E3 kicked off, this year with EA Play and their offerings for the year. While we have our hesitations regarding EA, this year’s conference gave us a couple pleasant surprises. We’ll avoid going too in depth, but here’s the general rundown, in case you missed the conference.

Introduction

The show started with a bang, giving us an augmented reality experience revolving around Anthem. The crowd didn’t seem to react much, so we wonder if this was exclusive to the livestream and they just saw a flat video or what. They talked about what they were about to show us quickly and then the show truly began.

Their first game was Battlefield V. EA has already given us a look at the single-player campaign, but the WWII-focused FPS will have plenty for the multiplayer crowd, as well. This includes a new battle royale game mode. EA assures us there will be no loot boxes or premium pass shenanigans, this time around and that we can look forward to seeing more of Battlefield V at the Xbox Briefing, tomorrow.

Without even a moment to breath, the conference jumped from the cinematic Battlefield trailer to a cinematic FIFA 19 trailer. They spent a great deal of time talking about the champions league before shifting gears to explain that they’d be hosting a world cup update in FIFA 18, complete with tournament and that the game would be available for a free trial on PS4, Xbox One, and PC through Origin.

After that, Andrew Wilson took the stage to announce what’s being called EA Origin Access Premier. We had to look around for actual details, but it appears EA Origin Access is a subscription membership that lets you play a given catalog of games (115) on EA Origin. It costs $4.99/month or $29.99/year. Premier is an upgrade to this that allows you to play newer games, including the upcoming Anthem, FIFA, and Battlefield, even before their given launch date. This upgrade will cost $14.99/month or $99.99/year when it releases later, this Summer.

Star Wars and Originals

Then next few announcements were kinda squished together, as well. They spoke with the developers of a new Star Wars game, Jedi Fallen Order, who explained that the game took place between episodes III and IV. He also said that we could expect to see the game late next year before they kicked it back up to the stage for a word from the Battlefront II devs.

They explained that they’d had some missteps at launch and were reworking their strategy for Battlefront II, including the new hunt mode that just released. They’ll also be adding a stage and characters from the Solo movie, as well as bringing new content from the Clone Wars era of Star Wars. They name dropped characters like General Grievous, Obi-wan Kenobi, Count Dooku, and Anakin Skywalker, who will all be playable in the future and then moved on.

Next we got a cutscene that would turn out to be the intro cutscene for Unraveled two, a co-op puzzle platformer being published by EA. This game starts by breaking those bonds your character worked for in the first title before introducing him to a new friend who could help him on his path. For more information, you can check out our article on this game.

After that, we moved on to another EA Original named Sea of Solitude. In this game humans who become too lonely turn into monsters of all shapes and sizes. We got plenty of eyefuls of gorgeous seascape and landscape with some creative monster designs. We won’t get to see the game release until early next year, but we’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

More Sports, Esports, and Charity

The next few moments kinda flew right by. We got a trailer for NBA Live 19, which confirms we’ll be seeing this game on September 7th. With no explanation or fanfare, they moved straight on to a set of clips revolving around competitive Madden NFL 18 and a player named Young Kiv. This appeared to be showing his journey to the championship, but after a short talk, they moved on to a Madden NFL 19 trailer and moved on from it completely.

After that, we got our first look at a new mobile RTS game which was played between two players named iNcontroL and nickatnyte. The game involves moving units around a small field to control an area around the active missile and use it to destroy your opponent’s base. The game is called Command and Conquer Rivals.

Before moving on to their last big game, EA took some time to talk about EA Play to Give, which is a charity EA set up. By playing a series of nine challenges within various EA games, players contributed to a total donation of one million dollars to three anti-bullying organizations.

Anthem

To end out the show, EA spent a great deal of time talking about Anthem, Bioware’s new multiplayer RPG project with a story that claims to have depth and impact. They started with a killer trailer that really seemed to get the crowd going. Then they went on to discuss how the story was a major focus of the game. Beyond that, they’re planning on making the world wholly dynamic with the ability for them to make major changes for the entire player base in game.

They further explained that the game is really built from the ground up for co-op, expecting players to work together. Solo players can still tackle objectives on their own, but the developers would like everyone to give multiplayer a chance. Players can select between four Javelin suits, which change their abilities and weaponry. These are the Ranger, Colossus, Interceptor, and Storm. Think of it like all-rounder, heavy, speed, and special classes.

The presenters took a moment to inform us that there would again be no loot boxes or pay to win elements. There would still be cosmetics-based microtransactions for full character customizability. After that, we got a gameplay demo with all kinds of new elements from last year. Then, to end off, they announced that Anthem would be available on February 22nd, 2019.

Final Thoughts on EA Play 2018

EA had a lot to show us from a few different corners. There was still a clear audience and we were clearly not that audience. However, what we saw was still somewhat impressive and there were a few very nice surprises like Unravel two and Sea of Solitude. EA Origin Access Premier doesn’t hold too much of interest, yet, but it seems great for the proper audience. Overall, we give EA a C+ as they seemed to really be trying, this year, but we just weren’t that interested in all of the sports titles and shooters, ourselves.

If you’d like to watch the conference yourself, you can find it here.