Second up during today’s E3 conferences is the Electronic Arts (EA) briefing. The third party publisher is the parent company of well known developers such as DiCE, Respawn, and BioWare. Unlike Microsoft this morning, EA was far more game focused with many of its announcements being sequels.
The conference began with CEO John Riccitiello taking the stage to talk about EA as a company saying, “[Today] 10 great developers will come out here to show you 10 spectacular games.” The first of these ten games being the much anticipated Dead Space 3.
Vice President and General Manager at Visceral Games, Steve Papoutsis then took the stage to not only confirm the game, but to begin the gameplay demo on stage. Papoutsis promised vast new environments for Isaac to explore, as well as many new kinds of new necromorphs. The level played took place in what appeared to be a mining facility with Issac fighting some sort of drill monster, thought he was not alone.
There will be a new character alongside Isaac named John Carver, confirming drop-in/drop-out co-op. However, playing survival horror games in co-op takes away the sense of isolation that made the series so scary, however there are rumors that if the second player were to drop-out, the computer will not take control, but instead disappear – playing with the ongoing theme of Isaac’s fragile sanity. The release date for Dead Space 3 is slated for February 2013.
Next, EA Sports took the stage to talk about the new updates coming to the upcoming Madden 2013. Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin took the stage to discuss career mode with Riccitiello. Career Mode in Madden 2013 is very much modeled after traditional RPGs, as player progress is tracked through a career checklist, with goals for each season. Meeting them earns Experience Points, which is used for upgrades. Like most EA games now, players manage their teams from applications on their computers, tablets, or smartphones. There will also be a Facebook game that will connect with the game. Madden’s launch date is currently August 28th.
On the same note of Facebook tie-ins, Lucy Bradshaw the Senior Vice President of Maxis stepped on stage to properly reveal the beloved SimCity reboot. Along with the reboot is social game titled SimCity Social, which will go live on Facebook in a few short weeks. As for SimCity proper, Bradshaw explained that the game “will revolutionize simulation with our new Glassbox engine.” She also revealed the integration of multiplayer for the game promising, “Your gameplay choices affect not only the Sims of your city, but also the cities surrounding you as well.”
Other games discussed were FIFA 2013, Battlefield 3’s new Battlefield Premium services for $50 that includes exclusive DLC and other bonuses, as well as Bioware’s Co-Founder Dr. Ray Muzyka announcing new version of Nightmare difficulty for Star Wars: The Old Republic as new companion characters, playable species, and that starting July the game will be free-to-play up until level 15.
Though what might have been the most shocking news of the briefing was the annoucement that EA had bought the rights of the UFC license from THQ. In a press release sent out moments after the announcement THQ explaining that the agreement resulted in an “undisclosed cash payment to THQ.” Additionally, THQ claimed that it “will continue to publish its existing console and mobile titles through March 31, 2013.” Not only is that a heavy blow to another one THQ’s high-selling titles, but Dana White’s ego as he has been a longtime trash talker of the publisher. Though, it seems the two have worked out their differences and are ready to work together as the deal is multi-year contract.
The second publisher to make their way to the stage tonight is Ubisoft, whose Press Conference last year turned a lot of heads with the announcement of Far Cry 3 and the very memorable Mr. Caffeine. This year there’s still eyes out for Far Cry 3, but with Assassin’s Creed 3 finally in development and a freshly announced Splinter Cell: Blacklist Ubisoft could have more up their sleeve than originally thought.