Tuesday, June 7, 2011

E3 2011: Microsoft Press Conference Digest

Wow, Microsoft really seemed to have something for everyone at their E3 press event!

To kick things off, we were treated to some in-depth live gameplay of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. This looked rather good, and if you've played any recent COD title you know what to expect, but that submarine level they played looked flat out CRAZY! I know this is a redundant statement, but I am really excited for MW3.

Next up, Microsoft showed us the first ever gameplay footage from the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot. Tomb Raider lost my interest many years ago, so I was very pleased with the direction the new Tomb Raider is taking. Clearly there's been some influence by the Uncharted series, as well as less focus on Lara Croft as a sex symbol.

From this point, Microsoft was sharing with us the future of Kinect with lots of "core" titles with interesting Kinect support. First up was Mass Effect 3, which allows you to speak your dialog choices instead of inputting them via the control pad. Then we got a look at the upcoming Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (Gears of Recon anyone?) - which seems to have had quite a bit work done since last year. After seeing GR:FS in action, it's become a must-have for me. It was announced at this point that all future Tom Clancy games will have Kinect support in some way.

Next, Microsoft shared with us whats to come with the Xbox 360's system software and additional apps. The 360 UI is getting a slight overhaul that really reminds me of Windows Mobile 7. Microsoft also informed us that YouTube and Bing search would be coming to the 360. I'm very excited for this YouTube support as it will provide me with easy means to view YouTube on my TV. I'm not so excited for Bing, as I can't imagine a situation where I'll need to do an internet search on my 360, but hey, whatever!

UFC events will also be coming to Xbox Live. I am unsure if this will be live current events or a back catalog of on-demand events, but it should be rather fun for the UFC/MMA fans out there.

From here Microsoft announced that the rest of the titles shown were Xbox 360 exclusives. They kicked this part off with an on-stage demo of Gears of War 3 co-op.... with Ice-T on hand! Body Count is reuniting and has done some music for Gears of War 3. CryTek then hit the stage and showed off a new title called Ryse. This will be a title to keep your eyes on for sure. Then a most welcome title was show - Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - the long rumored High Def revamp of the original Halo. They've redone the entire game and added Xbox Live support for multiplayer AND co-op! While this is a 10 year old title, I won't be shocked when it sells like crazy in November. My guess is it will be an XBLA title.

Next, Forza 4 was demonstrated, with Kinect support. Turn 10 really impresses me with how quickly they produce quality work. Forza 4 will be a must-have for me. A new Fable title was then show - Fable: The Journey. It's an on-rails first person adventure game that uses Kinect.

After all this - out of nowhere it was announced that the indie darling of the PC gaming world, Mincraft, was coming to the 360 with Kinect support. I have a feeling Mincraft is about to go mainstream in a big way! Next up was Kinect Disneyland Adventures, which has a very detailed rendition of the amusement park and a VERY Disney art style.

At last, we got a good look at the Kinect Star Wars title. As a Star Wars fanboy my interest in piqued, and I look forward to trying this game in person.

The next few titles were very family friendly - Once Upon a Monster (Seasame Street Kinect title), Kinect Fun Labs (which is live *now*), Kinect Sports Season 2, and Harmonix's bgi game this year, Dance Central 2.

However... the very last title Microsoft showed off may have been the biggest...

Halo 4!

We were only shown a quick teaser and no actual gameplay, but I know this has many of you beyond excited. I hope 383 is up to the task, this is one of the biggest names on Xbox and the fans will not settle for anything less than awesome.

So there you have it, my digest of Microsoft's press conference. Up next is Sony and Nintendo!

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