E3 '07: EA shows off Boogie, Rock Band, new Wii games

World's biggest third-party publisher shows off its upcoming lineup, including Boogie, new Spielberg games, and some Wii trivia action.

SANTA MONICA, Calif.--Earlier today, megapublisher Electronic Arts coyly released part of its upcoming game schedule, although it said that more would be revealed at the afternoon's press conference at the Fairmont Hotel's Starlight Room.

Alongside SimCity Societies for the PC, Valve's The Orange Box, Mercenaries 2: World In Flames, Crysis, Hellgate: London, and the new Simpsons game, there will be an as-yet-unnamed EA casual trivia game for the Nintendo Wii, and the introduction of several mainstream casual games for mobiles, handhelds, and the Wii.

Former Activision publishing boss Kathy Vrabeck, now head of EA's casual games division, will be one of the many executives stepping up on stage to show off the megapublisher's upcoming slate.

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[2:03] The press conference room is starting to get quite crowded, and some people are having to stand at the back. A lot of coffee is being consumed.

[2:06] People have been told to turn cell phones, pagers, Blackberrys, and "anything else" off. We will be starting soon.

[2:09] As the Pink Panther theme is playing, a herd of gaming press is cramming into the hall, with some having to stand at the back. People are being urged to squeeze in next to each other so everyone can "enjoy" the presentation.

[2:12] The lights go down. A presentation starts to play, showing a montage of upcoming games, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, playground, mobiles, a Wii trivia game, and Boogie.

[2:13] An exec takes to the stage and encourages the audience to visit the company's booth in the Barker Hangar to see the games there. She introduces Kathy Vrabeck, head of the company's casual game division.

[2:14] Vrabeck talks about the company's lofty goals, to get to the 2 billion consumers that are not gamers but the company thinks are out there "ready to game."

[2:15] She's been thinking about what's next for the gaming industry. She says the issue with casual entertainment is that its different business models, game sensibilities, and the like are different from those in core gaming.

[2:16] The company wants to "truly bring gaming to the masses," going after kids, middle-aged women, girls--anyone who doesn't self-identify as a traditional gamer.

[2:17] Casual is very much a multiplatform genre, she says. Consoles like the Wii and the DS handhelds are good because they are family friendly. EA will become the "clear leader" in casual gaming, Vrabeck vows.

[2:18] The first group at EA to get casual was Pogo.com, which has more than 6.5 million subscribers, half of whom are women over 30, and it will be coming to Asia soon.

[2:19] A short montage showing off Pogo.com.

[2:21] Now we're on to Boogie. We haven't really seen it until we have seen it in 3D, apparently. Time to get out the 3D glasses!

[2:22] Alan Tascan, general manager from EA Montreal, takes the stage, and picks a Boogie character--a big guy with spiky hair, wearing a pair of white underwear and a vest.

[2:23] He looks quite funny dancing across the stage. Someone calls out, "Work it baby!" and the audience cracks up.

[2:23] He's had enough now.

[2:24] No, he hasn't--he's going on to the singing part.

[2:25] He's singing "Dontcha" by the Pussycat Dolls. "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?" he asks the audience.

[2:25] Time to put on the glasses!

[2:26] This is one of the special effects in the game, you can play it in 3D. There are many others.

[2:28] Now onto EA Mobile. This is the quickest way to expand into the nongaming market, Vrabeck believes. Not everyone can afford a console, but almost everyone has a game-capable mobile.

[2:28] A montage shows EA mobile games Madden, Tetris, NBA Live 08, Bejeweled, and Nuclear Meltdown.

[2:29] EA Canada's Dave McCarthy, executive producer of the title, comes on stage to talk about EA Playground with an entourage.

[2:30] McCarthy and friends play Dodgeball, in a "four-player Wii-only action game." There are three moves: catch with the B button, throw with the Wii Remote, and move with the D pad.

[2:31] They lose 3-0.

[2:31] EA is not just a multiplayer game, it has a full single-player mode, too. There are traditional games like Dodgeball, but also some "over-the-top fantasy games." He is going to show us one called Kicks, a mix of football and tennis.

[2:32] The aim of the game is to take your player on a series of quests to become the king or queen of the playground. It's a game for kids, and the kid inside all of us, he says, and leaves the stage.

