FIFA and EA to End 30-Year Partnership

I’m going to level with you. I don’t play a lot of EA Sports games anymore. EA Sports titles have ceased to feel cutting edge a long time ago, and are more akin to yearly shovelware if you ask me. So the news of EA breaking up from FIFA does not tug at my heartstrings. With that said, this is a major divorce.

This year’s planned FIFA 23 will be the last title, in a nearly 30-year run. That doesn’t mean that EA is giving up on soccer (football for my European friends), as future titles will fit under the newly minted “EA SPORTS FC” umbrella.

EA promises that everything you love about the series will mostly remain intact:


“Everything you love about our games will be part of EA SPORTS FC – the same great experiences, modes, leagues, tournaments, clubs and athletes will be there. Ultimate Team, Career Mode, Pro Clubs and VOLTA Football will all be there. Our unique licensing portfolio of more than 19,000+ players, 700+ teams, 100+ stadiums and 30 leagues that we’ve continued to invest in for decades will still be there, uniquely in EA SPORTS FC. That includes exclusive partnerships with the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A, the MLS – and more to come.”

EA

Since EA has partnerships with individual leagues and clubs, gamers will still see their favorite players and teams in future games.

In the meantime, FIFA will need to find a new partner, to release a soccer video game with FIFA branding. FIFA will find it difficult to compete with EA since many leagues are now locked in with an exclusive partnership with EA, like England’s Premier League for example.

[Source: EA]

A Harry Potter MMO Was Cancelled by EA Leadership in the Early 2000s Because They Thought The Brand Was a Fad

Harry Potter is a massive brand. The books have spawned movies, theme parks, and now a spinoff series of movies. The franchise is not going anywhere, but in the early 2000s, Electronic Arts thought the brand was just a fad that would never last, canceling an MMO they had in the works.

The game was in development between 2000 and 2003, just prior to the release of the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Perhaps it was all for the best. EA would probably have ruined it.

[Source: OGL: Original Gamer Life]

EA CEO Claims Anthem is Not Dead While Leading the Game Behind a Shed Holding a Shotgun and Shovel

Anthem is not a great game. At times it’s not even a good game. It’s an average game, which is extremely disappointing, because BioWare and EA put a lot of resources behind this title.

BioWare and EA have also been going through a rough stretch lately. Anthem was supposed to be something special, from a developer that brought us the magical Mass Effect series, well Mass Effect 1 and 2 anyways. Mass Effect 3 was okay and Mass Effect Andromeda was a steaming pile of shit. As for EA, where does one start with all the problems they have.

So when GameDaily.biz caught up with EA CEO Andrew Wilson to get the skinny on all things EA and the topic of Anthem came up, his responses did not seem all that reassuring.

“IP lives for generations, and runs in these seven to ten year cycles. So, if I think about Anthem on a seven to ten year cycle, it may not have had the start that many of us wanted, including our players. I feel like that team is really going to get there with something special and something great, because they’ve demonstrated that they can.”

GameDaily.biz

I’m sorry, I don’t get warm and fuzzies from this. Wilson is talking about IP in the long term, so maybe Anthem lives on, but this iteration does not look too promising.

Wilson goes on by saying:

“We’re going to have our core BioWare audience that’s been with us for a really long time. There are kids today who are 12 years old who weren’t around when BioWare started making games… and they have different expectations of what a BioWare game should be in the context of the world they’ve grown up in. As a result of that, BioWare has to evolve and has to expand and has to test the elasticity of that brand. The teams at BioWare will continue to come to work every day and listen to their players old and new and seek to deliver on the promises they’ve made to those players. That’s what you’re seeing with Anthem today.”

GameDaily.biz

If I was on the BioWare team and heard that, my ass would clench up. That is not necessarily a ringing endorsement.

I like BioWare and I’m not the 12-year-old kid that Wilson is referring to. I remember when BioWare put out some amazing shit, and I hope they get their mojo back. I guess we’ll see when Dragon Age: The Dread Wolf Rises comes out.

EA Tells UK Parliament That Loot Boxes Are Totally Ethical and Just Like Kinder Eggs

Loot box mechanics have been under fire lately. In Europe especially, the questionable mechanic has been likened to gambling and countries like Belgium has taken a hard stand against them.

