EA 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 modefor 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
Update: EA has now confirmed that Anthem will in fact release on February 22. Whether the February 19 date was a mistake or indicates some sort of early access period remains to be seen. Those with Origin Access Premier, a newly announced service, can play it first--they'll get full, unlimited access on PC on February 15. Those with EA Access and the standard Origin Access (now called Origin Access Basic) get 10 hours of access with the usual Play First Trial. The original story follows.
BioWare is poised to reveal more information about Anthem, its first new IP In 10 years, during EA's E3 2018 press conference today, but one critical piece of information has apparently leaked ahead of the briefing. According to a leak on Amazon Italy, the Destiny-esque shooter will launch for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on February 19.
Anthem puts players in the role of Freelancers, who are tasked with exploring uncharted worlds and protecting humanity. Freelancers are equipped customizable exo-suits called Javelins, which can be outfitted with various weapons and abilities. Like the aforementioned Destiny, Anthem is designed as a "live service" game and places a heavy emphasis on cooperative, although BioWare assures it will also be playable solo.
BioWare first unveiled Anthem during last year's E3, although since then, new details about the game have been scare. Anthem's Twitter and Facebook accounts have lain dormant for nearly a year until just recently, when the social media pages shared a new clip and piece key art of the game.
Edited by Ryan Quon
Upcoming E3 press conferences
Sunday, June 10
- Microsoft -- 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET) [How to watch the livestream]
- Bethesda -- 6:30 p.m. PT (9:30 p.m. ET) [How to watch the livestream]
Monday, June 11
- Square Enix -- 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET) [How to watch the livestream]
- Ubisoft -- 1 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET) [How to watch the livestream]
- PC Gaming Show -- 3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET)
- Sony -- 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET) [How to watch the livestream]
Tuesday, June 12
- Nintendo (livestream only) -- 9 a.m. PT (12 p.m. ET) [How to watch the livestream]