E3: Electronic Arts Press Conference

This year, it seems that a few publishers have more surprises up their sleeves than they have in the previous years, and in lieu of that, they are holding their own press conferences in order to show off their lineup for the next twelve months. The first of those companies is Electronic Arts, who took center stage this afternoon to show off their newest collection of games. After their strong lineup for the first half of this year, it’s interesting to see what exclusives they have for the remainder of the year. Without further ado, here is what was announced at the 2009 Electronic Arts E3 Press Conference on Monday, June 1, 2009.

Dante’s Inferno
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Visceral Games
Release Date: Q1 2010
Platforms: PS3, 360

The show started out with this, although it was nothing more than a brief trailer showing off the glory that is this game. Dante’s Inferno is based off of the poem Divine Comedy, and takes you through the story of Dante. It is most definitely an M rated game, as the blood in the trailer was quite prevalent, and this game is very violent. Unfortunately there was no other announcements given, but the game looks to be similar to God of War in some ways, so it will be interesting to see how they change it up.

The Sims 3
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Redwood Shores
Release Date: June 2, 2009
Platforms: PC, MAC, IP

There isn’t much to say about this: It’s the Sims. They talked about it briefly, because the Sims 3 comes out tomorrow morning in stores everywhere, and should be a huge sell. Plain and simple, this is a revolutionary game for the Sims franchise, and it changes everything that was, makes it all into one immersing world, with beautiful graphics, and a much easier to understand wants and needs system. Reviews have already started going up for it today, and so far, they’ve been nothing but positive. Expect to see it in stores tomorrow in all of it’s plumbob glory.

Need For Speed: Shift
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Slightly Mad
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Platforms: PS3, 360, PSP, PC

Taking the Need For Speed franchise in a completely new direction, Shift puts you in the place of the driver as you play from a cockpit view now. I’ve been wondering if the game is more geared towards a realistic standpoint, in which should be kept to the Gran Turismo and Forza games, or if they’re keeping with a bit of the arcade-style gameplay that they’re used to doing. I feel that they should not have gone away from their classic cop chases style as it is, as they succeeded in it with flying colors, but they wanted to try something new, and here is their attempt. They’ve also added in a system called “Driver Profiling”, in which if you pass cleanly, you gain allies and get a “good” rating, while if you bump other drivers out of your way, you make rivals and get a “bad” rating. I’m still very interested to see how this one turns out, although being a huge fan of the Need For Speed franchise, I’m unhappy with the new direction they are taking. I’m not a fan of being forced to play from inside the car usually.

Dragon Age: Origins
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: BioWare
Release Date: October 20, 2009
Platforms: PS3, 360, PC

There wasn’t a lot of new information given about the new Dragon Age game. The trailer that they showed made it look like another D&D type of game, with your classic warriors, magicians, and other classes that you always see in the classic RPGs. None the less, the trailer shown made the game look to be a bit bloody and violent, so I expect an M rating to come for this game as well. This is another one of those, “let’s wait and see” games, so hopefully there will be more coverage on it soon.

Mass Effect 2
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: BioWare
Release Date: Q1 2010
Platforms: 360, PC

If you liked the original Mass Effect, there’s a good chance that you will like it’s sequel. There isn’t much to say here either, as BioWare came out and quickly ran through both of their upcoming games, but they did take the chance to tell people that fans will continue to like this game. I really can’t think of anything else to say about this, other than, if you liked the first one, buy the second one. Okay?

Fight Night Round 4
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Canada
Release Date: June 25, 2009
Platforms: PS3, 360

Yearly, EA Sports makes more sports games, and their Fight Night series is no exception. Last time, they showed the world what they could do on the next generation of systems, creating incredible graphics and a realistic boxing engine. They continue that now with Fight Night Round 4. The visuals have been improved upon even more, if that was even possible, as you can see every little detail of every fighter. All of the physics have become more realistic as well, as the stronger fighters are able to punch through blocks, while evading is more what it should be as well. EA boasted that this game, versus their old one, is now running at 60 frames per second, so everything moves a lot faster and fluid now.

EA Sports MMA
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Tiberon
Release Date: 2010
Platforms: Unknown

EA Sports MMA is a new IP that was just announced at the Electronic Arts Press Conference. All of the information that is gathered for it above is based on what I heard they announced, so if any of it is wrong, I apologize. MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts, and is the first of it’s kind at the moment. I expect to see something unique come out of it, some more robust fighting, but as of now, they announced nothing about it, with only a logo and a silhouette to tease us with. Since this is in production, I expect to see more later this year.

EA Online

Electronic Arts has become a lot more prevalent with their online features, and that isn’t in-game features. EA announced that the new EASports.com has officially opened, with more information about the sports games for sports lovers, as well as areas for players to meet up with other fellow fans, or a place to find your potential opponents. Also, the first ever completely streaming-based game, Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online is set to open, which is a Tiger Woods golf game designed by EA that runs solely out of your internet browser. It will be interesting to see how in-depth the game is, or if it’s just a small little way of being able to play more of their golf games without being by your console. For football fans, EA opened a new site that allows you to custom create your custom made NCAA team online before the game even comes out, called NCAA Football 10 Team Builder. You can customize everything from your team’s field, to their jerseys, even the players themselves, then upload it and easily get them in-game as soon as the game comes out. Finally, Madden lovers are now able to play in a real franchise online with 31 of their closest friends with the new Online Franchise mode in Madden 10. This is one of the coolest features, because it brings to life every aspect of the Madden Franchise mode, and you can even keep up with your team and franchise stats online, and supposed there will be an iPhone App to keep up with it as well. These are all cool features that I expect will get some light shed on them in the next few months.