[2:33] Vrabeck steps up again. She's talking about an EALA title called Smarty Pants, which is a trivia game for the Wii.

[2:35] The gamers playing spin a wheel by using the Wii Remote to pick a player to start. The game seems to be a combination of trivia and minigames like tug of war.

[2:36] EALA is doing more too--they're in partnership with Spielberg. Neil Young takes to the stage to talk.

[2:37] "We announced in 2005 to develop three pieces of IP with Spielberg, and in 2006 work started on two of these," he says. "The first game attempts to answer the company's founding question: Can a computer game make you cry? The second is a blocks-based game." These are the LMNO and PRQS games Young talked with GameSpot about early in the week.

[2:40] The player demoing PQRS uses the Wii Remote to knock down a pile of blocks, some of which do things like disappear, explode, or react with others. The aim of the game is to knock down the structure in one throw.

[2:40] There are a variety of themes, including medieval and Western. It comes with a designer so gamers can design their own levels.

[2:40] He then blows up some virtual cows in a level one of the testers created.

[2:42] Alex Rigopolous from MTV Harmonix takes the stage to talk about the game "which opened the Sony conference yesterday to much applause." He is referring, of course, to Rock Band at the Microsoft Press Conference.

[2:43] He shows us some of the peripherals, including the drums and the Fender guitar.

[2:45] "Rock Band is not just a game or a title, it's a platform for delivering and exploring music in a new way," he says.

[2:46] "Every single week after the game is released there will be a new batch of songs online," promises Rigopolous. They aim to have thousands of songs available online.

[2:46] There will be a Rock Band advisory committee set up which will include celebrity musicians, who will help decide which songs to include. Steven Van Zandt, the guitarist of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and a star of TV's The Sopranos, will be its chair.

[2:46] Celebrity alert! "Little Steven" takes to the stage. He thinks the game is fun, and that it will introduce a lot of great music to people, and that it will help a lot of upcoming musicians.

[2:50] Van Zandt is going to announce some of the songs. This is just the beginning, he hastens to add, so if you don't see your favorite, don't panic!

[2:53] He announces a selection of titles. The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," David Bowie's "Suffragette City," Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive," Rush's "Tom Sawyer," Nirvana's "In Bloom," Stone Temple Pilots' "Vasoline," and Foo Fighters' "Learn to Fly."

[2:53] MTV Games will be offering full albums for download on the platform. The first to be available will be The Who's Who's Next.

[2:53] They will also be releasing a "substantial amount of tracks" from heavy metal supergroup Metallica, including "Enter Sandman," which will be on the game disc.

[2:54] A group take to the stage to play Bowie's "Suffragette City." It's all over, kids. Notably, there was nothing on Will Wright's Spore.

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Discussion

74 comments
packernation31
packernation31

I would get rock band if it wasnt soooo expensive, but it has to be.

ragin_massaih
ragin_massaih

"Bringing gaming to the masses" A heavily Wii-influenced Conference one would have to admit. Shame most EA games suck

msudude211
msudude211

Rock band looks great. Too bad it's so expensive.

Polishgamer411
Polishgamer411

as always, EA has some awesome games to offer. Cant wait to grab those new wii games!!!!

BonzaiiC
BonzaiiC

Rock Band is an obvious rip-off of Guitar Hero...

fauljosh
fauljosh

Boogie looks awesome, can't wait. And Rock Band is an absolute must!!!

blehbeast1234
blehbeast1234

EA Playground looks really good to me for some reason. Looks fine to pummel some tots with dodgeballs lol

Miclee1
Miclee1

Smeagol I gave you a new video... right under your post... SPORE PWNS! New video pwns

DouglasBuffone
DouglasBuffone

They certainly have some good games lined up, but some of them are quite gimicky too

grooloops
grooloops

Sigh, truly sickening the way the toss the wii aside as a casual gamer zone, the casual group is fickle, they need to learn the core group want good stuff for wii too and they won't be sucked by the next fad, but i suppose they're lookin for a quick buck and nothing more.

nauruto110
nauruto110

ENTER SANDMAN!!!!!!!!!!!THE GREATEST **** SONG EVER!!!!!!!!!!1

SkarpHedin
SkarpHedin

Metallica was all I needed to hear in order to buy this game. sold

Smeagol001
Smeagol001

Ooooo! Something about Spore now let's take a look... nothing interesting...nothing interesting...nothing interesting...nothing on Spore? that was a waste of time.

s0njas0n
s0njas0n

i'm looking forward to rockband

puablo
puablo

Haha I also read this looking for Spore. I wonder... have they confirmed that the downloadable Rock Band albums are coming to both platforms?

