7th June 2011 - Welcom to Part 2 of our Microsoft E3 Conference Summary. Enjoy!
UFC like never before
A surprise appearance by UFC bigwig Dana White followed, and a welcome one at that. Announcing a Xbox integrated UFC feature, that allows gamers to watch classic UFC fights, new and live events and access all manners of fighter information. This of course can all be controlled with Kinect, too, and will be available via the Dashboard this fall.
Gears of War 3
This was a welcome change from all the Kinect-happy information being flooding the stage; Gears of War 3. The charismatic and charming Cliff Bleszinski took the stage with Gears cast member and Rapper/Actor Ice T to demonstrate a small segment of the overhauled co-op mode. Now allowing for full 4-player Co-op play, Gears 3 knows what it audience wants. We were only given a slice of 2-player today however.
The demo showed off some of the new environmental and visual effects, making Gears look better than ever. The battles are on a scale surpassing the original games, too, showcasing one particle fight between the Gears soldiers and a mighty beast the likes of which the series has ever seen. There was even a very meaty looking Mech that players are able to take control of, hinting at all sorts of new gameplay features that could be in the final product. It was short but sweet, and came to an end all too quickly.
The demonstration was finalised by Cliffy B stating that Gears of War 3 will feature “very smooth” multiplayer connection on launch day of September 20th. With the main Gears trilogy coming to an end, and the future of the franchise uncertain, I can certainly say I am looking forward to seeing what Epic have in store for both their epic send off and the future of the Gears universe. Being one of the only big franchises that doesn’t feel milked by todays standards, I speak for many when I say we want more Gears!
Last year, a teaser was revealed of an Xbox-exclusive Crytek title with the working title of Codename: Kingdoms. This year, Microsoft showed off this product with a brand new trailer and official name; Ryse.
The trailer was pretty solid I think, showing a waring Rome with some very sinister dialogue hinting at possible story and settings for the game. After months of speculation, it’s finally revealed that Ryse is in fact a First Person-Kinect based melee fighting game.
I don’t like the sound of it as much as you, but the game genuinely looks brilliant. It’s just a shame to play it, we will have to be jumping around the living room like a spastic fish and not able to enjoy an otherwise brilliant looking title on the comfort of our couch. With Crytek behind the game, it certainly looks the part. Stunning visuals and some great animation were displayed in the short trailer, so expect more details in the coming months.
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
“That was 10 years ago... This is now” These words sent shivers down the spines of thousands of gamers tuned into the live E3 conference after a brief explanation of a game that changes the gaming world forever; the original Halo.
Titled Halo: Anniversary, the new game is a complete HD remake of the original classic. Featuring updated graphics, animation, gameplay, and more, this isn’t just your average HD Port. This is a fully fledged recreation of the best video game ever created. With new multiplayer potential and all the best original multiplayer maps returning, Halo: Anniversary will surely make a splash.
Launching November 15th 2011.
Oh yes, it’s finally arrived ladies and gentlemen.
To stay in tune with the Kinect theme going on, Forza Motorsports 4 was shown with full Kinect motion play. Along with the Kinect-based car viewer we seen last year, Forza 4 now features voice integration, racing, head tracking and more, all tied in with Kinect to deliver what Turn 10 and Microsoft hopes to be the most realistic racing simulation game available. With over 80 Car Manufacturers confirmed and the promise of Monthly DLC updates, Forza 4 will launch with a lot to live up to and big shoes to fill as it takes on its main competitor, Sony’s Gran Turismo 5.
Fable: The Journey
Being a huge Fable fan, I was very excited to see gaming legend Peter Molyneux take the stage with Fable on the big screen behind him. With a short CGI trailer telling of a great adventure and the future of Albion, my hopes and dreams were shattered when it came time to show off the gameplay with a live demonstration...
Titled Fable: The Journey, the new Lionhead game is an on-rails Kinect-based FPS. You cast spells and fight the likes of Hobbes with by waving your hands in the air like you just don’t care. Like I don’t. I knew Peter Molyneux was interested in Kinect and wanting to implement it into the Fable universe, so I hope this silly rendition of the famed franchise doesn’t take away from the inevitable Fable 4 in the future, or hint at what the series may become. Fable: The Journey is set to release in 2012.
