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Plugged In

Electronic Arts at E3 2012: Big-name sequels are the publisher’s focus this year

Plugged In

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Dead Space 3

Dead Space 3, a new Need For Speed, and more take center stage for EA

by Randy Nelson, Tecca

For Electronic Arts, the mantra at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is "iterate, not innovate." During its pre-show press briefing, it showed off nearly a dozen new titles from established — and prominent — franchises, all of which seem to have something unique to offer in terms of gameplay, if not in name.

Action all-stars
Dead Space 3 was first out of the gate. This latest installment in the space-bound horror series is trading the confines of starships and space stations for the surface of a frozen planet. In addition to bigger, nastier creatures — necromorphs — and human enemies to contend with, you'll need to survive the elements themselves. Thankfully, you'll have help. A second player can hop in at any time to take control of newcomer John Carver, who'll fight along returning protagonist Isaac Clarke. Dead Space 3 is out in February 2013.

On the first-person shooter front, EA showed new gameplay from the October 23 release Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which has you taking on missions around the globe as an elite Tier 1 operator of the U.S. Special Forces. This time around, the multiplayer mode will let you play as operators from other international special forces outfits, such as the Russian Spetznaz. It was also announced that EA's other big military FPS franchise, Battlefield 3, will be getting a premium subscription service called Battlefield 3 Premium. For a $49.99 fee, you'll get access to five add-on packs and additional weapons, vehicles, and game modes. It's available today on the PlayStation 3 and next week for the PC and the Xbox 360.

Several minutes of EA's big FPS for 2013, Crysis 3, wowed us with sights of a decimated New York City enclosed inside a gigantic dome. It's still a ways off, though, with a release date pegged for February 2013.

On the first-person shooter front, EA showed new gameplay from the October 23 release Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which has you taking on missions around the globe as an elite Tier 1 operator of the U.S. Special Forces. This time around, the multiplayer mode will let you play as operators from other international special forces outfits, such as the Russian Spetznaz. It was also announced that EA's other big military FPS franchise, Battlefield 3, will be getting a premium subscription service called Battlefield 3 Premium. For a $49.99 fee, you'll get access to five add-on packs and additional weapons, vehicles, and game modes. It's available today on the PlayStation 3 and next week for the PC and the Xbox 360.

Several minutes of EA's big FPS for 2013, Crysis 3, wowed us with sights of a decimated New York City enclosed inside a gigantic dome. It's still a ways off, though, with a release date pegged for February 2013.

Feed the need
One of the lengthiest demos during EA's event was for Need For Speed: Most Wanted, the indirect follow-up to 2010's acclaimed racing game Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. Its developer, Criterion Games, is once again at the helm for this title, promising a second generation of the innovative Autolog system it introduced in Hot Pursuit. Through it, you'll be able to challenge friends for bragging rights to everything from fastest lap times to longest jumps. For this game, Criterion is building a seamless open world where you'll have to contend with cops and explore in-between races in order to become the "most wanted" underground racer among your friends. Need For Speed: Most Wanted is out October 30.

Online gaming outlook
When it came time to focus on online and social gaming, EA chose two very different franchises to focus on. The first was Star Wars: The Old Republic, which after getting off to a solid start late last year is going to see more updates during the remainder of 2012, including a new playable race — the cat-like Cathar — and a new world to explore. The biggest news relating to the title, however, is that it'll be going free to play up to level 15 next month.

On the much more casual end of the spectrum, EA announced SimCity Social, coming to Facebook within the next few weeks. The company was curiously mum on the next PC version of SimCity, showing only some new gameplay footage from the title. SimCity Social will be released in coming weeks; the PC SimCity title will be out in February 2013.

Sports wrap-up
Finally, EA Sports got its chance to shine with announcements relating to Madden NFL 13, FIFA 13, and a surprising reveal relating to the world of mixed martial arts. For starters, the next Madden release features a completely new physics system called the Infinity Engine, which promises even more realistic player movement and interaction. FIFA fans can look forward to a companion app for the iPhone later this year that will let you connect with friends and participate in auctions.

And that surprise announcement? EA Sports has struck a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to produce a game based on the mixed martial arts promotion. No release date was announced, but given the positive reception of EA's unlicensed EA Sports MMA in 2010, fight fans have to be thrilled by this news.

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