For my money, EA might be the most interesting of the conferences at this years E3. Or it might be the same as it always is, just with a different audience. But for 2016, EA has decided to forego their usual spot in the normal rotation of E3 festivities and are instead hosting their own multi-day event and conference off-site. And it kind of makes sense. If you're a company the size of EA, why not try and get a few extra headlines by taking a page out of the PlayStation Experience book and make your own event instead of sharing the time with all of the other publishers in attendance. We'll almost certainly still see them having a presence in E3 proper (most likely during the Microsoft press conference to promote EA Access) but by hosting a fan-centric event they're serving a different audience this year. It will be interesting to see if the conference changes as a result or if we still see a lot of the same tropes of EA conferences past.
Without further ado, here are five predictions for the EA conference that kicks off at 1:00PM PT this Sunday, June 12th:
1. EA Sports will still play a prominent role in the conference and we'll see an interview with a high-profile Football player (likely cover athlete Rob Gronkowski) to promote Madden 17. One of the most derided moments of last year's EA conference was when they brought out futbol legend Pele for a brief interview to promote FIFA 16. But it's also the moment everyone remembers from last year's press conference. So by shifting focus this year to the EA fans instead of a predominantly press crown, I imagine we'll still get this same kind of moment highlighting some of EA's consistently best-selling titles: their sports lineup.
Just don't bring Pele out again and make him call the sport "soccer."
2. Extended look at Mass Effect Andromeda and release date: March 7, 2016. Earlier this year, the much-anticipated next entry in the Mass Effect saga was formally pushed to the first quarter of 2017. We also haven't seen a ton from the game so I think E3 will be the new commander's coming out party. The March 7 date obviously falls in line with the first quarter 2017 time frame but also builds on the release date of Mass Effect 3: March 6, 2012. As for what my so-called "extended look" entails. I think we get a blend of cinematic and gameplay trailer akin to the E3 2011 Mass Effect 3 trailer and then a bit of behind-the-scenes imagery or developer interview about how the game is branching off from the Shepherd trilogy. Also, the trailer will feature whatever the Andromeda-equivalent of Fem Shep is (i.e. the voice of the female player character).
3. Visceral's Amy Hennig Star Wars game announced for Holiday 2017. It's been a couple of years since Amy Hennig left Uncharted behind to work on an untitled Star Wars game with Visceral Games for EA. Earlier this year, EA's CFO Blake Jorgensen said the game was still "a few years" from releasing so this timeline wouldn't really add up but I'm hoping he was overestimating (plus it can be announced for Holiday 2017 and then later delayed like everything else). We'll get a name for the game and 1-2 minute cinematic reveal trailer. We'll hear Nolan North as the main character. Pie in the sky: he's playing post-Return of the Jedi Han Solo.
4. Criterion's Action Driving Game (aka "Go-Pro the Video Game") will re-emerge with a name and release date for November of this year. Originally unveiled during the 2014 E3 panel where EA basically just ran a bunch of developer diaries showcasing projects being worked on, the Criterion game that was shown off hasn't really re-emerged in the last two years. I think we'll end up seeing a gameplay trailer of someone driving a quad off a cliff, soaring into a helicopter via a wingsuit, flying the helicopter, jumping out of the helicopter, and parachuting down to a boat in the water. All to an exciting rock track. You know. Like pretty much any Go-Pro video you'll see on YouTube, right? And I'm gonna go with November 1st, in an effort to get out ahead of Gran Turismo Sport on the 15th.
5. Titanfall 2: Campaign Trailer shown, Live MP match, and Release Date: September 30, 2016. Last week, CFO Jorgensen mentioned that Titanfall 2 would be launching three weeks from Battlefield 1 which is slated for an October 21 release. So I'm aiming for earlier in an effort to get out in front of all of the other marquee shooters. Either way, Titanfall 2 will have to do something to stand out in order to make waves against Battlefield 1, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Gears of War 4. So I think we'll see a trailer for the campaign, followed by a live match being played onstage. Because, why not? This one's probably wrong anyway. But the EA event will have at least one "life-size," well-crafted statue of the a Titan that attendees can get pictures in front of.
So there are my predictions for the EA press conference this year. And that doesn't even cover Star Wars Battlefront, The Sims, or EA Mobile gaming (which...cry all you want when they bring it up, but those games and EA Sports probably make disgusting amounts of money). Think any of them will come to pass? What do you think or hope we'll see. Let me know here or on Twitter.