated by a very awkward member of the dev team. It seems to be a tradition at this point.
Need For Speed
A new Need for Speed is due before April 2020, so seeing it at E3 is highly likely. Personally, I feel like the games have been getting a bit lost lately, with awkward, and sometimes cringe-worthy appeals to a youth culture that I am not sure has ever really existed anywhere outside of the Fast and Furious movies. That said, the games clearly still sell pretty well, and arcade style racers are a bit thin on the ground at the minute with a huge shift towards more realistic driving mechanics in racing games over recent years.
Plants vs. Zombies
We know a new Plants vs. Zombies game is on the way because EA’s chief operating and financial officer Blake Jorgenson said so to investors in February of this year. Hard to find a more concrete source than that! Like the new Need for Speed, the expected delivery for the product was before April of next year. This one actually has been excited, as the Plants for Zombies: Garden Warfare games have been some light-hearted and goofy fun. It also sells really well, I assume because a lot of other people enjoy that same goofy fun that appeals to me. In a world of hyper-realistic shooters, sometimes you just want to dunk on a sunflower.
What You Won’t See: Anthem
A bold prediction here, but I really don’t think you will even hear the word “Anthem” whispered at EA Play. The game has had a brutal time since launch, and the playerbase is barely hanging on by a thread. The developers struggle to fix bugs and get the promised content for the game out do not bode well, and reports abound that the team has already been split to focus on the next Dragon Age title. I don’t see how any Anthem news from EA Play ends up being good PR, so I expect it will just be ignored completely.