At last, E3 2018 is upon us. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. Video games are being announced all around. Your neighborhood games journalists are stressed out of their minds. And today was the first big press conference of what is guaranteed to be a packed week for the industry. EA Play marched onto the stage, announced some games, showed off more about the ones we already knew, and bid adieu.
EA Play is always a mixture of annualized sports game announcements, indies, and big games, such as Battlefield 5. This year's EA Play was no exception, with details on FIFA 19, a surprise reveal of Unravel 2, a new trailer for Anthem, and much more strolling across the stage. Here's all the announcements and trailers you missed if you didn't catch the big show.
Battlefield 5 was first announced a couple weeks ago. Today during EA Play Live, a few more details were revealed. The biggest is that Battlefield 5 is getting a battle royale mode post-launch, the newly popular genre will be "reimagined for Battlefield." Nothing was shown for the mode, unfortunately. There's also a quick teaser for Battlefield 5's single-player "war stories," which will be fully revealed tomorrow during Microsoft's press conference.
The latest in EA Sports' dominant soccer series is here. The cover star is yet again Cristiano Ronaldo, with Neymar Jr covering the pre-order Ultimate and Champions editions. FIFA 19 will be out on September 28 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. One of the series' most requested features is making its grand entrance in this year's installment: UEFA Champions League, in addition as the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup joining it. FIFA's grand narrative mode, The Journey, is also getting its finale this year with The Journey: Champions. It ties directly into the new inclusion of the UEFA Champions League too, as young Alex Turner chases its biggest trophy. FIFA 19 Ultimate Team will be back too, "featuring live and authentic content from the world's most prestigious club competitions, including the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League," according to a press release. In the meantime, if you're itching to kick a ball around, a new free trial for FIFA 18 is available now.
Origin Access Premier
In between game reveals, EA CEO Andrew Wilson revealed a new commitment from EA to game streaming. Origin Access Premier was also announced, as part of a new PC game subscription service. It's basically Xbox Game Pass, but for PC's Origin platform only. It will unlock all of EA's newest PC games, starting with Madden 19. Later Battlefield 5, FIFA 19, Anthem, and many more titles in the future will join the service. You also get access to the "vault" of EA's 100s of games. It's launching later this summer, and there will be a free trial of Origin Access this weekend.
Respawn Star Wars and Battlefront 2
Respawn has been known to be working on a Star Wars game, and today we finally got a slight tease. Okay, maybe not really a teaser: but confirmation that it exists and is in active development. It's called Jedi Fallen Order, and takes place between the prequels and original trilogy, and is shooting for a holiday 2019 release.
That's not all for Star Wars news. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 will be going deep into the Clone Wars, including the largest level ever built for the series. General Grievous, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Count Dooku, and Anakin Skywalker will also appear in the Clone Wars update. (I hope Skywalker whines about sand in miscellanous call-outs.) EA and DICE announced they remain "committed to Battlefront" and believe it has a "bright future," despite its bumpy start.
The first Unravel was first revealed at E3 2015, with its earnest creator holding an adorable yarn doll high. Everyone widely applauded this man. The puzzle-platformer released in 2016 to lightly positive reviews. And now Yarny is back, baby. And he is ready to raise some hell. He even brought a friend along for the adventure this time around. Unravel Two can be played either single-player or co-op with a friend as you direct the two Yarnys across "natural landscapes and urban environments," according to a press release. A central theme of the game is friendship, which makes sense because, y'know, co-op.
Unravel Two also introduces an unexpected new addition: customization. Yes you, dear player, can customize your own woolen doll thing that looks a hair like Satan by helping out others, though the extent of customization wasn't detailed in the press release. And the best news of all: Unravel Two is available today for $19.99 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Sea of Solitude
Berlin-based studio Jo-Mei Studios are making the latest EA Original title, after last year's A Way Out shook the show last year. While Sea of Solitude doesn't look quite as groundbreaking, it looks interesting enough. You play as a girl on a boat, avoiding monsters and darkness—some of it her own. It's inspired by the developer's own experiences of loneliness and isolation. Expect this to maybe be a tearjerker when it's out in early 2019.
NBA Live 19
We didn't get much information on NBA Live 19, but we did get a new trailer for its career mode The One. Earlier this week, NBA Live's new executive producer told us that The One is being considered its flagship mode this year, in an effort to directly compete with NBA 2K. Will this be the year NBA Live 19 is able to emerge from NBA 2K's shadow? Guess we'll see. Oh, and it's out September 7.
Madden 19 NFL is coming to PC, and is releasing across all platforms on August 10. The last Madden game to release on PC was back in 2007, so it's been awhile! Other than that, there wasn't much news aside from a new trailer. We also have an exclusive interview with Madden 19's gameplay lead, so be sure to check that out to learn about the biggest changes coming to the football sim.
Command and Conquer: Rivals
Command and Conquer is making a comeback… to mobile! It remains an RTS game, of course, only utilizing smartphones' touch-compatible interface. Starting today, you can pre-register for Command and Conquer: Rivals to know when it's live on Android and iOS, as well as get early access to its pre-alpha on Google Play. "Rivals is specifically designed for mobile, so we’re giving players quick, head-to head live battles with continuous unit control, where skill and strategy reign supreme," general manager of Redwood Studios, Michael Martinez, details in a press release. There is currently no release date projected for Command and Conquer: Rivals.
Here it is, the biggest game of the show: Anthem! BioWare revealed more details today about its shared world shooter. Single-player, BioWare's bread and butter, is being prioritized for it. This balance is struck by having the open world area multiplayer, but keeping the fort base area as a solitary, single-player experience. This combination retains the "impact and agency of story." In theory, it sounds a lot like Monster Hunter: World's approach to its own multiplayer and single-player experience. Anthem is also being designed so that more story can be added in the years to come, whether it's something small like character interactions or something bigger like an event that shakes up the world.
Similar to Destiny's classes, Anthem has four "Javelin" power suits called Ranger, Colossus, Interceptor, and Storm. Each suit is swappable according to your mood or what your pals are using at the moment, so you can easily balance out what's needed for a particular mission. Of course, you can customize your Javelins too, whether via geometry of the suit or just in color options. In terms of microtransactions, BioWare's keeping it to just cosmetic and vanity items, though you will always know what you're getting when you buy an item with real money. That means no loot boxes and no ability to "pay for power." Yippee! Best news of all: we won't have to wait too long for Anthem. It launches on February 22, 2019 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Gear up freelancers.