Hello! Live commentary for this conference is coming up at 3pm BST (UK), 4pm CEST, but EA was already involved in Microsoft's announcements at Gamescom this morning, when we learned that you can buy an Xbox One and get FIFA 14 free as a digital download.
Guten tag and wilkommen to the first of this year's Gamescom press conferences, starring our old friends the Electronic Arts. EA has promised that its GC 2013 conference will include the unveiling of The Sims 4, as well as updates on Battlefield 4, Command and Conquer, FIFA 14, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare and Need for Speed: The Rivals.
The press conference starts at 3pm BST / 4pm CEST and you can watch it here, enjoy our live commentary and post your own reactions too. Later tonight we'll be doing the same for Sony.
What's more, Ultimate Team on Xbox platforms will have exclusive "Legend" players like Gullit and Lineker, who will be available in gold packs from the as-yet unannounced Xbox One launch date.
It will be interesting to see if that proves to be a timed exclusive or that rarest of things these days - an actual permanent exclusive. We probably won't get clarification on that today, however - we asked EA earlier and they declined to comment.
As an avid FUT player myself, I'm curious as to how many of these legends will end up in packs. I can easily imagine them being out of reach of the average player and mostly sold for unattainable sums in the auction house or visible in the odd YouTuber video.
Oh, and as has been pointed out elsewhere, a PS4 plus FIFA 14 Ultimate Edition is likely to cost just over £400 - less than Xbox One with its free copy of the game. But still, if you've pre-ordered an Xbox One already then it's a good deal, right?
Anyway, join us in a couple of hours for EA's conference, where there will be further updates on FIFA, plus Battlefield 4 and a bunch of other things, as it says above.
Oh, and one more thing - we now know that EA titles Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, NBA LIVE 14, Need for Speed: Rivals and Peggle 2 will be part of the Xbox One launch line-up.
EA SPORTS UFC!
Oh yes, apparently there will be some UFC stuff during today's conference. I believe UFC is like WWE with less talking and more hugging.
We're in! Have just taken our seats, all of which are adorned with Command & Conquer postcards. So expect some of that then.
I forgot my earplugs, though, which is annoying - EA conferences tend to be LOUD.
We're in the Palladium, which is a little out of Cologne's town centre - it's a big old industrial hall with exposed ironworks everywhere. I *think* this is where Sony held its own conference a few years ago.
Not much of a proscenium going on in here, I'm afraid to report.
Expecting a look at Dragon Age. It has dragons in it, and we're in Germany, so it all makes perfect sense.
Oh lord I've just seen that image of Peter Moore that's on the homepage and I've just come over all peculiar.
Will Peter be taking the stage this afternoon? I certainly hope so. Also, would love some more slam poetry after the E3 showing this year. Maybe they can announce a new Battlefield 4 feature through the medium of interpretive dance?
how long is the conference on for?
An hour, I believe.
Hoping that EA elaborates on the FUT Legends plan by introducing legendary refs. Then we could all do videos about how Pierluigi Collina is madly OP.
Lights down, Moore on stage prepping us all.
We're going live in five minutes, he's just doing some warm-up material.
He's telling a joke about Frankfurt airport. I'd love to repeat it, but this is a family site.
Wow, this is like being at a Jason Manford gig.
Everything that's being shown at the conference is playable on the showfloor.
Hello everyone! Ellie Gibson here, ready to provide searing insight and expert analysis of every single title we're about to see. Except the driving games. And the football one.
He finishes up with the Germans/towels observation that's been entertaining audiences since 1914 and then leaves. Be grateful that wasn't being streamed.
I see Titanfall isn't in that list of games they are going to show. That's a shame
It is going to be here!
And we're WUB WUB WUB WUB
Looks like we're starting with the traditional montage of explosions and SPORTS and dubstep.
Hitting some serious brown notes with the obnoxious dubstep, which is dangerous considering how much meat's been consumed by the audience over the past couple of days.
Once, just once, I'd like a games conference to open with a nice bit of Debussy.
People are applauding the dubstep montage. Don't encourage them!
"Guten tag meine damen und herren!" Good work, Peter Moore. "That's all I got."
Gamescom is the world's biggest consumer gaming show, says Moore. More than 300,000 gamers are coming here to play stuff.
With that image behind him Peter Moore looks even more like Richard O'Brien than ever.
We're going to see FIFA, BF4, C&C, Dragon Age Inquisition, UFC, Titanfall and "some surprises".
"Now it's time for The Sims. To the Aztec Zone!"
