E3 2012 Feature: Electronic Arts Conference Impressions

E3 2012 Feature: Electronic Arts Conference Impressions

by June 8, 2012

Year of the FPS: Medal of Honor, Battlefield Expansions, Crysis 3 Unveiled

(We’re still catching up in bits and pieces on everything the 2012 E3 had to offer.  For that reason, this article as been backdated to June 8th to live in our Features section, despite its original publication of June 19th.  Better Late Than Never!  -Tristan)

Following up Microsoft’s E3 2012 conference isn’t a hard task for any of the big companies this week, so mega publishers EA took this stage to brings us plenty of sequels and … well, sequels. So how’d it go?

The conference opened with Dead Space 3, taking Isaac Clarke – and his new co-op buddy – away from the Ishimura spaceship and on to a snow-ridden planet. Sadly, the survival horror aspect of the game seems to be all-but gone: the focus was on cover-based shooting and action-focused gameplay. As some fans described it, a “brotastic shooter.” Dead Space 3 will arrive in February 2013.

Madden NFL 13 was next, with a new engine that delivers a “countless number of animation possibilities” and makes interactions between players more dynamic. Called the Infinity Engine, it takes into account player physique and removes pre-determined actions: after contact, balance can be regained whereas previously pressing a button ended the player input.

The development team has also updated the Career Mode, called connected career and brings “a connected universe.” That includes a “dynamic storyline,” for a sports game. Yeah.

Leagues can be created up to 32 people, and players can reprise roles as a player or coach. Experience can upgrade character abilities, increasing the “legacy score” and moving players towards the Hall of Fame. Multiple players can also be created. And there will be a virtual Twitter feed, in case you didn’t use the real service enough.

Sim City 3 was the surprise hit, thogh it’s social network cousin Sim City social for Facebook could be a look into the future. Despite the “more city, less vile” tagline, it looked very similar to Farmville. It’s free though.

On Sim City 3, multiplayer was the big reveal with challenges such as the Airport Challenge. Presumably, players have to meet certain requirements like mini-set piece missions. The devs also said decisions will have an impact on the world (thanks, friends who intentionally destroy creations).

Best-ever speaker Peter Moore took to the stage, and introduced the announcement of Battlefield 3: Premium. The pack brings access to Back to Karkan and access to the Close Quarters, Armored Kill, Aftermath and End Game expansion packs. “Let me be very clear, that’s 100 of hours of Battlefield 3 Premium content … coming today.” It’s available for $49.99 now.

Star Wars: The Old Republic was next up, described as “insanely awesome” despite subscribes dropping out. There’s going to be a new Hardcore difficulty mode, new companies and increased level caps for every class. A new planet – Makep – is also coming. This July, everyone will be able to play The Old Republic up to level 15 for free. BioWare has been rolling out numerous free weekends, so we’ll see if the free content is permanently available or expanded next year.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter followed, the follow up to the series reboot two years ago, and was confirmed to be launching on Frostbite 2. Despite being based on real battle, it looks similar to Battlefield and hardly an antithesis to the series. It looked more like a poor man’s Battlefield, whereas Halo 4 looks original and standard-setting in some aspects even this late into the cycle.

Madden NFL Social was announced, which has cross-device integration (Facebook to smartphones, for example).

We also got reveals of FIFA 13, UFC: Ultimate Fighting Championship (bought over from THQ) along with NFS: Most Wanted by Criterion. The latter is an open world driving game, seemingly in the vein of Burnout: Paradise and the previous NFS: Most Wanted. I get the feeling another Burnout game will be a next-gen product with the improved crash physics and destruction that could take place..

Crysis 3 was then revealed, pitched as a game that brings seven distinct areas and a sandbox experience. The demo looked like a linear, Crysis 2-esque experience though. Not exactly what some fans wanted. Graphically it looked great, as always. Crysis 3 arrives in February 2013.