Jacob Krol is an editorial intern for CNET. He has a big love for all things tech, and is a huge Springsteen fan and also a native New Jerseyan. Jacob is currently a rising junior at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA.
E3 2016 is the first year that gaming giant Electronic Arts will not have a booth at the show floor. In fact, EA is holding its own alternative event called EA Live right around the corner from convention center.
After some early trailer releases (and some less deliberate Titanfall 2 leaks) EA pretty much gave the fans exactly what they'd anticipated, with a few hits on Mass Effect: Andromeda, Battlefield 1, Star Wars and more. Here's how it all unfolded.
FIFA 17: FIFA is basically a license to print money so there was no way that EA wasn't going to announce something new. The FIFA 17 trailer was released ahead of the conference and showcased a brand new story mode that has you playing as Alex Hunter as he make his way through the English Premier League.
When the EA Play conference officially began it kicked off with Titanfall 2. The Titanfall 2 multiplayer trailer set the audience absolutely wild and the single-player trailer "for the four people who didn't see the leak". It looks like it's quite heavy on story and that's actually more exciting to me than any multiplayer. Controversial, I know.
There was also a second EA Play event happening in London and we cut back and forth from LA to there. The first jump to London was for Madden 17 and the esports community in general.
EA has a "new approach" to esports, with three new competitions: challenger events, premier series and EA Major, the professional end of the spectrum. On stage were the final eight best Madden players about to compete in the first EA Major event happening on Tuesday.
Mass Effect: Andromeda: Bioware took to the stage to discuss the next Mass Effect game. The pitch was "building on the things you love" about the old series, but with more freedom for gameplay, and all powered by the Frostbite engine. More information is coming in Q3 and we were shown a behind-the-scenes trailer rather than a complete focus on gameplay. The game does, off course, take place in the Andromeda galaxy, allowing Bioware a lot of freedom to change things up. But don't panic: The Mako tank is back.
Play to Give: EA is offering in-game challenges on number of its games that will have a charity component. He for She, Code.org, Special Effect and more can all benefit from gamers participating.
Then it was back to London for more FIFA 17 news. An entertaining trailer showing the improvements in the graphics from the first ever FIFA game segued into an actor playing the Alex Hunter character from the story mode, The Journey. It's also using the Frostbite engine and it will feature the English Premier League club managers for the first time. This is apparently quite exciting. FIFA 17 has been revamped with new gameplay physics, new attacking techniques and an active intelligence system all apparently inspired by real life players.
EA Originals: A new program from EA, this is all about supporting smaller developers, with EA partnering with selected projects. EA says it offers a level of security for the developers and all the profits from the game go to the devs. The first EA Original is called Fe, from Zoink out of Gothenberg.
It's a game about our relationship with nature, according to the developer. You play as a young cub -- vaguely like a black fox -- and you explore a dark forest to learn songs from the animals you encounter. The villains are the Silent Ones that stop the music. Sounds something like Limbo meets Eco the Dolphin, and looks lovely.
Star Wars: Jade Raymond was stage next to discuss the wide range of Star Wars games in production. Next year will be an new Battlefront, with content from the new films. In 2018, Visceral games will have a new narrative action game in the Star Wars world. Respawn is also working on a new third-person action game "set in a different Star Wars era". Amy Hennig from Visceral showed off a tiny, tiny moment of footage from the game her team is working on during a Star Wars behind the scenes video.
One very interesting bit from the video showed a quick glimpse of someone wearing a PlayStation VR headset:
Battlefield 1: We were treated to a quick in-game footage trailer showing tanks and biplanes fighting it out in World War 1. Apparently it was just a taster, as a longer trailer showed off dynamic weather and destruction physics as some of the key features, plus "behemoth" vehicles, horses, motorbikes, crashing Zeppelins and a lot of explosions. Shortly after the press conference there was a 64 player game, with celebrities such as Jamie Foxx, Zac Ephron and Terry Crews, for some mystifying reason, all being livestreamed. Terry loves his Battlefield 1.