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E3: EA Press Conference

John Riccitiello, EA CEO, kicked off the press conference with Dead Space 3 with some new looks and dynamics. Gamers would have seen a ship crashing, some huge monsters and Isaac, the hardcore protagonist from the other games. There are a bunch of new characters, new ways to play the game and drop-in and drop-out co-op with John Carver and Isaac.

After a short live action video, SimCity came onto the screen first introducing SimCity Social which is a Facebook game being launched in the next few weeks. Gamers will be able to play a new social, dynamic city builder on Facebook. Following the Social part, SimCity will be launching next year from EA as well and will revolutionise the city builders by using the GlassBox technology. It will be the first SimCity to have multiplayer and gamers will be able to play with friends or take on regions of cities by themselves which will affect the surrounding city’s as you build.

Peter Moore, EA COO then took the stage for Battlefield 3. After a number of statistics surrounding the game such as 15 million players worldwide and the 24 by 7 digital live support services, EA drop a bombshell on gamers by introducing Battlefield Premium.

This paid for service will allow gamers access to exclusive in-game items, new dog tags, new weapons, new skins and 20 new maps. Being a Battlefield Premium member for just $49.99 (around R425) will give players early access to all the upcoming downloadable content (DLC) releases. This includes Back to Karkand, Close Quarters, Armoured Kill, Aftermath and End Game (the debut of motorcycles to Battlefield 3). Gamers will be able to get hundreds of hours of gameplay in Battlefield 3 and PlayStation 3 users will be able to sign up and get access to Close Quarters now. PC and Xbox 360 users will have to wait a week. This must be EA’s answer to Call of Duty Elite.

Star Wars: The Old Republic has had over a million players from the first day making it the biggest MMO launch in history. BioWare will be releasing more player vs. player warzones, more high level content as well as nightmare difficulty levels. There will also be new characters, new species, ranked player vs. Player, as well as increased level caps for the new planet. This patch will be coming out in July and gamers will be able to play for free up to level 15.

Picking up from the Battlefield warfare, gamers were shown Medal of Honor: Warfighter which is going global this time. Every mission in MoH:W will have a dotted line to an event or real world hotspot and gamers were shown a live demo of attacking Somalian pirates. The demo itself looked great with destructible environments and brilliant sound that will put gamers into the environment very quickly. The game is powered by Frostbite 2 and will give gamers access to 10 different operatives from across the world such as SEAL’s and UK SAS.

FIFA 13 players will be happy to know that if they jump from FIFA 12 to FIFA 13, they will be able to keep their XP earned from the previous game. It will also be able to bring back season from the previous game and you can finish off where you started. Players of the game will earn currency to get exclusive in-game items for use on players and teams and will have an App for iOS and Android to connect to EA Football Club. FIFA 13 brings new gameplay innovation for the game and a new complete dribbling mode based on Lionel Messi’s style of play. There is brand new freedom and creativity in attacks and the AI will work harder and smarter when attacking. The game will be using the second generation impact engine too. The 20 year anniversary of the franchise brings First Touch control as well as Tactical free kicks to the game as well.

The final two games on show were Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2 and Crysis 3. Both games didn’t offer much in technical specifications but showed off what they could do. Most Wanted 2 is an open-world driving game where racing, chasing and exploring are important parts of the game. It features second generation Autolog social features to earn points to become the most wanted of all your friends.

There wasn’t much to talk about in Crysis 3 save the fact that it looked really good and the game itself offers up seven new areas including swamps, canyons and rivers and puts gamers into an urban rainforest type of setting. The reason for this was that Crytek want gamers to play the game the way they want to play it. Crysis 3 will be hitting shelves in February for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

That was it from the EA Press Conference and I’m a bit disappointed to see no new IP coming from the software giant. It seems like 2012 may be the year of the sequels.