E.A.

EA explain why The Sims 4 won't feature pools or toddlers

Tom Sykes at

Sims fans are a bit miffed that The Sims 4 won't feature pools or toddlers, two seemingly small details that have nonetheless caused a fair bit of outrage over the last couple of weeks. I imagine much of the anger is less about which features are missing in 4, and more about why features present in previous entries haven't been included in this latest version—the worry being that EA might be holding them back for one of The Sims' many, many, many expansion packs. That worry probably won't be mollified by EA's latest blog post addressing the matter, but it does explain the reasons behind the decision not to include those two features. Essentially, it was a trade-off with the game's new AI, animation system, build mode, Create a Sim etc.


Here's how Battlefield 4 celebrated Independence Day

Phil Savage at

For the British, July 4th is a time for looking sheepishly at your feet as you're reminded of the, er, impoliteness of your ancestors. Then again, nearly every day is a time for that. For the US, it's an apparently much more festive occasion. And so, in honour of the day, Battlefield 4's CTE broke out the red, blue and white fireworks, and an appropriately raucous version of The Star-Spangled Banner. You can see all the Premium-only test client's celebrations, courtesy of YouTube user 'Jackfrags'.


Command and Conquer series saved from GameSpy shutdown thanks to community effort

Tom Sykes at

Games for Windows Live might kinda sorta still be going for the time being (despite rumours that its death would occur on July 1st), but multiplayer server thingamajig GameSpy is definitely, definitely dead. EA's Command & Conquer games were among the casualties, but after only a short amount of downtime, C&C3 and Kane's Wrath, Red Alert 3, Generals and Generals: Zero Hour are once again playable online. This isn't EA's doing, but rather a community effort over at the aptly named C&C: Online. Details below.


Battlefield 4 Dragon's Teeth releases for Premium July 15th, according to Origin tweet

Tom Sykes at

What are you up to on July 15th? It's a Tuesday, so you're probably going to be either at work or at school for some of it, but EA are rather hoping you'll dedicate part to installing and playing Battlefield 4's new Dragon's Teeth DLC. That's according to a tweet (quickly deleted) by EA's Origin account, which revealed (then quickly unrevealed) that Dragon's Teeth will be out for Premium subscribers on that particular date. If true, then we only need to apply EA and DICE's usual two-week delay for non-Premium members to surmise that Dragon's Teeth will launch for everyone on July 29th. That tweet/untweet is after the break, along with a reminder of what the map pack actually involves.


Dragon Age: Inquisition to include Bioware's first "fully gay" male party member

Phil Savage at

Bioware have spent a lot of time showing off the locales of Dragon Age: Inquisition—likely hoping to reassure us it has more areas than just That Cave from Dragon Age 2. But locations are just one aspect of a Bioware RPG. The other aspect is who you'll be romancing. In a recent profile by Bioware's David Gaider, the studio introduced Dorian, their first "fully gay" male party member and the first gay character the lead writer has written.


Battlefield 4 CTE update reveals 'netcode' improvements, Rush tweaks

Phil Savage at

Last month, DICE launched the Community Test Environment—a beta branch of the game that let Premium players test and give feedback on a variety of (much needed) updates. Soon, it'll be time for those improvements to invade the game proper. DICE recently rounded up some of the changes we can expect, including Rush mode tweaks, balance changes to Dragon's Teeth's Ballistics Shield, and, once again, "improvements to the 'Netcode'".


The Sims 4 won't include pools or toddlers, concerned parents will be pleased to hear

Tom Sykes at

Despite including a revolutionary feature EA and Maxis are calling an 'offline mode', The Sims 4 won't manage to include all the stuff you might have liked about the previous games - namely Create a Style, pool-building, and spawnable toddlers, features that have been left on the cutting room floor and oh god that didn't sound right at all. The bad news was rather skillfully buried in a super-upbeat blog post outlining the game's included features, but if you peer closely (or scroll down to the comments thread beneath it) it soon becomes clear that something's amiss.


Titanfall's next update brings limited-time modes and new burn cards

Phil Savage at

It must be hard being a robot-riding parkour space marine of the future. It's no longer enough to just kill your enemies; you've got to do it in weird ways. The next Titanfall patch will introduce "Featured Game Modes", which provide limited-time variations on the game's standard objectives. The first of these, "Marked For Death", challenge you to kill a specific enemy player, all while protecting your own VIP-pilot.


Mirror's Edge 2 will also be "focussing on first-person combat", says DICE general manager

Phil Savage at

If you've played Mirror's Edge, the idea of a sequel that focuses more heavily on its combat probably sounds like the nightmare by-product of a dark, alternate timeline. In fact, according to DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson, it's the real future of our existing timeline. It's not all bad, though, as the studio are looking to refine and improve upon the first game's awkward fisticuffs.


Battlefield Hardline beta: all gadgets and weapons unlocked for final week

Shaun Prescott at

Battlefield Hardline only has one more week in beta, so to make sure players see everything it has to offer all firearms and gadgets have been unlocked. This means you won’t have to earn your right to access things like the Ballistic Shield, Breaching Charge or Decoy: you can now access them in your loadout menu on Battlelog no questions asked. Meanwhile, several fixes and improvements have been made to the audio and netcode.


