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E3 2013: An EA Press Conference Diary

A short stroll down the street from the Xbox One presentation and we're now gearing up for the EA press conference. With a belly full of food truck goodness and the AC hitting the Shrine Auditorium at full blast, the press, fans and industry vets are once again tucking in for another showing, this time coming from the fine folks at Electronic Arts.

What can we expect from one of the world's biggest publishers on current and next gen consoles? Naming the presentation “The Download” has to be foreshadowing something, right?

You will have no doubt consumed all of the trailers and announcements at this point, so once again I will be continuing my E3 diary series with a firsthand account and analysis from the show floor, rather than just repeating all of the news a second time. Peter Moore just stepped out on stage to prep the audience, saying that the 11 games EA will be showing off in the coming 1.5 will be the ones that “define the next year.”

Bring it, EA!

Caught off Guard

If there’s one thing I didn’t expect, it was that EA would begin their show with a trailer and live footage of people playing the recently announced Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. What a perfect way to kick off the show, providing action, humor and plenty of vibrant colors to set the mood. We all know there’s guns and sports a-comin’, so kudos to EA for throwing us a curveball right from the get-go. And did I mention this game looks great? The visuals are lovely and the gameplay looks unexpectedly intense. Who would have thought that the PvZ universe would translate so well to a third-person class-based action shooter/tower defense hybrid? All of the plants have their own unique abilities which, when used in four-player co-op correctly, makes handling the hordes of zombies a hectic, explosive joy to behold. Also, Peggle 2 was announced out of nowhere!

Driving engines

Before going too much further into the games, the folks at EA took a quick break from the trailers to announce that all remaining games in the presentation, such as Star Wars: Battlefront and Need for Speed: Rivals, will utilize two brand new engines: EA Sports Ignite and Frostbite 3. Two years in development, this kind of news doesn’t typically mean much to the average gamer, but it can be a big deal for fans who like to see their games evolve over time, rather than rely on the same underlying architecture game after game. It’s nice to know that, despite all of the yearly iterations of certain series, we can look forward to some fresh horses running under the hood once the new generation of consoles get here.

Bring on the Sports

The most surprising thing about EA’s conference was the fact that sports games didn’t take up the majority of the show. After showing off a couple more titles, like another look at the upcoming Xbox One FPS, Titanfall, and open-world RPG, Dragon Age: Inquisition, the press conference moved to a pretty brief look at the stable of annual sports games coming down the line.

These included NBA Live 14 (Now with bounceTek for real dribbling physics!), Madden NFL 25 (Now with True Step for more realistic footwork!), UFC (Now with full body deformation so the player can feel every punch!) and FIFA 14 (Now with more…Drake? No, seriously, he presented the game).

The folks behind these games promise that EA Sports titles will be driven by three guiding principles: Human intelligence, true player motion and living worlds. For those of you who like your sports games realistic, it looks like you’re in for a treat once the new consoles get here.

Big finish

To wrap up the show, EA brought Dice out on stage, along with 64 human beings set up at individual gaming stations, to show off Battlefield 4 running online. That means Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game will finally support as many players as the PC, and the action looks bigger than ever, too. We got to watch as Smart Glass was utilized to control Commander Mode, giving one player a birds-eye view of the battlefield in order to direct his team’s soldiers around. Oh, and then they blew up an entire damn skyscraper, in real time, right in the middle of a multiplayer match.

But wait, there’s more!

As a final exclamation point on the press conference, Dice proclaimed that after years of fan requests, they were finally bringing Mirror’s Edge 2 to the masses. I, for one, am extremely excited for that little piece of news, and couldn’t help but chuckle when the game’s trailer ended with the line, “Coming…when it’s ready.”

So, in short, I still have no idea what “The Download” was in reference to, but EA otherwise put on an entertaining, well-rounded show. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to chug this Diet Coke and make my way to the Sony event for the final E3 press conference diary.

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.