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E3 - 2013 Coverage: EA Press Conference Overview

E3 2013: EA

In the past year, EA have been under a lot of scrutiny, from DLC in Dead Space 3, to the launch of SimCity. Not only this, but it has been voted the worst company in America for the second year in a row. EA had to pull out all the stops for their conference this year in order to win back their public. Did they do this? Let's find out, shall we?

The introduction of the press conference was performed by Peter Moore, President and CEO of EA. He announces that entirely new code has been developed for EA titles to be used on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. He states: "These are the games which will define the new consoles when they launch later this year". A big statement to make as he exits the stage.

Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
First up was a game from the hit PopCap Games, Plants Vs. Zombies. This time, rather than controlling from up high, you're down in the trenches, controlling plants and getting your hands dirty with zombie innards. Running the brand new FrostBite3 engine, we were shown Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.

John Vechey, PopCap Games Co-Founder and Studio Director tells us that this title will be coming first to Xbox One and Xbox 360. He then introduces us to one of the game modes, the 4 player co-op survival mode. He brings on a few of his colleagues and we go into gameplay.

pvz

The introduction to the level is very Call of Duty: Modern Warfare-esque, and as many of you may know, PopCap are known for their humour. We then get straight into the gameplay and to our delight, the player was controlling a plant. That's right, you play as one of the plants fighting against the zombies. You can also place other plants into pots which act as a tower defense, aiding you in your zombie massacre.

We were introduced to five different playable characters:

  • The Peashooter, an assault class that gets down and dirty with your foes, taking them out at mid to close range.
  • The Sunflower, a healer class who assists teammates by making sure their health is at full power, occasionally firing sunflower seeds at the enemies.
  • The Cactus, a long range support class. They fire spines at the enemy to help out their team from afar.
  • The Chomper, a melee class who gets up and close and personal with your undead friends, chomping down and gnawing off limbs.
  • The Garlic, an air-based class that fires from up high, calling in corn strikes and picking off the stragglers.

pvz2

Graphically, Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare looks very different from the original game and has moved away from the cartoony art and into a more realistic setting. This being said, there was still an element of caricature in there, I mean, you are a plant...

Peggle 2
After the Plants Vs. Zombies segment ended, John Vechey drops a bombshell on us and announces Peggle 2. He kept it very brief and all we saw was a few seconds clip of a rainbow with the classic Peggle soundtrack playing in the background.

TitanFall
Next, Vince Zampella, General Manager of Respawn Entertainment enters the stage and tells us a little bit about their new title, TitanFall. However, he doesn't speak long and instead, let's a video do all the talking for him.

The video that is shown is named 'Inside TitanFall' and we hear from a variety of Respawn staff including Drew McCoy, Steve Fukuda, Abbie Heppe and Joel Emslie. We are shown gameplay of TitanFall whilst the staff tell us a bit more about the game.

The Titan is an extension of the pilot and was designed with the idea of "the ultimate evolution of a battle tank" in mind. What Respawn Entertainment have essentially created are three different games; Titans vs. Titans, Pilots vs. Pilots and Titans vs. Pilots. All of these play very differently to the next and look like a fantastic experience all round. However, the most interesting play comes in when you have Titans vs Pilots. Heavy brutes against agile sprinters. A very interesting mix indeed.

titanfall

The pilots can enter and exit Titans seamlessly whenever they want which means that gameplay can change within seconds which will completely alter your enemies attacks.

The most amazing claim made by Respawn Entertainment though, was that they have created a multiplayer game that feels like a single player game. There's characters, story and "moments" that you'd only find in a single player game. This is a completely new concept and will be very interesting to see how it plays out in such a hectic Player vs. Player environment.

At this point, Frank Gibeau, President of EA Labels enters the stage. He announces that EA have created all new software engines for the next gen which will astonish gamers around the world. He states that "Engines make the hard stuff easy which allows developers to focus on innovation".

Star Wars: Battlefront
We see an icy landscape fade in on the screen behind Frank. We are looking through the eyes of somebody as they stagger across a battlefield of ice and metal. An explosion goes off and a spaceship crashed down from the sky. No, not a spaceship, a Snow Speeder! An AT-AT's leg appears and stomps down onto the camera. Star Wars: Battlefront is confirmed.

