With less than two weeks to go, buzz is already building in the lead up to the Electronic Entertainment Expo. With high profile leaks from Walmart Canada, and countdowns counting down to more countdowns, the hype machine is hard at work competing for attention.
But where is the fun in what is already known? The real fun is in setting wildly high expectations and trying to figure out what sorts of strategies and announcements that will be seen in each show.
Electronic Arts holds its EA Play press conference every year in the weekend leading up to the Expo. Here are three predictions of what will be shown this year at the EA Play E3 press conference.
EA Play – Saturday June 9th
At last year’s E3, EA stuck to the script. Leaning heavily on sports and traditional shooters with a splash from the Anthem announcement. This year’s EA conference will probably be similar.
Anthem and Battlefield V
Last year gamers got a taste of the massive new behemoth that Bioware has been working on for quite some time. With the waning success of many of EA’s recent franchises, EA needed something to assert their strong position in the video game industry.
Anthem’s announcement and short scripted gameplay sequence last year gave people hope that Bioware are taking the Destiny (Activision/Blizzard) formula and doing something interesting with it. Gamers should expect to see a longer and more free form gameplay sequence with more solid information about Anthem during this presentation.
There’s only one big question mark about Anthem at the EA conference. If a company like Microsoft will dedicate stage time during their conference like they did last year for Anthem, why not use your main stage to show off Battlefield V in full and leave Anthem to someone else and get double exposure? I’m still confident that Anthem will get its time just unsure as to where it will get it.
More information will certainly be revealed about Battlefield V regardless. The company will certainly lean hard of the WWII shooter, showcasing gameplay to assuage fears that the game will not follow in the footsteps of previous Battlefield titles. The game needs to be a hit for the company.
The Star Wars license hasn’t been the resounding success as anticipated with the harsh reception to Star Wars Battlefront II, and EA’s return to classics like Mass Effect and Need for Speed have also spun their wheels to poor reviews and commercial success.
There will certainly be a long segment detailing of new updates to the long-standing FIFA and Madden sports games. Though it may seem to be redundant, it’s important to remember that the sports audience is quite large and the success of FIFA is partially what inspired the multi-billion dollar micro-transaction business.
A possible surprise would be the return of EA’s marquee boxing game series, Fight Night. EA had a well-regarded and reviewed game in Fight Night that many fans would love to get another crack at. The EA Sports UFC series has tried to fill that gap and has had some success. However a return to what EA has done so well would really bring back many fans who have asked time and again for a new boxing game.
Another shelved franchise that EA could bring back would be Skate 4. The Skate series is another fan favorite that EA seemingly abandoned. Skateboarding games are not a part of the cultural zeitgeist like they were in the Classic Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater days but it would be a good move to bring back something fans have long demanded.
EA Originals – EA had a truly unique hit on its hands with the co-op narrative-based game, A Way Out. It was the most viewed game on twitch.tv during its release window and sold over a million copies over its first two weeks. EA will most likely be looking to double down on that success and bring more developers into the fold.
As to which developer or game will be seen see remains a mystery. It’s hard to imagine that EA would pass up tag lines like, “From the publisher program that brought you A Way Out…”
This is also a way for EA to differentiate its portfolio of established titles by bringing in new and fresh ideas.
EA is most likely going to reach outside of the box for its Originals offering. Looking for something that really speaks to the independent game community, whether that is bringing in a film director or teaming up with a big name in independent development; they will try to cement their program as the key in independent development.