E3 2016 – Electronic Arts Press Conference


Starting of E3 first – well, before E3 officially begins – EA is jump starting the festivities by hosting their own event: EA PLAY, at their own venue in Los Angeles, and also hosting an event simultaneously in London. Using this simul-event to announce their upcoming annual sports games like Madden and FIFA, discuss Star Wars, and Battlefield 1.


After kicking off the show, Vince Zampella from Respawn Entertainment is introduced and happily acknowledges the leak from earlier in the morning: Titanfall 2 Story Mode:

Telling the tale of the connection between Pilot and Titan. They also showed off a very exciting Multiplayer trailer highlighting some of the new Titans and their abilities, as well as the new Pilot abilities.

Next up, we move over to the London crown where Peter Moore discusses Madden 2017, and EA’s focus on competitive gaming, and ESports. They want all players to feel like pro players with multiple tiers of competitive gaming events as well as Premiere and Major competitive global events. They finish that segment off with a video package of the best Madden players and the Madden major event, and the top 8 players are brought to the stage to get their spotlight.


Like last year, not a lot of news, but they do show a behind the scenes look at the making of this next huge arc in the story. No new gameplay, but they’re promising bigger worlds and a bigger story. And the game is now on the Frostbite engine. Frostbite was the big story of the day as FIFA 17 is also now on the Frostbite engine.


The next version of the largest sports franchise in the world, FIFA, now on Frostbite also has a new mode called The Journey, which is a single player career mode where you play as a young up and coming star, Alex Hunter, and work your way up through the ranks to premiere, and deal with all the club, coaches, management, and fame along the way.

Peter Moore also announces that Premiere Managers will also play  part in the upcoming game.

EA Originals

Patrick Soderlund is back on stage in LA and reminds us about last year where we saw Unravel. Soderlund announces EA Originals, which is the studio’s focus on working with smaller innovative studios and helping them bringing their ideas to light. EA Originals first game is called FE, from a Swedish Studio call Zoink.

A very pretty, unique exploration title which boasts that no helpful hints will be given to the player. They are just asked to explore and interact with the forest and the creatures.


Next up, Jade Raymond hits the stage and talks about everything Star Wars, and a look ahead at what the many studios under EA are working on. No real gameplay, but a reminder that teams at DICE are working on Battlefront, and Visceral is working on a title coming out in 2018, and even Respawn Entertainment is working on a Star Wars title.


Last up in today’s press conference is Battlefield 1.

A very intense gameplay trailer is shown. They announce that it’ll be playable on the floor this week at their event, and remind us that it has horses, and trench wars, and airships, and tanks, and 64 player online combat.

Overall, EA‘s showing was just OK. No surprises. Nothing new was announced. The Titanfall 2 game has me the most excited, but that had already been announced, as well as Battlefield 1. The gameplay for Titanfall 2 has me excited, as well as the release expected later this year. Battlefield 1 was announced a few weeks ago as well, so all they showed was a more robust gameplay trailer which didn’t show and real gameplay. But they did have a 1 hour gameplay reveal following the show and available on the demo floor. Star Wars news left us actually wanting something tangible, as well as the nothing-to-show Mass Effect talk. The simultaneous broadcast in both LA and London was a unique idea.

Overall, it left me wanting more.

Hopefully Bethesda has something more in store. On at 7pm later tonight.


Day 3: iReview: TITANFALL

The Titanfall we received in March, 2014 is not the same Titanfall we play today. Today’s Titanfall is what we should have received many months ago.

Taking a few steps back in time here, Titanfall is Jason West and Vince Zampella’s new baby, developed by their newly formed company Respawn Entertainment after a fall-out with Activision over Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. They had a nasty, public break-up. Look it up.

West and Zampella left / got fired, along with most of the key Infinity Ward staff, and created Respawn Entertainment, decided to make a game in the genre they helped mold, and signed a deal with EA and Microsoft to publish Titanfall, an online only FPS, with humans and mechs.

I am Titan's favourite sidearm.

I am Titan’s favourite sidearm.

Titanfall is, at its most basic, a 6 vs. 6 team based first person shooter.

We play as a Pilot, a free-running foot soldier. We’re equipped with a primary weapon, secondary weapon, and an anti-Titan weapon, along with some other offensive and defensive tools, and perks. We’re also equipped with a jet-pack that allows us to double-jump, wall run and scale walls, all very fluid-like.

As a Pilot, we also have a handy companion in the Titan, an agile mech-style exoskeleton. The Titans are deployed into the battlefield from the sky at the request of their Pilot. The deployment is timer based, and the timer can be reduced through the in-game actions of the Pilot through kills. As the Pilot, we also have the ability to ride on friendly Titans, or jump on the backs of enemy Titans and shoot away at their core components. The Pilot’s class and load-out is fully customizable before the match starts.

