E3 2011

EA E3 2011 Press Conference

| 6 Jun 2011 22:55

The announcement of The Sims: Social was a little uncomfortable. It's a Sims game tied to Facebook that'll allow players to invite friends into their games and then smootch with them. It looks like Sims, but cel-shaded, and you're playing with your actual friends. Sims: Social looks like a new take at bringing multiplayer into the franchise, and I'm sure at least one couple will break-up because of it somehow.

Curt Schilling took the stage to talk about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, but there wasn't much new here other than to note that the game is a part of EA's roster. The newest trailer shown off focused on the action-based combat and how it'll differentiate Reckoning from the other RPGs on the market. For a close look at Amalur and why (I think) you should pay attention, go here.

Insomniac Games CEO did indeed come to E3 to show off a new multi-platform title, and it's called Overstrike. It stars a futuristic elite squad of two female and two male combatants, each with their own quirks. The leader is a Bruce Campbell type, but in a sci-fi future. No gameplay was shown, but cinematics revealed the squad dropping in on mercenaries with cloaking tech, mercury guns that bubbled up and fused foes, and electric-bolt crossbows. They all converge in one scene to take down a bald, bulletproof tough guy, who turns out to be a robot and nearly impossible to kill. Look for Overstrike to feature Insomniac's storytelling with a serious bent but a sense of humor as well. Price didn't say too much about gameplay, but I would predict that online co-op is a given. Overstrike is coming to both the PS3 and Xbox 360.

EA's big finisher was, of course, Battlefield 3. DICE trumpeted its new Frostbite 2 engine which it says is allowing the game to go bigger in scale, make environments even more destructible, and improve audio amongst every other aspect of the series. Similar to EA's other social features, Battlefield 3 will feature a social environment through which people can check stats, communicate, make friends, and more, for free. A new multiplayer trailer showed some attractive gunplay in the middle of Paris, but the real meat of the presentation was the single-player trailer. It featured a tank battle in which players never leave the vehicle, but it wasn't as boring as that might sound. Players move through the environment until they encounter a line of enemy tanks. After taking them down (with just a few dings), explosions from an unknown attacker block the path. Players move out of the tank's gun sights to another screen within the tank that shows an overview of the battlefield. Just ahead of the friendly tank line is a mercenary camp with the rocket batteries responsible for those explosions. The player paints them with his sights and calls in an air strike, moves on the camp, takes down infantry with the tank's machine gun, and blows up more rocket batteries, all the while listening to radio chatter, taking enemy fire, and kicking up dust from the environment. It looks really, really fun if every mission incorporates this sort of variety. The multiplayer beta for Battlefield 3 will go live in September 2011, and the game will launch before Modern Warfare 3 on October 25 (smart idea).

And that was it for the EA press conference. 9 big games from 9 big developers, as EA put it, and a big focus on free social platforms as a new, central feature.

See all our coverage directly from the show floor.

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