Mass Effect, Star Wars, and sequels shine at EA's E3 showcase

EA's E3 press event was chock full of sequels and games revealed at last year's E3. But also, Mass Effect Andromeda.

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It's in the game

EA's press conference was a bundle of known quantities: Mass Effect 4, Need for Speed, that awkwardly-long sports section they always do.

And then this adorable little indie-esque title called Unravel that maybe—maybe—brought a little tear to my eye. Did EA get a little UbiArt in its eye? Because it sure seems that way. Read on for more news from EA's E3 2015 press conference, and be sure to stay tuned to PCWorld for the rest of today's big E3 events—Bethesda and Microsoft are done, but we've still got Ubisoft and Sony to round out Day Zero.

mass effect andromeda
Mass Effect Andromeda

EA decided to show us a bit more of Mass Effect 4 than last year's awkward "Behind the Scenes" (a.k.a. "We don't have anything to show yet") trailer. Set to Johnny Cash music, the new trailer showed a faceless N7 operative looking across a new star map and that's pretty much it. No story hints, no real game footage—just a reminder that Mass Effect 4 exists and it's more than the collection of Maya models we saw last year.

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Need for Speed

In case you haven't heard: EA is "rebooting" Need for Speed this year, in what is maybe the most arbitrary use of the word "reboot" I've ever heard. The game is heading back to the early days of silly car customization and nighttime street racing, with a map EA claims is "twice the size of Rivals" (the last Need for Speed game).

It's a racing game, okay? An arcade-style racing game. And one that, at the very least, looks way more interesting (and gorgeous) than last year's entry. Look for it November 3.

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Mirror's Edge: Catalyst

No longer titled Mirror's Edge 2, we finally got our first real, extended look at Mirror's Edge: Catalyst today. The title change seems to mirror the change of direction—this is, as we were told during the presentation, a look at Faith's origin story. Not a sequel in other words. And it's open-world, with no levels or loading screens.

Oh, and a fantastic bit of news: There are no guns, either. Or at least that's what I'm assuming from EA saying Faith "doesn't need any."

Now the real question is whether first-person platforming in 2015 is better than it was in 2008, when the first Mirror's Edge debuted. I have high hopes, especially after playing Dying Light earlier this year.

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Unravel

Here's EA's yearly "Trot out a sincere developer to talk about giving our big, bad corporation a heart." The difference? I think it worked this year. Unravel stars some sort of yarn-man named "Yarny" and if that doesn't make your cold, cynical heart melt then you should see a doctor.

I mean, you could make the argument it's just a platformer, but the Honey I Shrunk the Kids art style is wonderful, and it's adorable seeing your little yarn trail spooling out behind you. I like it. I like it a lot. It's like EA's mirroring Ubisoft's UbiArt initiative (Valiant Hearts, et al). Do more things like this, EA.

star wars old republic
Star Wars: The Old Republic's Knights of a Fallen Empire expansion

How many of you are still playing Old Republic? Ten? Twenty? Well, EA is determined to make you care about the game, dumping millions of dollars into expansions I'm not sure anyone wants. The latest is Knights of the Fallen Empire which—and here's the saving grace—will be free to all subscribers.

I'm not going back, though. I gave Old Republic another chance when BioWare brought back Revan, and it still wasn't great. I won't get fooled again—no matter how many times EA promises this expansion is full of "BioWare storytelling."

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Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2

After first revealing the game during Microsoft's E3 press conference, EA showed some Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 gameplay during its own event.

Basically, it looks like more Garden Warfare, though there's a single player mode now, and players of the original game will be able to transfer "almost all" of their unlocked characters over to Garden Warfare 2. EA also promises to continue to provide free content updates "long after launch."

Speaking of, look for Garden Warfare 2 to hit the streets in spring 2016.

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Sports. Sports? Sports!

No surprise here, but EA still makes yearly sports games—Madden '16, FIFA, NBA Live, that one hockey game, et cetera.

Madden's going to focus on overhauling the passing game. NBA Live is going to focus on making faces look like they're being shot with a leafblower. And FIFA is going to focus on Pele, or something.

Sorry, I don't know. I am not a sports-man. I know they sell like crazy, and that's cool! But I'm probably the wrong person to check with for this information.

star wars galaxy of heroes
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes

This year's bandwagon? "Games that are basically Hearthstone." Bethesda introduced its "Elder Scrolls Legends" card game last night, and today, EA trotted out "Basically Just Star Wars Hearthstone."

EA didn't release any details beyond the game's name and genre, though. And the real Star Wars game we all care about is the next one on this list, anyway.

star wars battlefront
Star Wars Battlefront

After reminding us about a billion times to stay tuned for Battlefront, EA closed out the show with—you guessed it!—a Battlefront demo. And a lengthy speech from Peter Moore about how rad the Frostbite Engine is and how important it is to EA's future.

We finally got a taste of Battlefront game footage—not just a trailer. EA demoed a Hoth level, because of course. And it looks really good. Like, I don't know how it plays, and I still have some weird thoughts about non-player controlled vehicles and no space battles, but graphically? The game is stunning.

My personal favorite bit? The way the AT-STs have a janky, almost stop-motion look to their motion, just like the films. It's an impressive touch, regardless of how the game plays. Okay, maybe I'll let myself get just a little hyped for this one.