E3 2009: The EA Press Conference
Written Tuesday, June 02, 2009 By Jason Debelyak
Before anybody even hits the stage, a trailer pops up on the screen. Visceral Games, that can mean only one thing, Dante's Inferno! There is a fair amount of action in the trailer as Dante climbs up a giant woman and gets to the top of a mountain, where Beatrice claims that he broke his promise. From there he falls down to hell, where the action is bound to kick off. The trailer cuts off with the tagline "Go to Hell". John Riccitiello, the CEO of Electronic Arts hits the stage and tells everybody, "That's Dante's Inferno". And apparently that's all that's going to be said about the game for some weird reason, but check out the trailer for yourself:
Mr. Riccitiello goes on to talk about The Sims 3 and that the game will be launching at Midnight simultaneously in dozens of countries around the world. The trailer comes on the screen, which looks extremely impressive for a Sims title, but unfortunately is a PC only title.
Now it's time to get the show truly started, Riccitiello states that there will be 12 games from 12 creators. A few people come onto the stage to talk about some titles that I'm simply not going to cover. If you happen to be into those games, my apologies! For all you tweens out there those games are Littlest Pet Shop Friends (Beach, City and Country), Littlest Pet Shop Online and Charm Girls Club (My Fashion Mall, My Fashion Show, My Perfect Prom and Pajama Party). Sad thing is, if these games were actually on the Xbox 360, I'm sure most of you would actually play them for the achievements.
Anyway, after four young girls are on the stage (Um.... Really EA?) playing a game of "speed hair teasing" in Pajama Party and a trailer that literally made me laugh out loud, it's time for the actual games to start!
Patrick Soderlund comes on to showcase Need for Speed: Shift. He claims that the cockpit view will totally revolutionize the racing genre, and makes him feel like he is actually racing on a race track. The physics engine makes it actually feel like you are driving a car at top speeds. A new concept that is introduced is the Driver Profile. In other words, the way you race on the track will define the racer that you become. A precise driver will perform perfect overtakes, achieve top speeds and hit the apex of every corner. An aggressive driver will bump and trade paint with opponents. You will form rivals in this way (very Burnout-esque) I must say. There are four components of the Driver Profile, which are personality, success, profile points and badges. An in-game demo is shown off, and I must say, the cockpit view is fairly impressive for a Need for Speed game. The demo ends with a huge crash into a wall. Good job Mr. Demo Man! Announced after the demo is that a winner at the Need for Speed booth at the end of E3 will take home a brand new BMW. Not bad, I must say!
Up next on the slate is a game I've been pretty excited for, which is BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins. Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk (both Doctors I might add!) come on to display the game for the crowd. They believe that this game will revolutionize the fantasy genre, and this is the first time that the game will be displayed on consoles. Dragon Age is BioWare's darkest and most mature game to date, which will be filled with violence, lust and betrayal (everything we love!!). Your task is to become one of the last Grey Wardens and to save the world from destruction from the evil Arch-Demon. Just like BioShock, the games promises to test your morals in the sense of what is right and what is wrong. Bring on the trailer!
The same two come out to display another game, which is, of course, Mass Effect 2! You will command a mission to save all of mankind, which you aren't expected to survive. To do this, you must assemble a team of some of the most powerful individuals in the galaxy and lead them on a suicide mission. Sounds fun, right? The game will come out in Early 2010. But the question is, is Shephard alive or dead?!
Ah, the voice of Seth Green always makes my day brighter. Anyway, Peter Moore comes on afterwards to talk about the future of EA Sports titles. Starting out the list of EA Sports titles is Fight Night Round 4, which is due out by the end of the month. Moore stresses that the new version of Fight Night will have a genre-defining physics engine. The on-stage demo is a matchup between Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali. Another thing that is stressed is that Round 4 will run at sixty frames-per-second opposed to Round 3's thirty. Height and reach play a much bigger role in this edition than any other boxing game. Muscle flexes, the body and face reaction to punches, as well as blood and sweat spray are all driven dynamically. A big announcement is that the game will release a week early and will be in stores on June 25, 2009.
