Since 2016, Electronic Arts has chosen to “skip” E3 in favor of hosting a separate event, EA Play, just before gaming’s biggest show begins. This year, EA Play will open with a keynote presentation, aka a press conference, on Saturday, June 9 at 2 p.m. ET. EA’s presentations tend to focus more heavily on gameplay, and inside looks into the development of upcoming titles, but it has also been the place where Electronic Arts has unveiled some of its biggest games, such as BioWare’s upcoming shooter, Anthem. We expect there will be a few surprises in store for players this time around, along with the tried-and-true franchises EA has developed for years. Here is a list of games and announcements you can expect to see at the 2018 EA Play press conference.
The next Battlefield game
Electronic Arts confirmed that the next entry in the Battlefield series will be shown at EA Play this year, saying players will get to “get up close” with the shooter. During a recent financial earnings call, the publisher revealed that it is confident in a release date similar to past games, meaning it’s likely we will see the game launch this fall. We do know that it will include a single-player component, and it has been rumored that a battle royale mode could make its way into the game, as well, though word is that won’t be ready for launch.
EA hasn’t officially unveiled the game yet, but reports stated that it will follow in Call of Duty’s footsteps and take players back to World War II. A separate report revealed Electronic Arts and developer Dice are looking to only have cosmetic microtransactions in the game, avoiding the mistakes (and public outcry) from the systems in Star Wars: Battlefront II.
Like the new Battlefield game, we expect Electronic Arts to devote a considerable portion of its presentation to BioWare’s online open-world action game Anthem. At first glance, Anthem seems to take more from Destiny than the Mass Effect series: Players control super-powerful mech-style suits called “Javelins,” which can fly and support with heavy-duty weaponry. Some mission types will be dynamic, requiring players to work together to complete a common goal. We’re hoping to get a longer look at the game and get a better sense of full gameplay experience during the event.
Anthem is currently expected to ship in March 2019.
Much more ‘The Sims 4’
The Sims 4 and the mobile The Sims games continue to be successful for EA, with the publisher saying it now has about 80 million players in total during the last fiscal year, and EA confirmed that The Sims 4 will show up in some capacity at EA Play 2018.
Last year, The Sims 4 finally came to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for the first time, but one console is still missing: Nintendo Switch. It seems like the perfect fit for EA and Maxis’ life simulation series, and we think there’s a pretty good chance the game will be coming to the console in the near future. If it comes packaged with all currently available expansion packs, the Switch version could be an enticing purchase.
EA has also confirmed that it will, as usual, outline the major changes to each of its prolific sports franchises at EA Play. The specific titles we will see have not been revealed, but it’s a pretty safe assumption that FIFA 19 and Madden 19 will be there. NHL 19, NBA Live 19, and UFC 4 could also make an appearance, though the latter is on an off-year between biennial entries.
FIFA and Madden have been particularly exciting over the last few years, as the inclusion of story modes have helped to make the games feel like sequels instead of the same game with roster changes. In the case of FIFA, its Alex Hunter storyline has continued across two games, and we may get to three a third chapter of the young soccer star’s journey this year.
‘Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 3’
PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 released in early 2016, and was one of the best multiplayer shooters released that entire year. News on the sequel front has been fairly limited thus far, but we have a few clues that a third game is in the works.
In February, creative director Justin Wiebe asked fans about the features the would like to see in a hypothetic Garden Warfare game, which he said was simply for his “own curiosity.” However, an Amazon listing for a comic book detailed the story as “the official comic book bridge between video games PvZ: GW2 and PvZ: GW3. This makes it pretty obvious that the next game is on the way, but it doesn’t guarantee it will be shown at EA Play in June.
During a recent podcast, Giant Bomb read an email from a source it deemed credible, suggesting EA would unveil Unravel 2, the sequel to one of its first indie-influenced publishing efforts, at EA Play this year. While it may not seem as bombastic as Anthem and Battlefield, EA does tend to reveal even its smaller games during the press conference. No details were provided on the specifics of the game, but EA confirmed in 2016 that it had begun working with original developer Coldwood Interactive on a sequel to Unravel.
When the original Unravel was revealed at EA’s presentation back in 2015, director Martin Sahlin quickly became a meme for his nervous and genuine behavior on stage. Presumably, he’ll be a little more relaxed if he announces the sequel himself.
‘Red Alert Online’
The same Giant Bomb report that gave us information on Unravel 2 also alleged that a new Command & Conquer mobile game may be in the works and that it will play similarly to the game Clash Royale. Electronic Arts said in its recent earnings call that an unannounced mobile game was on the way and this is likely what the publisher was referring to.
If that is the case, the game was actually already announced — just not for North America. Chinese publisher Tencent announced Red Alert Online in April for iOS and Android devices and the game appears to feature the psychic Yuri from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2.
‘Dragon Age 4’?
We haven’t seen gameplay, a trailer, or even a title for the fourth Dragon Age game, but we do know it’s in development. Earlier this year, BioWare executive producer Mark Darrah revealed that work had begun on the game and that he was splitting his time between that project and Anthem. Inquisition director Mike Laidlaw is no longer with the company, so it will be helmed by a different director.
Given that Bioware is focused on publishing (and selling) Anthem, it seems unlikely that EA would disrupt our interest by announcing a new Dragon Age. Still, as a project we know is in active development, there is always a chance!