GameSentral Rewind 166: EA plays itself

This is a special edition of the GameSentral Rewind, focusing on EA Play 2018.

EA kicked off E3 2018 with its Play presentation yesterday afternoon. Here’s a recap of everything you missed:

Battlefield 5 getting battle royale mode

Battlefield 5 will include a battle royale-style multiplayer mode, according to DICE.

The game’s take on the battle royale trend will include Battlefield’s trademark action and destruction, however few details were actually revealed. According to DICE, the studio will talk about “Battlefield royale” later this year.

The game was revealed last month, where we learned that it will be set during World War II and will feature a new fortifications mode that lets players build and destroy defensive structures.

In addition to battle royale, Battlefield 5 will ship with a number of other new and refined multiplayer modes, include Combined Arms, Grand Operations, and the Tides of War.

Battlefield 5 will be released on Oct. 19, and will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.

FIFA 19 includes UEFA Champions League

FIFA 19 will be released on Sept. 28, with the UEFA Champions League featured throughout the game.

EA Sports picked up the league’s license after the end of a 10-year deal between UEFA and Konami for its Pro Evolution Soccer series. The Champions League was one of the few crown jewels that FIFA was missing, and fills in a significant gap for the soccer simulation.

A free trial of FIFA 18, including its World Cup update, is available now on Windows, PS4, and Xbox One.

PS3, Xbox 360 stay alive

In addition to launching on the expected spread of Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One, FIFA 19 will also launch on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Production of both consoles ended over a year ago after launching in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

Respawn reveals name for Star Wars title; Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

respawn-logo

Respawn Entertainment gave a brief tease of the Titanfall developer’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which will focus on a dark time in the Star Wars timeline when the Jedi are being hunted.

The game will launch in time for the 2019 holiday season.

According to Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella, Fallen Order will fall between Episodes III and IV. An official announcement mentioned that the game will tell an original story of “a surviving Padawan set shortly after the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.”

Madden NFL 19 returns to PC in August

Madden NFL 19

Madden NFL will return to Windows this fall for the first time in 11 years.

The game launches on August 10 on PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One.

Longshot sequel

Jack Ford will not return to Madden NFL 19 to mentor main protagonist Devin Wade for the next chapter of Longshot, the story mode introduced in last year’s game.

This chapter is going to focus on gameplay, with Devin donning a uniform for a NFL team. According to Madden creative director Mike Young, he and others on the development team heard disappointment in the feedback and telemetry.

“We found that people who played Longshot were those who like Madden a lot, and they were disappointed this did not lead into something like franchise mode. We had a very long story last year. But I think we have almost four times as much gameplay this year.”

Mike Young, Madden creative director

In Longshot’s second chapter, Young and co-writer Adrian Todd Zuniga are putting Wade and childhood friend all-Big 12 receiver Colt Cruise in opposition. Choices made in Madden NFL 18 will not be imported, with a director’s cut of the first chapter being the basis for this year’s chapter.

“We’re going from someone who is focused on getting his shot to someone who is now willing to play a role on a team. He’s there to do a job.”

Mike Young

Both Cruise and Wade will be playable characters, according to Young, which will manifest in a lot of open-ended practice situations, training game drills, and preseason games before a 16-game season with their respective NFL teams. There will still be flashback moments to their days in Texas youth football, but the developers heard the pleas to place the narrative within the National Football League.

“We did not want to make these elaborate investments that pull you away from the game, where you’re just spending a lot of time watching this well-written, elaborate story.

“What influenced the writing of Longshot 2 is, basically, are you a fraud, or could you do this again. And how do we make this the hardest on Devin and Colt?”

Mike Young

Unravel 2 available now

Unravel 2

Unravel 2 was announced… and made available on the same day.

The sequel to 2016’s Unravel, Swedish indie studio Coldwood Interactive builds on the first game’s story of a living ball of yarn (Yarny) using its own thread to manipulate the world and solve puzzles.

The big difference here is that there are two Yarnys that work together to progress. One or two players can control them, with the world once again relying heavily on wood, stones, and water. The sequel offers more variety than the first, with the game moving from woodland to rooftop to meadow to factory floor.

The Yarnys are more acrobatic in this game and faster moving than the original, making for expensive levels and a heavier reliance on platforming skills and problem solving. Coldwood wanted the game to be more of a celebration of youth than the first game’s family focus, with many of the levels being based on the team’s experiences of messing around as children.

