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Posted by Alex

EA held a press conference at E3 this year, as is their custom. They showed video games they had mostly already announced, as is their custom. They made some desperate plays at social connectivity and future subscription/downloadable content initiatives, as is very much their custom. And there was a football player there. You can see where this is going.

More like Dude Space 3.

Nobody expects huge things from EA's pressers. Even among publisher press conferences, which are traditionally light on new announcements, EA has always seemed rather bland and low-key, especially when compared with the hyperactive weirdness of the Ubisoft conference, and the off-kilter inexplicability of the Konami pressers. So I can't say I was disappointed with EA's showing this year. It's hard to disappoint when you don't have hope to begin with.

The publisher did at least have the good sense to set the tone for the afternoon right from the get-go, with a decidedly haggard-looking John Riccitiello (it really looked like it had been a rough year for the guy) wandering out onto the stage looking only half-aware of where he was. He then went on to tout EA's many achievements, chief among them EA's dedication to ensuring you have more things to buy for that game you already bought. Yes, the abundance of paid DLC was EA's first talking point.

But then video games happened, and to be fair, many of those video games looked pretty good. The highlights were undoubtedly demos for Criterion's open world spin on Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and a show-closing demo of Crysis 3. Dead Space 3 also got a fairly lengthy showing, though reactions seemed mixed over the game's newfound emphasis on action-y gameplay, Lost Planet-looking setting, and abundance of bro-oriented dialogue. "Fuck this planet," one of the Dead Space guys said, and if social media reactions were any indication, people agreed with him.

Reactions seemed similarly mixed for Medal of Honor: Warfighter, though that may be due less to the quality of the game itself, and more to do with the fatigue that's been setting in over brown/tan/grey shooters set in modern theaters of conflict. I mean, there are a lot of shooters at this year's E3, and the fact that the demo followed the deeply underwhelming demo for Battlefield 3 Premium probably did it no favors.

SimCity's demo was a personal highlight for me. I've been excited about modern Maxis' take on the franchise for a while now, and the stuff they showed looked fantastic. Even the Facebook version of the game seemed to have some merit, and that's not something I say very often.

This is the first game I'm bee-lining for at the EA booth.

That said, the SimCity demos were but one example of EA's continued bludgeoning of the consumer with social features they may or may not ever care to use. EA's demos of FIFA and Madden were particularly engorged with these, and I can't help but question the need for more ways to connect games to social networks to smart devices and so on and so forth. I play many of EA's sports games, and I cannot say I've ever had much desire to do anything besides play some online games and maybe join a league. I feel like I'm not alone on this.

But, hey, if you do decide to pick up Madden this year, you can totally connect it socially with social stuff, and even look at a fake Twitter feed featuring various ESPN sportswriting personalities. Yes, Madden has its own fake Twitter, featuring people you probably go out of your way not to follow on Twitter. Oh, and there are new tackles, because of course there are

EA also confirmed that they will most assuredly be rejoining the NBA race this year with a new NBA Live, and even managed one sports-related surprise. In bringing a somewhat bemused-looking Dana White on stage, EA announced that it had acquired the UFC license, which had previously been held by THQ. Considering some of the things that Dana White has said about EA over the years, this is unquestionably hilarious. At least the game should be good, if that last EA MMA title is any indication.

Lastly, and most definitely leastly, Dr. Ray Muzyka was trotted out on stage to plead for the life of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Looking as upbeat as a man pitching an MMO that's losing subscribers left and right possibly could, Dr. Ray touted multiple new content updates on the horizon, and that the game would be going free-to-play up through level 15. Expect a similar announcement next year, except without the level cap.

And that was the EA presser in a nutshell. Next up, Ubisoft, which should, at the very least, be a bit more lively.

Edited by Lavs

thanks baby

Posted by crcruz3

No. no.

Posted by Autumn_Thunder

NFS looked cool, not so sure bout Dead Space.

Posted by Hicks

great coverage so far guys, keep up the good work !!

Posted by crusader8463

Nothing interesting in this one ether. Here's hoping Ubi can pull out the crazy and at least be a trainwreck of fun to watch. My hope is for Sony to steal the show tonight.

Posted by Thor_Molecules

Nice writeup, Alex. Really looking forward to more E3 content.

Posted by familyphotoshoot

TOR will be F2P by the end of 2012. Mark my words.

Posted by FLStyle

God save the Queen.

Edited by RockinKemosabe

I found the press conference rather boring.

Edit: Also, Riccitiello, I'm pretty sure Sundance doesn't have this many explosions.

Edited by Animasta

you missed the part where medal of honor is super morally reprehensible

Posted by tourgen

EA games, now with more "Checking Downloadable Content" freezes and online checks than ever before. 
Anyway UFC thing was cool to hear.

Posted by Tylea002

You said Presser. You said Presser.

I mean, I know you said Presser in the same way you'd say an arrow to the knee joke and I shouldn't get angry but... YOU SAID PRESSER.

Posted by Jayzilla

Alex is killing it so far.

Posted by dskillzhtown

I am surprised there was no NBA Live reveal. Game may not be ready for primetime yet.

Posted by Generiko

Dana looked like he wanted to punch EA man

Posted by Alex

@Tylea002: It's shorter than "conference."

Posted by ds8k

"loosing subscribers"

Posted by IAmNotBatman

@ds8k said:

"loosing subscribers"


Posted by handsomeb

I thought Medal of Honor looked interesting, but that may have been that everything looks good in Frostbite 2.

Posted by Jazz2

it's a little reassuring that they didn't anounce Dragon Age III yet :s

Posted by Milkman
@ds8k: Gotta get 'em loose. 
Posted by andrewf87462

There are still over a million subscribers on ToR, nothing to worry about just yet.

