Posts Tagged ‘Electronic Arts’

How loot crates and unlocks really work in Star Wars Battlefront 2


A long time ago, a man worked out how to merchandise popular entertainment at a hitherto unprecedented level. 40 years later, C-3PO lunchboxes in Woolworths have given way to microtransaction loot crates in EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2. With the game out this week, millions of voices are already crying out in terror about the time and/or costs involved in accessing every character, weapon and rechargeable grenade variant. I’m here to cut through the noise and examine how loot crates, unlocks, payments, and grind work within SWBF2 – and how incorporating this oh-so-2017 goldrush into an online shooter disrupts the experience of playing it.

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 cuts top-tier hero unlock costs

Dice have boldly gone back to the drawing board once more to rework the progression system of Star Wars Battlefront 2, now making the high-end hero characters take less time to unlock. They’ve cut the unlock costs of fellas like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader by 75%, meaning players won’t have to grind for squillions of ‘credits’ to play as their playground heroes. This follows Dice reworking — but not removing — the progression system of packing upgrades into loot crates. Those crates can optionally bought with real money, which is a whole other stink.

Oh and for fancy-pants Star Warriors with cash to flash, Battlefront 2’s Deluxe Edition is out now – but not its regular edition. Read the rest of this entry »

Cats & Dogs rain down on The Sims 4


Pet lovers rejoice, because your cherished canine and feline friends can now scamper around in The Sims 4. The Cats & Dogs expansion launched on Friday, and allows you to create your own animal pals with an appearance and personality of your choice. I’m treating it as an exciting opportunity to bring my cat’s bullying of me into the virtual realm.

The inevitably adorable launch trailer is just below the jump.

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Star Wars Battlefront II’s free December DLC revealed

"Beam me up, Scott."

We’ve already been told that Star Wars Battlefront II will hand out expansions, maps and characters for free a la Titanfall 2. But we weren’t totally clued in about what that stuff would be. Well, we are now. Sadly, there are no laser glaives, the iconic weapon beloved by fans. But there are: ships, maps, gear and a campaign expansion. Remember that on top of this two new characters will arrive – the coward and imperial whistleblower Finn, and heroic tin woman Brianne of Tarth Captain Phasma. Read the rest of this entry »

EA is buying Titanfall creators Respawn

EA's acquisitions team, yesterday

The earth-encrusted behemoth known as EA is buying robot-befriending studio Respawn Entertainment for as much as $455 million. The publisher is going to pay $315 million in stock and cash, and a further $140 million if the Titanfall creators hit their “incentive targets” – in other words, if the games they’re currently working on get an aesthetically pleasant arbitrary number on Metacritic when they’re released. The rock-em-sock-em-up makers had been offered a deal by South Korean publisher Nexon, according to Kotaku, which EA had 30 days to match. Looks like they decided to do that. Read the rest of this entry »

Need for Speed Payback is out tonight, fast and with fury

Though Need for Speed Payback‘s official launch day is Friday, for us here in the UK it’ll be 11pm tonight. Payback brings fast and furious driving through an action movie-style story campaign, as well as an open world to pootle around and, I suppose, car races if that’s your short of thing. Actually the game is already out now if you’ve paid enough, as the Deluxe Edition launched on Tuesday, but I didn’t mention that before because Deluxeers were surely informed of that fact by their butler or video game sommelier. Read the rest of this entry »

Star Wars Battlefront 2 reworking loot crates

What a time we live in, when Star Wars is crassly monetised. What a world! The idea this dear little mom & pop franchise of movies, comics, cartoons, toys, novels, statues, t-shirts, nappies, waffle irons, Christmas decorations, and tiki mugs could ever be used to wring pennies from pockets… it doesn’t bear thinking about. But EA were trying to do just that with Star Wars Battlefront 2, packing upgrades into virtual loot crates that can — optionally — be bought for real money. Scandalous! So with the game’s launch now mere weeks away, EA have announced changes to make loot crates and progression slightly less gittish. Read the rest of this entry »

Mass Effect: Annihilation is a tie-in novel that will reveal the fate of the Quarians and Elcor


Mass Effect Andromeda was so tremendously dull — just read John’s Andromeda review — that it appears to have killed off a whole franchise (or at least put it in a coma). While I absolutely don’t think it earned a sequel, it is a shame that there are so many story threads left hanging. Like what the hell happened to all the other aliens from the Milky Way? Well, we may not be finding out in a game, but Mass Effect: Annihilation, a spin-off novel, will fill in some gaps when it appears in June next year.

