Repost: E3 2010: Electronic Arts Press Conference

Electronic Arts invited me to attend their E3 Press Conference on Monday June 14. Even though the convention hall doesn’t open until Tuesday, a lot of publishers were having their meetings Monday to hype what they would be showing on the show floor proper.

So at 2 PM at The Orpheum Theater, I sat among others to see what EA had planned for the next eight months.

The first title shown was Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, the Criteron Games developed title. A proper mix of Burnout and Need For Speed, Hot Pursuit released on November 16, 2010 and returns to the high speed and intensity chase racing of the previous titles. While a lot of the title wasn’t revealed, a major function of the title was Auto Log, an online hub that connected friends and users together. Tracking stats and progress, Auto Log looks like an extension of what Need For Speed: World looks to do for free-to-play online games, but for the console. It does look like a mix of both series, but the Burnout flourishes show a lot more than the Need For Speed tones.

Next was Dead Space 2, introduced by Steve Papoutsis, Producer. Taking place in the Sprawl, a full city, Issac returns with a war against the creatures that are inhabiting the city. Producer Rich Briggs played a demo of the title, and while increasing dynamic, the controls do slow down the gameplay and increase the tension of the title. Dead Space 2 is coming January 25, 2011.

Third was Medal of Honor, introduced by General Manager Sean Decker, who demoed a 24 player multiplayer deathmatch. While it looked like a mix of Killzone 2 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, the distinct calling of a Tomahawk airstrike opened the door to different strategies for the title. One thing that Decker emphasized was that the action would be non-stop and campers wouldn’t have much time to sit before being taken out by various means. Releasing 10/12/10, a multiplayer beta is releasing June 21 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

After Medal of Honor, Katrina Stafford walked on stage and introduced EA’s new loyalty program called Gun Club. Basically opening the door to gamers with early access to demos, unlocks in titles, and breaking news, not much of the inner workings were revealed, but I’m sure more will be released soon.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 will be receiving an expansion entitled Vietnam, releasing this Winter, and was previewed by a video teaser.

Peter Moore, President of EA Sports took time to demo three titles. The first was EA Sports MMA.

While the gameplay mechanics were said to be among the best that EA has ever created, the focus was on EA Live Broadcast, a gaming hub that was much more like a live representation of actual events in sports. With Live Broadcast, players will be able to create profiles and possibly fight live with other players watching streaming video on consoles and PC with play by play commentary while the action is happening. Releasing 10/19/10, Live Broadcast could be revolutionary or it could be another unnecessary addition to multiplayer gaming.

EA Sports Active 2 was the second of the trio, releasing for multiple platforms for the first time and featuring wireless functionality. The wireless function allows for freer range of motion. Data from the exercises will be uploaded to a website that will show all the stats of players and their progress.

Of course, Madden 11 was brought forward with the help of Joe Montana who along with Moore lightly talked about the simplicity being brought into the series. Featuring 3 on 3 co-op, players can now work with what EA calls, Gameflow, letting players see more of the field and change strategy when watching the defense. The promise of more authentic gameplay is interesting, but only when the title releases will it be proven.

The Sims 3 was shown, announcing its release for consoles, focusing on the free will gameplay, but the presentation was so bizarre, I wasn’t sure what the real point of the presentation was other than to take up time.

Crysis 2 was also demoed live, showing off the two modes of the Nano-suit, an invincible action mode and stealth invisibility mode. A sandbox shooter, the title presents the world and allows players to flow through it as they will. It was also announced that Crysis 2 would be 3D this fall and EA showed a video of it in action which was awesome and completely useless because the trailer felt too forced with the technology.

Epic Games presented Bulletstorm, an over-the-top first person shooter that focused on crazy action and other fps elements. It looked good, but felt tired because it’s another title from Epic, and possibly recycling more lost Gears elements. The announced release date is 2/22/11.

Finally, Bioware and Lucasarts showed off a new trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic. They also announced that players will receive their own ships which didn’t bring much excitement to the crows. The first PvP warzone announced was Alderran, but no real gameplay was shown.

All in all, the titles of EA’s press conference mainly keep them in the safe zone. Their first party titles are all existing IPs, even if they are improving on them. The EA Partner titles are still partnerships from the previous studios they’ve worked with before. So for everything that EA says it’s changing and doing differently, they are staying the same as well.