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Mahershala Ali, FIFA 18, and absolutely loads of Star Wars in EA’s E3 press conference

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Matt Tate
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The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, is essentially a second Christmas for people who like nothing more than to sit on their sofa in their pants playing video games. 

This week thousands of journalists and fans descend upon the Los Angeles Convention Center to go hands-on with the latest titles and lap up (and often whoop like crazy at) any surprise announcements. 

EA were the first publishers to take to the stage, and were joined by a host of YouTubers and internet personalities that your younger cousin could namedrop with his eyes closed. Among the games shown off were somehow-even-shinier-than-the-last-one annual franchises like FIFA and Madden, a couple of brand new IPs, and a lot – we mean a lot - of Star Wars Battlefront II.  

You can catch up on everything that happened at http://e3.game.co.uk/, but we’ve pulled together some of the biggest news stories here. 

Madden 18 is getting a story mode

The conference kicked off with a first look at a series first story mode for Madden 18, named ‘Longshot’. 

Given the success of ‘The Journey’ (more on that in a bit) in Fifa 17, it’s no great surprise that EA has decided to take a similar approach with another of its stupidly enormous sport sims, and we’re assured that this mode will unfold like an interactive movie. 

You play as former five-star high school quarterback, Devin Wade, who has one last chance to make the cut in the NFL draft. Alex Hunter’s professional football career got off to a bumpy start in The Journey (that Championship loan move to Newcastle scarred us all), and it sounds like Longshot will be an equally emotional rollercoaster. High stakes, high drama, lots of frantic googling of NFL rules – count us in.

And for the clincher? EA have signed up Oscar-winning House of CardsMoonlight and Luke Cage star Mahershala Ali, who we see dishing out fatherly advice in the stylish first trailer. 

FIFA 18 is looking great, obviously 

EA didn’t waste much time before dropping the F bomb. Cristiano Ronaldo was the main event of a new FIFA 18 trailer, which flicks between typically pretty in-game stuff and footage of the Real Madrid superstar – fully spandex’d up – recording motion capture for this year’s entry. Recreating the specific way in which certain players move is a big focus of 18. Just look at how Raheem Sterling leaves Eric Bailly in the dust. Lovely.

Podcasters Men in Blazers were on stage, bringing plenty of British football banter that almost certainly went straight over the heads of much of the American audience, and then attention turned to ‘The Journey: Hunter Returns’, the follow-up to FIFA 17’s acclaimed story mode. Among those discussing the headline-grabbing career of Alex Hunter – back for a second season – in the debut trailer are Pep Guardiola, Harry Redknapp (of course), Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann, and best of all, Andy Tate, the Manchester United fan turned viral superstar who wasn’t massively keen on David “MOYSEH” Moyes. 

Need for Speed: Payback looks like Fast & Furious the game – which is absolutely fine by us

EA gave us a taste of their new open world Need for Speed game, which looks to have everything you want from the series: eye-wateringly fast races, mind-boggling customisation options, gloriously corny one-liners and ridiculous stunts that would no doubt get the Vin Diesel stern nod of approval. 

Another cool addition is the ‘Relics’ feature, which lets you find banged-up tin cans on wheels and turn them into sexy supercars. Basically, it all sounds a bit silly, which is precisely how NfS should be.

A Way Out is a brand new co-op game, and it looks awesome

From the EA Originals sub-brand comes A Way Out, an innovative new game from the people that brought us the sensational Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (well worth seeking out if you haven’t played it). 

It’s a story-driven prison break game designed to be played entirely in split-screen co-op. Online play is do-able, but the developer on stage – who couldn’t tell the audience enough times about how “pumped” he was for this new IP – explained that ideally you’ll play it on the couch with your gaming mate of choice, just like in the good old days. 

A more in-depth gameplay trailer revealed at the end of the announcement demonstrated A Way Out’s unique approach to co-op gameplay. One character, already in the prison, can be controlled as the other arrives, even though the second player’s screen is showing a cutscene at the time. This could make for some very stylish scripted moments. 

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We can’t wait to see more of this one. 

BioWare’s new game is called Anthem

The creators of the Mass Effect trilogy have announced a new game called Anthem, aaand that’s pretty much all we know about it right now. More details will be revealed at tomorrow’s much-anticipated Xbox press conference (an exclusive perhaps?), but in a brief teaser trailer we’re shown a lush green environment, an angry-looking monster and suits of armour that suggest it’s about to kick off. 

Star Wars Battlefront 2 has more than three times the content of its predecessor

EA dedicated a whopping 30 minutes to Star Wars Battlefront II, and perhaps the most crowd-pleasing announcement was that any DLC and post-launch add-ons will be totally free. No more season passes.

There was talk of the new single player mode, the absence of which in the previous game being something players haven’t let EA forget. We know that the story will bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, which means plenty of fan service for the hardcore to enjoy. 

John Boyega popped up on screen (never a bad thing) to assure fans that Finn will be playable in the sequel, and we saw absolutely loads of multiplayer footage. EA say they’ve responded to all “constructive criticism” of the first game and it really looks like Battlefront II is going to be bigger and better in every way. 

We’ll be covering every major press conference throughout the week. For a lot more E3 content, head over to http://e3.game.co.uk/

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Matt Tate

Matt Tate is a freelance journalist

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