Minecraft for Xbox
One of the biggest announcements by far was the exclusive console debut of the massively successful Minecraft for Xbox 360. The PC smash hit that has sold over 20 Million copies (and is still in its Beta form!) is set to release on the Xbox 360 this year. I haven’t spent much time with Minecraft on the PC, but it’s a game that certainly draws a crowd. Being an essentially perfect sandbox, Minecraft allows you to explore craft and create an unlimited number of possibilities with simple blocks and bricks with some of the most basic graphics this side of the NES. Keep an eye on this one, people.
With a promised ongoing collaboration with Disney, Microsoft unveiled Disneyland Adventures, an exclusive Kinect-based game that allows player to explore the wonderfully recreated Disneyland theme park and play a range of Disney based mini-games. It’s a very child-centred experience, and sure to be one of the better received Kinect titles based on what we seen via the live demonstration. The range of games and things to do in the game far surpasses the quantity and quality of most of what we’ve seen on Kinect so far. So parents, this might be something to keep an eye for the young’uns.
Kinect Star Wars
The very sound of the famous Star Wars score gathered more applause than most announcements of the day. Last year we were shown a pre-alpha build of a short level played with Kinect, and now we’re given a full trailer and gameplay demonstration of the Kinect-based Star Wars title.
The trailer showed off what the game will be delivering, with everything from Pod Racing, lightsabre duelling and Winged-beast flying levels, most of which looks suspiciously like a rails-shooter. The gameplay was a little more informative, showing a demo of a Jedi fighting his way through a range of droids. The gameplay almost looked like a mix of being on-rails and allowing players to jump, fight and move around from them, while still stuck to a relatively straightforward path. Sure to insight some hardcore Star Wars lovers, this actually looks like the best fully Kinect based title announced so far.
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
Industry personality Tim Schaffer then took the stage to show off his latest game; Sesame Street: Once upon a Monster. It’s a fully Kinect based title that allows for 2 Players to experience the Sesame Street world live never before. Not that many have wanted to experience it any other way than what is available on TV.
This was one of the bigger announcements of the show, too. Kinect Funlabs is a hub in which players can download and play industry and community created Kinect gadgets. The feature is free from the Xbox Dashboard, and during the conference we were shown just a handful of what it has to offer;
Kinect Me – This little feature allows the Kinect cameras to take a picture of your person and create a detailed and surprisingly good looking Avatar out of the pictures, recreating your face, body and clothes as best as it can.
Finger Tracking – This is a strange little contraption that makes use of Kinect like no other game has yet to do. It takes a serious of action shots and then allows you to draw, using your fingers, around the screen. It gives an almost 3D Image than can be viewed from any angle as you move your body in front of the camera. The detail of the 3 Dimensional image has to be seen to be appreciated, and is a fine step towards showing what else this tech is capable of.
Object Capture – Now this thing takes the cake for what we saw. It allows the Kinect to take a screenshot of a household object you choose to present to it and turns it into a living on-screen character. This can possibly be implemented into other retail games to allows unique object and content creation. Expect big things.
All of this content is available right now, too. Download and access from the Dashboard today if you’re looking for an excuse to blow the dust off your Kinect system.
Kinect Sports: Season 2
The sequel to the best selling Kinect series as of now, Kinect Sports Season 2 will build on what the original accomplished by adding 6 new sports including Tennis and Skiing, and giving a much needed overhaul to the motion and voice pickups, allowing for smoother play and more longevity with quality gameplay that no other sports title offer to Kinect players.
Dance Central 2
The first game is one of the best received and critically acclaimed Kinect titles thus far, and the sequel is building on its success. Launching with over 100 fully danceable songs already, Dance Central 2 features more than any other dance title.
New features include 2 player simultaneous dance tracking and scoring, which will allow some very competitive dance offs sure to be the life of any party.
Call of Duty DLC
It was announced that again, all Call of Duty Downloadable Content will be timed exclusively for Xbox 360.
The Big Finale: Halo 4!
To end off a somewhat strong presentation, Microsoft chose to close with the first trailer and official confirmation of Halo 4. The trailer picks up right where Halo 3 left off, and the game will continue the story of the much loved Master Chief. It was also revealed that this will be the first game in a new trilogy, developed by Microsoft internal studio 343 Studios.
Launching Holiday 2012. So, we already have next year’s biggest game then?
Article By John Elliott