What's the skinny?
--EA's worst-kept secret, Dead Space 3, was formally announced. It will have co-op and will be set on an ice planet.
--SimCity Social is coming to Facebook in just "a few weeks," and the new SimCity will be out on PC and Mac in February 2013.
--Another poorly kept secret--Battlefield 3 Premium--was officially announced today. It costs $50 and bundles five Battlefield 3 map packs. It's available today for the PlayStation 3 and will hit the Xbox 360 and PC next week.
--Beginning this July, gamers can try out Star Wars: The Old Republic free until level 15.
--EA inks an exclusive multiyear, multiproduct deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. No games have been announced just yet.
--Need for Speed Most Wanted launches on October 30, 2012, with Crysis 3 landing on shelves during February 2013.
The full blow-by-blow
LOS ANGELES--The first full day of the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo continues today with Electronic Arts' press briefing at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. Scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. PDT, the publisher's presentation will feature speeches from top executives, such as CEO John Riccitiello, and will focus on a range of upcoming games.
Last month, the floodgates opened on Dead Space 3, and gamers can expect it to be a big part of EA's briefing today. That game is believed to see the return of series hero Isaac Clarke, but he won't be alone. Recent rumors indicate new necromorph-fighting soldier John Carver will join Clarke in a story set on an ice planet.
EA is also likely to talk about the oft-rumored Battlefield Premium service and Criterion Games' new racing game Need for Speed Most Wanted. Outside of a single screenshot, no other information about the game is available. Where will it be set? Will gamers again race against police, as they did in the 2005 original?
EA's E3 2013 media briefing is slated for June 4 at 1 p.m. PDT. In addition to a liveblog of the event, GameSpot will stream the presentation.
[12:49] With just about 10 minutes to go, Los Angeles' Orpheum Theatre is filling up and Pumped Up Kicks is blaring through the speakers.
[12:50] Sitting in the front row here are Jason West and Vince Zampella, founders of Respawn Entertainment. Might we hear about their first project today?
[12:52] The music goes down, and a mystery voice from the sky says, "Please silence all devices."
[12:54] And just like that, the music is back up. "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis is the current jam.
[12:57] And now music from Jack White fills the room. OK, that was the last music update, I promise.
[12:59] We're told to take our seats (I'm already sitting!), as the program will begin momentarily.
[1:01] Lights go down, and we are under way!
[1:02] An EA Origin logo fills the screen, along with it a montage of EA's big games.
[1:02] Battlefield 3, Need for Speed, Crysis 3, Dead Space 3. And the PopCap library!
[1:02] The montage extends to EA's sports catalog, as well as its social platforms.
[1:03] EA CEO John Riccitiello takes the stage.
[1:03] He welcomes the crowd to Download 2012. He says EA's presentation will be "a little different."
[1:04] He explains that EA's games today offer "so much more." They are going to build more content to extend the experience. He cues up a trailer for Dead Space 3.
[1:04] We see Isaac on a new ship, flying through space.
[1:05] And cue the necromorphs. Expect to fight many more of those on a new planet in Dead Space 3. The crowd offers a resounding applause. Now a Visceral Games dev takes the stage. He explains the game will be set on a new planet, feature new characters, and offer co-op.
[1:05] Now a live co-op demo is shown.
[1:07] A massive, spinning object cuts through the middle of the action as necromorphs also fight Clarke and Carver. They just can't catch a break, it seems.
[1:07] A new Plasma Cutter is shown…still looks every bit as deadly.
[1:07] Clarke and Carver are now laying waste to more necromorphs, as the spinning drill continues its onslaught.
[1:08] Carver and Clarke prove victorious…for now.
[1:09] A sprawling landscape is shown, and now Clarke and Carver have what appear to be human enemies to fight. They do so with great effect, but a hulking behemoth of a monster appears!
[1:10] It pulls everything to it, like a black hole. But Clarke and Carver do not give up. They fight the baddie, shooting him in typical "aim here" weak spots.
