Electronic Arts returns to The Palladium in Hollywood on Saturday, June 9, at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET to showcase the new video games it has coming over the next year. The event kicks off EA Play 2018, marking the publisher’s third year of doing its own thing outside the official E3 show floor.
EA is a very safe bet when it comes to announcements at the expo. It typically does not do surprise reveals. The company two weeks ago rolled out Battlefield 5, for example. You can expect to see a lot more of that, and you will probably hear more about some things in the pipeline that were called out last year, as well as the EA Sports line.
Here is what we expect from Electronic Arts at EA Play and E3 2018.
We were given a brief glimpse of Anthem at EA Play last year, followed by a longer look during Microsoft’s Xbox One press briefing. BioWare’s open-world multiplayer action game is due to launch in 2019. EA still has lots to explain about what players can expect to do within it. So far, we know that in Anthem, players will explore a post-apocalyptic world teeming with large monsters to confront or escape. They wear exosuits (called Javelins) that are customizable and deliver different superhuman capabilities.
But that’s all we know, other than EA is looking at BioWare for a big tentpole hit after 2017’s Mass Effect Andromeda failed to impress and caused a studio-wide reorganization. Anthem seems to have an open-ended nature along the lines of Bungie’s Destiny franchise. We expect it to play a huge role in the EA Play showcase.
With clockwork certainty, EA drops four sports titles every year within about a month of one another, and they all get stage time during E3: Madden NFL, NHL, FIFA and NBA Live, which now can be looked to with genuine anticipation instead of skepticism.
Madden NFL 19 is expected to show the next chapter of Longshot (pictured above), the story mode it introduced last year. Though that has not been formally announced as a feature for the game, the mode was popular, interesting and a distinction for the American football simulation. It was at least as successful as The Journey, which is FIFA’s story mode that debuted in 2016 and got a second installment last year.
FIFA 19 likewise has yet to say anything about its story mode but it’s a safe bet that will be part of the program here. This is a World Cup year and EA Sports just announced a free World Cup 2018 update that goes live next Tuesday, May 29 and includes all the national teams and the 12 venues at the event in Russia. Though a known quantity, expect FIFA to get a lot of talk, especially within the realm of EA Sports’ esports initiatives.
NHL 19 launches in September, and it will need to show something after a 2017 edition that was light on eye-popping features. The real intrigue will be for NBA Live 19. Last year, EA Tiburon delivered — if not a full-scale competitor to the behemoth of the NBA 2K series — something that was finally stable and good, especially with “The One” career suite that gave a professional and pro-am career to the single-player career mode and looks poised for more. The WNBA also made its video game debut in 2017; while the presentation and the modes of play were skimpy for it in NBA Live 18, it should return for NBA Live 19 as an opportunity to do more with the series.
EA already revealed its World War II-themed military shooter, but considering that EA Play is open to the public, some kind of playable experience should be expected on location. That may include the rest of us through a kind of demo or beta, or at least the announcement of a beta timeline.
EA is probably going to show off more of the narrative single-player campaign and the Grand Operations, the large-scale 64-person events that were unveiled on Wednesday. EA DICE mentioned that there will be other theaters of war in what was, after all, a world war, that haven’t been seen in these kinds of games before. That should probably get a look, too.
We haven’t heard anything about a battle royale mode, but it’s hard to imagine a series so suited for the genre wouldn’t take advantage of its skillset. EA rarely surprises at E3, but this could be its opportunity to do so.
Everything we know about Battlefield 5 is in this recap.
Indies and more
When Electronic Arts pops out a totally new game announcement during E3, it is typically something from its indie games catalogue. A Way Out, which launched at the end of March, was announced at last year’s EA Play, and it got a lot of buzz. Very stylish works such as Unravel (above, whose sequel was announced two years ago) and Fe have seen debuts during this event. We don’t know what Electronic Arts has coming, but there is usually a solid middle portion with some very creative work showing the company’s support of smaller developers.
EA Mobile and the company’s casual lineup, led by The Sims 4, are still huge for Electronic Arts. The Sims in particular is getting the Seasons expansion that made The Sims 3 so popular with fans. That is launching in June. A new entry in the Plants vs Zombies franchise also seems likely to make an appearance.
A new Star Wars?
And what about Star Wars? Last year, EA shut down developer Visceral Games, calling into question the future of its open-world Star Wars game. EA Motive continues to work on the franchise in some capacity. Perhaps it will make an appearance. Respawn’s also got a game in the works, although its project isn’t due out until April 2019 at the earliest. It sounds like it has the best chance of showing up, based on that timeline, but the 2020 fiscal year remains awhile a way.
Or perhaps, after the messy launch of Star Wars Battlefront 2, EA will focus on restoring interest in that game with more details about its upcoming DLC. Maybe new DLC is even on the way; it seems like, if EA won’t give us a new Star Wars game this year, supporting its most recent one throughout 2018 is a good option.