Chronic_420
Chronic_420

This news failed to deliver. You can't promise spore news and not give spore news. I hope karma whoops you for this!

jab692
jab692

Stupid game developers! Yeah, the wii is the best casual system, but you can make good games for it too! Just look at zelda and resident evil 4! hopefully the new wii zapper will encourage developers to make more shooting games for wii.

Deluminai
Deluminai

I thought Warhammer online was gonna be talked about, oh you know, the most hyped about MMO post-WoW.

LION90
LION90

I didn't see spore in there at all?!

EPaul
EPaul

there was no Spore mentioned all i heard was casual, casual middle-aged women, casual gamer , wii and ds

-Krakapow-
-Krakapow-

"casual trivia game for the Nintendo Wii, and the introduction of several mainstream casual games for mobiles, handhelds, and the Wii." it's sad but true that the wii is becoming a casual games system now being treated in the same reguard as mobiles and handhelds. :(

Eimin
Eimin

drumline, I hope you are wrong :(

ShmenonPie
ShmenonPie

Jakeboudville is right, there was no Spore there! I love Spore, I wanna hear about it, you got me all hyped up about nothing, GS.

sasafetch
sasafetch

The only "major" thing I remember hearing about in regards to Spore was that there will be a Nintendo DS version as well as a mobile phone version. Either way the PC version is still going to be all that matters.

guardianlegend7
guardianlegend7

Today's Tom Sawyer somethin somethin somethin... bwow bwow BWOW WOWWWWWW!!!

Galzakian
Galzakian

I certainly don't seem to see anything about Spore. Liars!

maccaaccam
maccaaccam

whats the news on spore? i didnt see anything about it in this article.

drumline212
drumline212

I thought Spore was on hold indefinitely... am I the only one who heard this??

mrbass208
mrbass208

Looks like EA might actually be riding a wave of innovation (hell freezing over as we speak)

knux15
knux15

Um like everyone else said, "Where is Spore?" False Advertising Gspot

everccr
everccr

also is tom sawyer a cover cause they cant do geddys vocals

everccr
everccr

woooo suffragette city wooo enter snadman woooo wont get fooled again now we need tnt by acdc and communication breakdown by led zeppelin

Chainblast
Chainblast

Indeed EA does have a more solid than usual line-up.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

EA has some pretty good stuff this year.

Vyndykt
Vyndykt

According to IGN.com, and Spore's official website, Spore will NOT be at E3. Fortunately, IGN was able to provide a great interview with the Maxis VP of Marketing, along with 7 screenshots and a video featuring the latest build of Spore. You can find it here: http://pc.ign.com/articles/802/802448p1.html Enjoy!

Casey1211
Casey1211

No Army of Two? Or does EA Montreal have a different conference?

ThrillhouseLive
ThrillhouseLive

Damn I am going to have to buy rock band and Gh3 now. Oh yeah, where is spore!!!!

asandscarab
asandscarab

Sounds to me like he just started to splooge at the end while they were playing "Suffragette City" and he forgot to mention Spore and other cool things. Oh well, at least shows that Rock Band will be good!

FearNeutron
FearNeutron

Um, yeah, you'll obviously need to buy Rock Band to play the guitar parts DSgamer. But you won't need to buy the drums or microphone to play it. So I don't see the big deal.

Lord_Artix
Lord_Artix

I wasn't interested in PQRS until it said he was blowing up cows. Now I'm all ears.

Saije
Saije

I came here for spore also... didnt see it

jakob_187
jakob_187

I think it's cool that all the press conferences are focusing on games that will be coming out BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR...not crap that we've gotta wait another two years on. I think Microsoft had a great press conference, and Nintendo had a damn fine one as always...and they've got me really psyched to check out WiiFit. Still waiting for GS to get the Sony conference up for streaming, but honestly....it's going to be a great second half of the year in 2007!!!

Assassin2004
Assassin2004

bah, article only said spore and crysis to get people to read through all this crap...