[1:11] The demo has not ended, despite a black screen and audience applause. Clarke is sucked into the creature, then vomited out, then sucked in again. And the demo ends with the Dead Space 3 logo appearing, and a huge applause by the crowd.
[1:12] I'm older, of course I'm older, he says. This is a trailer for Madden NFL 13, to be clear.
[1:13] And now Cam Webber, GM of American Football at EA, hits the stage. In terms of gameplay, Madden NFL 13 will run on a new Infinity engine. It delivers real-time physics, with the result being the "most authentic gameplay we've ever created." No two plays will look or feel the same.
[1:14] We're shown a demo that shows rag-doll physics, in the vein of Grand Theft Auto. "Predetermined outcomes? They're history," Webber says.
[1:14] Webber explains that the all-new connected careers mode will create one connected universe.
[1:15] Now Webber welcomes former wide receiver Michael Irvin to the stage. Webber and Irvin are now chatting about the new features in Madden NFL 13.
[1:15] Irvin explains that setting his sights realistically is important.
[1:16] "Climbing the mountain is one thing. Residing on top of the mountain is another," he says.
[1:17] Now we're being shown Madden NFL 13's new connected career mode, with a slick new interface, and Robert Griffin III! Webber now explains that Twitter will be inserted into the mode.
[1:18] ESPN anchors Skip Bayless and Chris Mortensen are shown. The new connected career game mode will work on tablets, PC, and on console. According to Webber, "We're delivering the next generation of Madden…today."
[1:18] Now another trailer for Madden NFL 13 is being shown. Tackles everywhere. Looks like it hurts. Glad I don't play football.
[1:18] Now Lucy Bradshaw, GM of Maxis, is onstage to talk about the new SimCity. She says SimCity has seen a lot of imitators over the years.
[1:19] First bit of news: SimCity Social is coming to Facebook. The trailer takes a quick jab at Zynga's Farmville.
[1:20] "Being good has its rewards," claims the game's trailer. The trailer ends and Bradshaw says it will be the best city-building experience you'll find on Facebook. Due out in "just a few weeks."
[1:20] Now she's talking about the new SimCity. It will run on the Glassbox engine, as previously announced.
[1:20] She cues a gameplay trailer for SimCity. It shows constructible worlds, simulation, snaking roads, and data visualization.
[1:21] Now we're shown multiplayer. The game will challenge players to accomplish certain tasks, like building an airport.
[1:22] SimCity will be the first multiplayer game in the franchise. Choices you make will affect worlds all around you, not just yours, Bradshaw says. Bradshaw leaves the stage and cues up another trailer for SimCity.
[1:22] Here we're shown cities rising from the ground, complete with bustling roads, and even a fireworks show.
[1:23] Now the world is shown in revolt. Buildings are on fire and a dinosaur runs through the city.
[1:23] Again, SimCity is due out in February 2013.
[1:24] Riccitiello, back onstage, says congratulations to Jason West and Vince Zampella. But he does not invite them onstage.
[1:24] Now Riccitiello invites Peter Moore and Patrick Bach onstage to talk Battlefield 3. Moore is EA COO, and Bach is executive producer of DICE.
[1:25] Moore calls Battlefield 3 a "tour de force" and praises DICE for its skill. 1.6 trillion bullets have been fired, says Moore. Moore says 50 million Battlefield players are out there today.
[1:25] Bach is now talking about Battlefield 3. He says, "We're listening to our fans and giving them even more content."
[1:25] He reveals Battlefield Premium.
[1:26] It adds five themed expansion packs, with maps, customization options, and more.
[1:26] Battlefield 3 Endgame is due out in March and adds motorcycles, Bach says.
[1:26] Battlefield 3 Premium is available today for $49.99.
[1:27] Close Quarters is out now for the PS3 and launches next week for the Xbox 360 and PC.
[1:27] A trailer for Battlefield Premium is now running, showing off the new maps coming to the game.
[1:29] Those who purchase Battlefield 3 Premium will score two-week early access to all upcoming map packs and will get Back to Karkand for free. New assignments, new game modes, and "more" come bundled with Battlefield 3 Premium. Now Dr. Ray Muzyka from BioWare is onstage, talking The Old Republic.
[1:29] Over 520 million hours have been played in the game thus far, which he calls "insanely awesome."
[1:29] He explains that Rise of the Rakghouls and Legacy were the game's first two expansions.
[1:30] He praises the game's first six months, but says, "We've only just begun." A new version of Hardcore and Nightmare difficulty modes are coming, but he did not explain more.
[1:31] A new planet is coming to The Old Republic, but again, he did not explain more. This July, all users can play The Old Republic up to level 15 for free.
[1:31] Now a trailer is being played, detailing what's coming to the game.
[1:32] New level cap and special abilities are on the way, as is the new planet Makeb. The trailer ends to almost no applause.
[1:33] Now Greg Goodrich and Kevin O'Leary of EA are onstage talking about Medal of Honor Warfighter. "This year we're going global," Goodrich explains. We're being shown a live demo, running on the Frostbite 2.0 engine.
[1:33] Soldiers are shown hitting the shore in Somalia.
[1:33] Gameplay begins, as the soldier is running between rocks, trying to stay hidden. The player is dropped by a sniper from far away, but he does not die.
[1:34] The soldier creeps up onto the beach, gunning down enemies on the way.
[1:34] He's having no problem dispatching his foes, despite his unfortunate position. Now he's moving up a set of stairs and faces enemies in front of him.
[1:35] The demo continues with a non-player character tossing a grenade in a window, putting away a foe in the process.
[1:36] The soldier is now breaching a door with a shotgun. Slow-motion bullet time is shown, with the soldier ending several enemies before the scene is out.
[1:36] The enemy sniper has now been dispatched, and his building crumbles to the ground.
[1:36] The soldier follows an NPC named Voodoo throwing the debris of the building that just fell to the ground.
[1:37] The screen goes dark, before coming back to light with players piloting an RC drone through a destroyed building.
[1:38] Now the player-controlled drone is raining fire on his foes, which seemed surprised to see him.
[1:38] The RC drone is now outdoors, assisting his fellow soldiers as they face a barrage of heavy fire.
[1:39] The demo ends, and Goodrich is back onstage to talk more about the game.
[1:39] He's now talking about multiplayer, which will be on the E3 show floor.
[1:39] Medal of Honor Warfighter arrives on October 23.
[1:40] A trailer for the game closes out the Medal of Honor segment of EA's briefing. It shows soldiers from different units around the world, including the Polish Grom.
[1:41] Oh, and it's set to a Linkin Park song, so it's very, very loud in here. We're seeing the game's multiplayer component, which will run on Frostbite 2. A resounding applause closes out the trailer.
[1:41] Now EA Sports' Andrew Wilson is back onstage. You may remember him from Microsoft's briefing this morning.
[1:41] Our goal is to connect every game you play across every platform, Wilson says.
[1:43] Wilson says innovation is a key for EA Sports titles in the year ahead. A new skating system in NHL 13 and NBA 13 were name-dropped.
[1:43] Now a FIFA producer is onstage, talking about the newest iteration of FIFA.
[1:44] He explains that when Manchester City won the Champions League Final, a major spike in in-game FIFA 12 occurred.
[1:44] He's now talking about EA Sports Football Club, "the heartbeat of FIFA."
[1:45] He says 11 million people are currently part of EA Sports Football Club.
[1:46] He's explaining the new additions to EA Sports Football Club, saying players of the new iPad version of FIFA 13 will be able to log on to the Club. An all-new iPhone app (no name just yet) is coming out this fall, he says. FIFA 13 will deliver "gameplay innovation that captures the drama" of football, he promises.
