E3 Expectations: EA

This week E3 kicks off, with many expectations and a surprisingly low number of leaks, at least so far. The first company to take the stage will be EA, Saturday afternoon, with an apparent stronger lineup than last year, which was a very weak presentation, that had no surprises and little content. But what can we expect from them this year?

Bioware’s New IP and Maybe Something Mass Effect Related

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The Canadian studio has a tough road ahead of them. After the backlash suffered with Mass Effect Andromeda’s release, they need to try to take that bad taste of their consumers’ mouth, while working out a way to reveal their new IP.

And here they face a conundrum, since we’re talking about something completely new, they can’t wait that much to unveil their next project. If we were talking about a game based on a well-known franchise they could postpone the announcement. Being released next year, they need enough time for marketing to present it to the audience, having a least one year to do it. 6 months may work with Assassin’s Creed, Fallout, famous brands, but that won’t for something nobody never heard about before. Gamescom may be the last acceptable date for the reveal, but leaving the biggest show in the industry behind may be a very risky choice.

Mass Effect Andromeda’s lukewarm reception and subpar performance makes it much harder, creating a need to compensate for their mistakes, given that their name is a little tainted to fans. I’ll guess that they might announce that they are creating something for their fans, like for example a free story DLC revolving around a character from the old trilogy, like Wrex, to gain some goodwill.

It’s in the Game

As always, that’s a safe bet, there will be a segment focused on EA Sports and their profitable franchises. We may hear more about the continuation of Alex Hunter’s story in the Journey season 2, and how Madden is changing with the choice to use the Frostbite engine, and get a sneak peek of the story mode hinted at the reveal trailer of this year’s iteration.

Other than that, they’ll use the time to talk about their connection with eSports, how Ultimate Team is successful, more about NHL, NBA Live, and UFC 3, unveiling their cover athletes. Speaking of athletes, we can assume we’ll see some on stage talking a little about the game, maybe on NBA Live or UFC.

Need for Speed: Payback or Family (Your Choice)

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We’ll probably see the first gameplay, or a trailer that will talk about the story and the characters. There’s no doubt that the game will look simply incredible, but it needs to go beyond that to regain some of the love lost for the franchise. Leaving the always-online feature is a step in the right direction, but there needs to be more improvements, especially after the release of Forza Horizon 3 last year, possibly one of the best racing games ever.

Seeking inspiration from the Fast and Furious franchise is an interesting choice, after all, it is insanely successful, being very profitable. But focusing on amazing set pieces and a beautiful world isn’t enough, the gameplay must be finely tuned, leaving that drift camera, improving the feel of the cars, the map can’t be flooded with other cars who seem to aim yours all the time, and some landscape variety would be nice. Of course, they must create charismatic characters, something that racing games rarely do, and that the Fast and Furious franchise understood a long time ago.

Star Wars

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Most likely Star Wars Battlefront II will be the star of the show, and I’ll guess that they will start the show with a sneak peek of the campaign, showing a part of a mission, highlighting the main character, Iden Versio. They announced that 30 minutes before the press conference they will premiere a battle with 40 players, but that looks like multiplayer, and they have focused a lot on the campaign lately.

They might also talk about the state of the other games based on the franchise. Show a little glimpse of the Respawn project, but it would be interesting to finish the presentation with a teaser trailer of the project from Visceral, helmed by Amy Hennig, who is scheduled to be released between April 2018 – March 2019, probably in the Fall of 2018.

Some Predictions and 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like to See

  • Announcement of Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1 and backwards compatible titles coming to EA Access soon.
  • More EA Originals titles, Fe and Unravel 2 release date.
  • Teaser trailer for Motive’s new action IP.
  • Dragon Age 4 revealed on stage.
  • 1 Crazy Thing I’d Like: Skate 4 being shown on stage by the Hawkman, Tony Hawk, announcing a partnership with EA.

 

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Superhero games and the studios to do it

Since the announcement of the PS4 exclusive Spiderman game, superheroes fans are wondering about what other games could be made, to help establish this genre that is plagued by low quality projects, and here I’ll talk about some that I would find interesting and the studios, based on their past projects and characteristics, to do it.

