Highlights of the EA press event

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EA Press Conference

So earlier today Geoff was at Capcom’s event complaining about the location and the lack of any real sustenance while I sat smugly at the Hitman event with my bottle of water and a PEACH.. a peach that made me the envy of all those who weren’t here, that is how little food we’ve received so far at Gamescom

And yes I hear you, why didn’t we just buy ourselves food? Well simply because there just isn’t time.. but we’re not here to discuss our lack of solid food but rather about what EA decided to show us at the biggest gaming convention on the planet.

Oddly enough this event was being held directly opposite the Capcom venue and taking the long trip here you could easily believe you were in an impoverished eastern European state rather than the crown jewel of what we keep being told is the second most powerful financial block on the planet.

Damn I’m being side tracked again, okay so decaying buildings and depression aside we were ushered into a warehouse flanked by Porsche Panamera’s and given a moderately cool bottle of water before being sent to sit in one of the most uncomfortable chairs I have ever had the displeasure of placing my derriere.

As you can tell, this wasn’t going well for me, I wasn’t impressed that we had flown half way across the planet at our own cost to be deposited in some hell hole with one of the richest companies in the industry not even plumping for a peach…. and now the conference begins

Army of Two

It’s really nice of EA to have hired sound engineers who were hard of hearing but the cacophony of bullets and explosions had the youngest of the group diving for covers with visions of yet another blitzkrieg. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and rather EA were starting their press conference at the biggest gaming event of the year showcasing the sequel to their exceptionally polarising title, Army of Two.

If you were a fan of the original Army of Two then I have to wonder about your taste in games, granted the original had some decent set pieces but the gameplay was pretty terrible and the tasteless storyline was something out of a horror movie. So the fact that they have made a sequel has surprised many in the industry… however it actually looked pretty incredible.

Now granted it’s still early days in the marketing machine but the gameplay and story arch we saw were pretty impressive. The main focus has once again been placed on the co-op style of gameplay however this time it has been taken a step further with the two antagonists being given entirely separate yet converging stages, very similar to what we recently experienced in Spec Ops: The Line.

The bro-brothers of the first title are nowhere to be seen and have been replaced by two new, more likeable characters.

I won’t make the same mistake as before by saying this looks like a great title but I will say it’s worth dropping onto your radar for now.

NHL 13

NHL13

Next up an intrepid EA employee ice skated onto the stage and scored a goal (they are called goals right?), unfortunately due to this publicity stunt I completely missed his name. But he was here to announce that NHL 13 is on it’s way and that, quite surprisingly, it is the second only to FIFA in European representatives in a video game.

And that to be honest is where I lost my way a bit, I’m the sporting fan of the site but I have never gotten into NHL and while the idea of a 750 person private league sounds impressive due to the big numbers and all; I really don’t have a clue what it all means.

They also revealed that the player movement engine had been rebuilt and was now called the True Performance Skating Engine which focussed on 4 distinct ideals

  • Explosiveness – How quickly the skater gets of the mark
  • Top End Speed – Apparently NHL is the fastest team sport on the planet
  • Momentum – Now this part I found interesting as they’ve added some more physics to the game so that if you are going at top speed it will take you longer to stop and turn around than if you were going slowly
  • Creativity – Apparently these goons who play NHL are actually creative geniuses who need to receive credit for the ability
    • okay I admit I made most of that up to drop in here that I recently watched Goon which I actually thoroughly enjoyed mainly because he beat the bejeebus out of everyone
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NHL 13 will receive a demo on the Xbox 360 on the 21st of August and a day later it will appear on the PS3

Need For Speed Most Wanted

Twilight

Did you play Burnout: Paradise City? Did you enjoy it? Well then I have some incredible news for you. Need For Speed Most Wanted is Burnout, I don’t care what the EA reps want to try and sell you this game is exactly what we’ve all been begging for over the past few years.

We were given a quick demonstration of the title and other than the name this game looks perfect.

It’s not a simulator at all but rather a sexy visual explosion of speed, colour and damage with the entire goal to be the strongest and fastest of them all no matter the cost.

And if that isn’t enough, the game is going to be entirely open world and you will be able to race the fastest car of your dreams from the very beginning… if you can find it. No more unlocking level by level, once you find it you have it and it will be available from the very beginning

A nice touch was the challenge where you need to ramp through billboards and while you are playing and connected online you will see the ugly mug of whoever currently has the longest jump plastered over the billboard. How they are getting the actual photo’s wasn’t revealed so I suspect we’ll actually be seeing avatars on the billboard instead

Next up is EA’s answer to the yearly Call of Duty release, not Battlefield 3 the other one

Medal of Honor: Warfighter

According to EA this is the only truly authentic military shooter on the market this year which made me choke on my bottle of water as just after he finished saying that we watched a piece of video where this authentic army man jumped down a boulder with a rocket launcher on his shoulder and used it to blow up 4 people about 10 meters in front of him.

