We're out in the hall at GCDC '08, at a stand with a ton of monitors on it in a wall, for the Electronic Arts press conference. There are a couple hundred people here already, though it's first thing in the morning. Smooth jazz is playing to get us in the mood, and we're underway.
9:03 AM - Lights go down, and a spiffy opening video of EA starts to play. Dr. Olaf Coenen, EA Germany, introduces himself, and says he's not into giving stats, sales numbers, etc. He wants to get right to the fun of the games. Then, he introduces Peter Moore, President of EA Sports.
9:07AM - Moore says it's his one-year anniversary with the company here at Leipzig, and he's thrilled to be here. Riles the crowd, which is tough for an early morning, and jumps right in by touting the Freestyle brand, which brings us Facebreaker and Celebrity Sports Showdown. Then he notes the All-Play brand, which is represented in Germany with Tiger Woods '09 and FIFA '09 All-Play. Then, he announces that tennis is coming to EA in 2009, and will be the home of the Grand Slam events. He says the game will be quite in-depth, leading with the Wii. Wimbledon will be exclusive to this new game. Shows a screenshot of Wimbledon, which looks awesome. He then intros the Executive Producer of FIFA '09, Andrew Wilson.
9:12AM - Wilson talks FIFA. He's devoted to realism in the game. Announces a new 10 v 10 player online feature, and then introduces Adidas Live Season, which will continually upload real world stats from different international leagues, and will update the game play based on those stats. This will be on PS3, 360, and PC, and will contain information about the top leagues in France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and England. They will be offering a free trial of this online for people who already own FIFA '09. He then intros David Rutter, Line Producer of FIFA.
9:15AM - Rutter thanks his team. Shows some video of new gameplay for FIFA, then talks improvements to the game. Improved responsiveness, more effort from players and AI, and better timing on shots and headers, and more robust player attributes. There are new jostling system to muscle players off the ball and cause falls and injury. Goalies have new skills. Better playmaking all around. You can build new team tactics, like new team defense and offensive tendencies. Lots of editable stuff. "Be A Pro" lets you create a player and play him for four seasons at a professional level. Shows off the 10 v 10 function. Announces the signing of LIGA 1st and 2nd divisions for the game. Also, you can upload your awesome goals to a server and the best of them will appear online, via PS3.
9:22AM - Coenen is back. Makes a Boris Becker joke. Intros Ben Bell, Executive Producer of SIMS 3.
9:25AM - Bell shows of SIMS 3. Seamless neighborhood, in which you can interact with everything and everyone. New personality traits allow you to be charismatic, evil, even a kleptomaniac. Choose dreams and wishes for your character's lifetime and help them get to those dreams. Be a musician, an astronaut, even a master criminal. Shows SIMS 3 behind the scenes video with the developers. Announces a release date worldwide of 2.20.09. Also, the entire game is available for digital download on that date, and a special edition will be available then, as well, with bonus stuff to be had.
9:30AM - Sam Player, Executive Producer of SimAnimals, announces the SimAnimals game. Shows a preview video. Animals in the wild playing with each other and the like. Kind of adorable. Shows screenshots for both the Wii and the DS. You will have a sort of 'Hand of God' which will allow you to effect the universe you're in. Wii will have multiplayer for 4 people at once, without a splitscreen. This will be released 1.09.
9:35AM - Coenen again. Intros Charles William Bibaud, Producer of Boogie Superstar, a singing and dancing game for 'tween girls. He talks about the game on the Wii, then shows a trailer. The game will have songs by local pop artists depending on the region of the world you live in. Then he sings and dances to show off the game. Hilarious. Little girls are going to explode when this game comes out. There will be unlockable songs, dances, clothing, etc.
9:40AM - Harvey Elliott, Bright Lights Studio, announces Monopoly with 22 cities worldwide on the board. Then he announces a world-record Monopoly game playing stunt to take place next Wednesday. Shows trailer for Littlest Pet Shop. Little pets...mini games..."nut feast" mode...not a joke. For the Wii and DS. Then he shows a new trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince game, and James and Oliver Phelps, who play the Weasley twins in the movies, come out and play it. Castable spells, potions, story play, Quidditch. Pretty amazing looking.
9:45AM - Coenen introduces EA Games with a trailer. Mirror's Edge, Warhammer, Skate 2, Need for Speed, Spore, Rock Band 2, and more.
9:50AM - Chris Corry, Executive Producer of Command and Conquer - Red Alert 3. The game will be released in October, and then he announces the live action cutscene cast, including JK Simmons as the President, Tim Curry as the head of Soviet Russia, George Takei as the Emperor of Japan, Jenny McCarthy, Autumn Reeser, and Kelly Hu. Shows a trailer. Jonathan Pryce is in it. Looks really amazing. Big cheer.
9:55AM - Paul Barnett, Creative Director and Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning show a trailer for the game. Excellent graphics, crazy awesome beasties. Looks like a Guillermo Del Toro film as a game.
10:00AM - Todd Hollenshead, CEO ID Software shows RAGE, which looks a little like The Road Warrior. 1st person shooter with vehicular combat and racing stuff in it. Trailer is available for free HD download. New engine from John Carmack, called the iD Tech 5.
10:05AM - Dan Tudge, Executive Producer of Dragon Age, shows some new gameplay footage.
10:07AM - Coenen wraps it up and we're out.