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EA to close Dead Space studio Visceral, in-development Star Wars game moving to Vancouver


EA have just announced that they’ll be “ramping down and closing” Visceral, the studio behind the Dead Space trilogy. Visceral have been working on an untitled Star Wars project, described as an “action-adventure”, and Amy Hennig, formerly of Naughty Dog and Crystal Dynamics, moved to the studio in 2014 to work on that project as senior creative director. EA’s statement regarding Visceral’s closure suggests that they’re unhappy with the status of that game and they plan to “pivot the design” to fit “fundamental shifts in the marketplace”. Full statement and thoughts below.

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See what you’ll see at sea in Battlefield 1’s Turning Tides

Battlefield 1 [official site] is off to sea sea sea in its next expansion, Turning Tides, so come see what you will see see see. EA today blasted more details on the DLC, explaining about flying airships over the Gallipoli peninsula, cruising the waves of Heligoland Bight in a new destroyer, and shooting guns whose names have a lot of letters and numbers. It’s still weird to me that Turning Tides is split into two releases — most of it coming in December, then the rest in January 2018 — but better two parts than a delay for the lot I suppose. Read the rest of this entry »

Star Wars Battlefront 2 open beta extended two days

The free open beta test for Star Wars Battlefront 2 [official site] was supposed to end last night but Electronic Arts have decided to continue its mission to explore strange new modes, to seek our new players and new impressions, to boldly go where all those movies and books and comics and toys and cartoons and t-shirts and waffle irons and popcorn makers have gone before. The open beta will run for another two days and now end on Wednesday. You might fancy a go, as young Matthew Cox declared that “while Battlefront 2 surpasses the audio visual spectacle that was the only exceptional feature of the first entry in the series, it’s also a deeper and more interesting game.” Read the rest of this entry »

Go boldly: Star Wars Battlefront 2’s open beta has started

Grab your crysknife, zip up your stillsuit, and boldly go into battle as Star Wars Battlefront 2 [official site] has launched its weekend-long open beta test. Until Monday, all and sundry are invited to download the beta through Origin. It packs several maps and modes, with everything from spaceship battles and urban infantry combat. Multiplayer is the focus but it does have a dash of solo action in the Arcade mode – not part of the singleplayer campaign, mind. We’ve have some thoughts on the beta later but for now, here’s word that it’s out. Read the rest of this entry »

FIFA 18 demo kicks off with a fry-up

Playing the newly-released free demo of FIFA 18 [official site] and its slice of the story campaign, I was delighted to see events kick off with a grandpa cooking a fried breakfast. Video game bellies are filled with cheeseburgers, meat on the bone, and fizzy pop, yet the humble fry-up is rarely featured. It’s not right. Assuming that the full game continues this focus on sizzling pans, I’m suddenly a lot more interested in FIFA 18. Oh, and for fans of plain ol’ football, the demo has lots of kicking too. Read the rest of this entry »

Star Wars Battlefront’s DLC is free right now

One big mistake of Star Wars Battlefront [official site], splitting new maps and modes and whatnot off into paid DLC, will be corrected with Battlefront 2. But what about the first game (third? fifth? firth? the names in this flipping series…) and those still playing it? Good news, gang! EA are giving the DLC season pass away for free right now, letting all boldly-going Battlefronteers play the lot. The game is real cheap now too, down to £4. Make haste, as the offers might warp away at any time. Read the rest of this entry »

‘We don’t attempt to be too serious’ – Need For Speed Payback has some comically overblown car chases


I couldn’t tell you exactly why the truck in front of us has started dropping explosive red barrels out of its container doors, but I am now keenly aware of the fragility of my own speedy car, which is giving chase behind. The oil drums explode and leave firey trails all across the motorway. Innocent drivers swerve and crash to avoid the flames. Then the goons show up. They have taken the form of large black muscle cars. In Need For Speed Payback [official site] everything is a little crazy.

