E3 may be digital this year, but there’s still plenty to see and talk about. Leading up to the event, starting on June 12, we’re prepping with a list of predictions for some publishers. We’ve already covered the Xbox and Bethesda show. Today, we’re going to share some of our predictions about what Electronic Arts, or EA, is bringing to the E3 2021 season. The company will showcase its games on July 22 during its EA Play Live event.
Electronic Arts hasn’t officially been part of E3 for many years now. Instead, the publisher chose to run its own event: EA Play. These are normally a day or two before the official E3 presentations begin. This time, EA decided to go after E3 but we are still expecting an impressive showing.
New EA Sports games are as certain as the changing of the seasons. There has been a new Madden game every year since 1999. The FIFA series has not only launched a new game every year since 1994, but has seen 36 releases in that 26-year period. This means that it is a sure bet that the event will include footage from Madden 22 and FIFA 22. Not as certain — but still extremely likely — is an appearance by NHL 22. Whether there’ll be a new NBA Live is up in the air. There hasn’t been a new entry in the series since 2018, though there’s obviously a demand for more basketball as 2K’s NBA games still sell really well.
Technically not an EA Sports title, but it would still be great to see some footage from Skate 4. We’re assuming that the game is still fairly early in development. However, after the positive reaction that the announcement received last year, it would be good to follow that up with some in-game footage. It would be foolish to expect any kind of release date or even any substantial gameplay, though. We’re just dying to see some of the game in action.
Electronic Arts got a huge racing game boost last year when the company acquired Codemasters, known experts in the field. However, with new entries in their DiRT and Project CARS franchises released last year, don’t expect too much. What we can be sure of is a new F1 game, from a franchise that often hits the mark. It will be interesting to see what tracks are included, as the actual F1 calendar and schedule keeps shifting and changing due to the ongoing pandemic.
Of course, Electronic Arts has its own racing game franchise with Need for Speed. We have been expecting a new game in that franchise this year. However, Criterion, which had been put back in charge of the franchise, was required to help out with the next installment of Battlefield. This means that the new game has likely been pushed back until next year. A fair bit of work has probably already been done towards an installment though, so we could get a proper tease of what the developer has in store for us.
Speaking of Battlefield 6, or whatever it ends up being called, we think it’s a safe bet that there will be some coverage of the AAA shooter. With a full reveal event specifically for the new game coming on June 9, it’s likely that we won’t get as big a blowout as we would have received. We wouldn’t be surprised though if the publisher holds off on the multiplayer portion of the game to show at EA Play Live. Alternatively, EA could skip over the campaign in the reveal. That would then give the company the opportunity to show more details during the press conference.
The rumors surrounding the game suggest the new Battlefield is set in some distant future. It will be interesting to see how DICE distinguishes its futuristic shooter from Call of Duty’s dalliance in that time period, as well as Titanfall’s setting. One thing that is almost certain is that it will be a visual showcase. While other developers in EA’s stable of studios have struggled using the Frostbite game engine, it is DICE’s baby, and it always seems to manage to extract extraordinary results from the technology.
Ah, BioWare. Once heroes of the industry and now, well, let’s just say that its brand has lost some of its luster. Anthem is all but laid to rest, so we’re not going to see that but they are working on other stuff that we know about. We know that the developer is working on a new Mass Effect. Usually, I would suggest that this is too early in development to show anything. However, after the success of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, we wouldn’t be surprised to see BioWare take a victory lap and show off some early footage.
One game that we know has been in development for a while is Dragon Age 4. This is surely much closer to release than a new Mass Effect. After the reception to the studio’s other recent efforts, it may decide to keep this under wraps until near completion. If this game sinks, then the studio is really going to be in trouble. Perhaps Electronic Arts will just choose to show a sizzle reel of what the studio is up to. This could then include brief glimpses of Mass Effect and Dragon Age.
What has us very excited in a nostalgic way, is the wealth of rumors surrounding a remake of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Though BioWare is only hinted at supervising rather than undertaking core development duties, it is another game that could be shown in a sizzle reel that would really get the fans (and us) thrilled.
On the subject of Star Wars, could this be the event when Respawn unveils the sequel to the brilliant Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order? Electronic Arts’ exclusivity deal with Disney for the Star Wars license has been pretty shambolic. The one undeniable exception to that was Jedi: Fallen Order. And maybe Battlefront, depending on who you ask. There has been no official confirmation that a sequel is on the way but, come on, EA has built its entire business on sequels. We would be stunned if a follow-up is not in the works. With the end of the exclusivity deal within sight, we can expect other publishers to start announcing projects set in the galaxy far, far away. Surely it would be better to announce the sequel while EA still controls most of the media bandwidth in terms of Star Wars games.
What else could Respawn be working on? As much as we would dearly love to see Titanfall 3 announced, that is likely pie-in-the-sky kind of stuff. We imagine that any spotlight shined on the developer would be just to promote updates and the future of its hugely successful free-to-play shooter, Apex Legends. It may not have captured the collective consciousness as other free-to-play entries like Fortnite, but it still maintains an extremely healthy player base. The game is receiving regular updates, so promoting these seems like a no-brainer.
It’s in the game, but what are the games of EA Play Live?
Electronic Arts are often the butt of the joke (and rightly so), but the publisher does release some great games. Because the focus of this event will be the games and not its shadier practices (ahem, surprise mechanics) ,we expect that there will be a lot to get excited about. A successful and creative Electronic Arts would be a real boon to both the industry as a whole and to gamers. Here’s hoping EA remembers the people who play their games and not just their shareholders when choosing what to show during EA Play Live.