In the grand conflict between Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts, the latter company has come out swinging. The Redwood Shores, California-based publisher is bankrolling Respawn Entertainment, the new studio founded by ousted Infinity Ward founders Vince Zampella and Jason West. Then, this morning, EA unveiled Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the open-world role-playing game it will distribute on behalf of 38 Studios, the (for now) Massachusetts-based studio founded by former Hall of Fame major league pitcher Curt Schilling.
Today at its luxurious Silicon Valley campus, EA gathered the gaming press creme de la creme to preview its upcoming release slate. To whet the public's appetite, EA announced that it would be unveiling no fewer than six games, ranging "from the whimsical to strategic, athletic to horrific." Among the lineup will be a major title from EA Sports, which will soon horn in on THQ's mixed martial arts territory with EA Sports MMA, due out this October for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
[1:04] Waiting for conference to begin. If you want a bite-sized Zen meditation session, do it now.
[1:12] EA PR generalissimo Jeff Brown is onstage.
[1:13] He says there will be NFL players playing on the field of the EA campus.
[1:14] EA Sims Studio's Rob Humble onstage now to tout Sims 3 on consoles.
[1:14] Yes, that will mint money.
[1:15] Sims 3: Late Night is shipping in the fall. Time for your virtual incarnations to get it on!
[1:16] "Sims will be hanging out in nightclubs…and we've added hot tubs--lots of hot tubs!" Boogie Nights: Sims Edition it sounds like.
[1:17] Sims 3: Late Night will also add vampires and vampire bloodlines. Thanks, Twilight.
[1:17] Cue trailer.
[1:18] Trailer shows your sims can get into BAR FIGHTS. Awesome.
[1:18] Shows DNA being mutated.
[1:19] Creature rises from tunnel…and it's Darkspore!
[1:20] As rumored, it's an action RPG game. "It's not an extension of Spore," says Maxis GM Lucy Bradshaw. It will use the same creature-creator tools, however.
[1:20] Out comes Mike Perry, executive producer of the game.
[1:21] He gives a spiel about how the game will feature "genetic heroes" and is best played in co-op mode.
[1:21] Now comes a live demo.
[1:22] Showing off a "tank melee guy" now.
[1:22] He looks like the Fantastic 4's the Thing but with black skin.
[1:23] There are group abilities that can be shared by characters. In this case, an area-of-effect flame column and teleport ability combine to make the player a "blinking fireball of death." Cool?
[1:23] Apparently the power-ups in the game are called "catalysts."
[1:24] You can switch characters in the game on the fly.
[1:24] Players can be captured and trapped by "Darkspore agents."
[1:25] Release date: February 2011.
[1:25] Brown back onstage, collectively schmoozing the crowd.
[1:26] Dead Space prequel on stage now.
[1:26] Sorry, the "prelude" to Dead Space 2.
[1:26] Here comes the synergy talk.
[1:27] Dead Space: Ignition to be a "whole new experience" that combines three "arcade games" and the comic book.
[1:28] Get those games, and you get a bunch of unlocks, including a new Isaac Clarke suit.
[1:31] To get the suit you have to complete three games: Hardware Crack, System Override, and Trace Route.
[1:33] All three games will be part of Dead Space: Ignition, available on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network this fall.
[1:33] EA Partners' David DeMartini now about to take the stage.
[1:33] DeMartini charming as always.
[1:34] Teases "a couple of announcements and a couple of world premieres."
[1:35] Ooooh, Respawn has a logo now apparently.
[1:36] American McGee takes the stage to tease the "reimagining" of Alice. Hopefully it will be better received than Bad Day LA.
[1:37] Talking about his new studio in China.
[1:37] Title is "Alice: Madness Returns" and will be released for the PC, 360, and PS3.
[1:38] Will be set in London and Wonderland.
[1:39] Slow zoom on Alice being hypnotized…and then shows her vomiting blood.
[1:39] DeMartini out plugging Rock Band 3. He also gives a shout-out to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, which, according to NPD's latest figures, could use it.
[1:40] Crysis 2 multiplayer will be unveiled at GamesCom next month.
[1:41] Also giving props to Shank, a new PSN/XBL title and nominee of downloadable "Game of the Show" at E3.
[1:42] DeMartini makes crack about taking a chainsaw to developers' meetings. Nobody laughs.
[1:42] Curt Schilling announcement coming up.
[1:43] They can't show the footage Schilling is going to show because it's embargoed until Comic-Con.
[1:44] He gives props to his partners: artist Todd McFarlane, author R.A. Salvatore, and designer Ken Rolston.
[1:45] Lord, did he just say "synergy" in all earnestness?
[1:46] Showing off art for 38 Studios' just-announced game, Reckoning.
[1:47] Huge red giant fighting some humans, and a warrior wielding a HUGE sledgehammer.
[1:49] Media blackout ended, Brown back onstage.
[1:50] "Four brand-new games" coming from EA Sports. Brown makes a joke about Peter Moore getting a "tramp stamp" tattoo to celebrate.
[1:51] Australian-born EA Sports director Andrew Wilson comes out in Moore's stead.
[1:52] He introduces Rocky Rivero, chief designer of EA Sports MMA.
[1:53] He says the selling point of the single-player campaign is "authenticity and the global nature of the sport." How about violence and elbow strikes?
[1:54] The game has a feature called "photo gameface," which lets players scan their faces and use them on their fighters.
[1:54] The game will feature replicas of real-life gyms in Brazil, Thailand, and the UK.
[1:55] The trailer is heavily Strikeforce-branded.
[1:56] MMA champ Bas Rutten takes the stage to attest to the game's authenticity.
[1:57] EA Fight Night Champion announced for PS3 and 360. Ships in 2011.
[1:58] EA MMA dated for October 19 on PS3 and 360.
[1:59] Wilson now talking about how Fight Night Champion will show off "the grittier side, the darker side" of the sport. In development at EA Canada.
[1:59] The game will feature a special physics system that will replicate real-life punches.
[2:00] Now the subject turns to Madden NFL 11.
[2:02] After a trailer unspools, Wilson says there is final code on hand at the event.
[2:03] Wilson touts the game's new animation system, saying the players will accelerate and change momentum more realistically and with dual-stick controls.
[2:04] The next focal point for the Madden team was the audio presentation. Wilson emphasized the addition of Gus Johnson play-by-play and team-specific chants to the game.
[2:05] New tagline: "Simpler. Quicker. Deeper."
[2:06] iPad- and 3D-dedicated versions in the pipe.
[2:07] New game: EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp. Will be a fitness game designed with the input of actual NFL trainers. You do all the drills and exercises NFL players do in real stadiums. Time to burn off those buffalo wings!
[2:08] San Francisco 49ers NFL linebacker Patrick Willis takes the stage. Not a small man.
[2:08] The game will have a heart-rate monitor.
[2:10] Apparently Bas Rutten will be doing real-life MMA demos and Patrick Willis will be tackling reporters on the field. Some nerd blood will be spilled this day.
[2:10] Brown returns to the stage…and that's it?
[2:11] Yep, that's it!