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EA's Press Conference - Detailed Summary

posted 8 Jun 2011, 09:45 by Knuckles Sonic8   [ updated 8 Jun 2011, 11:28 ]
After a very casual-focused presentation from Microsoft, one could say that EA succeeded at bringing the attention back to the core audience at this year's E3. But were they able to keep that focus the entire way through? Read on for a detailed summary of EA's press conference and an analysis on how it went overall.


EA wasted little time in getting right into the action with a tease of Mass Effect 3 which spawned much excitement from the on-site audience. This was followed by a live demo of the game in action where BioWare promised to make the newest title even stronger than the list. Soon after Mass Effect had made a strong impact on viewers, the president of the company took to the stage and proceeded to get into the preliminaries with everyone seated in the auditorium. He was quick to highlight that EA likes to do things differently from the rest, and even took a jab at a certain company, saying that they’re not going to invite random celebrities for appearances. Instead, EA promised to effectively showcase the sorts of products they have in development and not aim for certain appeals to get people’s attention.

Then came an early mention of Origin.com, a new service where EA and EA partners can offer previews of new games and services that fans can look forward to in the coming year. In changing their structure at EA, Origin.com seems to be a great initiative for reaching out to consumers and making it even easier to access information and more. It really seems like EA is trying to do their own thing and market their titles in their own way, rather than simply leaving that up to retailers to hype up their upcoming releases with pre-order opportunities and the like. Origin has already been up and running prior to the show, and so far it’s created a considerable amount of buzz within the industry.


Need for Speed: The Run
came next, and boy did things get interesting. Some of the key highlights of the game that the company flaunted include its "breakneck speed", its "chase and race sequences" and a “relentless” AI force that is willing to use “any lethal means to take you down”. The Autolog system first introduced in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit will once again be returning in The Run except this time, they are aiming to weave the system into the game’s story whereby players will be racing friends to New York City. Much more exciting, though, is an announcement that really sent my heart racing. For this iteration in the franchise, they’ll actually be “pushing action out of the car”! As soon as the comment was made that Need for Speed would have on-foot portions, I immediately got goosebumps.

To provide a demonstration of what this entails, EA ran through a live on-screen demo where the main character (you) is stopped by police and ends up taking to rooftops. As he does, helicopters are firing bullets at him and as he reaches the edge of a roof, a button appears on the screen, confirming that these segments will feature QTE’s. Uh oh. A high-speed chase ensures where nice lighting effects are demonstrated in a realistic-looking setting. Along the way, quick sequences take place with other cars getting knocked out of the way. It soon gets to a point where the main character finds himself in an overturned car along a set of train tracks and must use QTE’s to escape. Worrying? Definitely. But we’ll have to wait and see.

To introduce Star Wars: The Old Republic, the General Manager of Bioware was next to take the stage. Hyping up the trailer of the game, he has plenty of positive things to say about the game’s development due to "the enormity of the experience". In his words, the LucasArts fanbase is the “most loyal and demanding audience in the history of entertainment” so having to craft this experience has been very challenging for the team. The trailer that was then shown was really captivating, pitting two armies against one another in a classic tale of a nation’s homeland getting assaulted by another nation that’s been lurking in the shadows. The video asks players to choose which side they want to follow, suggesting that there are multiple storyline paths you can explore in the upcoming game.

Next up was a trailer of
SSX: Deadly Descents! As soon as snow appeared, you knew what to expect. The video looked pretty exciting, with the tagline “Defy Reality. Own the Planet” and the proposed release date of January 2012. Peter Moore took the stage after the reveal, promising a seriously “massive” open world -- so massive, in fact, that there was a mention of NASA Satellite data being used. Custom to “true SSX fashion” the game will offer three unique experiences: ‘Race It’, ‘Trick It’ and ‘Survive ‘It’. Peter went on for a bit about, again, the “unique” cast of characters, informing viewers that a trailer on one of the most well-known characters from the franchise is available on the Origin website.

Continuing with the EA Sports brand, there was naturally talk about FIFA 12. Boasting 51 awards for their last game and over 1.3B recorded online sessions, they’re aiming for three main things with this new release: meaningful tactical defending where positioning is now just important as tackling; as well as precision dribbling enabling you to maintain positions even in closed quarters. A trailer was then shown featuring musicians Lil Wayne and Drake and a whole slew of other FIFA players who commented positively on why they love playing the FIFA video games. With a commitment to innovation, EA then announced a new service, the EA Sports Football Club, which promises to be "the heartbeat of FIFA". It’s a live Service that injects challenges and storylines with social competition at its core. EA believes this new service will create "persistence and presence" across platforms.

Madden NFL 12
was up next and here EA seemed to focus on this new release in a different fashion. I kept hearing the phrases "True to victory" and “True to the game" pop up, which says a lot about the realism they’re aiming to provide moving forward. And in doing exactly what they said they wouldn’t do, LCD screens on-stage were lifted to reveal three real-life NFL celebrities. Even if they weren’t “random”, it seemed a bit hypocritical of them to follow through on this.

Moving to the casual for a bit, it was announced that The Sims were moving to Facebook with the game The Sims Social. This promises to be the game for people who are "tired of robotic games based on agriculture". Other than the jab at Farmville, there wasn’t much else interesting to report on this.

From 38 Studios, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is an upcoming game where players are involved in an epic war and can change fate and destiny of characters and the world through their actions. And from Insomniac Games, there was the announcement of the game Overstrike, a game featuring 4 “elite agents” that will expand the team’s portfolio to the Microsoft audience. And finally, EA’s press conference concluded with a trailer and a live demo of Battlefield 3 where the next-gen tech engine Frostbite 2 was on display.

So, how did they do? Well I honestly came away feeling satisfied with EA’s press conference. Each game they showed (with the exception of FIFA and Madden) offered a different experience for a different group of people. Their presentation seemed very professional in the sense that the demonstrations were properly integrated, they offered pre-ambles and, many times, even follow-ups to each showing. Additionally, the overall flow of the presentation was great! It seems like loyal supporters of the Electronic Arts brand have a lot to look forward to.


Breakdown


Strengths:
  • Core audience was well-represented
  • Great presentation order and flow
  • Lots of Origin.com plugs; lots of awareness for the new service
  • Discernible focus in each game announcement
Weaknesses:
  • Celebrity representation seemed hypocritical
Most Memorable Highlight:
  • NFS: The Run will feature on-foot segments, a first for the franchise!



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