Electronic Arts has so many games to showcase this year (40+ in fact), it's only natural that they'd try to give us an overview. However, there's only so much you can fit into a two hour window, and EA's choices were questionable. The game overviews seemed rushed, with most nothing more than pre-rendered trailers. In a most shocking twist, key titles we were expecting (in the tune of the Army of Two sequel, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and NHL 10) were left out in favour of titles to be released weeks from now. Perhaps the only news of note is the changes to the EA Sports online destination (read below!).
Needless to say, we were disappointed. Nevertheless, here's what EA had to show.
Littlest Pet Shop
Three new Wii and DS titles based on the Hasbro products allow kids to take their pets to the park, the city and the beach. A new online space allows for customization features, content sharing and mini games. These titles are expected to ship this Fall.
Charm Girls Club
Four titles across the Wii and DS platforms are in the works based on the CGC where multiplayer competitions has girls fighting to win the charms. Anybody up for a slumber party? We'll stay away from that one.
Need for Speed: SHIFT
A new development strategy has hit the long-running NFS series, changing the development cycle to two years and involving multiple studios. The result is a much more realistic and detailed game. A ranking system adjusts to your driving style and helps gear the experience to your liking.
Dragon Age: Origins
BioWare's MMO is changing the definition of the fantasy genre through in-game challenges, an unusual storyline, and Marilyn Manson music for their trailers. Dive into a Tolkien universe and help the mighty swordsmen defeat the dark spawn.
Mass Effect 2
Command the mission to save all mankind! This emotionally-charged action RPG brings new characters, new worlds and new weapons to Commander Shepherd as he navigates the hallways of starship Normandy.
Fight Night Round 4
The latest iteration in the Fight Night franchise focuses on speed, strength, strategy and style. The developers have enhanced the physics engine's collision detection system to allow shorter-reach fighters to get up close and personal with their opponents, and to distinguish direct hits from glancing blows. Instant replays give full access to view the dynamically calculated sweat bouncing off your opponent's forehead.
Still tight-lipped on this one, EA didn't have a trailer to show but we can now confirm that a mixed martial arts game is, in fact, in the works.
A revitalized online community, the easports.com website will allow players to manage franchises and other customizations and see their changes reflected in-game on their console. For instance, NCAA Football 10 will allow players to create custom teams online, uploading any image you want as your logo, customizing stadiums and the like. Madden NFL will introduce an online franchise management feature where players can monitor leaderboards, manage schedules, and all that fun stuff you previously had to be home for. Now there's an iPhone app that lets you do it on the go. This is the end of productivity at work as we know it.
EA Sports Active
The personal trainer for the Wii has already shipped two weeks ago and provides features that help you get fit at home. What's more, a journal helps you track your daily progress using a variety of statistics. A first expansion pack is in development, and is coming for the holiday season.
Grand Slam Tennis
EA set out to provide the first authentic tennis experience on the Wii, and their title will ship with full MotionPlus support. The 23 person roster will surely please every tennis fan out there. Grand Slam Tennis will ship this week.
This is what would happen if Hitman went back in time to the Nazi era. We're talking sniping people, sneaking around, stealing officers' clothes, basically everything you'd expect out of a special agent. The Saboteur has two attractive points: an explosive twist on most missions, and a stylized black & white atmosphere where colour reappears when the people's morale is on your side. Perhaps a more adequate comparison is Assassin's Creed meets Pleasantville. Look for this one during the holidays.
A rock band roadie is transported back in time and sets out to become a legend by shredding his guitar to defeat his enemies. This is exactly the kind of crazy nonsense that Jack Black would conjure up, were he asked to design a game. It seems Tim Schafer is on the same page. Jack Black voiced over 2600 lines of dialog, which also included such rock legends as Ozzy Osbourne, Rita Ford and Ron Halford. The rock adventure begins in October.
The followup to last year's most hyped title is on its way for a wider audience this time, targetting the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Key areas for enhancement include a new story, setting, AI and combat model. This work in progress has not yet set a target date.
APB (All Points Bulletin)
Real Time Worlds is developing a MMO world reminiscent of GTA IV in both graphics and gameplay. Unleash 100 cops and robbers into the city and you've got yourself a mad house. It's too early to tell if this title can manage to distinguish itself from the pack.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Star Wars fans will wet themselves thinking of the BioWare and LucasArts collaboration on this story-driven MMO, set thousands of years before the movies. Possibly one of the largest voice-over projects ever, this is the first fully voiced MMO to hit the market -- every single character in the game will have a unique voice, a characteristic which BioWare hopes will add an unprecedented feeling of immersion into the simulated universe.
That's it for the EA Conference recap. Look for in-depth previews of these games and more on GamingExcellence as the E3 week progresses.