The 2012 and 2013 Worst Company in America just wrapped up its E3 press conference and I must say, it was phenomenally well-paced.
Until it started talking about EA Sports games and the show's momentum crashed headlong into a brick wall and the cringe-inducing, goofy stuff started rearing its unwelcome head. But we'll get to that. Here's the too long, didn't read version:
- Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare
- Peggle 2
- Star Wars: Battlefront
- Need for Speed: Rivals
- Need for Speed (feature film)
- Dragon Age: Inquisition
- NBA LIVE14
- Madden NFL 25
- Battlefield 4
- Mirror's Edge
EA's show was all about the Xbox One and Playstation 4. Not a peep about Wii U, 360, PS3, Vita or 3DS (although, some of these games will be coming to other platforms. For example, Need for Speed Rivals and Battlefield 4 will have PS3/360 versions).
First up, Popcap demoed Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, a 4-player cooperative, 3rd-person survival game where players must fend off waves of zombies with sunflowers, cactuses, bok choy and other plant life. While the game will hit both consoles, it releases on the Xbox One first. Popcap then announced Peggle 2 as if it was the second coming of Christ. I'm sure the game is fun but come on... It will debut later this year.
Respawn's Vince Zampella showed a short behind-the-scenes video of Titanfall, a multiplayer wargame with giant mechs (the titular Titans) that you can hop in and out of.
EA Labels President Frank Giveau then took the stage and told us how neat-o game engines are and how they allow developers to do totally neat-o stuff and that's why they you'll be so glad for the Frostbite 3 and EA Sports Ignite engines because they will enable you to play games that wouldn't be as neat-o without them.
Star Wars: Battlefront is coming and uses Frostbite 3. It will probably have a map based on the battle of Hoth. Sorry if you wanted more details on that but the CG trailer was only about 15 seconds long.
Need for Speed: Rivals was shown off, touting "Alldrive" mode which creates an AI driver based on your performance that plays the game when you're not. So, if the AI drivers you face online are not controlled by live players, they're AI is based on those players' actual skills. The more ass your AI character kicks on its own, the more perks, stats and awards you earn.
Then Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) came on stage to talk about the new Need for Speed movie from Dreamworks that will be out in Spring 2014. According to the short behind-the-scenes clip, the movie features cars, drivers and drivers driving cars.
Dragon Age: Inquisition will be out in Fall 2014. Bioware showed off a trailer with no gameplay. Oh well, it's a year and a half away yet.
So far, so good. The show had a snappy pace, presenters were quick to intro their games and there wasn't a lot of fluff. And then EA Sports happened...
Some embarrassingly overenthusiastic digbat spent a minute and a half extolling the virtues of dribbling in basketball games. It's very important, you see. In fact, these games have "always lacked the depth of true ball handling. Until now!"
Bwa ha ha ha ha ha! Ball handling... Tee hee!
Anyway, thanks to the EA Sports Ignite engine, NBA LIVE14 features "bounceTek," which is a fancy way of saying the ball has better physics. None of the footage shown featured actual gameplay.
Next was Madden NFL 25 which touted various fancy terms that mean nothing more than better physics, AI and animation. Adrian Peterson is on the cover and again, none of the footage featured actual gameplay.
Then a bunch of athletes talked about how groovy football is while a few (none gameplay) clips of FIFA14 played. Then Drake appeared!
Yes, Drake! THE Drake.
I have no idea who Drake is. No last name. No title. Just Drake. But he likes FIFA so, yeah... Group GM's Matt Bilbry came out and said "Let's look at gameplay!" and proceeded to show clips that featured no gameplay. But, FIFA14 boasts impressive sounding features such as "Pro Instincts" and "Elite Technique" which just means better AI and animation respectively.
The last of the EA Sports titles is UFC. Yep, just UFC. UFC President Dana White introduced the game by telling the audience that punching people in the face is the bestest sport ever and if you don't agree...
Yeah, he just let that kind of hang there. Anyway, NFC features full-body deformation which we've totally never seen before in 3D fighting games and "MMAi" which is a cute name for the game's totally tubular AI. As you might have guessed, the game trailer featured no actual gameplay footage.
Then the audience was treated to a staged demo of a 64-player Battlefield 4 match. The game features "Commander Mode" where one guy (or gal) on a tablet can call in air strikes. Want to know what destructible environments in Battlefield 4 are called? "Levelution."
64-player Battlefield 4 matches will be playable from the show floor and live streamed all week.
And finally, Mirror's Edge. No, not Mirror's Edge 2. Just Mirror's Edge. I'm seeing an unfortunate pattern here with sequels dropping their numbers (Star Wars: Battlefront, Halo, Killer Instinct). Oh well. Faith (the game's protagonist) is back. Hopefully this time someone will buy her game.
And that's that. Ubisoft is up next.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen