EA Play 2019 - Recap
This year EA has decided to forgo the usual “Press Conference" in favor of a more casual live stream of their event. Instead of standing performances in a big stadium, they went with an outdoor gathering with a smaller crowd, and a casual couch setting. They interviewed developer executives and leads about a series of games. Plus it felt more like several individual streams / sit downs with different hosts more so that one whole event. They even broke the schedule of the event ahead of time down by game so you could tune in (or out) at set games. This way if you don’t care about FIFA, but really wanted to catch the new Apex content you could easily do so.
Honestly I originally thought this was EA’s way of having a smaller simpler show to accomodate the fact that was somewhat of an off year for them. However, I actually liked this format better and want them to keep it. EA is unique in that they have some really diverse fan bases and games. The ability to see a schedule of games with individual mini streams strung along made it very easy to tune in to times you liked. This helps EA’s sports, star wars, and other titles who’s fans may not over lap enjoy the show better. Check out below for the full event.
Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order and the new Apex Legends (Season 2) content were phenomenal, and my two biggest take aways. This might as well have been the Respawn Entertainment Conference because EA’s newer golden goose was the one team to bring something big to the table.
Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order (Gameplay)
EA kicked off their livestreams with Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. Its only recently that we learned anything of note about Respawn’s first Star Wars game. It’s only been a year since we awkwardly got the “reveal” of Fallen Order when last year’s E3 host just sat in the audience with devs from Respawn who said the title of their game. It wasn’t until Star Wars Celebration 2019 that we got the first trailer and cinematic look at Fallen Order. We met the protagonist and got details on the story.
Jedi Fallen Order takes place after the events of Episode III’s infamous Order 66. Players will take on the story of a padawan named Cal Kestis. Here at EA Play 2019, EA and Respawn gave us a roughly 15 minute gameplay demo of the game. This is the first time we see force powers or lightsaber combat in action.
Now, my intial impression was that the facial animations and in game graphics were just ok. They certainly weren’t bad, they’re just not on the level of what we are coming to expect. Even Battlefront 2 looked a little better. The stream quality even at 1080p on good wifi wasnt amazing either and that may have skewed the perception. Only launch will see how that goes. However I was still amazed by the demo. While the character animations still need some finishing touches the gameplay looked smooth and the workd felt detailed. If this demo gives you super Force Unleashed vibes you wouldn’t be wrong as the same planet is visited in this demo, Kashyyyk, is heavily used in the first Force Unleashed, not to mention the traversal and gameplay felt similar. However there’s still noticeable evolution. Lightsaber combat and Force powers looked evolved. They refered to as “thoughtful” combat. They stressed that the player can be very strategic in how you fight and approach situations.
The demo had some huge surprises too. Make sure to watch the video above first but we get some major Rogue One references that you will instantly recognize.
Apex Legends (Season 2)
Respawn also took the veil off of Season 2 of Apex Legends. They openly admit on stage Season 1 was less than the fans hope and theyve used the feedback to improve season 2 significantly so I give props to Respawn for acknowledging and respounding to players.
Respawn gave us a release date of July 2nd and details on Season 2’s Battle Pass called “Battle Charge” will be “challenge based instead of time based” and Respawn gave us a sneak peak on their evolution of how players want more skins, and bigger better skins, instead of banner badges. What they showed definitely looked cool.
(Wattson Story Trailer)
With Season 2 is also coming a new player named Wattson. She is very interesting. Her lore is unique in that she is the daughter of the man who built the Apex arena. She looks to be one of the most strategic characters to date. Respawn expressed a desire to offer a alternative to the run and gun hyper offensive meta. She can allow teams to be super planful and defensive. Her abilities include electric fences that she can place around choke points and defensive positions. She looks to make end games very interesting, especially since her Ult is multifaceted but includes the ability to nullify oribital bombardments and grenades. Spamming these saved up offensive abilities can be properly defended against now. All in she seems super exciting and I can’t wait to play as her.
We saw teases for new modes, map events, skins, and an upcoming much requested “ranked mode”. Evolving the Apex Elite mode going on this weekend’s during Apex’s Legendary Hunt LTE, Ranked Mode will allow skilled players to level up in ranks. I’m excited for this because hopefully it will attract away players with 4500 kills taking away the fun of us trying to have fun. The game needs matchmaking so newer, middle skilled, and advanced players get to play together. While not quite there, this is a step in the right direction.
However as much as I was looking forward to a new character and skins, my favorite piece of news was the arrival of the much rumored L-Star. This gun has been in the rumor mills for quite some time, and since it was used in the inital marketing material for Apex it felt almost necessary. For those of you who have know idea what this gun is or why I’m so excited, it was a weapon in Titanfall 2, and my over all favorite. The L-Star was a energy LMG and was devestating. The loud bright plasma ammo always gave you away and destroyed any option for stealth, but it was so satisfying to mow down enemy players.
I was afraid that when they did eventually bring it to Apex it would be nerfed or not the same experience as in Titanfall 2. While I’m sure changes and modifications from its TF2 counterpart are most likely there, they already refered to this unreleased gun as “OP”. But that’s ok because it is a Legendary care package gun, which means itll be rare and you get the ammo you get. This will be a moment of glory weapon and no more. I will enjoy every second I have this gun!
EA also took the time to show off new Battlefield content coming to BFV like Iwo Jima map and more!
Sims 4 Island Living
Still popular life simulator Sims 4 is getting an expansion titled Island Living featuring...you guessed it Tropical Island content. Check out the trailer for a first look!
One thing I call EA out for is taking a more active interest in helping small indie developers in ways that usually only a platform publisher like Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo (and now Stadia) would benefit from. Indie Devs may benefit from partnering with a larger platform publisher for exposure and tools and the publisher gets benefits of games on their hardware. Publishers like EA have less incentive to help indie teams that don't directly get "published" by said publlisher. EA for example has said they zero profit from the fairly decent sales of EA Original "A Way Out" Other than some small marketing branding and maybe future people resources, EA gets less out of EA Originals other than positive branding of "helping the little guy". EA just looks good helping promote small indie games.
A Way Out, Unravel, and Fe were all amazing indie "EA Originals" and next up is Sea of Solitude. We do have a releas date for this now at July 5
Fifa 2020 & EA SPORTS Madden NFL
I will be the first to admit. I know very little about sports and nor do I care to really. For many in the gaming industry, Sports games are off on the outter fringe of core gaming next to Angry Birds and Candy Crush and Online Poker. I rarely cover the sports game news. However, I realize that many gamer fans love sports games, and it is a huge important part of the EA brand and event, so if you are interested in them you can at least check out the trailers here!
That's all for EA Play E3 2019. Stay tuned for major recaps and live tweets from the conferences and news. Game Infinite will be covering E3 2019 and bringing you all the latest news as it drops. Tomorrow kicks off with Microsoft Xbox at 1PM PT / 4PM ET so make sure to catch the live news on twitter and here after on Game Infintie News.