Warfighter is to EA’s military shooters as Black Ops is to Activision.. can you guess the correlation between Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare?

Enough being the eternal cynic, the game itself is looking pretty solid on the trailers and the news that we will be able to sign up on the side of our real country and that the system will keep realtime logs of which country has the best war fighters is quite a nice touch.

Well be representing South Africa later this week so we’ll let you know our thoughts then.

The Simpsons

Next up we see the return of the aborted Simpsons title that was so incredibly popular it actually forced EA to shut the entire game down as they couldn’t take the popularity of the
title.

But now they are ready and if you are interested in entering a Sim City / Farmville styled Simpsons mobile title then keep an eye on the iStore over the next month.

I know this is going to be a huge hit with the wife.

Origin

Then we heard that 21 million people are currently signed up to Origin and that it is only going to get bigger and better this year with the revelation that Origin is now coming to Mac’s and will also be integrating with Twitter and Facebook… the less said about that the better really.

SimCity

SimcityStreet

I’ve said a lot about SimCity over the past year already so the revelation that they were going to get some primetime coverage really excited me.

However the only thing they really announced was that the cities in SimCity would be able to be specialised with you being given the opportunity to create gambling mecca’s or university towns and plugging them into the SimCity World that would allow you to work, compete and integrate with other cities across the planet.

It’s an interesting concept that I think we all saw coming so for now I’m going to reserve judgement until how I see it actually implemented.

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Battlefield 3

You haven’t been to an EA event in the past few years without seeing something about Battlefield and this one is no different.

However this time we didn’t really hear anything new and the little cameo was simply to re-announce that there will be 5 DLC packs for Battlefield 3 and that if you buy BF3 premium you will then get them for free.

A new cheaper (kinda) bundle of BF3 was announced for Europe, and I presume South Africa, where you will be able to get the full version of BF3 along with Battlefield Premium for the normal retail price of a new game.

Crysis 3

Then we were onto Crysis and this time we were quickly thrown into some real gameplay where 9 happy EA employees were paraded onto the stage and 2 were set to be hunters while the other 7 were CELL soldiers attempting to not get skewered in the urban rainforest of New York City

The new gameplay mechanic of Crysis being that the hunters need to hunt down the CELL soldiers and each one that they kill then respawns as a hunter and joins in trying to exterminate the CELL soldiers.

It’s not an original game mechanic but it did look like quite a bit of fun and well it’s Crysis.. therefore it looks absolutely spectacular

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Now it takes a lot to feel bad for ludicrously wealthy people and I like to think that all gaming executives are ludicrously wealthy which led me into the uncomfortable situation where the EA exec was doing his very best to convince us that SWTOR has become free play as they wanted to bring the game to all the fans and not because it was bleeding players and he’d been brought in to save it all.

The journalist behind me actually booed the guy… it summed up EA’s chance with this title

Dead Space 3

DeadSpace3

And from the ridiculous we moved into the sublime with a live gameplay exhibition of a man in a space suit flying through space and randomly aiming his laser beam at mines.. that were in the way for no apparent reason.

It was a real shame as Dead Space 3 is an incredible looking game and an awesome addition to a solid franchise but the idea that a 1000 journalists wanted to watch someone do nothing more than a quick time event stage left a few with a bemused look upon their faces.

However all was not lost with an incredible Dead Space 3 trailer being shown afterwards that really did capture the fear, violence and sheer terror that Dead Space has become renowned for.

Oh and it’s coming out on the 8th of February

FIFA 13

We are in Europe which is football country so it’s no surprise that EA decided to end their showing with their top selling European title, FIFA.

First up was the announcement that Korea will be getting FIFA Online 3 which will be a free to play FIFA version specific to Korea.. I’m going to be looking into that as I don’t see why one of the most affluent countries in the world deserves a free to pay game while we have to pay full price?

Next they are talking about FIFA ultimate team and throwing out stats left right and centre. Things like 92 billion coins have been exchanged in the game and over 30 million trades have occurred in the last year with over 380 million games being played. It’s quite impressive if you think about it.

So what’s changing this year?

Well the key take home points would be that the online league play now allows co-op, your team changes will now be stored and that real world issues and form will have an impact in the game.

The matchday feature is quite an incredible leap forward and is just another feature, in my humble opinion, that is moving FIFA further and further ahead of PES in the fight for football domination.

And that was that, we were given some thanks and then shoved out the door into some awaiting busses (Thank you Sony) who whisked us away to Sony’s event where we were left without food once again… but I’ll let Geoff clear that one up for you.

Last Updated: August 15, 2012

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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