E3 2012: EA Download 2012 Recap

by: Matt -
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The swanky Orpheum Theater played host to EA in their yearly E3 press conference. We've got the highlights of their ten game showcase right here.
  • Jon Riccitiello kicked off the show, equating EA's event to the Sundance Film Festival, where their games are more about where you go with them, rather than what you buy out of the box. Focusing on expanding game experiences (through the use of DLC obviously), is EA's big new push for this year, and it showed in almost every game they covered and even in their show title, Download 2012.
  • Right off the bat, Dead Space 3. More, more necromorphs, more places to explore, and even more players. With co-op gameplay, Dead Space 3 looked like a lot of fun, and I was initially really skeptical of this. A short trailer set the stage for scares, with Isaac searching for Ellie after his ship breaks up on entry to a planet that may be the source of the necromorphs. The short on-stage demo had two players jumping in to the middle of act two, with Isaac, and series newcomer John Carver attempting to reach a warehouse, but not before being trapped in a small cramped area while necromorphs and a giant drill attempt to end their journey. Using the stasis ability, combined with powerful weapons, Isaac and John barely survive, only to come outside and see a giant necromorph wreaking havoc that swallowed the pair up. I'm looking forward to Dead Space 3 when it launches in February, 2013.
  • Cam Weber, the American Football GM was on hand to present Madden 2013 with a guest appearance by hall-of-famer, Michael Irvin. Cam started by describing the Infinity Engine which is used to power the animation system in Madden 2013. The Infinity Engine also makes for a better physics engine, which will make it so that no two plays will ever look the same. Madden 2013 features an RPG-esque progression mode that allows players to take the role of a coach, a current player, or one they create on their own and can use experience points earned in the game to increase their stats as they work toward reaching the hall of fame. Players will also have the ability to form leagues with other players, and joining a league looks to immerse players more than ever, offering up a faux news system that talks about players and a virtual Twitter feed (bwah?!) that comments on players. Players can also edit their teams with their PC, tablet, or mobile device, and will also have Facebook integration.
  • Maxis time! Lucy Bradshaw, the GM of Maxis took to the stage to talk SimCity. First up is SimCity Social, a Facebook game that will be released in a few weeks. A short trailer took a bit of a swipe at Zynga, claiming more City, less Ville. The real joy of this presentation was the debut of SimCity (reboots galore this year). The trailer showed gameplay that also allows players to experience SimCity in a number of ways, including Multiplayer, where the players actions affect not only their city, but the cities around them. SimCity is scheduled for a February 2013 release.
  • Peter Moore and Patrick Bach were up next to talk Battlefield 3. Citing numbers like 1.6 trillion bullets fired, and 43 million flight hours logged, they were impressed with how passionate the community has been. This means that more content is on the horizon, in form of Battlefield Premium, a DLC service that will give players 4 new content packs. The first, Close Quarters is available now for PS3 users, and will be available for Xbox and PC players next week. This particular pack focuses on small skirmishes and tighter maps. The second pack, Armored Kill will focus on vehicles. Aftermath will be all about survival, which is an interesting concept for the series, and lastly there is End Game which will introduce motorcycles. In addition to these content packs, Battlefield Premium subscribers will also receive new weapons, vehicles, and customization options.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic was the next game up for discussion. The numbers focus cite it as the most successful MMO launch ever with over a million day one subscribers, and 520 million hours logged. Players have a lot to look forward to in the near future, new PVP warzones, new higher difficulty levels, new companions, a new species, increased level caps, and a new planet, Makeb, all of which will be available this year. People on the fence about the game will be able to play up to level 15 for free this coming July, giving people like me a chance to see what this game is all about. A trailer showcased some of the new stuff coming as well, like the new space mission, Space Station Assault, and the new operation, Terror From Beyond.
  • Executive Producer, Greg Goodrich brought Medal of Honor: Warfighter out for a quick display with a live demo. Warfighter's scenarios will relate to actual events or hotspots that currently happen in this tumultuous world of ours, giving players a sort of real world experience. The game is powered by the Frostbite 2 engine and looks pretty damned good. An attack on a pirate enclave in Somalia goes south really fast in the demo with snipers raining down fire and pirates ready for the attacking forces. Multiplayer is a given, and will feature 12 different Tier 1 operating teams when it releases on October 23rd.
  • Andrew Wilson hustled over from the Xbox press conference to display Madden NFL Social, a free to play Facebook game that carries over to mobile devices when it launches this fall. He went on to describe how NHL 2013 will have a new skating engine, NBA Live 2013 will have new services (though nothing specific was named), and NCAA Football will feature Heisman winners this year. The big topic for Wilson was FIFA, which was a 'global platform' this year when players spent millions of hours replaying the Manchester victory in late May. EA Sports Football Club is the big push this year, after linking players in FIFA games last year, it will continue to do so in FIFA 2013, allowing players of FIFA 12 to carry over their stats from last year's game, earn rewards, and credits for the in-game catalog. Android and iOS versions of FIFA will also connect to Football Club and will also have a dedicated app as well. Lionel Messi will be featured on the cover of FIFA 2013. New dribbling and an improved Player Impact Engine will help make this be the most realistic FIFA yet, as demonstrated by a trailer. We'll see how that all turns out when the game launches this fall.
  • Up next had to be EA's megaton announcement for E3, and they brought a special guest in to talk about it. Dana White of UFC was on hand to announce a multi-year deal with EA to produce UFC games. EA picked up the license from THQ today who shuttered their San Diego studio. Where one door closes, another opens I suppose.
  • Need For Speed: Most Wanted is back. After Criterion released the stellar Hot Pursuit in 2010, they've went to work on rebooting the Most Wanted series. An explosive trailer with Prodigy's Firestarter showed off a sprawling city scape with plenty of fast cars (and a truck?!), pesky cops, and amazing getaways. Executive Producer, Matt Webster was on hand to show off the new iteration of the Autolog, that players will use to distinguish who amongst their friends is 'the most wanted.' A short gameplay demo showed off some stylish design choices, Burnout styled takedowns, and that Need for Speed feel that they nailed in 2010. Look for that one on October 30th, 2012.
  • Lastly, we have Crysis 3. Running on the new Crytek engine, this game looked fantastic. Cevat Yerli calls it the pinnacle of the Crysis franchise, and with how the game looks it's pretty damn convincing. The 'urban rainforest' has an interesting mix between technology and nature. The short demo took players across a dam loaded with enemy soldiers, in an attempt to sabotage and destroy it from within. One scene against helicopters was actually difficult to tell if it was scripted or not, so kudos to Crytek for pulling that off, normally something like that is terribly obvious in an FPS. Crysis 3 will be released in February, next year.
And with that, EA's show is over. Not seeing a single new IP or hints of Mirror's Edge 2 were a bit disheartening, but the other games EA had on hand seemed to make up for it. We'll be back later with more coverage!

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