An armchair view of E3 2011: EA

EA Conference: June 6th 8:30pm GMT

At E3 2010 EA’s showing was largely based around sport franchises and was, for the most part, utterly uninspiring. Here’s hoping they’ve got something better to show off this year! What you can expect for sure is the number 3 being used to copious extremes.


  • Good choice of music as the conference starts.
  • Live action trailer then kicks in, clearly based in the Mass Effect 3 universe. Shows the Reaper arrival on Earth, general destruction follows. We already know some of the new features from the Microsoft conference, so let’s see what they do here.
  • Casey Hudson takes the stage to talk about the game. March 6th 2012 is when the game is out. Claims decisions from both previous games will all apply here.
  • Live demo starts. Shepard is sent to destroy a Reaper base. Looks like the same kind of area as in the MS conference demo. More melee close combat kills. Demo shows Shepard helping aim Normandy weapons, manages to almost kill himself in the process. Go team human!
  • Various large machinery arrive to cause trouble. Gameplay begins again without any voice recognition being used. Standard ME stuff so far. Numerous returning characters and a battle against a scorpion style Reaper from a mounted gun. Demo stops there.
  • Casey back to talk about consequences and decisions. Restates March 6th release and finishes there on a final trailer for the game called ‘The Fall of Earth’.
  • John R takes the stage. I spelt his surname wrong last year so I’m not taking the chance this time. He chats a bit about ME3 and also talks about and some exclusives there. Also takes a dig at companies who bring on celebrities during conferences.
  • Need for Speed The Run is next with Jason Delong. Wasn’t this at E3 last time? Racing games tend to blend together for me so I’m probably wrong.
  • Advanced Autolog features and out of the car gameplay. Uses the Frostbite2 engine. He then jumps into a live demo, clearly feeling the pressure.
  • The game is quite shiny and has some impressive visuals. At a pre-scripted point the game changes to on foot with QTE moments rather than free movement. I like how vindictive these cops are. It’s back in a car and things carry on (fairly) as normal. I say normal – is it normal for police to murder numerous civilians to try and stop someone speeding?
  • A very similar QTE to a moment from Heavy Rain plays out and the demo ends there.
  • Star Wars music kicks in and Bioware appears on the screen. Greg Zeschuk takes the stage. Let’s see if they finally give this a release date. You know what I mean. Old Republic.
  • Talks about meeting and hopefully exceeding the expectations of fans. Talks about the game involving years of his life and how he can’t show that. Just get on with the game, please. Mentions at E3 they’ll be showing high level boss battles, raids and other MMO features.
  • He then walks off stage as a CG trailer plays using quite a bit of old footage. Well, it’s nice to see someone so determined to display their game to the fullest for a worldwide audience. Thanks, Greg!
  • Another trailer kicks off straight after. Someone who didn’t think it through thought it would be a good idea to flood the stage with smoke. It’s an SSX trailer, no actual gameplay – just as well really since the audience probably can’t see it. Out January 2012.
  • Peter Moore takes the stage. People applaud for some reason.
  • Talks about using NASA to scan the world for accurate mountain ranges and such. Yet the trailer also spoke about defying reality. Race it – trick it – survive it is the motto. He then plugs to see characters.
  • It’s onto talking about Fifa next. 1.3 billion game sessions played apparently. Fifa 12 world premier follows with Matt Bilbey demonstrating and chatting about it.
  • Does anyone genuinely care about football games? They do? Well, alright then.
  • Positioning is as important as the tackling. Precision dribbling. Player impacts. Presumably there won’t be any real impacts, just ones that look believable enough to fool moronic referees.
  • Trailer starts with footballers attempting to speak. That’s brave of them. What was that about not getting celebrities to plug stuff at the start there, John? Amusingly I’m understanding the Brazilian players more than the English ones.
  • Did he just say storyline? I didn’t imagine it. He did. Football has plot, people! I will buy that game despite hating football if one plot involves Twitter and an affair with a reality TV star.
  • EA Football Club specifics next. Connects people around the world to compete with favourite teams and so on. Glorified online multi-player marketed as something shockingly new.
  • That was a very boring part of the presentation but what I will say is this: he had a reasonably sized microphone.
  • Next trailer, looks sport related again. American Football. Probably the next Madden. Some people in the gear takes to the stage…I assume they are famous. Madden ’12. Peter is back to tell me who these people are which is lucky.
  • Peter chats to them a little. Mentions a shared shower after the show. Not really. I’m just horrifically bored. If those footballers hadn’t have been wearing their kit I’d have thought they were recently unfrozen cavemen.
  • John is back. He’s talking about connectivity between his biggest franchises. The Sims Social comes to Facebook. In the background is a picture of a farm, he makes fun of Farmville. A video follows.
  • The video seems to imply you can stalk recently singled men to make them love you. You can have sex in the shower. I wonder if the stuff you get up to in it will get auto-placed on your Facebook wall? That’ll give your family some interesting reading.
  • Next is two games from EA partners. Curt Schilling, founder of Studio 38, takes the stage. Their first title is Reckoning. He sounds nervous. Jumps straight into the game.
  • Open world fantasy game, Ken Rolston has a hand in it as does Todd McFarlane. With that he’s off and a trailer for Reckoning plays.
  • Initially it has a very Fable-ish feel to it. For some reason they decided to include the Wilhelm scream. Combat looks interesting, a few different styles are shown off. It has a 2012 release date.
  • John is back again. Impending bad joke in 3, 2, 1…
  • Insomniac game is next with a multi-platform franchise. Overstrike. Four elite agents blow stuff up. Slight hiccup there with the timing of character announcements to their profiles appearing. A trailer then plays.
  • The trailer is fairly amusing but has no actual gameplay.
  • Straight into another trailer now. From Dice. So we all know what this is.
  • Karl Magnus from Dice is here to chat about Battlefield 3. As he chats various screenshots are appearing behind him. Before a live demo he’s showing another video displaying what Frostbite2 can do. Assuming it is all in-game and not touched up in any way then it’s capable of some impressive stuff (it does say all actual footage but that isn’t quite the same as being actual gameplay).
  • Karl chats about multiplayer next and then shows some of that. An infantry focused map set in Paris. It looks very hectic and impressive at the same time, but also very short.
  • Next he talks about Battlelog, a powerful social tool. Steam without the world domination angle and Elite without the price tag. It’s free. Open beta in September and yet another plug for content on
  • More gameplay now as an on-stage demo begins. Would love to know how powerful the PC he’s using is.
  • Visually, B3 is extremely impressive. Lots of tanks, all on the rails so far. He switches to driving the tank rather than manning the gun. The fighting starts with numerous enemy tanks on the horizon.
  • After an over-long tank fight the player switches to overhead targeting to launch gun runs on anti-vehicle positions. It’s all very realistic and I say that with the confidence of someone who hasn’t been in a single war.
  • Disappointed they chose a vehicle section for this demo. More tank fighting, approaching enemy base. Stomping enemy base. Laughing at crying children of enemy base. Demo ends with October 25th flashing up.
  • Apparently you can download something for free from Origin.
  • After a brief final appearance, John wraps up the EA conference for 2011.


Nothing too extravagant this year but fans of the various franchises will probably be very happy with what was shown. It might be interesting to point out that the date set for Battlefield 3 will place it before MW3.

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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

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