Taste the happy.
Mirror’s Edge 2. EA wins E3. The end.
Okay, not actually the end. But EA has just made a lot of people – myself especially included – very happy tonight with a Mirror’s Edge sequel finally happening. But EA actually blew a lot of expectations out of the war with their press conference. Last year felt padded out – evidenced by the closing of last year’s conference and the underwhelming demo for Crysis 3 – but it ended with the one announcement that many people wanted.
But I’ll come back to that. EA kicked off with Popcap co-founder John Vechey and the unveil of Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, a hilarious looking third-person shooter based in the PvZ world featuring the humour we’ve come to know from the series and thensome. It’ll launch on Xbox One first, but will also release on Xbox 360. And in one of the most endearing moments in E3 history, Vechey does this as part of a game announcement.
“Peggle 2! This year!”
Afterwards, we got a behind-the-scenes video of Respawn’s Titanfall following its debut at the Microsoft briefing. Nothing to scream or shout about.
Need for Speed: The Rivals, made in collaboration between EA upstart Ghost Games and Criterion Games, was properly shown for the first time and looked in fine form. Most Wanted was a very disappointing entry and one that stung even more considering it came from the incredible talent of Criterion, but The Rivals – stupid 80s esque font in the title aside – looks promising based on first evidence.
EA Sports were wheeled out next to show the Sports games – FIFA, NBA, UFC and Madden. For two of those, NBA and Madden, my notes read as “couldn’t care less” for both while FIFA didn’t really standout for me in comparison to Pro Evolution Soccer 2014’s grand debut the other day at the pre-E3 Konami presser. UFC, confirmed for a spring 2014 release on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, went pre-rendered. Besides, not a big of UFC or am I of Bruce Buffer screeching into my TV.
There was no Sims 4 from Maxis, no Command & Conquer from Victory Games and no Mass Effect game from BioWare Montreal, though we did finally get a look at Dragon Age III: Inquisition for the first time from BioWare GM Aaron Flynn and confirmation of a autumn 2014 release.
But the company that made up for the no-shows in terms of number of games shown was also the company that has left a lot of happy people tonight – Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment, or more commonly known as DICE. As their opening salvo to the press conference, a brief tease confirmed it was bringing back Star Wars: Battlefront. We’ve known DICE would be involved with the Star Wars IP since it was announced a few weeks back EA had acquired the rights and there was a gut feeling that DICE could do Battlefront. But people went crazy for that. For good reason too.
Next from DICE was an incredible multiplay debut for Battlefield 4 following on from the near-shambles that nearly plagued the single-player demo at Microsoft’s press conference earlier, ending with a massive collapse of a skyscraper in Shanghai. Battlefield 4 once again going all out over its rival Call of Duty: Ghosts, although in fairness, we haven’t seen CoD’ multiplayer just yet.
And then, that moment that I and many others have been waiting for five years – a new Mirror’s Edge game from DICE. When? “When it’s ready”. Thank you, DICE. Just thank you!
Overall, the sports side let EA down on what was an otherwise very solid line-up for the conference. Sims 4 and the next Mass Effect may have been no-shows, but there’s still gamescom. Plus, Mirror’s Edge. That’s all you can ask for.
More coverage will come throughout the night on @Project_Boom. You can also follow me at @JohnnyCullen for snark/analysis/Vine coverage and come back here to JohnnyCullen.net for more in-depth opinion of tonight’s press conferences.