Microsoft did a reasonable job of placating gamers hung up on bastard-DRM, bastard-privacy issues and bastard-backwards compatibility woes by focusing on games, games, games. So what has EA got primed down the barrel of its E3 Howitzer? Mirror’s Edge 2? Dragon Age 3? A new Mass Effect? Come at me.
21:59 – COMEBACK KID. That was bollocks. And then it wasn’t bollocks. Battlefield 4 and Mirror’s Edge 2 stole the show, and any thunder Microsoft had I’d say. Twenty bollocking minutes of sports and a Plants vs Zombies sequel that looks achingly abysmal got things off on the wrong foot, but that collapsing skyscraper in a 64-player game of Battlefield 4. Man. That was something. Oh and Star Wars Battlefront. Yes please.
21:58 – Mirror’s Edge 2 confirmed. To coin the words of revered poet Bill Shakespeare: Hell to the fucking yeah, bitches.
21:49 – DICE’s Patrick Bach touchdown to talk Battlefield 4. Words like “Levolution” are bandied about with gay abandon. And now we’re into the full game. It’s multiplayer this time and we’re arriving onto the battlefield via helicopter. There are soldiers everywhere. And tanks everywhere too. Helicopters roar by overhead. We’re in a heavy urban area and it looks Battlefield big. Up and down. Fighting happens. Then naval warfare happens, first on a boat then onboard a jet ski. Our soldiers take to the apex of a skyscraper and Jesus H. Titfuck An entire skyscraper has just collapsed in a 64-player multiplayer match. An entire skyscraper. And with that, we’re done. Watch it.
21:48 – Full-body… deformation. Good grief. Anyway. We’ve moved on to footage of grown men fondling each other and rolling around on the floor semi-naked. Reserved applause.
21:47 – Wait. What?
21:46 – ‘Now you’ll know what it’s like to get punched in the face.’ Full-body defamation confirmed.
21:44 – Muscley UFC chaps take to the stage and hug and handshake and felate each other, probably, and stuff. I predict footage of men rolling about naked in front of hundreds of other men. ‘Before a guy hit a ball with a stick, before someone threw a ball through a hoop, two men hit each other with sticks.’ How quickly can I have that tattooed across my face?
21:43 – A microphone drops and this has all gone a bit, well, shit.
21:41 – FOUR TIMES MORE CALCULATIONS PER SECOND BOASTS MAN ON STAGE. “Nothing will match the exhilaration of playing FIFA 14.” Reckon Battlefield 4 might.
21:39 – A man whose name is Drake but who is not Nathan Drake is on the stage talking about FIFA. His passion for soccer runs deep, he remarks. “When I play the game, I can only think about what the development team behind the game are doing to make my game better.” Funny, I think about how best to smash the ball into the net. Down the line. Across the six yard line. Hoof!
21:38 – EA have paid Barcelona superstars to talk about football. Cesc! Lovely Cesc! Come home, Cesc. Iniesta is tricked into saying “this is the culmination of football.”
21:34 – So while EA talk sports, toe physics and balls, let’s all take a moment to mull over that Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare footage: 😦
21:28 – Sports! There’s a man with an orange ball on stage talking about dribbling. The science of dribbling, in fact. Prior to that, a man did some rapping about something that sounded important. Somebody has just uttered the words: “it has always lacked the depth of true ball handling” – sensational. NBA Live 14 is a thing, incidentally.
21:26 – Moving swiftly on to Dragon Age Inquisition. BioWare’s Aaryn Flynn has some things to say, things like: “You’ll make choices that not only affect story but also the world around you.” Out Fall 2014. Trailer time! CGI flames, CGI dragons, CGI swords, CGI ladies. No gameplay. Boo.
21:24 – It’s taken the best part of two and a half hours but dammit we’ve arrived at celebrity cameo number one! It’s the excellent Breaking Bad drug fiend Jesse Pinkman. He’s in the Need for Speed movie, too, apparently. And now he’s gone.
21:19 – Games can begin in single-player and end in multiplayer – a solution to a problem nobody has ever shed a tear over. It looks good and everything but, er, also looks just like Hot Pursuit.
21:18:29 – Nothing like capitalising on a good thing. We’ve moved on to something about zoomy zoomy cars. It’s Need for Speed Rivals, which looks like Need for Speed.
21:18:14 – DICE are using Frostbite to create an all new blockbuster. It’s STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT. Massive cheers.
21:17 – Frank Gibeau takes to the stage to talk about EA’s new engines.
21:13 – Once more unto the breach comrades! The Respawn chaps are talking about making the world of Fist-Fucking Titan-Killers relatable. They’ve said “living breathing” in reference to that world – that had to be on someone’s E3 Bingo Card. The mechs on-screen are nimble, speedy little things. Still got zilch to say to an AC130, though. Does look jolly good, dumb fun. There are jetpacks and you can run up walls. There are robots and there are explosions. “Things people traditionally expect in a single player game, we’re putting that in a multiplayer game.” Cool.
21:13 – Vince Zampella takes to the stage for only the second time today. Confirming Titan Fall is headed to PC, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
21:12 – Peggle 2 also arriving this year. Includes copious sandbox RPG elements, prickly moral choices and microtransactions. Two of these may be lies.
21:08 – They’re demonstrating four player co-op survival. It’s more action-oriented this time, apparently. No. Scratch apparently. It’s 3D. You take the reigns of individual plants. The cactus on screen is a sniper in a cactus suit, the peashooter an assault dude in a peashooter suit and the sunflower is a medic garbed in sunflower gear. It’s something of, to use the Latin, a royal clusterfuck – basically a tactical third-person shooter with light tower-defence elements bolted onto the side.
21:05 – Diving straight in with… Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. Cheeky, EA had us expecting Battlefield 4. John Vechey takes to the stage in a giant zombie helmet. This guy sounds EXACTLY like Wernstrom from Futurama. This is already better than Microsoft’s conference!
21:05 – 11 games all developed for Xbox One and PS4. “These are the games that will define the next consoles.” FIFA? Madden? UFC? Behave.
21:05 – Peter Moore, COO, emerges from beyond the wall of appalling noise.
21:04 – EA are plugging, via video footage no less, many of their bestselling franchises, most of which come with big numbers attached. Numbers like 4, or 14, or 414.
21:03 – Onward the E3 train rumbles! Noisy music and flashing lights signal the start of EA’s chapter. 50p to unlock next track.
21:02 – Two minutes late which means two minutes in which EA have not alluded to micro-transactions. Victory?