[1:46] He's now talking about phenom Lio Messi, saying he is a perfect match for the ambitions of FIFA 13.
[1:47] Messi will also be on the cover of FIFA 13.
[1:47] FIFA 13 will deliver "freedom and creativity in attack," he says. And a new arsenal of dribbling tactics are on the way. And now he cues the world premiere gameplay trailer for FIFA 13.
[1:49] It looks like FIFA, it smells like FIFA, so I'm guessing it's FIFA. The trailer shows the new player impact engine, which allows players to be more physical. It also shows off "complete dribbling," which appears to allow for more precise skills and moves.
[1:49] Also attacking intelligence has been dialed up in FIFA 13. Smarter runs will be made, among other things.
[1:49] The trailer ends to mild applause. We're in America, after all.
[1:50] And now it's time for some Ultimate Fighting!
[1:50] UFC president Dana White is now onstage, speaking alongside Andrew Wilson.
[1:50] Multiyear, multiproduct partnership between EA Sports and UFC is what they're here to talk about.
[1:51] Wilson explains he's a "huge fight fan" and has been watching for years.
[1:51] Dana White calls UFC the fastest growing sport in the world and says teaming up with EA is a "huge day for the UFC."
[1:52] No name for the game was announced, or even any in-game footage. Sorry about that!
[1:54] Now a trailer for Need for Speed Most Wanted is running. The game is developed by Criterion Games. Like in the original, players will race against not only other racers, but also the police. Criterion Games executive producer Matt Webster is now onstage talking about the new Need for Speed game.
[1:54] Most Wanted will be an open-world driving game, where players compete to become the most wanted…see? It will boast the second generation of EA's Autolog social connectivity feature set.
[1:55] Now a live demo of the game is being piloted by a Criterion staffer. He has a mohawk, so you know he means business.
[1:56] The demo shows a yellow car zipping through a city, dodging other cars and outrunning police and roadblocks. It appears the game will use a checkpoint system.
[1:57] There's no need to actually stay on the road, as the demo just saw the driver zip up a set of stairs and crash through a wall.
[1:57] A leaderboard is shown, depicting high scores from Prince William and Prince Harry.
[1:57] The demo continues with the yellow Porsche ripping through an abandoned development, outrunning police.
[1:58] When the car smashes into police and other cars, a quick animation pops up, to great effect.
[1:58] Nearly pinned by police, the Porsche escapes, though the vehicle is beginning to take on heavy damage. And that's a wrap on the trailer. Much applause pours out.
[1:59] Need for Speed: Most Wanted launching October 30.
[1:59] Now Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli is onstage talking Crysis 3.
[1:59] He says the new CryEngine will push the limits of gameplay.
[2:00] And now a live demo for Crysis 3 is under way, with a nanosuit-clad soldier wielding a sort of crossbow.
[2:00] He's running and gunning through enemies with no problem at all.
[2:01] A quick toggle and the nanosuit is enabled, allowing the player to hold more health.
[2:01] The soldier is now in a generator room, trying to shut down the device.
[2:02] And he's successful! The generator is destroyed, but now he's got to get out. He's running up the stairs, laying waste to oncoming enemies with absolutely no problem.
[2:02] Now he's outside in an urban environment overlooking a body of water. It looks dire, but I have a feeling he will survive.
[2:03] He fires a missile-tipped projectile at a helicopter, bringing it down. He then jumps into the water and swims away. But the heat is still on.
[2:03] And now there are more helicopters! But a zipline escorts the soldier out of harm's way.
[2:04] A dam collapses, filling the city with water, just as the trailer ends. Crysis 3 is due out on the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 during February 2013.
[2:04] With that, Riccitiello is back onstage, calling Crysis 3 "absolutely stunning." He says he's very proud of all the work EA developers put into their games.
[2:05] And with that, the EA E3 2012 media briefing is over!