Battlefield 4 Dragon's Teeth expansion adds new maps, game mode, floating eatery

Tom Sykes at

In another, more generous age, Battlefield Hardline might have taken the form of an expansion or even a mod - from our impressions of the beta, it doesn't exactly feel like its own game. We don't live in the late '90s, however - and until I perfect my time-travelling Ford Mondeo, we never will - so let's focus on Battlefield 4's actual DLC. Dragon's Teeth is the latest, and EA have spilled a few new details. Details like "it contains four multiplayer maps" and "there are five new weapons" and "you can have it two weeks early if you pony up for Battlefield 4 Premium". (They didn't use the word 'pony', but you get the idea.)


Battlefield 4 launch situation was "unacceptable", says EA CEO

Phil Savage at

Battlefield 4 had a lot of things. It had a falling skyscraper, a crashing ship, a singleplayer campaign that wasn't as rubbish as it probably should have been. But all of these things were overshadowed by a series of bugs and performance problems that plagued the game long after its launch. Now, EA CEO Andrew Wilson has stated what many of the game's owners already know: "the situation we had was unacceptable".


Titanfall playable for free this weekend, as Origin launches Game Time promotion

Phil Savage at

Origin are currently giving away Peggle. It's a happy game about rainbows and Beethoven, and is therefore at odds with the majority of EA's catalogue. To redress the balance, they're also planning a free trial for a game about big robots and loud noises that go "SHHHHHLUNK". Titanfall will be free to download and play this weekend, and—while it'll take the majority of that time to download and install the thing—that should still leave a few solid hours of robo-falling, parkour-jumping action.


Peggle is now free on Origin

Phil Savage at

EA have revealed the next game in their ongoing 'On The House' promotion series. First, they gave away Dead Space. Then, it was Battlefield 3 and Plants vs. Zombies. Now, it's Peggle—making this either the best or worst of their free-game offers, depending on your fondness for unicorns, rainbows, and an impossibly compelling series of block-smashing levels.


Dragon Age: Inquisition trailer introduces grumpy elf, bullish Qunari

Tom Sykes at

I'm probably the only one, but I'm getting a serious Suikoden vibe from Dragon Age: Inquisition, which has already supplied us with one E3 trailer, an interview with its creative director, the news that it will have 40 "major" endings and more. What we can we possibly learn from this latest video? Well, we can learn a titbit or two about Inquisition's various companions, which include a Grey Warden (no, not that Grey Warden), a dour-faced elf, and a map that magically draws itself. See the lot after the break.


The PC Gamer E3 Awards - The 10 Best PC Games of E3 2014

PC Gamer at

We made it. E3 2014 is over, and we survived the onslaught of Mario and Nathan Drake and Master Chief, pushing our way past the console exclusives to find the best PC games hidden within the massive LA convention center. Surprisingly, the search wasn't too hard. We saw and played more amazing PC games than we expected, from promising indies to big-budget stunners. It wasn't easy to narrow down our best-in-show, but here it is: our list of the 10 best PC games of E3 2014.


DICE considering an early access model for future Battlefield games

Phil Savage at

The Battlefield games aren't averse to beta testing. Hardline's closed beta began this week, and previous games have given fans a chance to play a limited pre-release segment. The problem, traditionally, is that these betas are more akin to a demo, and that—as Battlefield 4's long-standing issues prove—rarely help the developers catch and squash bugs.

DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson has now said that, for future Battlefield games, the developer would consider a move to an early access model.


Visceral on why Battlefield Hardline feels so similar to BF4: "Because it's a Battlefield game"

Tyler Wilde at

Battlefield Hardline is an odd patchwork of action crime flicks and large-scale Battlefield 4 warfare. I've been playing the closed beta, and though speeding down a freeway in a cop car is a new experience, it feels a lot like BF4—except that seeing a uniformed police officer wielding an RPG is uncanny. A few days before the E3 reveal, I asked Visceral Games VP and GM Steve Papoutsis to explain why, for instance, the cops and criminals have military-grade weapons.


Dragon Age: Inquisition dev claims 40 possible endings, nearly unlimited character options

Andy Chalk at

Dragon Age: Inquisition is going to be a big game—50 hours in the main quest line alone. And what you do in those hours will have a real impact on how it concludes, according to producer Cameron Lee, who said it will have 40 "major" endings, each of them subject to additional variations.


Why EA's E3 documentary reveals missed the mark

Samuel Roberts at

EA's conference was the strangest of the three I attended yesterday. Laid out more like an awards show than an E3 presentation, with dinner tables instead of places for everyone to sit, the publisher hit viewers with a strong mix of announcements and demos (kudos for breaking up the melodramatic sports trailers with explosions, dragons and a battleship on a golf course, too). Reveals took a different format this year, with mini-documentaries accompanying games that weren't quite ready to be seen in action yet. For Mirror's Edge, Criterion's next project, Star Wars Battlefront and BioWare's brace of new titles, EA focused more on the behind-the-scenes work and gave us only a few bits of new footage to dissect. I'm not sure it's an approach everyone is fond of.