“A Leap of Faith”

Gamescom 2015 continued in Germany today, with Electronic Arts’ press conference. The company’s briefing was packed with plenty of energy and enthusiasm, but revealed very little news in regards to the more mysterious properties currently in the works. Instead, EA geared all of its focus towards the biggest upcoming games within the next 12 months, such as Star Wars Battlefront and Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. Though filled with a few gems, the briefing was very much a reassurance of what we already know. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as most of the publisher’s more immediate titles look promising. I could have used for something in relation to Mass Effect: Andromeda, as well as more Battlefront, but Unravel warmed my heart and Mirror’s Edge Catalyst took enough of my breath to suffice. All in all, EA’s briefing was another successful step in the right direction for two time winner of the most hated company in America.StarWarsThe press conference kicked off to a fairly underwhelming presentation of the Need for Speed reboot. There was a concerning absence of real gameplay, as the game’s live action component and story were given the most stage time. Though the charming and humbled intentions of Unravel quickly picked up the briefing’s slack, stealing the show, yet again. The team’s appreciation for the positive fan feedback following the game’s touching E3 presentation conveyed an infectious desire to want the game to succeed. The level of honesty the developer radiated during the brave live demo that followed only heightened my excitement and respect for this small game with a big heart. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst ramped up the intensity, delivering an extremely promising gameplay demo. The new gameplay sported stylish, choice-filled, level design as protagonist Faith efficiently parkoured her way through an early level in the game. Stealth played a key aspect in the demo, showing there will be multiple ways to tackle each situation and traverse the aesthetically pleasing environment. The game’s combat was also highlighted with the demo ending in a stunning section packed with the signature free-flowing combat. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst looks outstanding and the demo seemed to be a fair representation of what the final product will entail, which is always a refreshing bonus.

EA also released the first gameplay trailer for the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic’s upcoming expansion, Knights of the Fallen Empire. The expansion will be free for all subscribers when it arrives in October and will “represent an epic return to BioWare-style storytelling”. The zany shooter  Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, revealed a new mode called Backyard Battleground which acts as a hub world for players to connect. There will also be a Mass Effect crossover in the form of a new character, suitably titled Grass Effect. The N7 mech will be available to players who preorder before it launches sometime in 2016. It was also confirmed that The Sims 4’s next expansion pack is coming this November, and will feature distinct personalities and behaviors from its characters. The briefing’s arguable hardest hitter, Star Wars Battlefront, unveiled a brand-new aerial vehicle-only multiplayer mode, Fighter Squadron. The mode will pit the Rebel Alliance against an escaping Imperial transport shuttle, which the Empire team must protect at all costs. Many iconic starfighters were shown, from X-Wings to TIE Interceptors, all of which have their own abilities and different roles in the battle. FIFA finished off EA’s show, by revealing a new trailer for the sports title, along with discussing the game’s new Ultimate Team draft and Career Mode.MirrorsEdgeBelow is the biggest news from EA’s Gamescom 2015 press conference.

The Big Announcements

While a lot of the press conference seemed to only reinforce information we already knew, it doesn’t change the fact EA has a lot of exciting games in the pipeline. Overall, it’s a strong lineup that boasts great diversity from the publisher. The briefing struck a solid balance between highlighting some of the smaller, less notable games, with the big, jaw-dropping spectacle of something like Battlefront. There’s a lot to look forward to from Electronic Arts in the coming months, and their show reinforced the tiles that should have everyone’s attention, while also sweeping under the rug the ones that might not.

Microsoft had their own press conference yesterday, proving once again the Xbox brand is finally coming into its own this generation. You can read my full impressions of their briefing here.

To keep up with my thoughts on all things Gamescom for the next few days, along with a whole bunch of other nonsense, you can follow me on Twitter @BraxHaugen.