We're starting with a series that has cultivated a global fanbase of more than 30 million players, says Moore. Live action trailer time. Meteors streaking across the sky as people look up in concern.
Oh, this is The Sims 4, presumably.
People in houses, etc. The colour green. Could it be?
Llama! Are llamas the new dogs?
Women! Must be the Sims.
Yep, The Sims 4. The green meteor becomes that green diamond icon thing. Now sims are dancing in the street among real people and speaking in simlish.
Coming 2014, apparently.
I'm not sure how genuine the applause is that keeps breaking out - I think it's being piped in through the speakers.
The Sims 4. "Come to life" is the tagline.
Rachel Franklin from Maxis is on-stage. Sims come to life like never before in The Sims 4, she says. Revolutionary sims and powerful creative tools, with "all-new emotion-based gameplay".
Come to llama would have been much better.
Players and Sim fans have been invited to join the audience today. Franklin gives them a shout-out. "We all share one common language: simlish." Audience looks confused.
They've let a woman on stage to present it! Shocking. But wait, let's not be too cynical. Surely this is just the first of many women who are about to grace the stage over the course of this press conference.
Sims have evolved into intelligent, emotionally aware beings, says Franklin. From angry to flirty. From sad to happy. You can now explore the gamut of human emotions.
We're going to get to affect the mind, body and heart of our sims.
Ah, wondered who the people cheering Sims were. It's a bunch of Sims fans shipped in for the occasion.
They're very loud!
Now she's showing off the new creative tools. She can throw down fully decorated rooms really quickly.
Could not give a toss about new emotions, to be honest. Couldn't they come up with something more interesting? New hats, maybe. Or sex acts.
The new create-a-sim tool allows her to "reach into the game and sculpt sims by hand". You can customise walk styles as well as giving them silly noses.
Franklin's showing us a scene she's working on. It's a love triangle where a guy drives another guy into depression by playing a violin and then chats a girl up.
The Samaritans have been campaigning for the banning of violins for years.
Franklin says emotions influence the game not just now but further down the line - I guess she means that decisions now impact future relationship dynamics.
Can you at any point allow Andre to blow off some steam by having a wank?
Then NO SALE.
She's built this house to be a little flirty. There is a suggestive picture that affects her sims' feelings.
Llamas, violins and spaceships. This could actually be the best game ever made.
Now she's talking about the different ways this scene could have played out. It's all down to the way you influence your sims through their surroundings and actions.
That's it for The Sims 4. It's available to pre-order now and due out in 2014.
EXPLOSIONS! THIS IS MORE LIKE IT!
It's time for Command & Conquer. Matt and Jason from Victory Games are on-stage doing banter.
That's Jason Savopolos and Matt Marcou, by the way.
They are setting up a live game. Apparently we're going to find out who is the king of Cologne. It's either some guy called Krause or someone called Erhard.
I have a card on my seat for one of these chaps. I think I'm supposed to be cheering them on.
C&C! Not to be confused with C&C Music Factory. God I miss them.
This is painful.
It's even more painful in here. My stomach's turning.
Right, now we're seeing the game in progress from Erhard's perspective while Matt and Jason commentate.
FIST BUMP! I thought that was made illegal for white people in 2007.
Erhard is moving units around on-screen and they are doing RTS things to other units. Matt and Jason are enormously excited about this.
It's difficult to understand what the hell is going on by looking at an RTS game in progress while two dudes shout at you, but fair play to Victory Games for giving it a shot.
"Boom goes the dynamite causing massive devastation at home base!"
"GG!" Oh god.
Good grief, why all the shouting? Calm down, gentlemen. Take a deep breath. Look around you. Think about what you've done with your lives.
C&C will have new generals, new maps and new modes on an ongoing basis. At the moment the game's in an extensive alpha test, where Victory takes gamer feedback and incorporates it into the game.
For example, C&C will have episodic story-driven missions that can be played alone or co-operatively - just as the community demanded.
Now we're watching a trailer for this. A man with a gravelly voice is saying warry stuff over the top of RTS footage.
So that's campaign missions coming in 2014.
Now Frank Gibeau is on-stage. "For all the fans of BioWare out there, here's the latest on their first next-gen experience, Dragon Age Inquisition."
Complex characters, real choices, real consequences, visually stunning next-gen RPG experience, etc.
We're getting a dev diary to provide an update on it.
It's called "A World Unveiled".
Developers are talking about how next-gen allows them to "take RPGs to the next level".
