Watching E3 in our house has become a beloved annual tradition and, as a gamer, it is a staple event in my calendar. One of my favorite parts of E3 2017 was doing my presentation write-ups. Although I never got around to writing up E3 2018 (thanks to too much Dragon Age 4 hype and Twitter speculating), it’s something I definitely wanted to do again this year. E3 2019 got off to a bit of a confusing start for me in terms of working out what presentations were happening and when, but I managed to catch up with the first ‘briefing’ – EA Play – last night.
Unlike many of the other companies presenting at E3, EA stepped away from delivering presentations to some kind of relaxed, live-stream event away from the E3 conference center. Whilst it helps to make their session more varied and allows fans to spend more time with each game, it wasn’t quite as exciting to watch. In all, EA Play showed 6 games: Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, Apex Legends Season 2, Battlefront V, Fifa 20, Madden NFL 20, and The Sims 4. As I was only interested in 3 of these (Jedi Fallen Order, Apex Legends, and The Sims 4), those will be the ones I’ll be sharing today!
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
Jedi Fallen Order developer Respawn brought a 15-minute gameplay trailer to the table for us to watch at EA Play. When the trailer was released, I was very excited to find out that Jedi Fallen Order would be a single-player narrative game and I was intrigued to get a proper look at the gameplay.
Overall, I wasn’t bowled over by the gameplay although there are some features that I’m definitely intrigued by. The gameplay itself wasn’t too exciting given it was just the main character, Cal Kestis, running around various hallways and engaging in some battles. The main attractions for me to games are the narrative and the characters and given this is a narrative video game, I was hoping for a little bit more information about these rather than just… continuous battles with “cool villains”.
One of the things that did excite me about the gameplay though was our introduction to Cal’s little droid companion, BD-1 who is super adorable and rides on Cal’s back like a little backpack. He’s an explorer droid who can hop off of Cal’s back to hack into terminals, scan the environment for interesting lore and information, and issue limited amounts of stimpacks. Other than that there wasn’t too much that excited me about this gameplay although I’m interested to see more.
Apex Season 2 & New Legend Reveal
Ok, so, I feel like I need to be upfront about the fact that I shamefully still haven’t played Apex Legends despite hearing so many good things about it. I’m woefully behind on my game playing, especially when it comes to online battle games, but the Apex Legends reveals were one of the things that excited me the most about EA Play.
Whilst the announcement for Season 2 might be huge news for some, as someone who has yet to play it didn’t mean too much for me but the reveal of the new Legend definitely piqued my interest and got me super excited to play. Meet Wattson, a genius scientist and engineer who can set up electrical perimeter fences and summon Intercepting Pylons to block airstrikes and bombardments. The introduction of a female scientist to a first-person shooter game made me so freaking happy, happy enough that I went and immediately downloaded Apex Legends which, if you didn’t already know, is free to play!
The Sims 4: Island Living
Of course, the thing that got me screaming though was the announcement for the next The Sims 4 expansion pack – Island Living. The Sims 3: Island Paradise was one of my favourite expansion packs so I’m excited to see them bringing it back for The Sims 4 but with a whole load of great new features (although I am also a little *groan* at them just… bringing back loads of packs they did for TS3?)
There are SO MANY THINGS I’m screaming about from the trailer – the introduction of a conservation career! environmental themes! dolphins! mermaids! swimming and interacting with the ocean! I’M SO EXCITED I NEED IT NOW. They also hinted at a new game pack being released that has to do with MAGIC and I am praying that it is finally a new makin’ magic pack!
Two things I did want to raise in regards to the EA Play TS4 session though were things that either concerned me and/or annoyed me. The first being the very obvious Polynesian influences within TS4. I was surprised that the host asked the developers a question about this, asking what kind of research they had done, and was so disappointed by the response. To crudely paraphrase, ‘EA is such a huge company… no, we didn’t go and do research in Polynesia, we just spoke to some people who work for the company and asked them about any symbols, colors or particular memories they had of growing up in Polynesia’. Um no…
The second isn’t about the Island Living expansion pack but their partnership with ‘It Gets Better’ to introduce LGBTQ+ items to the game for ‘Pride’ month which will include pride-themed clothes and a gender-neutral bathroom door. Whilst I appreciate, I guess, the inclusion of some LGBTQ+ stuff to the game, I would much rather they actually did something meaningful like work on making their gender options less binary?
That’s all for my EA Play thoughts from E3 2019. Keep an eye out for my next write-up for the Microsoft briefing later today/tomorrow, as well as the overall E3 summary once E3 is over. Let me know your thoughts on any of the EA Play announcements ❤