Electronic Arts, the massive video game maker behind hit series like the FIFA soccer games and Titanfall titles, is taking on one of the biggest games in the industry: Fortnite.
The company kicked off the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles on Saturday by announcing that the next installment in its Battlefield war shooting franchise will include a "royale" mode, where big groups of players play together in a Hunger Games-style matchup where the last player standing wins. The most popular games in this genre, Fortnite and PUBG, have racked up millions of downloads and even become the talk of celebrities and sports stars outside the game industry.
The announcement got whoops from the crowd, though EA didn't talk about Battlefield's own take on the genre. But it wasn't the only crowd-pleaser EA had planned. The company also said it's going to offer a new subscription service called Origin Access Premiere, which will include access to anticipated games like its upcoming action online game Anthem and hit football series Madden. The company also said it's offering a free trial of a new World Cup mode for its popular FIFA soccer game.
And it announced its next big Star Wars game, "Fallen Order," though didn't show any gameplay.
The moves mark EA's biggest efforts yet to get beyond past missteps late last year with the release of Star Wars: Battlefront 2. When the game launched, it included a system that asked players to pay extra money for the chance to randomly receive in-game items that could potentially affect gameplay. This technique, known in the industry as "loot boxes," became a heated topic within the gaming community. When the company responded on Reddit, its statement became the most down-voted item ever on the site.
"Clearly we didn't get it quite right," Dennis Brännvall, a director for EA's Star Wars Battlefront 2 game, said during his stage presentation.
Now EA is trying to win back the trust of players and rekindle excitement for its upcoming big new games. To do that, the company made surprise announcements, like the fact that it'll make Unravel 2, the sequel to its popular fantasy game from 2016, available after the press conference Saturday. It also announced entirely new games, like Sea of Solitude, a more artistic game about traveling through a dystopian future where cities have been flooded by rising waters.
Promises of change
EA spent some time during its press conference saying it's learning from mistakes and hoping to do better. "We are always trying to learn and listen and strive to be better" EA CEO Andrew Wilson said during the press conference. He promised to "move past the grind" and make players feel like their gameplay is valued.
As an example, the company promised that for its new Anthem game, EA won't repeat mistakes made for Star Wars Battlefront 2. There won't be loot boxes, for example, and the things players pay extra money for will be cosmetic.
The company also showed new initiatives, like its cloud gaming service, which it's testing with an eye toward a release "soon."
Here're the trailers for each of the games EA announced:
Command and Conquer: Rivals
Sea of Solitude:
The new Origin Access Premiere subscription service:
Upcoming E3 press conferences
Saturday, June 9
Sunday, June 10
- Microsoft said it's building a new Xbox, as well as creating a game streaming service. It also announced highly anticipated games like the space dramas Halo Infinite and Gears 5 and more. [Read our recap here.]
- Bethesda showed off a bunch of new installments to its most popular franchises, including the alternative-history Nazi shooting game Wolfenstein Youngblood, a new game in the industry-defining Doom series, a sequel to the post-apocalyptic shooter Rage and a new Elder Scrolls game. Probably the most popular announcement of the evening though was Fallout 76, the latest in its post-nuclear war series of games. [Read our recap here.]
Monday, June 11
- Ubisoft got a lot of cheers from fans when it made announcements around Star Fox and Beyond Good and Evil 2. The French game company also discussed The Division 2, a sequel to its popular post-apocalyptic online shooting game. It also discussed Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, the 11th major game in that series, this time set in Ancient Greece. [Read our recap here]
- Sony showed what it hopes will be a slate of upcoming hit games. It also gave shorter glimpses of ither games including the follow-up to its samurai game Nioh, a remake of the zombie shooter Resident Evil 2 and a look at an action game called Control. [Read our recap here]
Tuesday, June 12
First published June 8 at 3:08 p.m. PT.
Update, June 9 at 11:15 a.m., 12:22 p.m.: Adds updates throughout from the press conference; 6:45 p.m.: Adds details about EA's new cloud gaming service.
Update on June 12 at 9:10 a.m. PT: Adds details about other press conferences.
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