Grand Slam Tennis
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Canada
Release Date: June 8, 2009
Platforms: PS3, 360, WII

I wish I could say more about this game, but during the show they showed off the Wii version of this game, and truly, overall, it’s just another tennis game on the Wii, very similar to the tennis game that you can find in Wii Sports, except this one features real-life professional tennis players. Supposedly the way the ball moves when you hit it, as well as the player movement, is different, and unlike Wii Sports Tennis, you are the only player on the court, unless there is a doubles feature included. Overall though, you still control everything the exact same way, from the serve to the swing. This game will be out a week after E3 wraps up, so watch out for more of this if you are a tennis fan.

The Saboteur
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Pandemic Studios
Release Date: TBA
Platforms: PS3, 360, PC

The Saboteur is one of the games that I’m watching for most out of E3. I’ll start out by saying that the one downside is that this game reminds me too much of Assassin’s Creed, except with guns. Never the less, this game capitalizes on that, and improves upon it, taking place in Europe during a time when the Nazis ran things. Your character is a saboteur, and your goal is to create chaos in order to improve morale for the people of the city. In saying that, the colors of the city that you play in are black and white, and progressively gain more color as their morale increases. When the gameplay portion began, it slightly reminded me of Sin City, as most of the area was black and white, but there were a few red items that stood out quite a bit in the background. As they said, the objective is to go in quietly, and go out with a bang. This game is most definitely M rated, as there is a lot of violence, and as the demo they played showed us, also contained some sexual references.

Brutal Legend
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Double Fine Prod.
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Platforms: PS3, 360

One word describes everything that Brutal Legend is trying to be, and in the end will be, no matter what else they are trying to get out of the game: comedy. With Jack Black playing the main character, and many other famous voices being lent to characters throughout the game, every corner is an attempt at another joke or gag. There aren’t many games that go for the comedy stick while still trying to be a serious action game, but Double Fine is doing everything they can to make the gameplay as good as the dialogue. I can’t say I’m too interested in this game, as Jack Black’s comedy doesn’t always appeal to me, but there’s where the audience lies, and that will drive in sales.

Crysis 2
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Crytek
Release Date: TBA
Platforms: PS3, 360, PC

If you know anything about the Crysis series, you’ll know that this game strives to be the highest graphical intensive game known to man, and with the CryEngine behind it, it succeeds.  This will be Crytek’s first game that will take advantage of every system, and not just the PC. This game was always beautiful, and with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 engines behind it as well, it will continue to be. Unfortunately, they didn’t announce much more than that, and the fact that they are now running on CryEngine 3, so we’ll just have to watch for more gameplay trailers in the next week.

APB
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Realtime Worlds
Release Date: 2009
Platforms: 360, PC

APB stands for All Points Bulletin, although I’m still not sure what that has to do with the game. It’s a brand new game that is being developed by Realtime Worlds as an MMO, although is seems like it’s an MMO shooter by the looks of the trailer that was shown. The premise of the game is that you play in this world, I might have heard with 100 people, in which you get to choose a side, make money, and get big. The objective is to become the most known in the city, whether that be by notoriety or by becoming the best citizen. The concept is there, I’m just interested to see how it’s followed through, if it’s just going to be a first-person shooter, third-person, or something else. They showed off some amazing customization that is available for your character, so I expect a lot from this game.

Star Wars: The Old Republic
Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: BioWare
Release Date: 2010
Platforms: PC

The lights grow dim, the music starts, ominous. Out walks twenty people wearing hoods, capes, masks, and more, each holding something in their hands. As they all hit center stage, they bring up their items, and they light up. Twenty lightsabers, blue and red, stand at the ready, as the LucasArts and BioWare developers walk onto the stage as if they owned the place. The trailer that they showed was something that I’d describe as something I’ve only used once before, and will use once for this Conference: “epic”. Star Wars: The Old Republic is a Star Wars MMO that will be released in 2010. While they didn’t show any gameplay footage, just a story-driven cinematic trailer, they did announce that this will be a fully-voiced MMO, meaning every character, every person you encounter, every everything that could possibly have a voice, will. They touted this as the first game to do that, and I believe them. While I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, I am none the less quite interested to see how this game turns out, and will be watching for more footage from it in the coming year.

– Overall Impressions –

Electronic Arts brought a lot to the table, and while half of it was EA Sports, that’s what EA excels at in many levels. Looking further though, EA holds a lot of the biggest licenses out there right now, so games like the Sims 3 and Mass Effect 2 are going to be big sellers. I thought that while their conference wasn’t meant to be something huge and spectacular, they followed through by announcing the games that they needed to announce, and did it in a good time. Just as Microsoft did, they didn’t speak numbers practically at all, which gave them more time to concentrate on what us game players wanted to hear about: the games. I’m still very interested to see more from a lot of their games which they weren’t able to show much of yet, but they still have a lot of games that are a while out before they are ready to go.

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