Just once I'd like to see an honest dev diary. "Tuesday. Got up, went to work, had an argument with Dave about whose turn it was to make the tea. Spent six hours on Facebook, then drew a picture of a gun and went home."
It's all the usual rhetoric - new levels of immersion. The world has rich and lush jungles, barren wastelands, etc. You can look under every rock and bush. There's a surprise around every corner. Ooh, there's a dragon.
The world has undergone an event where the Veil has been torn asunder and demons are everywhere. You become an Inquisitor and begin a ruthless pursuit of the villain who created the tear.
Loads of character classes, obviously. Rogue, mage, etc.
@abczyx My sincere apologies, will do my best to keep the frequency up.
Being an Inquisitor is different because you're in charge of a big organisation for once and you have to decide things like whether you burn down a village or save it - with future consequences, obviously.
Rather than being sent out to do someone's bidding, you now send other people out to do yours.
No one expects the... Oh has someone done that already?
Peter Moore's back.
Plants vs Zombies 2 launched last week and shot to number one in App Store charts in more than 130 countries, says Moore.
Look at the cheekbones on this man. They could open oysters.
Nice aerial shot of their PR stunt putting a zombie on top of the Space Needle in Seattle.
Over 15 million hours of gameplay so far.
That's how many hours people have played, obviously - not how long you can expect to play it.
Tony Leamer from PopCap is on stage now speaking in German. He's better at it than Moore.
Peter, you've been in America too long when you start pronouncing it "Mobull".
Leamer says to expect new worlds and new content in PvZ2 "all the time". The first major content update, Far Future, is now underway at PopCap.
The PvZ universe is coming to next-gen consoles too, he reminds us, bringing up Garden Warfare.
Producer Brian Lindley is now on stage. Says Garden Warfare is a refreshing third-person action experience backed up by the Frostbite 3 engine.
"All the depth you look for in an explosive multiplayer action game."
You can play as a zombie in Garden Warfare, Lindley reveals. Video coming up along with a sneak peak at loadouts.
The trailer we're seeing is 100% in-engine footage. We're starting off with some birds flying over a road. Now someone's back garden.
A bunch of familiar plants are lazing about.
Uh oh, there's a zombie on a rooftop firing a rocket launcher. And now everyone's going NUTS.
Looks like you can change loadout using some sort of in-game pop-up display thingy.
There are classes like engineer and scientist and various abilities to choose between. Everyone's pelting around laughing and shooting each other.
Garden Warfare will be out first for Xbox One and Xbox 360 starting spring 2014.
They're announcing Boss Mode - play as Dr Zomboss or Crazy Dave. Exclusive on Xbox One Kinect and Xbox Smartglass.
I think they said you play as them anyway. Apols if not.
Dr Zomboss is introducing us to the "Zombox" where he can use "simple gestures and voice commands" to resupply troops, uncover the plans of the plants and so on.
I THINK HE MEANS KINECT
You can also use Smartglass, he's showing us, to "rain death from above".
I remember when all this was just fields. Of peashooters.
"Thanks Brian, that was amazing."
It's coming "exclusively first to Xbox One", so they have it hands-on for Gamescom attendees.
Here's some footage. It's Peggle.
Here's a montage of UFC around the world and some more dubstep for good measure.
Now there's a man doing the ring announcer bit on stage. Presumably he is known to UFC fans. He is introducing Andrew Wilson from EA Sports and UFC Europe boss Gary Cook.
Ah, that was Bruce Buffer, the voice of the UFC.
Wilson says he wants to be announced like that for every meeting he goes to from here on out. Give MS a ring, Andy, I'm sure they'll sort it for you.
Garry Cook, sorry. He's talking up UFC's MMA athletes' many disciplines.
I'm not sure fighting is in my DNA. My Dad's from Dulwich.
Garry Cook will be known to any Man City football supporters, I think.
UFC is coming in spring 2014.
Lots of boring stats here. Lots of countries, broadcast partnerships, blah blah blah. Live events next year in the UK, Germany, Turkey, blah blah blah.
Are we going to see the game?
EA's all about DNA and UFC. Do they just like acronyms? Do they only eat at KFC, watch the BBC and buy all their clothes from C&A?
Aha, here's the game's creative director, Brian Hayes, who is presumably going to show it to us.
Looks like it, TBH.
Using the power of next-gen and EA Sports Ignite, we're heading inside the octagon for real emotion and blah blah blah.
The characters will look like themselves! This is teh real next-gen.
The mantra for the game is "feel the fight". New facial animation system. More like living, breathing human beings rather than action figures.
