E3 ‘09: Day Zero – EA Press Conference

June 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

A strong showing from EA this year.

Peter Moore was in good form, as always, and EA sports looks to be doing well with Fight Night 4 on the way, along with MMA well into development and to be released in the next year – EA’s response to UFC: Undefeated. They also look to make a bundle on their EA Sports Active product, which is bound to be phenomenally successful based upon how much business Wii Fit did (and probably continues to do).

Also shown was Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2. Dragon Age didn’t really do it for me, but I’ve never really been into that kind of fantasy universe. Mass Effect 2, on the other hand, had an absolutely fantastic trailer. It looks very much to be more of the same and a little extra, but that’s all I wanted in the first place – so, no disappointments there. The cinematic trailer of Star Wars: The Old Republic was also shown but it was all CGI and no gameplay. It was an impressive trailer, to be sure, but it doesn’t prove anything about the game. There was also the old talk of “4th pillar of the MMO genre: storytelling” crap, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Of the more interesting games on display, there were three: APB (All Points Bulletin), The Saboteur and Brutal Legend.

Starting with APB, the game is interesting for the fact that I have no idea how it’s going to work. It’s supposed to be a GTA-style open-world MMO, set in a modern-day metropolis, where Criminals battle it out with the Enforcers to take control of the city. They were extremely vague as to what the content of the game actually is, as all we got was a trailer which made it look like GTA, but with creatable characters. I’m curious to see how it all works.

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The Saboteur is another open-world game with elements of GTA, but is set during the Second World War, France, during the occupation, and has the most wonderful Sin City inspired art style. Here, though, the comic book styling of mixing monochrome with flashes of incandescent colour has a purpose and a meaning to it. It seems that the main aim of the game is to go around and blow stuff up, thereby disrupting the Nazi war effort, but as you start hitting various Nazi installations, parts of France start coming back into colour, visually representing a change in sentiment within the French populous. As the Nazi hold grows weaker and the French resistance becomes stronger, the old and tired black and white gives way to brilliant hues of reds, blues, greens, etc. It’s a nice gimmick and the game looks fairly polished. I imagine it will turn out quite well.

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Brutal Legend is, uh, well… strange, might be the operative word. Again, it’s a third-person, open-world, action/adventure game and is sort-of like Tim Schafer’s love letter to classic rock and heavy metal. Nothing substantially new was revealed aside from the star-lead voice cast, led by Jack Black and with an up-to-now unknown cameo by the “Prince of Darkness” himself, Ozzy Osbourne. Having seen the E3 trailer for the game even I’m interested in buying it, and I really have no affinity towards heavy metal or rock in the slightest. The script looks pretty sharp, the art direction is colourful and the game world and plot look to be amusingly goofy – something that always seems to strike a cord within me. When there are a bunch of militaristic first/third-person shooters out there, it would seem wrong not to support originality when you see it.

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