EA's press conference has just ended, and while it wasn't necessarily packed with announcements, it did point to EA's continued commitment to the PC. Here's what we learned.
1. Need for Speed Most Wanted is just Burnout Paradise the next.
Tim: Just. It looks absolutely immense. Can’t wait.
Steve: It looks stunning, and it seems like incredible fun. Autolog’s reached its maturity at a crossroads with Burnout Paradise’s menu-free racing systems, creating a “pulsing, data-drenched competitive arena”, a phrase I made up that sounds so wanky I had to put it in quotation marks. Marking your friends’ record breaking jumps by painting their faces on breakable billboards is clever, too. Hopefully it’s not heavily moderated, I want to put my arse all over Tim’s city.
2. Star Wars: The Old Republic is still a going concern.
Tim: There’s a new operation, new level 50+ space missions, and a new warzone in development. Matthew Bromberg, the game’s new producer, says that “we’re committed to providing more frequent content update”. Bromberg says that “players want flexibility and control,” and that’s what Free 2 Play offers. I’m not sure. I think what players want is a really good game that their mates are playing. It’ll take more than top tier updates to get TOR moving again - it’s going to need a massive and monstrous relaunch powered by a vast marketing push. And that’s going to be expensive.
Steve: Clearly this isn’t the smoothest gear shift from a subscription to F2P model, but BioWare are evidently throwing everything they’ve got at it. What a difficult presentation to have to make though, condensing months of player research and feedback and fine-tuned development into a few minutes of Star Wars feature-splurge - maybe that’s why he accidentally said “on-loin adventure”. The new TV ad looks lovely though, clearly taking a few cues from the ace Black Ops commercial from a while back. This one.
3. Crysis 3 has a new multiplayer mode
Tim: It’s an elimination game-mode called Hunted, in which two Hunters gradually pick off a team of 14 cell soldiers. It looked wilfully sadistic and kind of fun, but all gimmick. Crysis 3 could be a spectacular multiplayer game on the scale of Battlefield, but it doesn’t feel like Crytek are particularly interested in pursuing the kind of support multiplayer games need today.
Steve: I liked it when Rasmus Hojengaard said “take that, you Cell bastards”.
Tim: He can't be a fan of the PS3.
4. Dead Space 3 is loud
Steve: It is loud, and it received an official release date of February 8. I’m shamelessly pro-Dead Space’s barely-interactive, breathlessly hyperactive cutscenes, and the shots of Isaac being knocked about his crashing ship made me cock an appreciative elbow which is a thing I do when I like something. An odd step back from the heavily co-op-focused gameplay footage we’ve been shown lately.
Tim: And it also has a sad looking shoot ‘em up bit. Nice weapon combining though.
5. FIFA is a game about football
Tim: They’re spending cash on updating the commentary as the season goes on. You’ve got to admire that level of commitment. FIFA really is the game with the most impressive production values in the industry. The commitment to adding new features every year is astounding. Now they’re pulling the commentators back into the studio each week to record new dialogue.
Steve: Truly we have left behind those dark days when just updating the faces, sponsors and names was enough.
Tim: SimCity is going to be wonderful. You can just feel it. The latest news is there’s a big new online mode that connects players all over the world. Which is nice. But... I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. SimCity’s the perfect platform for EA’s obsession with post release paid for content - but they’ve carefully avoided mentioning anything along those lines yet.
Steve: Limited Edition, Digital Deluxe Edition, Premium Enhanced Online Pro-Pack Extreme, the transparently money-brained marketing cogs are already in action here and it’s impossible to feel like I’m getting the full game on day one. I’m so very excited about Sim City, but I’m dodging this cynical, limited edition, DLC taint. I’ve got my taint-dodging shoes on. Mac support is nice if you’ve got one of those, and if you’re one of the 21+ million Origin users, you can sign up for the beta on SimCity.com now.
7. Origin is getting better.
Tim: Which is also nice.
Steve: It looked a lot more like Steam in those stills that went whooshing over Peter Moore’s head. Mac support is in, for whatever games there are that will run on a Mac, as are a host of community features, achievements, “challenges” and more stuff to do with “friends”. Meanwhile, Steam’s adding support for non-games software - doesn’t it always feel like Origin’s on the back-foot with this stuff? Come on EA, it’ll take more than achievements and forced-registration for Sim City betas to get me on board. You remain the stinky Yang to Steam’s fragrant Ying.