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Live E3 2011 Coverage – Electronic Arts

In Videogames on June 6, 2011 at 11:19 AM

This post will feature live, up to date info on the EA press conference.  In order to keep the news up to date just hit your browsers refresh button.  Coverage for the EA press conference begins at 12:30 PM PST/3:30 PM EST.  Also, be sure to check out previous coverage of Microsoft’s conference on the main page.

12:30 PM – Blur’s “Song II” plays and we’re up and running.  Global emergency broadcast to start the show and we have aliens destroying crap.  That’s never been done in a game before so at least we have something original.  Oh wait, it’s Mass Effect 3.  Nevermind.  Interesting concept art is shown on the background as some dude tells us everything we already knew about Mass Effect 3.  Now we get a live demo complete with no Kinect support (thank god).  The gameplay looks exceedingly similar to Mass Effect 2, which I guess is good for consistiency since the first two games played nothing alike other than the fact that they had mediocre cover based shooting.  Liara and Garrus run around behind Shepherd in what looks like more cutscene than gameplay action.  I think I just saw Legion.  Shepherd starts unloading a turret on a Reaper.  What’s up with all the rail based shooting at E3 2011?  Huge applause because everyone loves Mass Effect 2.  The guy talking promotes the epic scale of the battles but it didn’t seem very large in scale compared to even stuff experienced in Mass Effect 1.  The Mass Effect bump ends with a trailer for what I think is a movie based on the game but I’m not really sure because he introduced it strangely.  It looks like a trailer for the game actually, so I guess the trailer has its own title.  Official release date at the end is March 6, 2012.

12:38 PM – John Riccitiello comes out and pokes shots at the industry for having celebrity guests instead of focusing on games.  He promises nine developers including Bioware and then intros Need for Speed: The Run by Black Box.

12:39 PM – EA: Black Box discussed the role autolog into The Run’s gameplay as you race from San Francisco to New York against friends and the computer.  Then he reveals one of the worst things I’ve ever heard…that The Run will feature out of car action scenes as well.  After Criterion resurrected Need for Speed with Hot Pursuit last year, The Run looks to detract every bit of progress.  The out of car chase scene is ridiculously overdramatic with quick time events build into routine motion akin Resident Evil 4 or Indigo Prophecy.  I don’t think I can say anything redeeming about this as The Run just outdid every bad thing Microsoft did in their conference.  After the QTE cutscene disguised as a “foot chase” the player jumps into a Police Car and we have a psuedo race that’s actually just a time trial with a helicopter shooting at you and culminating in another cutscene.  When did videogames stop being games and start being movies?  The cutscene crash culminates in more QTE’s.  This bears a striking resemblance to the absolute worst parts of Heavy Rain.

12:46 PM – Bioware comes back out to Star Wars music and this has to be the Old Republic.  After several years of teasers I hope we actually get some gameplay footage.  We get at least a good two minutes of hype talk with nothing to show for it and I’m starting to grow impatient.  We’re then left with another trailer, though this time it looks to reveal a lot of the game’s plot.  This trailer is actually a lot of the previous two trailers mashed up.  Characters looking awfully similar to Darth Revan and Bastila roam the trailer but the time frames don’t seem to match up.

12:50 PM – Seamless transition into a trailer for a game by Origin.  And after a ridiculous dramatic opening its a new SSX game.  Snowboarding on the Andes, snowboarding through crashed airplanes, snowboarding on the Great Wall of China – what’s not to love?  January 2012.  No name for the game other than SSX.  I hope that’s what they call it because that’s not confusing at all.  SSX will feature 3 gameplay styles – Race It, Trick It, and Survive It.

12:54 PM – Peter Moore now hypes up the next FIFA game, throwing out a lot of stats and words but nothing about gameplay for FIFA other than a lot of people play FIFA 11.  He brings out Matt Bilbey to talk about FIFA 12, starting with a new defending system, precision dribbling and the player impact engine.  After talking about how they didn’t need celebrity hype at their show, EA lies by putting Li’l Wayne, Drake and Chad Ochocinco in their FIFA 12 hype video.  I’m speechless.  Bilbey introduces a new service called EA Sports Football Club, which is basically just their online service that they’ve built for every other EA Sports game.

10:01 PM – FIFA ends and a Vince Lombardi look alike comes on video to hype Madden 12.  In full video the 3D grass looks really great but there’s almost nothing good I can say about this after how far the Madden franchise has fallen over the past decade.  Ray Lewis, Peyton Hillis and Clay Matthews come out on stage to prove John Riccitiello wrong again.  Three minutes into the Madden 12 promo and still not one thing about the game other than hype music.  Four minutes now and still nothing about features or gameplay, just grandiose abstract promises of nothing.  That was pointless.

1:06 PM – Riccitiello comes back out.  Now he intros the Sims Social for Facebook.  Here comes a video and I have absolutely no idea what the practical implications of this game are.  This is without question the most confusing thing I’ve ever seen at E3.

1:09 PM – Riccitiello is lost for words as he shouts out to Sony and Microsoft before introducing Curt Schilling.  I’m flabbergasted.  Schilling isn’t hyping a baseball game though, he’s talking about Reckoning, a fantasy action game with “potentially hundreds of hours of gameplay” developed with Ken Rolston and Todd McFarlane.  Reckoning looks eerily similar to Fable but slightly more realistic.  2012 release.

1:12 PM – Here comes Ted Price to reveal the Insomniac game for EA.  Overstrike sounds exactly like Rainbow Six, Gears of War and every other squad based shooter ever.  We then get a trailer revealing the Overstrike agents in the game, which is your typical A-Team inspired cliche group of mercs.  Ratchet and Clank’s awesomeness points to Overstrike overcoming its cliched, ridiculous premise.  But Resistance’s mediocrity may overweigh that.

1:17 PM – Instantly we get a trailer for Battlefield 3 that shows absolutely nothing.  Before a live demo we get a FrostBite 2 trailer video to showcase why Battlefield 3 should be amazing.  Showcasing scale, lighting, rendering, and destructible environments, the trailer video looks legitimately badass and may be the best engine ever.  Then we get another video that shows some more awesomeness, but where’s the live demo we were promised?  An open beta is announced for September.  Now here comes the live demo in the Tehran desert.  And as it should, the demo is played on a PC.  The scale of the desert is insane as the squad drives to a smokey city in the distance atop an arsenal of tanks.  Massive explosions and now we get some tank v. tank cross desert warfare.  This may be the best looking game I’ve ever seen – it even looks amazing in night vision.  The tanks finally reach the smoke in the distance, which was actually an enemy encampment and not a city.  Arriving leads to even more tank destruction.  After some ridiculous explosions and smoke effects the encampment is destroyed and the tanks move on as the demo ends.  Without question this is the most impressive thing of E3 so far and will be tough to beat.  EA goes out with this high note and sends the audience off with the promise to experience the games on the floor tomorrow.

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