EA was the first developer to take to the stage with a lead-in mini dev diary from the team at Dice (currently working on Star Wars Battlefront). Andrew Wilson (EA’s CEO) then started out with a speech that basically boiled down to ‘thank you for not voting us worst company in the world again’ before handing it off to Aaryn Flynn (Studio General Manager) to show off Dragon Age Inquisition.
After a look at recorded gameplay and character videos for Inquisition was a short video from the Bioware team. They teased a new Mass Effect from the Montreal team and then talked about the fact that the Edmonton team was working on a new IP while giving us nothing on it but a shot of a landscape with a day – night cycle. Rachel Franklin (Executive Producer) walked out on stage following the short video from Bioware and uttered two words that made a small group of girls close to the stage shriek at a pitch once reserved for sex symbols and rock & roll icons: “The Sims”.
After 5 minutes of Sims 4 stuff and a lead in video, Bryan Hayes (Creative Director) came out to begin the onslaught of sports titles with UFC. Then came Dean Richards (Studio General Manager) for NHL 15, Patrick Soderlund (EVP) opened the kimono on an unnamed IP from Criterion, and Cam Weber (Studio Group General Manager at Tiburon) talked about a more extreme PGA Tour (that’s golf with battleships, no I’m not joking) and showcase Madden 15’s new mechanics. Then came a video for a new dynamic MOBA: Dawngate.
Dawngate is a new IP with new characters and new meta games built in that had me genuinely excited to see new things from EA. The dev diary for Mirror’s Edge 2 kept my interest piqued as well, and then they went back into sports. David Rutter (Executive Producer) came out to talk about how beautiful Fifa 15 looks, even though it has the least graphical fidelity of any EA Sports title.
Steve Papoutsis (EP, Visceral) and Karl Magnus Toedsson (Group GM, Dice) saved us from the iterative yearly sports titles with the introduction of Battlefield Hardline. Hardline breaks from the classic Battlefield formula of being a standard military shooter by being a gritty crime drama. This change of direction is also reflected in it’s new cops & robbers style multiplayer mode, heist.
Heist can best be described as a bank robbery as directed by Michael Bay. Armed to the teeth complete with RPGs, the robbers aren’t afraid to destroy half of LA if it means they get away so it’s a good thing the cops seem to have unlimited resources and manpower. Once the video was over, Adam Boyes (VP, SCEA) came out and brought down the house (and temporarily the PSN) by announcing existing BF4 owners could get into the beta from their console.