The Titans can be AI controlled, either through a “guard” or “follow” command, or they can be player controlled once the Pilot steps inside. Pilots can get out whenever they see fit. It’s all very quick and seamless. When piloting the Titan, however, if the Titan is doomed, the Pilot can eject 100’s of feet in the air to escape the blast, and live to continue the fight. The Titan’s are equipped with an anti-personnel weapon, and anti-Titan weapon, as well as some defensive tools and core power-ups. The Titans are not as fast as their Pilot counterpart, but they’re not sluggish either. There are 3 classes of Titan ranging in size, speed and armour, and their load-out is also fully customizable before the match starts.

The battlefield is also scattered with AI soldiers running around, designed as human player competition and support. En masse, they’re a distraction.

Striving to push the genre forward, Titanfall has a nifty feature in Burn Cards. As a Pilot, we earn these disposable game-changers through unlocked challenged and purchases through the in-game store, which, thankfully, does not support real currency. These Burn Cards can be equipped in 3’s and are used once per life, then they’re gone, hence the name. Some allow for added agility to the Pilot, offensive possibilities for the Titan and Pilot alike, such as modified or boosted weapons, unlimited grenades, and some allow for more defensive perks, like upgraded mini-map, unlimited invisibility, or x-ray vision.

The gameplay itself is very fast paced, and a blast to take part in. With the Pilot’s ability to combine wall-running, gliding along ziplines, scaling walls, and vaulting over obstacles, it’s easy to lose track of the team you were following. Add in the distraction of the AI soldiers with you, or against, and Titans strolling through, it can be a lot to take in. I repeat, it’s very fun.

That being said, going back to my introductory statement – only with the addition of the 3 DLC packs (9 maps) and the newly added Frontier Defence (Co-op Horde mode), is Titanfall feeling like a complete title.

Out of the box we got 15 maps, and 5 game modes. In Attrition, teams compete for the greatest kill count, bots included. Pilot Hunter is similar to Attrition, but only Pilot kills count. Hardpoint Domination is a Capture and Defend objective-based mode. Last Titan Standing has everyone begin the match in a Titan; the team with the last Titan standing wins the round. And Capture the Flag – self explanatory.

The game also has a “campaign”, if you can call it that. There are two factions, Militia and IMC, obviously at odds with each other. In the campaign, we choose a faction and play through a series of maps and gameplay modes. Still online, still 6 vs. 6. The only difference is that each match has a few single-player story elements, such as cinematic sequences, and some narrator dialogue. Some key characters carry over from mission to mission to supplement the story.

Mind, THAT campaign is as it was in March. Now with the DLC out, the campaign is an afterthought. Factions and maps are randomly chosen when you enter the mode.

Just Call of Duty with Mechs

Just Call of Duty with Mechs

Graphically the game holds its own as a first generation Xbox One title. It should be considered as launch title quality, albeit 5 months late. The game is a minor step up on the previous generation’s hardware; however, as it runs at a very quick pace, some forgiveness can be given. Standard game textures, and static lighting are its biggest detractors, along with static maps with no level of destruction. Like the team’s previous Call of Duty games, there’s a lot of artifacts and debris that flies around, but that’s only for aesthetics.

Following the release of the game, I had a lot more complaints that I do not still share today. To be honest, I don’t gravitate towards online multiplayer shooters. I prefer to stay content in the single-player package. This game strove to change me, to drive me out of the comfort zone. And for the most part it succeeded. I very much enjoy the Titanfall package available today with its DLC maps and additional game modes, and co-op element. Today the game feels like a complete package.

I would not consider Titanfall to be the “next big thing” that EA and Microsoft were selling, but it does invigorate the genre. Watching the Titan’s blast from space into the atmosphere and come crashing down to the Earth is, and will remain a thrill every time. The game is fresh and innovative in its parkour elements that recent shooters are only now mimicking.

The game is also exciting and very chaotic at times, especially when multiple Titans converge on one crossroad. The AI soldiers populating the map definitely give the game the feeling that a larger battle is happening, even though the AI themselves will slow you down no more than a bug does a bug-zapper.

Worthy of the praise, but it’s more a step forward, than a leap.

For those who like FPS’s, parkour, jet-packs, and getting stepped on by very large robots.
Also available on the XBox 360 (Ported by different Dev) and the PC.

Notable Achievements:

Death From above (Killed 5 enemies by dropping a Titan on them) – 15G
Look Around (Snapped the necks of 10 Pilots) 10G