They move more realistically, planting their feet on the floor, rather than floating or sliding around the octagon.
"Real-time exertion and full-body defamation systems."
Sorry. Full-body defamation would be entertaining though!
Right, now it's time for Need for Speed: Rivals with exec producer Marcus Nilsson.
Will you play it safe or push the limits blah blah blah.
Dynamic open world powered by All Drive, which "destroys the line between single-player, co-op and multiplayer".
Marcus Nilsson! He ain't bothering with no German intro. "Just learn English, like all of us in Scandinavia."
Nilsson is going to talk about personalisation and career progression today.
You can pursue three careers as a cop - patrol, enforcer and undercover.
He pulls up a Porsche GT3 "since we're in Germany" and how you can personalise it in millions of ways
Here's the Speedlist, where you complete checklists of tasks to advance your career.
"It's never been easier to find things to do in the world and get right into the action."
He's jumped into a race within seconds of entering the open world. Having won, he can bank his winnings or try to stay alive while cops pursue him.
This must be HILARIOUS if you're actually in there..... and drunk.
I'm here, not drunk. It's not that hilarious, really. Maybe I should just bust out the gin.
The rewards for doing so will be higher.
And now here's a Ferrari 458 Spider "back in the game after seven years away from Need for Speed". "We think that's awesome," says Nilsson, who applauds himself.
21st November on PC/PS3/Xbox 360. Then Xbox One and PS4 at some point.
Here's another trailer. Some cars are chasing each other and then one goes up in the air in slow motion.
"Undercover Six, light it up!" "Calling in air support!" "Unit 45 joining pursuit!" WUB WUB upside down.
Right, that's enough of that. Time for Titanfall.
Frank Gibeau's back.
Why does Frank Gibeau always look like he just dropped by from 1959?
"Respawn is redefining the future of action games." Who isn't, at this point?
We're seeing a new mode called Attrition on a map called Angel City.
Some guys on the ground and a guy in a mech are legging it through a city. "An IMC Carrier just jumped in. You better get Barker out of there quick."
We're shooting our way through buildings, firing rockets from rooftops, moving nimbly around as (I think?) we escort the mech.
"Stand by for Titanfall."
And now we're in one of the titans, blasting through the streets.
Hopping in and out of the titan to take down enemies. "We just need to buy Barker a little more time."
Oh dear, we've taken too many losses so we've been defeated, but we still have to try to fall back successfully.
And that's it for the demo.
Not to be confused with Titianfall, which follows the adventures of the reknowned Renaissance painter as he joins the circus to pursue a career as a tightrope walker.
Andrew Wilson is back, "about to bring out the mighty David Rutter to show you the flagship title for EA Sports... FIFA 14".
But first he wants to talk about how EA is bringing FIFA to new territories, like FIFA Online in Korea.
FIFA Online 3 is coming to China via a Tencent partnership later this year.
"Next is mobile." FIFA on mobile will be free-to-play with new touch controls.
"And finally, we've just announced FIFA World." New F2P game for Brazil and Russia within the next 12 months - for markets "where PC is king".
Now for FIFA 14.
Someone who sounds like Patrick Stewart is doing a voiceover on pictures of heroic footballers.
"A new opportunity for redemption, for glory, for immortality. The brave will take to the pitch as warriors to battle."
There's a little shot of Tevez at Juventus coming up the tunnel. Lots of close-up video shots of the game in action so far.
"We are FIFA 14" seems to be this year's tagline.
THOU SHALL NOT PASS.
"The new season awaits," says Picard.
David Rutter's on stage now, introducing the game. "The game we've always wanted to build."
Gameplay this year has "real-ball physics, precision movement and pure shot" - the big things they've talked about so far.
Demo on Sept 10-11.
As in Sept 10th / 11th. I assume that's the PSN/XBL split.
Or vice versa.
David Rutter. The video games executive famous for his love of expressing himself through shirt buttons.
33 official leagues, 600 authentic clubs, 16k authentic players. Chilean and Argentinean top divisions, Brazilian national team now official.
New Co-op Seasons mode - play with online friends in 2v2 ranked online play.
Match Day has been expanded into Seasons.
Injuries, suspensions will change throughout the season there now based on real-world events.
Here's a reminder of how the carryover works from PS3 to PS4 and Xbox 360 to Xbox One.
FUT, FIFA Seasons, Virtual Pro and Football Club progression will carry over to the same system's next-gen version.
Now he's onto FUT Legends. More than 40 players will be made available.
