At the Con: E3 2010 – EA . . . Innovative and Online

Electronic Arts (EA) has long been one of the most popular and respected game publishers in the industry. With games to appeal to players of all genres, I am excited to see what we can expect from the company in the near future. Announcing 10 upcoming titles and a loyalty rewards club, EA has a bit of something to appeal to players of all genres.

The keynote opened strong with a frantic chase scene from the upcoming release, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Craig Sullivan, Creative Director at Criterion Games appeared to highlight the latest game from the popular franchise. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit gives players the option to play as a career driver or a police officer in high speed car chases. Criterion Games has set out to push the franchise beyond the 2-player experience by incorporating online connectivity. Sullivan expounded on their mission, “we are setting out to re-imagine Need for Speed in a Criterion Games style for a connected generation.” The Autolog component to the racer allows players for compete and compare their results with connected friends. Watch the Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit trailer below and get ready to play “cops and robbers” on PC, PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii beginning November 16, 2010.

Courtesy of Criterion Games

John Riccitiello, CEO of EA, took the stage to announce the remaining 9 games set for the coming year, starting with Dead Space 2. Steve Papoutsis, Executive Producer at Visceral Games, boasted the unmitigated success of the Dead Space franchise with the original game, comic series, animated feature and Dead Space: Extraction. Followed by Rich Briggs, Producer on Dead Space 2, who took the stage to show off some gameplay. Dead Space 2 is set to bring back all the gruesome violence and tension-filled, creepy atmosphere that helped the original game capture the horror/thriller game genre. Battle the necromorphs on PC, PS3 or Xbox 360 on January 25, 2011.

Courtesy of Visceral Games

In some of the most anticipated news, EA Los Angeles and DICE teamed up for Medal of Honor. Sean Decker, General Manager of EA LA, presented the first person shooter which takes place in Afghanistan and provides a single-player experience, as well as online multiplayer gameplay. The muti-player game includes Team Assault mode, a death match mode where teams go head-to-head attempting be the first team to earn a set number of points. To show just how impressive the multiplayer game is, EA staged a live 24-person demo. Become a Tier 1 Operator when Medal of Honor launches on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 12, 2010. Pre-order the game now to gain access to the online multiplayer beta which goes live June 21, 2010.

Courtesy of EA

Katrina Strafford, Senior Director Online at EA, provided a break in the game announcements by presenting the Gun Club. Gun Club is a rewards program for loyal EA gamers and provides early access to news, events and beta gameplay, as well as weapon unlocks and special features. The first incentive is for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 VIPs who pre-order Medal of Honor. They will be rewarded with beta access to Medal of Honor beginning June 17, 2010.

Courtesy of EA

EA also likes sports to prove it, they are releasing EA Sports MMA. A game in development for two years that brings authentic details from the look of the athletes to their individual fighting styles. EA Sports MMA also works in the international aspects of the sport with different training facilities and cages, fighting styles and rules. Peter Moore, President of EA, touched on the integration of online connectivity stating, “where, as always, we’re providing deep innovation for the core, we’re also on new platforms with new experiences and we’re infusing online aggressively into everything that we do.” The EA Sports Live Broadcast functionality of EA Sports MMA is a perfect example of how online community is factoring into game-play. With EA Sports Live Broadcast, gamers create their own fighters and hype videos. The online community selects the fighters they want to see battle it out. The selected fighters meet in the cage, while the match is broadcast live online, via console and internet, with live commentary. Get ready to square off on PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 19, 2010.

Courtesy of EA

Looking to capitalize on the motion controller buzz, Andrew Wilson, Head of Development, took the stage to introduce EA SPORTS Active 2. Making the most of online functionality, wireless and biometrics with an included heart monitor, more than 70 exercises and the ability to track progress online, EA is doing their best to help keep gamers active. EA SPORTS Active 2 will launch November 16, 2010 on PS3, Wii and Xbox 360, with Kinect compatibility.

Courtesy of EA

Keeping with sports, Peter Moore was joined by Hall of Famer, Joe Montana to talk Madden NFL 11. Tying Joe Montana’s insight into the complexities of calling plays with the new features in Madden NFL 11, EA’s mission with this installment of the much beloved franchise was to create a game that was “Simpler. Quicker. Deeper.” To that end, EA created a game that cut the time to play a full game in half and gives gamers more control in calling and changing plays. They also included 3-on-3 co-op gameplay. Get in the huddle on PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360 and Wii on August 10, 2010.

Courtesy of EA

This year Sims get free will. Rob Humble, Executive VP at EA Play Label introduced us to a wold of endless possibilities with Sims 3. Building on the fully immersive game, EA is taking it further with the ability to customize just about everything, from the look and personality traits of the Sims themselves to the design of their dream home. Sims 3 is available now for PC and will be available for Nintendo DS, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 this fall.

Courtesy of EA

In a world on the brink of anihilation, you are the ultimate supersoldier struggling to save New York City from an alien invasion in Crysis 2. Cevat Yerli, Founder, CEO & President of Crytek brought an action-packed demo and announced the Holiday 2010 release on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, including 3D versions.

Courtesy of Crytek

If you are looking for an over-the-top shooter, People Can Fly, part of Epic Games, would like to introduce Bulletstorm. A first-person shooter where players are rewarded for excessively violent and creative kills. Adrian Chmielarz, Creative Director at People Can Fly, Cliff Bleszinski, Design Director at Epic Games and Tanya Jessen, Producer at Epic Games presented a live demo that highlighted extravagant explosions, blood and foul language. This game is all about the havoc you can wreak. Why not earn points for the carnage you inflict? Look for Bulletstorm to blow up on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on February 22, 2011.

Courtesy of People Can Fly & Epic Games

Finally, to close out the keynote, Mary Bihr of Lucas Arts and Greg Zeschuk of BioWare brought the news every Star Wars fanboy (and girl) has been waiting for . . . a look at Star Wars: The Old Republic. The much anticipated massively multiplayer online game (MMO) touched most of the audience with a poignant and inspiring cinematic trailer titled “Hope”. In addition to the interactive game-play, allowing players to engage in player versus player battle using lightsabers and the power of The Force, each player will get their own starship. The starship will act as a home base, where players can interact with their companion characters and other players, or plan their next adventure. Watch the “Hope” trailer below and feel The Force.

Courtesy of BioWare

EA always promises innovation. With 10 upcoming releases, including games with 3D and motion control integration, they have lived up to expectation for the coming year. Integrating online connectivity and games to appeal to every kind of gamer is sure to entice more people to spark up their PCs and consoles. I’ll see you in game.