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Wednesday July 16, 2008 11:09 am

E3 2008: Live from the EA Media Briefing

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 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 and Nintendo DS in January 2009.

We also get a look at some of the content for The Sims 2, including The Sims 2 Store beta. They are working on The Sims 3, and you can download it digitally in 2009. You can customize any object in the world in Sims 3. We get a trailer showing Sims 3 gameplay.

Glen Schofield of EA Redwood Shores comes up to talk about Dead Space, an upcoming survival horror title. The game features realistic zero gravity, and pushes the envelope with horror and gore. Also, there is no HUD, which means a more immersive experience. We get a gameplay demo. We are treated to a very intense battle scene, and they weren’t kidding when they said the game was immersive. The game will be on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on October 21st. We then get the Dead Space trailer.

Patrick Soderlung from WA Games European Studios comes up to chat with us about Mirror’s Edge. We get a gameplay demo of the title. This is a first-person action adventure with puzzles, hand-to-hand combat, and high-speed chases. Oddly, they seem to get shot square in the grill without losing any energy or dying…what? Oh wait, the bottom left of the screen indicates that this is God Mode, okay, forgivable then. We get a trailer for Mirror’s Edge, all featuring in-game footage. I’m still not too impressed.

Will Wright of Maxis Studio hits the stage to talk about Spore. He talks about his infatuation with science, even as a kid. Science and creativity have a great intersection, he thinks, and Spore sits inside that intersection. They released the Creature Creator, hoping to get 100k submissions within two months, but that only took 22 hours. They exceeded 1 million in a week, and have no exceeded the number of known species on Earth in a matter of 18 days.

We get a look at some of the more interesting creations, and they really are beautiful and amazing. People have shared their creations to YouTube, and so far there are over 85,000 uploaded. He talks about the documentary they filmed with the National Geographic Channel, which will ship with the Spore Galactic Edition.

As far as the comparison to The Sims, and apparently, people have taken to the Creature Creator in amazing ways. Even non-gamers. They obviously have another hit on their hands. We now get a Spore trailer. Spore launches on September 7th.

Peter Moore enters in, this year representing EA Sports. He says EA Sports is looking to meet the needs of the hardcore gamers, as well as the newer ones. This year they celebrate the 20th anniversary of Madden NFL football, and this week they launch NCAA football. Today they are talking about the evolution of NBA Live 09, specifically in the online space. NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton comes out to talk about Live 09.

Bill talks about watching his children play games, saying his favorite part of playing sports he saw in his kids when they played games. You know, everything except for the exercise. They are announcing Dynamic DNA in NBA Live 09. So the real-world stats and behavior of each team and player in the league will be integrated into the game. You will get daily updates, and what you see in the real game is what you will feel while playing.

We get a gameplay demo of Dynamic DNA. You get updated player tendencies. This is how players decide to play the game. Drive to the right or left, when they take a shot, etc. Secondly is player DNA. This is how a player scores and what type of shots they take, where they like to live on the court. Third component is team DNA. This is how the players interact and play together as a unit. You get these updates all season long.

Another nice portion of the keynote was dedicated to game development. EA Mobile mentioned their recently released titles, like Scrabble, Tetris, and Sodoku. Scrabble will be receiving an update which will allow for multiplayer games over WiFi. Other upcoming iPhone games will be Need for Speed Undercover, Spore Origins, Monopoly, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour.

The show ended with Gabe Newell of Valve hitting the stage to talk about the upcoming Left 4 Dead title. It’s a co-op FPS horror game which seems to take place in a scary action movie setting. You can have one to four players in a session, and the game tailors itself to how you are performing. It actually looks pretty decent, but hey, this is Valve we are talking about.



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