Aha, and here's one of them on stage - it's Lothar Matthaus.
He won the World Cup, doncha know.
Matthaus is in favour of FUT Legends, would you believe.
Rutter is asking how he thinks Matthaus will do in-game while his FUT card is on-screen in the background.
He reckons it will be a little more difficult playing against modern players.
Do they still have Panini football stickers? Probably not. Kids these days seem more interested in swapping pictures of their own genitals.
"It's always nice when you have a player like Messi in your team." That'll be about 4m coins, mate.
Bergkamp, Gullit, Bierhoff, Maldini, De Boer, Hierro, Larsson, Van Niselrooy, Van Basten, God, Pele...
Loads of Legends.
From football's past to its future, Rutter segues.
He's reeling off some of the stadiums and how good they will look.
"Emotional pre-match ceremonies."
Players will interact with ball boys, apparently.
The new in-game director will drive over 100 camera angles from around the stadium, says Rutter.
Rutter signs off and leave us with "the living world of FIFA 14".
Footage is from Xbox One and PS4.
Not much to say. It's some players on the pitch and lots of different camera angles. You know what FIFA looks like, right? It looks like that.
Right, FIFA's done. Time for Battlefield 4!
That was a few player testimonials about parachutes and explosions. And here's Karl Magnus Troedsson from DICE.
He says they were humbled by the amazing E3 reaction to Battlefield 4.
Battlefield 4 beta launching in early October on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
Today we're hearing about a new mode, new map and Levelution.
Frostbite 3 first, though. Massive scale, tons of vehicles, all-out warfare. 64 players, two commanders, 60fps.
"Once you play this, you will feel the difference."
I wish he'd stop saying Levelution.
It's about dynamic environments that react to your every move. Some things are massive like flooding a city and driving attack boats through the streets. Some are small, like shooting fire alarms to disorientate opponents.
Here's a video of Levelution in action.
You say you want a levelution, well, you know, we all wanna change the way you interact with an ever-changing dynamic next-gen environment.
I do apologise - it's 'Levolution'.
Although I'm not sure I'm the one who should be apologising.
You can set off car alarms and close doors. Sometimes a skyscraper falls down.
Now we're seeing a tropical island where a ship is running aground and falling over in a storm.
Well, that was all pretty Levolutionary.
The levolution was just televised.
"Levolution is much more than just dynamic maps and set-pieces."
It's... some other stuff I didn't hear. Something about dynamic something. You can probably imagine.
Right, onto Battlefield 4 Premium - "a membership club designed to keep the action going long after launch".
Presumably they've patented "Levolution". What's Louis Walsh going to call this year's X-Factor boy band now?
The existing Premium has over four million members.
You'll get early access, new updates every single week - game modes, vehicles, weapons, expansion packs, etc.
The packs to expect are China Rising, Second Assault (four new fan favourite maps), Naval Strike, Dragon's Teeth, Final Stand.
Premium people get two weeks' early access.
So yes, that's, er, BF4's DLC roadmap.
Obliteration? Bit dull, no? Why not stick with the theme - Nobliteration!
New mode announce today is Obliteration. A bomb spawns at a random location and two teams must fight to secure the bomb and then transport it to the enemy base to detonate it.
Gamescom is showcasing a new map in the South China Sea. This map will include some of the massive waves Frostbite 3 can produce.
And here's a wrap-up trailer showing how it all comes together. Guys on boats. Helicopters.
Paracel Storm - ah, must be the map.
We see people in jets, attack boats, etc. You can take control of heavy weapons on the deck of a warship off the coast.
In fact, if you're going to dick around with words to that extent, why not just rename the whole thing Fattlebield 4?
And now the storm hits, turning the sky black. Enormous undulations send waves everywhere.
Bit harder to drive an attack boat when the sea's going nuts, obviously, or when there's a warship running aground in your face.
Prepare for war on 31st October, it says.
Fattlebield 4: Vive la levelution!
Peter Moore is back! BF4 is Oct 29th in North America, Oct 31st in Europe, Moore reminds us.
And that's it. "Thanks to everyone here in Cologne and to everyone online."
In a nutshell, then: cars, football, guns. Oh, and llamas.
Phew, we're done! Hope you enjoyed that. We have the Sony conference next at 6pm BST (UK) / 7pm CEST. Join us there for another live stream and commentary.
See you back here at 6pm for the Sony conference. Who knows what surprises are in store? Shinier cars? Bigger guns? Rounder footballs? UMD to be relaunched as standard format for PS4? Can't wait!