As the EA press conference started, we were assured that this was going to be different from the other conferences at E3. "A little more like Sundance" we were told, as they prepared to showcase ten games that will carry the EA name into the next gaming year. Now, I can't vouch for whether or not the presentation was anything like Sundance, never having been to Sundance before. I have, on the other hand, been to E3 before, and I'll say that this year's EA press conference wasn't really all that different from the press conference they hold every other year. That being said, at least the games that they showcased were pretty awesome.
Starting off with the big guns, they threw Dead Space 3 right at us. The big announcement was that the game will have drop-in/drop-out co-op throughout the campaign. They didn't touch many of the rumors that have been flying around, but they did announced John Carver, a new character, and said that the much-talked-about ice planet is only one of the many locales that you will be visiting over the course of the game. After a gameplay demo that consisted fighting rather hilariously large drill followed by being swallowed by a giant necromorph crab—no I am not kidding—we were told that the game would be coming to our homes February 2013.
If there's one thing that EA knows better than guns, its sports, and so the testosterone train chugged right along into a presentation for Madden 13. The big announcement here was the "connected career" mode, which combines all the single-player career modes from other Madden games into one fantasy universe. You can play as a star player, a coach, or even Madden himself, and you can either take control of characters you yourself build or famous figures in NFL history. Over the course of your career you will complete challenges, earn XP, and level up until you want to retire, at which point you can take the reins of another character, with all the progress your first character made still having an effect on the game mode.
They also apparently have a new story engine which will generate important events, including fake Twitter feeds. The game will also be compatible with new apps which will be released for phones and tablets which will let you play the game in all new ways. Aside from all this, they did have the time to talk about some gameplay. A new tackle system doesn't end gameplay as soon as a tackle animation starts. Players will actually be able to fight their way out of tackles, regaining their balance and continuing on. No release date was given for Madden 13.
Up next was one of my favorite franchises, SimCity. Of course, EA had to bang the social drum for a while by advertising SimCity Social, and it didn't actually look that bad. It was sort of like SimCity 2000, but you get to call down disasters on other people's cities instead of your own.
The big announcement in this portion of the presentation, though, was that a brand new SimCity (not for Facebook) release was incoming. This new SimCity game allows you to create custom-shaped zones for your city, build curved roads, upgrade special buildings, overlay the city with important data, and more. Civilians were simulated down to the thousands, which each particular Sim visible on the map, going about his or her business.
The game is also multiplayer. It will put your city in a persistent world filled with other cities made by other players of the game. Your actions will eventually affect your neighbors and vice versa. There are apparently many different types of multiplayer modes with different missions, goals, and rewards, but they didn't go in depth on what this actually means. The new SimCity will release February 2013.
Now the announcement that shooter fans everywhere have been waiting for, the announcement of Battlefield Premium, EA's answer to Call of Duty ELITE. They promise access to five new expansion packs each with a different focus. Some will focus on maps, others on weapons, others on vehicular combat, and more. Battlefield Premium will also give early access to ten new vehicles, new weapons, exclusive dog tags, exclusive camo skins, and much more. All of this is coming in the next nine months and you can actually pay for it today for $49.99. My take on it? It seems a bit too "me too" for Battlefield. Honestly, if they keep following this trend, they will soon become far too similar to Activision, and that will just end up oversaturating the already oversaturated military shooter market with games that are far too alike. That being said, it's a pretty decent value for Battlefield fans.