EA’s press event gave us a taste of their line-up for the rest of year today in Cologne, Germany. At 15h30, 16 August 2011 a thousand people were crammed into a hall, waiting to see what EA’s vision of the future of games is.
Jens Uwe Intat, Senior VP for EA Europe kicked things off and went straight into the games. First up was the announcement of a new FIFA Street. This time the EA Sports Football group in Vancouver is developing the game – the first time the main FIFA group has taken on the development of a FIFA Street game. Gary Peterson, the game’s Creative Director, and Andrew Wilson, Executive VP of EA Sports, gave us a few more details: 35 environments (including London, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona), FIFA 12’s precision dribbling system and twice as many modes as FIFA 12. The game will include connection to EA Sports Football Club so that you share an in-game identity with FIFA 12. The game comes out in early 2012.
Need for Speed: The Run
Next up was a trailer for Need for Speed: The Run. Jason DeLong, Executive Producer for the game told us how it has 300 kilometres of road, blinding dust storms, fog banks and billowing snow. There was a live demo of a drive through Independance Pass, Colorado. In the demo the road had been closed for avalanche blasting and you have to not only race the winding roads and beat your opponent but also dodge the falling rocks. The game comes out for PC, 360 and PS3 on 18 November in Europe.
Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes
Bioware’s Dr Ray Muzyka then gave us a quick reminder that Dragon Age Legends exists on Facebook. He also announced a new free-to-play Warhammer Online game: Wrath of Heroes. The game features player vs player combat on PC and allows 18 players to battle each other in a free for all where alliances can change on the fly, or in configurations like 6 vs 6 vs 6. You can sign up for the beta today at http://www.wrathofheroes.com
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Dr Muzyka continued with Star Wars: The Old Republic. He showed a clip from the game which indicated that this will have a much richer story element than most MMO games. An 8 person team gave a live demonstration of an “operation” (that is, a raid) called Eternity Vault. Ray said that the game is going to be an “ongoing living experience” and that they plan to set “a new standard for an MMO launch”.
Mass Effect 3
Finally Muzyka talked about Mass Effect 3. He calls it the “ultimate action RPG”. The first in a series of Combat Reveal trailers was shown. A number of other trailers in the series will be coming out giving us more information about the combat in the game. Mass Effect 3 is out on March 9 2012 in Europe and March 6 2012 in the US.
Todd Batty, Creative Director of SSX came on stage to give us a rundown of what SSX has to offer. He said it’s going to “revolutionise social competition”. He announced RiderNet, an ingame network inspired by Autolog – this is the heart of the social competition he was talking about. The game will feature mountains from all “major mountain ranges” on the planet and thus loads and loads of “drops” to compete with your friends and others on.
Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning
Jens came back on stage to introduce two developers that are part of the EA Partners network: 38 Studios and Funcom. Big Huge Games’ Ken Rolston talked entertainingly about Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning. The game story is written by RA Salvatore, and the character designs are by the creator of Spawn, Todd McFarlane. The game comes out for 360, PS3 and PC on 10 February 2012 and is playable on the floor at Gamescom.
The Secret World
Funcom’s The Secret World was displayed next – it’s an MMO for PC set in a modern day world where all the myths and conspiracies are true. You are a member of a secret society, and you fight for control over various locations throughout the world. There are no levels or character classes, but there is an extensive skill system which allows you to customize your character to your play style. A beta sign-up begins on 26 August and the game comes out in April 2012.
Andrew Wilson came back on stage to give us more info about FIFA 12. He introduced David Rutter, Senior Producer of the game, who talked about the gameplay innovations in this year’s release: the precision dribbling system, the tactical defense engine, the player impact system and the professional player intelligence. FIFA Ultimate Team will be included in the game from launch for the first time. The demo comes out on 13 September and the game is out on 27 September in North America and 29 September in Europe.
Finally EA showed us some more about Battlefield 3. Karl Magnus Troedsson, the GM of DICE and Patrick Soderlund, Executive VP of EA Games played a live co-operative operation which involved rescuing a defected PLR officer. The game also features Battlelog which records high scores and times in missions so you can compare these with your friends. It’s like Autolog for your FPS. The show ended off with recorded footage of a 64 player battle on the “Caspian Border” map. In it there were jets, helicopters, tanks and all kinds of foot soldiers. Battlefield 3 comes out on 27 October 2011.
We took a bunch of other pictures at the event. Here are some of them: