This year, one of the most exciting turnover initiatives in video gaming will be just how much sports gaming evolves into the next gens. The first year is always a bit of a bye week so to speak. Developers are just getting their feet wet, and it’s been seen through the last couple gaming generations that the first editions are just a feeling out process of what the consoles are capable of. Look at how things change over the course of a few years – Go compare NHL 07, for example, to NHL 13 and tell me things aren’t night and day?

This year, Electronic Arts and all of their sports gaming take a huge leap forward as all of their franchises enter the next generation. We start next week with EA Sports UFC, as we’ll see how the IGNITE Engine carries the world’s biggest Mixed Martial Arts organization onto the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

NHL 15

What sort of Canadians would we be without a little NHL excitement in our lives?  While the LA Kings basically wait out the New York Rangers for the Stanley Cup (full disclosure: I’m a Kings fan,) EA proudly shows off a first glimpse at what the next generation of hockey will look like, and boy is it pretty.

Gary Thorne and Bill Clement are gone, replaced by Doc Emrick and Ed Olczyk. Ray Ferraro even joins the fray as the ice level voice, though it’s not known if he’ll do a “between the benches” style of reporting.  New puck and player physics have been incorporated into the gameplay, and only a couple years removed from the awkward crowd physics of NHL 11 and 12, they’ve incorporated more than 9000 crowd models for this one.  Buckle up and get ready for the biggest hockey experience yet.

NHL 15 hits shelves on September 9th.  Watch the debut trailer here

NBA Live 15

How much do we know about NBA Live 15?  Well, we know it comes out October 7th, and we know that EA’s promised to do a whole lot more with it this year after last year’s wasn’t as well received as anticipated.  All I can share with you now until more details emerge is this screenshot that was in my inbox this morning. As you can see, the visual difference between last year and this is pretty huge already.  Dig Blake Griffin and Steph Curry in the second row there.

NBA Live 15 shoots for the buzzer on October 7th

Madden NFL 15

Hot off the announcement late last week that Richard Sherman is this year’s cover player is the first trailer look at Madden NFL 15.  It only seems fitting with Sherman gracing the cover that this year’s focus is better defensive prowess, and smarter play calling.  In fact, EA will be collecting data from players and using it to create cloud storage-based playbooks for you to use in your games based on what’s worked for others. Use it, or come up with your own specific play calling system – The choice is yours. Presentation will be kicked up a notch too with much more informative halftime programs and a lot more camera angles and replays of the action.  Are you ready for the show?

Madden NFL 15 blitzes your consoles on August 26th

FIFA 15

FIFA is usually one of the best selling games worldwide year after year, and this is probably the title has the most pressure to perform annually. From simple friendlies into the deepest strategies of Football Ultimate Team, the feeling of attention demanded between the game to the community and vice versa is definitely mutual.

This year, FIFA focuses on unfolding game story. Players will show more emotion on the pitch, with over 600 possible in-game reactions. No longer will the frustration of missing an open net be a pre-determined animation: Now your player will wear it back into the live game. Missed an open pass?  Couldn’t get past an open defender? Now your players will react back at you.  

Emotion isn’t the only thing your players will wear. The Living Pitch enhancement means that your players will wear grass stains, or dirt from the pitch with every tackle, fall and divet they create. Pitches will receive and retain battle scars throughout the heated matches, and your players probably won’t come off for halftime looking like they just stepped out of the dressing room anymore.

 

This, and more will bring itself to you when FIFA 15 kicks off on September 23rd

Finally is the announced return of an old favourite…


 

(Game is not available for pre-orders yet)

It’s not surprising that the PGA Tour is back on the EA Sports Agenda, and it’s not surprising that Tiburon is behind it yet again. What might be a bit surprising is that it’s going to be powered by the Frostbite 3 engine, which will give it a similar kick to the likes of the Need for Speed series and Battlefield.

The other interesting thing about PGA Tour 15 is that it won’t be just straight forward sim-style golfing and golf courses either.  Fantasy courses will make their debut and allow you to take your PGA Tour golfers through imaginary courses full of shortcuts and…pirate ships? It’s a bit unorthodox, but it just might work.

Curious?  Check out the reveal trailer here

The latest release of the bunch – PGA Tour 15 will be available in Spring of 2015.

Non-Sports highlights of EA’s presentation include

Battlefield: Hardline. You can actually download the Beta of that game right now too

Dragon Age Inquisition and just how vast it will be

Criterion might be back in the racing games market, though it probably won’t be a new Burnout game

The new Star Wars Battlefield title will draw inspiration from developers visiting the actual film sets

BioWare is up to something, but what exactly?

Don’t forget that if you Pre-Order these games during BestBuy.ca’s E3 2014 promotion, you can save up to 30% off the cost of the game.  Click here to find out how The offer expires June 12th.

Keep it locked on us this week. You can find all of the latest information about E3 and the latest discussion topics on gaming at Best Buy’s E3 page.