It's EA's duty to warm us all up for E3 proper this year, as the publisher has scheduled its press conference for Sunday evening UK time, the day before Microsoft and Sony. It's actually a dual event: it's holding one big live show in LA, and one in London.
The Titanfall 2 trailer leaked before the show even started, and looks suitably bombastic, but there was much more to come. (The Twitch chat also covered off Donald Trump and the EU referendum whilst everyone was waiting for the show to begin, so at least that was out of the way.)
Here's everything that happened.
-EA's CEO Andrew Wilson promises us "a taste of a bunch of great stuff that we have in development", before congratulating all the "influencers" in the room for being able to play some of them after the show. Yeah alright, Andrew. Meanwhile, Peter Moore is at the Hammersmith Apollo in London with 600 Europeans for the other half of this show.
-First on to show us his wares is Vince Zampella of Respawn, to introduce Titanfall 2 (which will be on PS4 as well as Xbox One this time. The trailer leaked ahead of time, but let's see it again:
-Apart from the new, much-demanded single-player mode, the most notable New Thing appears to be a grapple hook: otherwise it's very familiar pilot-robot shootering. There will be 6 new Titans. It'll be out on October 28th.
-Now for some Madden, for which I shall have a brief two-minute micro-snooze. (Just kidding.)
-Peter Moore is going on about eSports: EA is embracing "a new approach to competitive gaming", making competition accessible to more players. EA Sports games will incorporate new live events to facilitate this.
-There's a big Madden competition happening during E3, apparently. We're introduced to the competitors. (Does anyone else play video games to get *away* from hyper-competitive sports-jock types? Ah well.)
-Ah, this is more my speed! Time for Mass Effect: Andromeda. You are part of a expedition to the Andromeda galaxy, where everything is completely new - planets, species, technology. In this galaxy... YOU ARE THE ALIEN. And a clean break from the Mass Effect trilogy. It's a bigger adventure, with "more freedom" than previous ones, powered by the Frostbite engine.
-Wait, are we not going to get a proper trailer? Boo! It's a behind-the-scenes dev-diary style deal BUT it does have a lot of VERY EXCITING new footage from the actual game. Here it is:
-No release date or anything for Mass Effect. They'll be sharing more "in October", whatever that means.
-Now Wilson is talking about a new initiative: Play to Give, which combines gameplay challenges with charity donations. The charities are pretty good, actually! It seems to consist of EA donating $1m at the end of a kind of global play session.
-FIFA time! FIFA 17 is a "revolutionary year" for the franchise, apparently. A dude performs a soliloquy about football and opportunity, before we get a trailer all about the new story mode, which contextualises the footie action in an interesting-looking new way. Wee bit like NBA 2K. It's called The Journey, and stars a player called Alex Hunter. Here's the trailer:
-Also, it's got managers!
-Gosh, Joe Mourinho just turned up. He's in the game too.
-Now for some gameplay changes: set-pieces have be re-done, physical play has been overhauled, there is a new player intelligence system, and there are new ways to "create chances and finish in front of goal". All of this is inspired by real-life young football talent. There seems to be a real "new start" theme to FIFA this year.
-Now for some Unravel chat. Lovely Unravel. EA wants to find more developers like Unravel's Coldwood Studios, says the current spokesperson. There is another new initiative: EA Originals. This involves EA supporting and funding smaller developers creating interesting things - with all the profit going back to those developers.
-Here is the first EA Originals game: Fe. We've got another charmingly nervous Swedish creator. It is "a personal narrative about our relationship with nature" (rather like Unravel, then?), where you play a young cub all alone in a forest, meeting other creatures. They all communicate through strange music. Each song you learn will let you reach new parts of the forest. It sounds quite lovely. It promises freedom to explore, without hand-holding.
-Not one, but THREE new Star Wars games are coming! There's a new Battlefront, plus a new action-adventure game from Visceral in 2018 (that's Amy Hennig's project), plus a third action game from Respawn. Here's a little peek at all three, which is all we're gonna get for now:
-We're finishing up with Battlefield 1: "no ordinary game", according to the long-term DICE veteran on-stage. It's been in the works for a very long time, apparently. They'll be showing an hour of gameplay after the show. Destruction, weather, and vehicle variety are the order of the day - destruction, especially, makes every match different, says DICE. The same map will be different in sun or heavy rain or fog. Oh, and it's gonna have airships, armoured trains, and battleships. It's out October 21st. New trailer (goodness me it looks exciting):
-And we're done! Before you go, why not read about Julian's experience with Titanfall 2?
Catch up on E3 2016: