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We are seated for the Electronic Arts E3 2008 Media Briefing. We start the conference off right, with a montage of a ton of upcoming EA titles, focusing on some new sports titles, upcoming Sims releases, and a bunch of casual games like Monopoly, Boogie, and Operation (aw yeah!) Of course, Spore is also featured here as well.
John Riccitiello hits the stage to talk about what EA has this afternoon to show us, and he says they won’t be doing PowerPoint, statistics, or sales figures. Instead, they are going to focus on the games, and we will be hearing from the people that make the games.
Rod Humble of The Sims Studio comes out to talk about The Sims. He announces Sim Animals. in this game you create groups of animals and their friends, habitat, etc. Some animals are friendly like deer and rabbits, while wolves and bears can stir up trouble. We then get a trailer. We get a baby cub bear interacting with a squirrel, and then a fox joins the fray. It seems that you basically control the game by using the world as your UI, you have a hand similar to Black and White. Will be exclusive to Wii and Nintendo DS in January 2009.
At E3 2008, we got to see some amazing new games from EA. Among the games demoed were Mirror’s Edge, the freerunning/parkour spy-courier game; Dead Space, a space horror dismemberment fest; Left 4 Dead, an intense zombie first-person shooter; and more from the ever-anticipated Spore, including an iPhone version called Spore: Origins. If you are into sports, Peter Moore shows us the evolution of a bunch of EA Sports titles like Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 and NBA Live 09 with Dynamic DNA.
We’ve highlighted the best of the media briefing here, so be sure to hit the video above to get a look at all the goods yourself. Oh, and if you missed it, be sure to check out our full coverage in our E3 2008 EA Media Briefing live coverage.
The Sims Online has become the new and improved EA-Land. Electronic Arts launched the site in 2002 but it seems to have gotten lost in the Second Life shuffle. Learning from their mistakes, you can now upload content, add a widget to Facebook, utilize their virtual real estate market, and blog to your hearts content. Considering Electronic Arts’ recent troubles with Take-Two Interactive Software, we suspect that EA has decided that they do not want to count all their eggs in the same basket.
Read More | gigaom
Valve’s big new gaming pack, The Orange Box, includes a stunning new kind of puzzle game called Portal. Portal is a non-linear puzzle platformer featuring M.C. Escher-like bending of space, and some of the most unique gameplay to hit gaming market in a long time.
Portal features Black Mesa’s newest research competitor- Aperture Sciences - creators of the aperture gun, a device capable of creating space-bending portals between almost any two points in space. It’s hard to describe the gameplay in words so check out Valve’s Portal page and view the trailers to try and wrap your head around it. Click through for Playfeed’s full thoughts on this fresh new gaming experience.
EA‘s upcoming open-world game Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is being pushed back until 2008, further relaxing the pressure on a still crowded holiday season for games. Speaking to developer Pandemic Studios President Josh Resnick, IGN coaxed out a few more details:
We’re adding nothing at this point. Our only goal is to make gamers proud that they own a copy of Mercenaries 2 by making the highest quality next-gen open-world experience the world has ever seen. If that sounds ambitious, then you should see how many cans of caffeine our programming guys have choked down during the past two years of development.
Resnick also complimented Rockstar and said that he wasn’t concerned about competing with Grand Theft Auto IV because, as he puts it, “We know gamers are bloodhounds when it comes to sniffing out a quality gameplay experience, and we’re hoping that scent leads them directly to Mercenaries 2.” He said they were using the extra time to focus on fixing bugs, tuning the physics and working on the mission structures.
The delay was initial rumored because retail outlets adjusted their release dates from late ‘07 to 2008, forcing Pandemic and EA to confirm the delay. Commenting on the leak, Resnick said, “Those dang sneaky retailers! You just can’t seem to keep a lid on something once they hear about it.”
Read More | IGN
Proving Ground is supposed to challenge Skate with enhanced customization features, especially centered around making videos, and plenty of refinements to the online experience like seamless solo to multiplayer transitions. They’re also throwing in a nail-the-grab feature to compliment the popular nail-the-trick mode from last year’s Project 8 entry and multiple career paths. There is no firm release date set, but the game is expected to hit store shelves for most current platforms sometime in October.
Read More | Team Xbox
Peter Moore, long known as the public face of Microsoft‘s Xbox division, stepped into his new digs as EA Sports president last week and started off saying he wants EA Sports’ brand to compete in a broader arena than just the video games market, facing off against general sports brands like Nike and ESPN.
Despite selling millions of copies of its flagship titles each year, EA Sports has struggled to expand effectively and EA seems to be banking on Moore to help them widen their reach. “That could mean broadcast sports, sports camps, the ability to license consumer products around the EA Sports brand,” he told the New York Times. Moore is also looking to leverage EA’s technology to create social networking and news sites, all centered around sports and of course the EA Sports name. “I think we have an opportunity to aggregate information and bring it to life with video technologies,” he said.
“If we look at this connected world we’re entering, sports is a sort of social and cultural glue that reaches across the globe,” Moore continues. “There is an opportunity for EA Sports to evolve beyond a games brand to become a true global sports and entertainment brand, and I think we can compete there.”
Ignoring a collective shrug on the part of game reviewers, Electronic Arts has announced that the formerly Wii-exclusive rhythm game, Boogie, is headed to the DS and PS2. EA tells us that the PS2 version will incorporate a music video creator and allow players to record themselves singing along with their favorite pop songs. Meanwhile, the DS version jettisons the karaoke element entirely and revs up the minigame factor. In addition, Boogie DS boasts “the first 3D gameplay on the handheld system,” thanks to the snazzy (or not) 3D glasses that will come packed in with the game. Check out the DS trailer above, but only if you can stomach a whole lot of Brickhouse.
Read More | EA
After postponing the demo for their upcoming skateboarding game skate—originally scheduled for August 15—publisher EA has settled on Tuesday, August 21st as a new release date. One of the anticipated features of the game that was to be available on the demo is the video capture and upload capabilities. It was reportedly technical problems with this functionality that delayed the demo’s release in the first place, but EA believes they have hammered out the issues. This allows players to make video clips of their game play and upload them to share with other players online.
Skate is challenging the long-running and popular Tony Hawk skateboard series and is scheduled for release on September 12.
Read More | IGN
Today Madden 08, the latest installment in the perennial bestselling series from EA Sports, hits stores around the country. It’s available for pretty much every system you can think of, although naturally the big contenders are the technically superior Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. A lot of press in the weeks leading up to this release has noted the framerate differential between the two: the Xbox 360 version runs at 60fps, whereas the PS3 version runs at 30fps. Some might argue that the human eye can only register up to 24fps, so this is a moot point, but many FPS fans swear by blistering framerates and therefore would say that the difference is huge. Whatever side you may take in that debate, word on the street says that the PS3 game does indeed look choppy at times, although it’s not a dealbreaker.
The new Madden showcases a big new feature that designates top players at all positions as “Weapons”. You might have a fast receiver, a big hitter, and a smart QB, all of whom can outperform their competition in certain areas and are capable of some awesome plays. These designations go a long way toward rendering each team unique, a far cry from old school games where you could only tell an Pro Bowler from a rookie by the number on his jersey. Aside from this new feature, classic Madden gameplay has been tweaked and tightened up based on praise and complaints about previous incarnations to give us more of what we want.
If you’re looking to pick the new Madden up soon, take a look at Toys R Us, where you can get any other game in the store for 50% off if you get Madden on the same receipt.
Read More | Gamespot
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