EA Play at E3 2017: Star Wars Battlefront II, A Way Out, and more

Electronics Arts kicked off E3 2017 with the first major press event: the EA Play 2017 keynote. Fans tuned in expecting more details on Star Wars Battlefront II, Madden 18 and Need for Speed Payback. The event is over now, but you can watch a full replay of all the event below.

Here's a rundown of the highlights and big announcements

Battlefield 1

EA promised a "revolution" coming to DICE's Battlefield 1, the WW1 multiplayer shooter released in October of 2016 to a mostly positive reception. That revolution is coming in the form of In the Name of the Tsar, an expansion of the game which introduces the war's Eastern front to the game. Tsar will feature six new maps, the Russian army, and the infamous Women's Battalion of Death. The expansion will also add new assignments, specialization options, and new Operations.

In the Name of the Tsar is coming in September, and along with two new night maps coming to the game this summer that's eight new maps total for Battlefield 1 on the horizon. 

EA also teased a new tighter, smaller, more e-sports friendly competitive mode coming to Battlefield 1, but we'll have to wait until Gamescom in August for more information.

Buy Battlefield 1 on Newegg

Need for Speed Payback

The Need for Speed franchise continues its transformation into an unofficial tribute to The Fast and the Furious with Need for Speed Payback. The new title will feature the largest open world ever seen in a Need for Speed game, a robust story, and the inclusion of "Relics" hidden throughout the world, abandoned cars you can find, repair, and build into supercars. 

Pre-order Need for Speed Payback on Newegg

EA SEED

EA announced EA SEED, a small, flexible internal team dedicated to exploring the cutting-edge of gaming technology. SEED stands for "search for extraodrinary experiences division," and is based on the principle that "interactive entertainment will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 45." 

SEED is focusing on areas like deep learning and neural networks, high-tech advancements that could drive a revolution in gaming in the near future. 

EA Originals: A Way Outa-way-out-ea-e3-2017

EA provided an update on their EA Originals program, a development partnership designed to give indie developers a chance to pitch their ideas to Electronic Arts for a chance to get the giant publisher on board. The program is moving from theory to reality with the release of A Way Out, a story-driven co-op experience set in a prison. This adventure comes from the developers at Hazelight, the makers of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

A Way Out is a game in which two protagonists must work together to escape their incarceration. The game looks to build on some of the innovative co-op gameplay we saw in Brothers but with a grimmer and more adult focus to the narrative. The experience is designed for split-screen co-op only. You can play it online, but the game is designed from a couch co-cop first perspective.

As an example of the type of bold new co-op gameplay A Way Out will offer, we learned that there are cases where one character can be controlled while the other is in a cutscene 

BioWare's Anthem

We finally got our first glimpse of the long-awaited new IP from BioWare, but we'll have to wait for tomorrow's Xbox event to get a look at actual gameplay. Anthem was called "vast, dangerous, beautiful, and unexpected," and the teaser trailer featured a sci-fi world in which a giant wall stands agaisnt a wild world full of monsters. 

Tune in to the Xbox press briefing tomorrow for more on Anthem

Madden 18, FIFA 18, and more EA Sports

The first big news coming for Madden fans was the announcement of Longshot, an innovative new story-driven mode that tells the tale of an aspiring player making his way up in the world. Longshot represents Madden's first-ever story mode, and could go a long way towards pleasing those who have been asking for greater innovation from the series (though to be fair, this will hardly be the first sports franchise to explore a robust narrative story mode). 

For soccer game fans, EA had quite a bit to show off with FIFA 18, including improved individual player personalities and motion capture and game development assistance from superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. They also showed off a trailer focusing on FIFA's "The Journey" mode, which continues the story of Alex Hunter that began in FIFA 17

Pre-order Madden 18 on Newegg

Star Wars Battlefront II 

Star Wars Battlefront II served as the grand finale of EA's press event, with 30 solid minutes of gameplay and news to close out the show. First off, EA directly addressed one of the biggest complaints about the previous Star Wars Battlefront, the lack of an offline story mode. Battlefront II will indeed feature a story mode, which will deliver an untold story set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

The Battlefront presentation was full of promises that the game will be bigger and better than the previous installment, with "three times the content of the first game." Couch co-op returns with Skirmish mode. We'll see new vechicles, planets, and heroes. The game will also have more of a focus on individual customization and a class system. 

ea-play-battlefront-characters

Another of the big criticisms of Battlefront was the heavy focus on DLC, which fractured the competitive community over time into those who had the latest content and those who did not. EA seems eager to make up for that in Battlefront II, and they announced that they are "committed to keeping the community together" with themed seasonal events featuring new content, all free of charge. 

All post-launch heroes, maps, and vehicles will be free to all owners of Battlefront II, and the additional content starts this holiday season with the addition of Finn and Captain Phasma to the game. 

EA's presentation ended with an extended live look at multiplayer in the form of a 20 vs. 20 match set on the game's new Assault on Theed map. 

Pre-order Star Wars Battlefront II on Newegg

Check out our full E3 2017 coverage