EA’s sports games were part of an action packed EA Play press conference yesterday afternoon in Los Angeles. The games featured included Madden NFL 18, FIFA 18, NBA Live 18, and Need for Speed Payback.
After digesting all of yesterday’s info, here are some key takeways I had.
(Note: If you want to see all of the news from EA Play 2017, we have a page for that)
1. Cinematic Story Modes Are Here to Stay
It wasn’t shocking to see ‘Longshot’ play out the way it did. Having single player campaign modes which are essentially interactive sports movies is a pretty obvious concept which I’m surprised EA hasn’t embraced before given their tendency to gravitate in this direction as a company.
Between ‘Longshot’ and ‘The Journey, Season Two’, I suspect we’ll see this sort of thing integrated into EA Sports games for awhile (Next up is definitely NBA Live). There’s already indications from EA that ‘Longshot’ isn’t a one year affair — and given that the mode will conclude with you having never played an NFL game, that’s probably as good of an indicator as any that the mode will be a multi-season affair.
2. NBA Live 18 Is Sticking to the Basics
In the feature reveal for NBA Live 18, there was a lot of time talking about the basics of the game. It especially sounds like player interactions and one-on-one matchups was given a lot of attention. That’s probably for the best as Live has to get the basics right.
The One is an interesting take on what is essentially MyPlayer. You’ll be able to play and level up either on the streets or in the league — which should give players a lot to play for. I’m sure an Ultimate Team Tie-In will exist somewhere there too.
3. Madden is Wanting to Embrace Football at All Levels
‘Longshot’ embracing the Texas High School football culture, even including 7-on-7 leagues. When you account that ‘Longshot’ is also featuring Pop Warner and College Football, you start getting a picture that Madden is wanting to embrace football culture from top to bottom.
Its very interesting that ‘Longshot’ is a mode in an NFL game which will feature gameplay in every level of football but within NFL games themselves. To me, it may signal an openness or opportunity for spin-offs eventually. Or maybe that’s the hopeful side of me.
4. FIFA is Focusing A Lot on Overhauling Fundamentals
Player movement and dribbling overhauls are hardly sexy addons to a more casual gamer, but they’re hugely important to getting the action on the pitch more accurate to real-life. Both of those projects alongside player personality are tweaks which most people will hardly notice after a few games played as they just kind of fade into the background.
I think there’s a real danger of FIFA falling into a ‘this feels way too familiar’ trap, even if the fundamentals of how the game is playing are greatly improved. I’m definitely intrigued though, because if the teams playing to their style and the atmospheres all feel varied enough — it could really help add some diversity to the gameplay that’s much needed.
5. Need for Speed Is Definitely More Action Game, Less Sports-Style Racer
One of our big debates at OS is when do sports games end and other genres begin. Need for Speed is pushing the envelope in the sense that its clearly embracing being an action game mirrored after the Fast franchise at this point. It’ll still feature driving and even racing action — but Need for Speed Payback is not a game that you’ll be playing if you are looking for an authentic racing experience.