E3 2011: Microsoft Press Conference Roundup
Opening with Modern Warfare 3, and a healthy “please recconect controller” gag is a great way of opening the biggest press conference you’ll have all year, and is exactly what Microsoft chose to do. Robert Bowling stood on stage, playing an underwater level of Modern Warfare 3 (out November 8th 2011), which quite frankly, looked stunning, would normally serve as an indicator for what was to come from the first of the big three to take the stage, but in honesty, nothing could have been further from the truth!
After the Modern Warfare 3 presentation (in the interest of time) Don Matrick took centre stage to talk about how live TV will be coming to Xbox 360, including support from all over the world, with Sky TV being specifically mentioned.
Moving on, the Crystal Dynamic guys took stage to talk us through an early Tomb Raider level, which looked absolutely stunning. QTE events aplenty and flaming torches to escape a menacing foe, who is chasing Lara through a disturbing underground section. Moving on, EA announce that four of their upcoming titles will feature Kinect support including FIFA 12! Still on an EA kick, Mass Effect 3 will feature voice commands, allowing you to not only command your team but also speak the lines of dialogue in the speech sections!
As if that weren’t enough, Ubisoft were next up to show us Ghost Recon: Future Soldier which also features Kinect support, allowing you to fully customise your weaponry and then take aim and go at the enemy, all with Kinect! 20 million weapons are creatable in the Gunsmith mode, again, with Kinect. You’ll use gestures to reload, aim, and even fire the trigger, and it all looked rather impressive. Ubisoft then left us with the nugget that “all future Tom Clancy games will feature Kinect”. Crikey!
A quick sidetrack allowed Microsoft to inform us that not only would YouTube be coming to the dashboard, but that Bing would also be added, allowing for voice activate Bing searching. It doesn’t appear to be a full on browser, more a game related search engine for the dashboard. Dana White was next up, to talk UFC.
In addition to all the best titles on Xbox 360, Microsoft also announced new blockbuster entertainment, teaming up with UFC. Starting this Autumn, Xbox LIVE Gold Members can subscribe to UFC to access live pay-per-view matches, classic fights, interviews and exclusive behind-the-scenes looks into the lives of the world’s greatest fighters; it’s access to the octagon in an all new interactive way.
Gears of War 3 was the next item on show, with Cliff Blezinski showing off some co-op campaign with none other than Ice T! Fighting a gigantic sea-monster, and using mech-suits which double up as cover for the other players, the campaign is looking monumental in scope! Ice T also dropped the bomb that Body Count will be reforming to do a song about the mode everyone wants back in Gears 3, Horde Mode!
A short trailer for the unannounced CryTek title, “Ryse” was then shown. A first person melee attack kinect game, graphically stunning and brutal. The games kept flowing with the announcement of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, a HD remake featuring Xbox LIVE Co-Op and multiplayer, which will be released November 15th, this year! Another release date next, with Forza 4 featuring Kinect support (head tracking) and looking absolutley jaw-droppingly beautiful, shipping on October 11th.
What would E3 be without Peter Molyneux and Fable? Determined not to disappoint, Peter announced Fable The Journey, the long rumoured Kinect title from Lionhead. The most noticable thing about this title however, was the fact that it was played entirely from a sitting position, something that Kinect had received criticism for not allowing previously. Fable The Journey is set for a 2012 release.
At this point, Microsoft were well into their exclusive titles section, and consider our minds blown when MINECRAFT was announced for Xbox LIVE Arcade and Kinect, this winter!
In full force now, it was the turn of Kinect to take over the stage, with announcements for Kinect Disneyland Adventures.
This Christmas, Disney Interactive Studios and Kinect for Xbox 360 invite you to take a journey where stories come to life and dreams come true — right in your living room. With “Kinect: Disneyland Adventures,” the first title coming out of a licensing agreement between Microsoft Studios and Disney Interactive Studios, children, parents and Disney fans can explore Disneyland park — from Main Street U.S.A. to Critter Country — joining Peter Pan to battle Captain Hook, high-fiving Mickey Mouse or hugging Snow White using their full bodies and voices, no controller required.
Then Kinect Star Wars:
Drawing on iconic action from many of the “Star Wars” major motion pictures, “Kinect Star Wars” allows to you to physically experience training as a Jedi and use the Force and battle with a lightsaber like never before, thanks to the full-body recognition of Kinect.
Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster:
Join your favorite Sesame Street characters Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar and Grover, and friendly new monsters in a colorful and whimsical storybook adventure filled with learning, discovery and fun. Each chapter is full of life lessons, including friendship, sharing and teamwork. “Once Upon A Monster” features co-op game play so kids can play alone, with each other or with Mum or Dad in this controller-free gaming experience only on Kinect.
Now it was Kudo’s time! Announcing Kinect Fun Labs, a new hub showcasing the latest Kinect innovations was unveiled and will be available to all Xbox LIVE members starting today. Create magical moments with never before seen Kinect technology, including player capture, object scanning and finger tracking. Kinect Fun Labs will launch with four Gadgets: Kinect Me, Bobble Head, Build A Buddy and Kinect Googly Eyes. More experiences will begin arriving in July, including Avatar Kinect and Kinect Sparkler. This all looks very impressive, and has gone live today!
Kinect Sports: Second Season was announced next, including some different sports!
The sequel to last year’s No. 1 hit for Kinect is back with more full-body action, featuring six new sports: American football, golf, baseball, winter skiing, darts and tennis. Whether you want to go for a hole-in-one in golf, throw a Hail Mary touchdown pass in American football or compete against a friend during a few sets of tennis, “Kinect Sports: Season Two” has something to appeal to everyone
Dance Central 2, another expected title was also announced:
Following on from the best-selling dance game for Kinect, Harmonix expands the full-body dance game universe with “Dance Central 2,” which provides new multiplayer experiences and all-new routines set to an unstoppable soundtrack, featuring Usher, Rihanna, La Roux, Nicki Minaj, Montell Jordan and more. Meet the crews and dance collaboratively with friends in Perform It! or challenge them to a simultaneous head-to-head Dance Battle to determine dance floor supremacy.
That pretty much does it for the Microsoft E3 2011 press conference, except for the final announcement…HALO 4! The first in a new trilogy, coming holiday 2012.
Halo 4 is the next blockbuster instalment in the iconic franchise that’s shaped entertainment history and defined a decade of gaming. Set in the aftermath of Halo 3, Master Chief returns to confront his own destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. A new trilogy begins when Halo 4 releases in 2012.
As expected, the conference was very Kinect heavy, but there was plenty on show for everyone! Over to you Nintendo and Sony!