 Green Lantern – Rocksteady

Assuming that Arkham Knight really was Rocksteady’s last Batman game, it would be interesting to see the studio tackling another DC property, Green Lantern, that has never had a proper game recreating its rich lore, in the Arkham series Rocksteady showed the ability to create beautiful worlds, to understand characters, different weapons and ways to tackle combat, and it would be great to see them being more creative with the infinite possibilities that this franchise would allow, as well as portraying Oa and a character with a lighter mood, tone and a more colorful world surrounding him.

Iron Man – Sucker Punch

Infamous is a superhero game without a recognizable character behind it, and in Second Son showed what could be a prototype of what an Iron Man game would become in their hands, with the main character using his hands to shoot, flight, amongst other thing, and the positive feedback when they were the rumoured studio behind the Spiderman PS4 project shows how successful and beloved the Infamous franchise is, with the Karma system having the opportunity to be very handy in a game in which the main character is known for being incredibly flawed, always crossing the line between being a hero and an anti-hero as seen in the MCU.

Captain America – Naughty Dog

This one may seem an incredibly awkward combination, but Naughty Dog has been recognized as one of the best and most innovative studios, with the narrative chops to tackle themes that aren’t common in games, such as the dichotomy of a man of the beginning of the 20th century living in the modern 21st century, with possible flashbacks showing the contrast of a black and white world, with our contemporary society where there aren’t defined “good guys” anymore, like in the Winter Soldier movie, another characteristic of the studio that would be quite useful here would be of creating charismatic and compelling characters, with a fun combat as in Uncharted, but focusing on hand-to-hand combat.

Suicide Squad – Rockstar

No other studio is more capable of telling a story that revolves around criminal and deeply troubled characters than Rockstar, as seen in the GTA series, Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption, in GTA V they showed the capacity of working with multiples leading characters, with all of them having unique personalities, and the Suicide Squad lineup creates intriguing interactions, from the incredible and reckless Harley Quinn, that could be like a Trevor in this group, to the methodical Deadshot, to Amanda Waller’s dubious command, through insane missions like the heists missions, but instead of focusing on banks and government buildings, the Squad could assault Arkham Asylum to retrieve Joker, for example.

X-Men – Bioware

Since X-Men Legends series we haven’t had any good games of this amazing franchise, and the driving force behind the X-Men is the power of the group, and I can’t think of a better studio to create an RPG, enhancing the relationships behind some of the most iconic characters of pop culture, whether you take control of one of the most famous or create a new one, Bioware has the skills to create a grandiose and unforgettable story, showing the dynamic of the party, choosing your partners according to their powers, delve into the politics of the government against mutants, and how that affects the characters, it can go through well-known story arcs, with a wealth of stories to base on and a remarkable adventure for gamers worldwide.

Wonder-Woman – Crystal Dynamics

Responsible for one of the most successful reboots, not only on the gaming market, but as a whole, doing an exquisite job on Tomb Raider, turning the character from a sex symbol into an attractive but strong, vulnerable, believable character,  I would love to see Crystal Dynamics’s take on another female icon, though this has never been the leading character of an AAA title, Wonder Woman, and even though there’s the difficulty of dealing with an overpowered character, the studio showed that can give a human facet to a character that deserves a story worthy of her history, and I would look forward for their portrait of Themyscira, especially after the beautiful design and graphics of their latest entries.

Ms Marvel – Dontnod

This one could be considered cheating, especially because their latest project, one the best surprises of last year, Life is Strange, story revolved around a teenager with superpowers, and how that affected her life and relationships, but it would be interesting to see that in an environment in which other superheroes exist, and it could go from the moment that she discovers her powers until the moment she becomes an Avenger, and how she deals with her duties as a heroine whilst also being religious, religion being a subject that was dealt really well in Life Strange, and having a leading character who’s not only a woman but also Muslim would also be something new, and that Dontnod would be one of the few studios willing to do it.

Punisher – Yager

Spec Ops: The Line was one of the most underrated games of the last generation, and one of the few ever to really show the horrors of war, instead of portraying you as a super soldier, being praised for having a deep story that showed the downfall, both mentally and physically, of men that went through some of the most horrific situations anybody could ever imagine, and Frank Castle, aka Punisher, fits perfectly in that profile, and the studio behind that project, Yager, should have the chance to create an M rated game of this anti-hero, showing what led him to become this mysterious character that has captivated audiences in comic books, and most recently on the second season of Daredevil.