EA Play 2019 Press Recap

For the first time since I can remember, E3 has snuck up on me. Not that I wasn’t looking forward to it or didn’t know what month it was. I just didn’t expect EA to do things so casually…

EA’s Play 2019 started a day before the other major press conferences. The event was a small, more intimate affair where various hosts (Greg Miller, Julia Hardy, etc.) got to chat it up with developers. They’d also go on to showcase updates to Apex Legends and Battlefield, provide inside peaks of the new Madden and FIFA. Oh, they also revealed gameplay footage from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – a freaking single player Star Wars game!

If you missed the event, no worries; we made sure to add it to the site for your viewing pleasure. That said, we have highlighted the juicer tidbits below.

EA wasted no time getting right to what most of the fans came there to see. The presentation led with 15 minutes of gameplay from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. EA played this smart, knowing how reluctant Star Wars fans have become with buying any of their titles, by choosing to show the actual game in motion. And man, was I impressed with what I saw.

The demo starts with the protagonist, Jedi Cal Kestis, being sent on a mission to infiltrate an enemy base to help free incarcerated Wookiees. Not really concerned with being stealthy, it isn’t long before the player engages with a group of Stormtroopers. At this point, the audience is shown Kestis’ lightsaber skills via combat that’s reminiscent of that seen in the latest God of War title. There seems to be some weight behind his swings; as each attack lands, his enemies are thrown in the air/spun around before dying. Kestis also uses the force. He’ll slow time to maneuver through obstacles, pull and push enemies around, interact with the environment and more. He was even able to use his powers in tandem, resulting in one of the coolest moments of the demo.

According to the game directors, the fighting is all freeform, giving everyone a different experience when playing. We saw the player freeze incoming fire (like a certain scene from The Force Awakens), force pull a Stormtrooper into his hand, before walking him into his own blaster shot. Again, the coolest moment!

The demo also revealed new types of Stormtroopers and BD-1, a new droid companion that can interact with electronics, scan environments, give out stimpacks (health) and more. Respawn also let on that Fallen Order is official canon; while they didn’t explain much of the story, having Forest Whitaker reprise his role as Saw Gerrera shows how seriously dedicated they are to providing an authentic, single player lead, Star Wars experience come November 11th.

Next up was Apex Legends, another Respawn title. It took over the battle royale world a few months ago, only to lose a bit of steam thanks to a lackluster Battle Pass (among other things). Respawn looks to address this with an improved Battle Pass in the game’s second season, launching July 2nd.

Season 2 (called, Battle Charge) will feature a new legend, a new weapon, some much needed weapon balances, and skins that are worth winning. Gone are the stat/banner items, basic looking skins and so on. In their place are skins that look to totally change a Legend’s appearance and unique weapon skins that had me pumped to actually get back into the game. The devs also teased new hop ups and one apparently makes the Mozambique worth using.

The new gun, the All Star, is a care package weapon that seems to have a strong damage output with a fully automatic shot. It was shown blowing doors open and also ripping through an enemy at a very accurate clip. My favorite introduction in the presentation (besides the character intro) was the elite queue – where ending as one of the top 5 in a given match allows you to join a queue with other top players, leading to some interesting battles and exclusive unlocks – and the new ranked mode.

New Caustic Skin

 

The biggest reveal, of course, was that of Wattson. Respawn created an animated short that explained a bit of her backstory; a certified genius, Wattson and her father designed the arena that the Legends fight in. They also provide a brief look at her abilities. Strategic in nature, she utilizes electric fences that damages and pings enemies that walk through them. Her ultimate, called Interception Pylon, blocks incoming projectiles while recharging Wattson’s tactical ability (if she is nearby). That includes air strikes and bombardments from rival Legends.

We finally have another viable looking defensive character. Not only that, but her Pylon’s ability to shoot down air strikes/bombardments from rival Legends, makes her a great pick for more team comps. It was openly admitted that she was built to really break up the singular, offensive gameplay style. This shift in Meta is going to shake up the entire game and I, for one, am all for it!

Battlefield V’s showing was as exciting as you would expect it to be. Two new maps were revealed, each focusing on close quarter infantry battles. The crowd didn’t seem very enthused about them, but I was actually pretty stoked; the crazy shootouts displayed on screen, though scripted, seemed like a ton a fun. Fans are also getting a new Pacific theater of war story experience set in the new Mediterranean front. It features beautiful vegetation and beaches that are eventually trampled by soldiers charging into battle. It is said that we are to get two more multiplayer maps this season. The developers boasted about more elite characters, skins, and weapons that will apparently bridge us into another chapter. Hopefully that bridge will lead to fans returning to the game.

FIFA 20 and Madden NFL 20 both showed off some impressive physics-based improvements and graphical upgrades. FIFA takes us to the streets with Volta, a new mode where players will play in a playground/street style of soccer. Madden introduced new player based special maneuvers and counters that’ll hopefully translate into some amazing, yet authentic moments on the field. There wasn’t enough to warrant any real hype; EA did just enough to get fans excited. With both games already conquering their respective sports, you can expect them to continue to do so, even with the seemingly surface level changes.

And there you have it. For the most part, EA did a wonderful job of building hype for their upcoming games. They didn’t mention Anthem (which was smart), showed a new Star Wars game, and made sure to dig into their current staples. They would go on to finish with a Sims 4 expansion. It wasn’t too crazy – it offers an island getaway, complete with new furniture, clothing, and the ability to jump into the ocean – but it did have a mermaid. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a mermaid? Again, EA didn’t blow anyone away. They did garner enough attention for what’s to come. Here’s hoping that they deliver on these promised experiences in the coming months.

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