Electronic Arts pushes games new and old at E3

Game maker promises more interaction with players while showing off its lineup for the holidays.

Electronic Arts holds its E3 press conference in Los Angeles. Nick Statt/CNET

LOS ANGELES -- What's old is new again at Electronic Arts.

EA introduced new titles based on fan-favorite franchises and developers at a press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo here, including several new games from its popular BioWare game-making group. Among the announcements was a new iteration of its Mass Effect space-age adventure games, though the company didn't offer many other details.

The company is also bringing back its Sims franchise of games, in which players create and control digital characters that live together. Among the new features for the game is the ability to finely tune the personalities of various characters. That game is expected to be released September 2.

The efforts underscore EA's renewed efforts to connect with its customers, following a rocky couple of years. The company named an insider to be its new chief executive last year, and has since focused its efforts on expanding profits and leading competitors following the twin releases of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in November.

EA has said it's been focused on responding to customers' requests more often, creating new levels and maps for some of its most popular titles based on feedback.

"It's about putting the games into your hands and inviting you to help us make them better," said Andrew Wilson, EA's chief executive. To underscore that effort, EA offered access to test versions of its next Battlefield, which is due October 21.

The title, called Battlefield: Hardline, focuses on the well-worn cops-and-criminals genre. The game, early versions of which leaked on the Internet ahead of the press announcement, is a departure for the series, which typically takes place in war-torn countries.

Gamers try out the latest Battlefield game at E3. Nick Statt/CNET

The effort also takes a different tack from its last Battlefield title, Battlefield 4, which was released with much fanfare. But persistent glitches and other struggles upset fans, leading EA to apologize and offer free content as recompense.

EA showed numerous other sports games, including its next iteration for its American football, hockey, soccer, and golf titles.

EA also unveiled an update for its popular Mirror's Edge action-adventure game, offering the first new installment since 2008. The game won't be ready for the holiday shopping season though, and EA only showed rough prototypes during the press conference. The game was also teased at the last E3 conference held by EA a year ago.

One of the most highly anticipated games from the company is its upcoming "Star Wars" title, Battlefront. The game is the first being created by its European Dice group, which is best known for creating the company's Battlefield war-simulation titles.

EA didn't offer too many new details about the game, though it did note that developers have researched original shooting locations for the decades-old films, as well as spent time with original models used to create effects. Those efforts, EA said, will aid in making the game authentic as it attempts to help players relive popular moments from the franchise.

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