E3 2014: Electronic Arts Coverage
Electronic Arts presented us with an exciting press conference this afternoon, kicking off events for a series of games and announcements that hopefully we’ll learn further on in the days to come. Here’s the break-down of events.
To start the show off, DICE Studio gave us a video depicting key moments from and discussion of the Star Wars universe. Multiple members of the team are heard to be discussing their passion for the universe and for the original story of the trilogy released back in the 70’s and 80’s. We see these team members visiting the locales for where key scenes were filmed – including Endor and Hoth – in order to, as they describe it, capture the environments and emotions. Star Wars Battlefront is being developed in collaboration with Lucasfilm and looks to be an exciting entry into the universe.
Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, then got things going, transitioning into developer BioWare, and their most significant contributions to E3.
First off was a new gameplay trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition, complete with live cello accompaniment. This trailer primarily features a series of environments and a score that helps to enhance the epicness and grandeur the game appears to be going for. BioWare’s Aaryn Flynn then took the stage to discuss more about the upcoming RPG, including its enormous open-world, and discussion of the PC Inquisitor and companions. Flynn gave us some gameplay footage that heightened the action-based combat that can be utilized, as was given by example in contest with a dragon. He also discussed the different options of fighting up-close more action intensive, or with the isometric camera in pause and play tactical. Ending out the presentation was a trailer highlighting for the companions that will be available.
Continuing the BioWare thread was key members of the team discussing the next Mass Effect entry. They discuss the desire of fans to go somewhere new in the storyworld and how the next game will allow exploration of whole new regions of space; this was accompanied by some footage that hints at more extensive planet exploration than was available in any of the original trilogy.
They also briefly discussed a new IP that BioWare is working on at their Edmonton Studio, in development of a contemporary story in a large world, the kinds that BioWare is known for. Not a lot else was given beyond confirmation of this new game’s (and gameworld’s) existence.
An EA employee then stepped up to discuss The Sims 4. Described as “Smarter Sims. Weirder Stories.” much of the game’s progression in the series over previous entries appears to be the complex emotions that are at play with individual player-controlled Sims. To demonstrate, the presenter discussed how a player can define a Sim’s personality, allowing you to tell how their feeling “at a glance.” We see this in the Sims Chuck and Gladys interacting, where Chuck reads Gladys some poetry, which makes her angry enough that she becomes verbally abusive; in turn, he holds a party the next day to regain his self-esteem, and when Gladys shows up and starts bringing the other party-goers down, a Sim from another player’s game is transported in via the internet in order to liven things up. The Sims 4 will be out September 4.
Next up was the start in a series of games coming from the Sports area of EA, with EA Sports UFC. A trailer gave use interviews with key members of the UFC, as well as in-game footage that included an almost perfect likeness of Bruce Lee as he and another player engage in the complexities of mixed martial arts. EA Sports UFC will be out next week on June 17.
EA SPORTS NHL 15 followed with Dean Richards giving a brief discussion of the NHL franchise and how they hope to change things going into the next generation on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Gameplay footage shows us more of the precise detail and recreation of NHL games, with increased physics on the players and puck to increase the level of unpredictability.
Patrick Soderlund then stepped out to discuss a new game coming out from Criterion Games. A video from the developer shows how they’ve overhauled their own creative and work process. Soderlund mentions that this is unusually early for revealing a game – indeed, we’re not even given a title for it – but that this is already the “biggest Criterion’s ever made.” Staff members discuss how they are looking beyond cars and raising their level up to any number of vehicles – including helicopters and parachuting – to create an almost extreme sports kind of experience. They also say that the game will be first-person, and has been largely inspired by real-life examples of people filming themselves in the process and then uploading to the internet.
Cam Weber stepped out to tell us more about the new PGA Gold Tour – a new entry that lifts the limitations on where players could go and what they could do. Utilizing the Frostbite 3 Engine, this golfing game will also allow gamers to “experience real-world courses in stunning detail.” With no load times and fully-rendered environments, gamers can explore “every inch of the course.” A game trailer included footage of playing on famous courses, as well as fantasy courses, with the one demonstrated being a shoreline as a warship pulls into port.
The conversation then transitioned into the Madden 15 and much of the presentation was focused on the importance of defense in a football. With the mantra “defense is nearly half the game” the new entry will offer defensive cameras that allow better reading and attack of the offense. There will also be great diversity in tackles and blocks for more consistent results. A trailer was shown with footage of football games and a voice-over describing the importance of the defense.
The next game onto the floor was Dawngate, a game described as doing new things with MOBAs. Members of the development team in a video describe how they’ve broken down the genre in order to re-build it from the ground up. They say the game will play different every time, and discuss the different ways teams can build and try their strategies. A trailer shown also discussed an epic storyarc that ties together all of the in-game characters before different developers are shown describing their own personal favorite character.
The new Mirror’s Edge was next on the docket, primarily centered around the protagonist Faith. In addition to footage showing the re-build of her character model, with the description of how her “body needs to reflect her life” the presentation also offered up real-time parkour footage. Members of the team discuss bringing in real-world experience parkour enthusiasts so they can get an even great sense of authenticity. This will also be reflected in the combat, as the moves Faith uses will grow out of her parkour abilities. They say the new game will offer more variation in the gameplay, with multiple options for traversing an environment depending on desired level of challenge. The story itself will also delve further in Faith herself and challenge her reasons for who she is and why.
David Rutter than stepped out to introduce FIFA 15, a game he described as letting “you feel emotion of football like never before.” Developers have increased in the emotional intelligence that better connects every player on the pitch. In addition, players will have memories and show the context of their own emotions based on a match. There will be a greater level of player personality and responsiveness, one-on-one battles with players emulating real-life aggression, and even realistic effects upon the world, with tread-marks and the like staining up the grass. FIFA 15 will launch this fall.
To end out the show, Visceral Games stepped out to show a trailer containing gameplay footage and cutscenes from Battlefield Hardline. The newest entry in the Battlefield series taps into a childhood love of playing cops and robbers, but in a much grander war. The story is described as a war on the streets of LA that lets players slip into the roles of the cops or the robbers that still stays “true to Battlefield’s core values.” In addition to new weapons, team play, greater strategy, and open-battles, the heart of this new game will be in the multiplayer experience. Extensive gameplay footage then showed us in a contest between cops and robbers as multiple different gamers take on rolls from both sides, while the robbers attempt a heist and then make a run from the cops.
At the end, one of the presenters announced that, for the first time ever, a beta for the game would be made available, starting immediately after the show on Battlefield.com for the PC and PS4. A member of Sony’s team then stepped out to explain how PS4 owners who have Battlefield 4 can easily access a download of this beta via their game save on the console. A livestream of players is also available at twitch.tv/battlefield.