“We’ve always made our fans driving heroes and racing heroes,” says William Ho, creative director, “now we want to make our fans action movie heroes.”
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Fe takes you into a gorgeous forest from early 2018


1. Fe [official site] looks beautiful
2. Is it possible to listen to Dirty Paws by Of Monsters and Men without feeling like you’ve been shunted so hard into 2014 that you could probably claim whiplash compensation from EA after being involved in a collision that wasn’t your fault?
3. It really reminds me of a game I can’t place!
4. While I deal with (3) let’s watch the trailer and contemplate (1) and (2) Read the rest of this entry »

Star Wars Battlefront 2 shows off space battles

“Pew pew!” goes the spaceship in new Star Wars Battlefront 2 [official site] viddies warping out of Gamescom, showing off the starfighting action in Dice’s boldly-going shooter. Spaceship battles were added to the previous Battlefront in a paid expansion but this time they’re free for everyone, which is grand. Starfighter Assault mode will pit teams against each other to complete (or block) multi-stage objectives, which I assume all revolve around blowing things up. The one EA are showing off now is the Battle of Fondor, so named because the Rebel Alliance was obsessed with fondling the door of an orbital shipyard. Read the rest of this entry »

The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs expansion to add cats, dogs

In the future, after The Brands take over, people bubbling with folksy charm will be required to say “It’s raining the fourth Sims 4 expansion pack out there” when pointing out heavy rain. EA today announced that The Sims 4 [official site] will expand again with Cats & Dogs on November 10th, see. As you might guess, it will focus on our dearest furry friends by adding cats. Dogs will be there too, desperate for attention as always. Folks will get to keep, customise, and train ’em and whatnot, and the expansion will also introduce a new vet job for players to run their own clinic. Observe: Read the rest of this entry »

Battlefield 1 adding 5v5 mode Incursions

A 5v5 mode named ‘Incursions’ is coming to Battlefield 1 [official site] to satisfy the bloodlust of that ‘digital sports’ rabble, EA announced today. Tch! 5v5 is over, gramps. Everyone’s Battling Royale now. But fine, fine you take that to testing next month.

More immediately, everyone who owns the Battlefield 1 DLC season pass today gets access to one map from the next expansion. Lupkow Pass is part of the ‘In the Name of the Tsar’ expansion due to launch in full next month. It has lots of snow, which sounds nice and cool on a day when everyone’s going on about that ol’ scorching sun doing a party trick. Read the rest of this entry »

Imprison toddlers in ball pools with incoming Sims 4 toddler stuff pack (I assume)

Toddler Stuff Pack: The Sims 4

The Sims 4‘s Toddler Stuff Pack (stuff packs being the tier of paid DLC that adds cosmetics and objects and things around a particular theme) is how I found out I have opinions about ball pool physics and ball pools as represented in games. I have frequented many a ball pool – sometimes even a ball lido – and I know that The Sims 4 is eliding many a problem with ball pools.

For one it’s entirely possible to perform a ball pool bellyflop and significantly injure yourself but here it’s all fun and games. Actually, I’d say it’s harder to dive or jump into a ball pool and make it look like a fun experience than it is to do so and really hurt yourself. It’s also impossible to confine balls to the ball pool area. Oh, and there’s not a single frame of the trailer showing an adult having to clamber through a ball pool searching for and then hauling out their recalcitrant toddler. Further objections include the fact that you can’t keep adults out of a children’s ball pool and, somewhat relatedly, that I find it objectionable that EA seem to be taking a stand against a grown woman’s right to enjoy a ball pool.

They do manage to recapture an actual argument I had with my brother over who had the right to play with a plastic dinosaur, though. (My argument was: “I’m older and I want it more” and his was “but it is literally my toy dinosaur”). Read the rest of this entry »