Time for a new title announcement! Peter Moore announces that coming in 2010 is EA Sports MMA, which will be a mixed martial arts game (obviously) that will be developed by EA Tiburon. We'll have to see if this game will have any chance against the smash hit UFC Undisputed.
Peter Moore announces that there have been over 500 million games played on EA servers in the past year. He then brings Steve Chang out to make a few quick announcements. First on the list is Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online, which will allow computer users to stream directly through their browser without any installation or game discs.
The next announcement involves NCAA Football 10, which will have a new Team Builder feature. This is a build-a-school feature that is completely web-based and will allow you to change anytihng from stadium, uniforms and players. All of this can be done online immediately on the EA Sports website, more than a month before the game launches.
The last announcement is the Online Franchise for Madden NFL 10. This will include real-time online drafts and trades. All standings, stats and team management can be checked online at anytime during the day.
A couple other games are shown for the Wii, which are EA Sports Active and EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis. None of these are Xbox 360 titles, which again doesn't bother me in the least. However, what I really want to know, is how many Xbox 360 gamers would play Active to help boost their gamerscore? That definitely wouldn't be a bad idea for all of us achievement junkies!
A final note on the EA Sports presentation is where in the world was NHL 10? Considering NHL 09 won so many sports game of the year awards, you would think they would have showcased it atleast a little bit? Oh well, the next game on the plate is The Saboteur, which is one of my most anticipated games of the year. Tom French of Pandemic Studios comes out to talk about the game. The trailer comes on which is possibly the best trailer I've seen from E3 so far. The color schemes in the game are absolutely beautiful, especially the way the usage of red works against the black and white. The trailer is absolutely beautiful with a great song in the background as well. Immediately after the trailer, the demo kicks in. Immediately, French tells us that the stylized black and white in the game is known as the "Will to Fight". The hero fights back against Nazis in acts of defiance in order to bring back color to the city of Paris. Everything is wide-open in a Grand Theft Auto manner, and all buildings are climbable (even the Eiffel Tower!). The game looks to be extremely crude (in a good way of course!) and will be launching during Holiday 2009.
Riccitiello comes out to talk about EA Partners very briefly, and then brings out Tim Schaffer to talk about Brutal Legend. The entire game, of course, is based heavily on heavy metal and will include a soundtrack with a lot of the influential bands of all-time. A teaser trailer comes onto the screen which reveals some of the vocal cast. On top of Jack Black, some of the other big names that will be appearing in the game are legends Rob Halford, Lita Ford, Lemmy Kilmister and Ozzy Osbourne. A special video message from Jack Black comes on afterwards which states that they didn't have any footage so they hooked up a real-life demo by taking an Xbox 360 controller and wiring it directly to his brain. Pretty funny stuff..
Cevat Yerli, CEO of Crytek, comes out to announce Crysis 2 (which was previously leaked in the morning). Crysis 2 will launch simultaneously on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. The game will make use of a brand new engine, which is CryENGINE3. That's all the details that we got, but a Crysis game on the 360 is pretty much all we need to know to make us happy.
Next on the list is APB, which stands for All Points Bulletin. Riccitiello announces that Realtime Worlds is a new member of EA Partners and brings out Dave Jones to talk about the game. The game will feature an online city full of thousands of civilians and vehicles. The point of the game is to throw 100 players (MMO-esque) into the game and to achieve fame and fortune in anyway they choose. They can choose the selfish route and become criminals, or they can live the moral route and become enforcers by feeding off of the criminals. A trailer comes on to show off the game. Depending on how hard they work on the game, it really can be an impressive online experience.
The lights cut off and the Star Wars theme kicks on, followed by numerous people dressed up in Star Wars attire walking onto the stage. Ray (again) from BioWare and Darrell Rodriguez from LucasArts remove their hoods to reveal themselves. They reveal Star Wars: The Old Republic, which at this time is an MMO for the PC. Will this game end up on the 360 like the Star Wars MMO that was rumored about last year? Who knows, we'll have to see as time goes on. What we do know right now is that the game truly does look fantastic.
Well, that's it for the EA conference! A fcouple notable titles missing, which was kind of odd, but I guess Charm Girls Club is a lot more important to them than Army of Two. Tell us what you thought about the overall conference, and as always, stay tuned through the end of E3 as we bring you all the breaking news and media!