Gamescom 2014: EA press meeting
Can EA bring the noise with their conference? They certainly have an extensive library of kick ass titles to have us on the edge of our seats! Let’s run through the round up and see how it went down.
EA kicked us off by playing a portion of Dragon Age: Inquisition, showcasing their lush, incredibly detailed graphics and the tactical camera. The tactical camera pauses the game and zooms out to give you a good overview of the battlefield. From here you can then micro manage your team into the places you want them to be. Definitely harking back to the original Dragon Age and thankfully stepping further and further away from Dragon Age 2. DA: Inquisition was delayed earlier this year, to a November 18th (US) and November 20th (EU) release date, seems like they’re still on track for that.
This is where things got a little complicated – the live stream encountered some serious lag issues for a good 15-20 minutes. The trailer was scrambled. I have to be honest and say that after all the problems with Battlefield 4’s online multiplayer, having the issues with just the live stream doesn’t exactly instill confidence that any of their online endeavours are going to be better. Anyway, technical issues aside, next up to the plate was Titanfall.
IMC Rising, Titanfall’s final map pack contains 3 new maps; Backwater, Sandtrap and Zone 18. The pack will hit in Autumn this year, Xbox One and PC first followed by Xbox 360 shortly after, and it’s included in the $25 season pass or will be $10 as a standalone.
Bread and butter sports
There was a pretty standard sports presence. Singing the successes of their FIFA World beta, a free-to-play PC FIFA game, and promising to bring a new game engine to it before the new year, alongside improvements to dribbling and more. They also paraded NHL 15, the in-game match crowds looked amazing. EA then proceeded to take out the big guns, showing their offerings for the imminent FIFA 15, bringing in the highly requested Turkish Super League and going all in with the Barclays League and their 20 stadiums. Their news system, Match Day Live, keeps you up to date with all the goings on in the real world. Whilst in the virtual world, with Ultimate Team, players can now loan players and create friendly seasons. You’ll also have a news feed so that you can get your brag on.
They concluded with, now wait for it… the news that they’re finally giving goalkeepers brains! Hurrah! Goalkeepers will come with the ability to make split-second decisions when the ball careers towards them. Something that I would have expected to see earlier, but better late than never. The series has focused a lot on the players running around the field, so it’s nice to finally see the goalkeepers get some love.
All-in-all the message for sports was harder, better, faster, stronger (Daft Punk? Anyone? Nevermind). There was nothing controversial here, all-in-all a safe bet. There will be a demo for FIFA 15 sometime early September, the full game being set for release September 23rd in the US, and September 25th in Europe.
Make yourself at home
Next up – Star Wars: The Old Republic! EA took the time to remind us that it’s still alive, and soon to be implementing the most requested feature of the majority of MMO’s out there – player housing. The expansion pack, Galactic Strongholds, brings players the ability to create and customise their own strongholds and guild flagships. It was a short but sweet reminder, definitely highly anticipated, going live as of next week.
Yeah, just like this wouldn’t be EA without a sports showing, this certainly wouldn’t be EA without a Sims presence. They went all out with a live demo. Firstly showing off the Create-A-Sim, which seems greatly more intuitive than previous games. Rather than pulling bars, you can pull the features on faces and bodies to create the sim you want.
Personality building didn’t get a lot of focus but they emphasised that customisation and variety is the spice of the Sims life, all the way down to how your Sim walks. Flagship features seem to be an all new gallery system, where you can find and share pretty much everything. Drag and drop whatever community created house, item, or Sim you can imagine straight into your game relatively seamlessly.
The Create-A-Sim demo is now live on www.thesims.com. The game itself is slated for September 2nd on PC. Am I the only one more than a little sad that it’s not coming to consoles?
Anyway, alongside all this info on all the heavy hitters, EA still managed to sneak a new IP into the schedule. From Bioware Austin, Shadow Realms is an online action RPG for PC set in a modern fantasy setting. Shadow Realms will sport dynamic 4vs1 co-operative gameplay. Watching it gave me the Fable Legends/Evolve vibe, but with a bit more story meat to it. Not so surprising, as I mean come on, it’s Bioware.
The (playable!) villain-in-chief, Shadowlord – yes, I know, the cheese knows no bounds – will be pitted against your party of 4 modern heroes, with powers, naturally. The stress of this announcement was on the story, with the overarching storyline being released episodically. There’s no concrete date set for release, just “late next year”. If it’s got your mouth watering already, you can sign up for the closed alpha set for next month at www.shadowrealms.com. The open alpha comes next year.
Dawngate, the fantasy MOBA that’s meant to be different, briefly reared it’s head announcing that the alpha servers were now live for players to try out now.
Don’t taze me bro’!
The time came to wrap up, and they closed strong with Battlefield Hardline. Single player surprisingly didn’t explode onto the screen. The gameplay demo had a significantly slower more tense pace, highlighting more options, including non-lethal options (cuffing and tazers ahoy!), to complete the challenges. Along with those options there will be choices to how the story plays out, giving increased replayability to the single player campaign. Reaching the end of the single player portion of the demo they ran through the new scanner equipment, allowing players to tag and identify enemies and high value targets for arresting (or murdering) goodness. Then the good ol’ gun carnage broke out.
The last point was multiplayer related. There will be 2 new modes: Hotwire – getting you your high speed chase thrills, and Rescue – criminals hold a hostage and cops come to the rescue. The latter hopes to be a popular eSport.
Or take a look at the single player action here:
I have to say, I’m left feeling a little empty at the lack of Mass Effect news, and surprised about the absence of EA access… Those are the only pinholes I can find because honestly, they covered a lot of great stuff here, including a new IP! I’m not jumping out of my seat excited from the conference, as I believe all their developer diaries keep us positively drowning in game updates, but it was a solid conference. What did you think? Disappointed? Hyped? Sound out in the comments section below!