Pleasant surprises at EA’s media briefing (I’m not joking!)
It’s pretty common knowledge that I have not been EA’s biggest fan as of late. The Kings of Microtransaction, haters of the Wii U, and two-time winner of the Golden Poo make it easy to hate on them. But when I say the following, I say it with full sincerity: EA had a fairly good media briefing.
If I’m not effusive on it, please forgive me, because they could do a lot more. But what they did, for their target audience, was really all they needed. EA may be coming to the realization that their core is the “bro,” and they need to provide guns and sports. And that’s what they did, and, for what it’s worth, they did it quite well.
The conference started off with EA’s new franchise Titanfall. The game looks like a cross between a first-person shooter and a mech-attack game. Think Zone of the Enders meets Halo. As expected from any EA reveal, the graphics are incredible, though not much of the story was revealed at this time. The warfare did look beautiful and realistic, which is to be expected from a company that raised itself on Battlefield, and we were treated to some of the mecha warfare unique to Titanfall versus other FPS titles. The strategy required in the mecha fighting was critical to mission success, which I found most impressive. Rather than fight a losing battle in a mecha, the demo player chose to escape the mecha, strap some kind of explosive device to its back, and sent it into the fray with a kiss and a bullet storm. Nothing like a giant mech to end a battle.
Speaking of EA’s hit series Battlefield, the fourth iteration showcased gameplay at the EA briefing as well. Battlefield 4‘s demo was huge… literally, as the demo player was joined on stage by a team of sixty-four other players looking to take him and his team on. The demo showcased two new buzzwords for the studio: “Levolution,” the idea that everything on a map can and will react to things, as demonstrated when the demo player took out a pillar in a building to have the ceiling collapse onto an enemy’s head, and the very cool “Commander” technique, in which a player can either start or join in a game from a tablet or smartphone as the team commander, issuing orders and deploying back up as needed. Again, while I would rather see original stuff, you can’t knock Battlefield 4 for being a great outing.
EA’s crown jewel is their sports franchises, and they were touted loud and clear Tuesday. The glitterati came out to support their games, including Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, UFC champions Benson Henderson and Jon “Bones” Jones, and Drake, who has been an open fanboy of EA’s FIFA series. For those who like realism in their sports games, EA has upped it once again. The sports studio threw out several buzzwords, such as:
→ bounceTek: lifelike dribbling for challenging and more independent ball handling in NBA Live 14.
→ NBA Live Worlds: constantly-updated stats in NBA Live 14 via EA Sports Ignite within mere hours of them changing.
→ TrueStep: lifelike running and footwork in Madden 25 allowing for precision planting and pivoting.
→ War in the Trenches: a redefined front line in Madden 25 allowing for more intelligent and intuitive linebackers.
→ Living Stadium: Packed, realistic stadiums in FIFA 14 that respond not only to goals but to plays and referee calls.
→ Pro Instinct: More intelligent designs in FIFA 14 allowing players to react intuitively to others, such as instinctively hopping over another player’s missed slide kick.
→ MMAi: Intelligence in fighters in UFC that will allow for changes and adaptability mid-fight.
→ Full Body Deformation: The same techniques used in previous Fight Night games will be carried over to UFC and applied not only to the face, but to body parts as well, allowing for bruises and welts all over the body.
Again, for all the grief gamers give EA for catering to the “bros,” if you’re a sports fan, you should be excited about this. Considering that sports games don’t usually have storylines, they need to carry themselves on the realism of the graphics, and every year, EA inches closer to the real thing.
Also revealed at EA’s briefing: Need for Speed: Rivals along with the live-action movie Need for Speed, which allows gamers to play as a street racer or a cop, or as a helicopter pursuing street racers via mobile devices, and, yes, the rumor is true – EA will be releasing Mirror’s Edge 2.
Well played, EA. You win this round.