Note: This will be a weekly series as we being the countdown toward E3 2019 in early June. I’m going to focus entirely on developers as I’ve already talked about how the Big 3 companies can win this year, which you can read here. This series will be a mixture of predictions and expectations, some very obvious, some very out of the box. Enjoy.
It’s no lie that I absolutely 1000% hate, loathe, despise, and wish unholy evils to pour upon Electronic Arts. They’ve ruined franchises, they’ve stolen our money, they’ve lied, they’ve cheated, they’ve even made me cry out of both anger and disappointment. I’m not over-exaggerating: they absolutely suck. And while they’ve been wildly successful over the last decade or more, they’re still the most hated gaming company in the world. So, yet again, we’re getting ready for another E3 and just waiting for how EA will hype us up for titles that will ultimately disappoint us. Here’s my predictions for EA Play 2019 (and how they can win with each):
Apex Legends Celebration/Season 2 Announcement
Oh Apex. I wanted to believe you were our savior. I wanted to believe that you would take us out of the horrible Fortnite loop, but you just haven’t maintained the hype. Season 1 was a failure. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to celebrate. This is probably the easiest prediction since it’s been hinted by Respawn over the last few weeks. They’ll probably open with a montage showing how fast the game has grown and thanking everyone. Then they’ll announce Apex is coming to mobile (maybe live immediately). And they’ll end with a Season 2 announcement. The question is, what can they do to make a big splash and bring everyone back? I think they absolutely need a new map for starters. That brought a bunch of players back to PUBG for a week or so. Also, add a new gun, a new legend, and maybe the new map has a new mechanic that’s fun? Like teleporters? Or booby traps? Just a thought…
Confidence: 100% (confirmed on this week’s earnings call)
Jedi: Fallen Order Gameplay Trailer
Another product of Respawn Entertainment, Jedi: Fallen Order is one of this fall’s highly anticipated titles. All we’ve seen so far is a cinematic trailer showing off Cameron Monaghan running on walls and using the force. Usually the next step is a gameplay trailer and EA Play is the perfect place to showcase it. This is a win for us all no matter what the trailer looks like, because I think we’re all looking forward to this title. One last thing to note is I don’t expect a Battlefront 3 this year. With a Star Wars game already being released so close to Episode IX, I think EA is going rely on Jedi: Fallen Order to take full advantage of the Star Wars promotion. Which is fine, because maybe they’ll actually spend some time making a good Battlefront game instead of rushing.
Another Wave of Sports Titles
Again, this is a known fact. We will be getting Madden 20, FIFA 20, NBA Live 20, and NHL 20. It happens every year and it’s EA’s easiest move every year. New rosters, slightly new mechanics, and a slight improvement in graphics. So what can EA do to each of these franchises to make this announcement a win? I don’t know a ton about the NHL games because I don’t play them ever, but from what I can tell EA is doing a fine job, and it’s easy to say that because there are no competitors (no NHL 2K). NBA Live however is a fraction of the game that NBA 2K is, and there are major leaps to AI and animation that needs to be addressed. So that brings us to the big bad boys. Let’s start with FIFA. My biggest gripe with FIFA has always been the constant tweaking of the mechanics. In FIFA 14, build up and mid range shots were the recipe for success, then FIFA 15 sped up the game and counter attacks were the best strategy, then 16 came out and on and on and on. There’s very little consistency, and that may be why PES 2019 actually was considered to have better gameplay. So fix that and I’ll go back to giving you all my money again. For Madden 20, I think the mechanics and game modes are all great, but there’s something missing in the Ultimate Team mode. It costs WAY too much actual money to build a competent Madden team, and EA needs to do something about it. Also, I shouldn’t be matched with players who have a 99 overall rated team in the first level of online play. It’s ridiculous. So fix those things and you have me sold on these sports games.
Confidence in announcement: 100%, Confidence in changes: 50%
Anthem DLC Announcement
Can we all join together and just BOOOOOOO this entire segment? Like through the whole length of the presentation? What a massive flop this game was, but you know they’re gonna release DLC and updates until its at least an average triple A game. Because anyone that’s been playing this game knows its very very far from that. How can EA win with this presentation? I’m not sure there’s a way. They built up a mountain of hype, and then hung themselves by not living up to it.
Battlefield V Content Trailer
This was announced in the earnings call this week as well, and I cannot be less interested. I just don’t like this game at all anymore. I’ve had my fun in the first few months post launch, but it grew stale very fast and even new updates won’t pull me back in. Like I’ve stared at the wall for the last 30 minutes trying to think of a realistic update they could do that would make me want to even launch the game for an hour and I’ve got nothing.
Dragon Age 4 trailer, no date
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the Dragon Age franchise, and at The Game Awards last December, there was a teaser trailer for a new game. I think we see a cinematic trailer at EA Play, but nothing more. There’s rumors that the game is going to be delayed due to the failures of Anthem, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was further delayed due to the recent article about Bioware’s work atmosphere. But they have to go out with a big announcement, and if they can piece together a cinematic trailer to keep fans of the series excited, I think that’s a win.
New Need for Speed, coming this year
Don’t. Care. At. All. Fans of the series will think it’s a win, everyone else will be looking at their phones waiting for the next announcement.
Confidence: 100% (earnings call)
The Rest of the Show
We know a new Plant’s vs Zombies shooter will be released this year, we know that EA is working with indie developers on some titles like Sea of Solitude, and we know they’re probably be some big announcement about EA Access and what new games are being added to it. I think EA’s conference this year will be highly predictable, and the only surprise we see in a new Dragon Age trailer. What other announcements could they shock everyone with? Well, they could announce Battlefront 3, which you better fucking preface with “we’re not gonna fuck you guys anymore”. We won’t see Mass Effect for at least another 3-4 years. Dead Space is dead (lol) due to the closure of Visceral Studios. Crysis is a possibility, but unlikely since Crytek seems to have moved on. The best bet for a surprise game other than Dragon Age is a new Mirror’s Edge title.
Ultimately, EA will probably have an ‘OK’ conference. The real question is whether they’ll actually live up to the expectations that are set. Based on recent history, the answer is no.