EA unveiled its 2011 lineup earlier this afternoon, and two themes permeated the presentation. The first, is that EA is strongly pushing its new Origin distribution platform, repeatedly stating that all the trailers shown are available now for viewing on origin.com. The second, is a focus on social media to drive the gaming experience.
You may recall the Autolog feature from last year's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, which shared/spammed your progress amongst your online friends and, optionally, with social media such as Facebook. It would appear that EA was happy with the results, because that feature is now available, under a variety of names, in many of their new offerings. Need for Speed: The Run will of course feature its predecessor's Autolog, while FIFA 2012 extends it as the FIFA Football Club. The Sims Social just looks to go all out with outright spamming, with the trailer showing nothing but Facebook updates from the game... because we hadn't had enough of FarmVille.
EA has a decent amount of high profile games on the docket, including the much anticipated Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG. We didn't see much more than an expanded trailer, but we're hoping there will be more to see on the show floor this year. Insomniac revealed their first foray outside the PlayStation-exclusive world with Overstrike, a comical cliche-ridden third-person adventure where a mercenary, a thief, a scientist and a detective get together to save the world using the fringe-science weaponry that Insomniac loves to imagine. And then there's Battlefield 3, warfare amongst breathtaking landscapes. Its demo featured a first person tank battle, which also put some much-needed variety in the overpopulated war-based FPS genre. A Mass Effect 3 trailer was shown, but it's a bit difficult to comment on something that looks more like a movie trailer than a video game. We'll reserve judgement until we see some gameplay.
It's the same old for EA Sports again this year. There's talk of new features in many of their sports franchises -- FIFA and Madden NFL in particular -- but as usual, it boils down to refinements rather than groundbreaking new functionality.
Still, it's a solid showing for EA this year. Much better than that Princess Diamond Tiara thing I spent half an hour ignoring last year.