The four games provide online experiences ranging from a fantasy adventure in Middle-earth to WWII combat, underground tuner car racing, and the wacky and unpredictable world of The Sims. The Lord of the Rings, The Sims, and Medal of Honor all support hands-free chat through a USB headset (broadband connection required), similar to EA SPORTS(TM) PlayStation 2 Online capable games. PlayStation 2 online play requires an Internet connection, a network adaptor, and memory card for the PlayStation 2.
"EA GAMES' online play extends the gaming experience way beyond the boundaries of your living room," said Shawn Conly, EA GAMES Global Branding Director. "It gives gamers the opportunity to play with or against each other in some of the most exciting games this fall no matter where they -- or their friends -- are located."
The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King will feature two-player online cooperative play throughout the entire game's thirteen levels. From game lobbies, players can find their friends through buddy lists and chat via EA Messenger instant messaging, or can be paired automatically with a gamer of comparable level to form their own Fellowship. Players will be able to choose any two of the six playable characters (plus three secret characters) ranging from Gandalf to Frodo and Aragorn, and chat hands-free for maximum teamwork. Online play can start at the beginning of the game, or if levels have been unlocked through single-player mode, players can select their favorite locations as a starting point for their journey.
The Sims Bustin' Out will feature two-player cooperative gameplay online, which lets players work their way through any of the game's unique career paths. The game will also feature an online trading system that will allow players to swap unlockable social interactions such as Pull Finger and Moonwalk or objects like a Climbing Wall and DJ Booth. In addition to bestowing bragging rights, these wacky social interactions and highly coveted objects will also affect the gameplay. Online play will also feature a lobby where a matchmaker screen displays the astrological signs, genders, and personalities of other Sims, so that players can effectively choose their gaming partners. Since two Sims are better than one at getting the job done, online play will make it even easier to accomplish goals, satisfy motives, and get your Sims into trouble in The Sims Bustin' Out.
Medal of Honor Rising Sun will provide intense online multiplayer action for up to eight soldiers. Players will go head to head across nine levels ranging from the jungles of the Pacific to the streets of the Orient. There will be a variety of options and customizable match parameters available including selection of Weapon Sets, Friendly Fire, and Time Limit options. Players can find and join games using the EA matchmaking service and will be able to choose from a selection of Axis and Allied soldiers. Once play begins, soldiers can communicate with voice chat using a USB headset for more coordinated team play or taunting competitors.
Need for Speed Underground will allow up to four players to race online in all four of the game's driving modes: drag racing, sprint racing, circuit racing, and drift racing. Players will be able to take the cars they've customized offline into the online arena to show off their tricked out rides and show up the competition. A comprehensive ranking system tracks the top 100 riders, top lap times, and more for the ultimate in bragging rights. Need for Speed Underground will also offer cross-platform online play, allowing PC and PlayStation 2 gamers to seamlessly compete online for the first time.