The EA 2011 E3 Press Conference was held once again at the Orpheum Theater in west Los Angeles, but the location was the only opulent thing about EA’s event this year. Company CEO John Riccitiello reminded us on multiple occasions that they weren’t going to do anything fancy like “some other people,” meaning Microsoft. It was as if EA wanted to make sure we knew they had very valid reasons for giving us a bare bones performance, and if it weren’t for the addition of Mass Effect 3 and Reckoning to their lineup, the same could be said for their 2011-2012 catalog. EA’s just going to show off nine of their upcoming titles and call it a day. Nothing shiny, just good games.
Mass Effect 3
The presentation began with a live gameplay demo of Mass Effect 3, with Captain Shepard shooting down a massive mech, and looking very heroic doing so. This was meant to give us a taste of the huge scale of the battles in the game, but they also reminded us that the scale also applies to the story, which is one “of tremendous emotional impact.”
The final part of the ME3 section was the unveiling of the “Fall of Earth” gameplay trailer, which is just as epic as you could ever desire. The trailer ended with the announcement that we would see Mass Effect 23 hit shelves on March 6, 2012.
Need for Speed: The Run
EA development studio Black Box has created an illicit high stakes race across the country for the latest Need for Speed title. Autolog, the system that records all your stats outside the game, this time around will be weaved into the story. First time ever players will have on foot action moments (out of the car). Next there was a live gameplay demo of a Chicago stage. Collision cut scene leads to foot chase up into a building and on the roof, including bullet time jumping sequences. Not sure if this part of the game will be gimmicky or cool. We’ll have to see. Now the player is using quick time events to navigate the jump across an alley way, and a fist fight with a cop. Using the cop car the player races out of the city with a 5 minute timer. The car crashes, and the scene cuts to the player stuck upsidedown inside the car on the train tracks. Looks pretty dramatic.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
The producer of the game came on stage to tell us that even though they are part of the presentation, they can’t really present an MMO like this and do it justice. Guess they are barely going to try. They are showing off Raids and Tatooine on the show floor. Now a new trailer, which is really just a mashup of other trailers we’ve already seen. It’s balanced, featuring both factions equally, showing off combat, multiple classes and some of the cut scenes from previous trailers. This trailer seems to be a summary of the others, focusing more on the grand scale of combat.
Ooh fog machines. SSX time. The trailer shows epic boarding down some seriously killer slopes. Will be interesting to see how much of that is ingame content.
Peter Moore is on stage now, talking about how they are reinventing the franchise. They will allow players to drop into every major mountain range on the planet – since they have used NASA satellite imagery to create the drop system for the game. SSX releases January 2012.
FIFA 11, the previous game won 51 awards. 42 million gamers play FIFA 11. “FIFA is, quite simply, the world’s game.” I suppose that’s a reasonable thing to say with those sorts of numbers
FIFA 12 will be the most authentic FIFA ever, including tactical defending, precision dribbling, and a player impact engine that took 2 years to develop.
Introducing the EA Sports Football Club: a live service that is at the heart of FIFA. It’s a social platform that will feature new content and allow players to connect and play games. Will allow progression across all FIFA games across platforms. More game should include this sort of strong social community backbone for their games, in my opinion. It looks pretty slick.
Madden 12 trailer. Now three actual major players are on the stage. I guess when Riccitiello said they weren’t going to have celebrities drop in to their press conference he didn’t count the three huge football stars. This is me shrugging. The game releases Aug 30, 2011.
The Sims Social
Announcing The Sims Social for Facebook. The trailer focuses on flirting with other friends on Facebook, since now girls can make out with guys they like online. I’m not sure this is the right tack to take with this game, since most of The Sims players are less hot girls and more Moms spending their time between picking up the kids and doing laundry.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Curt Schilling on stage now to talk about Reckoning. Open world fantasy gameplay, from huge names like Todd McFarlane and R.A. Salvatore. And a trailer, yay! The trailer shows a hero reborn, stepping of off a pile of corpses, and then sent to hunt his killer. Man that looks awesome. Releasing 2012, and I cannot wait to learn more.
Insomniac President Ted Price, introduces Overstrike
A spy game featuring “the misfits” Overstrike 9, a group of four experts that get the job done.
Okay this looks fun, with a sort of TF2 vibe. Yeah, TF2 meets Gears of War.
Now Dice’s turn. Battlefield 3 trailer. They are promising the best FPS out this year, and this engine looks amazing, with cinematic quality rendering, demolition of entire buildings, and high detail.s
But what about the multiplayer? A trailer featuring the metro in Paris looks like a movie, if the movie is interactive
Battle hub community site will be coming with the game – 100% free
Sept 11 multiplatform open beta
Now a live demo of desert combat:
Tanks hunting the PLR. Dust clouds in the distance indicate combat ahead. Completely photorealistic rendering. It all looks peaceful, until the enemy tank battalion arrives, and the rounds start flying. You can feel the concussion as your tank fires at the enemy. Looks very accurate. He switches to thermal camera, since you can’t see in the dust cloud, and it allows him to take out those that are left. Lack of UI breeds deep immersion.
Releases Oct 25th.
And that’s the end of the EA press conference. Not flashy, as they said yet again, but there are a couple titles in there that are definitely worth checking out. I’m hoping to get more time with Mass Effect 3 and Reckoning on the show floor. Next up: Ubisoft. Let’s see what the French have to offer E3 this year.