Alex Birlo on June 9, 2019
Yesterday we had the EA play event of 2019 with some information about their plans for 2019. There were presentations for 6 games in total – accept Star Wars Battlefront and Anthem that were mentioned in the intermissions between the bigger presentations – so I will list them in order and we will go through each of them in detail.
15 minutes of gameplay were shown during the presentation.
The demo took place several hours into the game when Cal and the rebel forces had to infiltrate an Imperial refinery on Kashyyyk and rescue the Wookies that were kept there as slaves. Saw Gerrera was there with Cal on the mission, commanding the rebel troops and providing a distraction for Cal to get inside the factory.
What becomes very obvious early on in the demo is that Cal Kestis is a very agile type of Jedi. He can quickly traverse the environment with moves like wall running, climbing, swimming, double jumping with the force and balancing on narrow pathways. While also using the force to manipulate the said environment, like slowing down a ventilator down a vent he wants to go or pulling a liana in the jungle towards himself so he could swing across.
At one point in the demo, there was a dark environment and the player was able to use his lightsaber to give himself some light. But not just simply by igniting the lightsaber, it was followed by a separate animation where the character actually lifted the lightsaber up and held it horizontally in front of him like a torch while walking through the dark cave like Indiana Jones in a dark tomb.
Your droid friend BD-1 is going to ride on your back all the time and will support you with many secondary operations like project a map over your shoulder, slice into computer systems or even store you stem pack injectors that restore your health (but they are limited to those you got in your inventory).
Combat is similar to a lighter spin on what we saw in games like Nioh, Sekiro and Bloodborne – carefully timed parries, dodges and keeping an eye on enemies telegraphing their unique attacks and combos.
You can lock on to enemies, use the force to close the distance between you and the opponent and then execute brutal finishers. It is also possible to use the force to execute things like Kylo Ren’s force trick that freezes enemies and projectiles in place or throw your lightsaber. And it feels like the game’s goal is to empower you and let you creatively combine these powers, for example, freeze a projectile and then force-grab an enemy to place him in front of it.
There is apparently a stamina bar under the enemies’ health that needs to be depleted in order to break through their defense in close combat and prevent them from blocking your attacks.
Animations are a bit clunky in places, but this is only alpha footage and I see they want to go for the sharp, agile style of movement which actually fits really well here.
You can acquire additional secondary tasks during the game, by using the force on specific areas to collect “Force Echoes” which let you see the memories of the dead and reveille some information about the location or mystery you can go and check out.
During the Apex Legends presentation, they announced season 2 that comes July 2 and will be called “Battle Charge”.
A new legend – Wattson which is a defense focused support. Talking about her lore, it turns out that Wattson and her father actually invented the ring of the arena in Apex. Her abilities include the possibility to place 12 nodes that interconnect creating an electric fence, her ultimate places down a generator that becomes a permanent structure until destroyed. It calls in bombardment and charges your team’s shields and speeds up the cooldown of your tactical. Also, if enemies pass through the fence, it pings them for the entire squad.
A new weapon was announced – a plasma fueled EMG called “L-Star”, it has got an “experimental” ammo type, which is not refillable. 60 round in the magazine and sustained fire will be overheating it.
Ranked mode with 6 tiers will be coming into the game as well. And with it, the Battle Pass will be challenge based now. They take the badges and stat-trackers out of the reward pull, in order to replace them with 3 new content types, which were not mentioned.
The developers shared with us some news about the maps that will come with chapter 4 and the theme of chapter five.
First was a new map “Marita” in Greece. The action will unfold in the tight streets of a city that is located on a rising slope up a mountain, no transport only infantry hardcore. Comes in July.
Then another map will be located in Africa, it is called “Al Sandhan” – I might have messed that one – it will take the player to a desert coast. Fight over points in a sandbox style battle. The direction of the battle is dictated by the directions the players want to take and how they prioritize which points they should capture first. For example, if you capture the airfield you give the team access to air vehicles and the battle unfolds from there. Releases on June 27.
August will be all focused on tight infantry combat with more maps like the Lufton islands and Provence.
Also coming in August – max-rank will be increased from 50 to 500. Players will be getting company coins at every rank and special dog-tags at every “milestone” level. They also will add the possibility of hosting private games on setup personal servers.
In October they will bring us “Operation underground” which is a spin on the old metro map but in the time of WW2.
And at the end, they teased chapter 5. Which will bring with it the Pacific war theatre as its theme, with the US against Japan. 3 maps will come with the beginning of this chapter. And more information to come later this year.
During the intermission, they decided to talk shortly about Star Wars Battlefront – which did not get a panel this year. They announced Naboo for capital supremacy. Later with the new reinforcements, they will bring the Droidekas for separatists and the TX-130 tank for the republic.
Also dropped a substencial hint that some time in the future they will bring us Felucia with capital supremacy and some sort of a PvE mode.
Even FIFA got my attention this year because they decided to focus again on street football. Volta football they call it – street football is back again and its theme is the self-expression and street culture. It brings nonstandard move sets, like creative footwork or bouncing the ball off the wall of the cage. Customization is also important – tattoos, hair, clothes, gender.
Gameplay wise we have something they call “Football intelligence” consisting of several aspects of FIFA’s gameplay:
On the ball – brings the improvement of one on one moments with new attacking and defending moves. Among such moves is Composed Finishing – more consistent shooting; strafe dribbling – more control over the ball when dribbling; a new Control Tackling system that allows to regain control of the ball when you tackle in the right moment; new penalty kicks with new aiming – now you have a circle representing the direction towards which you want to kick the ball and you will be in control of the spin that you apply to the ball to define the trajectory. You will do that by swinging your right stick during the kick.
Off the ball – now they will give more time and space for “on the ball action” by reworking the game flow, thus opening up more time to play with the ball and push the player into more “one on one” situations.
The ball – new ball physics, improved bounce, trajectory changes with improved ball reaction to the spin applied to it.
The game will be available September 27, and September 19-th for EA access players.
During another intermission, they gave some time to talk about Anthem. They said nothing we did not already know. They were just recapping the fact that they will be launching the test servers for players to give feedback about the new cataclysm event.
They showed some gameplay, that demonstrated the features they were talking about on the panel. They will be bringing a career campaign where you go through the college league and experience your own sports story.
Also, the new Scenario Engine was explained. Apparently, it creates dynamic quests that are challenges made to improve the rating of your player. They bring more new playbooks with new formations and they will be continuously updating them.
Another big part of the presentation were the “X-factor” abilities. They are like “skills” that are defining the famous Star-players, giving them an edge in certain aspects of the game that they are famous for in real life, and are using unique animations to mimic the Star playes’ behaviors during signature moves.
The Sims franchise celebrates this year its 20-th year. And so they announce the next expansion called “Island living” – its theme is “living good” in a tropical island environment, but also touches on the topic of pollution and ties that into the game. The island will be changing with time and can become more polluted or more beautiful depending on your life there.
You can swim freely when and where you want, float, have fun in the water and interact with sea animals. There will be an active volcano that acts as a partial natural hazard for the island.
And as an interesting feature there will be “Elementals” across the island – they are some sort of spirits that react to different aspects of the island’s ecology and your behavior. And yep, you can create a mermaid character with special aptitudes towards everything related to the sea.
The expansion will be available June 21-st on PC and Mac, and 16-th of July on console.
At the end, they confirmed that a game pack named “Realms of Magic” will be coming this fall.
In general terms, this EA Play was not particularly eventful, but neither was it disastrous in any way. It was small, informative and to the point. No particular statement was made besides informing us of what they will be doing for the rest of 2019.