Gamescom 2011: EA Games Announces FIFA STREET, Much More

Gamescom 2011: EA Games Press Conference

EA Games hosted a press conference on Tuesday in Germany to help launch Gamescom, Europe's largest video game convention. They started off saying they'd be talking about ten different games, and led with an announcement keyed toward their European audience, from EA Sports.

"Welcome to the greatest pitch in the world," said the narrator as they showed people playing street football (soccer for Americans). Andrew Wilson, Executive Vice President of EA Sports and Gary Paterson, Creative Director then announced FIFA Street (a returning title), which will allow fans to play football in a variety of environments, from small urban pitches to the streets themselves. The game will be powered by the FIFA 12 engine, and includes motion capture by actual top street football players across the world, using their incredible skill-play and trick shots to simulate the action. Thirty-five locations are planned for 5-5 and 6-6 play, with the game launching early 2012.

From football to foot racing, Need for Speed: The Run was the next featured title. The game will feature high-impact car racing, but will also take your driver out of the car and onto the streets and rooftops of various cities in a cross-country race. Jason DeLong and Drew Hahn from the team demoed a new level taking drivers through a snowy Independence Pass in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. As rocks and snow fell, the racers speed through the icy terrain in some impressive displays of new physics.

Next up at the conference was Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare, to talk about 4 different BioWare games. He mentioned Dragon Age: Legends first, the facebook action RPG that was launched on Google + as well last week. Next was Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes, a new PvP Play4Free game for PC developed with BioWare Mythic and Games Workshop. The game features 6v6v6 gameplay, and is "coming this fall."

Star Wars: The Old Republic, Muzyka noted, has set the EA record for pre-orders. "We're gearing up for launch to be smooth right from the start." They've had thousands of testers, and gotten great feedback on the MMORPG so far. Showing off a conversation sequence localized in German, the BioWare conversation wheel was present. After noting the Beta Weekends that were announced at Comic-Con: International: San Diego, a team of eight from BioWare demoed the Operation "The Eternity Vault." This is the first of "end-game" content, the content that gamers can play once they've hit level 50 and the end of the main story. Teamwork was the main focus in this massive battle, as the eight Imperial characters helped each other while taking out turrets and droids. But small humanoid droids were just the start, the Annihilation Droid that landed for the next volley took down a couple of the demo-ers, showing that these operations will not be an easy task.

Next, Mass Effect 3, the highly anticipated single-player RPG from the folks at BioWare was featured. Muzyka promised the game would offer the customization of the best RPGs with the action of the best shooters. "This is all-out galactic war," he said, repeating their common catch-phrase for the game. The first gameplay video in a new series called "Combat Reveal" was then shown to the crowd at Gamescom. The video, subtitled "Squad Leader," focused on giving commands to Liara and Garrus, your squad mates, while also taking down several Cerberus agents. Shepard and the squad took on a Cerberus Mech as well, showing off how teamwork is necessary in the game. After an overload from Garrus, Shepard took out the mech with the new (restored) grenades.

SSX, the newest game in the series, focused on the NASA and Google Earth built mountains, the three ways to play with race it, trick it, and survive it, and also the social play with a huge focus on multiplayer. Two multiplayer modes were detailed. in Explore, when you hit a personal best, be it in race or trick, a ghost of your run is saved and automatically broadcast to all your friends, allowing for competitive multiplayer even when you're not online. They also teased an iPhone app that will tell you when your friends have gone up against your ghost; if they fail you win money, if they win, they take the prize. Global Events will be massive competitions, up to 100,000 competitors at once, and also have customizable event options. EA also announced "Ridernet," which is Autolog for SSX, recommending new drops and friends based on your gameplay. SSX hits consoles in January, and pre-sales are available now on EA's online store origin.com.

EA Partners, the division of EA that helps "independent studios get their games out" to the world, said Jens Uwe Intat of EA Europe, came up next, starting with Ken Rolston of 38 Studios. The game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning comes from R.A. Salvatore, Todd MacFarlane, and Rolston. Rolston promised the world of Amalur will be "rich with narrative and endless choice." He went on to dramatically tell people about the fast and fluid combat, immersive storytelling and character development. The game's launch date was finally announced, coming to the US February 7, 2012, and Europe on February 10, 2012.

The other EA Partner title, The Secret World, comes from Funcom. Ragnar Tournquist introduced the game, an MMO that has people wandering the streets in a modern world where every conspiracy and myth is real. Players join one of three secret societies, and mix and match from 500 different skills to create their character, rather than having specific classes, or levels. Potential players can sign up for beta testing starting August 26, 2011 at www.thesecretworld.com, and the game launches on PC in April 2012.

EA Sports was back to close out their portion of the conference the way they started it, with football. FIFA 12 will be a "revolution in gameplay and live service," said Andrew Wilson. David Rutter, line Producer for the game, came out to talk about the newest features for the behemoth sports game. The precision dribbling, tactical defending and physical detection, plus "true injuries" will deliver a new way to play virtual football. New AI driven by the Pro's actual play style, "Pro Player Intelligence," will make the game more authentic. EA Sports Football Club will give challenges to you and your friends, and will work with both upcoming FIFA titles. FIFA Ultimate Team will launch with the game, on disc, for the first time ever (it has previously been a separate game). On September 20, 2011, you can start your Ultimate Team at easportsfootball.com.

The first person shooter that won our Best Shooter of E3, Battlefield 3, ended the show with a look at the brand-new Co-op mode. The mode features "ground and air vehicle missions, as well as tight urban warfare." They demoed the game with two players on PlayStation 3 in a mission to rescue a "high-value target." The two played, going through a warehouse, silently at first, until they set off an alarm. Once they had their target and escaped the building, the mission wasn't over. Now either in or alongside humvees, they had to escort the small convoy down a street filled with enemy soldiers. The destructive environments and a variety of weapons came into play, demonstrating the way co-op is similar to single-player missions. Co-op will be tracked on EA's free Battlelog service. You'll be able to track your and your friends' progress in all game modes on PC, console, and mobile devices. Multiplayer footage shown at the end of the presentation featured on-foot, truck, tank, helicopter, and even jets to play as. End of October 2011 in both US and Europe for the final game of EA's Gamescom 2011 presentation.

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