E3 2011: EA touts OverStrike, Battlefield 3, EA Sports Football Club

Electronic Arts' Monday afternoon media briefing sees Insomniac's shooter named, DICE's FPS get a free online stat-tracking service, and FIFA 12 get a social mode; Star Wars: The Old Republic shown off, Facebook Sims unveiled; full video inside.

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LOS ANGELES--Electronic Arts' Monday press conference at The Orpheum Theatre is scheduled to go only an hour, but the publisher has a surplus of projects to talk about in that time frame.

The Old Republic is set for release this year.
The Old Republic is set for release this year.

Insomniac Games has already confirmed that its first multiplatform title will be unveiled during the show, and EA has a handful of its own heavy hitters sure to require some time in the spotlight. First off, there's Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare's long-in-development massively multiplayer online role-playing game that has become something of a staple of EA's annual E3 showings. Then there's the developer's other much-anticipated sci-fi title, Mass Effect 3, which was recently pushed back to a 2012 release (and rumored to support the Kinect). DICE's first-person shooter Battlefield 3 should also command a chunk of time during the show, as EA is counting on the title to help crack Call of Duty's hold on the military shooter market.

Other candidates for EA's conference include 38 Studios' fantasy role-playing game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the Black Box-developed Need for Speed: The Run, and the not-quite-announced Burnout Crash. That's not even counting a segment devoted to EA Sports' Madden 12, FIFA Soccer 12, and NHL 12 (and potentially new cross-platform profiles). And for fans of dark horses, EA could be ready to start talking about its Wheel of Time adaptation, or perhaps even give a glimpse of the next installment of its on-hiatus NBA franchise.

One anticipated EA title that definitely won't be appearing at the show is the debut game from Respawn Entertainment. Last month, the developer's Twitter feed carried the glum news that Respawn wouldn't be announcing anything at this year's E3.

Electronic Arts' E3 2011 press conference will begin at 12:30 p.m. PDT Monday, June 6. GameSpot will be live-streaming video of the event.

[12:27] The storied Orpheum Theatre is full of gaming press and industry luminaries, all waiting to see what EA has up its sleeve.

[12:29] The seats have been full for some time, with a restless crowd waiting for the last half hour for EA to take the wraps off its lineup.

[12:29] A voice comes over the loudspeaker, asking the audience to silence their electronics and saying the show will begin in just a few minutes.

[12:31] The crowd reflects EA's global reach, with the audience din consisting of myriad accents and languages.

[12:31] The lights dim, and a trailer roles. It's showing news footage from around the world.

[12:32] Then a signal is lost, and it shows a devastated metropolitan skyline. It looks like an alien invasion, and the Mass Effect 3 logo at the end confirms it.

[12:32] Casey Hudson comes on stage to talk about the series, and how it was designed from the beginning to be a trilogy.

[12:33] On March 6, 2012, Mass Effect 3's war with the Reapers will begin.

[12:33] It's up to players to mount a counter-offensive against the Reapers in a game Hudson says will pay off all the choices they've made throughout the series.

[12:34] He introduces a live demo, with Commander Shepard calling in an orbital bombardment.

[12:34] Correction, that's not orbital. However, it is a very big explosion and starts the music swelling.

[12:36] They promised Mass Effect 3 would be action-packed, and the demo backs that up. Shepard is shooting people left and right before a cutscene takes over and shows his crew coming to help.

It's ME3 time.
It's ME3 time.

[12:36] That leads to a turret sequence with Shepard shooting up a giant Reaper walker, like a scarier version of the spider from the end of Wild Wild West.

[12:37] He promises that the story will have "tremendous emotional impact," and that Mass Effect 3 will be the best in the series.

[12:38] He cuts to a gameplay trailer now, with Shepard shooting up all kinds of stuff.

[12:38] It shows off Shepard's new melee attacks, a good bit of shooting, and the March 6 release date again, drawing another round of applause.

[12:39] John Riccitiello comes out and welcomes the audience to the event, which EA has called "Game Changers."

ME3 will be coming to Origin.
ME3 will be coming to Origin.

[12:39] Riccitiello recaps the Mass Effect 3 promises, and plugs Origin.com, the publisher's recently revealed online store and service.

[12:40] Jason DeLong is out to talk about Need for Speed: The Run now.

[12:41] It's an illicit high-stakes race across the country, DeLong says, and talks about how Autolog has changed the series.

[12:41] DeLong says the action will go beyond the car this time, with "intense, high action moments on foot" as well as the standard racing.

Need for Speed: The Run.
Need for Speed: The Run.

[12:42] DeLong picks up the controller for a live demo. This section of the race is going through Chicago.

