E3 2013: Electronic Arts press conference

Plants vs Zombies Garden WarfareAfter share price drops, some terrible game launches, and even a sudden CEO resignation, publishing giant Electronic Arts has had something of a terrible year. With a new CEO and a slate of new games to promote, they are no doubt hoping that this E2 will make a good impression.

They kicked off with a new game from the recently-acquired PopCap, a co-operative 3D version of their smash hit Plants vs Zombies, subtitled Garden Warfare. Rather than being fixed in place on the lawn, plants can move around, taking the fight directly to the invading zombies. It appears to play like a class-based third-person shooter, crossed with a tower defence, and it looks extremely cute and funny. At the tail end of a lengthy demonstration, they also revealed that Peggle 2 is in the works.

After a brief teaser of Star Wars: Battlefront, apparently a reboot of the popular tactical battle franchise, they then moved on to Need for Speed: Rivals. Made by internal EA studio Ghost Games with help from Criterion, this next-generation title bears a strong resemblance to Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Players can take on the role of an illegal street racer or a cop trying to bring them down, and if you elect to play online, your single player game can merge with another player’s game and become multi-player head-to-head.

Hotly-anticipated Bioware role-playing game Dragon Age: Inquisition was teased with a long, gameplay-free CGI trailer. Fans of the series will at least be pleased to know that Morrigan, voiced by Australia’s Claudia Black, will be returning. It’s still over a year from release, though, which is less pleasing.

EA’s stable of sports games was next, including their first freshly-licensed Ultimate Fighting Championship title, and the return of NBA Live. Also plugged were the ever-popular FIFA soccer and the 25th edition of the Madden NFL franchise. All these games are being made in EA’s new Ignite engine, which features advanced physics and artificial intelligence, among many other improvements.

One interesting tidbit was the dribbling system in NBA Live 14. For the first time, the ball will not be an extension of a character, but a separate, free-flying object that bounces with real-time physics. EA promises that dribble control will be the most realistic that fans of basketball video games have ever seen.

With the sports titles done, it was time for Battlefield. While the Xbox conference had shown the world premiere of the live, real-time single-player gameplay, EA saved the multiplayer for their own conference, and it was impressive. A curtain was raised, revealing 64 live players on stage, who then staged a gigantic pitched battle in the middle of an American city. The new Frostbite Engine 3 was shown off, with the most spectacular moment being the collapse of a full-sized skyscraper, moments after the players had base-jumped off the top of it.

Finally, there was a brief teaser for something fans have been clamouring for for years: Mirror’s Edge. Fans of Faith, the outlaw courier who free runs across a gleaming dystopia dodging aggressive security and police. Listed as being released “when it’s done” and not carrying a number after the title, this appears to be a reboot of the much-loved but sadly under-selling title.

What do you think readers? Did EA reveal anything that you’re excited by?

– James “DexX” Dominguez

Screen Play is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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