E3 Thoughts: EA Games Press Conference

EA Games had the second of today’s pre-E3 press conferences and somehow had time to promote three first-person shooters and a couple sports games called Madden NFL and FIFA. Readers of this blog may have heard of them.

The publishers also previewed the new SimCity, which filled this former city beat reporter with dreams of finally being able to run a major metroplitan my way. (At least for the first time since I played SimCity 4.)


EA Games, in their own way, also continued the social-media-and-connectivity-are-good-themes Microsoft established in their show. The publisher advertised social media tie-ins for at least three titles (there’s a lot of new info swimming in my head today) and we’ll see how that goes. From my perspective, the audience that is willing to pay $60 for a premium game is not necessarily the same audience that wants a quick bit of fun on a mobile device, but I’m happy to reserve judgement until the social media stuff actually comes out.

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Review: Syndicate (X360)

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In 1993, Bullfrog Productions introduced the world to an isometric, future dystopia where augmented “Agents” were used by megacorporate empires to take the battle for market share out of the boardrooms and into the streets.

It was a tactical game spread across fifty cities across the world as you guided your team of four to cripple the competition by any means possible even if it meant using civilians as meat shields. The Atlantic Accelerator mission still gets a nod from me for its ruthless difficulty, and that was before the expansion pack made things even worse.

Since then, it’s become a cyberpunk classic so when EA and Starbreeze announced that Syndicate would reboot as an FPS, more than a few people were upset. For some, it reminded them of what FASA under Microsoft had done with Shadowrun. Even I had doubts. At the same time, it’s also easy to understand why. In a market dominated by Activision’s Modern Warfare, it’s a safe guess that they were trying to answer how to get an audience that may not have even played the original game to give this a shot.

And now after moonlighting as a new Agent, I can safely say that while it won’t knock your cybersocks off, it doesn’t quite leave the operating table littered with leftover body parts from the original, either. 
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Release dates! EA marks calendar for Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3

EA Games delivered some pre-E3 news today by revealing the release dates for Battlefield 3 and Mass Effect 3.

Battlefield 3 is EA’s latest salvo against competitor Activision’s “Call of Duty” franchise. The title is now set for an October 25 release date.

Mass Effect 3, the conclusion to BioWare’s space saga (almost typed “space Sega,” hah hah) is set for a March 6, 2012 release date.

Mass Effect 3 delayed to 2012

Bioware and EA Games will delay releasing Mass Effect 3 until 2012.

After setting out on an Internet search after seeing news of the delay on Twitter, this writer traced the news to Mass Effect 2′s Facebook page.

I’ve seen a lot of web comments from players who seem to be OK with delay, especially considering the widespread opinions that Dragon Age II – another Bioware/EA Games release – seemed rushed and oversimplified.

Tech-Out reviewer Todd Kistler liked much of the Dragon Age II’s storytelling aspects, but also found the game to over-simplified when compared to its predecessor.

In other EA News, the Redwood City-based publisher announced its fiscal results today. The firm reported a $312-million loss for the year ending March 31. That figure signified an improvement over the previous year’s loss of $677 million.

EA Games announces Battlefield Play4Free

EA Games today announced the release of “Battlefield: Play4Free“, a new title the company describes as a mix of “Battlefield 2″ and “Battlefield: Bad Company”, without the price of having to pay for either title.The free game combines Battlefield 2 maps with Bad Company’s weapons and character classes, EA Games announced. Battlefield: Play4Free also features 16 vehicles, including the Mi-28 attack helicopter F-35 VTOL fighter jet.

Video games have proved that many people enjoy participating in kinetic military action as long as they don’t actually have to leave home and get shot at. EA Games is now making it possible to play a kinetic military action game without having to pay for it, which seems like a pretty shrewd way to reward PC loyalists and lure FPS fans away from Call of Duty in advance of Battlefield 3.

Battlefield 3 is set for a Fall 2011 release on PC, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360. I thought Battlefield 2 and its franchise brethren were well-made games, although newcomers to  the series need to be prepared to be bombed into the stone age when pitted against longtime players who know how to use the game’s aircraft.

I’ll have to wait until I get away from my work computer to download the game and offer my opinion. Check back for a new posting later this week.

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EA Sports case heard in Pasadena courthouse

The Pasadena Star News, with an assist from the Associated Press, reports a three judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will heard arguments in a case revolving around EA Games’ use of college football players’ likenesses in the publisher’s NCAA Football franchise.

A central question the three-judge panel of
the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena was asked to decide in
the case filed by a former college quarterback Sam Keller is whether
such video games are protected as “expressive art” under the First
Amendment.

Keller is seeking compensation from Electronic Arts Inc. and
the NCAA for the use of his image in the “NCAA Football” video game.

Attorneys for Electronic Arts Inc. and the NCAA argued Tuesday
that video games are constitutionally protected as free speech – much
like authors, filmmakers and songwriters use real people in their works.
They are seeking a dismissal of the lawsuit.

Please click the link for the full story.

EA Games on Sale

Step right up, get your EA Games for $.99 for your iPhone, Ipod touch and the iPad. In time for Valentines Day, EA Games announced that they’ll drop the price of nearly 30 games games for 48 hours, starting on February 7. Now, I know it’s the 8th but hey, you’ve got a 10 hours from the time this goes up. So…..hurry, hurry, hurry!!!

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Game titles are listed after the jump.
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