E3 2012: EA conference wrap-up

The world’s biggest publisher, EA, took to the stage at E3 yesterday for their annual showcase. The focus was “10 developers, 10 games” and they showed us some great footage from a variety of AAA titles.

The conference kicked off with Dead Space 3 – which was very well received by those in attendance. When it emerged that co-op was a big aspect of the game though, there was some scepticism and trepidation which curbed the hype. The demo comprised of a few gunfights, a few f-bombs and a few huge creatures. It was everything you’d expect from a mainstream future-based shooter. A release date of February 2013 was confirmed.

Next up was Madden, which we’d briefly seen at the Microsoft conference earlier (with an emphasis on Kinect of course). A lot was made of the new ‘Infinity Engine’ for NFL 13. The balance of your player will be determined by a whole host of variables, and the slightest touch from another player alters your stability.

Hall-of-famer Mike Irvin then made his way on to the stage to promote the new career mode, which has a main end goal of making the HoF. He was quite affable and funny, which drew a good reaction from the audience. At one stage they revealed a virtual twitter feed for your career mode with pundits reacting to your performances – at which point he said “I had enough trouble with News at 11; how could I survive with twitter?!”

The features in Madden were what we’ve been seeing in EA’s other sports franchises for years. XP to build up your created player, careers that can mingle with your friends, and more. So when they made a big deal of “this is the next generation”, I thought that was quite naive. It’s what they should have been implementing 3 years ago, and is very much part of the current generation.

The next game wasn’t associated with PlayStation, but I’ll give you a brief recap anyway. Sim City will be making its way onto Facebook to tackle the social market. They also want to “take back their crown” so have set about making a “revolutionary” new Sim City for PC – another EA title launching February next year.

Just after this speech was an interesting little moment as the host of EA’s show pointed out West & Zampella in the crowd, to congratulate their “good friends”, presumably on the court proceedings with Activision. Battlefield 3 (which has witnessed 1.6 trillion fired bullets to date) followed, with a presentation from Peter Moore, but you can read more about that here.

After another PC-only title (Star Wars: The Old Republic), Greg Goodrich showed off a new demo for Medal of Honor: Warfighter. I was a big fan of 2010’s reboot, so I am looking forward to this one. The demo was solid if not spectacular; there were no real surprises, but it still looked good. After the gameplay was shown, Goodrich confirmed the game would circle around global warfighters – 12 special units from 10 different nations. Real world war hotspots are also vital to the game. Interestingly, even though EA are usually quite pro-PS3 in their demos at shows, this was one of my games being played on a 360 (or at least with a 360 controller on a PC).

Game number six was FIFA 13. EA Sports began by announcing that the recent culmination of the English Premier League season – Manchester City’s title win – was recreated over 5 million times by gamers on FIFA. Linking on from that was a look at a feature that was implemented last year; EA Sports Football Club.

They declared it the “heartbeat” of FIFA, with 11 million members, and the news that your XP and profile will continue to carry across every FIFA title. The service will certainly continue to grow and provides an extra element to the game, which of course is welcome. The presenter went on to say “if Football Club is the heartbeat, gameplay is the soul” – announcing that the man who personifies their new dribbling system, Lionel Messi, will be the new global cover star (as he was on FIFA Street). Finally they played the gameplay trailer which we had already brought you.

Then came one of the biggest moments of E3 so far – UFC getting together with EA. Dana White appeared on stage, and spoke of his delight at being with the “biggest video game company on the planet” to target “half a billion homes around the world”. It certainly is a big blow for THQ, who just didn’t take their chance with the fastest growing sport, and have now lost out to EA.

It wouldn’t be an EA showcase without Need for Speed, right? The new racer though, looked absolutely amazing. It’s called Most Wanted again, just after we had a game of the same name in 2006. That doesn’t matter though, because it was all about two things. 1) Criterion – the brains behind Burnout – are the studio developing it, so it’s guaranteed to be quality. 2) The gameplay demo showed off a fantastic cross-section of the game, which involved racing and escaping the cops. If it lives up to expectation, this has the potential to be one of the top racers on PS3.

Last to the stage was Crytek’s Cevat Yerli, fresh off his views on the Vita. He of course spoke about Crysis 3, and it was everything you’d expect. Graphically it looked good, but it’s hard to get too excited for another FPS. The one small surprise they had in store was the addition of a bow and arrow. This was the third of EA‘s title to be handed a February 2013 launch.

So that was that; another E3 conference, another set of sequels. Let us know in the comments which (if any) of these games impressed you and what you’ll be buying.

Written by Raj Mahil

Game collector. Journalism graduate. Batman addict. Movie goer. WWE nut. Sports obsessive. Arsenal fan. Squawka.com Sub-Editor.

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