This is a big deal for EA and their studio, DICE. The crowd went wild and, I can imagine, so did the viewers at home.

Need for Speed: Rivals
Marcus Nilsson, Executive Producer for Need for Speed: Rivals enters the stage and begins to tell us about the new title.

Need for Speed: Rivals is all about the rivalry between the racers and the cops. You can play single player, however multiplayer is better and the two merge perfectly. The single player, multiplayer and co-op play collide together in the brand new AllDrive system bringing a non-stop experience to the tables.

need for speed rivals

Two EA employees enter the stage and take up controllers. Craig is playing as a single-player racer whilst James is playing as a single player cop.

The game begins and Craig is driving a Ferrari, dangerously, might I add, along the streets. He comes up to a single-player race and as soon as he crossed the line, a flurry of cars shoot past him and the race has begun. He fights his way into the pack and begins making his way to the front of the pack.

need speed rivals

Shortly after beginning the race, you hear a police scanner report come in of a race in progress and James' screen comes to life as he rolls onto the road as a high speed police car. Shooting towards the disturbance, James is now hot on the tail of Craig. It's not long before they collide into each other and single-player has seemingly become multiplayer. Marcus then comes in with his tablet and directs air support onto Craig, aiding James via 'Overwatch'.

The gameplay fades and Aaron Paul, the star of Breaking Bad and the Need for Speed movie, enters the stage. He tells us about how he himself is a gamer and because of this, loves E3 and the chance to be in the Need for Speed movie. We are then shown a 'making off' trailer from the Need for Speed movie in which we see real life cars whizzing around the streets, just like in the game.

Dragon Age: Inquisition
Aaryn Flynn, General Manager of Bioware enters the stage. He introduces the newest in the series, Dragon Age: Inquisition. This is a new RPG experience with a vast open world where you affect the story and the world around you with your actions. It's your duty to restore order to the world around you with a cast of new and old characters.

morrigan

We are shown a trailer containing actual gameplay footage. Narration is spoke over the top of various battlegrounds as multiple powerful looking individuals look endearing. A green tear appears in the sky and ghouls and dragons alike come spilling out of the rip, into the world below. Darkness closes in and the narrator appears. "Will you stand against it, or lead this world to it's bitter end?" she asks.

Although this was rendered footage, it looked amazing and had the fans very excited.

EA Sports
Sports has always been EA's strong suit and this year was no different. Whilst they have announced some amazing games so far, they spent a large amount of time talking about how they have improved their sports titles.

Andrew Wilson, Head of EA Sports tells us about the EA Sports Ignite engine and how it brings your players to life in three ways:

  • Human Intelligence
  • True player motion
  • Living worlds

All three of these will create a much more immersive sporting environment for gamers to play in and if that wasn't enough, the games will change alongside the real world of sport as player stats are updated every hour.

NBA Live 14
First up was NBA Live 14 and to talk about the changes being made was Sean O'Brien, Producer and Kyrie Irving, an NBA all-star. Kyrie explains that dribbling in one of the most important things about basketball. It allows creativity and spontaneity within the sport.

nba live 2014

To aid in this, EA Sports have developed Bounce Tek. This allows the player to be as efficient as possible and, for the first time ever, the ball is its own entity. It's no longer stuck to a player's hand, the ball is now released to physics. This allows for much more expression and creativity whilst playing NBA Live 14 as you battle it out on the court.

We are then shown a brief look at the physics in work in-game and how fluid the motion of dribbling is.

Madden 25 - 2014
Cam Weber, General Manager of American Football talks us through the new changes we can expect from the newest installment of Madden. They have developed the engines so that now, players have the ability to move more and think intelligibly. They achieve this by using 'True Step Locomotive System' and 'Playersense' together, these allow the players to be more precise, more realistic and more fun to control. There are 50 times more calculations going on behind the scenes than ever before which allows players to scan their environment and react on the fly.

madden 25

We are then shown some in-game footage which demonstrates not only the new engines in play, but the new graphic engines also. You can now see a lot more detail in the clothing, the environment and the players themselves, enriching the immersion a lot more. We were also shown the brand new cover art for Madden 25 - 2014 which feature NFL star, Adrian Peterson.

