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EA Gamescom Roundup: Battlefield 1 Incursions Leads The Way

New competitive mode shown alongside Need for Speed Payback, The Sims 4 Cats and Dogs, and indie title Fe.

Electronic Arts revealed a new competitive mode for Battlefield 1 called Incursions and showed off the roadmap for future content releases as part of a wide-ranging gamescom conference in Cologne on Monday.

As well as the Battlefield 1 reveals, we got to see Star Wars Battlefront 2 space battles, learned that the 2018 BMW M5 will debut exclusively in Need for Speed Payback, took another look at EA Originals indie title Fe, and got to catch up with The Sims 4, which is heading to consoles later this year.

The Battlefield 1 reveals were arguably the most exciting. (Okay, we like shooters.) With 22 million players and counting, the game has certainly done the business for EA and DICE, but one thing it’s still missing is a small-scale competitive game mode – just the sort of thing that inspires esports communities.

To that end, Incursions is a 5v5 mode that looks to be as fun to watch as it is to play. Executive producer Aleksander Grondal was on stage to introduce it and revealed that a closed alpha will be available to play in September. Signups for that should be live now at battlefield.com.

Each team of five players begins by choosing specific kit to take into battle, adding a strategic layer to the game that will force team-mates to coordinate their play more actively than they perhaps do in larger 64-player battles. The small team sizes also mean that vehicles are very influential when they make it onto the field.

The other thing we got to see was the second expansion pack, In The Name Of The Tsar, which launches next month. Set on the Eastern Front, it signals the start of Battlefield 1’s Russian Revolution period, and one of the expansion maps, Lupkow Pass, is available to play right now for Premium Pass holders.

Further down the line, October will see an Operation Campaigns Update; November will see the excitingly titled November Update; December promises the third expansion, Turning Tides; and there will also be a fourth expansion in early 2018.

Not content with all that… content, EA revealed Battlefield 1 Revolution, a new version of the game available today featuring all the content released so far and all the stuff to come. Think of it as a sweet Game of the Year Edition.

Battlefield 1 may have rounded things out, but EA’s conference also gave us a little look at Need for Speed Payback. We were treated to a nice live-action skit featuring BMW Works driver Bruno Spengler that introduced us to the 2018 BMW M5, which will debut exclusively in the game before none of us can afford to buy the real thing next year. We also saw some pre-rendered footage of the game, in which an M5 stylishly evaded all sorts of heavily armored police.

Then it was time for The Sims. Maxis’ life sim may not always excite the crowds at trade shows, but the developers had an unbeatable trick up their sleeve this time: the cutest dog ever. Yes, to celebrate the impending launch of The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs on November 10, they brought Jiffpom out on-stage. It’s over, guys – EA won gamescom.

EA’s Lyndsay Pearson also revealed that The Sims 4 would be coming to PS4 and Xbox One this November, while a new mobile title is coming soon worldwide.

Elsewhere, EA showed us more of striking Swedish indie title Fe, from Zoink Studios, which is one of the tentpole games in the EA Originals series. New footage showed a hauntingly beautiful forest setting that players will be able to explore at their own pace. The game is due on PC, PS4 and Xbox in early 2018, with a Nintendo Switch version also in development. It’s easy for stuff like this to get lost at trade shows, but it’s well worth checking out.

And that was it for EA at gamescom. Not much to say on FIFA 18, which is due out at the end of September, but EA’s monstrously popular sports series had to make do with a place on the initial sizzle reel – although we did at least get our first sighting of Neymar Jr in a Paris Saint-Germain kit. He’ll probably cost even more of a fortune in Ultimate Team than he did when he was at Barcelona.