EA's E3 2014 Conference Recap
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EA would like to hear from you. Apparently it hopes not to be voted Worst Company in America for a third year in a row, and impressed the idea that it was “doing things differently” upon the audience several times during its E3 conference. Of course, that audience was mostly interested in seeing games, not hearing platitudes. Too bad EA didn't have very many games to actually show.

We begin with DICE. DICE is working on Star Wars! DICE is excited to be working on Star Wars! No actual Star Wars games were announced during this segment. DICE first needs to visit the swamps of Dagobah and become a real Jedi.

Cue the on-stage cellist to play us into Dragon Age: Inquisition. Is she a party member? Probably not, as no bard class has been announced for the game. While the Dragon Age trailer in Microsoft's conference was fairly cinematic, this one pulls the camera way back and shows off the many environments found in the game. They still look quite nice.

We also see a bit of combat, though not nearly enough for RPG enthusiasts to discern exactly what was going on, and are introduced to several of the player character's companions. There are no shockers there, but Iron Bull remains a most excellent name for a giant horned warrior character.

BioWare isn't done quite yet, taking some time to let us know that its teams are working on a new Mass Effect game right now. They won't tell us anything about it, but they're listening to the fans. I sense a recurring theme here. Oh, also, BioWare is working on a new IP, but we don't get to learn anything about that, except that this new world contains rocks covered in snow. Mind. Blown.

From the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous, it's time for The Sims 4. This game gives players control over their Sims' personalities, which I thought was the big feature for The Sims 3. If the game footage shown is any indication, The Sims 4 takes that personality to new and rather disturbing levels. Elder abuse perpetrated by the elder? Sims literally dying of laughter? Such wacky hijinks!

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It wouldn't be the EA conference without an extensive reel of EA Sports games. The show actually splits them up rather nicely, but I'm collecting them all in one place for the enjoyment of you sports gamers out there. Everyone else can scroll down as non-sports gamers do mentally during those portions of the conference.

The next UFC game allows you to play as Bruce Lee. It also allows you to perform something called a Mounted Triangle Takedown. As an added bonus, if you own both UFC and The Sims 4, your Sims can perform a Mounted Triangle Takedown during woohoo time. The previous sentence is not true.

For my fellow Canadians, EA promises that NHL 15 includes physics on all twelve players and the puck. I don't know how many players lacked physics in previous NHL 15 games, but that sounds pretty good to me. Apparently they're redoing a lot of things in this new hockey title, but it's hard to figure out the nitty gritty via the sizzle reel.

PGA Tour will be rendered in Frostbyte, which certainly seems to have led to some pretty-looking courses. There will be no load times between holes, which is also nice. New to the series is extreme fantasy courses, one of which apparently involves golfing around a firing battleship. My interest in golf games has nearly been kindled!

Madden 15's presentation focused on playing defense, which the company promises will be much more fun in this annual installment of American Football simulation. Players will be able to choose from a wide variety of defensive moves, some of which I have even heard of. In terms of everybody else's football, FIFA 15's tagline is that you will feel the game. Between this and The Sims, EA seems to be getting particularly emotional this year. There's more talk about making the crowds feel alive, which I swear was one of the main talking points for FIFA 14. This conference is giving me major deja vu.

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Moving on from spectator sports to motor sports, we saw some brief prototype footage of a first-person racing game being developed by Criterion. It appears to be open-world, with numerous vehicular possibilities such as jetskis, paragliders and ATVs. It'll be some time before this as-yet-unnamed game is delivered into our hands.

Everybody wants a piece of the MOBA pie, and Dawngate is EA's attempt to grab a slice. It is being developed by self-professed hardcore MOBA fans who, like everybody else at EA this year, are listening very closely to the players. They claim to have broken the metagame in order to allow players to experiment with new strategies. I'm not sure that lack of support for experimentation is a mechanical problem or an issue with the MOBA community, but hey, the Dawngate people are trying.

Next, we get a look at Mirror's Edge 2, which was no more than a logo when it was announced at last year's E3. Except we don't really get a look at Mirror's Edge 2. We see a few brief moments of conceptual footage and learn that Faith's model (on the rare occasion when the game isn't in first-person) looks extra badass now. If we don't see much more of the game next year, expect this to be EA's version of The Last Guardian and Beyond Good & Evil 2.

Finally, we get back to a game for which there is actual gameplay footage. Battlefield: Hardline takes the Battlefield series off the, well, battlefield. Instead, it's a cops vs. criminals first-person shooter. New game in the middle of “war on the streets” between cops and criminals. In the multiplayer version of the game, up to thirty-two players will be split into teams of police and crooks, with the crooks being charged with pulling off a heist and the police, of course, with arresting the bad guys.

The Battlefield: Hardline Beta is live at this very moment. Keys are being given out on a first-come, first-serve, basis. Look for yours on Ebay tomorrow.

That's all EA had for us, and unfortunately much of the conference was a lot of hullabaloo without much substance to back it up. What's weird is that I'm seeing trailers for various EA games getting released across the 'Net to little fanfare. Why they weren't incorporated into its conference is beyond me, but I guess somebody has to lose the E3 press conference competition every year. I'd call this one early, but Ubisoft is always a wild card in that game.

Becky Cunningham
Becky Cunningham
@BeckyCFreelance

Senior Contributing Writer
Date: 06/09/2014

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