Electronic Arts held a massive press event on Wednesday at their Redwood Shores campus as they showed off all of their games that are due out this fall and early into 2008. In fact there was so much to see during our brief few hours at the show that we really only spent a brief time with each game that we were interested to see. However there was a lot of goodness to both see and play at EA and its clear that the publisher will have a number of major sellers in the next several months for both console and PC platforms.
A couple of quick notes before we get on with our article; Pandemic's open world action game Mercenaries 2 was not shown at the event which would seem to be a big hint that the game will not be coming out this fall (EA PR reps would not officially comment on the release date). Also Spore, a game that was shown in playable form just a couple of weeks ago at the German Game Convention, was also not shown at the event.
The next game in Digital Illusions' first person shooter series won't be for the PC but will be the first game in the series made especially for the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles. Battlefield: Bad Company is also the first game in the series that will have an actual single player storyline as opposed to just playing against bots in multiplayer maps. At the EA press event we got a quick demo of the game (sadly we were not allowed to go hands-on with this early build) where we got to see a brief section of the single player game.
The game centers on a group of four US Army soldiers who go AWOL when they learn that a mercenary has a stash of gold that's just waiting to be taken. The game will have three different armies (the US, Russia and a fictional Middle Eastern faction) and you and your three AI buddies (each with a different loadout and personality) go through Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East to find the mercenary and grab the gold. Our demo showed the team going into an Eastern European village to make a surgical strike against the Russian forces.
Battlefield: Bad Company's big feature is the high degree of destructibility in the maps. The demo showed grenades and rocket launchers that took out most of the village's structures (the main foundation walls still remain) and you can even shoot down trees with miniguns or even the well placed sniper shot. The developers want to give a degree of free form gameplay in their design. You don't have to follow a designated path to complete a mission; you can pretty much blast your way through the map on your own.
At one point an enemy tank appeared at a nearby bridge and began to lob some tank shells at our positions. No problem; you just break out your laser targeter, lock onto the tank from a concealed position and then when the tank is locked in your sights you can call an air-to-ground missle that you personally guide to its target.
Visually Battlefield: Bad Company looks impressive, thanks to the new in-house Frostbite engine that DICE has developed . It's really impressive in the character models for your three AI friends. The army uniforms are extremely detailed in the game, right down to the seems in the pockets. Unfortunately the folks at DICE arent talking about multiplayer modes at the moment but we should get more info about what Bad Company will have on this front in the months ahead of the game's 2008 release.