E3 2013: the Electronic Artists of EA

See what I did there in the title? Ah, never mind. We’re back with more E3 coverage! This time we will take a look at the second conference of last Monday: everyone’s favourite, Electronic Arts. I have to correct myself on my last post as well before we begin. Remember the talk I had about the collapsing building being awesome at Battlefield 4? Yeah, that was at EA’s conference, not the one from Microsoft. My apologies. Can we still be friends? Pretty please?

Cars, plants and zombies… and dragons… and Star Wars

Anyway. EA had a lot to make up since they made a lot of consumers/gamers unhappy with their Online Passes and the trouble they brought on with SimCity (You needed to be connected online at all times to be able to play – even while playing on your own). They certainly tried to be friends with gamers again. Their first announcement was interesting and very cool, in my opinion.

YES! It’s plants! And zombies! And awesome!

Turns out they’re publishing a First Person variant of the popular game Plants vs. Zombies, developed by creator PopCap. It looked strange, but very funny at the same time as well. I laughed quite hard when the “boss wave” was shown while they played. It was a Disco Zombie. The name and beginning of the level were a direct pun towards Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which I found pretty funny. Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare will first be released on Xbox One and Xbox 360, followed by PC and other platforms later on. After Plants vs. Zombies, PopCap’s co-founder John Vechey jumped up and did an aerial stomp to the ground, announcing Peggle 2 is going to come out. Quite an original way to announce a new game, yes. Oh, before I forget, at the end of this post will be yet another playlist with all shown footage at EA’s conference. You’re welcome!

Another interesting announcement was that Ford and Dreamworks struck a deal to make a movie out of Need for Speed. You know, that arcade racing game. While some people were cheering, I could not help but think we just had such a movie… Something with Fast and Furious. Fortunately, they also showed some footage from an actual new Need for Speed video game, Rivals. It looked like Need for Speed back to its roots: with cops and street racers. We’ll see if the series will hold in a time where race games are struggling for renewal.

Need for Speed Rivals seems to be bringing back that old “Cops n Crooks” feeling.

Another expected, but nevertheless great announcement was the third instalment of Dragon Age, titled Inquisition. A lot of fans felt Bioware had something to make up after part II, which received mixed reviews. I guess Inquisition is going to be it. Since they left out the tactical combat from Origins in part II, Inquisition will be somewhat of a hybrid between the two. It will involve responsive, as well as methodical action. Bioware also stated that they will not implement an unnecessary multiplayer mode, confirming that they’ll stick to what they do best: create impressive and immersive worlds to go through in single player.

Finally, a quick teaser was shown for Star Wars Battlefront, which made a lot of people happy. Since Disney shut down the last studio (LucasArts) which was working on this classic-in-the-make, its future was uncertain. Fortunately for fans, EA picked up the licenses to make Star Wars games and did so. Battlefront will be developed by multiplayer games developer veteran Dice.

vtcFbmZ Dragon-Age-3-First-Screenshot
Dragon Age 3: Inquisition

EA Sports: not my kind of game

And then the inevitable happened: Sports begun. EA Sports is probably one of their most important branches, so I respected it and watched all of it. (Read: scrolling the Internet and checking every now and then if they weren’t talking about how realistic their sports games were, but actually were showing footage.) They showed off a new NBA Live, which a lot of fans wanted. Furthermore, footage of Madden NFL 14 and Fifa 14 were shown – which in all honesty – looked amazing. All of this was made possible with their new “Ignite” engine, show-casing EA’s route to next-gen with impressive new graphics. New things like “Pro Instincts” and “Elite Technique” were also discussed, which would give players even more choices and movements on the field. Again, the footage looked amazing, but talk about more choices and more movement is something only true Fifa fans will swallow every year again. Unfortunately for EA, I’m not a Sports gamer.