There are also enemies to avoid, which must be avoided. A spark leads the player through early puzzles.

Along with the main storyline, players can take on challenge levels that are significantly more difficult than the main game. The Yarnys help one another through difficult challenges by using knots and bridges or by anchoring themselves. In some puzzles, they merge themselves into a single entity.

Unravel 2 is available now on PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One for $19.99. EA Access and Origin Access members can also play the beginning of the game now.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 DLC adding General Grievous, Obi-Wan, Anakin

Star-Wars-Battlefront-II-6

General Grievous, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Count Dooku, and Anakin Skywalker are coming to Star Wars: Battlefront 2 in the coming months, according to DICE, as the game explores Star Wars’ Clone Wars period.

DICE is also adding the planet Geonosis, introduced in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, to Battlefront 2.

No release date was announced for the DLC.

Origin Access Premier PC game subscription announced

origin-access-premier

EA announced Origin Access Premier, a new subscription service for Windows games from the publisher’s Origin digital distribution platform.

The company already offers a similar Origin Access subscription service, which itself is similar to the EA Access service available on Xbox One.

Premier will feature “all of our new PC games,” according to EA CEO Andrew Wilson, including Madden NFL 18, FIFA 19, Battlefield 5, and Anthem. Subscribers will also be able to play these games before its public launch and forever after that.

Here are the early access dates we know so far:

  • Madden NFL 19: August 2 (Public launch: August 10)
  • FIFA 19: September 20 (Public launch: September 28)
  • Battlefield 5: October 11 (Public launch: October 19)
  • Anthem: February 15, 2019 (Public launch: February 22, 2019)

According to EA, Origin Access Premier will launch this summer for $14.99/month ($99.99/year).

Sea of Solitude announced

Sea-of-solitude.gif

Jo-Mei showed off Sea of Solitude, which is part of EA’s Originals indie publishing program. It’s the story of a young woman named Kay that suffers from loneliness and becomes a monster as a result. The game is about bringing her back to humanity.

Sea of Solitude is by far the most artistic and personal project I’ve ever created. At times it is very challenging to dig that deep into your own feelings like core fears, longing and anger, but at the same time it is the most fulfilling thing to express those very feelings by putting it to people through art.”

Cornelia Geppert; Sea of Solitude writer & creative director, in an EA article

The game appears to be a third-person exploration-platform-puzzle adventure. It’s due to launch early next year on PS4, Windows, and Xbox One.

Command & Conquer: Rivals announced

Command & Conquer, one of the best-known franchises from the golden age of PC real-time strategy games, is returning as a mobile combat game.

The game is called Command & Conquer Rivals, and will launch on Android and iOS later this year. EA set up a destination for anyone interested in registering to enter alpha tests, with Android users able to enter a pre-alpha now.

Rivals is about manufacturing military units, sending them into battle and gaining control of territory through smart strategy. On a mobile screen, it’s been greatly simplified and streamlined with games taking a few minutes rather than the better part of an hour.

It plays out a lot like Clash Royale, except that units can be controlled throughout their lifespan, instead of just going off and doing their thing. They will attack any enemies that are nearby, but players can choose which enemies to attack in the heat of battle. Commanders can also be chosen from the deck, who have specific powers like the ability to drop a turret deep into enemy territory.

Players can earn new units and upgrades as they progress, or just shell out your hard-earned cash. Matchmaking is based on skill level.

NBA Live 19 coming in early September to PS4, Xbox One

NBA Live 19 launches September 7 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The first trailer highlighted the return of The One, the career mode that launched last year. This time around, players will globetrot to put together a squad of teammates.

The trailer also appeared to show NBA Hall-of-Famer Allen Iverson in the game in an unclear capacity. EA Sports is bringing in the division’s Real Player Motion animation technology into NBA Live 19 for “thousands of new animations and smoother gameplay than ever before” that debuted last year. A demo of Live 19 will be available on Aug. 24.

Producer: Anthem won’t have PvP at launch

Anthem

Anthem will not have a player-vs-player option, according to BioWare executive Casey Hudson on YouTube’s Live at E3 show, instead focusing solely on the PvE experience for players.

Meanwhile, BioWare delved deep into the game’s story mode, the lore, and multiplayer options that players will encounter at launch. The team also went over the game’s core combat and exploration tool, along with the Javelin exo-suit that players can equip while embarking on missions. Four Javelins are available, with each one coming with a set of specific tools for different scenarios.

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