At the EA Press Conference for E3 Expo, EA did everything to demonstrate it was ready to take the next generation of gaming by storm. Peter Moore, Chief Operating Officer, set the mood early before the televised event with jokes and a relaxed demeanor. With two next-gen engines – Frostbite 3 and Ignite – Electronics Arts has every reason to look calm and collected.
Starting off the event right, the first game EA showed off was Popcap’s new game: Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare. A combination of third-person shooter and tower defense, Garden Warfare puts you in the roots of combat in a four player co-operative survival mode. You can play as the Peashooter, Chomper, Cactus or Sunflower. Each type of plant has its own class skills and types of plants it may place as defensive towers. Garden Warfare has all the clever humor you would expect along with new plants such as the bok choi. All vegetables aside, Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare looks to be an excellently eccentric addition to the universe. Popcap ended its day on stage by announcing Peggle 2.
Next up was Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall. A combination of a shooter and a mech assault game, Titanfall blurs the convention of either genre through thoughtful level layout and seamless transition between the two forms. One of the standout examples of what makes this game different is how the development team made the mechs so they felt like extensions of the pilot rather than the lumbering, cumbersome tank-like creatures we’re used to planning in these type of games. Overall, it was a good showing, but I definitely would like to see more.
Not content to simply showing games specifically coming to us in fall. EA next put out a very short teaser for Star Wars Battlefront being made by Dice in the Frostbite 3 engine.
Next up was Need for Speed Rivals. Touting its All Drive system, NFS Rivals brings single player, co-operative multiplayer and competitive multiplayer together into one persistent world. Drivers breaking the law in one part of town may find themselves pursued by officers of the law played by other players while some player on Xbox Smartglass uses the Overwatch system to bring in a helicopter to control the situation. This racer has an arcade-y look that fans of the series will appreciate.
Showing nothing but a trailer for this next title, Dragon Age Inquisition promises us a rich open environment with impactful choices in the storyline while continuing to produce the kind of characters the people have grown to love. Look for Dragon Age Inquisition in Fall 2014.
It then became EA Sports time and time to shine the light on EA’s Ignite engine. NBA Live 14 pushed its dribbling physics, called bounceTek. They showed side-by-side comparisons of a live player dribbling and the dribbling in Live 14. While I must say the physics look great, I remain skeptical on an EA basketball franchise.
Madden 25 and FIFA 14 both appeared to have their usual iterative improvements in place while UFC looked intense with their MMAi system that focuses on real movements and intensity. Being as this is developed by the Fight Night team, I quickly noticed the focus on body deformation, sweat and blood. UFC is slated for Spring 2014.
Battlefield 4 was in full demonstration mode starting with 64 live players up on the stage. The player they showed for the demo did it all. They went underground and blew out a support beam to collapse a street above disabling a tank in the process. They also showed water combat with small craft and jet skis. They even demonstrated commander mode where the leader called in an artillery strike on a group that was trying to bring down a building. While the attack was successful, the damage was already done and the demo ended with a skyscraper tumbling to the ground.
EA had one last teaser tucked up its proverbial sleeve – a new Mirror’s Edge game. With no definitive title and an expected delivery date of “Coming…when it’s ready.” I think it was the perfect amount of getting people excited as they left the Shrine Auditorium. And people definitely left with smiles on their faces. So did EA developers, publishers and execs, who know they’re ready for whatever the next generation will hold.