Plus we FINALLY get a look at multiplayer Battlefield 4!
By Tim Colwill on June 11, 2013 at 7:08 am
EA opened their conference to an extended piece of dubstep, and the announcement that Plants vs. Zombies was being turned into a third-person action game. Confused? That seemed to be the prevailing emotion as EA kicked into high gear, with a man from PopCap games demonstrating Garden Warfare, their new spin-off of Plants vs. Zombies that uses the Frostbite 3 engine to put you in the role of one of the titular plants (each of which act as different ‘classes’, the sunflower being a healer for example) and fighting off waves of zombies. The game has a few light tower-defence elements as well and honestly seems kind of interesting, but the concept is just so out-of-nowhere bizarre that the biggest stumbling block may be finding someone willing to sit still long enough for you to explain it.
From there EA moved into more familiar territory, showing us a video of Titanfall (watch the launch trailer for yourself here) and discussing the power of their two engines: Frostbite 3 and EA Sports Ignite. Then, out nowhere, EA dropped the biggest reveal of the night — ten sweet seconds of a CGI snowscape, ripped through by Star Wars snowspeeders and smashed by the stomping foot of an AT-AT. That’s right — DICE are confirmed as developing Star Wars: Battlefront, the first title to bear fruit from EA’s recent exclusive acquisition of the license. The audience erupts in raucous cheering.
Next up we get a look at the next NFS game, which this year is called Rivals. So far it looks like a pretty standard cops-and-racers sort of deal, but we’re introduced to a new feature called ‘Alldrive’ which promises to seamlessly blend single-player, co-op and multiplayer together. The demonstration we’re given doesn’t really show this off, simply showing us one player jumping into another player’s game and taking the role of the police. It’s not clear how the interactions continue, but perhaps more information will soon be forthcoming.
Then it’s on to the other big reveal of the night — our first look at Dragon Age 3: Inquisition. It’s just a CGI trailer but we see some familiar faces including Varric and Morrigan, and get a glimpse at the otherworld threat now looming over the world. BioWare’s Aaryn Flynn explains that we’ll get access to a “vast open world” where our choices will change the world around us, rather than just our relationships with others. EA will release the trailer to us soon I’m sure, so keep an eye out.
Sportball, get your sportball
EA then moved on to an extended EA Sports section replete with the usual hilariously awkward conversations between gaming executives and professional athletes, and 98% of which is almost entirely irrelevant for PC gamers so I won’t bother you with excess details — suffice to say that the installments of your favourite EA Sports franchises will continue to happen this year, and they will be better than they were last year. We’re also promised “full body deformation” in the upcoming UFC title, which if true is pretty cool.
Finally, EA closed off the event by handing the reigns to DICE — who whipped a curtain aside and revealed 64 gaming PCs, all humming along together and ready to run a 64-player Battlefield 4 match. They also took this opportunity to reveal that Commander Mode is making a return, with a birds-eye view that can played on your tablet as well as in your living room. Commanders will have the ability to drop assets and coordinate objectives, which was demonstrated in the match with a well-placed artillery strike on a troublesome tank.
Unfortunately the entire multiplayer match was choreographed and completely scripted, but that’s only to be expected — especially when DICE were keen to make sure that everyone saw their enormous skyscraper collapsing dynamically across the map, or that bit where a player detonated C4 into a support piller in an underground carpark, collapsing the roof and burying enemies in rubble. Pretty rad.
We also didn’t get a direct look at Commander Mode running, which suggest it may not yet be ready for public consumption. Regular 64-player gameplay, however, will be streaming live from Battlefield.com all throughout E3 apparently, so head over there if you’d like to see it in action.
Just before leaving, DICE revealed their final surprise — Mirror’s Edge 2 was real, and was on its way… “when its ready”. Check out the launch trailer right here.