As one of the world's largest video game publishers, Electronic Arts (EA) arrived at E3 2013 with a slew of new titles, almost all of which are slated for the Xbox One and Playstation 4. The company's press conference revealed something for almost every gamer, from fantasy RPGs to sports games and even a shooter based around murderous plants.
EA kicked its press event off with arguably the most bizarre title in its line-up, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. Rather than a tower defense game like its predecessor, the new PvZ is a third-person shooter that puts you in the shoes (er, roots?) of the plants themselves. Each plant acts as a different class with individual abilities – the sunflower can heal others, the cactus can snipe, etc. – which you and a group of friends can use to destroy waves of zombies on an open battlefield.
The game appears to retain the humor of the original, but it is an odd departure for the franchise and its developer, Popcap Games, which is typically known for casual titles, like Bejeweled and Zuma. The game will release first on the Xbox One in the spring of 2014 and later on the Xbox 360. Popcap also took the opportunity to quickly announce Peggle 2, but didn't have any info on it aside from the title.
Respawn Entertainment showed off a developer diary for Titanfall, a new first-person shooter set in a science fiction world with jet packs and towering mechs. Expectations for this one are understandably high, since it's the first title from a developer founded by some of the team members behind the original Call of Duty. It's expected to ship in the spring of 2014 for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.
Ghost Games revealed Need for Speed Rivals, the next game in the racing-centric series. Like NFS: Hot Pursuit before it, players will be able to take on the role of street racers as well as the police officers trying to take them down. This time around though, players will be able to seamlessly jump into another player's game in either role and even call in air support via the Xbox One's Smart Glass feature. The game is slated for a Nov. 19 release on both current and next-gen consoles.
Bioware debuted another installment from a beloved franchise with Dragon Age Inquisition, due out in the autumn (northern-hemisphere) of 2014 on PS4 and Xbox One. Unlike previous Dragon Age titles, players will now be able to explore an open world and watch their gameplay choices influence the landscape and not just the story.
Predictably, EA Sports unveiled its crop of sports titles for the coming years with NBA Live 14, Madden NFL 25, and FIFA 14. All of these will incorporate EA's Ignite engine, giving them improved visuals, more realistic character movement, and enhanced AI. NBA Live 14 will also automatically update the stats of virtual players less than an hour after their real-life counterparts finish an actual game. FIFA 14 will be released on Sept. 27 on all platforms, Madden 25 will launch exclusively on the Xbox One and PS4 in November, and NBA Live 14 is set for release in the autumn of 2014 on the two next-gen consoles.
The one surprise on the sports front was a brand new UFC game, the first officially licensed mixed martial arts game from EA Sports. This is the initial product of a partnership announced at last year's E3, which looks ready to reboot the whole franchise when it comes out in the spring of 2014 on the Xbox One and PS4 .
DICE then demonstrated Battlefield 4's multiplayer by cramming 64 people on stage at once for a skirmish across a war-torn Shanghai. This time around, players will be able to interact with the environment in much more detail, which includes cutting the power to buildings and collapsing a ceiling by taking out support pillars. Gamers can also connect to the game with a tablet or smartphone from anywhere to play in Commander Mode, viewing the combat from a birds-eye view and delivering helpful intel and assets to players on the ground.
EA also briefly teased new games in the Star Wars Battlefront and Mirror's Edge franchises, which came as a surprise since both series were thought to be all but dead. Unfortunately, EA did not reveal any info on release dates for either game.
All up, EA definitely caught gamers' attention with a a mix of titles that show what's in store for the next generation of games. Whether it will be enough to convince them to shell out the cash for either Microsoft or Sony's shiny new consoles remains to be seen.