Of all the E3 shows this year, Electronic Arts seems the most predictable. They’ve announced a huge list of games we can expect, including Star Wars Battlefront II, Need for Speed, and a huge swath of EA Sports titles that let you hit balls or people or people holding balls. Battlefield will be taking a year off while last year’s Battlefield 1 continues to sell and generate money for the company. Who knows if we’ll hear from Titanfall again, but it won’t be this year. So how could Electronic Arts surprise us?
BioWare’s new IP knocks our socks off
BioWare is a rough story for Electronic Arts. The company was a legendary RPG creation house for a long time, pumping one great game after another. In all honesty, the studio made more great games between 1998 and 2014 than most studios could ever hope to make. Even if they’re done, they had an amazing run. Since EA’s acquisition of the studio, things have gone downhill. The Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises both started well, but it’s been nothing but bad news lately. Mass Effect: Andromeda pitted the massive expectations of extremely devoted fans – many still enraged after the maligned ending to Mass Effect 3 – against a rookie splinter studio, BioWare Montreal, that saw the loss of a number of top-level staff throughout production. The BioWare name used to elicit limitless excitement and is now a source of trepidation.
This new IP the company has been working on for years, then, needs to be really good. It needs to be Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic good. Right now, the expectation among many fans is one of fear. The game has a multiplayer focus, which is definitely not something that comes from the BioWare we know and love. It could be great. We want it to be great. It’ll be a surprise if it is.
Show an actual trailer or gameplay from one of those other Star Wars games
EA has exclusive access (maybe that’s what EA actually stands for) to the world of Star Wars when it comes to video games. Star Wars Battlefront is just about the only thing we’ve seen come from that union. With Battlefront headlining once again this year, it seems unlikely we’ll see any more than we’ve already seen – just a few seconds of a Star Wars man walking out of Mos Eisley Cantina under the shadow of a Star Destroyer. EA Motive, Visceral, and Respawn Entertainment all have Star Wars games in development. Seeing even one would be awesome.
A new PopCap game
The whole conference will be a success if someone from PopCap comes out and says “Peggle 3. A hojillion new characters, and a crapton of levels.” PopCap suffered some layoffs this year, but the company is still rolling. We’d love to see a brand new game or a great-looking sequel to one of our beloved franchises. Maybe give Garden Warfare a year off, though. If we do get another Garden Warfare game this year, we can almost promise you that it’ll be free to play.
The return of Sim Games
Ever since the implosion of SimCity (2013) and the dull thud of The Sims 4, EA has been pretty quite on the SimGames front. We don’t really expect EA to actually bring back the Sim games, but we’d like to see it happen if they’re willing to do it right. It’ll take a lot of listening to the community and not telling us how great their vision is, but they could conceivably do it. They won’t, but they could.
A new Dragon Age game is announced (and is far off)
Dragon Age: Inquisition dropped in 2014. BioWare’s busy climbing out of the crater left by Mass Effect and working on that New IP we talked about before, but it’s been long enough that the announcement of a new Dragon Age title is far from unreasonable. Inquisition left things off in a place where there would be more story to tell, and the series has plenty of extremely devoted fans. We’d love to see what a Dragon Age built entirely for new hardware and with the lessons learned from Andromeda would look like.
No videos of people working on a game instead of video of the game itself
This would be the only true surprise of the show.
Electronic Arts’ E3 show begins on Saturday, June 10 at 12 p.m. PST.