Sure, regardless of what companies call them, paying real money for a digital box that contains a totally random in-game gear of various value can be likened to gambling. However, EA’s vice president of legal and government affairs, Kerry Hopkins, had a novel counter to that notion when interviewed by UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee. Apparently, EA believes that loot boxes are more akin to delicious Kinder Eggs than slot machines.

Other EA representatives present at the hearing also went on to say that loot boxes are “actually quite ethical and quite fun, quite enjoyable to people.”

As a gamer, I don’t find loot boxes fucking ethical or fun. That’s total bullshit, and the fact that EA thinks that they can get away with saying that at a hearing before UK Parliament is totally laughable given the shit they went through with Star Wars: Battlefront II.

EA to Fix Battlefront’s “Broken” Progression System Next Week

For those holding out on picking up EA’s Star Wars: Battlefront II due to its pay-to-win progression system, you are in luck.

Posted on EA.com, EA is promising a new patch called the “progression update,” which promises that Star Cards and all other items that impact gameplay will only be earned through actual gameplay. How novel?

Below is a statement from EA:

“Since release, we’ve been hard at work making changes based on your feedback to create a better game for all our players. Today, we’re happy to announce that the Star Wars™ Battlefront™ II Progression update, which includes a complete re-design of the in-game progression system, will begin rolling out on March 21st. There are also some additional changes coming to the cosmetics in the game, but we’ll get to that in a bit… 

With this update, progression is now linear. Star Cards, or any other item impacting gameplay, will only be earned through gameplay and will not be available for purchase. Instead, you’ll earn experience points for the classes, hero characters, and ships that you choose to play in multiplayer. If you earn enough experience points to gain a level for that unit, you’ll receive one Skill Point that can be used to unlock or upgrade the eligible Star Card you’d like to equip.

You’ll keep everything you’ve already earned and unlocked. You will keep all of the Star Cards, heroes, weapons, or anything else you have already earned. What you have earned will still be available to use with this update regardless of how much or little progress you have already made. 

Crates no longer include Star Cards and cannot be purchased. Crates are earned by logging in daily, completing Milestones, and through timed challenges. Inside of these crates, you’ll find Credits or cosmetic items, such as emotes or victory poses, but nothing that impacts gameplay.

Starting in April, you’ll be able to get appearances directly through in-game Credits or Crystals. The first new appearances are coming soon, meaning you’ll be able to grab new looks for your heroes and troopers directly by using either Credits (earned in-game) or Crystals (available to purchase in-game and through first-party stores). If you’ve ever dreamed of being a part of the Resistance as a Rodian, your chance is right around the corner.

These changes are a major step as we continue to improve the core of the game and add new content. And there’s a lot more to come. In addition to continued balance patches, we will also add a number of modes to Star Wars Battlefront II in the coming months, offering several standout, brand-new ways to play. Some of these, like the recently released limited-time Jetpack Cargo, are radically different than anything you’ve experienced in the game before, and we’re excited to surprise you with what we have planned.

The Star Wars Battlefront II Progression Update releases on March 21, with more content rolling out in the following weeks. We’re truly excited for the future of the game, and we would be honored if you would join us on this journey.”

This is quite a departure. After a tremendous amount of negative feedback from fans during the title’s initial launch back in November 2017. EA walked back some pay-to-win aspects, but stated that revamped versions would be rolled out again in time.

However, that was before  lawmakers in Belgium and the U.S. got involved, claiming that the game’s paid loot creates were a form of gambling.

The “Progression Update” is scheduled for release March 21.

[Source: EA]

 

 

Burnout Paradise Remastered is a Thing

I have a certain affinity for the Burnout series. It was one of the first games on the original Xbox that I played together with a girl who eventually became wife. She then dabbled in the open world sequel Burnout Paradise a few years later. She wasn’t much of a gamer then, and she is still indifferent to gaming, but she and I enjoyed playing the series together back in the day.

Perhaps she and I can rekindle that spark from our youth by playing a bit of Burnout Paradise: Remastered, which releases on March 18, 2018, according to EA. The game will release on both Xbox One and PS4.