[12:42] Driving a white Shelby, DeLong quickly reduces its blue book value by sideswiping buildings.

[12:43] He then gets T-boned going under the elevated train tracks and has to leave the car for one of those on-foot segments.

[12:44] His character is being chased across rooftops by a helicopter spraying machine-gun fire at him, and he seems to be progressing simply by hitting quick time prompts.

[12:44] The quick time on-foot segment ends with DeLong fist-fighting a cop and stealing his police car before continuing his flight from the helicopter.

[12:45] Street lights, cars, barriers, and other debris are tossed around like toys. The helicopter brings the chase to an end by blowing up a gas tanker ahead of DeLong, whose car wipes out and flips off the side of the road.

Not a great position to be in when you're on… The Run!
Not a great position to be in when you're on… The Run!

[12:45] Onto train tracks.

[12:46] DeLong has to complete another quick time event to escape the wreck before the train hits. As he dives to safety, the trailer ends.

Now for The Old Republic.
Now for The Old Republic.

[12:47] And Dr. Greg Zeschuk comes out to the opening bars of the Star Wars theme and plenty of applause.

[12:48] Zeschuk says BioWare has done a lot of games, but never anything as big as The Old Republic.

[12:48] He calls Star Wars fans the most loyal and demanding audience in the history of entertainment.

[12:48] Zeschuk says making the game has demanded much from the studio and its developers, but that the results have been worth it.

[12:48] He leaves the stage and cues a trailer.

[12:49] The trailer sets up the story from both the Sith and Jedi perspectives, with the game starting at the end of a centuries-long peace.

[12:51] Bounty hunters, clone troopers, dual-bladed lightsabers, and starship battles play heavily in the trailer, which ends with fog machines spewing clouds into the Orpheum.

SSX.
SSX.

[12:52] Another trailer starts up, showing a view of mountain ranges and a pair of snowboarders.

[12:52] It's the new SSX, with snowboarders shredding through crashed planes in Alaska, tricking off the Great Wall of China, and base jumping in the Himalayas.

[12:53] Peter Moore takes the stage after the trailer, and says fans have been waiting for the series to return for years.

But which will YOU choose, Peter Moore?
But which will YOU choose, Peter Moore?

[12:53] He says it's a "massive" open-world, and puts extra emphasis on massive, saying it will let players drop into every major mountain range on the planet.

[12:54] "Race it, trick it, survive it" are the three main gameplay goals, Moore explains.

[12:54] The game is set to launch in January.

[12:54] Moving on, Moore turns to FIFA 12.

[12:55] More than 42 million consumers enjoyed FIFA 11, Moore says, whether it be on consoles, smart phones, or Facebook.

FIFA 12 is up next.
FIFA 12 is up next.

[12:56] He says ball control is also being improved, and talks about the "player impact engine," which should let players jostle over the ball and take more unique spills.

[12:58] A trailer shows a variety of soccer players, gamers, and celebrities talking about FIFA and why they enjoy it.

[12:58] Some soccer players use it for scouting opponents; Lil Wayne uses it to clear his head before going into the studio to record.

In case you were wondering if Lil Wayne was going to show up at the press conference… here he is.
In case you were wondering if Lil Wayne was going to show up at the press conference… here he is.

[12:59] Bilbey introduces the EA Sports Football Club, a live service "injecting challenges and story lines" taken from the week's biggest matches.

[12:59] He emphasizes the social aspect of it, saying players will compete against one another to complete goals.

[1:00] It will kick off in FIFA 12 for no charge, and will create one identity that will work across all FIFA games going forward.

Introducing EA Sports Football Club.
Introducing EA Sports Football Club.

[1:01] He gives an example of a player being challenged to avenge their favorite team's latest loss. If they complete the challenge, they rise in the leaderboards.

[1:02] Next up is a Madden 12 trailer with a Vince Lombardi look-alike giving a pep talk to the audience.

[1:03] It's time to get better, he says.

[1:03] "True to victory. True to the game" is the tagline.

[1:03] And here's Ray Lewis.

[1:04] "Victory is waiting on me because defense wins championships," Lewis says as the soundtrack from Inception blares in the background.

[1:04] Peyton Hillis and Clay Matthews show up to give their own spiels about victory, then pose with the Vince Lombardi trophy.

[1:05] Peter Moore properly introduces the trio to loud applause.

Peter Moore brought a few friends.
Peter Moore brought a few friends.

[1:06] Moore says Lewis will love the new collision system and defensive AI in Madden 12. He says as a clutch player, Hillis will love the new player confidence system. And Matthews should appreciate trying to build a dynasty in the game, seeing as how his Green Bay Packers are hoping to start their own.

