Monday, June 6, 2011

Pre-E3: Microsoft Xbox Media Briefing

Microsoft kicks off day zero of E3 by playing safe with Xbox 360 Kinect games and capabilities but brings their big guns such as Halo in their press conference.

Starting the conference has Infinity Ward's community manager Robert Bowling showing off a live demo of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. As a Navy SEAL in a war torn New York City, Bowling aided by supporting character Sandman attempt to sabotage a Russian sub preparing to launch missiles. After successfully infiltrating the sub and killing off some Ultranationalist troops, the SEALs breach the sub's command center and help launch missiles to attack the Russians. Their Call of Duty-esque escape has the SEALs attempt to get extracted through a combat rubber raiding craft. After the demo, general manager Glenn Scofield of co-developer Sledgehammer Games came by to say that they can't wait for the game's release.

After an introduction by Microsoft's president of the interactive entertainment business Don Mattrick, Crystal Dynamics' Daniel Neuberger and Darrel Gallagher demonstrates the latest Tomb Raider entry. This reboot game shows off a young and inexperienced Lara Croft trying to escape a cave. The demo shows off the game's interactive capabilities. When Lara gets stabbed and tries to remove the impaled object or tries to light up a room, a button prompt appears. Things like escaping the collapsing cave are more advanced, requiring the player to rapidly press the triggers. Another aspect is its navigation system. Lara now has a special vision that players can identify special objects that can help them progress.

Electronic Arts and EA Sports president Peter Moore would briefly announce that the Sports' lead games such as Madden and Tiger Woods as well as EA's regular games will feature Kinect capabilities.

Bioware CEO Dr. Ray Muzyka would show off the new features in the upcoming Mass Effect 3. Using Kinect, now players can react to conversations just be calling out the phrase. The Xbox 360 device also expands to performing squad orders such as moving to a position or performing abilities. Other things such as one of the probably many new melee abilities as well as some story is revealed as well.

Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier would be the next game in spotlight. With Kinect capabilities, Future Soldier will allow players to navigate and aim/shoot using camera gestures and make settings with voice. It was revealed that players can make many combinations to their weapons with over 200 million combinations. Players can have a long range focus or fight in close quarters with their guns. They can also try it out at an instant with a testing field. Ubisoft CEO Yves Gullermo would then announce all future Tom Clancy titles will utilize Kinect.

Xbox Live's Mark Whitten then introduces a new version of the "New Xbox Experience" with optimization for Kinect. Players with Kinect can now navigate much easier with voice-friendly menus. Whitten also announced Xbox Live's expansion of media services including YouTube support and live television. Also arriving is support from Microsoft's Bing search engine system.
Another expansion to Live's service is support from the Ultimate Fighting Championship including live fights, stat checking, and choosing a fighter's outcome.

Epic Game's Cliff Blenszinski then presents Gears of War 3 with support from co-op partner, major series fan, and voice actor to the game's newest character Ice-T. It shows off a new level where the Gears fight off a lambent monster. Ice-T fights the monster with use of a robotic armor that other players can take cover behind.

Crytek's once unannounced game has revealed to be an action game set in a feudal Rome with Kinect abilities. Ryse's concept trailer seems to show off the many dynamic capabilities when killing your enemies in hand to hand/sword combat.

After many rumors, the 10-year-old FPS classic Halo: Combat Evolved has now been remastered for HD by 343 Industries. Optimized for the Xbox 360, the Anniversary edition adds new graphics and mechanics from the recent games to the original game. Online co-op is also available as well as seven of the game's maps remade.

Turn 10 Studios' latest Forza Motorsport is now dated for a Oct. 4 release with Kinect support and monthly car expansions.

Lionhead Studios' Peter Moleneux finally reveals their first Kinect based game set in the Fable universe. Placed after Fable III, Fable: The Journey shows off a rail shooter style adventure where the demonstrator shows off cool Kinect features such as riding a horse as well as making magic powers with different hand gesture combinations.

Microsoft's Phil Spencer expands on Xbox Live and other Kinect products. It was confirmed that the successful world building indie game Minecraft would be available on Xbox Live Arcade. Kinect Disney Adventures has kids the ability to experience various rides from the theme park including Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. After a year of silence as well as claims of previous footage being unusual, Kinect Star Wars is demonstrated in real time showing a very rail-like style utilizing hand/body movements as well as voice commands (you can turn on a lightsaber just by staying a simple phrase).

Tim Schaefer of Double Fine would show off a bit of their own Kinect game made for the family. The Seasame Street: Once Upon a Monster demo has a father and son (playing as Cookie Monster and Elmo respectively) trying to combat a monster with jumps and voice shouts.

Kudo Tsunoda of Microsoft who first introduced the Kinect two years ago came to the stage to show off the Kinect Fun Labs. Built as a network of software using different aspects of Kinect, the Fun Labs is available to everyone now. They can try out such things as body and object scanning as well as finger tracking. Kudo concludes his part with a sequel to Kinect Sports. Season 2 now includes golf, darts, tennis, and football.

Harmonix comes up next to show off a quick demo of Dance Central 2. This sequel allows the songs from the original to be imported as well as simultaneous multiplayer.

Mattrick then finishes the show with a quick teaser to the new trilogy arc of the Halo series. Halo 4 is set for Holiday 2012 on Xbox 360.

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