After NBA, Madden and Fifa, it was time for UFC. With style, Bruce Buffer screamed at the top of his lungs and announced Dana White, as well as 2 UFC fighters up on stage. What was shown was quite similar to the other sports games: a lot of PR talk, but good footage. At one point Dana White asked himself and the audience: “Everybody wants to know what it feels like to get hit in the head, right?”. Safe to say the audience stared at him as if he wasn’t sane.

Fifa 14, NBA Live 14, UFC

Amazing Battlefield and a great surprise

Of course there was room for Dice to show-case their latest work Battlefield 4. As mentioned, this was the actual conference where they showed the skyscraper going down. They did so by letting 64 people (!) play live on stage in an actual multiplayer match. For me this was the moment I felt EA had shown they’re still with the gamers. It takes a lot of balls (and preparation) to put 64 people on stage and hope that the footage will be interesting enough for the world to see. With the skyscraper going down as a climax, it was definitely worth seeing. EA also announced Commander Mode will be introduced in Battlefield 4. It basically means one person gets a bird’s eye view on the battlefield, with probably the possibility to give orders and feedback to players playing on the battlefield.

And then there was the big surprise a lot of people hoped for. It was not expected, since the sales for this game were pretty poor, but somehow EA saw some potential in a new part for this series. I’m talking about a friggin’ new MIRROR’S EDGE! Yes, I am excited. I loved the original Mirror’s Edge so much and I even dare to say it’s one of my favourite games I’ve ever played. The game is set in a totalitarian future, where all communication is checked by the government (Sounds familiar, Microsoft?). Of course there are deviants. That’s where you come in as Faith, a so-called “Runner” who delivers messages by free running through the white, sterile city.

Colour pallets are extreme and contrasting: if there’s danger, possible objects to free-run on appear bright red, while they will turn dark blue if it’s safe. It was this setting that was used in Mirror’s Edge 1 and it’s the same setting they will use for the new game. As of yet, it’s not known if it will be an actual sequel or a prequel, since no number 2 was shown in the teaser trailer.

Mirror’s Edge (2) My personal favourite announcement of the entire E3.

Some last interesting facts

To wrap up, I’ll once again give you some interesting and funny facts.
– The developers of Plants vs. Zombies wanted to call their game originally “Lawn of the Dead”. However, due to fear of legal problems with the movie title “Dawn of the Dead”, they changed the title to Plants vs. Zombies.
– At one point audio problems were evident on stage during the presentation, it seemed someone’s microphone was still on during the trailers and it also seemed this person “wanted a tic-tac real badly”.
– The shown gameplay from Battlefield 4 showed a jetty which could be used as a vehicle.
– Battlefield 4 will feature a system called Battlelog, which is yet another social game network which will show stats and other details.
– Online Passes will be stopped by EA and it seems “always online” for games will not be repeated that quickly anymore. Good going, guys.
– Drake came on stage to show his love for EA and Fifa. After 10 seconds he left and (probably) collected his money.
– An actor from Breaking Bad announced the new Need for Speed movie. If he will be featured in the movie, I do not know.
– It seems most of EA’s games will be multi platform (as usual), showing that EA isn’t picking sides yet. The only game which seems to be timed exclusive for Xbox One is Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.
– Well, Second Assault for Battlefield 4 is timed exclusive for Xbox One, but that’s technically an add-on.

And that was EA! I must say I enjoyed their show pretty well. They seemed to have learned from their SimCity trouble, since it wasn’t mentioned that all these awesome games needed to be online to be played. The fact that they did not mention it can also mean that they indeed have to, but I don’t think so. EA is not stupid. They lost a lot of consumer trust and reputation after SimCity. They’ll be nice from now on.

I will continue my E3 adventure from the comfort of my laptop with Ubisoft’s press conference next post. See you there? Of course I’ll see you there!

Once again, a playlist with all shown footage on the conference:

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About Pieter 21 Articles
20-year-old Dutchie; passion for music and video games; Co-Creator of OtterAndWeasel; // YouTube: www.youtube.com/otterandweasel // Twitter: @Pjotterdeotter @OtterAndWeasel // Facebook: www.facebook.com/otterandweasel
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