Posted by C0V3RT

I follow some of the people that are in Maddens fake twitter feed. There are just differing degrees of being a fan, Alex.

Edited by Seppli

Criterion's Most Wanted is a shoe in. So is Battlefield Premiun - given the availablity of a code-in-a-box version. Dead Space 3 and Crysis 3 are right down my alley - and are likely purchases. Medal of Honor has me interested - I'd be down for another military shooter with a more arcadish flavor than BF3 - to tide me over 'til a proper Bad Company game hits (hopefully). Sim City isn't my thing, but looked awesome - I should give it a try (well - I prolly should do Civ 5 first - been pushing that intention along for years). If I was into sports games, that shit looks dope as ever.

Seeing doctor Ray sweat like he was in a hotbox made me sad. SW:TOR is an enjoyable game, but I'll be departing to greener MMO pastures - Guild Wars 2 is the next big evolutionary step for the genre, and that's where I'll put my time in (they already got my money with their pre-purchase deal). Would have preferred to see Dragon Age 3 or something along the lines - or C&C Generals 2.

EA certainly brings the heat. They'll get a share of my gaming budget 2012/13 for sure.

Posted by Alex

@C0V3RT: Just tell me you don't follow Skip Bayliss.

Posted by davidwitten22

Nice write-up, Alex Navarro bossing it up with the recaps. No surprise there.

Posted by C0V3RT

@Alex: Oh god no. I've got standards!

Posted by lucianotassis
Posted by iAmJohn

This press conferencing was slightly more tolerable than Microsoft's, but only slightly.

Posted by TheFakePsychic

Where was Overstrike, that was my only question. I love Insomniac in every way, shape, and form, and I'm really rather disappointed that nothing seems to have come out since that amazing trailer last year.

It's still listed on EA's website as coming soon, so I'm still hoping for something, anything to be said about it but it just seems like EA refuses to mention anything about it.

Posted by wsowen02
Posted by MeatSim

SimCity is about the only thing I cared for at this press conference.

Posted by Orange_Tory


Edited by Draxyle

If you showed all the EA shooters back to back with no context, I would not be able to tell them apart. People joke about the brown and grays, but it hits so much harder when you see them all in quick succession like that. You can tell they had to throw other games in-between them to relieve that feeling, but it doesn't help that most of their other franchises are also heavily de-staturated. Sim City was the only interesting looking game in that entire bunch.

Ubisoft was such a breath of fresh air after them. Even their shooters have colors.

Edit: Thanks for the write ups, Alex! Great stuff here.

Posted by CodeFire

Yeah, ToR is going to be going free to play within a year or two.


Riddle me this; why two shooters of the same genre? Battlefield 3 and Medal of Honor look EXACTLY the same. It's fucking redundant. Will the MoH campaign be as mediocre as the BF3 campaign, I hope not.


...also, I'm a big fan of Dead Space, but what the fuck are they doing to that franchise...watered down with co-op and "action" just so they can market a better multiplayer. Did anyone else catch on to that? I wish Visceral studios wasn't owned by EA so they didn't have to throw multiplayer in the mix of everything. I want Necromorphs, not "Gears of War shoot dudes from behind cover" gameplay...ugh!

Posted by ocdog45

I'm really only interested in Dead Space 3. Most wanted looks nice but Burnout is still my game for that. I'd like to play the old republic when it goes free to play.

Edited by TorMasturba

I might actually go and play TOR now, upto level 15... Sorry EA... Umm Bioware... umm, who should I be apologising to?

Ah fuck it, I don't really care, I voted with my money, TOR looked good, unfortunately it wasn't KOTOR III, so it's not for me.

Like I say though, I'm willing to put up with TOR on free-to-play terms.

P.S. What happened to Deadspace 3? Or is it Dead Gears of Lost space?

Posted by MocBucket62

Navarro your right about Dana White. After he bad mouthed EA for not making or even touching an MMA video game 3 years ago, now the UFC brand is under EA. That said, this is typical of White to act like this, first he bad mouthes a company or MMA fighter for something bad they've done, then in a few years, will support his old enemies as they'll be associated with the UFC. He used to trash talk Strikeforce all the time before Zuffa bought the Strikeforce brand.

Edited by Brodehouse

Riddle me this; why two shooters of the same genre? Battlefield 3 and Medal of Honor look EXACTLY the same. It's fucking redundant. Will the MoH campaign be as mediocre as the BF3 campaign, I hope not.

It's basically the same as Activision having an Infinity Ward Call of Duty and a Treyarch Call of Duty, except EA hasn't smushed them into Battlefield: Medal of Honor yet.  It's basically Treyarch and Danger Close on even numbered years and Infinity Ward and DICE on odd numbered years.
Main problem with EA's conference is everything got leaked last week, and a lot of these games have a 3 on them.  EA was full of known quantities and though I'm sure Dead Space and Crysis are going to be totally acceptable value propositions, known quantities don't capture the imagination.
Most Wanted looks hot as shit though.
Posted by dropabombonit

NFS looks awesome, basically the sequel to Burnout Paradise I wanted

Posted by JaimieStarshine

You forgot to mention that although madden is always gonna be madden and for sports people, it is pretty cool that they're integrating real life body movement and physics based on which player you are, changing the outcomes of the moves.

Posted by VintAge68

Really looking forward to MoH: Warfighter, Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, NFS... -- the most expected press conference on my part

Edited by MrKlorox

I hope you can turn off the wobble when snapping buildings to roads. Other than that, Sim City looks stellar. And Sim City Social sounds like a no brainer win for anybody into facebook gaming, which I am not.