FIFA 14
Matt Bilbey, Group General Manager talks us through the changes being made in FIFA 14 and how EA are going to enhance the gameplay. The main changes are all being made due to the EA Sports Ignite engine, much like all of the other sports titles. This allows much more detail to be added to the players showing emotion on not only the players faces, but the crowd as well. No longer are they are a solid block of picture, they interact and cheer for you, for your team.

fifa 14

You can also be much more precise in FIFA 14 with 4X more decisions made every second, so players can adapt professional instincts and make intelligent decisions on what to do.

We are shown some in-game footage from FIFA 14 however, it is pre-alpha gameplay footage and because of this, the graphics that the engine can produce don't really shine through.

UFC 2014
Bruce Buffer, the voice of the UFC enters the stage and a mic drops from the ceiling. He announces the entrances of Andrew Wilson, Executive Vice President of EA, Dana White, President of UFC, Jon Jones, UFC Heavyweight Champion and Benson Henderson, Lightweight Champion.

Dana White tells us that fighting was the first sport in the world. We're all human, we all fight and we all love it, or so he claims.

ufc 2014

Due to the new MMAi system, players get to feel a lot more of what a real UFC fighter would feel. They get to walk into the Octagon and feel the cage door slam behind them, every bead of sweat from the head of their fighter and every strike they make. There is also improved body deformation which allows you to see how your every hit has made an impression on your opponent. You can now see every fine detail, every impact of your fist and every hit you take in immaculate detail. Fighting is all about improvising and mixing it up, and with the new engines in place, you are able to do this much more effectively in UFC 2014.

Battlefield 4
Karl Magnus Troedsson, General Manager and Patrick Bach, Executive Producer talk to us about what we can expect from next-generation Battlefield 4. Destructive environments make a return but on a much larger scale allowing for Levelution (you evolve the level as you play), 64 player battles in air, land and sea, true team play and the addition of Commander Mode. As a commander, you take a birds eye view of the battlefield, dealing critical intel back to your team and helping to turn the tide of a battle. You access Commander Mode via a tablet and so can take your battle on the move. Battlelog has always been updated to allow interaction with multiple devices including tablets and smartphones.

We are then introduced to Alex who will be demonstrating Battlefield 4 for us today. The screens behind Karl and Patrick pull back to reveal 63 other players, all hooked up to PCs, ready to play. We jump into a map, Siege of Shanghai. The first thing that is noticeable is that this map is huge. Whether or not the entire map was useable wasn't clear, but we saw a few islands in use at the very least, each spanning a large area.

battlefield 4

Alex is flown in by a chopper, lands and immediately gets pushed into an old train station by a tank. However, using the improved Levelution techniques, he has a teammate blow up the supports of the train station which bring the tanks down to their level, plants C4 and the tank explodes. Karl is playing as the commander and comes online, instructing his team to head to Cap-point C, on the top of skyscraper. They make their way over by boat but are caught in the crossfire of a chopper. They abandon ship onto jet skis and get to the skyscraper, taking the elevator to the top of the building. As they are taking the capture point, they realise that there are tanks trying to take out the skyscraper and so their commander, Karl, calls in an airstrike via his tablet. The tanks are destroyed but it's too late, the building is falling. The team base jumps from the building, lands and as they turn around, we see the entire skyscraper crumble into nothing but ash and dust.

Mirror's Edge 2
We are shown a highly anticipated game title, Mirror's Edge 2, following straight after Battlefield 4. It's a short clip but we see Faith, the protagonist, getting two of her iconic tattoos mixed with her parkour skills and brutal fighting techniques. Expect a lot more from this in the months to come.

mirror's edge

Peter Moore returns to the stage, announcing the close of this years EA E3 Press Conference. A very exciting line up from EA this year and definitely something to look forward to in the coming twelve months.

Rasher | 12th June, 2013

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