[Source: EA]

BioWare’s Anthem (Don’t call it a delay) Delayed To 2019

Bioware has been going through a rough stretch. Mass Effect 3 was a good game that rubbed some fans the wrong way. Calling the “reboot” that was Mass Effect: Andromeda a bad game would be an understatement. I think of it more of a dumpster fire than a game and I’m a hardcore fan of the series.

One can say that the pressure is mounting for the developer to release a critically acclaimed game. That can totally explain why Bioware would want or even need to take some additional time to ensure that Anthem is super polished and ready to wow gamers. Just don’t call it a delay. Because according to EA’s Blake Jorgensen, this is totally not a delay guys, even though the publisher previously stated that game would have a “fall 2018” release.

According to EA Chief Executive Andrew Wilson, the delay has nothing to with the game being behind schedule, or needing extra polish to ensure that it meets expectations of demanding gamers, but a delay simply makes sense for EA’s bottom line.

During an earnings call, Wilson stated that, “We’ve chosen to launch Anthem in Q4, and the date is really determined by portfolio-balancing considerations, not for product-readiness reasons… It doesn’t make sense to launch ‘Anthem’ right up next to Battlefield and when you think about Anthem as a brand new [intellectual property], we also believe it makes sense to give Anthem its own launch window so that we can give it the focus and attention it deserves and give it free air.”

So they want to give Anthem room to breathe and not get cannibalized by the competition, like the time when Titanfall 2 was released against Battlefield 1, both EA properties. Okay, so totally not a bad thing and proof that EA can actually learn from past mistakes.

EA has denied a report from Kotaku stating the Anthem is delayed due to issues in development.

EA Shows Star Wars: Battlefront II ‘Operation Cinder’

A new Star Wars Battlefront II scene was released today, giving fans a small snippet of the ominous sounding “Operation Cinder,” which will surely be part of the main story line for the single player campaign.

What’s Operation Cinder? Thanks to Wookiepedia we know that:

Operation: Cinder was carried out by the Galactic Empire as a means of devastating several Imperial planets in 4 ABY, only a few weeks following the Battle of Endor. The operation was part of the Contingency, a plan devised by Emperor Palpatine to ensure that the Empire and its enemies did not outlive him should he perish. The plan was put into action following the Emperor’s death during the Battle of Endor.

Okay, so that makes sense. Here’s the video.

Love how the red droid thingy hovers over instead of walking, like some kind of phantom. There is something sufficiently creepy about that.

EA’s Peter Moore Appointed CEO of Liverpool Football Club

Peter Moore, a game industry mainstay, is leaving EA to join Liverpool FC. His latest role at EA was Chief Competition Officer.

Before EA, Moore has held senior roles with Sega and Microsoft, where he became known for revealing questionable gaming related tattoos.

I always liked Moore, especially when he was at Sega and Microsoft, where his E3 pressers were always a spectacle.

Hopefully he finds success at Liverpool FC, which is his hometown’s club, just as long as that success doesn’t come against Chelsea FC that is.

[Source: Liverool FC]

EA Unloads More Details on Star Wars Battlefront 2 During Investor Call

Star Wars Battlefront was a surprisingly good game that got better over time, with the additions of new game modes and DLC. We already know that a Battlefront 2 is in the works, and it looks like EA and DICE are going to build on what made the original successful, and give fans some of the stuff they’ve been clamoring for.

During EA’s January 31 investor call, the company confirmed that Battlefront 2 is locked in for 2017. That much, we knew. However, they have also provided some interesting details of what fans can expect.

“Our next Star Wars Battlefront will be even bigger, taking players into more locations, and allowing them to play more heroes and characters across multiple Star Wars eras.”

“There will be new ways to play, including an all-new single-player campaign, and much, much more that we are excited to share with our players in the months ahead.”

Yes, that’s a lot of marketing hyperbole, but they got me at single-player campaign. Let’s hope EA learned a thing or two from the excellent single-player campaign found in Battlefield 1 and try to surpass it in Battlefront 2.

So what does all this mean for Star Wars Battlefront 1? Well, it sounds like its slowly being led out to pasture as DICE states that “no future Skirmish content is planned” for the game.