[1:07] Madden kicks off August 30, and Moore thanks the crowd before leaving the stage.

[1:08] Riccitiello is back on stage now, talking about EA's vision of a cross-platform profile, from PCs to mobile phones to Facebook.

[1:08] He announces The Sims Social for Facebook, which drew cheers (but also a handful of boos).

[1:08] The Sims Social is alive, Ricitiello says, and intros a trailer.

The Sims Social, coming to Facebook.
The Sims Social, coming to Facebook.

[1:09] The trailer chronicles a woman's attempt to woo one of her Facebook friends who just changed his relationship status to single, and ends with an implied fling in the shower.

[1:10] Ricitiello comes back on stage to introduce Curt Schilling, founder and CEO of 38 Studios.

[1:10] Schilling is out to talk about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

Curt Schilling now takes the stage.
Curt Schilling now takes the stage.

[1:11] Schilling says being on hand to talk about Reckoning is as thrilling or exciting as talking about any of his World Series wins.

[1:11] He talks about working with Ken Rolston, Todd McFarlane, and R.A. Salvatore, then introduces a new trailer for the game.

[1:12] It shows a variety of sweeping landscape shots, then some one-on-one knightly combat, elves, monsters, and magic.

[1:12] The trailer ends with a vague 2012 release window.

There will be blood… in Reckoning.
There will be blood… in Reckoning.

[1:13] Ricitiello introduces Insomniac president and CEO Ted Price to unveil his EA Partners project.

[1:13] It's the first multiplatform game for the developer, and it's called Overstrike.

[1:14] Set in the near-future, Overstrike follows four elite agents who use gadgets to take down their targets.

Insomniac's new game is Overstrike.
Insomniac's new game is Overstrike.

[1:14] Price says the four are misfits, but they're the only option left.

[1:15] A trailer introduces Overstrike leader Dalton Brooks, and showcases some of his skills and gadgets in prerendered form.

Overstrike's characters are quite a cast.
Overstrike's characters are quite a cast.

[1:17] Electrical crossbows, a magnetic bullet shield, invisibility cloaking, and rapidly expanding, incapacitating foam are among the weapons featured.

[1:18] The trailer caps off with the four working together to take down a Terminator-like cyborg as Brooks delivers a bit of a wisecrack.

[1:18] That segues right into a Battlefield 3 trailer.

And now onto Battlefield 3.
And now onto Battlefield 3.

[1:19] The clip shows off brief glimpses of military shooter action before DICE GM Karl Magnus Troedsson takes the stage.

[1:19] He talks about the Frostbite 2 engine and shows off a trailer touting its virtues.

[1:19] The clips are designed to highlight the animation, destruction, scale, and audio the engine is capable of.

[1:20] Troedsson says the series has always been known for its multiplayer, and says it's time to take a peek at what the new game's multiplayer is all about.

Battlefield 3 multiplayer in action.
Battlefield 3 multiplayer in action.

[1:21] It's a map set in the center of Paris, and clips show players fighting it out on the subway, blasting the facades off buildings, and generally causing mayhem.

[1:21] Troedsson talks about BattleLog, a free social stat-tracking feature of Battlefield 3.

[1:21] The multiplatform open beta will take place in September, and will let gamers check out all the new features.

[1:22] A live demo for the game is next, set in the Tehran desert.

Tanks!
Tanks!

[1:23] It appears to be a turret sequence, with the player riding atop a tank in charge of the heavy machine gun.

[1:23] A squad of tanks with helicopter backup are crossing a desert, on their way to an apparent skirmish.

The deserts of Iran.
The deserts of Iran.

[1:25] The player drops down to take control of the tank as it continues across the wasteland.

[1:26] The quiet is broken suddenly and quickly turns into all-out tank warfare.

[1:26] The player dispatches the enemy armor, leaving little more than burning wrecks on the battlefield.

[1:26] The fight isn't over yet, as switching to thermal camera reveals more tanks cresting a hill.

Killin' by gunship.
Killin' by gunship.

[1:28] After dispatching those stragglers, the player then has to identify bombardment targets before moving back on their way.

[1:28] One of the tanks in the convoy suffers a direct hit, with a soldier jumping out of the burning wreckage.

It's a rough life for a tank driver.
It's a rough life for a tank driver.

[1:29] The player continues onward in the face of enemy fire, and the tanks finally arrive at the outpost that is their target.

[1:29] The tank's machine gun cuts down enemy soldiers who stumble and fall after being hit.

[1:30] A warning light blares over the speakers as more soldiers sprint across the player's crosshairs and are cut down.

[1:30] Battlefield 3 arrives October 25.

[1:31] Riccitiello wraps up the event, thanking the crowd for attending.

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